Rorate Caeli

Vatican II at 50:
History of the Preparatory Schemas

We are deeply thankful to The Angelus for having agreed to let us post this article published in their Jan.-Feb. 2012 issue, the first one in their new beautiful format (the inside pages include some particularly impressive images of the Vatican Basilica). It clearly strikes the right balance between a formal journal and a source of useful information for any Catholic reader.

The issue is in part dedicated to the great historic event of the year, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. In the development of the Council, no documental matter was of greater consequence than the "schemata" (the "drafts") of the Conciliar documents - whose smooth acceptance would probably have allowed for a Council in the general line followed by Blessed John XXIII in the Roman Synod and in Veterum Sapientia - and their rejection by the maneuvers of the organized "Progressive" minority of Fathers and their experts (periti). The first session of the Council, in 1962, with no approved documents, turned out thus to be its most influential.

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The History of the Preparatory Schemas
by Fr. Philippe Lovey, SSPX

The Second Vatican Council spanned four years with four sessions held from the fall of 1962 to the fall of 1965. Its history, however, would be incomplete if we did not include the preliminaries which were to set the agenda for the Council. For over two years, 150 Cardinals and religious superiors, including Archbishop Lefebvre, met to produce what was meant to be the blueprint of the Council texts. We wish to examine this history, however briefly, as to the content, the conflict, and finally the dismissal of these pre-conciliar texts.1

In the mind of Archbishop Lefebvre, the schemas of the Theological Commission clearly presented Catholic doctrine. They give us an idea of what the Council might have been. The drafting of studies in preparation for the Council was entrusted to several commissions, but the leading role was naturally given to the Theological Commission. Practically all the other commissions had some areas that overlapped its purview, but the Theological Commission alone was entitled, by its very object, to rule on everything pertaining to the purity of Catholic doctrine. This was explained by Cardinal Ottaviani to Cardinal Bea during the debate on religious toleration: "First of all, I must quite confidently assert that I do not concede that the Theological Commission is required to discuss doctrinal matters with the other Commissions. In this matter, the Commission is fully independent because doctrine is concerned, and not mixed matters….The Secretariat for relations with non-Catholics should have delivered its schema to the doctrinal Commission for review because it was not treating a sociological question only, but a doctrinal one. Now we note for the record that there is disagreement on certain points, and these are indeed points of doctrine."2


Cardinal Ottaviani's remark is of capital importance because it exposes the radical incompatibility and the lack of competence of the non-theological commissions to interfere in a field outside their particular domain. A glance at the general outline adopted by the two commissions (the Theology Commission and the Commission for Christian Unity) reveals the encroachment on all key points: the nature of the Church, the episcopacy and the Holy Father, the role of the laity, ecumenism, religious tolerance, the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and the relation between Tradition and Sacred Scripture. On each of these directly or tangentially doctrinal subjects, the two commissions prepared separate schemas. The goal of the Secretariat for Christian Unity was clear: to promote the ecumenical movement and to conserve it by the perpetuation of the Secretariat at the time of the Council.3 Thus there were two schemas on a single subject, revealing two mutually exclusive conceptions of Catholic doctrine. It was as if the Pope had made use of Hegelian dialectics in order to arrive at a satisfying result.

The Theological Commission had prepared studies of an admirable theological clarity. The influential minority group within the Central Preparatory Commission nevertheless managed to systematically bend the structure of the schemas. To give an example, we shall take a look at the attack orchestrated by the opponents of Cardinal Ottaviani on the nature of the Church. The following excerpt alone will suffice to make clear what was at stake in subsequent battles, which were essentially the same. Ottaviani described the Church before explaining the principles that dictated the Commission's draft:

"There is only one true Church of Jesus Christ…which the Savior acquired on the Cross, which He united to Himself as the body to its head and the bride to her husband, and which, after the Resurrection, He confided to the government of St. Peter and his successors: the Church which alone bears the name of the Roman Catholic Church.5 The first principle [underlying the document] is that Jesus Christ willed that the salvation of every human being should be realized by union with the person of the God-Man, but He also willed that that union here below could only be realized in a social body, which He called His Church. The second principle is that there is no real distinction between the visible Roman Catholic Church and the Mystical Body of Christ which is the Church.…The visible Church and the Mystical Body of Christ are one and the same reality considered from different aspects…."5


