Rorate Caeli

The nature of the intellectual assent that is owed
to the teachings of the Council

The following article, written by Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz Braña, Vicar General of Holy Cross and Opus Dei (also one of the Vatican representatives in the doctrinal talks with the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X), was published in this afternoon's (dated tomorrow) edition of the official daily of the Holy See, L'Osservatore Romano.

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On the 50th anniversary of the indiction

On adhesion to the Second Vatican Council


 The forthcoming 50th anniversary of the convocation of the Second Vatican Council (25 December 1961) is a cause for celebration, but also for renewed reflection on the reception and application of the Conciliar Documents. Over and above the more directly practical aspects of this reception and application, both positive and negative, it seems appropriate also to recall the nature of the intellectual assent that is owed to the teachings of the Council. Although we are dealing here with a well-known doctrine, about which there is an extensive bibliography, it is nevertheless useful to review it in its essential points, given the persistence - also in public opinion - of misunderstandings regarding the continuity of some Conciliar teachings with previous teachings of the Church's Magisterium.

First of all, it is not pointless to recall that the pastoral motivation of the Council does not mean that it was not doctrinal – since all pastoral activity is necessarily based on doctrine. But, above all, it is important to emphasise that precisely because doctrine is aimed at salvation, the teaching of doctrine is an integral part of all pastoral work. Furthermore, within the Documents of the Council it is obvious that there are many strictly doctrinal teachings: on Divine Revelation, on the Church, etc. As Blessed John Paul II wrote: “With the help of God, the Council Fathers in four years of work were able to produce a considerable collection of doctrinal statements and pastoral norms which were presented to the whole Church” (Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, 11 October 1992, Introduction).


Assent Owed to the Magisterium

The Second Vatican Council did not define any dogma, in the sense that it proposed no doctrine with a definitive act. However, even if the Magisterium proposes a teaching without directly invoking the charism of infallibility, it does not follow that such a teaching is therefore to be considered "fallible" - in the sense that what is proposed is somehow a “provisional doctrine” or just an “authoritative opinion”. Every authentic expression of the Magisterium must be received for what it truly is: a teaching given by Pastors who, in the apostolic succession, speak with the “charism of truth” (Dei Verbum, n. 8), “endowed with the authority of Christ” (Lumen Gentium, n. 25), “and by the light of the Holy Spirit” (ibid.).

This charism, this authority and this light were certainly present at the Second Vatican Council; to deny this to the entire episcopate gathered to teach the universal Church cum Petro and sub Petro, would be to deny something of the very essence of the Church (cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae, 24 June 1973, nn. 2-5).

Naturally not all the affirmations contained in the Conciliar documents have the same doctrinal value and therefore not all require the same degree of assent. The various levels of assent owed to doctrines proposed by the Magisterium were outlined in Vatican II’s Constitution Lumen Gentium (n. 25), and subsequently synthesised in the three clauses added to the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed in the formula of the Professio fidei published in 1989 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Blessed John Paul II.

Those affirmations of the Second Vatican Council that recall truths of the faith naturally require the assent of theological faith, not because they were taught by this Council but because they have already been taught infallibly as such by the Church, either by a solemn judgement or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. So also a full and definitive assent is required for the other doctrines set forth by the Second Vatican Council which have already been proposed by a previous definitive act of the Magisterium.

The Council’s other doctrinal teachings require of the faithful a degree of assent called “religious submission of will and intellect”. Precisely because it is “religious” assent, such assent is not based purely on rational motives. This kind of adherence does not take the form of an act of faith. Rather, it is an act of obedience that is not merely disciplinary, but is well-rooted in our confidence in the divine assistance given to the Magisterium, and therefore “within the logic of faith and under the impulse of obedience to the faith” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum Veritatis, 24 May 1990, n. 23). This obedience to the Magisterium of the Church does not limit freedom but, on the contrary, is the source of freedom. Christ’s words: “he who hears you hears me” (Lk 10:16) are addressed also to the successors of the Apostles; and to listen to Christ means to receive in itself the truth which will make you free (cf. Jn 8:32).

Documents of the Magisterium may contain elements that are not exactly doctrinal — as is the case in the documents of the Second Vatican Council — elements whose nature is more or less circumstantial (descriptions of the state of a society, suggestions, exhortations, etc.). Such matters are received with respect and gratitude, but do not require an intellectual assent in the strictest sense (cf. Instruction Donum Veritatis, nn. 24-31).

The Interpretation of Teachings

The unity of the Church and unity in the faith are inseparable, and this also involves the unity of the Magisterium of the Church in every age, since the Magisterium is the authentic interpreter of Divine Revelation transmitted by Sacred Scripture and by Tradition. This means, among other things, that an essential characteristic of the Magisterium is its continuity and consistency through history. Continuity does not mean an absence of development; down the centuries the Church deepens in her knowledge, in her understanding and, consequently, also in her magisterial teaching of Catholic faith and morals.

A number of innovations of a doctrinal nature are to be found in the documents of the Second Vatican Council: on the sacramental nature of the episcopate, on episcopal collegiality, on religious freedom, etc. These innovations in matters concerning faith or morals, not proposed with a definitive act, still require religious submission of intellect and will, even though some of them were and still are the object of controversy with regard to their continuity with earlier magisterial teaching, or their compatibility with the tradition. In the face of such difficulties in understanding the continuity of certain Conciliar Teachings with the tradition, the Catholic attitude, having taken into account the unity of the Magisterium, is to seek a unitive interpretation in which the texts of the Second Vatican Council and the preceding Magisterial documents illuminate each other. Not only should the Second Vatican Council be interpreted in the light of previous Magisterial documents, but also some of these earlier magisterial documents can be understood better in the light of the Second Vatican Council. This is nothing new in the history of the Church. It should be remembered, for example, that the meaning of important concepts adopted in the First Council of Nicaea in the formulation of the Trinitarian and Christological faith (hypóstasis, ousía), were greatly clarified by later Councils.
The interpretation of the innovations taught by the Second Vatican Council must therefore reject, as Benedict XVI put it, “a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture,” while it must affirm the “hermeneutic of reform, of renewal within continuity” (Discourse, 22 December 2005). These are innovations in the sense that they explain new aspects which have not previously been formulated by the Magisterium, but which do not doctrinally contradict previous Magisterial documents. This is so even though, in certain cases — for example, concerning religious freedom — these innovations imply very different consequences at the level of historical decisions concerning juridical and political applications of the teaching, especially given the changes in historical and social conditions. An authentic interpretation of Conciliar texts can only be made by the Magisterium of the Church herself. Therefore, in the theological work of the interpretation of passages in the Conciliar texts which arouse queries or seem to present difficulties, it is above all necessary to take into account the sense in which they have been interpreted in subsequent Magisterial interventions. Nevertheless, there remains space for legitimate theological freedom to explain in one way or in another how certain formulations present in the Conciliar texts do not contradict the Tradition and, therefore, to explain the correct meaning of some expressions contained in those passages.
Lastly, in this regard, it does not seem superfluous to call to mind that almost half a century has passed since the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council and that in these decades four Roman Pontiffs have succeeded one another on the Chair of Peter. An assessment of the teaching of these Popes and the corresponding assent of the Episcopate to that teaching should transform a possible situation of difficulty into a serene and joyful acceptance of the Magisterium, the authentic interpreter of the doctrine of the faith. This must be possible and is to be hoped for, even if aspects that are not entirely understood remain. In any case, there remains legitimate room for theological freedom and for further opportune in-depth study. As Benedict XVI wrote recently: “the essential content that for centuries has formed the heritage of all believers needs to be confirmed, understood and explored ever anew, so as to bear consistent witness in historical circumstances very different from those of the past” (Benedict XVI, Motu Proprio Porta Fidei, 11 October 2011, n. 4).
December 2, 2011

156 comments:

Lopes said...

Bye, bye agreements.

David Werling said...

"An authentic interpretation of Conciliar texts can only be made by the Magisterium of the Church herself."

Sooooo... A half century later, we are still waiting. Where is the criticism for the modern Magisterium for allowing this uncharitable situation to persist for so long?

New Catholic said...

Lopes, read it thoroughly one more time, please.

ProfoundlySaddened said...

"A number of innovations of a doctrinal nature are to be found in the documents of the Second Vatican Council: on the sacramental nature of the episcopate, on episcopal collegiality, on religious freedom, etc."

This is obvious to anyone who actually reads the documents of Vatican II. Hopefully this will put an end to the cacaphony of neoconservative voices that insist on the absence of innovations in the texts of Vatican II, contrary to all common sense.

"These innovations in matters concerning faith or morals, not proposed with a definitive act, still require religious submission of intellect and will, even though some of them were and still are the object of controversy with regard to their continuity with earlier magisterial teaching, or their compatibility with the tradition."

A cannon shot versus the SSPX. In other words: even if you have doubts about the compatibility of Vatican II with Tradition, you must assent to what Vatican II says. This is an open declaration that even Tradition has become relative and not a "non-negotiable".

"Not only should the Second Vatican Council be interpreted in the light of previous Magisterial documents, but also some of these earlier magisterial documents can be understood better in the light of the Second Vatican Council."

There you go.

poeta said...

This doesn't answer the question of what level of assent should be given to the innovation in Lumen Gentium that produced this new doctrine about levels of assent, including "religious assent of intellect and will" to exercises of the merely authentic (non-infallible) Magisterium.

Fr. Paul McDonald said...

Although the Council made no use of the charism of infallibility, it is nevetheless not-fallible. Yeah, right.

As the Abbé de Nantes said, they are claiming a "non-canonical charismatic super-infallibility".

If you *deliberately* renounce the absolute protection of the Holy Spirit, He still offers His light, but you are not forced to follow.

I'm sorry, but non-infallible does so mean fallible.

In any case the previous popes, Pius XII and before are treated as fallible. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

JDBR said...

The arguments presented here seem singularly circular in that the authority presented in this article for the legitimacy of the Council texts is... other Council texts, in other words the Second Vatican Council represents authoritative Magisterial teaching because the Second Vatican Council says it does. I am unconvinced that this article helps to move anything forward.

IronyNoted said...

It is ironic enough that the validity of SSPX's existence depends upon Vatican II's doctrinal definition of the sacramental nature of episcopacy. Under Scholasticism's juridical model of the episcopacy, the papacy's primacy could have "shut down" the sacramental validity of the SSPX's claim to orders like the flip of a switch.

The SSPX's own adherence to this model of episcopacy indicates their implicit recognition of, at least, the Council's doctrinal definition on that point.

Melchior Cano said...

New Catholic,

I know that you often let texts stand on their own, and this is admirable, but are you willing to give your thoughts on how this affects discussions with the Society. From your comment to Lopes, it seems clear that you don't think it hurts these agreements.

Yours in Christ,

poeta said...

JBDR: It is indeed circular. This "level of assent" demanded for fallible doctrinal innovations, itself, rests on a fallible doctrinal innovation.

Matthew said...

As Fr. McDonald gets at, the author seems to have attempted to turn infallibility into a positive protection, not a negative one.

Thus, anything the Bishops do together is correct and true, rather than when the Bishops with and under Peter invoke their protection from error, they are indeed free from error.

New Catholic said...

Melchior Cano, the "Master of Tradition"! ¡Qué honor!

You are right, and quite perceptive: in general I do prefer to let these texts stand on their own. I just think that Lopes perhaps reached conclusions (that may or may not be warranted) too fast - this is a fine short text that deserves a second or third reading.

NC

JAK said...

"The interpretation of the innovations taught by the Second Vatican Council must therefore reject, as Benedict XVI put it, “a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture,” while it must affirm the “hermeneutic of reform, of renewal within continuity” (Discourse, 22 December 2005). These are innovations in the sense that they explain new aspects which have not previously been formulated by the Magisterium, but which do not doctrinally contradict previous Magisterial documents."

So, everything is "historical," including pronouncements of previous Pontiffs? Therefore, everything is contingent.

OK. Using this hermeneutic, Vatican II and its pronouncements are also historical and contingent.

Let's operate from that premise.

poeta said...

Sorry... I meant JDBR.

Delphina said...

"These are innovations in the sense that they explain new aspects which have not previously been formulated by the Magisterium, but which do not doctrinally contradict previous Magisterial documents. This is so even though, in certain cases — for example, concerning religious freedom — these innovations imply very different consequences at the level of historical decisions concerning juridical and political applications of the teaching, especially given the changes in historical and social conditions."

Not for nothing, but this reads like the council documents.

And this nugget:

"Not only should the Second Vatican Council be interpreted in the light of previous Magisterial documents, but also some of these earlier magisterial documents can be understood better in the light of the Second Vatican Council."

Right. You can have your cake and eat it too. It is and it isn't. Walking in two directions at the same time. Talking out of both sides of your mouth.

Huh? said...

So are Second Vatican theology and apostasizing my only options?

Pascal said...

IronyNoted wrote:

"It is ironic enough that the validity of SSPX's existence depends upon Vatican II's doctrinal definition of the sacramental nature of episcopacy. Under Scholasticism's juridical model of the episcopacy, the papacy's primacy could have "shut down" the sacramental validity of the SSPX's claim to orders like the flip of a switch."

You're presentation of the Scholastic "model of the episcopacy" is a disgraceful caricature.

The Church prior to Vatican II did not equate sacramental validity with jurisdiction, as its historic attitude towards dissident Eastern and Old Catholic orders attests.

Bernonensis said...

The author admits that Vatican II did not define any dogma, although it certainly had the authority to do so. Why does he then assume that, just because the council had the authority to issue other statements commanding some degree of assent, the documents it produced must actually contain such statements?

His argument for the postconciliar papacy as an assurance of the authenticity of the Council's teachings would carry a great deal more weight if the words and deeds of the four pontiffs involved weren't replete with examples of precisely the "hermeneutic of rupture" he wishes to refute.

Tom Esteban said...

I am not 100% sure of who this writer is, but I found a great article regarding Vatican II and assent/dissent.

Here it is:
http://www.franciscan-archive.org/apologetica/pav2.html

It is a good read, I suggest all on here give it a go.

Tradfly said...

This guy makes Sir Humphrey Appleby look like the Curé de Arz.
The brazen disingenuity of his "reasoning" is astounding, almost beyond belief if one hadn't actually read it.

St. Thomas A., pray for him.

rams said...

I've given this article a second, and indeed at the insistence of some on this blog even a third reading. I still feel a profound sadness. I'll point out though, that the only positive note here is that it looks like Dec 21 may be a date in which the "hermenutic of continuity" may actually begin. However, although the course pursued is generally moving in the right direction, I believe that this course being pursued is in principle flawed. This course will soon begin to deviate since now Vatican II, which this document itself admits introduces novelties, now becomes "a part of the tradition of the church". In other words, the inroduction of novelty is now considered "traditional". This cannot be! It looks as if the spirit of Vatican II is about to be enshrined as an immutable tradition of the church. Mutability is about to become immutable. This is nothing other than the "continuous agggornamento" of the progressivists being presented in a traditional cope... it gives appearance of one thing, but is in fact another.

