Rorate Caeli

"We cannot tolerate liturgical errors." Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith's program for the liturgy in Colombo

H.E. Malcolm Ranjith at Benediction.
More pictures can be found here.


His Excellency Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith has proclaimed a special "Year of the Eucharist" for his Archdiocese of Colombo, from August 2010 to August 2011. The text of the Archbishop's circular, dated July 16, 2010 and announcing the Year of the Eucharist and enumerating its goals can be found here.

According to the Archbishop, the goals of this special year are the following. Emphases mine.
01. Uppermost in our mind is the urgency to live the Eucharist in daily life through well-coordinated and directed works of charity. I have already requested Seth Sarana, the social services arm of the Archdiocese, to work out a plan of action in this connection. The most holy Eucharist is broken before its reception. It becomes our strength and nourishment only in this broken form. The vine is pressed and crushed before it becomes the most Sacred Blood that purifies and begets new life. Similarly, we need to break ourselves for others, and be pressed and crushed for justice and peace simultaneously as we believe and celebrate this most holy Sacrament. Hence, I very earnestly request all priests, religious and the laity to combine devotion with animation to show our love for the poor and the less fortunate people in our society by engaging in works of corporal mercy. Let our love extend not only to the poor people, but also towards mother nature so that our Eucharistic spirituality would incorporate also an eco-spirituality. Let us not forget that the bread which becomes the body of Christ, and the wine which becomes the Blood of Christ are God's gifts and fruits of the earth's fertility which are produced as food through human labour. Let this Year of the Eucharist be truly an Year to live the love of the Lord among our brothers and sisters, and an Year which will make us be grateful to God for His wonderful creation by safeguarding the equilibrium of nature. Indeed Pope Benedict XVI called for such an engagement in favour of creation when he stated: The Eucharist itself powerfully illuminates human history and the whole cosmos. On this sacramential perspective, we learn day by day, that every ecclesial event is a kind of sign by which God makes Himself known and challenges us. The Eucharistic form of life can thus help foster a real change in the way we approach history and the world(Sacramentum Caritatis 92).

02. While enriching ourselves with the power and blessings of the Eucharistic Lord we look forward to deepening our understanding about the mystery of the Eucharist. Aided and inspired by the theology and the spirituality of the Eucharist we wish to accept the regulation of the celebration of the liturgy not as something imposed on us, but as something which flows naturally from the mystery we need to uphold, cherish and safeguard. I wish to draw the attention of all priests, religious and the laity to what follows in this connection:

2.1 The Liturgical Guardian of the Archdiocese of Colombo which has already been given to the priests in the Archdiocese, and which will be made available for all others from 29th August 2010, is the main point of reference in all matters pertaining to liturgical celebrations within the Archdiocese of Colombo. Please abide by its stipulations faithfully without trying to implement personal views and opinions. Those wishing to do things as they wish make themselves like God himself, and that is self-idolatry. During this Year we shall concentrate very specially towards eliminating all erroneous practices regarding the celebration of the most holy Eucharist, the Sacraments and the Liturgy of the Hours. I would draw your attention also to the renovation and construction of churches which need to be done according to the guidelines set forth in the Guardian. In order to deepen our understanding about the Eucharist I wish to appeal to all parish priests, heads of institutions, principals of schools, superiors of religious houses to organise liturgical formation sessions on the Eucharist, sacraments and the Liturgy of the Hours. Please pay special attention to the training of lectors which is conducted in the Archdiocese as a deanery level training session, formation of choristers and training of church organists while not neglecting other ministries.

2.2 I appeal to all rectors of seminaries, administrators of archdiocesan shrines, superiors of institutions and directors of archdiocesan apostolates to very specially cooperate in this effort. While not exempting others, in such places we cannot tolerate liturgical errors. The Episcopal Vicars and the Deans have been instructed to be responsible for the implementation of the Liturgical Guardian in all parishes and religious houses, while the Archdiocesan Coordinator for Liturgy and the Deanery Liturgy Coordinators have been authorised to closely monitor the progress of this endeavour. Religious in the Archdiocese are not exempted from following what has been accepted as the liturgical law of the archdiocese.

2.3 An effort will be made to make common Latin chants popular during this year. With this aim in mind the Archdiocesan Coordinator for Liturgy, together with Mr Francis D' Almeida will be organising sessions of practice in all 15 deaneries and teach all choirs some basic Latin chants which could be used in parishes and institutions. Once these practice sessions take place parishes may sing at least the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei at parish Sunday Masses on the first Sunday of the month. No. 36 of the Constitution on the Scared liturgy clearly sets forth the principles in this regard. Latin still remains the main liturgical language of the Church. In Sri Lanka we made a mistake in abandoning the language of our worship altogether. Let this Eucharistic Year be an occasion for us to resuscitate this lost tradition at least to some extent. I appeal to all priests, religious and laity to cooperate.

I also wish to affirm that as indicated in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of 7th July 2007 priests and institutions are now permitted to celebrate, where it is appropriate, the Tridentine Mass and the Sacraments in that rite. In this case it is best that the faithful be prepared for it beforehand. I myself hope to celebrate a solemn Eucharist in that rite sometime in the near future at the Archdiocesan Cathedral.

