Rorate Caeli

Vatican II: A discussion that can no longer be stopped

Whatever might be said about the current situation of the talks between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), and whatever one's doctrinal position might be, one thing is clear: the frank discussion of the ambiguities of Vatican II and of post-Conciliar Vatican documents vis-a-vis the pre-Conciliar Magisterium has begun, and can no longer be stopped. While it would be easy to exaggerate the quality, extent and openness of the discussion so far, it cannot be denied that signs of it have been appearing in unlikely places, such as the following article that was published last week by the Homiletic and Pastoral Review.



Sept. 20, 2012 by Paul Kokoski. 

More and more, Catholics are shying away from using terms like “proselytizing,” “conversion,” and even “Catholic” in their ecumenical and inter-religious efforts, almost as if they were ashamed of the Gospel, or afraid of appearing as a “sign of contradiction.”




Vatican II’s Dignitatis Humanae states that every person has a “right” to religious freedom. They are not to be “coerced,” in any way, to act contrary to their own beliefs. In seemingly contradictory fashion, the same document exhorts Catholics to use the coercive power of truth in their missionary mandate to “make disciples of all nations”: “The truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it makes its entrance into the mind at once quietly and with power.” Dignitatis Humanae thus invites Catholics to be both non-coercive, and coercive, in their dealings with non-Catholics. “Non-coercion” is understood in a negative sense to mean “non-missionary.” “Coercion” is understood in a positive sense to mean “missionary.” Vatican II, then, is inviting Catholics to be both a non-missionary, and a missionary, people. It is asserting, in effect, that two contradictory views of reality are merely different perceptions of the same thing. One can see in this confusion the promotion of a lethal system of religious indifferentism.

This same contradiction is advanced in other documents of Vatican II.  The “Decree on Ecumenism”(4), for example, states that there is no opposition between “ecumenical action” and “full Catholic communion.” This would seem to support the positive theory of coercion, i.e., that of proclaiming truth and correcting error, which has always been at the heart of the church’s missionary mandate. It forged world-wide conquests of many nations to the Catholic faith, and was the cause of countless martyrs. Other sections of the “Decree on Ecumenism” (No 3-4), as well as Vatican II’s “Decree on Religious Liberty,” decidedly support the non-coercive theory which negates the church’s pre-Vatican II missionary mandate of conversion, while implying that the “fullness of Catholic truth” is not necessary for salvation. This latter proposition has become the status quo among the Catholic faithful and church elite, including His Eminence Walter Cardinal Kasper, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope John Paul II. Cardinal Kasper has boldly stated, for example, that: “Today, we no longer understand ecumenism in the sense of a return, by which the others would ‘be converted’ and return to being ‘Catholics.’ This was expressly abandoned by Vatican II.” (Adista, Feb. 26, 2001).

In his speech to Protestants at World Youth Day 2005 (August 19), Pope Benedict XVI also explicitly denied the ecumenism of the return, stating: “And we now ask: What does it mean to restore the unity of all Christians? … this unity does not mean what could be called ‘ecumenism of the return’: that is, to deny and to reject one’s own faith history. Absolutely not!” In his book, “The Meaning of Christian Brotherhood” (p. 87-88), the Pope further states: ” … there is no appropriate category in Catholic thought for the phenomenon of Protestantism today (one can say the same of the relationship to the separated churches of the East). It is obvious that the old category of ‘heresy’ is no longer of any value. Heresy, for Scripture and the early Church, includes the idea of a personal decision against the unity of the Church, and heresy’s characteristic is pertinacia, the obstinacy of him who persist in his own private way. This, however, cannot be regarded as an appropriate description of the spiritual situation of the Protestant Christian. In the course of a now centuries-old history, Protestantism has made an important contribution to the realization of Christian faith, fulfilling a positive function … The conclusion is inescapable, then: Protestantism today is something different from the heresy in the traditional sense, a phenomenon whose true theological place has not yet been determined.”

