Rorate Caeli

Wishes Unfulfilled

About 26 years ago, Yves Congar (d. 1995), one of the most influential theologians of the last century and a luminary at Vatican II, expressed three wishes at the conclusion of a colloquium on Paul VI (Paul VI et la modernite dans l'Eglise, Rome, 1984). "Paul VI and John Paul II have pronounced words and made gestures of great significance, which call for some follow-up. When Paul VI puts his own pastoral ring on the finger of Michael Ramsay and has him bless the crowd with him, when John Paul II in the cathedral of Canterbury appears small at the side of Robert Runcie in miter and with crozier, does that leave intact Leo XIII's bull which proclaimed the nullity of Anglican ordinations? Under Pius XII, the least of my writings was submitted to Roman censure and they wanted me to say "the so-called (Anglican) bishop". How do things stand today?"
In 1983 when those lines were written, it was widely anticipated in ecumenical circles that the Catholic Church would "move beyond" the bull Apostolicae Curae of Leo XIII. But in 2009 when Benedict XVI's apostolic constitution established personal ordinariates for former Anglicans, it was said that Anglican ministers would be ordained to the priesthood absolutely (not conditionally), in accord with the bull Apostolicae Curae of Leo XIII.
Congar continued, "At the time of the anniversary of the martyrdom of Peter and Paul, in 1967, Paul VI composed, signed and carried to Constantinople-Istanbul the admirable letter Anno ineunte. There he speaks of the Orthodox Churches and the Roman Church as "sister Churches". But if that is the case, can the Roman Church still call herself "mother and mistress, Mater et magistra"?"
26 years later, the answer to that question is, "Yes, she can." In 2000 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith addressed a letter to the world's presidents of episcopal conferences to clarify that properly speaking the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church cannot be called "sister Churches". And since then, the use of the expression "sister Churches" to describe the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church has gradually been disappearing. (Of course, the See of Constantinople, although occupied for centuries by objective schismatics, can be called a sister to the Church of Rome, but not the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church.)
Congar again: "When John Paul II came to Paris and received the representatives of the other Churches . . . he alluded to the 450th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession, and he said, "I live it intensely. Someone is living it in me." And so, what consequences should be drawn?"
The consequence which Congar may have wished to draw was a Catholic "reception" of the Confession of Augsburg. One hears less talk of this in 2009. It is true that Cardinal Cassidy signed the Joint Declaration with the Lutheran World Federation in 1999 and this has been repeatedly lauded by John Paul II and Benedict XVI. However, no one can say for sure what the exact canonical status of this document is, and its Annex admits that the two dialogue partners do not use the key concept of "concupiscence" in the same sense, which inadvertently constitutes an admission that when the Catholic signer said Lutherans can, without condemnation by Trent, say "concupiscence is truly sin" even though Trent said it is not properly speaking sin, he was turning the Joint Declaration into the Joint Equivocation, at least on that point.
Congar concluded his remarks as follows, "For the anniversary of the Council of Constantinople of 381, which gave us the Creed without "Filioque", John Paul II declared three times that the text of 381 is normative. Does that not call for some measure to be taken, in no way revolutionary, and for which I have passed on to him a written suggestion of a possible formula? So there are some examples of ideas which call for translation into the concrete. That would require some tries and some time, obviously . . ."
26 years later, we are still reciting the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed with the Filioque rather than any formula of Yves Congar's devising. It is good to remind ourselves from time to time of Pope Eugene IV's definition of the Filioque, signed by dozens of Greek bishops too, at the Council of Florence in 1439: "With this sacred universal Council of Florence approving we define that this truth of faith is to be believed and received by all Christians, and that all profess together thusly: that the Holy Spirit is eternally from the Father and the Son, and has his essence and subsisting being from the Father and at the same time from the Son, and proceeds eternally from both as from one principle and one spiration; . . . All things which are of the Father, the Father himself gave by generating to the only-begotten Son, except being Father, and this very fact that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son, the Son eternally has from the Father . . ."