A Door Wide Open

Cardinal Bea showed that the Secretariat for Christian Unity was one of the groups imbedded in the preparatory commissions to prepare the way for ecumenism: "The Secretariat for Christian Unity has treated of these questions with a great deal of care, and on several occasions has requested that the Theological Commission institute a joint commission, which has always been rejected. That is why we have submitted this schema to him.…The Catholic Church as means of salvation is not of 'absolute necessity for salvation' in the sense that God, in His loving-kindness and wisdom, has not willed to impose on men the unjust yoke of embracing in re, in order to be saved, an institution they have never heard of, and which the Catholic Church does not impose. The only thing required of men is the upright intention by which they would accept the Church if they knew of it and recognized it as the means of salvation."

Cardinal Ottaviani, highly displeased by this intervention because it tended to broaden as far as possible the concept of membership in the Church, made this reply: "I understand [Cardinal Bea's] zeal, since to him has been entrusted the Secretariat for Non-Catholics, and he will certainly do what he can so that the Council leaves a door wide open to them, but we mustn't exaggerate! We must not say that as soon as someone is baptized he becomes a member of the Mystical Body even though he is not a member of the Church. Such an affirmation is dangerous…The Catholic Church and the Mystical Body are identical…Whereas the Commission has taken the greatest care to show that only Catholics are really members of the Church (the consequences of the opposite doctrine are truly dreadful and would cast doubt on the universality and infallibility of the Second Vatican Council), it has on the other hand worked to explain clearly that not all the ties between the sons of the Church and the separated brethren have been destroyed."6

These debates alone suffice to show that the modernist group was already preparing the way which would prevail later in the Church thanks to the adoption of the ambiguous terms they managed to foist upon the Church, a 'spiritual' Church encompassing in concentric circles all the children of men. But to do so it was necessary to get rid of the identity between the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church. This they succeeded in doing by the introduction of the pernicious term subsistit in in the Constitution Lumen Gentium. The debate over the question of tolerance versus the religious freedom of false cults was highly contentious. Cardinal Bea succinctly summed up what was at stake: "The Secretariat [for Unity] was not interested in merely practical considerations, but addressed the theological principles. The two drafts concur on many points, but they totally differ on the fundamental question." It could not be better said, since he granted to error, to false religions, a right that truth alone can claim.


A Conspiracy?

In hindsight, knowing that the results of Vatican II are so opposed to the majority of the original blueprints raises questions as to how such a change can have occurred. Romano Amerio considers the question whether "the unexpected change in its course was due to a concerted plan made before the council, and outside it, or whether it was an effect of the natural dynamism of the council itself."7 Was there a tiny group of conspirators who took upon themselves the task of building the Temple of Solomon upon three words which have become famous (Aggiornamento, Pastoral, Ecumenism). Already in March 1962, Msgr. Suenens began besieging John XXIII. He complained of "an excessive number of schemas prepared with an eye to their being discussed in the Council." Later, he wrote him a note suggesting that he curtail the Council and give it a genuinely pastoral direction, a note that entered fully into the outlook of John XXIII, who verbally approved it. A confidence of Msgr. Villot to Henri Denis on June 20 completes the idea of Cardinal Suenens's plan, providing its purpose: "At the instigation of the Cardinals of Malines (Suenens) and of Munich (Döpfner), who spoke to the Pope recently about it, in the months preceding the Council there may be a fairly strong push for the reconsideration of the somewhat narrow-minded approach to issues. There again, the beginning of the Council stands a fair chance of being rather lively."8

Different Goals

Two weeks before its opening, Cardinal Bea declared: "We must help the Holy Father achieve his goals for the Council, the ones he expresses in his radio messages and in his exhortations. These are not the same as those of the schemas, either because the Theological Commission, which directs them, is closed to the world and to ideas of peace, justice, and unity, or because of the division of the work and a lack of co-ordination. They've made room for everything except the Holy Spirit."9

The maneuvering that resulted in a break in the legal framework of Vatican II, as noted by Professor Amerio, had been anticipated by the French Consul at Treves, M. Marcel Schublin. On July 26 of that year, he observed that "beginning in the first general congregation, an outstanding man will have to step forward to launch and to compel the debates everyone is awaiting. It is surely more than a matter of protocol that in this solemn hour, all eyes are on the Church of France."10