In his book, Principles of Catholic Theology (pp. 197-198), Pope Benedict XVI further rejects calls for the collective conversion of Protestant churches to the Catholic faith, as “maximum solutions…. which offer no real hope for unity”.

Instances of Pope John Paul II’s support for the non- coercion theory are seen in the Assisi gatherings of October 1986 and January 2002. During Assisi 2002, John Paul provided “arranged” places in the Convent of Saint Francis for the practitioners of “the great world religions,” from Animism to Zoroastrianism, to enact their assorted cultic rituals. The inevitable public impression left by the Assisi event, especially when filtered through the prism of the secular media, was that all religions are more or less pleasing to God—the very thesis rejected as false by Pope Pius XI in his 1928 encyclical, Mortalium Animos.

Other indications of Pope John Paul II’s support for the non-coercive theory is: (1) his public kissing of the Koran during a 1999 visit to Rome; (2) the bestowal of pectoral crosses— symbols of episcopal authority—on Anglicans George Carey and Rowan Williams; and, (3) his active participation in pagan worship at a “sacred forest” in Togo.

False Ecumenism

The post-Vatican II contradiction of accepting both a coercion (conversion) and non-coercion (non-conversion) theory of ecumenism, simultaneously, was explicitly propounded by the Holy See’s representative to the Moscow Conference (November 30 – December 1, 2011), who stated: “Religious freedom should include the right to…convert… {and be} understood…as immunity from coercion.” (L’Osservatore Romano, December 14, 2012).

Now, there is no way to reconcile contradictory principles (in this case, coercion and non-coercion) without abandoning the principle of non-contradiction. The only conceivable way around this is to search, through “dialogue,” for a common language that can produce the appearance of supporting the two contradictory principles, at one and the same time. This, of course, is impossible without slipping into syncretism, which is exactly where the church is headed today.

Ecumenism is today viewed as a process of the recognition of values that are contained identically in every religious belief, with a greater or lesser prominence. There is, thus, never any movement from one religion to another, but only a process of “deepening” the truth one possesses by reference to the truth possessed by others, so that dialogue always brings enrichment to both parties. In effect, “dialogue,” and not Catholic faith, becomes the foundation for truth.

The word “dialogue” represents perhaps the biggest change in the mentality of the Church after Vatican II. The word was completely unknown and unused in the Church’s teaching before the council. It does not occur once in any previous council, or in papal encyclicals, or in sermons, or in pastoral practice. In the Vatican II documents, it occurs 28 times, twelve of them in the decree on ecumenism. It became the master word of post-conciliar thinking. People not only talk about ecumenical dialogue—dialogue between the Church and the world, ecclesial dialogue—but by an enormous misapplication: a dialogical structure attributed to theology, pedagogy, catechesis, the Trinity, the history of salvation, schools, families, the priesthood, the sacraments, redemption, and to everything else that had existed in the Church for centuries without the concept being in anybody’s mind or the word occurring in the language. The word marks a movement from the certain to the uncertain, the positive to the problematic. It essentially reduces evangelization from that of an authoritative proclamation to a dispute, or a conversation.

One of the major problems with dialogue, among others, is that it is impossible for everyone to dialogue due to insufficient knowledge. Yet, Vatican II’s decree on ecumenism states that everyone has a right to argue: “The concern {of ecumenical unity} extends to everyone, according to his talent.” At the local level of Church life, everyone can now participate—not as the Catholic system previously envisaged, by each person contributing his knowledge and playing his own proper part—but by everyone giving his opinion, and deciding on everything. This is exactly what has happened to the complete detriment of unity, and to the decay of both morals and faith. Nowhere is this more evident than in the legion of liturgical abuses.

The difference between the old and the new sorts of dialogue can be seen very clearly in the ends assigned to them. The old sort is aimed at demonstrating a truth, at producing a conviction in another person, and ultimately at conversion. The new dialogue is not directed towards the refuting of error, or the converting of one’s interlocutor.