37 comments:

Iosephus said...

Good stuff! Ah, the glories of the Vatican II theologians!

Anonymous said...

"the two dialogue partners do not use the key concept of "concupiscence" in the same sense, which inadvertently constitutes an admission that when the Catholic signer said Lutherans can, without condemnation by Trent, say "concupiscence is truly sin" even though Trent said it is not properly speaking sin, he was turning the Joint Declaration into the Joint Equivocation, at least on that point."

Possibly, but the Orthodox use it this way to. A better formulation might be "concupiscence is sinFULNESS" but not personal sin in itself. That's how I hear Orthodox English-speakers starting to formulate it. "Sinfulness" or "sinful nature" as distinct from actual personal "sin". But it's easy to see how that could get tangled up in semantics.

Anonymous said...

From what I've gleaned talking to the Orthodox, we're really talking about two different things when it comes to the filioque. They apparently think we're talking about the Origin of the Holy Spirit's ESSENCE which, indeed, can only originate from the Father as it is obviously nothing other than the Divine Essence itself.

Whereas Catholics are talking about the origin of the Holy Spirit's distinction of HYPOSTASIS from the other two persons, which clearly requires logical reference to the Son in order to distinguish Him from the Son.

Hence why the phrase "through the Son" is acceptable to them. Because the Essence has its Origin in the Father (who is Source Without Source), He communicates it directly to the Son, and together they communicate it to the Spirit. But that doesnt change that the Origin of the Essence, which is the Father alone. The Father may communicate the Essence to the Holy Spirit THROUGH the Son, but the Son does not originate a new essence or change the essence in doing so, only the Father originates the Divine Essence.

However, that's not what we Catholics are talking about when we say "filioque". We're not talking about the Holy Spirit essentially, we're talking about Him hypostatically. And the Hypostasis very clearly is differentiated by the fact that the Son receives the Divine Essence from the Father immediately, whereas the Holy Spirit receives it through the Son.

And, hence, Father and Son can be said to be one principle, not of the Holy Spirit's essence (which indeed is originated in the Father alone) but rather of the Holy Spirit's distinction as Hypostasis.

So perhaps it can be said: the Father AND the Son are one principle of spiration of the distinct HYPOSTASIS of the Holy Spirit exactly because the Divine ESSENCE, which originates in the Father Alone, is communicated to the Spirit THROUGH the Son.

An analogy is perhaps found (as the Fathers often found it) in the Creation of Adam and Eve. Human Nature is the creation of God alone. Adam received Human Nature from God directly, but Human Nature originates in the mind of God alone. Eve received Human nature THROUGH Adam. So, speaking of Eve in terms of her Essence, it (ie, human nature) originated only in God Alone (though it was communicated THROUGH Adam). On the other hand, speaking of Eve in terms of her individual PERSON, then God and Adam can be said to be, in a certain sense, one principle in the coming forth of Eve (though its a little bit different here as Adam supplied the passive matter while God supplied the active form)...

LeonG said...

If anyone knew about concupiscence it was Luther. But for Congar the worst sine for him was described in his dubious work "L'Egise Catholique et France Moderne" (1978).

" The most unpardonable sin, therefore, is 'ecclesiocentrism,' the Church concerned above all about herself, her growth, her unity, instead of being concerned about serving the growth and unity of men."

I am sure he would be most satisfied today with a church riven with compromise, systemic division and liturgical anarchy. This is the model he helped to create. That he should have been made a cardinal alongside his modernist contemporaries de Lubac, Danielou and von Balthasar reflects an imploding post-conciliar institution.

Anonymous said...

"26 years later, we are still reciting the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed with the Filioque rather than any formula of Yves Congar's devising."

I wish we were... in Canada hardly anyone ever says it, we say the Apostles' at Mass instead. Twice priests have explained to me how that doing so is less "divisive" – presumably between those who believe the Nicene Creed and those who don't.

