Rorate Caeli

Clarification

Regarding the recent report on the role of Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta in the doctrinal talks between the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) and the Holy See, DICI, the SSPX news agency, adds the following:
"In fact, Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta is the president of the commission charged of the preparation of the dossiers that will be studied during the theological talks with the representatives of the Holy See. This commission, [which is] internal to the Fraternity of Saint Pius X, established last April, is not a bilateral commission."

134 comments:

Anonymous said...

The SSPX are going to need some help with this one if they are to make an effective case. They should not rely solely on members of their own society. Their intellectual training has been too insular.

M.A. said...

They (SSPX) should consult with the Abbe de Nantes.

LeonG said...

"Their intellectual training has been too insular."

Defense of The Roman Catholic Faith in its integrity is more than just an intellectual exercise. The remark is more than a patronising one. The SSPX are more than capable of making their case an effective one. Frankly speaking, liberal modernist post-conciliar doctrinal production is noted for its ambiguities and frequent nebulosity. Otherwise, we would have all been converted to the neo-catholic church long ago. Moreover, there exist already plenty of published works exposing the limitations of the new paradigm. The SSPX did not progress and develop this far through insularity - their vision is continuously Catholic. As time passes their cause is being vindicated as the last few years demonstrate only too clearly. There is a modern church in chaos at odds with itself while SSPX and other traditional organisations correctly challenge this appalling state of affairs.

Rick DeLano said...

Oh my. Poor little SSPX. Too insular. Right. The lady, especially under cloak of anonymity, doth protest too much.

Anonymous said...

Right on Anonymous,

The SSPX just can't compete with 'Reciprocal integration', and the new dynamic deeper 'Awareness' of the new 'Civilization of Love'.

What they need is some updating.

Maybe they should ask the Jesuits for help.

Jeff.

Long-Skirts said...

Anon said:

"Their intellectual training has been too insular."

What a phoney snob you are!!!!!!

Rob said...

-Their intellectual training has been too insular.-

(snort) Gonna* keep dragging that one out? Good luck.

* gonna- a slang term used in place of "going to" by those suffering from insular education, frequently used (incorrectly) to begin a query which lacks the customary (and necessary) verb-subject beginning (Are you...) found in standard-format English questions.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they're narrow, insular, back-minded and reactionary. They even can't understand that female priests and permitting abortion is what the Church needs! Can you imagine that? A real obscurantism! Fortunately prominent theologians are ready to straighten their peasant minds with luminous ideas of liberty, equality, fraternity and Human Rights!

Mar said...

To Anonymous 01:50,

Are you serious? It is because the SSPX stood firm on key issues in the Church all these years that we got 'Quattuor abhinc annos', 'Ecclesia Dei' and recently 'Summorum Pontificum'. And now, God willing, maybe, just maybe, there might be some intelligent debate about that elephant in the living room, Vatican II. And maybe, just maybe, this might stem the tide of confusion that has been sweeping away so many souls of the faithful with an unprecedented intensity.

Better to listen to the words of the Gospel, Matthew 10:19. Only, when they hand you over thus, do not consider anxiously what you are to say or how you are to say it; words will be given you when the time comes; it is not you who speak, it is the Spirit of your Father that speaks in you.

They will get all the help they need.

Moffat said...

Amusing that an SSPX bishop is leading what is, for all intents and purposes, one side of an ecumenical dialogue.

I wonder if this small fact has escaped the Society's attention. Perhaps it will dawn on them when they bring up the matter of dialogue itself and their disapproval of it.

As anonymous notes above, they are not a fraternity known for their intellect. Brace yourselves for a theological beatdown.

Paul Haley said...

As far as I know, these discussions are between the SSPX and the Holy See and are not open to other groups, i.e., independents. To me, this relegates the entire traditional movement to a backseat as observers, looking on from the sidelines and, if the exchange of documents is private, as we are led to believe, then only the SSPX will be privy to what's happening.

Now, on my website at http://phaley.faithweb.com there is an article entitled Dare to Dream and these discussions in no way correspond to the vision I had when I wrote that article way before the reign of this current Pope. Still, I hope that one day something like that vision will occur and I continue to pray for it to happen.

Some have said my "dream" is unrealistic and will never be achieved. Maybe so, but anyone can see that unless the traditional movement is welcomed into the Church in toto, there will never be "reconciliation" and the Church will continue to be fractured with bishops opposing bishops and one group pitted against another.

Now, I really hope that Bishop Fellay is going to seek advise and input from others in the traditional movement and that he'll share this with Bishop de Gallerata but he may decide that this is not a good idea; that is strictly up to him. In any case I pray for the success of the discussions.

wsxyz said...

The problem with the SSPX's theological abilities is going to play out something like this:

SSPX Theologian: 1+1=2
Vatican Theologian: Of course
SSPX Theologian: Therefore 2+2=4
Vatican Theologian: Ah, but you are assuming just because 1+1=2 that 2=1+1, but current theories based on modern critical evaluation of the Torah and the works of the early Christian community of Persia suggest that it may be preferable to allow that 2=3+3. Therefore 2+2 is not necessarily be 4, it may be 12.

Jordanes said...

Folks, we already had this "SSPX is theologically halfwitted" vs. "Vatican is theologically obtuse" debate not many days ago. Is anyone really going to be edified to have it rehashed all over again? "Their theologians have bigger brains." "Uh uh, it's their theologians!" "No they don't!" "Yes they do!" "No they don't!" "Yes they do!"

It's not like it's a debate that can be conclusively resolved one way or the other. How about we just pray for both sides of the theological dialogue. A lot of good, a lot of needed clarification, for the WHOLE Church can result from this. Let's pray that the Holy Spirit will lead all parties into the truth, and that they receive the grace to accept it.

LeonG said...

"No they don't!" "Yes they do!"


On the contrary some of us are more eloquent and genuinely better informed than that!

Anonymous said...

Moffat,
You show your lack understanding of Catholic teaching with your 'dialogue' remark.

The FSSPX have never opposed true dialogue, they oppose new church's version. They ask for clarification on how to reconcile V2 with the Magesterium instituted by the Holy Ghost.

The Catholic Church was built with the Blood of Martyrs who preached the truth as given by Jesus Christ to Peter and his apostles. V2 has to be reconciled to this not new ideas.

If you would read Archbishop Lefebvre, "A Bisop Speaks" or "I Accuse the Council" you could discover this for your self.

His fears and Cardinal Ottaviani's read like prophecy...they based their understanding on traditional doctrine and encyclicals from such Popes as Pope Pius IX, Pope Pius X, Pope Pius XI, Pope Pius XII, Pope Leo XIII. Those Popes forewarned what would happen to the Church by "subjectivist ideas which run counter to sound philosophy and theology".

The Holy Ghost will not abandon His Church. May I remind you that the Apostles were not well educated and they refuted the learned Jewish Doctors.

Kyle

Anonymous said...

The SSPX will just adhere to the truth. And the truth sall make them free!

Jordanes said...

On the contrary some of us are more eloquent and genuinely better informed than that!

I think one should use eloquence and better information to explore disputed questions that have the possibility of being resolved. Honestly, which of us here really knows which side has the more gifted theologians, and what effect it might have on the outcome of the theological discussions? How is anyone served by intellectual chest-thumping?

Brian said...

When pre-Vatican II theology was boiled down for instructing children and adolescents, the result was the Baltimore Catechism; and lay Catholics knew the substance of their Faith, attended Mass faithfully, and knew the moral teaching of the Church.

Solid theology boiled down to substantive instruction and practice.

When post-Vatican II theology was boiled down for instructing children and adolescents, the result was what might be gleaned from studying the greeting cards in a Hallmark shop; and lay Catholics are largely ignorant of the substantive truths of the Faith, largely do not attend Mass, and voted in the most pro-abortion President in history.

Vague, ambivalent theology boiled down to vaporous instruction and practice.

Jordanes said...

Beg to differ:

First of all, there wasn't just one "pre-Vatican II theology," but for the purposes of comparison let's consider the Catechism of Trent, compared to the Baltimore Catechism, prepared for U.S. Catholic children.

We now have the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Catechism of Vatican II as it were. For a proper analogy, then, we'd have to see how the new Catechism's theology has been "boiled down" to created catechisms for U.S Catholic children.

Brian said...

Jordanes, did you attend CCD as a child or adolescent. I did. I am not speaking in theoretical terms, but in terms of what has actually taken place.

Oliver said...

If the (futile) discussions are going to be bathed in the stultifying Roman baths of today, there will not be much progress in favour of Mother Church this side of another millenium. Even so-called ecumenical gatherings between modernist birds of a feather end up drowning in a sea of meaningless words. Doubtless it keeps people pre-occupied with their self-importance.

LeonG said...

"I think one should use eloquence and better information to explore disputed questions that have the possibility of being resolved."

A subjective view if ever there was one - if SSPX had believed that one then they would have backed off long ago from the very issues they confront the neo-catholic church and all of us with now.

Anonymous said...

I suggest the SSPX reads Thomas Aquinas more carefully, it will be than less radical.

Indeed, the scholastics themselves will be a very good medicine to cure some of the SSPX of their arrogance and self-importance.

Jordanes said...

Jordanes, did you attend CCD as a child or adolescent. I did. I am not speaking in theoretical terms, but in terms of what has actually taken place.

No. I'm an adult convert. I am aware of how awful things got, though, both from reading and from talking to those who lived through those awful times. Catechising children still has a long way to go in recovering from the contentless curriculum of circa 1965 to circa 1995, but there's already been a marked improvement in many dioceses as a consequence of the preparation of the new Catechism as a mandatory norm for catechetical materials.

My point above, however, has to do with making a valid comparison between "pre-Vatican II theology" and "post-Vatican II theology" for the purposes of discussing what the SSPX will bring to the table compared to what the Holy See will bring to the table.

Jordanes said...

LeonG, if you think mine is a subjective view, then provide something objective by which we can ascertain whose theologians have greater prowess. Same goes for those who claim the SSPX are theological babies who need somebody to help them change their intellectual diapers.

Anonymous said...

Faceless anonymous writes and I quote, "Indeed, the scholastics themselves will be a very good medicine to cure some of the SSPX of their arrogance and self-importance."

Perhaps some FSSPX are arrogant, may God guide them in humility. Scholastics would no doubt help.

However, they are a burr in the back side of those that are/have/wish to destroy immemorial Catholic teaching.

Better to have the voice of outspoken FSSPX (voice in the wilderness - St. John the Baptist pray for us) that have the GRIT to speak up then the silence of the other traditional orders and reform types that parrot the NO.

May God guide the doctrinal discussions.

- Nobac

LeonG said...

That SSPX has the necessary resources to enter into dialogue with The Vatican on the councils is without doubt. It is apt to intimate that post-conciliar modernist thinking is replete with equivocation and phenomenology. If this were not so there would be no questioning the post-conciliar outcome. The SSPX has been in the vanguard of this resistance to postmodernising the church. It has the theological understanding and conviction of The Faith to do so. It has survived multi-level condemnations; questionable excommunications in a relentless persecution by the modern church; lampooning & obstructionism by ill-informed liberal church revisionists; false accusations of schism and at present the secular authorities in certain places are trying to hamper the Confraternity’s progress. Yet here they stand today defending The Roman Catholic Faith without compromising the truth as the post-conciliar church has done with, for example, its ecumenical and inter-religious policies. It is no secret many of the documents of the notorious councils, SSPX have the courage to question, have the pungent odour of liberal modernist ambiguity: it is well-documented.

Thus, remarks that somehow SSPX lacks the necessary theological and doctrinal weight against the backdrop of disorder and chaos in the neo-catholic church are merely reductionist and inadequately informed. Some of us have excellent relations with the SSPX without necessarily being fraternity members and one factor is completely clear: they act with the certitude of traditional Roman Catholics – One Faith, One Lord, One Baptism which can be represented only by One Holy Roman Catholic Church. There are no others. When this is contrasted to an official self-doubting church that is composed of compromisers and relativists who produce endless nebulous verbiage that accommodates secularism in all its forms, then it is very difficult to draw any other conclusion.

This has nothing to do with “chest-thumping” – it has more to do with contemporary reality. If some of those who have disliked the SSPX from the start would only wipe away the blinded bias from their eyes they would understand that defense of The Faith is not only a dry intellectual exercise. Neither is it a just a simple question of the post-conciliar popes must be absolutely right because they are the popes and everyone who challenges them is wrong. Studying the last forty five years of church history should reveal plenty to us where that is concerned. The objective evidence is over-whelming that conciliar processes, statements and actual outcome are directly correlated judging by the condition of beliefs held by modern catholics and how they are expressed in public. Principal indicators may even demonstrate a direct causal link. The rule of belief and the rule of prayer are no longer synchronized as a consequence. The SSPX and others of the right intention point the sure pathway back. Something Rome has appeared incapable of doing for nearly 50 years. In fact, the lack of synchronicity becomes more contrastive with each passing day.

LeonG said...

There can be no doubting the fact that many, including members of this site had the SSPX written off years ago. Their theological, liturgical and practical prowess run much deeper than has been properly understood. Most of the criticism comes from antipathetic perspectives and more superficially, wishful thinking.

Rick DeLano said...

I appreciate Leon G's last few postings very much. I agree with what he says, in the greater part, and I certainly agree with his main thesis: that the SSPX critique of the post-conciliar Church is nothing to archly dismiss with one's eyebrows raised, as if a pauper had blundered his way in among the better sort of folks, theologically speaking.

It is also helpful to digest that one of those better sort of folks on this thread was- the very picture of humility!- at pains to insist upon the arrogance of the SSPX.

My concern after having spent some time at a relatively famous "SSPX-friendly" blog site, however, is that the dogma of the indefectibility of the Church has undergone a development of its own, among many of those participating there, and one which cannot be authentic.

May God restore the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church in His good pleasure.

B. said...

Unfortunately the SSPX has not entered into any debate earlier, even when that was possible.

Fr. Louis-Marie de Blignieres (the prior of the FSVF) has said that he decided to submit to Rome when he became convinced that the preconciliar and postconciliar teachings on religious liberty could be reconciled. The SSPX's reaction was "He had to compromise on religious liberty in order to get reconciled by Rome". The SSPX did not even try to defend any of his arguments.

A monk from Le Barroux even wrote his dissertation on the the question of religious liberty in the preconciliar and postconciliar magisterium and how they could be reconciled. The SSPX's answer was "See, now that they are reconciled by Rome they are already infected with modernism and compromising on religious liberty!" The SSPX did not even try to defend any of his arguments.

If the SSPX had engaged in theological debate with people who were willing to do so, we could be a lot further today.

Anonymous said...

B.said, "A monk from Le Barroux even wrote his dissertation on the the question of religious liberty in the preconciliar and postconciliar magisterium and how they could be reconciled. The SSPX's answer was "See,..."

That may be so but where is the voice of the reconciled orders? I attend the TLM with the FSSP (they are very good and holy priests) but they are by and large silent in public about the errors of V2.

One or two posters asks about a missionary agenda that is lacking with the traditional orders. That is so true. It is good to see the UNavoce posters.

It is like the approved Traditinal orders are all scared to speak out?

Hopefully the upcoming doctrinal talks will clarify things properly. Hopefully the Pope will clarify the MPSP asap.

Is there a link where we can read the thesis by the good monk?

- Nobac

Brian said...

Jordanes wrote: My point above, however, has to do with making a valid comparison between "pre-Vatican II theology" and "post-Vatican II theology" for the purposes of discussing what the SSPX will bring to the table compared to what the Holy See will bring to the table.

Pre-Vatican II theology was Thomistic, with Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange respected as the greatest theologian of the first half of the century. The theological opinion that won the day at Vatican II, however, considered Garrigou-Lagrange to be too rigid and out-of-date and similarly dismissed "scholastic manuals." Their dismissals were not substantive, but rather were mere declarations that the scholastic tradition was "too rigid" and not relevant to modern man. That vague, global, politically-correct dismissal, was all the justification that was needed to throw that entire tradition in the trash. That has not changed.