2.4 The sub-commission for Sacred Art and Architecture has been authorized to identify some churches for the improvement of church sanctuaries. I appeal to priests not to start renovating anything without the permission and supervision of this sub-commission. This sub-commission has been recently re-constituted and is headed by Revd Fr Cecil Joy Perera, our Liturgy Coordinator. At the same time the Ars Celebrandi required from us require that we think seriously about Mass vestments, altar linen, altar vessels and the liturgical vesture for various liturgical ministries. Let the Year of the holy Eucharist be an occasion to improve all such aspects of our celebration.

2.5 The Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission will also try to provide extra reading material on the holy Eucharist in all three languages. An effort is being made at present to provide a booklet with daily reflections on the Eucharist, and to make available at least some of the major Church documents on the Eucharist. Please try to make use of this Year to read, reflect, discuss and study such source material.

God bless this worthy Archbishop!!!

60 comments:

thetimman said...

Yes, God bless this great Archbishop. This is the kind of liturgical leadership needed everywhere. One small quibble though-- 'eco-spirituality' gives me the creeps.

Prof. Basto said...

Ecce Sacerdos Magnus!

The rest of the letter is so great that I think all should overlook the ecological Eucharist part.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

Don't worry about the reference to "eco-spirituality". I think it's just a way of mollifying liberals who would otherwise be completely outraged by the circular.

Anonymous said...

"...priests and institutions are now permitted to celebrate, where it is appropriate, the Tridentine Mass and the Sacraments in that rite."
Just curious. I wonder where, in the Church, it would not be appropriate to offer the TLM and Sacraments.
Please forgive my naivete but I am just wondering what His Excellency means by this?
Excellent letter though!
Cruise the Groove

Capreolus said...

Dear "Cruise,"
Perhaps the Archbishop is referring to those areas where one of the Eastern rites is celebrated? (I have to confess, though, that I'm not familiar with the distribution of rites in Sri Lanka.)
At any rate, I add my voice to those extolling His Excellency's outstanding leadership and fidelity to the Church.

Anonymous said...

Excellent, Every Bishop should implement a similiar policy to recover Latin..This would be a perfect adendum to Veterum Sapientia and should be sent to every Seminary in the world and every parish. A perfect way to re-introduce Latin into the Church and for the 50th Anniversay of VS, to show its' final implementation or at least the beginnings of. VS is an Apostolic Constitution, trumping even Vat II docs, as this was only a pastoral Council. If I am wrong I stand to be corrected.

Paul Haley said...

Kudos to the Archbishop for instituting these reforms and may the Holy Spirit generate a spirit of obedience among all priests and people in the diocese. Thanks, Carlos, for an inspiring post that gives great hope to all who value Tradition.

As for the "eco" business, we must always practice good stewardship of what the Lord has provided us and I find no difficulty in accepting that charge.

Anonymous said...

Yes hes a great one!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Yes a worthy bishop. God bless him. I hope he is made a cardinal.

Brian T. Austin said...

Vatican II promulgated four Dogmatic Constitutions: Sacrosanctum Concilium, Dei Verbum, Gaudium et Spes, and Lumen Gentium.

These have at least as much weight as an Apostolic Constitution.

Jordanes said...

In addition, Veterum Sapientia, while an Apostolic Constitution, addresses "disciplinary" matters -- and when a solemn oecumenical council addresses matters of church discipline, its authority is as weighty as a papal Apostolic Constitution.

Of course Vatican II said nothing that overrides Veterum Sapientia, so VS remains in force even though it has been ignored in the past several decades.

mundabor said...

Pity he felt the need to impart his "wisdom" about eco-spirituality, because he seems to have a clear vision on all other issues.

If he truly, truly had to throw a bone to the liberals I wish he had recurred to the time-honoured issues like, say, world peace.

Still, it migh be that he chose the eco-thingy because over there there are not nearly as many environ-mentalists as by us.

All in all I would say that he is very sound and a pleasure to read.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I am a frequent reader on the blog and am trying to view a post from a few days ago, however, there does not seem to be a button at the bottom of the page to go to previous ones. When I clicked on July 2010 in the archive list on the side I had the same problem.

Anonymous said...

Deo Gratias, get him a red hat, a copy of this should go to every diocese in the world.

Jack said...

**Just curious. I wonder where, in the Church, it would not be appropriate to offer the TLM and Sacraments.**

At any Eastern Catholic church, of which there are many in India.

At St. Stephen's Cathedral of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of the Protection of Mary or Phoenix.

At Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Philidelphia.

At Holy Annunciation Melkite Cathedral in Newton, MS and Holy Transfiguration Church in Maclean, VA.

Will these do for starters?

**and when a solemn oecumenical council addresses matters of church discipline, its authority is as weighty as a papal Apostolic Constitution.
**

I think you have it backwards, Jordanes.

Bernadette said...

Why is the monstrance gigantic? Is it made of tin? It couldn't be made of precious metals or he wouldn't be able to lift it...and why is the Eucharist as big as a pie plate?