AM

wheat4paradise said...

It is fun to watch the dreams of these revolutionaries being brought to ruin.

Anonymous said...

That quote is quite harmless by itself. I think I quite agree with him: the Church can't always be looking inside of Herself...She has to go out and bring all nations to Her Founder.

jap

Anonymous said...

Theological nitpicking aside, the Orthodox continue to profess what the Savior taught, i.e. " ... even the Spirit of Truth, Who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness to Me" Jn. 15:26.

John McFarland said...

So I guess Cardinal Congar, one of the great figures of V2, of which PJP II and the current Holy Father were and are staunch supporters, will have to continue to rest content with the 95% of the loaf that he's had for forty-odd years, and not the 99% of the loaf he (like anyone) would have liked to have had.

Those who take comfort from this fact are altogether too easily comforted.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post. Just a few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a man with an advanced degree in theology who insisted that Anglicans are only conditionally reordained. This post shows that things are being sorted out one issue at a time. God is in His Holy Church.

Andrew said...

Not to be overly technical, but the statement about absolute priestly ordinations was made in the article after the constitution, by Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, S.I; not the constitution itself or the accompanying norms.

Joe B said...

Can't buy it, anon. Just a quick scan through scripture says you're dead wrong. The Son sends the Holy Ghost (Luke 24:49; John 15:26; 16:7; 20:22; Acts 2:33; Titus 3:6), just as the Father sends the Son (Romans 3:3; etc.), and as the Father sends the Holy Ghost (John 14:26).

And, of course, the Orthodox do not "continue" to teach squat. Even the Greek Orthodox grant that the Latin Fathers maintain the Procession of the Holy Ghost from the Son. Just a sampling:

The dogmatic letter of St. Leo I to Turribius, Bishop of Astorga, Epistle 15 (447);
The Athanasian Creed;
Several councils held at Toledo in the years 447, 589 (III), 675 (XI), 693 (XVI);
The letter of Pope Hormisdas to the Emperor Justius, Ep. lxxix (521);
St. Martin I's synodal utterance against the Monothelites, 649-655;
Pope Adrian I's answer to the Caroline Books, 772-795;
The Synods of Mérida (666), Braga (675), and Hatfield (680);
The writing of Pope Leo III (d. 816) to the monks of Jerusalem;
The letter of Pope Stephen V (d. 891) to the Moravian King Suentopolcus (Suatopluk), Ep. xiii;
The symbol of Pope Leo IX (d. 1054);
The Fourth Lateran Council, 1215;
The Second Council of Lyons, 1274; and the
Council of Florence, 1439.

You've betrayed your own fathers, anon.

Anonymous said...

Andrew:

Many of the TAC clerics have been valildly ordained by Old Catholic Bishops' participation in their ordinations. So Fr. Ghirlandia's remark should probably be taken as a general declaration only.

We still have no guidelines on how these new Anglicatholic clerics will come across. I'm guessing that they'll be 'vetted' by the Latin bishops of each episcopal conference and ordained by the bishop of the place where they are to be assigned. It's sad that they'll have to be ordained according to the N.O. Ordinal but, I wonder, can they ask for the Traditional one or even the Sarum Ordinal? I'd have to re-check S.P. I'm wondering if the old Ordinal is back as an 'extraordinary form', to use the false category from the Mass.

It is also possible that the TAC leaders will be ordained in Rome (by the Pope or some cardinal) and will then ordain their own clergy. Hmm.

P.K.T.P.



P.K.T.P.

Paulus said...

“The Church has had, peacefully, its October revolution.”

Yves Congar, O.P. quoted by Father George de Nantes, CRC, no. 113, p.3

Anonymous said...

"Theological nitpicking aside, the Orthodox continue to profess what the Savior taught, i.e. " ... even the Spirit of Truth, Who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness to Me""

But are you predicating essentially, or hypostatically??

Anonymous said...