The theologians making those criticisms did not demonstrate their case in a convincing manner on theological grounds. It was more a matter of theological politics. I am not aware of any them engaging Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange in a thorough debate. Garrigou-Lagrange clearly challenged them to do so. (If they did respond, I would like to read where they did so). Rather, this modern school of theologians worked the Bishops of Vatican II and brushed that rich theological, tradition aside by vote at Vatican II, presumably also brushing aside Papal and Canon Law support of this scholastic tradition. The pre-Vatican II scholastic school of theology was shoved aside as being just all too rigid, out-of-date, and out of touch with the Fathers.

Similarly, immediately after the Council, the "rigid" Baltimore Catechism was replaced by the vague airy manuals of Directors of Religious Education who were formed by the same, up-to-date theology of Rahner, De Lubac, et al.

It seems to me that the historic and conceptual links were quite direct. The Sister Formation Movement and training for Directors of Religious Education were shaped by the New Theology (nouvelle théologie). I well recall my 1970s liberal Pastor constantly citing Vatican II, Rahner, Baltizar, Schillebeechx, and De Lubac. The only one who even knew what he was talking about was the Director of Religious Education, and he was loving it. I don't think that situation was unique.

The SSPX, which values the Baltimore Catechism, will bring this scholastic theology to the table.

Anonymous said...

(sorry for anonymity, I don't have a google account. Call me Bob)

Ok here is a problem with SSPX theology, if comments here are any indication: it operates against straw men and caractitures:

LeonG treats 'phenomenology' and 'post-modernism' as if they are the same thing. Of course, they are not.

Phenomenology, at least in Husserl's writings, is very much in the spirit of the Cartesian quest for certainty (as is the Neo-Scholastic theology SSPX is fond of. cf. "Spheres on Inquiry and the Historiography of Medieval Philosophy by J. Inglis). But, Husserl thought that he could overcome the naive subjectivism of modern thought through recourse to an intentional, as opposed to passive, model of consciousness' relation to the world. He got this idea from F. Brentano, who in turn got if from studying medieval philosophy and theology

And Husserl had a horror of equivocation -- he multiplied distinctions like as Suarez on speed.

Post-modernism, on the other hand, is a grab bag term that doesn't really precisely name a philosophy or theology. Derrida is often considered a post-modernist. But a good many post-modernists are 'anti-Derridian'. And in any case, a big target of post modern criticsm is... Husserl and phenomenology. Some post modernists are atheists, but not all

Also, if SSPX is against modernism, it might be for post-modernism (since post-modernism loves to criticise modernism).

Of course, many theologians associated with the Vatican might eschew both phenomenology and post-modernism in favor of something like Thomism. And, transcendental thomism is dead. nobody reads Rahner anymore but a few aging Jesuits. The 'big name' Thomists now are Jan Aertson, C. Steel, B.Davies, and people like that.

This the SSPX problem: it has been away so long, it doesn't know what has happened in its absence. Meaning they could be right, but for the wrong reasons.

Rick DeLano said...

Hey Bob!

The Catholic Faith has somehow been mediated to generations, a civilization created, and a third of humanity converted, despite the lack of familiarity with the (doubtless exemplary) works of (t)he 'big name' Thomists now..... Jan Aertson, C. Steel, B.Davies, and people like that."

I am certain that the Faith will soldier on somehow, pending the wider dissemination of these worthies....or not.

In the meantime permit me to suggest that the resolution of the issues dividing Tradition and the post-conciliar episcopacy might not in fact depend upon the mediation of your big names.

If your big names in fact do open up an avenue of resolution, one that has not been widely disseminated, perhaps you might share it with us.

John McFarland said...

Anonymous Bob,

It would seem only reasonable that you actually read what the SSPX has to say before you set out to refute it (or is it to set out to demonstrate how dreadfully uncool it is). You might start with www.sspx.org.

One of the things you'll learn is that the SSPX has been following the conciliar Church in the latter's absence from sound doctrine in some little detail, magisterial scandal by magisterial scandal. To be sure, it doesn't follow the contemporary academic Thomists. Rather, it tends to follow the example of its founder, Archbishop Lefebvre. Among the handful of books on his office shelf was the Summa Theologica in the original. When he needed to, he took it down and read it.

You also don't appear to know what traditional Catholics mean when they talk of (and the pre-V2 Church meant when it condemned) "modernism." Might I recommend a spin through the anti-modernist encyclical of St. Pius X, Pascendi dominici gregis; you should be able to find it on the web in a number of places.

John McFarland said...

B. and Nobac,

The SSPX has laid out its position on religious liberty. It does not fight with those who would defend the conciliar teaching because it considers them to be defending the indefensible. Sure, if you focus tightly, tightly, t-i-g-h-t-l-y on the sops to orthodoxy, and ignore the rest, you can make an argument. But in the broad picture, the message of the Declaration is religious liberty for all, except when an unspecified standard of public order requires otherwise -- that is, just what the Masons say, and what the pre-conciliar popes condemned unequivocally. Why do you think the Declaration got written in the first place? As Archbishop Lefebvre recounts, Cardinals Ottaviani and Bea went toe-to-toe on the matter before the Council. Bea said said that it would be settled on the floor of the Council, and it was; Masonry triumped.

Rick DeLano,

What is this new doctrine of indefectibility that you make reference to?

LeonG said...

Archbishop Lefebvre's writings contain ample objective observations, cautions and remedies for the post-conciliar debacle. He was abundantly prophetic about the negative effects of the new Bugnini liturgy and the new regime in the neo-catholic seminaries.

Compare his teachings on the Roman Catholic faith with those of the phenomenology of John Paul II (RIP), for example, or Rahner the councils liberalist "guiding light". There are only stark contrasts. The real continuity is offered by the Archbishop's writings. His advice to Roman Catholics in troubled times were very comforting and helped to reassure Catholics of the uniqueness of The Faith and of the imperative to nurture and maintain it with tradition.

Anonymous said...

Dr McFarland,

As a former SSPX seminarian (and like you, a lawyer [attorney/solicitor] let me assure you, at least from what I have read of Brian Davies OP, that he is a sound Thomistic philosopher.

And he was recommended to me by another SSPX adherent, a former Jesuit, who is also a very competent Thomist.

Anonymous said...

I am the so called "faceless anonymous".

What I wanted to say is: the SSPX is committed to the learnings of the 19th. century, which in itself is problematic and far from the genuine Baroque and medieval scholarship.

The Church Tradition isn't confined to the "scholastic commentaries of the 19th. century. These compendiums from the 19th. century, as we know today, are a great distortion of the original medieval scholastic scholarship. For example, at that time, manuscripts were not known, and lot of them weren't edited until the second half of the 20th. century, and even more still remain to be edited. If one wants to confirm himself how much the romantic view of the 19th. differs from the reality in the Middle Ages, one just has to go to the Neuschwanstein built by the Bavarian King Ludwig III, and then read "Tristan and Isolde" in middle high German, and compare it to the Opera of Richard Wagner.

Until today, it is still a lot to be done for an objective Thomas-reception. And the Baroque authors like Saint Robert Bellarmine have written very fair minded works. But, one has to read and understand Latin. And Saint Bellarmine learned Virgil's Aeneas as a child by heart! And one has to understand Aristotle, to know the great pagans authors like Cato, Cicero and so on whom the Saint quoted very often.

So the SSPX should be fighting for the whole Tradition of the Church, but not the Weltbild of the Church of a certain decade.

So the careful reading of the scholastics will be very helpful. But I doubt whether some will like to change their attitude.

As I observe: if you criticize habitually, and if critique and protest have gained such an important position in the religious activities of some of the Traditionalists, it will mislead them to take the critique and protest as something which is absolute and self-sufficient. They tend to forget that the critique and protest are there for the common good of the Church.

Eruditio, Bruders, and it cures everyone from radicalism.

arturovasquez said...

It is really the post-Vatican II mainstream church that is in continuity in some ways, in that it promotes people merely by how many degrees they have after their name. I am reading the autobiography right now of Archbishop Rembert Weakland, and the only reason that he became bishop was that he was really, really smart. But he is a perfect example of what is wrong with the Church. He has a degree in music from Julliard (after having studied theology in Rome), edited the medieval Ludus Danielis, did a doctoral dissertation on Ambrosian chant… in short, he has forgotten more about Gregorian chant and the music of the Church than everyone on the New Liturgical Movement blog could ever learn, but what has that gotten him? Could you imagine what the musical selection was like in the average parish in Milwaukee when he was archbishop?

I will be the first to admit that the first thing that the SSPX should do at this point is set up an institute of advanced study for priests of a more scholarly disposition. Archbishop Lefebvre, in spite of having two doctorates from Rome, was hardly a scholar, and reading his writings can be a chore in and of itself. (It may also be responsible for many misreadings of what he actually thought.) He was a missionary by disposition, and he trained people in the same spirit. The problem is that not everyone of a traditional bent can participate in that charism. But what one must keep in mind is that the SSPX struggles daily just to keep the body and soul of their apostolate together, so they really can’t be blamed too much for having an “anti-intellectual” attitude. I have known, however, SSPX priests who are very much intellectuals, and could tear any Vatican prelate a new one if they try to pull their intellectual shenanigans on them. For the sake of clarity, I will name two off the top of my head that I have known personally: Fr. Christopher Brandler and Fr. Alvaro Calderon.

What comes to mind in all this as well is what the rector of the seminary in La Reja (not Williamson) said to us seminarians in our first year at a spiritual conference: “pietas cum scientia”. Notice what comes first in that aphorism.

Anonymous said...

Faceless anonymous and arturovasquez,
I believe the FSSPX have responded to the criticism that they train priests rather than scholars. I believe they want to get good and holy priests to the masses because there is a grave crisis in this darn time.

For further reading on this crisis please refer to FSSPX website and comments in this blog space.

Also, Archbishop Lefebrve wrote about the need for organic development of Tradition for the modern world. He thought that the documents prepared well before the opening of V2 were Catholic and sound. However, he lamented that these writings were quickly dropped in favor of liberal bla bla.

- Nobac

Anonymous said...

Fr. Harrison speaks out against the Church's handling of Ted Kennedy funeral.

http://saintrobertbellarmine.blogspot.com/2009/08/priest-lashes-out-on-kennedy-debacle.html

Brian said...

Faceless Anonymous wrote: The Church Tradition isn't confined to the "scholastic commentaries of the 19th. century. These compendiums from the 19th. century, as we know today, are a great distortion of the original medieval scholastic scholarship. For example, at that time, manuscripts were not known, and lot of them weren't edited until the second half of the 20th. century, and even more still remain to be edited. If one wants to confirm himself how much the romantic view of the 19th. differs from the reality in the Middle Ages, one just has to go to the Neuschwanstein built by the Bavarian King Ludwig III, and then read "Tristan and Isolde" in middle high German, and compare it to the Opera of Richard Wagner.

Citing literary and historical references may be interesting, but it is not theology.

You seem to argue that Richard Wagner did not faithfully represent the middle high German "Tristan and Isolde," therefore Catholics theologians of the nineteenth century are a "great distortion of the original medieval scholastic scholarship." Of course, that does not logically follow. The argument is also confusing, you boldly state that theologians of the 19th century distorted (by implication) Thomas Aquinas, then give an irrelvant example from German literature? I don't get it. It seems like a slight of hand magic trick to me.

It seems that with this logically flawed argument, you argue that the teaching of 19th and early 20th century theologians (and presumably the Popes of that era who strongly advocated for the theology?), was too narrow and did not faithfully represent Church Tradition; and that the SSPX shares this overly narrow theology. It seems your conclusion from all this flawed reasoning is that the SSPX needs to have their eyes opened by 20th century theologians. That, too, does not follow.

It seems that you are trying to make theological points by citing tangential historical references. If your arguments represent what the SSPX theologians will be facing, it looks like they will be facing smoke and mirrors.

B. said...

John McFarland:
The SSPX has laid out its position on religious liberty.
Where has it done so? All I've read is along the lines of "the postconciliar and the preconciliar teachings on religious liberty are irreconcilable, and who thinks otherwise is clearly a modernist!"

It does not fight with those who would defend the conciliar teaching because it considers them to be defending the indefensible.
Yeah, that's exactly what I'm talking about. Then they obviously shouldn't talk to the Vatican either.

You see, I'm not even convinced myself that they can be reconciled therefore I would be interested in reading different positions. But the stubborn refusal of the SSPX to defend any of their positions (because their position is correct a priori and all others are "indefensible") does not exactly make their position more convincing.

Rick DeLano said...

John:

It has been my experience that my interlocutors on said blog were quite prepared to uphold that the Church is capable of binding the conscience of the Faithful to error in matters of Faith and morals, and in fact has done so.

An example which sort of concluded matters for me there (I was disinvited to return), was my expressed horror at the allegation that the Novus Ordo Mass was in fact an enactment of the devil, for the express purpose of denying grace to its participants.

I understand completely that this is not the SSPX official position, but I do observe that the position resonates among a very large number of regular contributors to this self-identified "SSPX friendly" site.

In more general terms, I saw the Church pilloried for allowing Saturday vigil Masses, the claim being that the Church has no such power to "contradict Tradition".

Again, this foolishness is not, I presume, an official position of the SSPX, but is a logical consequence, it seems, of imbibing certain notions of her defectibility, which notions can be seen in germinal form, for example, in H.E Williamson's recent claim that Authority and Truth are now divided in the Catholic Church.


Needless to say, anyone who holds this above view of the Novus Ordo, has imbibed a new and heretical notion concerning the indefectibility of the Church.

Anonymous said...

Can you comment on the FSSPX retreats. Are they deep, solid and sound?
In my area of Western Canada there are no "regular" retreats worth attending...I can't trust them to be orthodox. I am considering the FSSPX out of need. I would appreciate some dignified comments on the subject.
Thanks, Ben

Anonymous said...

Brian:

I was not trying to prove by mentioning Richard Wagner, I was just giving an illustration.

But if you do really want to know what Thomas thinks, why not have a look at the following website, all his works are available in Latin there, very fair minded works:

www.corpusthomisticum.org

you can find there a lot of useful references to literature on Saint Thomas Aquinas too.

And why don't read the theologian works of the 19th. century and then compare them to the great works of Saint Bellarmine? You will detect the difference.

Indeed, Saint Bellarmine took the allegation of the Protestants very seriously and read the Fathers very carefully. The second half of 19th. century is, sorry but I have to mention it, no great era for theology. The golden times of theology were the middle ages and the humanistic and baroque era: Duns Scot, Saint Bernard of Claivaux, Bellarmine, Ignatius, Theresia of Avilla, the School of Salamanca which wrote against the slavery and promoted the universal human right.

For the 19th. century I would strongly recommend John Henry Newman.

Anonymous said...

So Rick go to Church on Saturday night along with your NO friends. The NO mass is valid there - if done properly. After all, Saturday night vigil was one of those exceptions that has become a norm - though never officially sanctioned, but what the heck it doesn't really matter, everyone does it right?

Good luck and may God bless. I will go to the TLM on Sunday and keep my conscience clear.

Oh, your conscience is clear too?

I guess the believers are divided on such subjects? What was H.E. Bishop Williamson saying about that?

Clarification is indeed needed.

Pilloried Catholic

Brian said...

Thank you for the reference; I have read many of those works.

St. Theresa is among my favorites. I have been reading her again all this month. She would certainly not agree, for example, with today's ecumenism. In fact, would any of the theologians that you listed (or early Popes) support the current ecumenical movement?

It is one thing to cite names, another to substantiate a claim that Thomistic theologians of the 19th and 20th centuries distorted Aquinas.

It seems to me that before one illustrates a point, they would first substantiate that point.

What specifically about, say Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's theology is an overly narrow distortion of Thomas Aquinas?

Jordanes said...

So Rick go to Church on Saturday night along with your NO friends. The NO mass is valid there - if done properly.

There's never been any question that the time of day or night that a Mass is celebrated has nothing to do with sacramental validity.

And of course the novus ordo Mass is valid if done properly . . . and usually it is valid even if done improperly. The same goes for the traditional Mass.

After all, Saturday night vigil was one of those exceptions that has become a norm - though never officially sanctioned, but what the heck it doesn't really matter, everyone does it right?