"During the first general congregation," Fr. Henri Denis reported, "Cardinal Liénart of Lille took the microphone, dismissed the order of the day, and moved that the Council Fathers establish their own lists of candidates for the commissions. He was seconded by Cardinal Frings. It was the moment of an inevitable crystallization: Two thousand bishops could not have been put to such trouble merely to ratify antiquated and unpastoral texts and to recall the preparatory commissions after they had been dismissed."11


Paradoxical Outcome

Romano Amerio summed up the situation perfectly: "A distinctive feature of Vatican II is its paradoxical outcome, by which all the preparatory work that usually directs the debates, marks the outlook and foreshadows the results of a council, was nullified and rejected from the first session onward.…" This departure from the original plan happened "by an act breaking the council's legal framework." This act was repeated at the time of the rejection of the schema on the sources of Revelation without the required majority vote. A papal decision overrode the regulations governing the conciliar assembly.12

Conclusion

The conclusion is inescapable: Vatican II, from October 13, 1962, onward, was already "revolutionary"! To get back to the "spirit" of the Council, then, would mean giving up the consequences of the revolution in order to return to the origin of the revolution. No, the only solution to the current crisis is a return, not to Vatican II, but to what it "disintegrated"—to the spirit that especially inspired the preliminary doctrinal schemas, authentic guardians of the deposit of faith, witnesses of Tradition.

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Notes:
1. Extracts from Église et Contre-Église by Fr. Philippe Lovey (Versailles: Courrier de Rome, 1996), pp. 111-47.
2. Acta, Series II, Vol.II, Pt. IV, p. 691.
3. Fouilloux, Vatican II commence (Catholic Univ. of Louvain, 1993), p. 52, n. 74.
4. Acta, Series II, Vol. II, Pt. III, p. 988.
5. Ibid., pp. 994-95.
6. Ibid., p. 996.
7. Iota Unum, No. 43.
8. Fouilloux, op. cit. p. 135.
9. Ibid., p. 72, note 56.
10. Ibid., p. 10
11. Ibid., p. 63.
12. Amerio, Iota Unum, Nos. 41, 42.

29 comments:

Shane said...

Thank you New Catholic and Angelus Press for making available this excellent article.

As for how Vatican II should be interpreted, I would like to make this suggestion.

Hughie said...

"For over two years, 150 Cardinals and religious superiors, including Archbishop Lefebvre, met to produce what was meant to be the blueprint of the Council texts."

And this is the problem for those who query the validity of Vat II: the Council Fathers decided that THEY and THEY ONLY were entitled to "produce... the Council texts."

And thank God they did!

Stephen said...

So, given what is written here, is it correct to assume that the Magisterium of the Church, i.e. the assembled bishops in union with the Bishop of Rome and with the Pope himself, tossed out the preliminaries and laid the groundwork for what was produced at Vatican II?

Knight of Malta said...

Frankly, much of Vatican II is brilliant and beautiful in its eschatology and general theological praxis.

It is not the good the is criticized; it is incontinuity with tradition which is problematic.

I read through Vatican II and am mesmerized by some of its fluid beaty.

As any attorney knows, you flaunt and flatter your opponents arguments (as did St. Aquinas) and then you try to demolish them. So, on the Liturgy any fool can see that Pertii used sophisty to fool the willing as to how beautiful the then traditional liturgy was, but then is goes on to describe multifarious way to deconstruct it.

Thank God these deconstructionists were fooled by the Holy Spirit, and instead of tinkering with the TLM, created a "banal on the spot liturgy by commission" which has shined its dull, artless face since it was hoisted on us by a commission of catholic and protestants (and a possible Mason, Bugnini).

Instead of perverting the TLM, they created a 1960's-inspired folk-mass! Instead of Palestrina, it is inspired more by the Bee Gees!

New Templar said...

So Hughie, you say thank God that the Council Fathers produced texts one of which the present pontiff has referred to as semi pelagian? I say that Shane has the right idea!

JFM said...

I appreciated the article, but I also was surprised and disappointed that it shared so little of the original schemas themselves. Fifty years later, they have never been translated or published?!

Prof. Basto said...

So, the preliminary drafts were in continuity with tradition, but the Ecumenical Council, with the sanction of the Holy Father, instead explicitly moved to disregard that work, and instead chose to produce more dubious texts.