Jordanes said...

*and when a solemn oecumenical council addresses matters of church discipline, its authority is as weighty as a papal Apostolic Constitution.
**

I think you have it backwards, Jordanes.


Okay, how about this?

"Constitution Apostolic papal a as weighty as is authority its, discipline church of matters addresses council oecumenical solemn a when and."

Better?

W.C. Hoag said...

Brian T. Austin wrote: "Vatican II promulgated four Dogmatic Constitutions: Sacrosanctum Concilium, Dei Verbum, Gaudium et Spes, and Lumen Gentium."

Nope. You have mispoken here. Only Lumen Gentium and Dei Verbum are classified as dogmatic constitutions. SC and GS are pastoral in nature.

Joe B said...

"Similarly, we need to break ourselves for others, and be pressed and crushed for justice and peace simultaneously as we believe and celebrate this most holy Sacrament. Hence, I very earnestly request all priests, religious and the laity to combine devotion with animation to show our love for the poor and the less fortunate people in our society by engaging in works of corporal mercy. Let our love extend not only to the poor people, but also towards mother nature so that our Eucharistic spirituality would incorporate also an eco-spirituality."

There's more here than an eco red flag. Looks like the poor people and mother nature get all the love. What about everybody else? And this preoccupation with corporal works of mercy over "devotion" is sheer blindness to what the world needs more of right now, which is contemplation, penance, and spiritual works of mercy, best done from virtually nonexistent monasteries.

I'm not buying the 'had to appease the liberals' excuse. That would mean they would own him as a Pope. These liberal lines reflect a mind with serious deficiencies. You would never see this sort of drivel coming from an SSPX source, and that's a good thing.

Jordanes said...

Looks like the poor people and mother nature get all the love.

Nonsense. He isn't saying that corporal works of mercy trump devotion, but that devotion that does not bear fruit in works of mercy is sterile.

Cf. Panis Angelicus and Rev. 11:18.

Joe B said...

Yes, upon further reflection, I see you're right, Jordanes. The corporeal works emphasis does flow from the subject.

So it does all come down to that mother nature quip. Something's just not right with a Catholic mind that goes in that direction with that subject.

Anonymous said...

"Vatican II promulgated four Dogmatic Constitutions: Sacrosanctum Concilium, Dei Verbum, Gaudium et Spes, and Lumen Gentium.

These have at least as much weight as an Apostolic Constitution."

In that even the experts say that Vatican II was a "pastoral" rather than "dogmatic" Council, none but the die-hard Vatican II lovers refer to anything of Vatican II as on dogmatic level.

They did in the first 10+ years after the Council, but when the errors and abuses became manifestly of critical danger to the Church, even former supporteds of Vatican II stopped using the words "dogma" or "dogmatic" when referring to it.

Jack said...

\\Nonsense. He isn't saying that corporal works of mercy trump devotion, but that devotion that does not bear fruit in works of mercy is sterile.\\

I will agree with that 100%.

As St. James said, faith without works is dead.

**Why is the monstrance gigantic? Is it made of tin? It couldn't be made of precious metals or he wouldn't be able to lift it...and why is the Eucharist as big as a pie plate?**

As long as a vessel that touches the Eucharistic Species is gold plated this suffices.

I've heard of extra-large benediction hosts. There are also extra-large hosts that can be broken into many pieces for communion of the ministers and faithful.

Jordanes said...

I don't think you have to be a "die-hard Vatican II lover" to refer to that council's two dogmatic constitutions as dogmatic constitutions.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful Archbishop! And, yes, protecting and preserving the environment is a worthy goal for Catholics. Every human being should have access to clean drinking water and reasonably clean air to breathe. I'm willing to bet most of the commentators here don't live in a polluted Third World slum.

Furthermore, I believe that mankind's growing distance from nature is one of the many reasons for mankind's growing separation from God.

Anonymous said...

"So it does all come down to that mother nature quip. Something's just not right with a Catholic mind that goes in that direction with that subject"

The rest of the Archbishop's message states:

"Let us not forget that the bread which becomes the body of Christ, and the wine which becomes the Blood of Christ are God's gifts and fruits of the earth's fertility which are produced as food through human labour."

I think, perhaps, there is something lacking in the Catholic mind that does not see the connection between stewardship of God's creation and liturgical worship.

"You would never see this sort of drivel coming from an SSPX source"

Have the SSPX forgotten the significance of the Rogation days? No traditional blessings for crops or animals?

The Archbishop is right to remind us of the connection between nature and liturgy. His comment probably has more to do with Monsanto than "catholic" liberals. Monsanto continues to push GM seeds (including wheat) on the Indian agricultural sector.

We in the west, perhaps, are oblivious to the damage being done by Monsanto; however, in India it is devastating. It seems highly likely that the Archbishop's comment on eco-spirituality is directly related to the current attack on his people by Monsanto. His statement is that of a true Shepherd pointing out EVERY wolf that seeks to destroy his flock.