"Theological nitpicking aside, the Orthodox continue to profess what the Savior taught, i.e. " ... even the Spirit of Truth, Who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness to Me" Jn. 15:26."

I think the whole issue about the Filioque is not that the Orthodox would grant their Latin brethren the benefit of the doubt that some of their Eastern Fathers agree with the Filioque. Not so... I find in many Orthodox blogs the insecurity and the plain closed mindedness to anything the Western Tradition or the Roman See would say...

The Latins can grant that the Creed maybe recited without the Filioque. But the Orthodox will not tolerate the Latins to extrapolate the Creed... The Orthodox always cite Pope Leo III as one who was against the Filioque forgetting the fact that even though he opposed adding the filioque to the Creed, he nevertheless agreed to its doctrine.

Take note that the First Council of Constantinople "added" to the original creed of Nicea even though it was not attended by any Western bishop or legate. But the Latins accept the Creed they gave as a valid formulation and development of the doctrine of the Trinity. Such development is similar with the West's extrapolation of the Creed in the context of the Arian onslaught on western lands considering that the doctrine of the filioque is something acceptable to some of the Eastern Fathers before the Photian schism.


Of course, the Orthodox will have none of this. They would easily label their Latin brethren as heretics regarding this part. What it boils down as I see is their issue with Papal authority and prerogatives, and their sheer insecurity with anything coming from the successors to the Apostolic Throne of St. Peter

--Patrick Bonaventure de la Cruz

Anonymous said...

There is a positively amazing interview with Cardinal Kasper, alias Mr. Sour Grapes, here:

http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=11574

I'd ask the moderators to post it and not that it is short. It is hilarious and will afford us a wonderful opportunity to rip this liberal joke to pieces before the Pope retires him to the nursing home where he belongs.

He has the unmitigated gall to claim that the TAC is trying to leave a train which has already left the station and that, since it is 'technically' not Anglican, it really has no right to join Rome under the new ordinariates! Yes, that's right. The new ordinariates aren't for the TAC. No, they're for who? FiF, which STILL hasn't voted to accept them? For unnamed splinter groups. Tell me another, Cardinal. We all need a good laugh.

The nerve of these bastards is beyond belief. I wonder how long he's been taking lithium.

We could also have a wild good laugh over his claims that œcumenism between the Arch-Druid of Canterbury and the Pope could't be healthier. The claim would make a cat laugh.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

This man was a heretic. He was silenced and his books placed on the Index during the reign of the great Pius XII, whom this man hurls subtle insults at.

All of his "wishes", expressed in his hopes for relations with Protestants was a disgrace, and the gesture of Paul VI putting his own ring on the finger of an Anglican "Archbishop" was not only shocking, but a complete betrayal of Roman Catholic tradition and practice and belief. John Paul II was no better....kissing the ring of the "Archbishop of Canturbury" shortly before his own death. I think it was in 2004, when the present occupant of Canturbury visited JP II in the Vatican. Outrageous!

Also, this week marks the 40th anniversary of the implementation and introduction of the disasterious "Protestantized" Novus Ordo by Paul VI. The results of which after 40 years are the liturgical desert and empty Churches, seminaries, monasteries, convents we have today.

THat Yves Congar was made a Cardinal by John Paul II speaks volumns about John Paul II's own theology and belief system. He was definitly not "saint material", although a decent and holy man.

Yet, his actions, and his support of people like this Yves Congar was a disaster for the Catholic Church. I am sorry that Benedict XVI does not have the 26+ years necessary to undo the 26+ years of misguided rule of JP II.
One hopeful fact is that nearly all those who hold to the vision of "Vatican II" and the beliefs of Yves Congar are either dead, retired, or on the point of retirement with no "young blood" to step in and fill their place.

I pray that Benedict XVI has another 5 years at least left to his reign....enough time for MOST of the John Paul II Cardinals....and a good percentage of his bishops...to pass off the scene on to retirement.

Anonymous said...

These Anglicans must be re-ordained "ABSOLUTELY", not only conditionally.