Never officially sanctioned? But the Catholic Church's Code of Canon Law says:

Canon 1248 §1 The obligation of assisting at Mass is satisfied wherever Mass is celebrated in a catholic rite either on a holyday itself or on the evening of the previous day.

A law formally promulgated by the Apostolic See would certainly be official sanction. You can't get any more official sanction than that. It's not good to be so scrupulous. A properly-formed conscience will not object to a Saturday vigil Mass.

Jordanes said...

I need to correct my comment. Properly speaking, we're not talking about "Saturday VIGIL Masses," but Sunday Masses celebrated on Saturday evening, the liturgical start of Sunday. A Vigil Mass has its own readings, distinct from those of the following morning.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I stand corrected by Jordanes on Canon 1248 1. I did not know this was in canon law...and I have read how Paul V1 made an exception for Saturday evening communion fulfilling the Sunday obligation out of necessity because of lack of priests. Now the exception has become law...hmmmm.

Is it a good law? I am no Canonist and won't comment, though I would say that i my opinion it is better to participate at Mass on Sunday for the Sunday obligation. I am reminded too of the one hour fast before communion, in my opinion it is better to fast 3 hours or more before communion.

I am one of those Catholics that will obey the 1917 Law as much as possible...and no doubt I need a better understanding of both.

Rick and Jordanes God bless you at the NO mass; I mean that sincerely. I won't join you there and I pray God guides us all in the Catholic faith.

I pray the doctrinal discussions proceed according to God's plan.

Pilloried Catholic

Jordanes said...

i my opinion it is better to participate at Mass on Sunday for the Sunday obligation.

I agree with you on the fasting.

The Church also apparently agrees with you that Sunday morning Mass is better than "Sunday eve" Mass. If I'm not mistaken, in 1967 when the Sacred Congregation for Rites (now the CDW) approved Saturday evening Masses for fulfulling the Sunday obligation, it came with the exhortation that Sunday morning Mass attendance is still to be preferred.

Rick DeLano said...

Strictly as a point of accuracy, I have not attended a Novus Ordo Mass in quite some time, except one special exception for the consecration of a dear friend.

Therefore, I have not attended a Saturday Mass in fulfillment of a Sunday obligation either.

The issue is not whether you, or I, or anybody else thinks this is a good, bad, or indifferent thing.

The issue is whether the Church has lawfully bound or loosed concerning these things.

She has.

Catholics will hear the Voice of the Shepherd, and make their own choices.

I pray for those who imagine that they do not hear the Voice of the Shepherd, in these lawful and binding decisions of the Church.

It is worrisome to me.

Anonymous said...

Brian: (And I ask the blog owners of rorate caeli for excuse that I have to write a long answer)

you ask me to say what was wrong with the thomistic theology of the 19th. century, I'll do it, but not in the intention to accuse them. In contrary, the scholars of the 19th. century are pioneers who shew us the way, but it doesn't mean we don't have to pave the way they trod for us anymore, and not to built the road further anymore.

So, I just mention one thesis, which was held in the Neothomism of the 19th. century to be genuine Thomas, but, it was later shown to be mistaken, due to the lack of sources: it concerns the thesis of real distinction between the essence and existence. This position was made official in the manuals of the 19th. century. But this error goes back to a certain Carl von Prantl, who read the spurious Summa totius logicae (Thomas never wrote a summa on logic). Carl von Prantl was btw one of the pioneers who did research on middle ages, but he was biased, having a "genuine Aristotelism" as an ideal and so dismissed subjectively the achievements of the medieval logicians. But his work was still useful. We just have to be critical while reading.

The real distinction attributed to Thomas, as Fr. Hocedez proved, was not the opinion of Thomas, but Gile of Rome. And in late medieval times, scholars forgot the clear difference between the esse/quod est of Boetius and the quiddity vs. existence of Avicenna. Thomas was following Boetius, who was a standard author for the cathedral schools in the middle ages (Logica Vetus).

I quote: "Fe. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrance, O.P. 1877-1964, was teaching that this act and potency (it is an analog distinction of essence and existence in the philosophy of Thomas)could be found in seed in Aristotle and in its full mature growth in St. Thomas. He questioned the sincerity of any search for truth which refused to recognize this interpretation. Indeed, this interpretation came to be accepted in the manuals, and they have brought this message to more students in fifty years than in the other 650 years of Thomism all put together. Some sixty years ago Fr. Pelster warned the Thomists of a fault in their technique. They had committed themselves to a "real distinction", and then when they could not find it in the Thomistic text itself, they appealed to those so-called early "Thomists" who did hold it. Now they would exclude from the ranks of Thomists those who do not" (Francis A. Cumminghjam: Essence and Existence in Thomism: a mental vs. the "real distinction"?, Universtiy Press of America, 1988, p. 442).

As I said before, I will show scholars like Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange
due respect. But he, more pious than most of us and more talented, was also human and not infallible. Their works are there to let us stand on their shoulders and see farther, not to confine us to the feet of them and take refugee in their shadow while shunning any intellectual challenge.

It would be interesting to read carefully the works of Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange and compare them to the original works of Thomas, which would take the whole spann of life to do so! And a blog comment will always be too partial and not objective enough. While his interpretation of the Saint don't have to be always accurate, his view can still be interesting and an aspiration for us. But his achievement shouldn't hinder us from reading the Saint himself!

What one should fear most is the intellectual bigotry, which is sterile and perilous at the same time.

Rick DeLano said...

Well thank you Bob, it is most interesting to learn of all this.

But I must confess I fail to see the relevance to the question of the intellectual capacity of the SSPX to hold its own in the upcoming discussions.

I imagine even they could stipulate that, while the schools can continue to examine the various aspects of whether the distinction is "real", we must retain the dogma of Faith that in God alone existence and essence, potency and act, are identical, and, as the Catholic Encyclopedia helpfully suggests:

"It does not, however, appear to be a matter of great moment, as Soto remarks, whether one holds or rejects the doctrine of a real distinction between essence and existence, so long as the difference between God and His creatures is safe-guarded, in that existence is admitted to be of the essence of God and not of the essence of creatures. And this would seem to be sufficiently provided for even in the supposition that created essences are not distinct from their existences as one thing is from another, but as a thing from its mode."

If this is not a matter of great moment, then I suggest we proceed on the basis that it is not evidence of a lack of qualification of the SSPX to address matters which *are* of great moment, as have been raised many times on this thread, notably by Leon G, and others.

John McFarland said...

B.,

In re defending the indefensible:

In his Against the Heresies, Archbishop Lefebvre quotes a number of the pronouncements of the Declaration. They are pure Masonry, and contradict the previous doctrine of the church. So it doesn't particularly matter what else is in the Declaration. Best case, the doucment is contradictory. But the real situation is that the Declaration was intended to sell the Masonic doctrine to the Church, and that is what has been done. The arguably orthodox content is either a smokescreen, or statements that those behind the Declaration found it "politically" expedient to add in order to get the document accepted by the Council fathers.

The issue does not require learned disquisitions. It does not require a determination of the merits of 19th century scholastic manuals, or phenomenology, or those academics who currently claim the Thomist mantle, or the presence of absence of sufficient historical background. Assuming that they possess the necessary intellectual software to size up the Declaration, those who do not see the point are those who will not see -- that is, who do not want to see. And the same holds true for collegiality, and for ecumenism. This is not theological rocket science. Indeed, it is not theological at all. The authorities have sold out to the dominant forces of the world, cobbled together a rationalization of that sell-out, and sold it to the faithful as a much easier path than the narrow way of the gospels.

So the real issue, as in a sense you see, is not the "stubbornness" of the SSPX, but why it is bothering to talk with Rome. The answer, I think, is fairly clear. We will not awaken from the concilar nightmare until Rome again teaches the Faith, the whole Faith and nothing but the Faith; and so Rome must be talked with. That was Archbishop Lefebvre's position, and that is the position of his spiritual sons.

John McFarland said...

Mr. De Lano,

Authority and truth have indeed been separated in the Church.

The hermeneutic of continuity is an exercise in creating continuity where there is none. The Pope's encyclical on love has very little to do with the Catholic doctrine of love. The Pope's encylical on hope has very little to do with the Catholic doctrine of hope. The Pope's definition in his latest encylical of truth as dialogue has nothing to do with the Catholic doctrine of truth. If you don't understand this, you are the religious equivalent of a one-legged man trying to kick down a door.

As Archbishop Lefebvre was wont to say, happy those who never had to face this situation. But here it is, and so WE have to face it.

If you think that admitting the current situation contradicts the indefectibility of the Church, then you have no good reason for being a Catholic. A better course of action is to take a closer look at what indefectibility means.

As regards the theoblogical errors and excesses that you deplore, I would say two things.

One is that you appear to be engaging in guilt by association, or something pretty close thereto. The issue regarding the SSPX is what the SSPX thinks, not what those who are (or think they are) of a mind with the SSPX think.

The second and more important is that in my view, we are better served to focus on those who have scandalized these little ones, than on these little ones.

Jordanes said...

The Pope's encyclical on love has very little to do with the Catholic doctrine of love. The Pope's encylical on hope has very little to do with the Catholic doctrine of hope. The Pope's definition in his latest encylical of truth as dialogue has nothing to do with the Catholic doctrine of truth.

Mr. McFarland, I've previously had exchanges with you that left me with the impression that your understanding of Catholic doctrine is more deficient than the Pope's might be. When you say things like the above, I'm more confirmed in that opinion of mine.

John McFarland said...

Jordanes,

The Pope does not talk like the gospels; and out of the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks. It does not take an STD to recognize this. It just takes the courage to face up to the very unpleasant truth.

Let me make an analogy. When I was in my senior year in high school, I started reading conservative political writings, and I considered myself a conservative until I was north of 55. From the very beginning, I recognized subliminally that the "conservative" movement was a ragbag of different and often enough mutually contradictory tendencies. But I knew that liberalism was wrong, and I didn't want to believe in nothing, and so I suckered myself for the best part of forty years, until I realized that (so to speak) McCain and Obama are not the only options.

I think you're in a not dissimilar situation, and you have plenty of company. You have to recognize that the options are not just Pope Benedict and Hans Kueng. You must recognize that not only CAN you reject the conciliar magisterium, but that you MUST reject it, as long as it remains deficient and adulerated.

Jordanes said...

The Pope does not talk like the gospels

The same is true of many orthodox Catholic theologians over the course of the past two millennia.

I think you're in a not dissimilar situation, and you have plenty of company. You have to recognize that the options are not just Pope Benedict and Hans Kueng.

I'm well aware that there are more possible options than that. There is, however, only one Successor of St. Peter to choose from.

You must recognize that not only CAN you reject the conciliar magisterium, but that you MUST reject it, as long as it remains deficient and adulerated.

There's no other Catholic magisterium on earth at this time except the magisterium that confirms and endorses Vatican II. You must recognise that.

But all of that to the side -- I'm still unimpressed by your take on Papa Ratzinger's encyclicals.

Rick DeLano said...

Mr. McFarland:

You assert:

"Authority and truth have indeed been separated in the Church. "

I reply that Jesus Christ assures me that whatsoever Peter shall bind and loose on earth, shall have been bound and loosed in heaven.

Since I find no similar assurance as to what McFarland binds or looses, you will understand that I am not impressed by your...I was going to say argument but that would be giving it altogether more credit than it deserves, wouldn't it?

I am not impressed by your pontification here.

Anonymous said...

Rick Delano:

Thank you for your response to the subject "real distinction", but to clarify, I'm not Bob, but the so called "nameless one".

I think you're right in asserting that the schools can discuss over this issue. As far as I know, it is academically not yet settled. It seems, the party line is still to hold the "real distinction". But the philological evidence shows that Thomas himself never mentioned the "real distinction" in the context of the distinction between essence and existence. And Giles of Rome who was recorded to be the first to propose the term "real distinction" accused Thomas of not holding the "real distinction"! SoT there are enough textual evidences, that Thomas didn't propose the solution of posing a real distinction.

This question, after raised by Giles of Rome, became important for the late medieval eras: especially the question about universals.

The real distinction, as you mentioned, never touched God, because for Him are potency and actuality, essence and existence identical, this can never be questioned. But the real distinction affects the creatures. So to pose a real distinction is a easier way to explain how the creature receives existence from God, but it brings the problem with itself that in this way you must recognize real "nature" i.e. "real universal" in individuals! (because it is thus a real composition of essence/universal/nature and the particular and contingent existence), and this consequence is in conflict with the teachings of Thomas on universals. So it is no wonder that Duns Scotus suggested the "formal distinction" later, to solve the problem mentioned.

Well, before everything becomes too complicated: you're right that this issue is purely academical and doesn't affect the current discussion between the SSPX and the Holy See. And the schools are still quarreling.

And I totally agree with you what you wrote about the Authority and the Church, and on Our Holy Father.

Dr. McFarland said "there are more alternatives than Benedict XVI and Hans Kueng": Sorry, we have absolutely NO Alternative. We have Pope Benedict, and Hans Kueng is only an unimportant dissident who makes a lot of noise but is actually of little relevance.

John McFarland said...

Mr. DeLano,

Binding and loosing refers to disciplinary matters.

Are you under the impression that the Pope can bind and loose us in what we are bound to believe? If so, your impression is wrong.

Furthermore, the authority to bind and loose exceeds its authority if it orders what is evil, or leads to evil. I am not learned enough to expound on this point, but the principle follows from the very nature of authority.

The problem, inexpressibly sad as it is to have to say it, is that you're better served to listen to my "pontification" than that of the legitimate Pontiff, because I am, in my very limited way, saying what HE should be saying, but isn't.

This is the whole point of Bishop Williamson's statement that authority has been separated from truth. Until you recognize this undeniable fact, you are living in a dream world.

John McFarland said...

Jordanes,

There is indeed only one Pope, and on earth only he has the power and authority that he possesses.

But he can't make black white. He can't make ecumenism consistent with the status of the Church as the unique source of the truth that will save. He can't make truth as dialogue consistent with that unicity. He can't make freedom for false religions consistent with that unicity.

Furthermore, if he will not teach the Faith, the whole Faith, and nothing but the Faith, we must go find that complete and unadulterated faith in the pre-conciliar magisterium, and from those who can teach it to us. If the Pope will not offer us anything but stones, that does not mean that we have to eat stones and like them.

The Pope is the servant of the Faith, not its master. If and to the extent that he ceases to be its servant, we cannot follow him. He is infallible when he teaches what the Church has always taught, and what follows from what the Church has always taught. When he teaches something else, he is not.

When I read St. Augustine or Benedict or Gregory or Bernard or Thomas, I read the gospel. If St. Augustine and Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange were both alive today, they would understand each other very readily. The same is not true of the Pope's encyclicals, and Augustine would recoil with horror from the doctrine of this famed "Augustinian." The Pope is talking about something else than what the gospels talk about. He is talking about religion as the servant of mankind. He doesn't quite say that, and he would deny it if confronted, and for all I know, his denial would be sincere. But that is the more or less obvious implication of practically everything he does say.

If your religion requires that the Pope can never go seriously wrong, your religion is false. The Pope can be seriously derelict in his duty, and the current Pope is, and his immediate predecessors were. In theory they wanted and want to make peace with the world, and in practice are prepared to accept the world's domination. As the Abbe de Nantes famously formulated the situation, the conciliar program is the Spiritual Animation of Universal Democracy: the Masonic dream with holy water sprinkled on it.

But this is the world that Jesus would not pray for; the world whose entire contents is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; the world that we must hate in order to get to heaven.

John McFarland said...

Anonymous 09:12,

Let me offer you some matter for meditation:

On the day in 1995 that the Pope gave about 45 minutes to Bishop Fellay, he gave north of two hours to Fr. Hans Kueng, who was there pitching his own particular slant on Masonic oneworldism.

Let me also offer my suspicion:

The Pope has more in common with Fr. Kueng, priest in good standing, than he has with you.

Jordanes said...

The problem, inexpressibly sad as it is to have to say it, is that you're better served to listen to my "pontification" than that of the legitimate Pontiff, because I am, in my very limited way, saying what HE should be saying, but isn't.

If you don't say so yourself . . . .

He can't make ecumenism consistent with the status of the Church as the unique source of the truth that will save.