There was a time when agricultural integrity was an issue dear to the heart of Catholics (see the National Catholic Rural Life Conference of the 1930s). Unfortunately, modernism destroyed everything from the liturgy down to soil fertility. It is all connected.

St. Isidore, Pray For Us.

Anonymous said...

As for the Monstrance, it is big because that is how they were made years ago. Better to use something from the past than to spend money AGAIN on a newer, smaller one. At one time it was thought that the Church should offer its's best to the Lord. So "best" was often reflected in biggest, or largest visual for all to see.
I am all the more confused now about the Council. It is often said here, on this blog, that Pope Paul VI said there is no new Dogma coming from this Council. It was pastoral in nature. Some say 2, not 4 were Dogmatic Constitutions. How can a non-Dogmatic Council produce Dogmatic Constitutions? And if I ask it is of ignorance, not sarcasm. I would just like to be clear. How could it be said for 10 years after the Council some things were Dogmatic and now they don't? Isn't there a truth or fact in this somewhere? Which is it? Does VS, even if disciplinary, for Priests and Seminary, which in the end affects all the faithful, carry the same weight as Oecumenical Council documents which also affect all the faithful? How can it continue to be ignored? Please weigh in. (VS would be a good post as the 50th Anniversay will be upon us soon and everyone, even Priests who read this need to re-ask some questions regarding our Church's Apostolic Constituions)Thank you for the chance with some helpful insight to learn something today. But something correct.

Jordanes said...

Vatican II is only "non-dogmatic" in the sense that it did not solemnly issue new dogmatic definitions -- not in the sense that it did not deal in dogma at all, or that it did not formally teach, or that it said nothing that develops Church doctrine, or that its two dogmatic constitutions are not dogmatic constitutions. When the Church said the council chose to stay at a "pastoral" level, it didn't mean to say that the council did not teach at all, or that what it taught is not to be taken seriously by Catholics.

Every church council is pastoral in nature: and teaching authoritatively is a central function of the Church's shepherding of the faithful.

Joe B said...

"Let our love extend ... towards mother nature so that our Eucharistic spirituality would incorporate also an eco-spirituality."

Don't believe any SSPX priest would throw that phrase out there. Now, Sister Moon would, during her Novus Ordo sermon.

Seriously, many of us have high hopes for this friend of tradition, so it is shocking to see that sort of language jammed incidentally into such an otherwise beautiful statement. You don't coddle the left wing and use their own language except to curry their favor. "Eco-spirituality" is novel language and easily taken to mean worship of nature. So here we go again - why did you have to use such novel and misleading language?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but this is nothing more than smells and bells. Nothing will come of it - how many times... More nice sacred vessels, vestments, incense. The Archbishop is pro Vatican II. The baby cannot be saved.

Anonymous said...

"We cannot tolerate liturgical errors." Really? Since when? That's all we've been doing since November 30, 1969. Let Pope Paul VI explain in his own (unbelieveable) words. http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P6691126.HTM

Anonymous said...

"Eco-spirituality" is novel language and easily taken to mean worship of nature. So here we go again - why did you have to use such novel and misleading language?"

Perhaps to you -- but to the 200,000 Indian farmers who have committed suicide under the pressure brought on by Western agricultural modernism (read Monsanto), "eco-spirituality" is the Archbishop's way of telling his flock not to despair. His flock recognize his voice.

Agriculture and ecology are under a serious (diabolical) and unprecedented attack and there is no traditional phrase that describes how Catholic spirituality should influence these vital aspects of God's creation.

The Archbishop's language is as novel as the problem he is addressing -- but it is not misleading, except to those who cannot see the problem.

QuantaCura01 said...

THANKS BE TO GOD!! If only we had men like this leading diocese in the United States. How we suffer in the diocese of Fresno, California.

Anonymous said...

Eco-spirituality keeps us all closer to the Eucharistic Lord. Sorry, the Lord incarnated wanted to reconcile whole universe not just 'man'. How does the Bishop forget about the renewal of whole person in the catholic church. If a person want to be a blessing he or she has to be rooted in the nature.

Rev. Kapoo said...

Eucharist - Thanksgiving. Jesus, took, bless and broke and shared. Does this circular help readers to do so. I appriciate the courage of the bishop. Lets work for a better world.

Mar said...

What about the explicit statements from both Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI that the Council was *not* a dogmatic one? Do not their words carry any weight?

And what about the words of the present Holy Father when he was Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office (Doctrine of the Faith)?
"The truth is that this particular council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest." - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI given July 13, 1988, in Santiago, Chile.

As regards being 'classified as dogmatic constitutions', in the case of Lumen Gentium in particular there was so much confusion that pope Paul VI had to add a Nota Praevia to it in order to clarify the matter, which said in part: “In view of the conciliar
practice and the pastoral purpose of the present Council, this sacred Synod defines matters of faith or morals as binding on the Church only when the Synod itself openly declares so.” (Walter M. Abbott, SJ, The Documents of Vatican II, p. 98)

You can see the full text of the Nota Praevia here:
http://www.fisheaters.com/notapraevia.html

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

Re: "Eco-spirituality".