There is ABSOLUTELY nothing of their Anglican ordination rite (for either priests or bishops), which is valid.

Observer said...

Yves Congar was trying to grapple with theology, to fathom as much of the unfathomable as possible - the nature of God, creation, redemption and salvation. For his efforts he was rewarded by the Church and recognised as a prince.

It would seem that "traditionalists" disparage theology because they are generally simple-minded people who find anything beyond the Baltimore Catechism too complex. They seem more interested in other matters. Such things as the evils of trousers, the number of spoonfuls of incense permitted at Mass, what kind of structure the SSPX might have in a traditionalist wonderland, condemning Jews and, well, condemning everyone really, including each other.

Gideon Ertner said...

"The most unpardonable sin, therefore, is 'ecclesiocentrism,' the Church concerned above all about herself, her growth, her unity, instead of being concerned about serving the growth and unity of men."

Is this really an authentic statement by Congar? If so, to me it betrays an absolute lack of faith in the Catholic Church as the only, or even primary, means of salvation of mankind.

Only in the Church can men truly grow, and only in the Church is achieved the true unity of mankind. This is the sacramental character of the Church. Thus the only way to truly achieve these things are through the growth and unity of the Church. But to Yves Congar, to believe this is apparently the gravest sin imaginable.

Incredible.

Anonymous said...

In the East the tradition of despising West is long established, and you can't say that it is unfounded.

In the 1st Millenium, when the Byzantine Empire was alive and kicking, enjoying some continuity with the ancient Roman Empire, the West was dead. Rome has fallen, hordes of barbarians were devastating what once was Western Empire and Christianity wasn't religion of the commoners.

In such circumstances you can be hardly surprised that the Christian life, practice and theology concentrated in the East and was superior to the Western thought, coming from a second-world province.

http://www.stpaulsirvine.org/html/TheGreatSchism.htm

Anonymous said...

Gideon Ertner,

I would recommend you reading the diary of Fr Congar. Is is awful, scandalous, full of swearing, curses, hate towards "mariolatry", Holy Office, "Roman hydra" etc. I don't know whether it is available in English, though.

Then you will have a picture of an angry, passionate (if not outrightly possessed) man, literally hating preconciliar Church and authority.

John McFarland said...

Mr. Ertner,

I can't vouch for the authenticity of the quote from Cardinal Congar, but they are certainly his sentiments.

And note that he was Cardinal Congar. He was greatly honored by the conciliar Church. The reason for this is the usual one: those who honored him pretty much agreed with him.

He was, to be sure, more forthright than those in positions of authority. But do not confuse the disinclination of, say, PJP II and B XVI to be as blunt, with not agreeing with him. If you read their own works, you will find a very definite subordination of the Church to the world.

Is not a fair interpretation of "integral human development" that the Church must serve humanity?

For every line of the Holy Father about heaven, how many lines would you suppose he has written about helping humanity? Since he almost never talks about the former, the ratio would probably be quite eye-popping.

As Kent says to King Lear: see better, Lear.

John McFarland said...

Anonymous 15:45,

The Byzantine Empire very rapidly devolved in a christianized oriental despotism, and the quality of its religion in theory and practice followed the same trajectory.

Catholics in the West have traditionally not paid much attention to the East after the fourth or fifth century, because there's not much to pay attention to, not to mention Constantinople's continuing penchant for heresy and the drift into defilement of the clerical state and schism.

Note, too, that I speak of Constantinople because every place in the East not under its control was gone into heresy in very short order. Those who view the Mohammedan incursion as punishment for the sins of the East have a pretty good case.

With all due respect to the great Greek fathers, Augustine and Herome and Benedict and Gregory were their superiors, and the discrepancy only changed to worsen.

The notion that the "Orthodox" are the heirs to a superior Christianity can fairly if not kindly be described as laughable.