He doesn't have to. It already is. See John 17.

He can't make truth as dialogue consistent with that unicity.

It's a good thing he doesn't believe in "truth as dialogue." There's simply nothing in his latest encyclical like what you've claimed is there. But I recall how you've been baffled by the Pope's other encyclicals, thinking that they say things that it is blazingly obvious they don't say, so I'm not surprised you don't know what Caritas in veritate says either.

He can't make freedom for false religions consistent with that unicity.

Again, he doesn't have to, because it always has been. The Church was around for a good long while before Theodosius. She can survive the toleration of false religions in modern secular culture too.

Furthermore, if he will not teach the Faith, the whole Faith, and nothing but the Faith, we must go find that complete and unadulterated faith in the pre-conciliar magisterium, and from those who can teach it to us.

There is no pre-conciliar magisterium. We live in 2009, not 1962. The Church can never lose her magisterium. Her teaching authority is protected by her indefectibility, and can never lapse. Further, in seeking those who can teach us the Faith, we have to find those who have been authorised by the Church to do so. We're not Protestants.

If the Pope will not offer us anything but stones, that does not mean that we have to eat stones and like them.

But if the Pope offers us bread, and our vision and sense of taste are impaired so that we think we are being given stones, it is we, not the Pope, who is at fault.

Jordanes said...

When I read St. Augustine or Benedict or Gregory or Bernard or Thomas, I read the gospel. If St. Augustine and Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange were both alive today, they would understand each other very readily. The same is not true of the Pope's encyclicals, and Augustine would recoil with horror from the doctrine of this famed "Augustinian."

I simply cannot trust your judgment. I think you lack discernment, and are grossly exaggerating the differences between the Pope's encyclicals and the writings of earlier theologians and Church Fathers, while exaggerating the similarities and affinity of those writers who preceded the Holy Father.

The Pope is talking about something else than what the gospels talk about. He is talking about religion as the servant of mankind. He doesn't quite say that, and he would deny it if confronted, and for all I know, his denial would be sincere. But that is the more or less obvious implication of practically everything he does say.

There's nothing wrong in principle with religion being at the service of mankind. Those who will be the greatest must make themselves the servants of all. Jesus Himself, True Religion Embodied, came not to be served, but to serve. That is precisely what the Gospels are talking about.

If your religion requires that the Pope can never go seriously wrong, your religion is false. . . .

This and the remainder of your comment is a tangent, and does not address your previous assertions about Pope Benedict's encyclicals, assertions I cannot see are supported by what the Pope actually wrote. That a pope CAN go seriously wrong does not establish that this particular statement or that particular encyclical IS seriously wrong.

Jordanes said...

Fr. Kueng, priest in good standing

Who due to his heresies was banned by Cardinal Ratzinger from teaching theology. . . .

Does Father Kueng even celebrate Mass any more? Where is this "priest in good standing" incardinated?

Rick DeLano said...

John McFarland says:

"Binding and loosing refers to disciplinary matters."

>> Excellent. Between these powers and the keys to the kingdom of heaven, I have a strong preponderance of evidence that, when it comes to a choice between John McFarland and the successor of Peter, I ought to go with the successor of Peter. No offense, John, but that is precisely what I will do. Pardon me but after all, I am Catholic. It’s just what we do.

Are you under the impression that the Pope can bind and loose us in what we are bound to believe? If so, your impression is wrong.

>>Perhaps you suffer from the misapprehension that Peter can only bind us when he speaks ex cathedra. If so, *your* impression is wrong.

"Furthermore, the authority to bind and loose exceeds its authority if it orders what is evil, or leads to evil. I am not learned enough to expound on this point, but the principle follows from the very nature of authority."

>>Oh absolutely, your assertion here is self-evident and requires no supporting argument whatsoever.

"The problem, inexpressibly sad as it is to have to say it, is that you're better served to listen to my "pontification" than that of the legitimate Pontiff, because I am, in my very limited way, saying what HE should be saying, but isn't."

>>Thanks just the same, I’ll go with Pope Benedict XVI. No offense intended.

"This is the whole point of Bishop Williamson's statement that authority has been separated from truth. Until you recognize this undeniable fact, you are living in a dream world."

>>It is not undeniable, since I deny it. It is not a fact, since it is an opinion. It is not Catholic, since it denies the indefectibility of the Church.

Strike Three and......yer out!

Brian said...

Anonymous (9/2 13:00),

Once again, I am having trouble following your reasoning. If Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange derived the distinction of potency and act, and of essence and existence from a “certain Carl von Prantl” (1820-1888) how is it that Dominican theologians have been making that same distinction for centuries?

You state that Fr. Hocedez disproved the real distinction of essence and existence?

Shall we then say that Fr. Hocedez proved that Congregation of Studies distorted St. Thomas?

In 1914 the Congregation wrote:

“After our most Holy Father Pius X ordered in the Motu Proprio Doctoris Angelici, on June 29, 1914, that in all schools of philosophy the principles and main teachings of Thomas Aquinas be held, some teachers from various institutions proposed some theses for this Sacred Congregation to examine, which theses they had been accustomed to teach and defend as being those of the Holy Teacher, especially in metaphysics. This Sacred Congregation, having duly examined the aforementioned theses and having presented them to the Holy Father, by the mandate of His Holiness, declares that they clearly contain the principles and more important thoughts of the holy Doctor. They are as follows:”

The Congregation then cites -four principles, the first two of which are:

“Potency and act divide being in such a way that whatever is, is either a pure act, or else coalesces necessarily from potency and act as from its first and intrinsic principles.”

"Act, perfection, is limited only by potency, which is the capability of receiving perfection. Hence, in an order of pure act, only one unlimited act can exist. But where act is limited and multiplied, there act enters into real composition with potency."

As you suggest, “let us read the Saint himself.” By all means:

"Everything that is in the genus of substance is composed by a real composition, because, being substance, it is subsistent in its being. Hence its existence is something other than itself, otherwise it could not by its existence differ from other substances with which in essence it agrees, this condition being required in all things which are directly in the predicaments. Hence everything that is in the genus of substance is composed, at least of existence (esse) and essence (quod est)." De Veritate q. 27, a. 1, ad. 8

And again,

“in the created intellectual substance two principles are found: the substance itself and its being, which, as we have just shown, is not the substance itself. Now, being itself is the complement of the existing substance, for each and every thing is in act through having being. It therefore remains that in each of the aforesaid substances there is composition of act and potentiality.” CG II 52-53

And again,

“a thing that is its own existence cannot be other than one, and so in every other thing, the thing's existence is one thing, and its essence or quiddity or nature or form is another.” De ente et essentia IV

And finally,

“in every creature the essence differs from the existence, and is compared to it as potentiality is to act” ST I 54, 3

I believe that you are the Anonymous contributor who cited Brian Davies above as a current 'big name' Thomist. If, as you state, the tradition which Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange represents has been proven to be in error and “great distortion of the original medieval scholastic scholarship,” why is it that Brian Davies, O.P., and Ralph McInerny continue to read Thomas to hold the distinction between essence and existence. No doubt, McInerny is similarly “big name.”

I do not know if the discussions between the SSPX and the Vatican will include this type of theological analysis.

Without a doubt, however, the topic of ecumenism will be discussed. You claim the SSPX is too narrow minded in their approach to theology and need to be informed by theologians prior to the 19th century. What early theologian or Pope would recommend the Post-Vatican II approach to ecumenism?

Anonymous said...

Brian:
You haven't read my comment carefully enough: I said that Fr. Hocedez proved that the real distinction was indeed an opinion of Gile of Rome.

the texts you cited are all examined thoroughly by Father Cunnigham.

It has never been a doubt that there is a distinction between the esse and essentia made by the Saint, the doubt is whether he stated that this distinction is real.

And the textual evidences you gave above tell only that every creature is a certain kind of real composition. Yes, the nominalists say so too! But the nominalists reject that there is a real distinction between existence and essence. The word "real" is in dispute, not the distinction. And all evidences you quoted just show that there is a distinction. John Wipel who is a fighter for the real distinction acknowledges that there is little evidence, the most reliable evidence is according to him I. Sent. d.8, q.5,a.1, sed contra. But Thomas was just referring to some opinion which was not his. I read yesterday this passage in Latin: Thomas is stating that there is a certain kind of simplicity in creatures (angels he mean), but this kind of simplicity is not the absolute simplicity of God! So the composition thesis must be examined.

Not the composition is a problem. It is a locus communis in the scholastic philosophy.

But there can be a merely metaphysical composition, or a natural composition. Whereas the components of a natural composition are realiter distinct (matter and form for example, so think also the nominalists), the metaphysical components must not be. It is why the Blessed Duns Scotus introduced the formal distinction. Do you remember the doctrine of Descartes, that if something can be separated in thought, it can really be separated. But it is a disputable problem.

And I am not the one who cited Brian Davies, who wrote an introduction on Thomas. Indeed, I read primarily the texts of the Saint himself and also useful secondary literature on special topics.

Just to examine one of the passages you quoted: de veritate q. 17 a.1 ad. 8:

I read it in Latin, and it says: the substances, that is human beings or cats are a composition of real components, but the accidence for example the colour white, though can be defined with genus and differentia, has only a mental composition. And Thomas says, the substances are a composition of "esse" and "quod est". In the Aristotelian tradition, "quod est" is the form which makes the individual thing what it is, for example, the form of human makes us human beings, and what is then "esse"? In the early work of Thomas "De esse et essentia", it means without doubt "existence" (in the famous phoenix example), but according to Boetius, it doesn't exactly mean "existence", who also introduced the distinction between "quo est" and "quod est". In this context the "esse" seems to mean the special material which receives the form.

I can't elaborate too long as the length of one comment is restricted. But it is a question worth asking. And I enjoy really a lot reading the original texts of the Saint which are so refreshing, but of course I will respect the research done by the significant Thomists of the past century. Only, I wouldn't take the words of diverse "Thomists" as true as the Bible, but would rather go to the fountain myself.

In short: I enjoy reading the works of the Saint in whole more than receiving them peace meal fed from the manuals of the 19th. century.

John McFarland said...

Mr. DeLano,

Being a wise guy is one of the many ways in which the opposing side in a disputation is really saying: I know that I can't answer you, but I'm d----d if I'll admit it.

But this is serious business, so let's try again.

One has to distinguish disciplinary authority (binding and loosing) from teaching authority. Infallibility relates to teaching authority. When the Pope teaches what has always been taught (the ordinary and universal magisterium), he teaches infallibly. When he teaches with the intent of teaching infallibly, he teaches infallibly.

When he does not teach infallibly, it is at best rash for us not to accept his teaching -- without good reason.

I think it fair to say that there have been no extraordinary infallible pronouncements by any Pope from and including John XXIII, and probably relatively few occasions on which the concilar Popes have repeated the ordinary and universal magisterium.

So: do we have good reason not to accept their magisterium?

I think we do, because (1) the focus of the conciliar magisterium is on man, rather than on God, and (2) if by their fruits you know them, the fruits of V2 have been no fruits at all. (Was anybody really surprised by the sendoff that Edward Kennedy got from Cardinal O'Malley et al.?)

Now (2) you know for sure.

And (1) you also know, but you won't admit it, because you think that to admit it would be to admit that the Church is not indefectible.

But the issue regarding indefectibility is what's going on inside the Pope's head. Is he deliberately and consciously teaching a doctrine different from the gospel that has been handed down to us, or is he rathe a profoundly confused soul? There is no way for you or I or anyone else to know that for sure; only God knows that.

But we can know whether or not he is teaching a new gospel, at least in the sense of adding foreign elements to the genuine gospel. And if we conclude that he is teaching a new gospel, we cannot follow him into that new gospel. As St. Paul says, if even an angel from heaven brings us a new gospel, we must reject it.

Brian said...

You haven't read my comment carefully enough: I said that Fr. Hocedez proved that the real distinction was indeed an opinion of Gile of Rome.

The topic of discussion, of course, is not Giles of Rome; the topic that we were discussing is Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange’s interpretation of Thomas Aquinas and your contention that he is in error. You offered faint praise for Garrigou-Lagrange, but dismissed his scholarship as a distortion of St. Thomas with regard to the real distinction between being and essence.

In the course of that argument, you did not, as you claim today, merely observe that “Fr. Hocedez proved that the real distinction was indeed an opinion of Gile of Rome.” You wrote, "The real distinction attributed to Thomas, as Fr. Hocedez proved, was not the opinion of Thomas, but Gile of Rome."

To which I asked and still ask,

You state that Fr. Hocedez disproved the real distinction of essence and existence? Shall we then say that Fr. Hocedez proved that Congregation of Studies distorted St. Thomas?

As you know, the Twenty-four theses were universally viewed as consistent with the writings of Garrigou-Lagrange. The Congregation proposed that the “Sacred Congregation, having duly examined the aforementioned theses and having presented them to the Holy Father, by the mandate of His Holiness, declares that they clearly contain the principles and more important thoughts of the holy Doctor.”

Just as a Protestant can error in relying exclusively on their own interpretation of the Bible, one can similarly error in relying on their own interpretation of the Church Fathers. Particularly where such writings are subject to various contradictory interpretations, I thank God that, as a Catholic, I can rely on the interpretive Tradition of the Church to guide and enrich my understanding of those writings. The Congregation endorsed the Thomistic tradition which Garrigou-Lagrange represents.

I, like you, read the original writings of the Bible, Popes, and Saints. (I have never read a Thomistic manual.) I am not very familiar with the distinctive teachings of the SSPX, but I take issue with your dismissal the Thomistic tradition represented by Garrigou-Lagrange, a tradition that I believe that the SSPX views favorably.

John McFarland said...

Jordanes,

There are any number of things to be said about your posts, but let me say a few things.

Religion is about man's worship of God. Everything that exists, exist for God's sake, and not the other way round. Throughout the gospels, the world is condemned. What good gets done in the world -- love of neighbor -- results from the love of God, as it ultimately for the greater glory of God. He is everything, we are nothing.

St. John says: all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.

Can you square all this with the constant talk of human development in Caritas in veritate? Does not the encyclical in every way imply that for all practical purposes, Man is what it's all about, with faith -- if properly "purified" by reason -- being the servant of man?

Thus in sec. 56 of the encyclial, the Pope says: "Secularism and fundamentalism exclude the possibility of fruitful dialogue and effective cooperation between reason and religious faith. Reason always stands in need of being purified by faith: this also holds true for political reason, which must not consider itself omnipotent. For its part, religion always needs to be purified by reason in order to show its authentically human face. Any breach in this dialogue comes only at an enormous price to human development."

How do you get from this to the primacy of the worship of God? Are not those who give primacy to faith just vile fundmentalists?

Can you find me the place in which Jesus teaches us that we need reason to "purify" faith? In the passage quoted above, does the Catholic faith seem to be the "one thing needful" that Jesus spoke of to Martha? Is it not at best one of two things needful, the other being reason. And while we're at it, doesn't the Pope pretty clearly mean ANY faith, and not just the Catholic and Apostolic Faith?

On the surface, it doesn't look very Christian; and as you dig further into it, it looks even less Christian.

John McFarland said...

Jordanes,

As regards Fr. Kueng:

Presumably he is a priest of the diocese for which he has been ordained.

He certainly has not been suspended a divinis.

So he is a priest in good standing.

I don't know whether he says Mass or not. I would hope not.

He was indeed eventually not permitted to teach in a Catholic theological faculty. But so what? He was immediately given a newly-created ecumenical chair in the same university; and nothing was done, or has been done since, to further discipline him. Even his removal from his chair took years, in which years, whenever things quieted down, he came up with some new heretical pronouncement to roil the waters again. Clearly he wanted to add martyrdom to his CV, and he succeeded.

In one of his interview books in the 90s, Cardinal Ratzinger tells the interviewer that it was a good thing that Father Kueng ceased to hold the chair. He doesn't really say why, and offers no criticism of the man or his teaching.

John McFarland said...

Jordanes,

You say:

"There is no pre-conciliar magisterium. We live in 2009, not 1962. The Church can never lose her magisterium. Her teaching authority is protected by her indefectibility, and can never lapse. Further, in seeking those who can teach us the Faith, we have to find those who have been authorised by the Church to do so. We're not Protestants."