Here in Asia the question of poverty and social justice, and the question of how to properly respond to environmental degredation and natural calamities loom large in the consciousness of the local Churches, for the simple reason that the lives of millions and the future of entire nations are at stake. In a context where governments are frequently inefficient, idiotic and corrupt, armed conflict a reality in too many places, and civil society weakened or practically non-existent, the Asian clergy often have no choice but to step into the breach and speak out on issues that their Western confreres have the luxury of not having to think about. Add to this the fact that the clergy continue to be held in much higher regard in the Churches in Asia than in the West, and you have a situation where the clergy feel obliged to talk about things that would normally be seen as beyond their competence. ("What does our parish priest have to say about our latest project for clean water?")

One result is that Asian clerics, since the 1960's, have been trying to elucidate the theological basis upon which to tackle poverty and environmental degredation, with mixed results. "Eco-spirituality" in Asian Catholic circles often has little to do with the New Age fantasies of feminist Western "Catholic" sisterhoods, and much to do with (for instance) how one can use the Bible to rally Catholics to fight against deforestation and river poisoning -- matters that spell life or death for many a poor Catholic in this side of the globe. The results are often tainted by heterodoxy or fuzziness (if you think Vatican II is vague, wait till you read what Asian bishops often say). However, there can be no denying that these efforts are trying to meet a real need, and I can personally vouch for the sincerity and desire for orthodoxy of some of the people behind these efforts. Hopefully, the time will come when Catholic social doctrine can forcibly and fully tackle these matters without departing from traditional Catholic theology.

Jack said...

\\"You would never see this sort of drivel coming from an SSPX source"

Have the SSPX forgotten the significance of the Rogation days? No traditional blessings for crops or animals?\\

I wouldn't know about the SSPX and how they observe Rogation Days, but aren't they a traditional example of eco-spirituality?

In the Eastern tradition, blessing of fields can be done at any appropriate time. And there is the blessing of fruit (which contains a prayer for successful harvest) on Transfiguration.

This sounds like traditional eco-spirituality to me!

Mar said...

To Anonymous 22:02, who said:..."mankind's growing distance from nature is one of the many reasons for mankind's growing separation from God." No, rather mankind's growing separation from God is one of the many reason's for mankind's growing separation from nature.

To Anonymous 04:39, who said:" If a person want to be a blessing he or she has to be rooted in the nature." No, rather, if a person wants to be a blessing he or she has to be rooted in God and what He teaches through His Church.

To Anonymous 22:04, I agree completely about responsible stewardship. My argument is that reverence for God comes first. Reverence for and responsibility
towards what He has created then follows. For example, farming ideas in the Middle Ages, such as letting land lie fallow, were derived from teachings in the Old Testament.

All Catholics should be appalled by what Monsanto is doing firstly because it is a sin to play God, and then because it is a sin to violate natural justice on several counts, as they do.

I think you may have misinterpreted the reference to SSPX because by and large traditional Catholics, including the SSPX, are aware of these issues acutely. They regard very highly the writings of Fr. Denis Fahey, and in this particular matter, his book The Church and Farming (Cork: The Forum Press, 1953)

The principles and ideas outlined in this book are diametrically opposed to a worldview that has given us the Monsanto phenomenon and other undesirables.

Yes, I agree with you - it is all connected: Jerusalem, which is built as a city, which is compact together. (Psalm 121:3)

Anonymous said...

Eco, coming from oikos, means house. We live in the house of God:universe, sharing the blessing and trying to be the blessing. As far as we consider that the liturgical renewal brings newness to the whole church - people of God it is good if not.We belong to the church of Christ.

Henry said...

Anonymous @ 27 July, 2010 01:12 "The Archbishop is pro Vatican II."

As are all faithful Catholics, I assume. The extent to which one is "pro Vatican II" being measured by his opposition to all mis-interpretations, heresies, and pastoral and liturgical disasters (e.g., the Novus Ordo) that are falsely attributed to the Council.

Anonymous said...

2.1 The Liturgical Guardian of the Archdiocese of Colombo which has already been given to the priests in the Archdiocese, and which will be made available for all others from 29th August 2010, is the main point of reference in all matters pertaining to liturgical celebrations within the Archdiocese of Colombo.

I hope we can get a copy of the Liturgical Guardian as soon as it becomes available. I think it will be a valuable document. Just the name "Guardian" underlines its importance.

Jordanes said...

What about the explicit statements from both Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI that the Council was *not* a dogmatic one? Do not their words carry any weight?

Of course they carry weight. They just have no bearing on whether or not Vatican II's two dogmatic constitutions are dogmatic constitutions. Pope Paul VI said that they are dogmatic constitutions, so that is what they are.