These teachings of the infallible First Vatican Council are about to be jettisoned right before our eyes:

... The Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles. ...
-Vatican I Council : Session 4, Chapter 4 , 6


“For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated.

Hence, too, that understanding of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by Holy mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.

Therefore let the understanding, the knowledge, and wisdom of individuals as of all, of one man as of the whole Church, grow and progress strongly with the passage of the ages and the centuries; but let it be solely in its own genus, namely in the same dogma, with the same sense and the same understanding.''
-Vatican I Council Session 3, Chapter 4 ,13- 14

... and so ...The words of the Psalm 94[93] come to mind...

I would here like to point out that the 8th Ecumenical Council Constantinople IV was a non-dogmatic, purely canonical council. In this council, the heretic and schismatic userper Anti-Patriarch of Constantinople Photius was judged and deposed and the true Patriarch Ignatius was given back his rightful throne. However, this council did err. This council declared that all Photius's episcopal ordinations were invalid- this is a doctrinal error in an "non-dogmatic" council. If it could happen then, it could be happening now.

IronyNoted said...

JAR -

De Lubac's career was dedicated to showing the recognizing the historical dimension of truth does not, for the Christian, end in relativism.

It might be fair to accuse de Lubac (Balthasar.. Wojtyla.. Ratzinger) of having faulty reasoning against relativism, but it would be unfair to accuse them of holding relativism. Or more accurately, it would be a sin.

Rick DeLano said...

Well, this is a fine kettle of fish. I give the assent of Faith to the Faith, and religious submission to everything else.

So "I believe in God, the Father Almighty", and "I give religious submission to ecumenism, religious liberty, and collegiality"?

Tracy Hummel said...

JAK, you said "OK. Using this hermeneutic, Vatican II and its pronouncements are also historical and contingent."

Funny, that's exactly what Archbishop Lefebvre told a Vatican prelate (Cardinal Benelli?) back in the late 60's or perhaps early 70's. The prelate said "Oh, Pius XI would not have written Quas Primas today". Archbishop Lefebvre retorted "then today's teaching might also change, so I will wait." (my paraphrase).

It's almost as if they're saying "whatever we teach today is true - don't worry about the past. It's not possible for there to be disharmony between the old and new teachings". It's so because the current Magisterium says so. What happened to the "always, everywhere and by all" of St. Vincent of Lérins?

IronyNoted said...

Pascal,

My presentation is accurate.

Read Aquinas' Summa. For many Scholastics, Neoscholastics, and Thomists, episcopacy was not a sacramental order but a legal category. Therefore, valid exercise of episcopal functions was a legal question, not a sacramental question, judged by legal validity, not sacramental validity.

Therefore, it was a common pre-Conciliar opinion that the Pope, in the fullness of his primacy, could suspend a bishop's faculties to ordain, confirm, etc. This would render the validly-ordained bishop incapable of exercising specifically episcopal functions.

In saying that the power exercised by bishops "is proper, ordinary, and immediate," Lumen Gentium 27 was repudiating the idea that the episcopacy is a legal category (consecration) and is in fact a sacramental category (ordination), whose exercise of power is not a faculty that can be granted or removed but rather inherent to the sacrament itself.

John Nolan said...

Historically, the only things certain about Vatican II are:
1. No-one is sure what its purpose was. John XXIII died before he could fully elucidate, still less evaluate it.
2. Its documents reflect on the one hand the divisions which were manifest as soon as the Council opened,and on the other the prevailing rather optimistic Zeitgeist of the 1960s.
3. The effect of the Council was deeply divisive and remains so to this day, even if one is not arguing 'post hoc, ergo propter hoc'.

CredoUtIntelligam said...

David Werling said...

"An authentic interpretation of Conciliar texts can only be made by the Magisterium of the Church herself."
Sooooo... A half century later, we are still waiting. Where is the criticism for the modern Magisterium for allowing this uncharitable situation to persist for so long?


I took the author to assert that the post-Vatican II papal Magisterium has already provided the interpretation:

Lastly, in this regard, it does not seem superfluous to call to mind that almost half a century has passed since the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council and that in these decades four Roman Pontiffs have succeeded one another on the Chair of Peter. An assessment of the teaching of these Popes and the corresponding assent of the Episcopate to that teaching should transform a possible situation of difficulty into a serene and joyful acceptance of the Magisterium, the authentic interpreter of the doctrine of the faith. This must be possible and is to be hoped for, even if aspects that are not entirely understood remain.

Upshot: (1) the pre-Vatican II papal Magisterium must be interpreted in light of Vatican II, and (2) Vatican II must be interpreted in light of the encyclicals of John Paul II, etc.

So this is the hermeneutics of continuity?

P.K.T.P. said...

On fallibility, he is saying that non-infallible teachings are not necessarily fallible. They are called non-infallible rather than fallible because they can be found to be infallible (or not) in the future. While a non-infallible teaching could even include an error, we are bound not to assume this; and only the Sacred Magisterium can determine such a case.

I found this explanation to be entirely logical. While this writer avoids mentioning it directly, he leaves room for the possibility that Vatican II erred in some doctrinal matters, although he is signalling that this is not the case and that changes in historical circumstances wiil show how Quanta Cura and Dignitatis Humanæ can elucidate a hermeneutic of continuity in this matter.

Of course, I am sceptical about D.H. and we may withhold the assent of faith from it, provided we do not will dissent; that is, we may maintain this scepticism as we await definitive explanation showing how Quanta Cura and the Syllabus can be reconciled to Dignitatis Humanæ.

This statement also signals an opening in the sense that Rome is offering to consider various difficulties, and she may solve them in ways which are often not pleasing to liberals in the Church; however, she may also displease traditionalists in some cases.

Moving out of intellection and over to emotion for a moment, I find it hard to believe that certain teachings of the Council develop understanding of the eternal teachings of the Church. For one thing, we all know very well that the formulators of the documents, the periti, were often liberals who had been under suspicion of heresy. Of course, what they intended and what the Holy Ghost effected through both their formulations and the votes of the Council fathers could be different things. Therefore, we must now wait to see how Rome proposes to solve the various difficulties.

As far as I can see, as I have explained before, the S.S.P.X is in a bit of a bind here. It admits that Benedict XVI, John Paul II, John Paul I, Paul VI and John XXIII were legitimate popes. It even admits that most bishops hold office legitimately. It admits that the Sacred Magisterium is exercised through the hands of the popes and also through the bishops-in-union with-the-popes. At a certain point, the Society must step off the abyss and make an act of faith, provided, of course, that Rome can resolve the problems logically. But the Society must give the Pope the opportunity to explain how to resolve them.

For Rome's part, on the other side, she must show how particular Council teachings develop teachings which seem to contradict them. I use the verb 'must' here because it is a sacred duty of Holy Church to teach clearly when souls might otherwise be led astray: salus animarum lex suprema est.

To be continued

P.K.T.P. said...

Will the Society sign the Doctrinal Preamble?

Apparently Bishop Fellay will not sign it in its present form, which can be modified, although Rome has said that there can be no "substantial" changes.

I cannot comment on the fitness of the Preamble at this point because I have not seen the text. The Preamble is not this explanation.


CONCLUSION

A careful reading of this assessment of Msgr. Ocáriz Braña implies that the S.S.P.X does not deny any de fide teaching, as no new de fide teaching was defined at the Council and the Society claims to adhere entirely to pre-conciliar teaching. The Council may develop de fide teachings but does not do so infallibly. Since, as the good Monsignor writes, there is space for legitimate discussion of non-infallible (not to be called 'fallible') teachings, the Society does not *necessarily* refuse any required submission of mind and will. It follows logically that Society members, as a group, may not be assumed to be heretics or apostates at law. Rome has already made it clear that they are not schismatics either, since their 'schismatic act' was not one that was sufficient to effect a formal schism (mainly because they recognise the local bishops officially and do not claim to have established parallel dioceses).

Therefore, S.S.P.X members and supporters are assumed to be Catholic and in communion with the Pope, something effected by Baptism. While their Masses, for instance *may* be illicit and while Rome may assume them to be so, they are still Catholic Masses under Canon 1248. It follows that attendance at such Masses fulfils the Sunday and holyday obligation. Since a state of necessity can be invoked even if those doing so are mistaken in their assessment, it is at least possible here, that this protects all the Sacraments administered by the Society.

But only Rome can make these findings with any authority. I cannot. But nor can the secretary of a pontifical commission that lacks competence in the matter. We need a formal and official statement from Rome on the status of the Society, one signed by the Pope himself, ideally; one published in the Acta Apostolicæ Sedis.

P.K.T.P.

IronyNoted said...

CredoutIntelligam,

You dichotomy seems to be a little false. After all, if the hermeneutic which the magisterium gives us isn't intended to interpret the Christian tradition, then what, pray tell, is it intended to interpret?

It is the same relationship which Trent established vis-a-vis the medieval church.

Lopes said...

New Catholic,

I admit, I read the article at work (still here)...ha. But, it seems to me, that the SSPX will need to somehow accept the double-speak of Vatican II in order to come to an agreement.

There is just too much of: 'it is infallible but not really' type of reasoning in the article.

For example, he talks about the consent of the last four Popes to the Council as a sign of its, perhaps, 'infallibility.' What about the consent of the all the Popes after Trent?

Thoughts?

R. Catesby said...

I think this is great news for the SSPX. I consider this piece to be the Vatican's attempt to offer a blueprint to the SSPX on how they can accept the valid aspects of VII while appealing to the authority of earlier councils to correct the teachings and interpretation of that awful council.

Prozac Man said...

I thought nothing could be more depressing than carefully reading through the details of the RC installments of Don Pietro Leone's magnificent liturgical comparative analysis.

Looks like I may be wrong...

Juancho said...

It seems a balanced and reasonable document.

The question is why FSSPX for many normal Catholics seems to be out of catholic communion due to disobedience to "religious assent" (looking like pecatta minuta), while other priests and even bishops are in "full communion" with more serious faults.

Juancho de Argentina.

I am not Spartacus said...

As I recall, 88 Bishops voted to oppose accepting Nostra Aetate and they were allowed to leave The Council fully in union with The Pope but I am constrained to pretend I accept everything in Vatican Two?

Really...the trend towards a totalitarian mindset vis a vis Novel Doctrines is, to me at least, a Confession the New Theology is, finally, coming to understand that it has tried to build a new Church on Doctrinal Sand.

If Bishops at The Council could vote against accepting more than one Document of that Council -and numbers of them voted against accepting more than one Document- then what is poor Pat Pew Dweller to make of such a demand that he give religious assent to that which Bishops are at liberty to oppose?

Well, as Senator Randolph once said of a piece of Legislation; It is like a Carp in the Moonlight; it is shiny and it stinks.

John McFarland said...

Msgr. Ocariz's opuscule looks to be a slightly more detailed version of what the Preamble says.

If that's right, then this is not the end of the possibility of a Vatican-SSPX deal; it is definitive evidence that no deal was ever in the cards.

What Msgr. Ocariz is doing is applying the traditional doctrine of levels of required assent to doctrine that is not traditional doctrine.

But if the conciliar Vatican does not intend to teach the faith delivered once for all to the saints, then what it teaches has no right to our obedience.

Our choices are not apostasy or capitulation -- or sedevacantism.

We can do what the faithful before us did: embrace the Catholic and apostolic faith, and reject all proposed substitutes, even if an angel from heaven were to propose them.

Weary Traddy said...

"The Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter, that by His revelation they might make new doctrine, but that by His assistance they might inviolably keep and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith delivered through the Apostles."
-Pastor Aeternus, Vatican I

"Do not innovate anything. Rest content with Tradition."

-Pope St. Stephen



"Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither the revolutionaries nor innovators, they are the traditionalists."

-Pope St. Pius X



"Far, far from the clergy be the love of novelty!"

-Pope St. Pius X



"...if some new contagion were to try to poison no longer a small part of the Church, but all of the Church at the same time, then he will take the greatest care to attach himself to antiquity which, obviously, can no longer be seduced by any lying novelty."

-St. Vincent of Lerins


"A number of innovations of a doctrinal nature are to be found in the documents of the Second Vatican Council: on the sacramental nature of the episcopate, on episcopal collegiality, on religious freedom, etc. These innovations in matters concerning faith or morals, not proposed with a definitive act, still require religious submission of intellect and will, even though some of them were and still are the object of controversy with regard to their continuity with earlier magisterial teaching, or their compatibility with the tradition."

Weary Traddy said...

Does the term "religious submission of intellect and will" show up anywhere before Vatican II? If so, what was the context?

poeta said...

Si, maybe, no, maybe later.

Delphina said...

Weary,

I caught that line too. Correct me if I am wrong, but since when is a Catholic supposed to submit their mind and will to an innovation?

Really, this article is horrible. Relegate it to the garbage dump!

Pascal said...

"Therefore, it was a common pre-Conciliar opinion that the Pope, in the fullness of his primacy, could suspend a bishop's faculties to ordain, confirm, etc."

Yes, just like in our day and age.

"This would render the validly-ordained bishop incapable of exercising specifically episcopal functions."

If by "incapable" you mean that a suspended or even an excommunicated bishop (who indisputably possesses apostolic succession) cannot ordain priests validly, then you are seriously mistaken. The suspension would affect only the liceity of these functions, but not their sacramental validity. The ability of suspended or even excommunicated bishops to validly ordain priests was never seriously questioned prior to Vatican II. (Many 'ordinations' by validly ordained but suspended or excommunicated bishops have been declared or treated as invalid, not because of the suspended or excommunicated status of the bishop concerned but because of other factors e.g. commercialization of ordinations, questions regarding the mental state of the ordaining prelate, etc.)

This is really basic stuff, no?

Fortiter Pugnem said...

"For many will come in my name saying, I am Christ. And they will seduce many. And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that ye be not troubled...Now all these are the beginnings of sorrows...And then shall many be scandalized and shall betray one another and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise and shall seduce many...But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved." ~God, the Secnod Person of The Most Blessed Trinity (Matt. 24:5-6, 24:8, 24:10-11, 24:13)
I really don't understand all this. If I let it, it could really scare me, and cause inner turmoil and doubt. I need to remember that God is alwyas with me. So everybody, assuming your only goal is to do God's will, there is no need to worry! Sure, it may cause confusion, but just as long as we are doing what we are supposed to, what harm can come to us? "Perfect love casts out all fear."
~C0M

P.K.T.P. said...

Mr. McFarland writes:

"What Msgr. Ocariz is doing is applying the traditional doctrine of levels of required assent to doctrine that is not traditional doctrine."

But the Society's problem is that it is for the Popes and bishops to decide what is authentic Church teaching. By recognising the last four popes and by recognising most bishops (those who have not entered into formal heresy), the Society puts itself in a bind. I'm sure that Fr. Cekada would point this out.

On the other side, I must be honest with myself: if D.H. is somehow continuous with Quant Cura, I'll eat my sunglasses--without adding even a pinch of salt or seasoning.