Do you mean that because the Church is indefectible, nothing that the Pope says can be wrong, or at least seriously wrong? No. The Church is indefectible, not the Pope. He is infallible when he teaches what was taught in 1962 and in 62, and when he intends to teach infallibly. If he teaches error in any other circumstance, it is he that is defective, not the Church.

Still less is his authority the guarantee of the reliability of those he gives magisterial authority. Do you think that because Pope John Paul II duly appointed Cardinal Mahony the Cardinal Archbishop of the Los Angeles diocese, and neither he nor his predecessor has ever uttered a word of criticism against him, that you must accept him as your teacher on faith and morals if you live in LA?

Jordanes said...

When he does not teach infallibly, it is at best rash for us not to accept his teaching -- without good reason.

Right -- and you've never been able to provide a good reason for your rejection of the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs since 1962. So . . .

I think it fair to say that there have been no extraordinary infallible pronouncements by any Pope from and including John XXIII,

Except for the canonisations, and arguably Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, that would seem to be the case.

and probably relatively few occasions on which the concilar Popes have repeated the ordinary and universal magisterium.

Here again you remind me why I can't take you seriously. The "conciliar" Popes have repeated the ordinary and universal magisterium more times than we could count.

So: do we have good reason not to accept their magisterium? I think we do, because (1) the focus of the conciliar magisterium is on man, rather than on God,

Only those who are ignorant of the content of the conciliar magisterium could agree with you.

and (2) if by their fruits you know them, the fruits of V2 have been no fruits at all.

Sure -- as long as we leave out, well, all the fruits of Vatican II. . . .

(Was anybody really surprised by the sendoff that Edward Kennedy got from Cardinal O'Malley et al.?)

Not really -- though a scandal, that kind of thing has happened quite a lot over the centuries. Given the state of the Church today, especially in the U.S., the Kennedy funeral debacle was inevitable.

Now (2) you know for sure.

Well, it seems pretty clear that you believe it.

And (1) you also know, but you won't admit it, because you think that to admit it would be to admit that the Church is not indefectible.

Or maybe because to admit it would be to admit something that isn't true.

Is he deliberately and consciously teaching a doctrine different from the gospel that has been handed down to us, or is he rathe a profoundly confused soul?

Or is John McFarland a profoundly confused soul? You've never been able to substantiate your claim that Pope Benedict is teaching another gospel. You've previously offered passages from his writings as evidence of his heresy, and each time I've found that there's no "there" there.

Jordanes said...

Religion is about man's worship of God. Everything that exists, exist for God's sake, and not the other way round.

True, but that doesn't mean religion should not help mankind. Such religion would be vain.

Throughout the gospels, the world is condemned. What good gets done in the world -- love of neighbor -- results from the love of God, as it ultimately for the greater glory of God. He is everything, we are nothing.

True. Vatican II and the "conciliar" Popes have never said otherwise. On the contrary, they've said the same thing. And again, it doesn't mean that religion should not help mankind.

St. John says: all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.

What do you mean by "world"? Do you mean the planet earth and the inhabitants thereof? Because that's not what the Bible means when it condemns "the world."

Can you square all this with the constant talk of human development in Caritas in veritate?

Of course. The Scriptures condemn the fallen world and its the cultures and societies that establish themselves apart from reference to God and His will. The Scriptures NEVER condemn loving and serving one's neighbor and seeking to establish just societies founded upon God's love and His divinely-revealed truth.

Am I catching a whiff of Manichaeism from your words?

Does not the encyclical in every way imply that for all practical purposes, Man is what it's all about, with faith -- if properly "purified" by reason -- being the servant of man?

No, it clearly does not imply that at all. It explicitly says the opposite.

How do you get from this to the primacy of the worship of God? Are not those who give primacy to faith just vile fundmentalists?

He doesn't say anything of the sort in his encyclical. He's saying that neither reason without faith ("secularism") nor faith without reason (so-called "fundamentalism") are acceptable. Authentic worship of God requires the integration of both faith and reason.

It seems to me that your objection here isn't really that what the Pope said is false, but that you think what he is talking about isn't as important as the Pope says it is. Your problem with the encyclical appears to be that its topic is an exploration of the concept of human development from the perspective of Catholic doctrine. You'd rather he had written an encyclical on a different facet of Catholic doctrine.

Can you find me the place in which Jesus teaches us that we need reason to "purify" faith?

No. The Gospels, which contain only a portion of what He taught, do not express the concept in precisely those terms. The Scriptures do condemn irrational, deficient faith, however.

I do hope it isn't your contention that supernatural faith is contrary to human reason.

In the passage quoted above, does the Catholic faith seem to be the "one thing needful" that Jesus spoke of to Martha? Is it not at best one of two things needful, the other being reason.

He's talking about faith in that passage, not specifically "the Catholic faith."

Why do you have such difficulty comprehending his words?

And while we're at it, doesn't the Pope pretty clearly mean ANY faith, and not just the Catholic and Apostolic Faith?

No, he means "faith," not "any faith" or "the faith."

On the surface, it doesn't look very Christian;

It does to me, and to most people who've read it.

and as you dig further into it, it looks even less Christian.

Since you seem incapable of figuring out what the Pope's encyclicals are saying, it is probably better if you stop trying to study them on your own.

Jordanes said...

Do you mean that because the Church is indefectible, nothing that the Pope says can be wrong, or at least seriously wrong?

Already asked and answered, Mr. McFarland.

He is infallible when he teaches what was taught in 1962 and in 62, and when he intends to teach infallibly.

He is also infallible when he teaches what was taught in 1965 and 1970 and 1979 and 1995 and 2007 and . . . . The Church is indefectible: she has never stopped and will never stop and can never stop teaching what has been taught from the beginning (which was circa A.D. 33, not 1962).

Still less is his authority the guarantee of the reliability of those he gives magisterial authority.

It is, however, the guarantee that they have the authority to teach us. Those whom the Church says are not authorised to teach (e.g. Father Hans Kueng) are not to be sought or accepted as our teachers.

Do you think that because Pope John Paul II duly appointed Cardinal Mahony the Cardinal Archbishop of the Los Angeles diocese, and neither he nor his predecessor has ever uttered a word of criticism against him, that you must accept him as your teacher on faith and morals if you live in LA?

Yes. That is what it means to be the lawful bishop of a diocese.

Kevin said...

In SALT OF THE EARTH, on pages 95-96, we read the following exchange between Peter Seewald and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, our current Holy Father:

"And about Hans Kung's path? I mean, he now hopes for a rehabilitation."

"A little bit of demythologization is needed here. Hans Kung was deprived of the mandate to teach in the name and by the charge of the Church. That may have been bitter for him at first, but it was precisely what helped him to find his own totally personal path. For then he was free from obligatory lectures within the framework of the formation of theologians as well as from the examinations connected with that. He could then dedicate himself completely to his own topics. In a conversation in 1982 he himself confessed to me that he didn't want to go back to the previous position and that his present position was much better suited to him. He gradually moved away from the narrower questions of specialized theology and in this very way was able to find and develop his major themes. Now he has retired, and a new commission to teach in the name of the Church would be even more pointless than before. Nor is he interested in that at all. He would rather that his theology be recognized as a valid form of Catholic theology. But he has taken back nothing of his contestation of the papal office; indeed, he has further radicalized his positions. In Christology and in trinitarian theology he has further distanced himself from the faith of the Church. I respect his path, which he takes in accord with his conscience, but he should not then demand the Church's seal of approval but should admit that in essential questions he has come to different, very personal decisions of his own."

Sounds like criticism of Hans Kung to me.

As for the false idea that "Authority and truth have indeed been separated in the Church" I've found Dr. Sudlow's refutation of that nonsense to be an excellent response:

http://thesensiblebond.blogspot.com/2009/07/authority-related-to-truth-response-to.html

Mar said...

Thank you, John McFarland, for defending the Faith with clarity and vigour. You are right in
drawing attention to the words of Jesus when he said that Mary had chosen the better part. Yes, there is an implied primacy of goals here.

Jesus also said: Seek ye first the Kingdom of God...and all else will be given to you without asking. Once again a primacy of goals is implied very strongly. In fact the whole of this passage - Matthew 6:25-34 - should be read in order
to discern what light it sheds on the present discussion.

That there are many references in the Bible to 'those who have eyes and see not and those who have ears but hear not' may also have some bearing on the present discussion.

Jordanes said...

Thank you, John McFarland, for defending the Faith with clarity and vigour.

With vigour, at least . . .

Brian said...

John McFarland wrote:

He can't make ecumenism consistent with the status of the Church as the unique source of the truth that will save.

To which Jordanes replied:

He doesn't have to. It already is. See John 17.

I don't mean to jump into the middle of your debate, but I love that chapter St. John's Gospel. So please, consider a few thoughts.

With regard to John 17, as far as I am aware, it is only in very recent years that that chapter has been interpreted to apply to ecumenism. I know that recent Popes have done so, but (again, as far as I am aware) such an interpretation, even by a Pope, is not consistent with Church Tradition.

For the first 1900 years of Church Tradition, can you demonstrate where John 17 was interpreted to refer to anything like ecumenism between different supposed denominations of Christians?

John 17:21-23 reads, "That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, as we also are one: I in them, and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one: and the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast also loved me."

First of all, John 17 is one of the most mystical passages in the entire Bible. (It is my personal belief that if Vatican II would have focused on Mary and the Church's rich mystical tradition, instead of some of the directions that it took, the history of the past 40 years would have truly been glorious.) There are commentaries within the contemplative tradition of the Church that provide beautiful, theologically rich interpretations of John 17.

As well as mystical transformation in Christ, Jesus is also praying for love within the Church. Clearly to love one another as the Father loves the Son is referring to a deep and supernatural love. St. John of the Cross writes about such love. It is a love that all Catholics are called to, but very few even begin to taste.

In addition, it is difficult to reconcile the rest of St. John's writings with the interpretation that John 17 refers to ecumenism. Of all New Testament writers, St. John, the Apostle of love, has some of the strongest admonitions against those outside the Church.

Finally, these are Jesus final words to his Apostles before his death, on the night that he instituted the Sacrifice of the Mass and fed them his Body and Blood. It is difficult to imagine that the night before Jesus died he spoke to his Apostles about ecumenism. Indeed, at that time, such a movement was inconceivable.

Jordanes said...

Not buying it. Jesus prayed that His disciple would all be one, as He and the Father are one. Prayers and efforts to help scattered Christians come into the unity of the Catholic Church are in keeping with Our Lord's prayer.

Not everything that is called "ecumenism" is really "ecumenism," however.

Of all New Testament writers, St. John, the Apostle of love, has some of the strongest admonitions against those outside the Church.

Yes. St. John was the Apostle of Ecumenism.

Mar said...

Jordanes, before you call St. John the apostle of ecumenism define ecumenism.

Jordanes said...

Ecumenism is the efforts of separated Christians to reunite by discerning and accepting Christ's revelation. Catholic ecumenism consists of the Church's efforts to aid separated Christians in understanding and accepting the Catholic faith so that they may be fully and properly united to their Mother, the Catholic Church.

The goal and proper end of ecumenism is the conversion of separated Christians to the Catholic faith -- One Sheepfold, One Shepherd. If the efforts do not have that goal, then the efforts are not ecumenical. So, as I said, not everything that is called ecumenism is really ecumenism.

Jordanes said...

I should add that an excellent discourse on Catholic ecumenism may be found in Blessed John XXIII's 1959 encyclical Ad Petri Cathedram, part III. It's really the touchstone for authentic ecumenism . . . and there's a certain Roman Cardinal who might benefit from re-reading it.

Mar said...

Jordanes,

First you give two definitions of ecumenism, as follows:

Ecumenism - the efforts of separated Christians to reunite by discerning and accepting Christ's revelation.

Catholic ecumenism - the Church's efforts to aid separated Christians in understanding and
accepting the Catholic faith.

This seems to imply that there is a Catholic ecumenism and one that is not, but let's allow that to pass.

Next you elaborate on the goal and proper end of ecumenism - the conversion of separated Christians to the Catholic faith.

Lastly you qualify this further by saying that if the proper end of ecumenism is absent then it is not ecumenism.

According to this qualification we can relinquish the first definition on the grounds of ambiguity because it is unknown whether the proper end is present.

Also according to this qualification we can drop the word 'Catholic' from the second definition because it is tautological.

We are then left with the following:

Ecumenism - the Church's efforts to aid separated Christians in understanding and accepting the Catholic faith with the goal of converting them to that same Catholic faith.

Can you explain how this differs from evangelization, and if not why it is not called evangelization?

This leaves dangling a very intersting question about the Assisi meetings. They were not ecumenical (according to the above definition) because they involved a considerable number of non-Christians who, moreover, far from being urged to accept the Catholic faith, were encouraged to perform their own rites in a Catholic holy place. So what were they?

Jordanes said...

This seems to imply that there is a Catholic ecumenism and one that is not, but let's allow that to pass.

No, let's not. :-) There is the general term ecumenism, but not all that is called ecumenism is Catholic ecumenism (and not all that passes for Catholic ecumenism is really that either) -- that is, not all ecumenism is really ecumenism from the perspective of the Catholic faith, that is, from the perspective of divinely-revealed truth.

According to this qualification we can relinquish the first definition on the grounds of ambiguity because it is unknown whether the proper end is present.

True. Of course, that won't stop non-Catholics, and even Catholics, from using the term "ecumenism" for things that aren't properly ecumenical.

Also according to this qualification we can drop the word 'Catholic' from the second definition because it is tautological.

Or a redundancy, rather. Except even non-Catholics engage in things they call "ecumenism," and Catholics engage in things they call "ecumenism" but aren't. Hence the need for the modifier, to specify exactly what we're talking about.

Can you explain how this differs from evangelization, and if not why it is not called evangelization?

Evangelisation is proclaiming the Gospel to every human creature, whether Catholic or non-Catholic. Ecumenism is the effort of the Church to enable separated Christians to understand and accept the Faith and enter into the unity of the Church.

This leaves dangling a very intersting question about the Assisi meetings. They were not ecumenical (according to the above definition)

Neither were they advertised by the Church as ecumenical.

So what were they?

In my opinion, they were a well-meaning but ultimately wrong-headed and counterproductive attempt to encourage good will among men of whatever religion.

John McFarland said...

Kevin,

Thanks for the quote from Salt of the Earth, which is what I was thinking of.

I had forgot the specific statement that Fr. Kueng's doctrines are not the doctrines of the Church.

But I wonder whether it can fairly be called a criticism, since Cardinal Ratzinger basically says, he has his beliefs, we have our beliefs.

He doesn't say that the man is a heretic, if not an apostate, and warn us against him.

He expresses no sadness or regret about the straying of Fr. Kueng from the fold, or that he is flirting with hellfire.

I think a fair description of this passage is: bizarre, and wonder how Jordanes spins it.

John McFarland said...

Gentlemen,

Those whose oneness Jesus pray for in John 17 are his disciples -- those who believe in him and his words -- and those who thereafter come to share in that belief. It is clearly about those within the fold, not about those outside it, and was never read in any other sense until the triumph of conciliarism. So 1900 odd years into the Christian era, all of a sudden, we know what the passage really means.

Are we then to read Jordanes' unity of the magisterium to mean: what the Big Guys say to believe in 500 is what we believe in 500, what the Big Guys say to believe in 1000 is what we believe in 1000, what the Big Guys say say to believe in 1965 is what we believe in 1965, ....

John McFarland said...

So, Jordanes,

If Cardinal Mahony teaches heresy, are we bound to believe it?

If he commands something obviously at odds with faith, morals or the good of the Church, must be do it?

Perhaps your answer is that what the Pope says rules. But what if the Pope has not spoken?

And if the Pope has spoken non-infallibly, and has upheld Cardinal Mahony, are we bound to follow the Pope?

It can never happen?

Says who?

John McFarland said...

Jordanes,

I note that you don't quote much scripture, or much in the way of the conciliar popes' teachings, in support of your notion that it's just Steady As She Goes Since 1962.

Now admittedly this is no forum for theological disquisition. But I don't think it sufficient to play variations on the theme: you're an idiot, McFarland.