As regards being 'classified as dogmatic constitutions', in the case of Lumen Gentium in particular there was so much confusion that pope Paul VI had to add a Nota Praevia to it in order to clarify the matter

There was only confusion about the few matters specifically addressed in the Nota Praevia.

which said in part: “In view of the conciliar
practice and the pastoral purpose of the present Council, this sacred Synod defines matters of faith or morals as binding on the Church only when the Synod itself openly declares so.” (Walter M. Abbott, SJ, The Documents of Vatican II, p. 98)


But the very next words of the Nota Praevia are: "The rest of the things which the sacred Council sets forth, inasmuch as they are the teaching of the Church's supreme magisterium, ought to be accepted and embraced by each and every one of Christ's faithful according to the mind of the sacred Council. The mind of the Council becomes known either from the matter treated or from its manner of speaking, in accordance with the norms of theological interpretation."

The entire Nota Praevia appended to Lumen Gentium may be read at the Vatican website: it is found at the end of LG right before the footnotes.

Paul Haley said...

The Archbishop is speaking to his own people in an area of the world where disease, such as Dengue Fever, is rampant due to many factors, not the least of which is poor sanitation and lack of environmental consciousness. So, I think it wise to applaud HE rather than criticize him, for his sensitivity to the environmental concerns of Sri Lanka and to make it a concern of all his subjects. We who live in the luxury of the Western world sometimes cannot fathom the cruel conditions under which our Catholic brethren have to live.

Henry said...

Jordanes,

"The rest of the things which the sacred Council sets forth, inasmuch as they are the teaching of the Church's supreme magisterium, ought to be accepted and embraced by each and every one of Christ's faithful according to the mind of the sacred Council."

As devoted as I am to correct interpretation of Vatican II in order that it bear true fruit, I must admit that this statement from the Nota Praevia to Lumen Gentium is vacuous and meaningless from any disciplinary, dogmatic, or theological viewpoint. For the reason that the following phrases are undefined:

rest of the things
sets forth
inasmuch as they are the teaching
ought to be accepted and embraced
according to the mind

How can one ascribe precise meaning to such vague phrases?

Alex Benziger.G said...

Sir,
In India all bishops are running after money.Church properties are sold for no necessity.Vatican have no ears.
A few small Ratzingers (like Archbishop Ranjith)are in the Catholic Church, that is why the Catholic Church is living.

Jordanes said...

rest of the things
sets forth
inasmuch as they are the teaching
ought to be accepted and embraced
according to the mind


Sorry, I don't see anything vague at all in those phrases. It is a reference to anything that the council set forth that was not openly defined as a matter of faith or morals as binding on the Church. According to the Nota Praevia, even if those matters are not formal, infallible dogmatic definitions, they are still the teaching of the Church's supreme magisterium (since they are issued by a solemn general council with the approval of the Supreme Pontiff), and therefore must be accepted by the Catholic faithful as such. These phrases also make clear that the various council documents have differing degrees of authority.

Anonymous said...

Jordanes,
Just a question:
What did the Second Vatican Council teach , that was never before the Council, always and everywhere taught by the Church?

In other words, what must I, as a Catholic,believe,from what the Second Vatican Council taught, which the Church had not taught before the Council, in Her history?

Cruise the Groove.

Henry said...

Jordanes,

"Sorry, I don't see anything vague at all in those phrases."

I wonder whether no one else does. Surely it is one thing to defend Vatican II, as I do invariably--believing that most of the post-Vatican II abuses were, in fact, abuses contra Council--but quite another to not perceive and regret the vagueness in so many Council statements which, I believe, are contributory to many of those abuses.

"The rest of the things which the sacred Council sets forth, inasmuch as they are the teaching of the Church's supreme magisterium"

Are we to assume this means that every "thing" stated in any Council document is a teaching of the Church's supreme magisterium? Every single statement in every single document? (If not, what is a "thing" and what is not?)

If so, what does it mean to "accept and embrace" a "thing". Merely to accept that it was said? Or does to "embrace" it mean more than this? For instance, would "embrace" imply belief that it was a good thing to have been said? Even if, by now, it is clear that the result of its having been said has been disastrous. (Setting aside any question of the level of belief or assent that is required of the faithful.)

But don't let me put words in your mouth. If you see no vagueness in the meaning if "accept and embrace", then perhaps you can make that meaning clear to the rest of us. If you are able to do this, then perhaps you have the ability to be of greater service to the Church than a mere blog moderator might ordinarily aspire to.

Jordanes said...

What did the Second Vatican Council teach , that was never before the Council, always and everywhere taught by the Church?

What did Nicaea I teach, that was never before that council, always and everywhere taught by the Church? What did Trent teach, that was never before that council, always and everywhere taught by the Church? What did Vatican I teach, that was never before that council, always and everywhere taught by the Church?

The Church's doctrine "develops," but never in a way that the Church would formally teach something that was never before taught always and everywhere.

In other words, what must I, as a Catholic,believe,from what the Second Vatican Council taught, which the Church had not taught before the Council, in Her history?

It depends on the authority of the document in which a teaching was presented, and on what you mean by "believe."

Jordanes said...

Surely it is one thing to defend Vatican II, as I do invariably--believing that most of the post-Vatican II abuses were, in fact, abuses contra Council--but quite another to not perceive and regret the vagueness in so many Council statements which, I believe, are contributory to many of those abuses.

The council's ambiguous statements are well documented and have been analysed and discussed widely. The Nota Praevia to Lumen Gentium, however, is clear enough.