P.K.T.P.

JAK said...

Tracy Hummel,

You're right. Nothing is ever right or wrong. It's just nothing. One spot on the march of history. One of the proponents of this line of thinking is John O'Malley (What Happened at Vatican II?, Belknap Press, 2010)), who wrote "Reform, Historical Consciousness and Vatican II's Aggiornamento (http://www.ts.mu.edu/content/32/32.4/32.4.1.pdf) along those same lines.

Of course, once you go down that road, it's all up for grabs. But, if the Vatican is going to do that, let's beat them at their own game. We can relativize Vatican II.

And, as someone on this thread suggested, perhaps the SSPX can use this to finesse their way back into the Church. They would provide enough leaven to redirect the Church in the future toward Truth.

Although, the SSPX isn't likely to play the kind of games that the O'Malleys, etc., are used to doing.

Art Thou Elias? said...

"A number of innovations of a doctrinal nature are to be found in the documents of the Second Vatican Council: on the sacramental nature of the episcopate, on episcopal collegiality, on religious freedom, etc. These innovations in matters concerning faith or morals, not proposed with a definitive act, still require religious submission of intellect and will, even though some of them were and still are the object of controversy with regard to their continuity with earlier magisterial teaching, or their compatibility with the tradition."

A perfect example of the double-talk and self-contradicting convolutions necessary for the Vatican to defend Vatican II. Or, as another blogger noted above, "circular reasoning." There is no such thing as a "doctrinal innovation," and no such thing as any kind of acceptable assent to any of them. That is, unless you think that a "Countersyllabus" carries Magisterial weight.

Oh boy, I really can't wait for the Third Secret to be published, and this Council finally and forever unmasked as the "Evil Council" by the very words of Our Lady. (And since John XXIII read the Third Secret, and dismissed the "prophets of gloom" in his opening speech to the Council, was he guilty of flagrant disobedience, and of an outrageous act of pride in thinking that he knew better than Our Lady?)

I imagine this absurd argument came up during the SSPX talks - I would love to know how the SSPX representatives responded.

Gratias said...

So, the Opus Dei will not help out traditional Catholics after all. We are on our own.

Fortiter Pugnem said...

Art Thou Elias,
I don't know what you mean by the "Evil Council" or the Third Secret. There is doubt about whether the Third Secret is the real one and I have heard several different versions of it. But John XIII is Blessed, and as far I understand, if he made such an act of pride he repented of it, because he at least made it to Purgatory. Thus the name...Blessed!
Your very name brings to me visions of doom and gloom! Brighten up, fellow Catholic! We don't know when the end times begin, or how long they last. God will protect us! You will be fine! Even if it is the end of the world, God is in control! God Bless!

Cruise the Groove. said...

I am confused.

On the one hand the author states that Catholics have to give the assent of obedience and will to VII documents,

and then he says:
"a number of innovations of a doctrinal nature are to be found in the documents of the Second Vatican Council"

So are we to give our assent of obedience blindly, or any other way, to "innovations of a doctrinal nature?"

Timothy Mulligan said...

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master -- that’s all.”


I liked the part about serenity and joy the best.

Groo the Wanderer said...

An innovation can be introduced at a council, provided said innovation does not contradict tradition. The burden of proof is not to show that VII introduced innovations, but to show that these invations are contrary to tradition.

The debate, as the Msgr. points out, is about the latter. Since the burden of proof (presumably) is on those who would dissent from the council, insofar as it was an Ecumenical Council of the Church, to show that the innovation is contrary to tradition, one should assent to it until proven otherwise.

One might respond to this that it has been proven otherwise again and again. But equally, others will argue that it has not been proven otherwise.

I suppose it all depends on who one is trying to prove it to. Certainly, various commentators have been convinced that the innovations are contrary to tradition. Likewise, the bishops and priests of the SSPX. But it hasn't been proven to this Pope, or the ones before. Assuming we still believe in the papacy, that must count for something

New Templar said...

P.K.T.P. writes, "But the Society's problem is that it is for the Popes and bishops to decide what is authentic Church teaching."

I think not. We are obliged to adhere to the Catholic Faith and if Bishops decide that the content of the Faith has changed then we are obliged to tell them to take a long jump off a short pier. The english catholics of St. John Fisher's time for the most part followed their bishops - out of the Church. St. John's remark on his cowardly and compromising colleagues in the episcopacy is well known and has come down to us, "the fort is betrayed even by those who should have defended it."

craig said...

Four successive Popes have accepted the Council as a valid development of Tradition. It is certainly true that there are difficulties in explaining continuity on certain issues, and the SSPX has every right to seek (but not to demand) clarification of those issues.

But in the end, if SSPX's position is going to be that four consecutive successors of Peter have defected from the faith, then why should it not then say that in fact the Orthodox were right all along, that Rome can err, and begin reevaluating all of the Councils since 1054 in that light? That is where the logic takes you.

Tom said...

I have believed — and the article in question confirmed, at least to me, my belief — all along that the Rome-SSPX issue would come down to the following from Rome:

1. Vatican II contains novelties.

2. The novelties are difficult to reconcile to Holy Tradition.

3. You may have the Traditional Latin Mass, continue your work and even criticize "respectfully" Vatican II's novelties.

3. But to do so, you must recognize that Vatican II's novelties, while difficult to reconcile to Holy Tradition, are legitimate because...ummm...we say so.

4. You can argue "respectfully" that the Church would benefit if said novelties were discarded.

5. But you must acknowledge that said novelties are "legitimate,"
even if we do not require that you practice said novelties.
---------------------------

What else can Rome do?

After all, we are dealing with men.

We are dealing with men who are aware that the Church (certainly Latin Church) is in a state of collapse but fear that they cannot publicly (or are so convinced otherwise) acknowledge that the time has come to discard the Novus Ordo in favor of the TLM.

That, in turn, would lead to the reassessment (perhaps abandonment) of Vatican II.

We are dealing with men who have thrown in to the hilt with Vatican II and the Novus Ordo.

In regard to Vatican II, the best that we will obtain from them is that which Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz Braña delineated.

Vatican II is filled with novelties. You may discuss you opposition to said novelty but you must accept novelty as legitimate.

The best that we will obtain from them in regard to the Novus Ordo is a hybrid Mass.

They will not and cannot not abandon fully the Novus Ordo.

1. They know that the Novus Ordo is in deep trouble.

2. But they will not discard the Novus Ordo in full as they believe to a certain degree in the Novus Ordo.

3. They cannot possibly abandon the Novus Ordo in full as that would acknowledge that their entire Vatican II Era revolution — everything from liturgy to ecumenuism — is a disaster.

4. Therefore, they will keep the Novus Ordo (and their revolution) alive via their latest gimmick — the hybrid Mass.

Again, the Rome-SSPX issue could only find resolution in the following manner:

You may have the TLM. You may argue "respectfully" in favor of Holy Tradition.

But like it or not, you will acknowledge that Vatican II novelties are "legitimate."

Tom

mundabor said...

I never liked the SSPX so much.

More so, this article helped me to better understand what dangerous people still walk around in the corridors of the Vatican.

One provocation for all:

"...but also some of these earlier magisterial documents can be understood better in the light of the Second Vatican Council".

Let me get this: I need V II to better understand what the message of Pius X, Pius XI and Pius XII was? V II will tell us what two thousand years of tradition really, really told us about religious freedom?

This chap needs to be retired, fast.

Mundabor

Tom said...

"The debate, as the Msgr. points out, is about the latter. Since the burden of proof (presumably) is on those who would dissent from the council, insofar as it was an Ecumenical Council of the Church, to show that the innovation is contrary to tradition, one should assent to it until proven otherwise."

"I suppose it all depends on who one is trying to prove it to. But it hasn't been proven to this Pope, or the ones before. Assuming we still believe in the papacy, that must count for something."

We could have believed that and at the expense of the Traditional Roman Mass, had fallen in line with Pope Paul VI and his Novus Ordo had we assumed the argument that novelty is to be accepted as the papacy "must count for something."

Saint Paul didn't buy into that argument when confronted Saint Peter.

Please recall that it was Josef Cardinal Ratzinger (our Pope) who declared that "the pope is not an absolute monarch whose will is law; rather, he is the guardian of the authentic tradition..."

Yes, the Papacy counts for "something."

To me, the Papacy counts for everything.

I simply beg His Holiness, whom I recognize as a far holier man that I, but one who has thrown in with certain novelties, to cast novelty aside in favor of Holy Tradition.

I am sorry, but I cannot accept that in the face of novelty, we must look the other way as the Papacy "counts for something."

Are we to accept such shocking novelty as an ecumenical/"interfaith" gathering —the recent event at Assisi — that featured the Roman Pontiff, a voodoo witch doctor and Protestant pretend "Archbishop"?

As long as Peter promotes Tradition and novelty, confusion and collapse will mark Holy Mother Church.

Tom

JTLiuzza said...

I agree with Tom's assessment. The handwriting is on the wall for the new Mass and a "hybrid" is just a last gasp fantasy. The Vatican II "novelties" started dying the minute they were introduced.

You may have tradition and argue respectfully against the novelties. Fine. Take that and establish a new beach head there from which to continue to fight within Holy Mother Church.

Accepting that the novelties are "legitimate" is fine as well because it is ultimately meaningless to insist on accepting altar girls, EMHC, versus populum, Communion in the hand, etc. for example, as "legitimate" while at the same time allowing that such things can be prohibited. Such is really the case already as His Holiness has stated that for those who offer Holy Mass according to the missal of 1962, those things can be ignored.

John Lamont said...

Comments on the crucial elements of this article:

I.

'A number of innovations of a doctrinal nature are to be found in the documents of the Second Vatican Council: on the sacramental nature of the episcopate, on episcopal collegiality, on religious freedom, etc. These innovations in matters concerning faith or morals, not proposed with a definitive act, still require religious submission of intellect and will.'

The term 'innovation' is unacceptable as applied to doctrinal teachings. Such teachings cannot add to the original deposit of faith; they can only make more explicit what is already contained in it. This may simply be a mistake in choice of words, but making the mistake indicates a somewhat shaky grasp of theology on the part of the author.
Religious submission of mind and will is due to all the teaching of the Catholic Church that is authoritative but does not demand the assent of faith. This submission is thus due to the teachings that contradict the received understanding of the conciliar documents as much as to the the conciliar documents themselves. Invoking the need for this submission thus does nothing at all to resolve difficulties with the teaching of these documents.

''These are innovations in the sense that they explain new aspects which have not previously been formulated by the Magisterium, but which do not doctrinally contradict previous Magisterial documents.'

This is fine if we replace 'innovation' by 'development', and 'not previously been formulated' by 'not previously been explicitly formulated'. But the difficulty with the Second Vatican Council lies in claiming that it made such developments, as I will remark in a subsequent post.

John Lamont said...

(Cont'd.)

'In the face of such difficulties in understanding the continuity of certain Conciliar Teachings with the tradition, the Catholic attitude, having taken into account the unity of the Magisterium, is to seek a unitive interpretation in which the texts of the Second Vatican Council and the preceding Magisterial documents illuminate each other. Not only should the Second Vatican Council be interpreted in the light of previous Magisterial documents, but also some of these earlier magisterial documents can be understood better in the light of the Second Vatican Council. This is nothing new in the history of the Church. It should be remembered, for example, that the meaning of important concepts adopted in the First Council of Nicaea in the formulation of the Trinitarian and Christological faith (hypostasis, ousia), were greatly clarified by later Councils.... '

The general principle enunciated here is correct, but its application to the Second Vatican Council is wrong. When earlier magisterial teachings are better understood by later ones, this is because the later teachings are a) more clearly and precisely expressed than the earlier ones and b) are equally or more authoritative than the earlier ones. This is the case with the teachings of the councils on Christ and the Trinity to which the author refers. In the case of the Second Vatican Council, however, neither of these conditions applied. That council eschewed the precise scholastic terminology previously used in magisterial teachings, and refused to define any doctrines. It is thus of no use in clarifying previous magisterial teachings. A classic example is its teaching on ecumenism; nowhere is ecumenism defined or even explained in the conciliar documents. The same is true of the great majority of the teachings of the popes since the council; the few precise teachings that have been made since then (e.g. the teaching that the Church has no authority to ordain women) are simply repetitions, worthy enough, of teachings that were already clearly enunciated prior to the council. The only practical way of applying the hermeneutic of continuity to the council is to understand the conciliar teachings in the light of the earlier, clearer ones.

John Lamont said...

(Cont'd.)

So understood, the hermeneutic of continuity would be entirely acceptable to the SSPX. But the problem with this understanding lies in the reason why the conciliar documents were given this vague character in the first place. They were given this character because the influential people involved in their drafting – Chenu, Rahner, Schillebeeckz, Kung, Dofpner, Bugnini, Lercaro, Bea, etc. - were heretics, and made the texts vague so that they would be susceptible of an interpretation that contradicted previous Catholic teaching. These heretics of course succeeded in getting their interpretation of the texts over to the Church as a whole, with the result that we know. A correct application of the hermeneutic of continuity to the documents would simply mean a rejection of everything that they have been understood to mean and a return to the theological status quo ante, with a small number of unobjectionable new teachings such as the assertion that the consecration of bishops is a sacrament. But Ocariz is not accepting this option, He is claiming that the conciliar documents were produced as previous documents were, with the intention of explaining and deepening the Catholic faith, and hence that they contain new teachings in the fields of ecumenism, religious liberty, and collegiality that should be accepted. But this is false. The only novelty in the conciliar documents is that they are expressed in a way that permits a heterodox interpretation. The people involved in drafting them did not have any actual developments of doctrine in mind; what they had in mind was the rejection of previous doctrine. If you want to find something new in the documents, you must accept the modernist positions that their drafters wished to promote.

So the issue with the SSPX (and with everyone who wishes to adhere to the Catholic faith in its entirety) is: do you permit a legitimate understanding of the hermeneutic of continuity to be applied to the Second Vatican Council, and thus return to the theological status quo ante, or do you insist that the council contains real novelties that must be accepted, and thus try to impose modernism? The second option is too unworkable to be carried out in the long run, but the long run can take a long time to arrive. Let us pray that this disingenuous prelate's attempt at imposing acceptance or at least silence in the face of modernism is the end of this approach.

Joe B said...

I hope this isn't meant for SSPX. If this is meant for SSPX, I would be insulted if I were them. I'm insulted at being told yet again I have to shut up and swallow something as beautifully Catholic which has 50 years of rotten fruits that everyone with eyes can see, including that mass and the auto-destruction of the church.

SSPX theologians know about their obligation to adhere to doctrines because they're experts on what those who came before us said - that's who they are. And they know the rules of what makes a proposed truth obligatory. This has never been about that those issues. It's about Rome either showing how these documents mesh with prior teachings, or admitting they are clueless and so forget the council.

And it sounds like Rome still can't explain it, so here comes the shut up and eat it defense.

I really hope it isn't meant for SSPX.