So let me offer you a little exercise

As regards social doctrine: the only thing the Church has to offer is everlasting life. Any improvement the Church makes in earthly life is an outgrowth of the activity of the faithful in the world. Conversly, any activity for the betterment of the world that is not based in the faith is bound, at best, to run into sand. I think that the foregoing is a fair summary of the doctrine of the Church in its first 1900+ years.

Now: can you square Caritas in veritate with this view of things? If you think I'm an idiot, bear with me; it's your Christian duty. Tell me about it slowly, without using big words.

Another thought: am I correct that you've never read Amerio Romano's Iota Unum? Or the analyses of the various encyclicals by Fr. Peter Scott of the SSPX? Or any significant chunk of the SSPX literature. The answer, of course, is no. But you really should read some of it. Then come back and we can talk.

John McFarland said...

Jordanes,

Apropos of your efforts to beat the square peg of conciliar ecumenism into the round hole of the Great Commission, what do you make of Cardinal Ratzinger's apparent lack of interest in bringing Hans Kueng back to the fold?

In the same connection, why is it that you have to go back to 1959 for an account of the true ecumenism? What's the matter with the umpteen statements on the topic by the popes since then?

And while we're at it: we've had Assisi 1986 and 2002. Can you explain the game plan from here for getting the Protestants and Buddhists and Great Thumbists into the Church, and why it seems to be running so far behind schedule?

Anonymous said...

"Right -- and you've never been able to provide a good reason for your rejection of the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs since 1962. So . . .
"
It's not for you, Jordanes, to say that Dr McFarland lacks a good reason.

Any rational person would consider the formal contradiction in the Decree on Religious Liberty between its affirmation and its denial of the traditional (and infallible, by virtue of the ordinary infallible magisterium)to be a good reason.

On the question of the magisterium generally, you need to read more Aidan Nichols OP.

Jordanes said...

I think a fair description of this passage is: bizarre, and wonder how Jordanes spins it.

I don't think the passage is bizarre, and don't see how it needs any "spin" from me or anyone else. All I know is that you said, "In one of his interview books in the 90s, Cardinal Ratzinger tells the interviewer that it was a good thing that Father Kueng ceased to hold the chair. He doesn't really say why, and offers no criticism of the man or his teaching." Kevin shows that he does say why and that he does offer criticism of the man and his teaching (well, of his teaching primarily, since criticism of the man would have been most inappropriate, and Cardinal Ratzinger rightly avoids that). So your recollection was erroneous.

Those whose oneness Jesus pray for in John 17 are his disciples -- those who believe in him and his words -- and those who thereafter come to share in that belief. It is clearly about those within the fold, not about those outside it, and was never read in any other sense until the triumph of conciliarism.

First of all, "conciliarism" has never triumphed, but was decisively vanquished in the 1400s. In Catholicism, "conciliarism" refers to a specific heresy. It doesn't mean, "believing that Vatican II is a valid and authoritative council," or, "the teachings and church culture that arose out of Vatican II and its immediate aftermath."

As for Christ's prayer in John 17, one need not adopt the erroneous interpretation that it is about those outside the Sheepfold in order to see, as Blessed John XXIII and his successors have taught, that it has quite a lot to do with ecumenism.

So 1900 odd years into the Christian era, all of a sudden, we know what the passage really means.

Well, there's nothing novel about Blessed John XXIII's use of John 17 in Ad Petri Cathedram.

Are we then to read Jordanes' unity of the magisterium to mean: what the Big Guys say to believe in 500 is what we believe in 500, what the Big Guys say to believe in 1000 is what we believe in 1000, what the Big Guys say say to believe in 1965 is what we believe in 1965, ....

I'd say that's not an incorrect way to describe the indefectibility of the Church's magisterium, though it's an imcomplete explanation.

If Cardinal Mahony teaches heresy, are we bound to believe it?

Of course not. Rather, we're bound to reject it, and the Church would be bound to correct him or remove him from his office if necessary.

Perhaps your answer is that what the Pope says rules.

I've never said or even hinted at any such nonsense. Cardinal Mahony is the lawful bishop of his archdiocese, but that doesn't make him infallible.

And if the Pope has spoken non-infallibly, and has upheld Cardinal Mahony, are we bound to follow the Pope?

If the cardinal retains the Church's mandate of teaching authority, we are bound to accept that the cardinal is still the Archbishop of Los Angeles and thus the rightful teacher and shepherd of the faithful living there. If he fails in his obligations, woe to him. But no lay Catholic in that archdiocese has the right to choose a different bishop -- that's the Church's job.

I note that you don't quote much scripture, or much in the way of the conciliar popes' teachings, in support of your notion that it's just Steady As She Goes Since 1962.

Now you're just being silly, Mr. McFarland, and I honestly laughed out loud at your comment. You know full well that I've got no such notion. Or at least I can't imagine how you can't know that.

It has been my pleasure since becoming a Catholic to not quote a lot of Scripture any more.

Jordanes said...

As regards social doctrine: the only thing the Church has to offer is everlasting life. Any improvement the Church makes in earthly life is an outgrowth of the activity of the faithful in the world. Conversly, any activity for the betterment of the world that is not based in the faith is bound, at best, to run into sand. I think that the foregoing is a fair summary of the doctrine of the Church in its first 1900+ years.

It's a fair summary of Pope Benedict's beliefs on the subject too. In fact, you've hit on the primary theme, the main point of Caritas in veritate. There can be no true, lasting human progress apart from the Truth.

Now: can you square Caritas in veritate with this view of things?

Yes.

Have you found anything in the encyclical that says activity for the betterment of the world that is not based in the faith can be truly efficacious and lasting? Because I know there are passages in the encyclical that say such efforts are bound to be in vain unless they are grounded in the Truth.

am I correct that you've never read Amerio Romano's Iota Unum?

No, I haven't had the chance yet. I intend to, but for now, what I know of Romano's thesis leads to me believe that I would find myself in general agreement with him.

Or the analyses of the various encyclicals by Fr. Peter Scott of the SSPX? Or any significant chunk of the SSPX literature. The aswer, of course, is no.

Correct. I don't make a habit of listening to suspended priests. I've read some of the critiques of the SSPX literature, though.

You really should read some of it. Then come back and we can talk.

In the meantime, you might provide some passages in the Pope's encyclicals that are erroneous or contrary to the Faith.

what do you make of Cardinal Ratzinger's apparent lack of interest in bringing Hans Kueng back to the fold?

It would be at best only apparent.

In the same connection, why is it that you have to go back to 1959 for an account of the true ecumenism? What's the matter with the umpteen statements on the topic by the popes since then?

Nothing is wrong with them. It's just good to place their statement in their proper context, and Ad Petri Cathedram provides the context.

Can you explain the game plan from here for getting the Protestants and Buddhists and Great Thumbists into the Church, and why it seems to be running so far behind schedule?

The game plan is apparently to take a very, very, very gentle and patient approach. Probably too gentle and indirect. Why it is running behind schedule is because certain individuals in the Church have forgotten what ecumenism and evangelisation are.

Jordanes said...

It's not for you, Jordanes, to say that Dr McFarland lacks a good reason.

Why not?

Anyway, I don't know if Mr. McFarland (or Dr.? I don't recall him identifying himself as having a doctorate) lacks a good reason. I only know that he's not provided me with any reasons that satisfy me.

Any rational person would consider the formal contradiction in the Decree on Religious Liberty between its affirmation and its denial of the traditional (and infallible, by virtue of the ordinary infallible magisterium)to be a good reason.

A good reason not merely to reject Dignitatis Humanae, but the entirety of the post-Vatican II papal magisterium??

On the question of the magisterium generally, you need to read more Aidan Nichols OP.

I'm pretty sure I still agree with Father Nichols on that subject. I'm not sure that Mr. McFarland does, though.

John McFarland said...

Jordanes,

I hold a Ph.D. in Philsophy from Brandeis, and a J.D. from Yale. Since my profession for the last thirty-odd years has ben corporate and commercial law, I don't think it appropriate that I be addressed as Doctor. I do, however, try to teach when I can, as you can see.

As regards Ratzinger on Kueng, I would note that without faith it is impossible to please God; and so the faithless one is on his way to Hell unless he returns to the faith. So it is profoundly disturbing that the head of the CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH should take Kueng's being on that way with such equanimity. Contrast Pius XII's profound distress on reading Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory; and his telling Cardinal Heenan: if he comes to you, you must help him.

But, say you, Cardinal Ratzinger's lack of solicitude is only apparent. And how do you know that?

So: a statement in 1959 that ecumenism is about conversion to the faith means that dozens if not hundreds of pronouncements that strongly imply the exact opposite, not to mention the consistent absence of serious talk or practice of evangelization (the "new evangelization" being no evangelization at all) don't really count.

The fact that true ecumenical effort must lead to conversion does not mean that false ecumenism does not rule the roost in Rome. Clearly it does. Is it not true that what you delicately call the excessively gentle and patient approach to ecumenism is shared by the Pope? Given that it takes St. Paul about ten verses to get around to bringing the good news to the Areopagites, wouldn't a somewhat sterner judgment seem to be in order?

Ever hear about how they demolished St. Willibrord's, a huge neo-Gothic church in North Holland, as an anti-ecumenical gesture? That's right: they blew it up. I respectfully submit to you that's it's an excellent symbol of the real situation in the Church vis-a-vis evangelization.

I would also note the very word "ecumenism" is a Protestant term. The concept, like the word, has been tainted from the gitgo. The proper Catholic word -- and practice -- is evangelization. Converting a heretic is different from converting a Buddhist or a Great Thumbist, but it's still evangelization. If he doesn't have the whole good news, he doesn't have the good news.

John McFarland said...

Jordanes,

Father Scott is not suspended; he's never had any canonical status to be suspended from. But he is certainly not in good standing with the Church. And have you also never read anything by any heretic or person of dubious orthodoxy?

Be that as it may, then how about Romano Amerio's Iota Unum. Though a layman, he was a peritus at Vatican II. He died a Catholic in good standing. Last year, I think it was, Osservatore Romano even admitted his existence for the first time in aeons. To be sure, the English translation is published by the SSPX, because there's not a dime's worth of difference between what Amerio says and what the SSPX says.

Or if you'd prefer, how about Fr. Johannes Doermann's multi-volume Theological Journey of Pope John Paul II to the Meeting of Religions at Assisi. It's out of print, but you should be able to get it second-hand somewhere. Fr. Doermann is not a traditionalist, and as far as I know celebrates the New Mass. The English translation was also published by the SSPX, again because there's not a dime's worth of difference between Fr. Doermann's view of John Paul II and the SSPX's. He demonstrates the profound problems (to put it as kindly as possible) with the PJP II's major pre-papal theological writings, and with his "trinitarian" encylicals. As you know, the Pope, a theologian by profession, is a very great admirer of his predecessor.

In Caritas in veritate, what does the Pope mean by the "truth"? If you can figure that out, you're a better man than I. As always, he's not very clear. What you are doing is taking it on faith that what he means is what he want him to mean. If this were anything but a papal document, you'd dismiss it as incoherent and, to the extent comprehensible, of dubious orthodoxy. But you think that if you don't swallow it whole, indefectibility goes out the window.

You really need to read the SSPX on indefectibility, irrespective of canonical status. That's what the SSPX means when it talks of a state of emergency. You've got to stop insulting your own intelligence.

Rick DeLano said...

Jordanes for some mystifying reason chose to censor my last reply to Mr. McFarland.

It would seem that he has, subsequently, become busier than a one armed paper hanger.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc?

Inquiring minds are too amused to care.

Mar said...

Jordanes,

In your previous post you said that unless ecumenism had the goal of bringing separated Christians to the Catholic faith it was not ecumenism.

Now (05 September, 2009 16:54) you say that 'there is a general term ecumenism, but not all that is called ecumenism is Catholic ecumenism.' We seem to be back where we were before, namely, that in fact there *are* two ecumenisms.

Why is there a feeling that we are going around in circles? Why does it sound as though ecumenism is ecumenism except when it is not ecumenism? Why is there a sense of a huge contradiction lurking?

In any case this and everything else you say in the more recent post only serves to highlight the disaster that 'ecumenism' is, both in theory and in practice. The concept is so nebulous that no sooner do you try to get a handle on it than it starts to change shape and slips from your grasp. No sooner do you try to pin it down than it turns to jelly.

It is like shadow boxing. It is like trying to catch smoke. It is like putting your foot on a rock only to find that it has become deliquescent and trickled away.

The Catholic Faith is not like that. It is the true rock where one can get a real purchase (and by that I do not mean buying, but leverage :-) ). It is the Jerusalem built as a city all compact (Psalm 121:3) meaning that it has tremendous inner and outer coherence.

In reference to evangelization you say that it is proclaiming the Gospel to every human creature, whether Catholic or non-Catholic. This in part agrees with what the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (2007) says: 'In its precise sense, evangelization is the missio ad gentes directed to those who do not know Christ. In a wider sense, it is used to describe ordinary pastoral work..."

So if non-Catholics (and even non-Christians) are already being helped by evangelization why the need for ecumenism and all the confusion that it causes?

Besides, evangelization is the antidote to that false 'ecumenism', both 'Catholic' and not, (which you take such great pains in describing), whereby Catholics are severely hampered from speaking out on key issues of the Faith for fear of giving offence, in other words the exact opposite of evangelization. And you know as well as I do that that is endemic in the present-day Church.

Jordanes said...

Jordanes for some mystifying reason chose to censor my last reply to Mr. McFarland.

No, I didn't. I have approved every single one of your comments that I am aware of you having submitted in this commentbox. Perhaps another moderator got to your comment before I ever saw it, or perhaps there was a technical glitch. The last comment of yours that I have seen in the bin is the one timestamped 04 September, 2009 04:54.

Jordanes said...

I hold a Ph.D. in Philsophy from Brandeis, and a J.D. from Yale. Since my profession for the last thirty-odd years has ben corporate and commercial law, I don't think it appropriate that I be addressed as Doctor. I do, however, try to teach when I can, as you can see.

Thanks. I don't recall you mentioning your academic degrees before, but I could have forgotten.

So it is profoundly disturbing that the head of the CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH should take Kueng's being on that way with such equanimity.

Do we know all that Papa Ratzinger has said and prayed and thought and done about Father Kueng?

But, say you, Cardinal Ratzinger's lack of solicitude is only apparent. And how do you know that?

The same way you know that it's not only apparent.

So: a statement in 1959 that ecumenism is about conversion to the faith means that dozens if not hundreds of pronouncements that strongly imply the exact opposite, not to mention the consistent absence of serious talk or practice of evangelization (the "new evangelization" being no evangelization at all) don't really count.

Sure they count, as long as they don't contradict what the Church teaches. I've heard and read some such pronouncements that are, shall we say, in tension with the Church's faith, and others that flatly contradict it.

Ever hear about how they demolished St. Willibrord's, a huge neo-Gothic church in North Holland, as an anti-ecumenical gesture? That's right: they blew it up.

Demolishing a Catholic Church does sound very anti-ecumenical to me. Things are pretty awful in Holland.

I would also note the very word "ecumenism" is a Protestant term. The concept, like the word, has been tainted from the gitgo.

A lot of the Church's words were tainted until the Church took them and washed them off.

The proper Catholic word -- and practice -- is evangelization. Converting a heretic is different from converting a Buddhist or a Great Thumbist, but it's still evangelization.

Yes, it's evangelisation, but ecumenism is a specific kind of evangelisation, a kind that does not apply in any way to the Church's witness to Buddhists or "Great Thumbists."

Jordanes said...

Father Scott is not suspended; he's never had any canonical status to be suspended from.

He's not a priest? Then why do you call him Father?

And have you also never read anything by any heretic or person of dubious orthodoxy?

Oh I sure have. I don't make a habit of it anymore, though.

Thanks for the Fr. Doermann title. I'd not heard of that one before.

In Caritas in veritate, what does the Pope mean by the "truth"? If you can figure that out, you're a better man than I. As always, he's not very clear.

Honestly, you can't be serious when you say such ridiculous things. He tells us what he's talking about in the very first paragraph. You might try reading it.