There are those who are proud and smart. The "Orthodox" are just proud; and that's all they've been for a very, very long time. Even Fortescue, who was a great enough fan of the Eastern Church to seriously consider becoming a Melkite, didn't mince words on the stubborn obscurantism of "Orthodoxy."

Anonymous said...

Here is the incredible interview of Kasper at Virtue On-line, which some exceprts omitted:


By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The establishment of special structures for Anglicans who want to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church absolutely is not a signal of the end of ecumenical dialogue with the Anglican Communion, said the Vatican's chief ecumenist.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, ... said the visit Nov. 19-22 of Archbishop Rowan Williams ... to the Vatican "demonstrates that there has been no rupture and reaffirms our common desire to talk to one another at a historically important moment." ...

The Vatican said the establishment of the "personal ordinariates" -- structures similar to dioceses -- was a response to repeated requests from Anglican individuals and groups, who saw their hopes for full Anglican-Roman Catholic unity blocked by the acceptance of women priests and bishops, the ordination of openly gay bishops and the blessing of homosexual unions in some provinces of the Anglican Communion.

In an interview ... Cardinal Kasper said that the papal provision is not anti-ecumenical....

"Let's stick to the facts. A group of Anglicans freely and legitimately asked to enter the Catholic Church. It was not our initiative," he said.

The desire of some Anglicans to seek full communion and the pope's response are direct results of the Second Vatican Council and of 40 years of Catholic-Anglican dialogue [hilarious!], which demonstrated to both sides just how much they have common despite 450 years of separation, he said.... [However, says Kasper:}

"People do not become Catholic just because they disagree with the choices of their own confession," he said.

It would be wrong to assume that most Anglicans who disagree with the ordination of women or the acceptance of homosexuality will want to enter the Catholic Church, he said, because many of them come from the evangelical, or more Protestant, wing of the Anglican Communion....

Cardinal Kasper also spoke about the Traditional Anglican Communion, a group that claims more than 400,000 members ....

The cardinal said that while the TAC leaders asked the Vatican two years ago to find a way for them to join the Catholic Church, they did not participate in the conversations that led to the pope's recent provision [but who did? He doesn't say because none of them did!].

"Now, however, they are jumping on a train [!!!} that already has left the station. If they are sincere, OK, the doors are open. But we cannot close our eyes to the fact that they have not been in communion with Canterbury since 1992" and therefore are not technically leaving the Anglican Communion [!!!] to join the Roman Catholic Church, he said.

John L said...

Mr. McFarland:

Do you dispute that John Paul II, who made Congar a cardinal, had a strong devotion to Our Lady and encouraged Marian devotion? Congar on the other hand had a maniacal hatred of all Marian devotion. It is thus not fair to accuse those who made Congar a cardinal of basically agreeing with him. It is rather a case of living in a world of delusion where the crimes of Congar and his like are just not seen or admitted, because to see and admit them would be to acknowledge the failure (or better, the nonexistence) of the project of conciliar 'renewal'.

Congar by the way is a very interesting study. His works are learned and contain information of great interest; they also contain affirmations of Catholic truth - mixed with denials of these truths, expressed in ambiguous terms. He was a much more dangerous man than the original modernists like George Tyrrell, due to his learning and the subtlety of his attack on the faith.

Gideon Ertner said...

John McF,

Spot on on the Easterners.

As to the post before that: I really have not read enough of JPII to gather a definite impression. I have, though, read quite a bit of BXVI. I have yet to find a single statement which supports your claim that he would "subordinate the Church to the world." On the contrary, my impression is of a man who clearly believes that the mission of the Church is to continue the work of Christ upon the Earth and bring men to faith in Him. This of course requires that we pay attention to the bodily as well as the spiritual needs of man and work to improve both, as the Church has always done, for this is an important consequence of the commandment of love of neighbour. However, I remember that he was very emphatic on denouncing purely materialistic conceptions of charitable work in Deus Caritas Est.

I neither can nor will give you any quotes now and here, but rather ask that you read some of his works again with an open mind. I am sorry if it is not true, but I do harbour a suspicion that you are misunderstanding him because you want to misunderstand him.