Malta said...

A number of innovations of a doctrinal nature are to be found in the documents of the Second Vatican Council: on the sacramental nature of the episcopate, on episcopal collegiality, on religious freedom, etc. These innovations in matters concerning faith or morals, not proposed with a definitive act, still require religious submission of intellect and will...

Is this guy a comedian, or is he serious? I was just watching Jeff Dunham with my son--his Christmas special, to be exact. But, whereas Jeff's absurd comedy is funny, this guy's is not!

I give neither my "submission of intellect or will"!

OK, fellow pilgrim, I demand you give your "submission of intellect and will" to Lateran IV's requirement that Jews and Muslims wear distinctive dress (a horrible decree in an otherwise good Council); go ahead, chase 'em down and make them wear distinctive dress! What a freakin' idiot! I thought these guys were theologically trained?

The Holy Spirit does not always protect a Council from the whims of unholy liberal hot-heads, like those of the Peritii who took-over Vatican II.

But I'm sure he has never heard of the renown Msgr. Gherardini; how could he? It's like deja vu every night by his bed re-reading his earmarked Rahner volume!

In fact, a Council may even fail in faith and morals, according to some Theologians.

Tomas said...

You can always find an idiot shooting against the Opus Dei without prudence and knowledge.

Fernando Ocariz do not represent the Opus Dei in this issue. This is the opinion of Fernando Ocariz as a theologian, and no more.

In the Opus Dei you could find people who think that Fernando Ocariz is truly generous to SSPX saying these things, and that this position is right. And you can also find very progressive men that will say that this position is totally erronous.

And some members of Opus Dei will say that this position of Ocariz is progressive, and that the SSPX is right: there is a rupture between the novelities of the II Vatican Council and previos Church Magisterium which can not be reconciled.

Regards,

Delphina said...

Mundabor,

I agree with you.

And again I will say, this article is the absolute pits.

Not only is it insulting to the SSPX, it is also insulting to me. Years ago I read an article, I believe it was by an FSSP priest, who said that the difference between a traditional and a novus ordo-ite is that the traditional views Vatican II and thereafter through the eyes of pre-Vatican II teachings, and the novus ordo-ite views tradition through the eyes of Vatican II.

Apparently, the priest was right.

New Catholic said...

Tomas: "And some members of Opus Dei will say that this position of Ocariz is progressive, and that the SSPX is right: there is a rupture between the novelities of the II Vatican Council and previos Church Magisterium which can not be reconciled."

Really? Who? Are they published anywhere? These are honest questions: it would certainly be useful to know a single priest or lay member of Opus Dei publicly saying those things.

Tradical said...

I believe that the Church has received all the required 'clarification' of the Second Council in three distinct points acts of the 'magisterium':

Assisi 1
Assisi 2
Assisi 3

These represent the interpretation of the Council in the same manner that the Novus Ordo exemplifies the new theology.

Now I see why one of the SSPX theologians had to point out during the discussions that "you can't use the Second Vatican Council to justify the Second Vatican Council".

Malta said...

Btw: where does he get that "all pastoral activity is based on doctrine"?

What? Not all dogma is doctrine, but all dogma is also doctrine. Doctrine, being official teaching, can be separated from "pastoral activity." This guy needs to go back to school.

Joseph said...

"I believe it was by an FSSP priest, who said that the difference between a traditional and a novus ordo-ite is that the traditional views Vatican II and thereafter through the eyes of pre-Vatican II teachings, and the novus ordo-ite views tradition through the eyes of Vatican II."

Delphina, that might be the best way to summarize the situation that I have seen.

M. A. said...

Wow! I'm away from the computer for practically the whole day, and when I get back, this is what I find!!
_____________________

"The brazen disingenuity of his "reasoning" is astounding, almost beyond belief if one hadn't actually read it"

Tradfly's reaction is also mine.

I recall Bishop Fellay saying that things would only get more confusing in the next five years or so. Thank God I've had the grace of digesting the writings of the Abbe de Nantes for many years.

re:"But the Society's problem is that it is for the Popes and bishops to decide what is authentic Church teaching."

The problem really lies in the refusal of post-conciliar popes to settle matters once and for all with a definitive judgment as to what is or is not infallible. In the face of the apocalyptic apostasy foretold by our Lady,why have they refrained?

Ahh..the Holy Ghost would not allow them to sanction fallible innovations as they probably might have liked, and thus God is still protecting His Church!

--------
Some of what is written is almost amusing, specially this line:

"Not only should the Second Vatican Council be interpreted in the light of previous Magisterial documents, but also some of these earlier magisterial documents can be understood better in the light of the Second Vatican Council."

The author certainly has a sense of humor.

Louis said...

Possible advertising slogan for Opus Dei: Putting scholarly veneer on blind positivism for decades.

Knight of Malta said...

reverse that, dogma is always doctrine, but not the other way around (sorry for that confusion). In other words, dogma is always infallible, but doctrine can be fallible.

One might say that all of Vatican II is "doctrine"--I might debate that point since it seems so superfluous, but, notwithstanding that distinction--Vatican II is pure pastoral ambiguity, except for those dogmas reiterated from past Councils.

Mike said...

If pastoral activity is not doctrine-based, it's a Boy Scout Meeting, a Community gathering, not an activity of Christ's Church.

I think many of the posters here are disrepectful of this writer. Sadly.

Sure, disagree. But don't disagree like a high school sophomore.

Jordanes551 said...

Btw: where does he get that "all pastoral activity is based on doctrine"?

What? Not all doctrine is dogma, but all dogma is also doctrine. Doctrine, being official teaching, can be separated from "pastoral activity." This guy needs to go back to school.


There's no problem with the statement that "all pastoral activity is based on doctrine." However, sometimes the connection between pastoral activity and doctrine only implicit, and sometimes the pastoral activity might be based on false doctrine and therefore the pastoral activity is flawed or pernicious or abusive.

Ecclesia Militans said...

This text is all about slavery

Saying that we have the "freedom to explain in one way or in another how certain formulations present in the Conciliar texts do not contradict the Tradition" is like saying we have the freedom to explain how a lie doesn't contradict the truth. This is no freedom at all, but slavery.

The whole text is basically proclaiming an obligation to accept error and to be enslaved by error.
That is why people are criticizing it and having trouble accepting it, that is why, by the Grace of God, the SSPX will reject the preamble.

The type of "serene and joyful acceptance of the Magisterium, the authentic interpreter of the doctrine of the faith" that he is talking about is a trademark 'Opus Dei' attitude, a slave-like mentality, a slave-like Faith, profoundly different than the Catholic Faith. That is not the Catholic Faith, it is the faith of man, where man wants to take the place of God, to have absolute obedience from his subjects.

They wish to be slaves of the Pope, of his every word and deed, but we wish to be only slaves of Christ (1 Cor 7:22).
But our master is kind and wishes for us not to be shackled as slaves, but free as sons.
"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)

This is the Catholic Faith.

Don't be worried or afraid by this intransigence of the modernists, by their refusal to accept the truth. This is the path that they have chosen and will not change. Have faith in God. He will restore the glory of His Church.

Jordanes551 said...

OK, fellow pilgrim, I demand you give your "submission of intellect and will" to Lateran IV's requirement that Jews and Muslims wear distinctive dress (a horrible decree in an otherwise good Council); go ahead, chase 'em down and make them wear distinctive dress!

The medieval Church's requirement that Catholic states enact sumptuary laws for Jews and Muslims was culturally conditioned, and obviously would be inappropriate and unjust in today's world. That law of the Church must be seen and understood against the background of medieval Christian culture, in which each social class had their distinctive dress which was backed up by sumptuary laws. In this way, Catholics continue to offer submission of intellect and will even to that decree of Lateran IV which long ago was deprived of juridical force.

Prof. Basto said...

A few topical observations only:

1) Vatican II did indeed introduce many innovations, but not concerning the sacramental nature of the episcopate; that nature was already well established, and if one reads Sacramentum Ordinis one will confirm that;

2) It is interesting that the article's Author only quotes and references post-conciliar documents. Could the same points be sustained with references to pre-conciliar documents?

3) If not, then we are faced with a bigger problem, a methodological one: we first need to ask a different question, namely: Is there a consensus between the Holy See and the SSPX on the meaning of Church's teaching on the several levels of assent owed to the Church's teaching?

4) In other words, there is this meta-magisterial teaching, this teaching of the Magisterium about the Magisterium, BUT THIS TEACHING ALSO HAS NOT REMAINED UNCHANGED. There were innovations to it introduced by Vatican II.

5) So, this begs the question: is the Conciliar and Post-Conciliar teaching about the Magisterium, specifically the Conciliar and Post-Conciliar teaching on the question of the levels of assent owed to the Church's teachings, accepted by the SSPX, or do the SSPX consider that teaching to be yet another spurious innovation of the Council and post-Council?

6)Lumen Gentium indeed seems to have introduced novelties on the question of the "levels of assent". Are those novelties themselves correct? Or a strange new form of "not so infallible infallibility" was proposed that actually does not make much sense?

7) If something is not infallible, then it is fallible. It does not mean that the fallible teaching is wrong, it however does mean that it can be wrong. The Article FAILS precisley when it tries to say that the lack of infalliblity does not mean fallibiliy. Of course, this is black or white: either a teaching is infallible, or it is fallible.

8) If a Council that wished to proclaim no dogma - and that stressed its pastoral character even in Notes officially annexed (at the moment of promulgation) to the text of the Conciliar documents themselves - issued fallible documents that contradict previous documents that use solemn language and that are covered by the grace of infallibility, then by no means should the previous infallible teaching be re-read in light of the subsequent fallible one. On the contrary, the error of the fallible teaching must in this case be recognized.

Knight of Malta said...

Jordones: I agree, of course! So, too, I think Vatican II can be evaluated in the milieu and praxis of the 1960's!

I think it should now be trash-canned, and the Dogmatic Council of Trent should be re-focused on!

Prof. Basto said...

JDBR,

Precisely. The teaching of the Second Vatican Council itself cannot be used to ascertain the level of authority of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

The level of authority of this new Council, including the level of this new Council's metamagisterial teachings (the teaching about "religious submission of intelect and will"), must be ascertained according to pre-existing docrine.

It would only be admissible to ascertain the authority of the Council documents on the basis of the Council's own teachings if the Council were the "original constituent power" of the Church.

However, as the Supreme Authority of the Church reminded us in Pope Benedict XVI's 2005 Christmas Address to the Roman Curia, the Second Vatican Council was never endowed with Constituent Power (as the other Councils were also not): the Church's Divine Constitution is unchangeable and it was set by Christ, Her Divine Founder.

The Pope said: "The nature of a Council as such is therefore basically misunderstood. In this way, it is considered as a sort of constituent that eliminates an old constitution and creates a new one. However, the Constituent Assembly needs a mandator and then confirmation by the mandator, in other words, the people the constitution must serve. The Fathers had no such mandate and no one had ever given them one; nor could anyone have given them one because the essential constitution of the Church comes from the Lord and was given to us so that we might attain eternal life and, starting from this perspective, be able to illuminate life in time and time itself."

If that is so, that is, if Vatican II was not invested with original constituent power over the Church (and that is an obvious fact), then, as a necessary consequence, THE AUTHORITY, AND THE PRECISE LEVEL OF AUTHORITY, OF THE COUNCIL AND OF ITS DOCUMENTS CANNOT REST ON THE COUNCIL'S OWN TEACHINGS.

Also, the Council's teachings, INCLUDING ITS METAMAGISTERIAL TEACHINGS (about the Magisterium, levels of assent, etc), cannot be in contradiction with past infallible teachings. Otherwise, there would be rupture in the Church's doctrine, and not continuity.

Upsala said...

Zenit produces a headline saying that the SSPX has rejected the Preamble, while an Opus Dei clown produces this sloppy bilge aimed at alarming traditionalist sensibilities. Could it be that the Secretariat of State is putting pressure on it's puppets (Legionaries of Christ, Opus Dei and other neo-Con sycophant societies) to throw a spanner into the works between Rome and the SSPX? Thank God Monsignor Fellay is well aware of the poisonous tactics of the Freemasons in the Secretariat of State.

CH DUPUY said...

"An authentic interpretation of Conciliar texts can only be made by the Magisterium of the Church herself"
I thought that Ecumenical Councils were formulated in clear language for every one, both laity and clergy to understand what is proposed in an unmistakeable manner. Now this paragraph means that VII was written in an esoteric language that is to be deciphered by the initiated ones. What is more, the Conciliar texts promulgated by the Magisterium of the Church made up of the bishops and the Pope, has to be interpreted by the same Magisterium of the Church. In othe words another case of circular reasoning.
"So, everything is "historical," including pronouncements of previous Pontiffs? Therefore, everything is contingent.

OK. Using this hermeneutic, Vatican II and its pronouncements are also historical and contingent."

Not only that, but since "aggiornamento", that is, updating or adapting to historial surrounding, which is constantly evolvng, the Vatican II documents were probably obsolete at the time of the completion of the Council. 50 years on the historical landscape has radically changed from the 1960's, so the Council documents are more so obsolete. To be timely, they would have to take into account abortion, eutanasia, same sex marriage, ordiation of women, etc. In other words, trying to update the Church is like a dog chasing its own tail.
CH DUPUY

Jordanes551 said...

I thought that Ecumenical Councils were formulated in clear language for every one, both laity and clergy to understand what is proposed in an unmistakeable manner.

I don't know why anyone would think that, or would think that it's even possible.

Here is the Sixth Canon of the First Council of Nicaea. Can you understand what it proposes -- and all of its ramifications -- in a clear and unmistakeable manner?

"Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges."

I know I couldn't unless I'd studied and been instructed in the doctrines, traditions, and history of the Church (especially the historical context that prompted the Church to formulate this canon).

LeonG said...

"50th anniversary of the convocation of the Second Vatican Council (25 December 1961) is a cause for celebration,"

Quite an oxymoronic feel about this - celebrate one's own demise. This is such a foolish sentiment. Who in their right mind would want to fete a cause that has reduced the church to confusion and chaos. This is the mentality of the imbecile.

Peter Haddad said...

'it seemed urgent to me that some clarity be created by answering authoritatively the question about the continuity of this council with the other councils (THIS TIME NOT SIMPLY BY DECLARING IT SO but by proposing a genuine demonstration), the question about its fidelity to the Tradition of the Church.' FROM Petition to Pope Benedict XVI for a more in-depth examination of the Second Vatican Council.

Plotting my salvation said...

In my view, this letter only confirms what Bishop Fellay has been saying all along.

I dare say, V2 is a useless council.

Cardinal Schuster said...

I do think it is correct that

"... some of these earlier magisterial documents can be understood better in the light of the Second Vatican Council".

When we see how former Catholic states have developed in just a few years (say Spain since 1975, just one among many) and when confronted with what islamic immigration will do to your new praxis regulating religious freedom in the public square (a phenomenon not present yet in the mid-sixties, btw), you do understand much better how solid, wise and absolutely necessary the teachings of the syllabus, quanta cura etc are!