What you are doing is taking it on faith that what he means is what he want him to mean.

Do you mean, "what he wants him to mean," or, "what we want him to mean," or what?

I take it on faith that he means what he says he means, and that when a pope writes an encyclical, he'll be talking about Catholic doctrine and say things in agreement with it. God imposes a moral obligation to construe every person's words as charitably as possible, an obligation binding with even greater force when it is Catholics reading a Pope's words in an encyclical.

If this were anything but a papal document, you'd dismiss it as incoherent and, to the extent comprehensible, of dubious orthodoxy.

If you really can't comprehend what the Pope is saying, you should stop claiming that it is not the Catholic faith that he holds and teaches. I find it difficult to believe that you really lack the intellectual acuity to understand what he means. I tend rather to believe that it is in your personal interest (by no means your best interest) to construe what he says as incoherent and/or of dubious orthodoxy.

But you think that if you don't swallow it whole, indefectibility goes out the window.

For the Nth time, I do not believe the heresy that a Pope is infallible in everything he says and does. Saying things like that is just your smokescreen to try and obscure the fact that you can't find anything false or heretical or even proximate to heresy in the Pope's encyclicals. If you could, I should expect that you'd have done so by now. By that doesn't keep you from continuing to claim that his encyclicals do not teach the Catholic faith.

You've got to stop insulting your own intelligence.

And I propose this same advice to you.

Jordanes said...

In your previous post you said that unless ecumenism had the goal of bringing separated Christians to the Catholic faith it was not ecumenism. Now (05 September, 2009 16:54) you say that 'there is a general term ecumenism, but not all that is called ecumenism is Catholic ecumenism.'

Yes. As I've already said, not all that is called "ecumenism" is really ecumenism, that is, is ecumenism from a Catholic perspective, which is the only perspective that matters in this context.

We seem to be back where we were before, namely, that in fact there *are* two ecumenisms.

That's one way to put it.

Why is there a feeling that we are going around in circles?

Because you don't like the fact that what the Church means by ecumenism isn't what non-Catholics or even many Catholics mean by ecumenism. Words can and do have a multiplicity of uses, senses, and shades of meaning. Sometimes words are misused.

Why does it sound as though ecumenism is ecumenism except when it is not ecumenism? Why is there a sense of a huge contradiction lurking?

I don't think the huge contradiction is lurking at all. It's out in the open and staring us in the face.

In reference to evangelization you say that it is proclaiming the Gospel to every human creature, whether Catholic or non-Catholic. This in part agrees with what the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (2007) says: 'In its precise sense, evangelization is the missio ad gentes directed to those who do not know Christ. In a wider sense, it is used to describe ordinary pastoral work..."

I wouldn't say it agrees "in part." I see not even a slight contradiction or meaningful difference between the CDF's explanation and mine.

So if non-Catholics (and even non-Christians) are already being helped by evangelization why the need for ecumenism and all the confusion that it causes?

Ecumenism falls under the broader umbrella of "evangelisation."

It is, however, specifically directed toward helping non-Catholic Christians enter into the unity that Christ ensures the Catholic Church has always had and will always have. That is explicitly what Vatican II's decree Unitatis Redintegratio teaches. That document, as Ad Petri Cathedram, explains "why the need for ecumenism."

Rick DeLano said...

Jordanes: If you did not censor the following comment, then please forgive me for having borne a false witness against you. I plead mitigating circumstances that you well know, in having felt on solid ground in advancing the assumption that you had.

Here is my response from several days ago to Mr. McFarland:

*********************

Mr. McFarland wrote:

"Being a wise guy is one of the many ways in which the opposing side in a disputation is really saying: I know that I can't answer you, but I'm d----d if I'll admit it. But this is serious business, so let's try again."

>>I wouldn’t so much say you were a “wise guy”, Mr. McFarland, as I would say that you have imbibed certain unCatholic ideas and, in my view, have exhibited more zeal than persuasiveness in defending them.
But I am happy to try again as well.
***
"

One has to distinguish disciplinary authority (binding and loosing) from teaching authority. Infallibility relates to teaching authority. When the Pope teaches what has always been taught (the ordinary and universal magisterium), he teaches infallibly. When he teaches with the intent of teaching infallibly, he teaches infallibly.

When he does not teach infallibly, it is at best rash for us not to accept his teaching -- without good reason."

>>There is not a syllable with which I disagree in the above remarks, on first glance. However, as I read through the rest of your re-try, I am unable to truthfully report that you have made your case with any greater degree of persuasiveness than before, and since Jordanes has already pretty much pointed out the difficulties I would also have with your assertions, I will limit myself to this observation:
I have found myself very troubled, for years, by certain currents within Church teaching and practice, just as you have done. I have been the undeserving recipient of the inexpressible *good* of being able to form my sons in the Traditional Catholic Faith, through the good offices of His Holiness Pope John Paul II in his indult, and later His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, in his motu proprio.

The difference between us, I submit, is that I am unpersuaded that the difficulties we face are accurately ascribed to the departure from the Faith once delivered which you assert *but most assuredly do not so much as attempt to prove*, on the part of the heaven-protected magisterium of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

It is clear to me that you believe what you say, but it is also clear that you have not demonstrated why I should believe as you do.

This is the root of our divergence, and may I say that I am Catholic by the grace of God, I have written letters to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which have, perhaps in some small way, assisted in the removal from a National Bishops Conference Catechism of an *actually* heretical teaching.

So I know all about the obligations of conscience vis a vis false teaching.

I am simply not at all persuaded by your analysis.

God be with you.

Jordanes said...

No offense intended, and none taken, Mr. De Lano. It's just a misunderstanding. Thanks so much for your contribution to the discussion.

John McFarland said...

Jordanes,

Father Scott, like every other SSPX priest ordained since 1976, is validly but illicitly ordained. He is a priest, but he has become a priest in violation of Church law.

What the SSPX says about that is that things are so bad (the "state of emergency") that the law we have to follow is: salus animarum suprema lex.

It appears you don't know spit about any of this. You should learn something about it.

While I'm at it, I'm reminded that I let you off too easy on this "suspended" malarkey. The Society has not been condemned or even admonished about its doctrine, so stop making up your own rules. Amerio and Doermann are fine, and you should get to them; but the SSPX literature is more readily available. Father Scott's piece would be an excellent place to start.

***

Well, I've looked again at the first paragraph of Caritas in veritate. So I guess you think that God as "Absolute Truth" or Christ as "the Truth" is a definition? It isn't. In the encyclical it's just a bit of piety that never gets tied to the small "t" truth that he mentions dozens if not hundreds of times. Over and over HH talks about the mutual enrichment of love and truth, but what he means in either theory or practice is anybody's guess. To be sure, God as Truth is a lot more than a bit of piety in the gospel; but as I've been trying to tell you, the relation between the gospel and what the Pope is saying is, well, not self-evident.

John McFarland said...

Mr. DeLano,

If you have the ability to understand the issues, you should inform yourself about them and decide whether there is someting to what I say.

As regards the indult and the MP:

Are you aware that in 1988, before the consecration of the SSPX bishops, a gathering of Vatican notables (including Cardinal Ratzinger) met and concluded that the old Mass had never been abrogated or superseded? Cardinal Stickler spilled the beans in 1991, but the Vatican has never fessed up.

So: with the indult, Pope John Paul graciously gave you what you already had, after being advised that you already had it.

In the Motu Proprio, Pope Benedict in effect admitted that you already had it, although he didn't quite put it that way -- perhaps because he'd known that right along but hadn't said anything.

So it seems to me rather inappropriate for you to be grateful. Righteous anger would seem more appropriate.

Given the success of the project to clean up the American bishops' statement, you might try doing something with the statement of a committee of the CDF a few years back saying that it was okay to believe that unbaptized infants may be saved.

And if that's successful, you can move on to the pronouncements that schismatic and heretical churches contain elements of salvation.

Rick DeLano said...

Mr. McFarland writes:

Are you aware that in 1988, before the consecration of the SSPX bishops, a gathering of Vatican notables (including Cardinal Ratzinger) met and concluded that the old Mass had never been abrogated or superseded? Cardinal Stickler spilled the beans in 1991, but the Vatican has never fessed up.

>>Yes. Another example of the Church's heaven-protected magisterium at work. Even after such a drastic rupture as the liturgical reform, she is able to right herself, and recover, through fidelity and faithfulness, her liturgical bearings. We see it happening right now.
*****
So: with the indult, Pope John Paul graciously gave you what you already had, after being advised that you already had it.

>>I am so very grateful for what I have.
******
In the Motu Proprio, Pope Benedict in effect admitted that you already had it, although he didn't quite put it that way -- perhaps because he'd known that right along but hadn't said anything.

>>I am very grateful to Pope Benedict for his motu proprio. It has helped a great deal.
*******
So it seems to me rather inappropriate for you to be grateful. Righteous anger would seem more appropriate.

>>This is another example of where we diverge. It seems that you wish to feel angry, whereas instead I cannot but feel grateful.

I simply state that I find your position to be nasty, churlish, unCatholic, and to contain within itself a certain schismatic trajectory, one which nurtures, and encourages others to nurture, anger and resentment against God's anointed.

I do not wish to be like you in this regard, not a little bit.

I have harbored such feelings from time to time but the difference between us is that I have sought the sacrament of penance afterward.
*******

Given the success of the project to clean up the American bishops' statement, you might try doing something with the statement of a committee of the CDF a few years back saying that it was okay to believe that unbaptized infants may be saved.

>>Utterly unnecessary, since the committee statement has precisely zero magisterial authority, and I gave up worrying about impotent committee outrages long ago.
*******
And if that's successful, you can move on to the pronouncements that schismatic and heretical churches contain elements of salvation.

>>But that is obvious, isn't it? The Protestants have baptism and the Scriptures, the Orthodox have holy orders and the apostolic succession. It would be very difficult to see how these do not constitute elements of salvation, all of which properly belong to the Catholic Church, as the magisterium has explicitly reminded all and sundry.

What possible issue could you take with such an obviously correct teaching?

Anonymous said...

Brian:

You wrote: "Just as a Protestant can error in relying exclusively on their own interpretation of the Church to guide and enrich my understanding of those writings. The Congregation endorsed the Thomistic tradition which Garrigou-Lagrange represents."

Quite so! I never dare to offer my own interpretation of the Saint! Instead, I read famous scholars who guide us in the interpretation. And concerning my statement that the Neo-Thomism in the 19th. century is now seen in a critical light, I can refer to Fr. O. Pesch, O.P., who listed the abberations of the Neo-Thomism from the original Thomas in the standard lexicon for theologian students: LThK (Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche), 1965, Vol. 10, col. 157-167. Pesch wrote that the Neo-Thomism tried to block out the Teaching of Participation of Thomas, if you read the Summa contra Gentiles in whole (the first two volumes will suffice), you will know that the platonic augustinic teaching of participation is very important for the philosophy of Thomas.

Or the Book of Fr. Cunningham S.J. which has three Imprimatur.

I am not saying that Fr. Cunningham is absolutely right in his critique. But these new research works tell us that the Church is now rethinking the research on Thomas, not that we have to give up the Neo-Thomism, it means rather that we should see the Neo-Thomism in light both of its strength and shortcomings. The Neo-Thomism is a school among many in the Church, and it would be a tragic to use this school to erase all the other rich thinkings and tradition in the Church, for example, the Augustinic Tradition, about which Etienne Gilson wrote enthusiastically in his books on medieval philosophy.

And you wrote "but I take issue with your dismissal the Thomistic tradition represented by Garrigou-Lagrange, a tradition that I believe that the SSPX views favorably."

Well, this I understood from the very beginning! If you hadn't taken issue with me, we wouldn't have had such an interesting discussion!

Greetings and God's bless.

Jordanes said...

After having claimed that Father Scott is not suspended, Mr. McFarland admitted: Father Scott, like every other SSPX priest ordained since 1976, is validly but illicitly ordained. He is a priest, but he has become a priest in violation of Church law.

Well, I already knew that, and I already knew he was suspended a divinis as a consequence (for he does, contrary to your above assertion, have a canonical status from which he can be suspended).

What the SSPX says about that is that things are so bad (the "state of emergency") that the law we have to follow is: salus animarum suprema lex.

And as you know, the Catholic Church has not approved of this justification for their disobedience and for operating without reference to the Church. further, the princile "salus animarum suprema lex" is operative at all times, not just during alleged "states of emergency." If that principle covers the SSPX's actions and status, then anyone at virtually any time in almost any conceivable circumstance could invoke it to justify disregarding the Church's authority and integrity.

While I'm at it, I'm reminded that I let you off too easy on this "suspended" malarkey. The Society has not been condemned or even admonished about its doctrine, so stop making up your own rules.

I'm talking about who is and isn't authorised by the Church to speak formally on her behalf.

Well, I've looked again at the first paragraph of Caritas in veritate. So I guess you think that God as "Absolute Truth" or Christ as "the Truth" is a definition? It isn't. In the encyclical it's just a bit of piety that never gets tied to the small "t" truth that he mentions dozens if not hundreds of times.

Right. It gets tied to it in that first paragraph. You arrogantly dismiss the Successor of St. Peter's words as "just a bit of piety," as if there's the slightest grounds to impugn his words in that passage.

When Popes write encyclicals, they presuppose that their readers will have, or can acquire, the foundation of knowledge and familiarity with Catholicism needed to make sense of what they say. They don't write an entirely new catechism just to reassure folks like you who prefer to doubt that the Pope is really a Catholic.

Over and over HH talks about the mutual enrichment of love and truth, but what he means in either theory or practice is anybody's guess.

Since you don't know how to interpret the Roman Pontiff's words, here's a little hermeneutical hint: the Pope is Catholic. If you're curious to know what he means, consult the Catechism. You might also try reading the encyclical as if you're a lay Catholic (which you are), with humility and docility instead of taking it upon yourself to don the robes of an Inquisitor charged with deciding whether or not the Pope should be condemned as a heretic.

To be sure, God as Truth is a lot more than a bit of piety in the gospel; but as I've been trying to tell you, the relation between the gospel and what the Pope is saying is, well, not self-evident.

Yes, you keep saying that. You are, however, unwilling or incapable of substantiating that dreadful allegation. I say incapable, because you've tried in the past with various citations, and each time the citations have failed to support your assertions. Incapable, not because you lack the intellectual faculties, but because there simply is nothing in this encyclical, or in his other two encyclicals, that can substantiate your claims.

Jordanes said...

The Society has not been condemned or even admonished about its doctrine, so stop making up your own rules.

It occurs to me that neither has the Church condemned or even admonished Pope Benedict's teaching in Caritas in veritate. Perhaps you might grant the Holy Father's teaching at least as much solicitude as you grant Father Scott's?

John McFarland said...

Jordanes,

Here's what it boils down to. You insist that the complete and unadulterated Catholic doctrine lies behind the pages and pages and pages of encyclicals and other magisterial pronouncements that show virtually no evidence of any such connection, and large amounts of evidence that the Conciliar Church is trying to make a peace with the world, a program that is contrary to the letter and spirit of the gospel.

I've read the stuff that so far you've been at some pains not to read. I've read the encyclicals with the eye of a smart guy who knows a lot about philosophy and the theory and practice of reasoning and argumentation, and I see them for what they are: a tissue of equivocation and contradiction.

You're not ahead of me; you're behind me. I finally got over my self-delusion six or seven years ago. Maybe you will, too, God willing.

Mr. DeLano,

You reject the conciliar magisterium, and don't deny that the whole treatment of the issue of the traditional Mass was a sucker game. Yet you embrace the authorities who have delivered you these dubious doctrinal goods, and misled you regarding the Mass.

In effect, you admit Bishop Williamson's break between truth and authority -- and nonetheless embrace authority.

Jordanes thinks the Conciliar Church is sound at bottom. You know better, but won't buck it. You epitomize the indultist/motuist spirit, which is to say that you epitomize servile obedience.

Anonymous said...

Dr. McFarland wrote: "large amounts of evidence that the Conciliar Church is trying to make a peace with the world, a program that is contrary to the letter and spirit of the gospel."
-------------
Our Catholic Church is not a Protestantic sect.