Are we to assume this means that every "thing" stated in any Council document is a teaching of the Church's supreme magisterium?

Yes, because an oecumenical council is an act of the Church's supreme magisterium.

Not every teaching of the supreme magisterium is infallible, or a dogmatic definition.

Every single statement in every single document?

Yes, that's the obvious meaning of the words. Is there any reason to think the words don't have their natural and obvious meaning?

If so, what does it mean to "accept and embrace" a "thing". Merely to accept that it was said? Or does to "embrace" it mean more than this?

Obviously it means far more than merely noting that the council said something. It would, however, entail an honest and faithful and docile interaction with the council's teaching, operating under the assumption that the council's words are true and good, and only departing from that principle when the evidence warrants it.

For instance, would "embrace" imply belief that it was a good thing to have been said?

No, not necessarily.

Even if, by now, it is clear that the result of its having been said has been disastrous. (Setting aside any question of the level of belief or assent that is required of the faithful.)

Well, the Nota Praevia alludes to the question of the level of belief or assent that is required of the faithful.

If you are able to do this, then perhaps you have the ability to be of greater service to the Church than a mere blog moderator might ordinarily aspire to.

Mmm, perhaps not.

mairedecortichon said...

"The Church's doctrine "develops," but never in a way that the Church would formally teach something that was never before taught always and everywhere."

I like the reference to the Canon of St Vincent of Lerins here.

The whole discussion about the documents of VC II is always tiresome. The reality is that most Catholics do not care about Vatican II. They want to enjoy life, instead of being in the confessional of their Parish Church. After 43 years, the Church continues to be unable to stop the advance of immorality in the West. In the mean time, confession which is the second most needed sacrament in order to be saved, is discarded by priests and laity.
There are two very important distinctions which are made at each Church Council: the level of authority(which has been dogmatic for anterior councils) and the content of the teaching promulgated at those Church Councils. Now, what is quite disturbing for this last council is that the documents do not condemn anything, no heresies, no doctrinal errors, nothing. Condamnations or anathemas, are the preferred weapons of Church Councils. Because anathemas make very, very, very clear what the believer must believe and not believe. This is the essence of the rigorous precision in dogmatics and doctrines, an essence so important that no other Council in 2000 years of history has dared to "forget it".
This Pope must quickly clarify the texts of this last council, as most Catholics have already forgotten that there was a council called Vatican II.
Souls, souls and souls are the price paid, billions of them, baptized? validly absolved? Validly absolved on their deathbeds with the last sacraments? I think not!!!

Henry said...

Jordanes,

Are we to assume this means that every "thing" stated in any Council document is a teaching of the Church's supreme magisterium?

"Yes, because an oecumenical council is itself an act of the Church's supreme magisterium."

The commonplace fact that an ecumenical council is an act of the Church’s supreme magisterium is not at issue here. Not with me, at least.

Where I'd suggest that you overreach is in alleging that every “thing” stated in any Council document rises to the level of a “teaching”, indeed, one that admits of some obliged level of assent in every case. I doubt that you could find many qualified theologians (of any stripe) who would agree with this rather extreme and novel assertion.

Unlike some here, perhaps, I myself would “accept and embrace” – by determined act of will, if necessary – every action of Vatican II that I understand to be a genuine teaching of faith or morals. However, the documents are filled with numerous statements – of discussion, digression, recommended actions, procedural matters -that few thoughtful readers (I believe) would regard as actual “teachings”.

And if you really see don't the vagueness of so many of these “things” of all sorts and levels as a source of many of the Church’s difficulties and tensions in recent decades, then our gap in understanding here is a good deal wider than I would have expected from your many very sensible comments I have read in the past.

Jordanes said...

Where I'd suggest that you overreach is in alleging that every “thing” stated in any Council document rises to the level of a “teaching”

The Church has several levels and different modes of teaching. Even a document dealing with disciplinary matters, whether matters of canon law or liturgical law, is on seem level a mode of teaching, even if not directly.

indeed, one that admits of some obliged level of assent in every case.

What formal acts of a Church council do not carry with them at least the very slightest degree of assent to the Church's teaching and juridical authority?

Unlike some here, perhaps, I myself would “accept and embrace” – by determined act of will, if necessary – every action of Vatican II that I understand to be a genuine teaching of faith or morals.

Is our own understanding of what is a genuine teaching of faith or morals an allowed precondition to our acceptance and embracing an act or declaration of the Church's supreme magisterium? Is there no place for embracing a formal statement of the Church even when our understanding may be deficient?

And if you really see don't the vagueness of so many of these “things” of all sorts and levels as a source of many of the Church’s difficulties and tensions in recent decades, then our gap in understanding here is a good deal wider than I would have expected from your many very sensible comments I have read in the past.

You are talking as if I've stated something to the contrary. I don't recall doing so.

Henry said...

What formal acts of a Church council do not carry with them at least the very slightest degree of assent to the Church's teaching and juridical authority?

You are talking as if I've stated something to the contrary. I don't recall doing so.