I would add that the (syncretism-friendly) St Egidio community must be very influent, if it has its founder A Riccardi as a member of the new Italian government, led by a freemason. Perhaps that's why it wasn't possible to avoid Assisi III.

Niklas said...

While Monsignor Ocáriz is a renowned theologian at Opus Dei, it is quite conceivable that a number of Opus Dei members see things slightly differently (I for example do). There is no "party line" in the work.

Oremus pro Beatíssimo Papa nostro Benedicto. - Dóminus conservet eum, et vivíficet eum, et beatum fáciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in ánimam inimicorum eius.

Peter Moscatelli said...

"Not only should the Second Vatican Council be interpreted in the light of previous Magisterial documents, but also some of these earlier magisterial documents can be understood better in the light of the Second Vatican Council."

But this is indeed correct! When thinking about the recent changes brought about in former Catholic countries, e.g. Spain since 1975, or when assessing the impact of religious freedom in the public square (external forum) when applied to islamic immigration in Christian countries (cf. Cyprus, Kosovo, Lebanon) - a problem not entirely present in the mid-sixties - we do indeed get a better understanding of how immensely wise and necessary the teachings of Quanta Cura, Syllabus etc. are!

New Catholic said...

"There is no 'party line' in the work."

Ha!... Well, it is not a sin in itself to have a party line.

Doc said...

Like it or not, this article explains the traditional assent that is to be given to the non-definitive acts of the Magisterium. That traditional assent, obsequium religiosum, requires a good faith effort to reconcile any apparent difficulties. It is very contrary to Tradition to reject some magisterial text outright because there are a few difficulties. If after such a good faith effort has failed, one may qualify--or in extreme cases, suspend--assent, but criticism can only be expressed in a manner consonant with one's rank and competence. Vatican II did not invent this kind of assent, so whoever said it was circular reasoning is mistaken. It is no more circular than Popes affirming their own authority (which is done a ton by Popes). You can't resist or argue against what you personally see as novel and contradictory in a novel and contradictory way.

The "hermeneutic of continuity" is the appropriate response. For example, a natural reading of the Council of Constance's decrees leads to many difficulties regarding the heresy of concilliarism. It is stated pretty directly in the decree Haec Sancta and more indirectly in the decree Frequens (although the decisions here, and elsewhere, appear heavily based on concilliarism). Pope Martin V received and applied them according to the spirit of concilliarism and the concilliarists ran wild.

However, it was Pius II, a former concilliarist himself, who finally condemned concilliarism definitively--but he never once impugned the Council of Constance. In the very text where he publicly renounces his own errors in this regard--he says the following:

"With these authorities, we recognize the power and the authority of a General Council as it was declared and defined in our age at Constance when the Ecumenical Council was assembled there. For we revere the Council of Constance and all Councils that were approved by our predecessors."
(In Minoribus)

He says this even though an initial reading of this Council appears to only define the authority of a general Council in a concilliarist manner. He also never summoned an ecumenical Council, despite the apparently concilliarist decree "Frequens" requiring him to do so.

Now, in the mind of most Catholics Constance is either not on the radar screen, or it is only remembered for its condemnations of Wycliff and Hus and for "ending" the Great Western Schism.

No one links the teaching authority of the Church to the rise of the concilliarist heresy immediately afterward under Pope Marin V, the resulting schism when Pope Eugene IV resisted them, or the undermining of popular loyalty to the Roman See across Europe(especially in places like Germany, which ultimately caused the Reformation to be able to spread and stick), even though one could easily do so.

Doc said...

There seems to be a lot of ignorant and knee-jerk reactions on here from people who do not understand certain terminology or the history and tradition of these concepts. The problem with the SSPX is not that they reject any dogmas or doctrines requiring a definitive assent, it is that in their publications they do not appear to give "religious assent"--which does permit of appropriate criticism. There doesn't appear in their writings a good faith attempt to reconcile recent pronouncements with past, but attempts to put everything in from the Council afterward in the worst light possible.

Here's how Ott defined religiosum obsequium: "an inner assent which is based on the high supernatural authority of the Holy See. The so-called "silentium obsequiosum." that is "reverent silence," does not generally suffice. By way of exception, the obligation of inner agreement may cease if a competent expert, after a renewed scientific investigation of all grounds, arrives at the positive conviction that the decision rests on an error.".

From other old manuals I've read, I've come to understand that this assent requires a spirit of docility that gives a presumption of truth to the teaching and a good faith effort to assimilate the teaching. If that effort fails, then assent can be suspended, but criticism must be given in a manner consonant with one's rank and competence and with due reverence for the Magisterial organ doing the teaching.

Doc said...

The accusation of circular argument can apply to Tradition and the Church itself. The Church has doctrine about her own authority--it is what it is. If the Church cannot teach and hand on the doctrine of what its own authority is and when, then how can it ever teach its children and the world what its authority is? Does it have to come by direct revelation from Christ Himself?

The idea that the Church teaching cannot teach about itself taken to its logical conclusion destroys all of ecclesiology and from there all of Tradition.

Again, Vatican II may be accused of teaching novelty in certain things, but obsequium religiosum is not one of them.

P.K.T.P. said...

New Templar:


The Magisterium is expressed through the Popes and the Bishops in communion with the popes. Popes can err when not speaking authoritatively but they carry more weight than you do. They carry more weight than does Winnie the Pooh.

The problem comes down to this: who is the final arbiter of authentic church teaching? Is it Bishop Fellay? Is he the spokesman of the Sacred Magisterium? Who gets to decide the criteria and principles of interpretation of church teaching? The Pope or does Mr. McFarland or I trump the Pope?

Yes, we are bound to judge matters in accordance with informed consciences. In the mean time, however, we must give the highest authority the opportunity to show how previous teaching is compatible with later teaching. We may withhold assent in the mean time but we surely should not dissent before the Vicar of Christ has uttered his interpretation. Anyway, I'm anxious to hear how H.H. plans to show that D.H. is continuous with the Syllabus.

P.K.T.P.

JMJ Ora Pro Nobis said...

I cannot believe this 'creeping infallibility' is still being used. Vatican 2 contradicted several infallible dogmas such as those taught in Vatican 1, the council of Trent and the council of florence and embraces the errors rejected by Auctorem Fidei. Of course that is leaving aside the question of whether the pre-conciliar teaching on ecumenicism, the social reign of christ etc... became part of the ordinary and universal magisterium or not. Aside from that it also clearly contradicts the ordinary magisterium and thus no matter how much is taught with the authority of the ordinary magisterium it cannot over rule what came before as it is of the same authority not greater. The pope would have to use ex cathedra authority to over rule what came before.

GQ Rep said...

"I'm sorry, but non-infallible does so mean fallible.

In any case the previous popes, Pius XII and before are treated as fallible. What's good for the goose is good for the gander."

If the pre-Vatican II Popes are presented as fallible, and yet Vatican II somehow by some great miracle is presented as infallible (which it wasn't), you can see that this is a pethetic attempt by the Vatican, or at least this guy who seems to speak with some authority, to set themselves up as claiming that Vatican II was indeed infallible and must be adhered to by all.

That's garbage! (to use nice language)

Nothing good came from Vatican II. We all know it after 50 years. So do they. But they are still trying to glorify it.

That's sick.

Schiffried von Hoffenheim said...

When, exactly, did we stop burning heretics?

Tom, excellent summary of the situation at 01 December, 2011 23:15.

This, too, was well-stated:

'A perfect example of the double-talk and self-contradicting convolutions necessary for the Vatican to defend Vatican II.' (Art Thou Elias?, 01 December, 2011 21:14)

There is clearly a lot wrong with the Second Vatican Council, otherwise everything would be all fine and well in the Church, and we wouldn't be having this debate in the first place.

The Vatican is like a lung-cancer patient who both refuses to accept that he is sick (crisis in the Church) and refuses to stop smoking (flush Vatican II).

The FSSPX is like an adult son of that patient begging his father to stop smoking.

But the father won't, so what is the son to do? Stand in the room, breathe the smoke, and risk getting the same cancer? Bring the grandchildren into the smoky room so that they might get sick, too?

I pray that — unless by some miracle the ordinary Church hierarchy comes to its senses — the members of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X will ignore this nonsense, hold the line (read: keep the Faith), and go back to letting the rest of the Church continue to self-destruct. The war is clearly not over.

After the dust settles, and the rest Christendom has contracepted and aborted itself into extinction — or suffered martyrdom at the hands of the Enemy and his servants — we and/or our posterity will inherit the Earth and rebuild.

In the meantime, prepare yourselves for a rough ride. Winter is coming, and the fire is going to fall.

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

"A number of innovations of a doctrinal nature are to be found in the documents of the Second Vatican Council: on the sacramental nature of the episcopate, on episcopal collegiality, on religious freedom, etc. These innovations in matters concerning faith or morals...

There can be no innovations of a doctrinal nature. The Deposit of Faith ended with the last Apostole.

LeonG said...

"First of all, it is not pointless to recall that the pastoral motivation of the Council does not mean that it was not doctrinal – since all pastoral activity is necessarily based on doctrine."

And, of course, it is upon this basis that novel ideas these "doctrines" put into place, need to be questioned, elucidated "in the light of tradition" and then abolished in favour of what the church traditionally teaches in sound, clear pre-conciliar language.

Joe B said...

Cut to the chase: Rome, explain how the documents of Vatican II are consistent with prior teachings without using Vatican II references.

If you already have, put it together and publish it.

Remember, no Vatican II references.

Alsaticus said...

Ch Dupuy wrote :

I thought that Ecumenical Councils were formulated in clear language for every one, both laity and clergy to understand what is proposed in an unmistakeable manner. Now this paragraph means that VII was written in an esoteric language that is to be deciphered by the initiated ones. What is more, the Conciliar texts promulgated by the Magisterium of the Church made up of the bishops and the Pope, has to be interpreted by the same Magisterium of the Church. In othe words another case of circular reasoning.
"So, everything is "historical," including pronouncements of previous Pontiffs? Therefore, everything is contingent.

OK. Using this hermeneutic, Vatican II and its pronouncements are also historical and contingent."

No not everything is "contingent" : the dogmas are not contingent ; saying that would be pure heresy, namely modernism (re Pius X 1907 Lamentabili and Pascendi Domini gregis).

Pastoral dispositions are indeed "contingent" and indeed "historical". There is no doubt that for ex. liturgical knoweldge has greatly progressed and many assumptions currently taught in the 1950's 1960's are discarded today ; for ex. the idea that Early Christians were all celebrating versus populum : archeology proved it's wrong apart a few Roman basilicas. Assumptions upon the "Apostolic Tradition" or the so-called "canon" of Hippolytus have been disintegrated by modern researchers. So several pastoral dispositions of Vatican II can be revised due to the evolution.

But you cannot positively blame Vatican II for ambiguity. Yes this council is ambiguous, there is a consensus on that. However doctrinal debates are ALWAYS following a council : heated debates have torn apart the Church after Trent, re jansenism and during 2 centuries.
Yes Msgr Ocariz is right about the task of the Magisterium to develop and explain the counciliar statements. Nothing more traditional than that.

New Templar said...

P.K.T.P. said, "The Magisterium is expressed through the Popes and the Bishops in communion with the popes. Popes can err when not speaking authoritatively but they carry more weight than you do. They carry more weight than does Winnie the Pooh."

Winnie the pooh is not the Father of my child and neither is the Pope or bishops. I am responsible, before God, for the spiritual welfare of my daughter and I can guarantee you that the weight I give to the likes of Archbishop Vincent Nichols and the present pontiff who is his superior and does nothing to reign him in or discipline him, is zero when they teach contrary to the Magisterium. Mind you it is moot as to whether the present Archbishop of Westminster is in communion with the Pope.

I am not Spartacus said...

Sacrosanctum Concilium -Lastly, in faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way

And then Pope Paul VI out-lawed the Immemorial Mass and substituted a "Calvinist Mass" in its place and when the Bishops first saw a performance of this prot-proxy, they voted against its acceptance but still it was shoved down our throats but me and thee are constrained to exhibit intellectual assent and if we don't we are just like The Orthodox.

PUHLEEZE......

Enoch said...

St. Thomas Aquinas introduced innovations into the Church with his Scholastic theology based on Aristotlian principles. He found that Aristotlian principles provided a sound methodology by which Chruch teaching could be explained.

At the time, some in the Church (mainly Franciscans) thought that he was introducing Pagan ideals; but no, St. Thomas' innovations were compatible with Church teaching. Eventually St. Thomas was vindicated, but it took awhile. St. Thomas did not operate under the principles of Sola Traditio.

D. W. Downey said...

A discussion was posted on Angelqueen before the meeting of the SSPX in Albano. The discussion was entitled "Lumen Gentium, the 1989 Profession of Faith and the 'Authentic Magisterium'". The presentation by Br. Joseph explains what the term "authentic magisterium" means, how it was first authoritatively used in Lumen Gentium. Lumen Gentium is also the source for "submission of the intellect and will" to the "authentic magisterium" that is the problematic last paragraph added to the 1989 Profession of Faith.

This is what the "Doctrinal Preamble" is all about and it is well worth the time to read. Once this has been understood, it is very easy to see the argumentative deficiencies in Msgr. Brana's article. It will be of no suprise to anyone why there are no references to any pre-Vatican II authority.

http://www.angelqueen.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=39180

Downey

7/10 split said...

There are 96 comments, and from what I've seen, every single comment is critical of the Vatican statement and pro SSPX.
Does that mean that only those comments so disposed are published, or is every single person who comments here pro SSPX?
In the real world of randomness, you can't get 96 people to agree on anything.

David said...

On a side note, I'm surprised that Rorate has not covered this story (unless I've missed it somewhere):

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2011/11/new-swiss-bishop-for-diocese-where-sspx-seminary-is-located/

Everyone here surely knows that Bishop Morerod is one of the three Vatican theologians engaged in doctrinal discussions with the FSSPX. Fr. Z aptly notes that the appointment of Bishop Morerod is probably good news for the FSSPX.

New Catholic said...

Yes, you've missed it, David. We published it long before any English-language source (Écône, though,is not under his territorial jurisdiction.

Pascal said...

"There are 96 comments, and from what I've seen, every single comment is critical of the Vatican statement and pro SSPX."

1) This essay by Msgr. Ocariz, although important given the author's position in Roman theological circles, is NOT a "Vatican statement". The L'Osservatore Romano is not part of the Magisterium.

2) To be critical of a "Vatican statement" (which this article isn't) is not necessarily to be pro-SSPX. Far from it.

3) Many of the comments merely ask questions relevant to the discussion, and some are certainly not in line with the SSPX position. Quite a number defend aspects of Msgr. Ocariz's essay. I will not list these comments here, as I trust that you have eyes and that 96 short comments won't be too much of a challenge for your attention span. I suggest that you actually try to read this whole thread instead of pretending that you did.

Jordanes551 said...