Is then rupture embedded in the nature of Vatican II and its deliberations?

How to discern the "mind" of the Council, if the Council is a collective body?

We are asked by the Pope to interpret the Council in continuity with tradition. So, the Council teaches continuity, even when the intention of the "players" was to go for rupture?

Or can we assume that the majority of the Bishops didn't approve of rupture, and didn't know that they were being manouvered by a small group of plotters?

***

I too would like to read in full the drafts. The Constitutions, decrees and declarations that could have been, but never were.

servusmariaen said...

so why aren't the original Schemas then published in osservatore romano in honor of the anniversary of Vatican II? why would that not fair and possible? I think it important that the Church know what the original Schemas were in relation to what happened.

Mike B. said...

The reality is that the theological discourse given to the Curia by Benedict in 2005 on the meaning of 'no salvation outside the Church' is in agreement with the Apostles. Invincible ignorance is obvious while I leave the salvation of Methodists to God's decision. My own redemption is concern enough.

St Petersburg FL

papabear said...

Are copies of the preparatory schemas available in print?

beng said...

I second papabear's request.


Anyone know the original schema? We know that they are very very orthodox.


Btw, this is nothing new (the blog post). If one reads The Rhine Flows into The Tiber one would know how the tiny liberal majority become a giant Cerberus from the gates of hell trying to destroy the Church.

Reading The Rhine Flows into the Tiber is horrifying for a true son of the Church [but they should read it anyway) and rejoicing for those liberal modernist.

Gratias said...

Rorate Celi has struck the right Balance between SSPX and FSSP. Me, I do not know what I would do without my Angelus Press 1962 Missal printed by SSPX. Hope the offer of our Pope Benedict XVI is accepted and the Traditionalists can be reunited soon.

John L said...

'Is it correct to assume that the Magisterium of the Church, i.e. the assembled bishops in union with the Bishop of Rome and with the Pope himself, tossed out the preliminaries and laid the groundwork for what was produced at Vatican II?'

No. If you read the article, you will see that the rejection of the preparatory schemas did not obtain a majority vote from the bishops.

Prof. Basto said...

No. If you read the article, you will see that the rejection of the preparatory schemas did not obtain a majority vote from the bishops.

Okay. And this is impressive. It does mean that the schemas that had been prepared in advance in the special Preparatory Commissions created within the Curia, and that had been submitted to the Council by Papal Authority, were not rejected by the Ecumenical Council itself.

But the text does mention a papal decision, a decision by John XXIII to disregard the preliminary drafts.

If it was prudent or not, wise or not, for the Pope to have acted on the advice of a loud minority within the Council only, is a different matter. If disregarding the preliminary drafts was a good or bad decision is also a different matter.

The fact is that the Pope is the supreme authority of the Church, he had the authority to disregard the drafts even without a Council vote, and the text itself mentions that he did. A papal decision is mentioned.

So, to be frank, if the pope had the authority to act as he did, it is difficult to see, the "juridical breakdown", the alleged canonical flaw, in the proceedings.

In any event, this does not mean that the actual documents that came to be approved and signed were approved by the majority of the Bishops with the same revolutionary mind of the loud minority of Bishops who managed to obtain the disregarding of the schemata.

Queryer said...

Perhaps RC or somebody else here can comment as to why Pope John XXIII allowed dissenting priest theologians to be periti at the council.

Prof. Basto said...

Doing a modest search on the internet I found the following index of several different drafts of the Constitution on the Church, issued at different dates.

The index does not seem to include the preliminary drafts of 1962, that is, those prepared by the Curia before the opening of the Council.

There is, however, a schema for a Dogmatic Constitution "on the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church", a Constitution that was never issued, because Paul IV opted to simply proclaim the Blessed Mother with the title "Mother of the Church" in a simple speech to the Council Fathers.

Here is the link to the index in question, with the dates of the different schemata:

http://www.library.nd.edu/rarebooks/collections/ephemera/documents/de_ecclesia.pdf

Jordanes551 said...

I no longer recall where I read this, but a few years ago I came across a statement that the rejected schema on the Church had been based upon, or took as its starting point, Vatican I's proposed dogmatic constitution on the Church which that council never got a chance to approve because the council had to be adjourned. An English translation of that proposed constitution was published in "The Church Speaks," which I think is, or was, available through TAN Books.