At any rate, this is going nowhere, so we need not waste any more time on it.

Anonymous said...

I don't recall liberals ever "mollifying" us. Why must we mollify them now?

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

MairedeCort

Don't hold your breath waiting for this Pope to clarify the VII documents.

Delphina

Jordanes said...

"What formal acts of a Church council do not carry with them at least the very slightest degree of assent to the Church's teaching and juridical authority?"

You are talking as if I've stated something to the contrary. I don't recall doing so.


Just asking a question, and not indicating that you held that opinion. That's not what your question sounded like, though. But I did not say, and don't remember suggesting, that "the vagueness of so many of these “things” of all sorts and levels [aren't] a source of many of the Church’s difficulties and tensions in recent decades." I don't think it can be seriously disputed that Vatican II's various ambiguities led directly and indirectly to these difficulties.

Anonymous said...

Henry said...
Anonymous @ 27 July, 2010 01:12 "The Archbishop is pro Vatican II."

As are all faithful Catholics, I assume. The extent to which one is "pro Vatican II" being measured by his opposition to all mis-interpretations, heresies, and pastoral and liturgical disasters (e.g., the Novus Ordo) that are falsely attributed to the Council.

27 July, 2010 12:47

Henry,

Why do you and others pretend that Vatican II is worth saving? It has proven itself time and time again to be a cesspool of ambiguity at the very least and outright heretical at its worst. It should be consigned to the dung heap of history sooner rather than later.

The "all faithful Catholics" line doesn't work. Trads of all persuasions aren't in this fight for fun-we'd all rather be in our parishes not having to constantly scrutinize and question what passes for authority today. It's so unnatural. So don't be so smug!

Gideon Ertner said...

"Why do you and others pretend that Vatican II is worth saving?"

Vatican II doesn't need "saving"; its documents will always be with us and form a part of the Church's teachings, for whatever that's worth. It is simply not plausible that any future Pope will admit that the Church was capable of such an enormous mistake as holding a council whose documents all proved to be either useless or heretical. It would reflect extremely negatively on all subsequent councils and on the teaching authority of the Church in general.

However, we may expect the Vat II documents to be gradually eclipsed in the minds of people by new encyclicas and increased references to pre-conciliar teaching.

The Vat II documents contain many fine explanations of Catholic belief. The problem is the ambiguous statements, which, Deo volente, will be clarified.

Anonymous said...

Dear Gideon Ertner,

ALthough I appreciate your sentiment in stating what is indeed a fact about Vatican II - that is an act of the authentic Church excercising in extraordinary form and act of the ordinary magesterium, one cannot over emphasize the import of Pope Paul VI's Nota Praevia that essentially renders Vatican II a pastoral council restricting itself to prudential directions and not at all defining anything related to faith, morals or dogma. And therefore proposed nothing infallible. And as such, it is entirely possible (yes, I will admit to hoping) that the documents of Vatican II will be, even at the formal behest of some future Council or Pope, wilfully forgotten for posterity.

To say (or hope) for such a thing is not to accuse the Church of imposing error, since prudential judgements of the clergy are not graced with infallibility.

The Franciscan archive posts an article entitled "The Neo-Modernist Rupture in the Council and in the New Rites" by D. E. Romanae, who makes the point quite well.

"The documents of the Second Sacrosanct Ecumenical Council of the Vatican are acts of the authentic Church exercising in an extraordinary form the authentic Ordinary Magisterium. In this regard it is crucial to a right understanding of Vatican II to remember what His Holiness Pope John XXIII declared in his opening discourse (L'Osservatore Romano 10/12/1962), what was reaffirmed by the Secretariate of the Council (November 16, 1964), by His Holiness Pope Paul VI at the close of the Council (L'Osservatore Romano, 12/7/1965; AAS 1967,57; Audience of 1/12/1966 published in L'Osservatore Romano 1/21/1966) namely that the Council did not intend, nor did it in fact propose any teaching as an infallible, irreformable definition. His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, addressing the Chilean Episcopal Conference (cf. Il Sabato 7/30--8/5/1988), reaffirmed the same when he said, "The truth is that the Council itself did not define any dogma, and that it consciously wanted to express itself on a more modest level, simply as a pastoral Council." Vatican II therefore is an exercise of the prudential Magisterium, that is of the authentic teaching office exercised in a non-infallible, consultory manner, which inasmuch as it reiterates that faith once and forever handed on to the Apostles by Christ Our Lord accurately is infallible (evidencing the Ordinary Magisterium) and when inaccurately, is fallible.

And so in all matters, wherein Vatican II proposes novel teachings and or novel expressions, the Catholic faithful are not obliged in conscience to accept these as definitive teaching; and moreover they may reject these expressions, if after sufficient study they find them to be objectively erroneous (cf. The Church of the Word Incarnate, by Cardinal Journet). To this extent therefore it is licit for the faithful in communion with the rightful and true successor of St. Peter, His Holiness Pope John Paul II, to examine the texts of the Council's documents and to identify and propose alterations which would make any such statements more conformable to the infallible Magisterium of the Church."
Sincerely, MKT