There are 96 comments, and from what I've seen, every single comment is critical of the Vatican statement and pro SSPX.

It's not a Vatican statement, and apparently you haven't seen (or understood) every single comment posted here.

Woody said...

I have to add here that, as Niklas alluded to, Msgr Ocariz is by no means an Opus Dei "clown". He is a very well-respected theologian with major works published, besides being, as I have said here before, the odds-on favorite to be the next prelate of Opus Deu unless he is designated into a high position in the Curia first. In that connection, do you not find it interesting that he would be the one favored to publish such an article that sounds very much like something coming from CDF? In my mind, he has to be at or near the top of the list of candiadtes for succession to Cardinal Levada.

As to those in the Work (and note, I am not a member myself, so have no insider knowledge) who might find his view too progressive, perhaps Msgr Antonio Livi would be one, as you will recall he joined the petition to the Holy Father for the clarification/proof of the Vatican II propositions.

As to the Legion of Christ, whose associated Movement, Regnum Christi, I do belong to, I think that at this point the characterization of the Legion as a puppet of the Sec State is highly unlikely. From what I have seen the Legion is pretty much entirely devoted to interior renewal of its religious and renewal of its statutes, and economic survival, at the moment and not in a position to enter into any of these kinds of intra-Church disputes. On a note which Trads might like, though, Cardinal DePaolis, the apostolic delegate, is reputed to be one who looks favorably on the TLM, and he has made some pretty strong statements generally, in the past, such as the one about stopping turning the other cheek, as we have a duty to defend ourselves (in response to the murder of a priest in Turkey, I think). Just as an aside I would also add that in my own experience, in talking with a Legionary for any length of time, one will usually find that he is reading pre-Vatican II books.

Cruise the Groove. said...

"Everyone here surely knows that Bishop Morerod is one of the three Vatican theologians engaged in doctrinal discussions with the FSSPX. Fr. Z aptly notes that the appointment of Bishop Morerod is probably good news for the FSSPX."

David,
While this appointment sounds good for the diocese that Bishop Moreod is appointed to, he is not the Ordinary of the diocese where Econe is located.
The diocese where the FSSPX seminary is located: Econe, is, Sion.
The diocese where Bishop Moreod is Ordinary is Fribourg, I believe.

Thomas said...

Can anyone explain the difference between full submission of the intellect, in the sense used in the article, and will and an act of faith?

I must admit that I struggle with how we can give unconditional submission of the intellect and will to a proposition that is not guaranteed by the Church's charism of infallibility as being true.

Can we really give unconditional obedience to something that is, by its nature, reformable.

Delphina said...

Give the SSPX an A+ for even trying to talk to people imbued with the Vatican II theology and errors. Undoubtedly they were talking past each other, as is the case more often than not. They are not speaking the same language.

It is truly two different faiths.

It makes me wonder why this Monsignor was ever appointed to the discussion panel. Is this the best the Vatican could do? If so, it says a lot.

Mike B. said...

Post Constantine [4th centruy] the Church's understanding of free will in relation to evangelizing the Pagan changed. The Pope would identify that as pastoral doctrine directed by the culture and times of the Church in those times, and places.

This pastoral doctrine returned to the emphasis on free will in the 20th century. The logic that opposes this corrective adjustment cannot be supported by history or truth.

Michael F Brennan
St Petersburg, FL

Tradfly said...

@ Thomas
It's my understanding that "submission of intellect and will" is but yet only another creature of VII, corrupting the Catholic understanding of Belief. Submission of Will has always been a feature of one's place, state etc., but of intellect implies a pitch for blind obediance, and in retrospect could only have been "defined" for use as a weapon to shut up anyone who called out the revolutionaries for breaking with Catholic tradition, and to mislead the rest. Msgr O's claim that such assent is due the "doctrines" of VII demonstrates perverted logic, for numerous saints (and several pontiffs) have told us (meaning laics) that where there is dubious counsel or evidence of heresy, we MUST use Catholic Tradition as the absolute arbiter, at least til a solemn definition is proclaimed.
Throughout the history of the Church, it's actually Tradition which does the interpreting (E.g., Our Lady's Immaculate Conception wasn't pulled out of thin air by Bl. Pius IX, it was a Tradition!).

@ Delphina
"It is truly two different faiths"
Ain't it the truth? Some overlaps perhaps, but the chasm is getting wider as we watch. I think the commonly accepted differentiators of religions (small "r") are Cult, Creed, Lingo, Deportment. One of my odd personal experiences was witnessing the influence a certain purveyor (with a very Germanic assumed name) of weekend seminars (with a short Latin name) had on friends of mine. They had tried everything in their power to get me to partake of the new personal vistas he opened to them, even to the point of literally begging. To me they were acting like "pod people", but I wasn't quite curious enough to join them, or maybe was afraid to. I was however in the media transport business, and these poor souls would frequently get to see their guru by satellite videoconference, which video feeds I was able to watch, not in their emotional-high-voltage meeting places, but feet up on a network control console, Rothmans in one hand, cup of java in the other. I studied how he taught them new meanings and understandings for words and phrases in common parlance ("belief system" was one of his). Some of these phrases were "triggers" which I quickly learned, and which, shall we say "tested" on my friends - their effectiveness was almost predictable as issuing commands to a robot. Perhaps I slightly overendulged my new-found power back then, as in retrospect it was a bit sick observing people reduced to such a state. It was a profound lesson however, and we see over and over, that these tactics are being used by the Conciliar Church. The term "hermaenutic of continuity" for example, does not only mean "interpretation" as such, it has a special meaning which is only precisely known to the Initiates (though i daresay we're catching on). Words like "Charity" are even understood differently, and of course one could go on. The point is, Traditional and Conciliar often have different understanding of the same lingo, so obviously there must be some variance between our faiths.

NB, even though many of the proximate effects of those seminars have worn off my friends, the sharpest one of that family still has a special sort of dislike for me 25-odd years later. She was the one who eventually realised I was using their guru's tools to mess with them, and it was naturally quite humbling.

Delphina said...

Tradfly,

You are absolutely correct. I have witnessed the same. I never knew that anything other than what we had in the novus ordo existed until the late eighties (which is to say that I didn't know that the Church I grew up in was still around...I thought it had died the death in 1965). Until that time, I went on countless retreats and was subjected to much of what you have so very well described. I resisted all of techniques used (the "lone looney"), and was raked over the coals and ridiculed by the "facilitator" for doing so.

I never understood why they were doing to me what they did until about twenty-three years ago.

You ought to write up what you know in an article for a trad publication, or even put it online yourself. Get the word out.

I assure you that the same worn out and well used techniques are still being used...they've just refined their technique a bit. Someone must have told them they would catch more flies with honey, but that honey only lasts until they know you're onto them, and then the mask drops away and the fangs come out.

Mar said...

An attempt at social engineering using mental contortions as a tool. I would have to agree with Louis re OD. The reference to Jesus saying "he who hears you hears me" (Lk 10:16) in regard to the apostles and their successors refers only to those of them who are faithfully handing on His teachings - most certainly *not* to those who are not faithful. St. Paul has pointed this out in no uncertain terms: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema." (Gal 1:8) It is well known that many successors of the
apostles have been unfaithful, as for example in the Reformation, and indeed that huge numbers of them - not just the odd one or two - are being unfaithful right at
this present time.

After reading this article I was about to join the ranks of the profoundly saddened, but Timothy Mulligan's line "I liked the part about serenity and joy the best" made me laugh out loud.

CH DUPUY said...

"Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges."

Jordanes: I think that the example that you are proposing is anachronistic. Of course nowadays we cannot decipher what the situation was in Rome, Antioch and other provinces at the time of the Council of Nicea, but I am sure that this document needed not further clarification from the Magisterium for the people of that epoch.
My point about clear language understandable by anyone of course applies to modern times, namely the Councils of Trent and Vatican I, that are clearly worded and everybody can understand what is anathema in the Church and what is not.

Mar said...

Delphina: "It makes me wonder why this Monsignor was ever appointed to the discussion panel."

Perhaps it was because - as someone pointed when the talks were about to begin and the two sides were lining up - he is perceived to be "more than a well-tailored cassock" (!)

CH DUPUY said...

"No not everything is "contingent" : the dogmas are not contingent ; saying that would be pure heresy, namely modernism (re Pius X 1907 Lamentabili and Pascendi Domini gregis)."

Alsaticus: you are quoting my post as if the paragraph that I mentioned was of mine but it was from another blogger who put it as a criticism of the Nouvelle Theology.
Yes, there have been heated debates after some Councils and particularly after Trent as you quote, but you fail to point out what Romano Amerio indicates in his book "Iota Unum":
After Trent the dissenters were those that critizised the firm affirmation of the Catholic position against the Reformation, and other traditional doctrine, whereas, after VII they were traditionalists who objected the modernist accords of that Council.
CH DUPUY

Tradfly said...

"You ought to write up what you know in an article for a trad publication, or even put it online yourself. Get the word out."

Oh thanks, but Rorate is online and for my money the best & most informative Traditional forum of late :-)
It's actually good that the perps of things such as e.g., this article can read honest feedback so quickly.
Obviously everyone else can too.

On that point NC, Pascal, et. al.; ever considered putting a visible 'smart' hitcounter on the site?
And maybe a separate one for visits originating off known .va IP ranges?

Jordanes551 said...

Of course nowadays we cannot decipher what the situation was in Rome, Antioch and other provinces at the time of the Council of Nicea, but I am sure that this document needed not further clarification from the Magisterium for the people of that epoch.

However, it did not take all that long before different interpretations of this canon had arisen -- Rome correctly holding that this canon testified to Petrine recognition as the basis for the rights and dignity of the other episcopal sees and patriarchies, while others seeing the canon as enshrining the "Rome is primus inter pares" notion.

Steve said...

A friendly reminder of a condemned proposition:

“The obligation by which Catholic teachers and writers are absolutely bound is restricted to those matters only which are proposed by the infallible judgment of the Church, to be believed by all as dogmas of the faith.” (Syllabus, n. 22)

LeonG said...

True Roman Catholic intellectual consent to the liturgical expression of the councils, the NO of Paul VI (RIP) is utterly impossible. No genuine traditionalist could ever accept this protestant man-centred vehicle which was intended to assist th revolutionary liberal programme to "raze bastions" which it has been very sccessful at doing so far in its 42 years of practice.

Ogard said...

Ad. P.K.T.P. “…we await definitive explanation showing how Quanta Cura and the Syllabus can be reconciled to Dignitatis Humanæ”, he says. The Quanta Cura and the Syllabus have to be first reconciled with the moral teaching of the Church: on justice; on inadmissibility of compulsion when it comes to assent of faith; on everyone’s obligation to follow his conscience even if the latter is in error; on everyone’s duty to cooperate actively in just ordering of a society.

“D.H. and we may withhold the assent of faith”. The assent if faith is due only to infallible propositions. So, it is neither due to the entire D.H., nor to the entire Quanta Cura or Syllabus; although all these documents may, and probably do, contain some propositions which derive their infallibility from elsewhere. They, however, are documents of the Magisterium and as such demand a religious assent (LG applied to the pope, Nota Praevia applied to the Vatican II documents); to what degree, depends on various conditions. In principle, a papal documents (except those ex cathedra) are of lesser authority that the documents of an ecumenical council.

What every priest or layman must never forget is that his own interpretation or assessment of any magisterial document is far from infallible. All magisterial documents, once promulgated, are incorporated into the entire body of Tradition, and like Scripture, an authentic interpretation of the Tradition is entrusted only to the Magisterium (Humani Generis, Dei Verbum).

It goes beyond saying that to agree or disagree with anything without properly digesting it is out of place. It is equally applicable to those who “agree” with the Quanta Cura or Syllabus, and to those who “disagree” with the D.H.

CV said...

Ogard,
We may withold the assent of faith when a proposition is at variance with the received Deposit of Faith (Tradition), whether explicit or implicit. This is not only permitted, but may often be an obligation according to circumstances. A primary role of the Magisterium is to define things clearly and unambiguously for all the faithful, so ambiguity should be seen as a grave danger by anyone with a clue. Whether the laity are "infalliable" is nearly irrelevant in these cases, since the propositions of D.H. for example, explicitly besought Catholics to accept relinquishment of the Church's rightful place in civil society, and implicitly to "assent" to relativism. Failure to assent to such things doesn't place one in spiritual danger. Willing assent actually will place one in spiritual danger.

Sobieski said...

Ogard,

It seems to me the real question is whether DH states that a person has a right to not be coerced in the sense of freedom to pursue another (i.e., false) religion. It is not about whether there is a right to not be forced into becoming a Catholic. The Church has always respected individual free will and conscience in that regard (though it's my understanding defectors from the faith were often punished). That being said, the Church held that other religions could be tolerated in society for a higher good, namely the preservation of society and the common good. That is quite different from saying one has a right from God to pursue error. The Church's teaching IMO was always aimed at protecting the flock (salvation of souls) and the common good. That heretics, pagans and non-believers in general could be deleterious to the good of Catholic society and souls needs little explication in my view.

Re: conscience - Yes, one has to follow his conscience, but if it is malformed, then he can be held accountable. I.e., unless it is a case of invincible ignorance, then one is culpable for an erroneous conscience. Regardless, I fail to see how this grounds an objective right to error any more than I see how a thief thinking it is right to steal grounds a right to do so.

Re: just society - How exactly are we supposed to have a just and well-ordered society built on the chaos of religious and moral relativism? We've been trying that experiment now for the last several hundred years and for anyone who has eyes to see, it isn't working out so well. The solution is Christ the King and His Church as it has always been, for Christ truly is the King isn't He and His Church is the Catholic Church, isn't it?

Sobieski

Picard said...

P.K.T.P. said:
On fallibility, he is saying that non-infallible teachings are not necessarily fallible. [etc.]

I found this explanation to be entirely logical.


Dear P.K.T.P., as I like to follow you in the most things here I can´t.

It is not logical - as f.e. Prof. Basto put it right [see there or my next comment]
"in-fallible" is the contradictory opposition to/of "fallible" - so if you put a "non" before "infallible", then the result is "fallible".

Picard said...

P.K.T.P. and others:
As I said in my previouse comment, Prof. Basto put it quite right:

If something is not infallible, then it is fallible. It does not mean that the fallible teaching is wrong, it however does mean that it can be wrong.

There seems to be confusion between "false [wrong]" and "fallible". [to be continued]

Picard said...

re fallibility:

There seems to be confusion between "false [wrong]" and "fallible".

"fallible" - as Prof. Basto put correctly - doese of course not mean "false". A fallible doctrine is not necessaryly false.

But it can - or better: could - be false.

if there is - even a remote - possibility of an error (as also P.K.T.P. admitted)

then you must call it "fallible".

That does not mean "false" (this is the confusion).

It means: it could be false.

Picard said...