Jordanes said...

Is not a fair interpretation of "integral human development" that the Church must serve humanity?

Yes. Our Lord came not to be served, but to serve. His Church follows His example. If the Church does not serve humanity, the Church is not the Church.

For every line of the Holy Father about heaven, how many lines would you suppose he has written about helping humanity?

Probably about as many of the former as the latter. There is no Christian hope of heaven without helping humanity, as Jesus taught in Matthew 25.

Since he almost never talks about the former

You simply haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about.

See better, Mr. McFarland. Or better yet: see.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"Catholics in the West have traditionally not paid much attention to the East after the fourth or fifth century, because there's not much to pay attention to..."

Please read this:

http://jcrao.freeshell.org/Is%20the%20Pope%20Greek


"With all due respect to the great Greek fathers, Augustine and Herome and Benedict and Gregory were their superiors, and the discrepancy only changed to worsen..."

It is not for you to make this judgment, Mr. McFarland. And you are obviously ignorant of the fact that SS. Benedict and Gregory the Great looked up to Eastern monasticism as to a model.

Do not let your distaste for the Eastern Orthodox blind you to the glories of the Eastern Church Fathers.

John McFarland said...

Mr. Palad,

You miss my point.

Of course the West admired the Greek Fathers. Their works were in Latin almost immediately.

It's the following centuries that are the issue. I am not very knowledgeable about these things, but you don't have to know much to know that it was largely downhill from there: the Emperor as the 13th Apostle, miscellaneous additional heresies culminating in iconoclasm, the the defilement of the non-monastic clergy, the theologization of the political and cultural estangement by Photius, and finally rejection of the papal authority that they had eloquently upheld in centuries before, followed by centuries of collaboration with the Ottoman Empire.

The Greek schismatics are blind and stubborn. They have been that way for better than a millennium (St. Gregory the Great was already handling them with kid gloves), and show no signs of changing. Above all, they are schismatic. Their faith does not save. Their sacraments do not save.

We have long since adopted most if not all of what their great figures had to teach us, which was a great deal indeed. But we were all Catholics then. We are not all Catholics now.

John McFarand said...

Jordanes,

I think we may finally have got to the nub of it all.

The Church in the first instance exists, like everything else that exists, to give honor and glory to its Creator. Its service to man consists of bringing those who believe to salvation, and thereby enable them to give honor and glory to God for all eternity.

Now what I need to figure out is whether you accept what I've said above, which is nothing more or less than de fide.

If you do not accept it, you are in effect a disciple of (among others) Cardinal Congar, except that you think that the TLM is a better way for the Church to serve man than the Novus Ordo.

If you do accept it, then you owe me an explanation of why this basic element of the Faith is, to put the matter as kindly as possible, downplayed in the conciliar Church?

John McFarland said...

Mr. Ertner,

Let me start at the same place as I do in a response I just made to Jordanes.

Everything created exists to give honor and glory to God its Creator.

The Church serves men by enabling them to be saved, so that they can give honor and glory to God from all eternity.

If one does not believe this, he is no Catholic. If he ignores it or downplay it, he is at best a disoriented Catholic.

Now I submit that when one reads the works of the Holy Father, it is very difficult to avoid the conclusion that at best he downplays the primacy of God.

Rather, God seems to function, so far as man is concerned, at any rate, to obtain the perfection of man; and that perfection does not seem to track back to his giving honor and glory to God.

Now in the days before I came to tradition, when I read the encyclicals of PJP II (and I read them all), I implicitly assumed that it all tracked back to the primacy of giving honor and glory to God.

But once I no longer assumed it, I found that I could not demonstrate it. PJP II didn't say that God was in the service of man, but he came mighty close.

Nor did it begin with him. In his famous closing address to V1, Pope Paul spoke of the Church being in the service of man. The Latin is much stronger: the relevant words could be read as meaning devotees or even worshippers of man. Be that as it may, the speech did not go on to tie this back to the obligation to give honor and glory to God.