Even the members of the sect must obey the civil law.

Jordanes said...

You insist that the complete and unadulterated Catholic doctrine lies behind the pages and pages and pages of encyclicals and other magisterial pronouncements that show virtually no evidence of any such connection, and large amounts of evidence that the Conciliar Church is trying to make a peace with the world, a program that is contrary to the letter and spirit of the gospel.

Oh sure, that's exactly what I'm insisting. Right.

I've read the stuff that so far you've been at some pains not to read.

And I've read the stuff that you seem to be at some pains to be unwilling even to try to comprehend.

I've read the encyclicals with the eye of a smart guy who knows a lot about philosophy and the theory and practice of reasoning and argumentation, and I see them for what they are: a tissue of equivocation and contradiction.

And I've not seen much evidence that you're putting your smarts to use.

You know, the Holy Father probably knows a lot more about philosophy and the theory and practice of reasoning and argumentation that you do.

You're not ahead of me; you're behind me.

I'm not convinced we're even walking on the same path. At the very least you're veering off.

I finally got over my self-delusion six or seven years ago. Maybe you will, too, God willing.

And maybe you'll one of these days have enough respect for my challenges to your assertions to respond constructively to them.

Jordanes thinks the Conciliar Church is sound at bottom.

The "Conciliar Church" is the only Catholic Church that exists on earth at this time. There can't be more than one Catholic Church. If the "Conciliar Church" in unsound at its basis, then Christ's promises of indefectibility have been falsified and there's no point in bothering with Catholicism any more.

You want to argue that authority and truth in the Church have been separated. Fine -- but to support that opinion, you'll have to find something in the Church's magisterium that is in fact doctrinally erroneous, and you'll have to establish that when the Church's authorities misuse or abuse their authority, that proves that the Church is no longer the Church. That is, you must establish that it is possible to embrace the truth while rejecting the authorities that Christ has established in His Church.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jordanes,
Are you now attending the TLM in your area?

Jordanes said...

Yes.

Brian said...

Anonymous,
It would seem that our discussion is winding down. Thank you for the reference to Fr. Cunningham and to Fr. O. Pesch. I will look them up and perhaps in a future exchange we can discuss the issue of participation.

As for your comment that it would be “tragic to use this (Thomistic) school to erase all the other rich thinkings and traditions;” clearly, the problem since Vatican II has been the attempt to erase the centuries old Dominican school represented by Garrigou-Lagrange. Perhaps the discussions between the Vatican and SSPX will play some small role in helping to restore this rich tradition to its rightful place.

I will close with one further reference to that magisterial teaching of the Church which I cited above. This reference both will speak to the real distinction and will anticipate our future discussion regarding your claim that the Thomistic school attempted to "block out the Teaching of Participation of Thomas:"

In 1914, the Pope and the Congregation of Studies instructed that the twenty-four theses “clearly contain the principles and more important thoughts of the holy Doctor” and “especially in metaphysics.” With regard to the claim that real distinction between essence and existence has been proven to be an erroneous distortion of St. Thomas, I will close with the third of the twenty-four theses:

“The one God, unique and simple, alone subsists in absolute being. All other things that participate in being have a nature whereby their being is restricted; they are constituted of essence and being, as really distinct principles.”

In Christ,
Brian

(By the way, in the future, it can be helpful to use a tag other than Anonymous. To do so, check the circle next to "Name/URL" and box will appear where you can type in any name that you would like use.)

pclaudel said...

Reading this thread, especially its second half, has proved profoundly disedifying. The evidence and arguments advanced by John McFarland—and not by him alone; there have been estimable contributions from Mar, LeonG, Brian, and at least one of the anonymous commenters—support a rationale completely consistent with the many texts cited, including the Gospels and Epistles, and with postconciliar history. Despite the fact that he and they have argued with patent disinterest—their end being to get at the truth, not win a debate before an audience—the responses were not long in slipping from ad rem. Tortured readings of plain words, resort to theories of signification and implication worthy of Leo Strauss, hints of pharisaism, and more than hints of triumphalism—all these are to be found in comments by Jordanes and Mr. DeLano. These features are the trim to a central characteristic: a refusal to accept evidence contrary to a position to which they are wedded, no matter the extent to which that evidence is corroborative, substantiating, or probative. The refusal shows every sign of being rooted in emotional, ideological, and psychological soil, not that of the Faith tout court.

Mr. McFarland (who is, I am proud to disclose, my dear and honored friend) is trying, alas, to speak unpalatable truths (to some, indeed, deeply shocking truths) in a context that seems to have been visited—mutatis mutandis and strictly limiting application of terms and circumstances—with something like the curse laid upon Cassandra by Apollo: to prophesy truly but never be believed. That in service to the truth he chooses to soldier on regardless (I am not the only one who would long since have moved on to fresh woods and pastures new) has been virtually the only uplifting element in this disheartening thread.

Brian said...

Jordanes,
I read through Ad Petri Cathedram and re-read Unitatis Redintegratio. I would like to discuss these with you, but need to give it more thought. If you don’t mind, I would like to ask you some clarifying questions.

You provide this definition of Catholic ecumenism:

Catholic ecumenism consists of the Church's efforts to aid separated Christians in understanding and accepting the Catholic faith so that they may be fully and properly united to their Mother, the Catholic Church.

Where did you find that definition of Catholic ecumenism?

You wrote that Catholic ecumenism falls under the broader umbrella of "evangelisation" and is specifically directed toward helping non-Catholic Christians enter into the unity that Christ ensures the Catholic Church has always had and will always have. That is explicitly what Vatican II's decree Unitatis Redintegratio teaches.

Would you assert that your above statements provide a fair summation of Unitatis Redintegratio?

Do you view see differences between Ad Petri Cathedram and Unitatis Redintegratio in there respective teaching on the Catholic Church's approach to Protestants?

What Cardinal are you referring to in the following quote, and what did he write that leads you to make this comment?

“I should add that an excellent discourse on Catholic ecumenism may be found in Blessed John XXIII's 1959 encyclical Ad Petri Cathedram, part III. It's really the touchstone for authentic ecumenism . . . and there's a certain Roman Cardinal who might benefit from re-reading it.”

Finally, I do not see where Pope John XXIII referred to Ad Petri Cathedram as a discourse on Catholic ecumenism. Am I missing something?

Jordanes said...

Where did you find that definition of Catholic ecumenism?

It's a precis of Unitatis Redintegratio, and in particular cf. UR no. 4.

Would you assert that your above statements provide a fair summation of Unitatis Redintegratio?

Not only would I, but that's what I did assert.

Do you view see differences between Ad Petri Cathedram and Unitatis Redintegratio in there respective teaching on the Catholic Church's approach to Protestants?

Differences, obviously. Contradictions, no.

What Cardinal are you referring to in the following quote, and what did he write that leads you to make this comment?

His surname starts with a K, ends with an r, and rhymes with Kasper. I'll have to supply a few of his words later (though I suspect you already know some of them) -- time to tuck the kids in.

Finally, I do not see where Pope John XXIII referred to Ad Petri Cathedram as a discourse on Catholic ecumenism.

He didn't.

Am I missing something?

I don't know.

Jordanes said...

Tortured readings of plain words, resort to theories of signification and implication worthy of Leo Strauss, hints of pharisaism, and more than hints of triumphalism—all these are to be found in comments by Jordanes and Mr. DeLano.

You've certainly found nothing of the sort in anything I or Mr. De Lano have posted in this commentbox.

These features are the trim to a central characteristic: a refusal to accept evidence contrary to a position to which they are wedded

No, it's a pointing out that no such evidence has been provided even though we've challenged the interlocutor to produce it.

The position to which I am wedded is that the Catholic Church is indefectible, and that therefore truth and authority in her can never been separated.

The refusal shows every sign of being rooted in emotional, ideological, and psychological soil, not that of the Faith tout court.

I've had to wonder the same thing of the opposite party.

Mr. McFarland has a habit of making pronouncements calling in question the Pope's faith and the integrity of the Catholic Church's magisterium. He may back up what he says, or else issue a retraction, and/or avoid saying such things in the future.

John McFarland said...

M. Claudel,

Take it easy: we've been at this longer than some (most? all?) of these guys have been alive; and when we were their age, we were pretty much without a clue. Indeed, I was north of 55 before I had my first clue.

Anonymous 16:39,

If (for example) collegiality cannot be made consistent with the doctrine of Vatican I, is it Protestant to note that contradiction? And if it is, how shall we resolve it? If the Pope says that it's all a part of the hermeneutic of continuity, does that mean that we have to accept the contradiction? If so, why?

Ever think about what "hermeneutic of continuity" means? Usually when you defend some thesis, you adduce evidence for the thesis. For example, when devotees of free market economics defend their theories, they don't begin by proclaiming a "hermeneutic of free markets." Why? Because the opposition will promptly reply: do we look like idiots? Do you think that we're going to accept as a principle of interpretation that we always think like free marketers?

When M. Claudel and I were young, there was current in our set a jocular epitome of German idealist philosophy, complete with movie Nazi accent: "Reality, you vill obey mine orders!" I'm reminded of it when our German (and German idealist) pope talks of continuity, and fails again and again and again to demonstrate any -- or even really to try. Can you find me a statement of his about continuity that actually says anything beyond insisting that there is continuity?

Jordanes,

You don't understand what's at stake here. You have to go sit at the feet of Archbishop Lefebvre and his spiritual sons until you understand what they are saying, and then we can talk.

Anonymous said...

Jordanes,
You ask, and I quote, "That is, you must establish that it is possible to embrace the truth while rejecting the authorities that Christ has established in His Church."

Please consider the following (I have paraphrased from another author):

The axiom Qui cum regula ambulat, tuto ambulat — “He who walks with the rule, walks safely.” Pope Gregory IX left eleven rules and Boniface VIII eighty-eight for the true interpretation of the law.

These rules, according to Canon 20 (1917 code), can supply the defect of the rule in a particular case, as in the case we presently find ourselves.

Consequently, the fourth rule of Gregory IX expressly states: Propter necessitatem, illicitum efficitur licitum — “Necessity makes licit what is illicit.”

Rule 88 of Boniface VIII also expressly states Certum est quod is committit in legem qui legem verbum complectens contra legis nititur — “It is certain that one sins against the rule who adheres to the letter and leaves aside the spirit.”

Jordanes said...

You don't understand what's at stake here.

Oh yes, I do, Mr. McFarland. I'm not sure you do.

You have to go sit at the feet of Archbishop Lefebvre and his spiritual sons until you understand what they are saying, and then we can talk.

No, I don't. They are not the Magisterium. And again is noted your failure to substantiate your assertions regarding the Pope's encyclicals.

Jordanes said...

The infamous quotes from Cardinal Kasper I had in mind:

“The Catholic commitment to ecumenism is not based on wanting to draw all Christians into the Catholic fold, nor does it seek to create a new church, drawing on the best of each of the ecumenical partners.”

The second part of his statement is correct, but the first part is mistaken. It's certainly not what Unitatis Redintegratio and Ad Petri Cathedram would lead one to believe.

“Today we no longer understand ecumenism in the sense of a return, by which the others would ‘be converted’ and return to being ‘catholics.’ This was expressly abandoned by Vatican II.”

With quite a lot of qualification and explanation, this can be shown to not necessarily contradict Church teaching, but the prima facie meaning is erroneous -- there was no such express abandonment by Vatican II of this understanding of ecumenism. Pope Benedict has offered a definition of "ecumenism of return" that kind of saves Cardinal Kasper's neck, but nevertheless the statement's obvious meaning is contrary to the Church's faith.

Jordanes said...

as in the case we presently find ourselves.

Assuming what you must prove, but be that as it may . . . .

This shows that one can be justified in rejecting the authoritative teaching of the Church?

Consequently, the fourth rule of Gregory IX expressly states: Propter necessitatem, illicitum efficitur licitum — “Necessity makes licit what is illicit.”

How does that establish that truth and authority can be wholly separated in the Catholic Church such that one may disregard all Catholic teaching authority in order to adhere to the truth?

Anonymous said...

“But what if some error spring up concerning which nothing of this kind is to be found? Then he must take pains to find out and compare the opinions of the ancients, provided, of course, that such remained in the communion and faith of the One Catholic Church, although they lived in different times and places, conspicuous and approved teachers; and whatever he shall find to have been held, written and taught, not by one or two only, but by all equally and with one consent, openly, frequently and persistently, that he must understand is to be believed by himself also without the slightest hesitation.“
St. Vincent of Lerins, “The Commonitory,“ tr. by T. Herbert Bindley (London: SPCK, 1914), book 1, chapter 2, no. 6-8, pp. 26-28.




When the present day leadership fails we are to look to the fathers

Anonymous said...

Another NO missal coming, promising deeper meaning.

http://www.usccb.org/romanmissal/

Mar said...

Jordanes,

When I said: "Why is there a feeling that we are going around in circles?" that was a rhetorical
question. It referred to the following sequence:

You give two definitions of ecumenism and then by your elaboration and qualification make it clear that in fact only one of those is valid. Note that you specifically said that if the proper end of ecumenism is absent it is *not* ecumenism. Well and good.

In your next post, however, you seem quite happy to return to the two definition version again. I call that going around in circles.

Anyway, you chose to answer my question by saying: "Because you don't like the fact that what the Church means by ecumenism isn't what non-Catholics or even many Catholics mean by ecumenism." Sorry, but you are not allowed to impute likes and dislikes to me - you simply are not in a position to know. Besides, what has the alleged dislike to do with going around in circles? Rhetorical again - the answer is: nothing.

As for your own position, I suppose that if you don't see any problem with the whole question
of ecumenism you would not appreciate the catastrophic scandal of someone who is the
President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity saying things like: “The
Catholic commitment to ecumenism is not based on wanting to draw all Christians into the
Catholic fold..." and “Today we no longer understand ecumenism in the sense of a return, by which the others would ‘be converted’ and return to being ‘catholics.’ This was expressly abandoned by Vatican II.”

So if the choice is between what Jordanes says ecumenism is and what the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity says ecumenism is, who do you think will have more influence with the majority of ordinary catholics?

And will you, Jordanes, have the courage of your convictions? Will you stand up to a Prince of the Church - precisely the one who is in charge of ecumenism - and tell him he's wrong about ecumenism?

Perhaps not. Perhaps better to leave that sort of thing to the SPPX.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Jordanes said...

When I said: "Why is there a feeling that we are going around in circles?" that was a rhetorical
question. It referred to the following sequence:


Thanks. I knew what you were referring to.

In your next post, however, you seem quite happy to return to the two definition version again. I call that going around in circles.

I'm acknowledging what the word "means," that is, how it is frequently or regularly used. I can't help it that people use "ecumenism" for things that are not really ecumenical, or that what the Catholic Church means by "ecumenism" isn't what others mean by that word.

Sorry, but you are not allowed to impute likes and dislikes to me - you simply are not in a position to know.

Okay, I'll grant that perhaps you do like it that what the Church means by ecumenism isn't what non-Catholics or even many Catholics mean by ecumenism. ;-)

As for your own position, I suppose that if you don't see any problem with the whole question
of ecumenism you would not appreciate the catastrophic scandal of someone who is the
President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity saying things like: “The
Catholic commitment to ecumenism is not based on wanting to draw all Christians into the
Catholic fold..." and “Today we no longer understand ecumenism in the sense of a return, by which the others would ‘be converted’ and return to being ‘catholics.’ This was expressly abandoned by Vatican II.”


Your statement is a collosal non sequitur.

So if the choice is between what Jordanes says ecumenism is and what the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity says ecumenism is, who do you think will have more influence with the majority of ordinary catholics?

This must be another of your rhetorical questions.

And will you, Jordanes, have the courage of your convictions? Will you stand up to a Prince of the Church - precisely the one who is in charge of ecumenism - and tell him he's wrong about ecumenism?

Certainly. Next time I see him, I plan to direct his attention to key passages of APC and UR, and invite him to refine his comments and statements so that they're more in line with the Church's formal declarations on the subject.

You also might be edified by a brush up on those two documents.

Perhaps not. Perhaps better to leave that sort of thing to the SPPX.

Perhaps. Perhaps not.