In other words:

(P.K.T.P. with numbers (i) etc. of mine:) On fallibility, he is saying that (i) non-infallible teachings are not necessarily fallible. (ii) They are called non-infallible rather than fallible because (iii) they can be found to be infallible (or not) in the future. (iv) While a non-infallible teaching could even include an error, we are bound not to assume this; and only the Sacred Magisterium can determine such a case.

So yes, (iv) is right.

But because you admit in (iv) that there could be an error in a non-infallible teaching, you have to call it logically "fallible".

So therefore (iii) is wrong or inaccurate - they can not [only] be found fallible/infallible in the future, but false or not (if you admit in (iv) that there can be an error in it, even if you should not assume this)

And if they can be found to be false in the future, they are of course fallible.

So (i) and (ii) are nonsense, illogical.

(And (iv) is wrong resp. inaccurate, not to the point or in inaccurate wording... should be "false" instead of "fallible")

Prof. Basto, you are right!

Ogard said...

Ad CV
“We may withhold the assent of faith when a proposition is at variance with the received Deposit of Faith (Tradition), whether explicit or implicit.”
The assent of faith is due only to the De Fide doctrines whether the latter have been defined or proposed infallibly by the Ordinary Magisterium (for criteria see LG 25/2). To other magisterial teaching we owe “religious assent”. A violation of either is sinful - according to the traditional moral theology (see Grisez: The Way of the Lord Jesus, Vol. II: Living a Christian Life, Chapter 1, Questions H and I).

An individual cannot infallibly establish that “a proposition is at variance with the received Deposit”. One must distinguish a true sense of a document as intended by the Magisterium from what an individual makes out of it; for example, that the D.H. “explicitly besought Catholics to accept relinquishment of the Church's rightful place in civil society, and implicitly to ‘assent’ to relativism”.


Ad Sobieski (hopefully, I will not be “moderated” again).
Re: Conscience. If “one is culpable for an erroneous conscience” he has to follow it regardless. God alone knows that he is culpably in error, and we cannot judge others on the basis of what it appears to us. It has nothing to do with the “an objective right to error”.

Besides, one must distinguish between “having a right to”, and “being right”. Without having a right to err nobody would be know the truth, still less know it freely. Of course, nobody is right (derived from “being right”) if he is in error, but to insist that he should know the truth by compulsion is to treat him as a subhuman reality.

Re: Just Society. An ideal would indeed be “Christ the King and His Church” provided He is accepted as the King by everyone. However, one would offend Him if he accepted Him under duress. His Kingdom is not of this world, and he expects us to accept Him freely. So, what about those who cannot accept Him in their conscience?

Re: the “real question” is the loaded one, because the D.H. nowhere says that any religion is “false”. All of them possess in various degrees the Catholic elements, which they retained from before the separation, or adopted from Christianity or in a natural way. One thinks of the wheat and the cockle. The latter must not be burned because of the former.

Besides, those who belong to other religions do so – we must assume unless we should arrogate the right to judge – in accord with their conscience, and to incite them or compel them to act contrary to their conscience, would be contrary to the traditional moral teaching of the Church.

Although only the Catholic Church is in a full possession of truth, all men regardless of the religious persuasion are equal in the eyes of God. To organize a society in which this equality is not respected would be contrary to justice – again contrary to the traditional moral teaching of the Church. Now, this equality would be violated if the society were so organized that the Catholic Church were treated with favor, while others would be merely “tolerated”, and those who belong to them treated as second class citizen.

CV said...

Saith Ogard:
The assent of faith is due only to the De Fide doctrines whether the latter have been defined or proposed infallibly by the Ordinary Magisterium.

D.H. wasn't.

Religious assent, again is not proper when a teaching is at variance with Tradition, and when at variance, Tradition rules. Period. Or until the putative point is pronounced infalliably. The saints have taught us this, including St. Paul. None of them advised that we need a Ph.D. or particular Charism before making such comparisons. In other words, God gave us our wits expecting we should use them - at least ocassionally.

I trust you're jesting when you say "a true sense of a document as intended by the Magisterium". Like getting a true sense of advice from the Oracle of Delphi. This was one of my points by way of noting its ambiguity. The document has all the clarity of thick fog, and it's one of the reasons Catholics are probably even bound to withold assent, for one can not be completely certain what one is assenting to - except perhaps relinquishment of the Church's proper place and relativism, 2 propositions which actually do get through its haze.

"Besides, one must distinguish between “having a right to”, and “being right”. Without having a right to err nobody would be know the truth, still less know it freely."
People can err 'cause we have free will, not the "right". Error has no rights. Sometimes one must use rather more stark examples to convince a Modernist audience... murder, robbery..., et cetera.

All religions aside the true one, also have no "right" to civil recognition as religion, even if they contain some measure of Truth (which most do). Noone here is advocating burning anything, or compulsion. Likewise, neither does rejection of D.H. with prejudice infer that.
I might point out, that there still exist countries which officially only recognise the Catholic Church, yet other established religions are free to function in said countries, their clerics even receiving a state stipend as the Catholic clergy do. One such is a multinational crossroads, and its citizens certainly never suffered financially or otherwise for what you perceive as intolerable coercion, discrimination or whatever.
*this may not be current policy, thanks to rapid concentration of sovereignty into EU governing bodies, but it was the case til very recently at least.*

Sobieski said...

Ogard,

So on your account, it seems someone should be able to rape, for example, because he may not know it is wrong (i.e., because "[w]ithout having a right to err nobody would be know the truth, still less know it freely... to insist that he should know the truth by compulsion is to treat him as a subhuman reality)? Error as regards the true faith is a sin, just like rape or murder. Most people would argue that no one has a *right* to murder or rape, regardless of their subjective disposition or erroneous conscience. Why so in the case of false relgion, the pursuit of which in itself is objectively sinful? I agree that we should not judge someone's culpability, but that is not at issue here. What we are talking about is the *right* to error (specifically false religion) and more generally the nature of freedom. Does one have the right to do as one wishes or the right to do what is good? Law should be promulgated on the basis of what is good and virtuous, not on the hypothetical dispositions of its subjects.

You seemed to be implying in your original post that because a person has an obligation to follow his conscience (abstracting from whether it is objectively correct or not), the state ought to guarantee a right to follow said conscience even if it is in error. The obvious rejoinder, then, is to ask why the state has the right to outlaw any evil activity because some could be subjectively convicted by an erroneous conscience that immoral acts are permissible or even obligatory. As I noted, the state, in certain circumstances, may allow evils (e.g., practice of a false relgion) for a greater good (e.g., the avoidance of civil strife) and may even be obligated to do so, but that is a different issue from whether anyone has an objective right to error. The problem people have with DH is that contrary to prior teaching, the document seems to acknowledge a right to religious error.

By arguing this point, however, I am not saying that a person should be forced to be Catholic, which is wrong and absurd. To say that a state may prevent the public practice of religion and/or not grant a false "right," is not to say that it should forcibly convert people to Catholicism. The latter has never been Church teaching.

Sobieski

Gratias said...

Seems that the Opus Dei has started helping out by offering a TLM in its Rome Parish.

On the third reading maybe the Vicar was trying to be helpful.

Ecclesia Militans said...

Ogard,

Your position, unfortunately, is a modernist one, based entirely on the novel, false teaching of the II Vatican Council and entirely different from the unchangeable doctrine of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church.

Where do you stand? Do you accept the novel teaching of Vatican II and the subsequent popes OR the teaching of the previous twenty doctrinal ecumenical councils and the popes up to Vatican II?
This is the main question.
Mons. Lefebvre reckognized it very early and chose to side with Apostolic Tradition.

"That alone is to be believed as the truth which in no way departs from ecclesiastical and apostolic Tradition"
Origen

"He who does not believe according to the Tradition of the Catholic Church is an unbeliever."
St. John Damascene

Thomas said...

Steve,

“The obligation by which Catholic teachers and writers are absolutely bound is restricted to those matters only which are proposed by the infallible judgment of the Church, to be believed by all as dogmas of the faith.” (Syllabus, n. 22)

I believe that this refers to teachings of the Ordinal and Universal Magisterium as well as the Ordinary Papal Magisterium, not to 'innovations' contained under the heading of the authentic magisterium. Otherwise, we would have unconditional submission of intellect and will to John Paul II's Theology of the Body and the various panegyrics of the recent Popes concerning the United Nations.

Ogard said...

Ad Sobieski.
“Error as regards the true faith is a sin, just like rape or murder.” – Material sin: yes, but formal only if, in addition, one is aware of doing evil and does it freely. Majority of those who profess other religions profess it sincerely – so there can be no question of the formal sin. And the same can or may apply to the murderers and rapists: God alone knows whether what they do they do freely and with full awareness of the material evil of their deeds.

“Does one have the right to do as one wishes or the right to do what is good?” – Both, but the “right to do” must not be confused with “to be right”.

“Law should be promulgated on the basis of what is good and virtuous.” – Ideally: yes, but to promulgate the low which is unlikely to be accepted would be useless and counterproductive. The law must be realistic: the task of the authority is to maintain the public peace in so far as it is possible. That is particularly important when it comes to religious differences, because a law that prevents the religious people from acting according to their conscience puts them in a dilemma: to obey what they believe to be an evil law, in other words to cooperate with evil; or to disobey, which is, again, evil because the religious people are morally bound to obey civil authority.

Re: “false religions”. There is no such thing, but only religions with some false or defective doctrines. Nobody wants to believe what is false, and I would suggest – off hand, without research - that the most religions overwhelmingly propose what is true and good. To put sweeping restriction on any religion merely because of some defect or falsity means to put a restriction on all that it true and good in it.

“The problem people have with DH is that contrary to prior teaching, the document seems to acknowledge a right to religious error.” – I don’t think so, and would like to see the quote, although, regrettably, will not be able to comment for the time being.

Jordanes551 said...

“false religions”. There is no such thing, but only religions with some false or defective doctrines.

Absurd hair-splitting. What else are we supposed to call religions with some (or many) false or defective doctrines? What does "false religion" mean if not a religion that holds and teaches things contrary to the true religion, Catholicism?

Tony said...

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the “Position Paper” on the negotiations between the SSPX and the Church was written by the Opus Dei member of the panel. If there is anything that characterizes OD, it an overzealous display of “loyalty” to the Papacy – “papolatry” as it is referred to in some circles. Well, it is only to be expected that the Papal Courtiers, par excellence, are unlikely to point out that the emperor has no clothes on.

As the old legend has it, that Nero fiddled while Rome burned, there would have been two types of people around – those that ran around sounding the warning and trying to save lives, and others that exclaimed, “We’ve never heard such fine music” OD is well represented in the latter group.

For years, any mention that one went to TLM to an OD appartchik would be met with the retort that one was trying to be “more Catholic than the Pope”. Your report that TLM is being offered at the Opus Dei-run Minor Basilica of Sant' Eugenio has a twist of irony to it. After all Pope Benedict XVI has yet to offer TLM in public.

Mike said...

"For years, any mention that one went to TLM to an OD appartchik would be met with the retort that one was trying to be “more Catholic than the Pope”

Not in my experience. Of course, some who like the TLM also may not understand the Work's lay outlook, and this, I believe, is where past indifference or negative reactions to the old Mass had their origin.

Opus Dei is not a clerical organization, and it's logical for it to not embrace an outlook different from that.

Petrus Radii said...

Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz Braña has presented a fairly nuanced view of the Church's teaching authority and the obedience due to it. However, typical of the Opus Dei, his reasoning appears to contain certain major---and, in fact, heretical---flaws. I am not suggesting the good priest is a formal heretic. Nevertheless, his views presuppose, as do those of most Neo-Catholics, a premise which is antithetical both to Natural Law and to the Catholic Faith.

The primary error in the Msgr.'s article is unspoken, namely that of *legal positivism*, according to which premise, all decrees of the lawgiver are good, right, holy, and just, and may not be questioned in any real way, even if patently false or unjust. It is not the decree which is in error in that case, but rather our belief that Truth is immutable and may not be blotted out by any act of any lawgiver. This violates even the laws of logic.

This is the great heresy of our times and direct result of both Rationalism and Modernism. The problem is at first an epistemological one, but it ends as an ecclesiological and Christological one. If we do not know what we know because the lawgiver can change its description so completely that the original object is no longer recognisable, then true knowlege does not exist and becomes entirely relativised. "Truth" becomes subject to the decree of the powerful.

What this means in practice is an heretical misapplication of the dogma of infallibility to the point that it becomes a doctrine of indefectibility of Pope and clergy, with the accessory sin of papolatry and clerolatry. Suddenly, "religious assent of mind and will" is applied to any pronouncement of any cleric anywhere, most especially the Sovereign Pontiff. While a theoretical right to dissent from reformable or novel teachings is admitted, in practice it is condemned in the most stringent terms.

While Msgr. has done so in polite terms, this is certainly the thrust of his primary thesis. I do not suppose that he is even cognizant of this extremely grave error, which endangers not only Catholic Faith, but even the ability to know the truth itself. That is why I respond to him here.

Examples of the consequent heresy of indefectibility of Pope and clergy abound. The ham-handed abuse of authority by countless bishops and priests presents numberless occurrences, based precisely on Msgr.'s false understanding of obedience to authority, which is in fact a demand for a sinful servile obedience.

The end result of such thinking has been seen often. For example, a bishop or priest accuses a Traditionalist priest of "schism" because the latter merely refuses, according to his papally acknowledged right, to concelebrate a Novus Ordo Mass (usually the Chrism Mass, which is typically celebrated not on Holy Thursday, but on the previous Tuesday, even putting in question the validity of the consecration of the Holy Oils and Chrism because the consecration's moral and liturgical connexion to the only day on which, according to Apostolic Tradition, they may be consecrated has been destroyed). Moreover, it is typically assumed through rash judgement that the priest refusing to concelebrate is mala fide. (Parts II & III to follow.)

Petrus Radii said...

Parts II & III---
This heretical epistemological error now presents us with an ecclesiological crisis. The legal positivist brands any one who justly criticises an abuse of authority, including a specific exercise of Papal Authority, as a schismatic suspect of heresy. This turns on its head the entire Catholic Tradition as Sacred Tradition and inverts the teaching of all the Church Fathers, most especially St. Vincent of Lerins.

If such insanity be true as is proposed by the legal positivists, then the entire nature of the Catholic Church is denied, leading to the final Christological heresy, which is ultimately a denial of Jesus Christ's Divinity, Infallibility, and Omnipotence.

Msgr. Ocáriz Braña functionally denies the teaching, "Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus". If there is no unchangeable standard of measurement, the entire fabric of the Faith is rent asunder and becomes a patchwork of fallible teachings, changeable at will by some authority in the Church.

To demand "religious assent" to a teaching which he admits is an "innovation", i.e., opposed to the received Catholic teaching, is for Msgr. to demand that Catholics commit a mortal sin. This seems to be because of a major point which Msgr. passes over in guilty silence.

In the Church's teaching on the various levels of assent required for certain teachings, those to which only "religious" or "respectful" assent may in fact, as explained in the teaching *itself*, respectfully disagree if they have serious reasons for doing so.