Prof. Basto said...

...had been based upon, or took as its starting point, Vatican I's proposed dogmatic constitution on the Church which that council never got a chance to approve...

Dear Jordanes,

As we all know that the First Vatican Council adjourned indefinately due to the invasion of Rome, and so it was never properly concluded, and surely, as a consequence of that, proposed Constitutions failed to have a chance of being voted on an approved.

However, what I find interesting is your statement that the document that Vatican I never got a chance to approve was "the proposed dogmatic constitution on the Church".

That statement seems odd to me precisely because Vatican I did manage to approve a Dogmatic Constitution "on the Church of Christ". It is precisely the Constitution that begins with the words Pastor Aeternus, promulgated on July 18, 1870.

Surely, given that the council had already issued a Constitution "de Ecclesia Christi", any other Constitution would have a different object. It wouldn't be a Constitution "de Ecclesia".

Prof. Basto said...

CORRECTION TO MY COMMENT POSTED TODAY AT 19:10.

Where one reads "Paul IV", one should read "Paul VI".

Poor Pope Carafa deserves my apologies.

Prof. Basto said...

We do know that the debate a first schema of the Constitution on the Church formally took place from December 1 to December 7, 1962.

Was that first schema to be discussed the same schema that had been presented by the Curia to the Council in October as a result of the work of the preparatory commissions? Or was the December schema already a modified verson of the work approved by the Theological Commission?

Then, we know that, during the adjournment of the Council, a decision was made to disregard the schema that had been discussed in December, and to authorize the drafting of a revised schema.

Subsequently, John XXIII dies, and Paul VI is elected. Paul VI is crowned on June 29, 1963, and decides to continue the Council.

I don't know, but I would like to know, if the revised schema of 1963 was finalized and published before or after the death of John XXIII.

But I suspect that the document was only finalized already under Paul VI, when the liberals had more latitude to act.

In any event, we do know that the revised schema was presented to the Council in time for the opening of its second session, and four chapters of that revised schema were then debated from September 30 to October 30, 1963. All the acts of voting on the schemata of Lumen Gentium and on the amendments took place only in 1964.

Jordanes551 said...

Pastor Aeternus started out as only the first part of Vatican I's proposed dogmatic constitution on the Church. Due to the importance of its subject, it was broken off the longer dogmatic constitution on the Church, and was turned into a separate dogmatic constitution. If Vatican I had not been adjourned, the Fathers would have taken up the remainder of the dogmatic constitution on the Church.

I botched the title of the book that includes the English translation of Vatican I's unvoted-on schema of a dogmatic constitution on the Church. It's "The Church Teaches," not "The Church Speaks." I don't have it in front of me right now, so I'm working from my tired, influenza-addled memory. Later tonight I'll get the information and try to post a follow-up.

Jordanes551 said...

Okay, here is what I was talking about:

"The Church Teaches: Documents of the Church in English Translation" (1955, 1973), pp.86-94.

"Originally the council . . . had planned to define much more on the constitution and nature of the Church; but there was not enough time to complete its work. The first draft of the constitution (see Collection Lacensis, VII, 567 ff.) contains no official teaching on the part of the Church, since it was never voted upon by the fathers in solemn assembly. However, since it had been carefully prepared by theologians and presented to the fathers of the council, the draft may be said to reflect the mind of the teaching Church at that time. Its theological value is further attested by the conformity evident between it and later papal pronouncements on the nature and properties of the Church."

Indeed, every single thing this draft says about the Church may be found in papal encyclicals and other papal documents from Pius IX to Pius XII.

The draft constitution contains these 10 chapters:

1. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ
2. The Christian Religion Cannot Be Practiced Except in and Through the Church That Christ Founded
3. The Church Is a True, Perfect, Spiritual, and Supernatural Society
4. The Church Is a Visible Society
5. The Visible Unity of the Church
6. The Church Is a Society Absolutely Necessary for Salvation
7. Outside the Church No One Can Be Saved
8. The Indefectibility of the Church
9. The Infallibility of the Church
10. The Power of the Church

Pastor Aeternus, as I said, was broken off this first draft and became a separate dogmatic constitution. I note that "The Church Teaches" calls Pastor Aeternus "the FIRST dogmatic constitution on the Church of Christ." No doubt, had the Council been able to complete its work, it would have promulgated a "SECOND dogmatic constitution on the Church of Christ."