I think that any evaluation of the teaching of the conciliar Popes must start with the question: why so little about the primacy of honor and glory to God?

The first and greatest commandment is that you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. But since 1962, it doesn't not seem to be receiving the primacy that one would expect for the first and greatest.

Anonymous said...

Mr. McFarland writes, "But since 1962, it doesn't not seem to be receiving the primacy that one would expect for the first and greatest."

You are right and it started even before 1962. I was reading "Iota Unum" last night and found in the social teaching section the French and Italian Bishops and later Pope John 23 started to write in the ambiguous manner, even denying Catholic immemorial teaching to appeal to the communists and labour unions. Prof. Romero was not kind to the writing and cited writings from the late 1950s and one encyclical.

I apologize to the readers that I don't have chapter and verse at hand for your reference. I would hope that anyone with the book can easily study the matter first hand.

Jordanes said...

Its service to man consists of bringing those who believe to salvation, and thereby enable them to give honor and glory to God for all eternity.

Yes, but not entirely. It also consists of loving its enemies, even if they never come to belief and remain among the sons of perdition. And loving your neighbor means more than saying, "Be warm and filled."

Now what I need to figure out is whether you accept what I've said above, which is nothing more or less than de fide.

All you need to know is that I am, by God's grace, a Catholic. You figure out everything else from that.

If you do accept it, then you owe me an explanation of why this basic element of the Faith is, to put the matter as kindly as possible, downplayed in the conciliar Church?

I don't see how it follows that my accepting a central Catholic belief obligates me to explain to you something for which I am not responsible. The only thing I owe you -- and that all men owe each other -- is Christian charity.

Jordanes said...

Now I submit that when one reads the works of the Holy Father, it is very difficult to avoid the conclusion that at best he downplays the primacy of God.

And I submit that it is impossible to demonstrate that assertion.

Now in the days before I came to tradition, when I read the encyclicals of PJP II (and I read them all), I implicitly assumed that it all tracked back to the primacy of giving honor and glory to God.

As well you should have. We are obliged to assume that when a Pope teaches, he teaches the Catholic faith, unless confronted with solid evidence to the contrary.

PJP II didn't say that God was in the service of man, but he came mighty close.

God is in the service of man, in the sense in which Our Lord said that He came not to be served, but to serve, giving His life as a ransom for many. His throne is the Cross, His crown a plaited wreath of thorns.

Jesus is God and Man. Thus, no one can serve God without serving Man, and no one can serve Man without serving God. When you separate the two great commandments of the Law, you fail to keep either of them.

Gideon Ertner said...

John,

Has it ever crossed your mind that perhaps the teaching of the last few Popes has had to contend with an enormous increase in attacks upon the Church for being a backward institution unconcerned with the betterment of the human condition or with societal progress?

Has it ever crossed your mind that even if it is true (which I am not convinced it is) that the teaching of the first commandment does not feature as prominently as it had before, it is not so much due to a deliberate "downplaying" as it is an entirely inadvertent consequence of a shift in apologetic focus and style?

Anyway, it is ridiculous to nit-pick in contemporary Magisterial teaching to find examples of expressions that may or may not be interpreted in a manner which indicates that their focus is different from the 'traditional' one or perhaps not 100% in conformance with your own views, and on this background brand the authors as little better than heretics and apostates. NEWS FLASH: You are not the arbiter of truth. And unless you show us some teaching (and not just a gesture or an off-hand remark) of John Paul II or Benedict XVI which is undoubtedly heterodox, you may still criticize the Popes of today, to be sure, in a tempered and respectful manner, assuming their good faith, but you may not lash out at them with disrespectful and bileful condemnations nor assume that they are not in good faith. Why? Because I or Jordanes say so? No, because there is a commandment (which is contained in the second greatest commandment) which says that thou shalt love thy father and thy mother - remember???