Additionally, it is far from certain that, e.g., in the case of Vatican II's teaching on so-called religious liberty or relations with Jews, one must give "religious assent". These teachings are so novel and questionable as to manifest clearly that only "respect" must be shown---i.e., only that assent which natural reason requires.

According to Msgr., one may in practice never actually disagree with any teaching which is merely presented as that of the Universal Church (although an a fortiori extension to even teachings of a Particular Church cannot logically be excluded). This is the epitome of a sinful, servile obedience. This leads to intractable problems of logic, epistemology, and ultimately of the Truth of the Catholic Faith.

To give but one historical example which cannot be resolved through Msgr.'s principles, one need only think of Pope John XXII, who frequently and publicly taught outright heresy in his sermons, falsely claiming that the souls of the just do not enjoy the Beatific Vision until the Final Judgement. According to Msgr.'s principles, the Cardinals and theologians could never have confronted or criticised the erring Pope, and a heresy would have been let stand.

As it is, we know that, informed by the correct understanding of obedience, the Cardinals and theologians did confront the Pope, who then recognised his heresy, repented, and died five days later in grief, making it necessary for his successor, Benedict XII, to sign the Bull condemning the heresy.

If Msgr. Ocáriz Braña is not opposed, a very grave heresy will take even deeper root in Catholic minds and hearts, endangering the entire True Religion.

craig said...

Jordanes551 said...

"What else are we supposed to call religions with some (or many) false or defective doctrines? What does "false religion" mean if not a religion that holds and teaches things contrary to the true religion, Catholicism?"

Your criticism is apt, but trads often ignore how there are degrees of falsity. The judgment at the Pearly Gates does not include a quiz for doctrinal correctness, or else simple folk would have no hope at all.

The utter lack of charity and compassion shown by many trads (including numerous regular posters here) toward people whose only crime is being born to Protestant parents (or Buddhists, etc.) is enough to convince many of those people that whatever the Catholic Church is, it has nothing to do with the love of God, and is not God's chosen path for salvation. It is anti-evangelism and it needs to be stopped.

Sobieski said...

Ogard said...

“Error as regards the true faith is a sin, just like rape or murder.” – Material sin: yes, but formal only if, in addition, one is aware of doing evil and does it freely. Majority of those who profess other religions profess it sincerely – so there can be no question of the formal sin. And the same can or may apply to the murderers and rapists: God alone knows whether what they do they do freely and with full awareness of the material evil of their deeds.


I don't disagree with you, except that I would add that ignorance can be culpable when willed (i.e., a person doesn't want to know the truth so that he can continue to sin). But your continual advertance to the distinction between material and formal sin is a red herring.

“Does one have the right to do as one wishes or the right to do what is good?” – Both, but the “right to do” must not be confused with “to be right”.

No, a person does not have a right from God to commit error or sin, regardless of whether he thinks it is good. To say so is blasphemous. A person has the capacity to do evil, and God permits it for a greater good. I think you are confusing capability to do as one wills with a right to do as one wills. The latter does not exist in the case of sin. The fact that some persons are ignorant is irrelevant.

That is particularly important when it comes to religious differences, because a law that prevents the religious people from acting according to their conscience puts them in a dilemma: to obey what they believe to be an evil law, in other words to cooperate with evil; or to disobey, which is, again, evil because the religious people are morally bound to obey civil authority.

Again, law is not promulgated on the basis of subjective belief or disposition, good or bad, but on the basis of what is true and virtuous. I already said, however, that the state can allow some evils for a greater good. The point again, which you seem incapable of understanding, is that no one has an objective right to error. You're position is tantamount to relativism in the sense that everything is based on subjective belief vs. what is objectively true. There can be no real basis for truth or goodness in human society on that basis (i.e., it's mob rule and if enough people argee, then abortion, rape, rounding up Jews, etc. are permissible).

Re: “false religions”. There is no such thing, but only religions with some false or defective doctrines. Nobody wants to believe what is false, and I would suggest – off hand, without research - that the most religions overwhelmingly propose what is true and good. To put sweeping restriction on any religion merely because of some defect or falsity means to put a restriction on all that it true and good in it.

For something to be true, it must be true in every respect, as when a mathematical problem or logical demonstration is drawn to its proper conclusion. If one component is in error, then the whole demonstration is ultimately erroneous, regardless of any true aspects. Likewise for a moral act to be good, it must be good in every respect, or it is not good. Despite the fact that various religions possess aspects of truth to a greater or lesser degree, they are all false in comparison to the true religion, Catholicism. Further, God is not the author of error (although he permits it) and is owed worship according to the way He has revealed Himself.

(continued)

Sobieski said...

“The problem people have with DH is that contrary to prior teaching, the document seems to acknowledge a right to religious error.” – I don’t think so, and would like to see the quote, although, regrettably, will not be able to comment for the time being.

Cf. DH nos. 2, 4. I admit the document is not clear to me. I can see where it could only mean freedom from coercion in belief, but then it seems to say more in places as for example in no. 4:

"[R]eligious communities rightfully claim freedom in order that they may govern themselves according to their own norms, honor the Supreme Being in public worship, assist their members in the practice of the religious life, strengthen them by instruction, and promote institutions in which they may join together for the purpose of ordering their own lives in accordance with their religious principles.

Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered in their public teaching and witness to their faith, whether by the spoken or by the written word..."

If it is granting a right to religious liberty to pursue a religion other than Catholicism, then that seems problematic since, for example, it would grant the teaching of heresy. Could God be pleased with this?

Sobieski

Sobieski said...

@Petrus Radii

A corollary of legal positivism is voluntarism or the view that will is not constrained by intellect. Franciscans like, William of Ockham, promoted this idea because they did not want to limit God's will. The problem, of course, is that God's acts are unintelligible and arbitrary. Moderns also suffer a type of voluntarism insofar as after the failure of the exaltation of Reason in the Enlightenment period due to skepticism, emphasis was laid on the activity of the will (e.g., Schopenhauer, existentialism, Nietzsche's will to power, etc.). I would argue that any type of voluntarism is not Catholic. There is an order in Divine Revelation and Catholic doctrine because it ultimately proceeds from the Divine Intellect. As a result, it seems to me that Catholics don't have to check their minds at the door to be Catholic. When there is a seeming contradiction in what is being taught, then the faithful (with all due respect) have a right to an explanation and a resolution.

Sobieski

Ecclesia Militans said...

Evangelism is spreading the Gospel, converting people from lies that condemn to Truth that brings salvation.

To criticize lies is NOT anti-evangelism. To be indignant when the little ones are led to perdition is NOT anti-evangelism. To tell the Protestant, the Jew, the Muslim that they are on the way to perdition and that they should turn to Our Lord, who is the Truth, the Way and the Life, is NOT anti-evangelism.
These are the marks of true charity.

To encourage non-believers and non-Catholics in their false religions, to pray with them to their "gods", to avoid mentioning the Truth and focusing on supposed things in common, to forbid or to deem irrelevant conversion to the True religion - all of these things are false charity and anti-evangelism.

This pernicious error is called "ecumenism" and is often practiced by modernist Rome, leading many souls to damnation, those who immitate it as a role model.

Kyrie eleison! Veni Domine Jesu, salva Ecclesiam tuam.

Ogard said...

A Jordaness

“What else are we supposed to call religions with some (or many) false or defective doctrines?”

It is more accurate to call them the true religions which do a lot of good, in spite of some false or defective doctrines. There is no need to be obsessed with Catholic superiority – all the more because no one can infallibly claim to have a true Catholic faith - and their errors and defects; and don’t put all of them indiscriminately in a basket with the same label “erroneous”.

If a man is born with a congenital anomaly we do nor refer to him as a false or defective man.

craig said...

Ecclesia Militans, not all falsehoods are lies that condemn. Error is simply error. People can be saved while in error, or else there is no hope for any of us.

To tell the Protestant who is already eagerly following Our Lord as well as he knows Him that none of his Protestant friends, family, or forebears have hope of salvation simply because they learned some (but not all) un-Catholic doctrines from their own parents, is to tell him the Calvinist lie that God does not love all men nor desire salvation for them. Because that's the clear logical implication of the smug claim that God automatically damns all non-Catholics. (And don't deny that many here claim exactly that, until they are pressed on the point and put in subsequent qualifiers.)

That does it; I'm done with this blog.

Mar said...

Thank you, Petrus Radii, for a most clear and cogent exposition.

Ogard said...

Ad Sobieski
If you look carefully, there is no mention of the “right to religious error”. The DH teaches about religious freedom, not error.
It is morally certain that members of any profession will make errors in their practice, even kill their patients. Yet they all obtain formal licence to practice their skills, which is not to be understood as a licence to err (or kill). The latter is a foreseeable but accepted side effect.

I had sent yesterday an extensive comment to CV just before my last one to you, but it hasn’t been published. So, just before this one, I sent another one to him, somewhat modified. But really, I have to stop for the time being.

Ecclesia Militans said...

craig,
I will let His Holiness Pope Pius IX answer you:

"There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace. Because God knows, searches and clearly understands the minds, hearts, thoughts, and nature of all, his supreme kindness and clemency do not permit anyone at all who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments."

But also:

The Church clearly declares that the only hope of salvation for mankind is placed in the Christian faith, which teaches the truth, scatters the darkness of ignorance by the splendor of its light, and works through love. This hope of salvation is placed in the Catholic Church which, in preserving the true worship, is the solid home of this faith and the temple of God. Outside of the Church, nobody can hope for life or salvation unless he is excused through ignorance beyond his control"
SINGULARI QUIDEM, Pope Pius IX

But keep in mind that the non-Catholic person must be completely unstained by mortal sin, something very rare today, and also in a state of no less than perfect charity towards God, in this way obtaining the implicit desire of baptism and becoming united with the soul of the Church - becoming Catholic.

So yes, there are no Protestants in Heaven, only Catholics, whether or not they were materially a part of the Church on this Earth.

To paraphrase St. Jerome, if you find this difficult to endure, you should not turn against me, but rather against Holy Writ and the entire ecclesiastical order.

Bartholomew said...

Craig:

You unfortunately fail to consider the offer of actual grace that Our Lord offers all to come to the One True Faith. We will only know at the Judgment how many Protestants died in the state of constantly ignoring the offer of grace (and, of course, the degree of their responsibility).

Your comment, however, and it's separation from traditional Catholic theology bespeaks what you've been taught in the post-conciliar Church due to the lack of discussion of grace: de facto Pelagianism.

Sobieski said...

Ogard said...

There is no need to be obsessed with Catholic superiority – all the more because no one can infallibly claim to have a true Catholic faith - and their errors and defects; and don’t put all of them indiscriminately in a basket with the same label “erroneous”.

If a man is born with a congenital anomaly we do nor refer to him as a false or defective man.


This is hilarious really. You are hypocritically assigning motives to Jordaness that you can't possibly know, namely, that he holds his position, not on reasonable grounds, but due to an obsession with "Catholic superiority." Next you will probably use the word "triumphalism." I suspect Jordaness is actually a lover of the Truth instead.

Congenital anomalies are often referred to as birth defects. A privation of a good is a defect, so technically speaking, a person with a congenital anomaly is defective (bodily speaking). That said, such a person does not have less dignity in the eyes of God; he may in fact have more depending on how he deals with his condition. Such persons should, of course, be treated with Christian mercy and compassion.

Sobieski

Sobieski said...

Ogard said...

If you look carefully, there is no mention of the “right to religious error”. The DH teaches about religious freedom, not error. It is morally certain that members of any profession will make errors in their practice, even kill their patients. Yet they all obtain formal licence to practice their skills, which is not to be understood as a licence to err (or kill). The latter is a foreseeable but accepted side effect.


If a doctor kills a patient due to gross negligence or incompetence, he will have his license revoked and most likely be sued. Your analogy it not apt: on your account, quacks, who practice false medicine, should be given a license. They might know how to apply a bandage, for example, but then have someone drink a concoction mixed with antifreeze. Regardless, I have repeatedly shown how rights, law, truth, etc. are grounded in objective reality and not subjective (personal) dispositions.

Saying various religions have elements of truth, and that every relgion is true are not the same thing. Religions holding contradictory propositions cannot both be true. At most, one can be true. Regarding DH, you are considering only words and not their implication. Islam, for example, is a false religion because it denies the divinity of Christ, His redemptive sacrifice and the Trinity. To say Muslims have a right deriving from God to worship in this way is blasphemy. So religious liberty here means a right to worship in a false way (i.e., a right to religious error). We're not merely taling about the text, but about its meaning and implication. On your account, Islam is (apparently) mostly good because some element, like monotheism, is present, despite the fact that on a whole it is clearly anti-Christian and denies the core tenets of Christianity. (In fact, it has been anti-Christian not only in doctrine, but in practice to this day.) Because it is "good" or its adherents could be ignorant of the truth, said believers have an objective right (from God) to public worship. This is insanity as Pope Gregory XVI said.

In any event, I agree that we can discontinue this discussion. I think it better at this point to pray for you.

Sobieski

CH DUPUY said...

Orgard said:
"In principle, a papal documents (except those ex cathedra) are of lesser authority that the documents of an ecumenical council."
Agree, if such a Council proclaims infallibly which is not the case of VII. Additionally, a papal encyclical like Quanta Cura is of lesses authority than an ecumenical Council, but the Syllabus of Errors were solemnly proclaimed documents of the Ordinary Magisterium. Cardinal Ratzinger tried to disregard the Syllabus when he affirmed that Lumen Gentium was a kind of a Counter-Syllabus, which he justified by stating that the Syllabus was proclaimed as a reaction to the excesses of the French Revolution (referring to the Syllabus of Pius IX in the 1800's), but he failed to notice that there are two recent additional Syllabus by Saint Pius X, and Pius XII, which expressely condemn modernist propositions like the Nouvelle Theologie, and they do it solemnly by affixing to such condemnation the phrase "anathema sit". What is more, if Lumen Gentium states that the Church of Christ "subsists" in the Catholic Church, regardless of the fact that the LG is called "dogmatic", it is in direct opposition of Trent, which declared infallibly that the Catholic Church is the only Church of Christ.
Sobienski said:
"If one component is in error, then the whole demonstration is ultimately erroneous, regardless of any true aspects."
I concur. To quote a Latin aphorism:
"Bonum est integra causa; malum est uno defectu"
VII has pleny of defectu: religious liberty, collegiality, Gaudium and Spes anthoropocentrism, Sacrosantum Concilium, etc.
Orgard said:
"There is no need to be obsessed with Catholic superiority..."
Indeed we should¡, it is the foundation of our Faith.
CH DUPUY

Mike B. said...

"it is in direct opposition of Trent, which declared infallibly that the Catholic Church is the only Church of Christ."

Neither Vatican II nor Pope Benedict XVI deny the reality of the 'fullness of Faith' nor its mandatory assent requirement. The question is does one arrive via a 'follow the rules' mentality or free will?
In addition, to condemn all those outside the Church who are incapable of free assent to Catholicism is playing God.