Anyway, I don't remember any more where I'd read that this Vatican I schema formed the groundwork of Vatican II's original schema on the Church, which was rejected and replaced by a new draft that became Lumen Gentium. LG, of course, is different in style from the Vatican I draft constitution, but LG incorporates and elaborates upon all of the doctrines found in the Vatican I draft constitution. The draft constitution is superior to LG in a number of ways, however, not only in writing style but also clarity and force of doctrinal expression. I find it much easier to understand or follow LG after having read the Vatican I draft constitution.

Prof. Basto said...

Jordanes,

I would very much like to read both Vatican I's draft mentioned by you and the 1962 shema of Vatican II's constitution prepared under the supervision of Cardinal Ottaviani.

Prof. Basto said...

Take a look at this:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001H08SN8/blogblogy-20

It seems to be the published text of the preliminary drafts we are looking for. The year on the cover reads MCMLXII (1962, of course) and the title of the book is "Schemata Constitutionum et Decretorum de quibus disceptabitur in Concilii sessionibus - series secunda: De Ecclesia et de B. Maria Virgine"!

Prof. Basto said...

Jordanes,

As for Vatican I's first draft of a more complete Constitution on the Church, mentioned by you, I found it online, and the link may be of interest to Rorate Caeli's readership:

http://www.ultramontes.pl/vaticanum_de_ecclesia.htm

Prof. Basto said...

Having now read the document contained in the above link, I note that the "first draft" of a Constitution "De Ecclesia Christi" submitted in 1870 to the Fathers of the First Vatican Council is very different from what became the Dogmatic Constitution "Pastor Aeternus".

The Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus deals, in its four Chapters, with the office of the Supreme Pontiff; each chapter contains different aspects of the docrine of the Church regarding the Roman Pontiff.

So "Pastor Aeternus" is, in reallity, a Dogmatic Constitution about the Petrine office.

On the other hand, the draft that was never voted on, and that began with the words "Supremi pastoris", deals with other, different aspects, of the docrine on the Church. This draft does not deal at all with the office of the Supreme Pontiff, but with other aspects of the Catholic docrine on the Church.

So, I don't see how Pastor Aeternus could have been broken off from this first draft to become a separate Constitution.

Probably this draft would have lead to a second Constitution, dealing with the ten questions mentioned in the draft's chapters (1. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ; 2. The Christian Religion Cannot Be Practiced Except in and Through the Church That Christ Founded; 3. The Church Is a True, Perfect, Spiritual, and Supernatural Society; 4. The Church Is a Visible Society; 5. The Visible Unity of the Church; 6. The Church Is a Society Absolutely Necessary for Salvation; 7. Outside the Church No One Can Be Saved; 8. The Indefectibility of the Church; 9. The Infallibility of the Church; 10. The Power of the Church).

However, Pastor Aeterus, because it deals with different questions and has a completely different text, must have sprung from a separate draft. I imagine that the original idea was for "Pastor Aeternus" and "Supremi pastoris" to be compagnion Constitutions on the Church, a project that was blocked by the adjournment of the Council due to the invasion of Rome.

In any case, the draft "Supremi pastoris" is a precious document. I wish that it could be enacted someday.

Jordanes551 said...

I don't mean that Pastor Aeternus in any of its drafts was ever an actual part of the unvoted-on dogmatic constitution on the Church, unless perhaps as nothing more than a possible subject header in an early rough draft. The Petrine dogmas and doctrines are a subset of Catholic ecclesiology, so they would naturally form a part of a projected dogmatic constitution addressing the nature of the Church. But given their great importance in their own right, it would make sense to treat them separately and at greater length. Debating and approving the definition of papal infallibility was work enough for the Council -- if it had been included in a broader dogmatic constitution, perhaps Pastor Aeternus wouldn't have been approved at all before war intervened cutting the Council short.

Jordanes551 said...

Man, coming off this flu bug, I'm amazed I was able to compose any sort of marginally coherent comments at all. Sorry for my mistakes, fact errors and misrememberings. My brain is still feeling pretty sluggish.

(I know, I know -- most of you don't see a difference from any of my other comments here . . . .)

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