Experience reveals that the post-conciliar period was devoted to the interpretation of the council, rather than to its implementation. After the council—armed with the new concept of “dialogue,” and indistinct and confused terms, like “spirit of the council”— innovators introduced these ideas in order to extract or exclude from the faith, elements they needed to extract or exclude. Using these terms, they could illuminate or obscure, gloss over or reinforce, individual parts of a text, or of a truth, as they saw fit. To this, the innovators added another technique, characteristic of those who disseminate error: that of hiding one truth behind another, enabling them to behave as if the hidden truth were not only hidden, but simply non-existent. The innovators also adopted words like “but” in their speeches in order to destroy, in their secondary assertions, what they laid down—yet still wished to maintain— in their principle assertions.

The goal now is to seek, with those outside the Church, a common language that can be used to smooth over and make one, contradictory and divergent paths, so as to include all people, and all beliefs, and, ultimately, to usher in a new world order. A classic example is the 1999 Vatican-Lutheran agreement on justification, which was framed to give one the impression that good “works” are both necessary, and not necessary, for salvation. Paragraph 39 of the agreement states, for example, that although “Catholics affirm the ‘meritorious’ character of good works… justification always remains the unmerited gift of grace.” Thus it is through dialogue—not Catholic truth—that doctrinal contradictions are made “to appear in a new light” (paragraph 41).

Another dialectic attempt to eliminate the law of non-contradiction is found in the new “Good Friday prayer for the Jews.” The new prayer infers that Jews both do, and do not, need to be converted. Pope Benedict XVI, in Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times (Ignatius Press, 2010) explains away his ambiguity in this way: “I thought that a modification was necessary in the ancient liturgy, in particular in reference to our relationship with our Jewish friends. I modified it in such a way that it contained our faith, that Christ is salvation for all. That there do not exist two ways of salvation, and that, therefore, Christ is also the savior of the Jews, and not only of the pagans. But also in such a way that one did not pray directly for the conversion of the Jews in a missionary sense, but that the Lord might hasten the historic hour in which we will all be united {emphasis added}.” Now, the anticipated “historic hour” of unity did not prevent Jesus from trying to “directly” convert the Jews over to himself. Nor did it prevent the pre-Vatican II church from doing the same. Why, then, should the post-conciliar church feel it necessary to refrain from doing so? Can it not be inferred, from this lack of conviction and fear of offending non-Catholic sensibilities, that the New Evangelization is being driven by a senseless shame of the Gospel?

Another example of the desire to gloss over, and obfuscate, contradictions is found in Nostra Aetate (3-4), which deliberately suggests that Muslims and Jews both do, and do not, believe in the one true God. (i.e., it is asserted that they both believe in the God of Abraham, but not in the God, Jesus— the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.)

Of course, any religion that purports to include all religions, is no religion at all. It is merely the strengthening of sound division under the appearance of unity. And no attempt at a common language will rectify this. One cannot reconcile what cannot be reconciled—especially in matters of morals and faith.

Conclusion

The church has failed miserably in her missionary mandate, not because of laziness or a lack of numbers. Rather, it is because she has quite simply lost sight of her own mandate. She doesn’t know, for example, whether to convert non-Catholics to the one true faith, or to merely wish them well in the safe haven of their own religious beliefs. Vatican II sanctions both opposing views as equally necessary. It is as if the Catholic Church is just one of many other churches, all of which need to “converge” toward a total Christ who is immanent in all denominations.

More and more, Catholics are shying away from using terms like “proselytizing,” “conversion,” and even “Catholic” in their ecumenical and inter-religious efforts, almost as if they were ashamed of the Gospel, or afraid of appearing as a “sign of contradiction.” In this confused state of diabolical disorientation, the Church has lost her ability to speak to the modern world about God with any clarity or conviction. She has, in fact, lost her salt, and become tasteless. Indeed, a kind of de-evangelization has set-in.

In order to erase the prevalent indifferentism, and growing skepticism, among Catholics, the church needs to re-examine her relationship with the modern world, and clarify her understanding of Christian unity. Otherwise the Church’s missionary activity will be reduced to nothing more than literacy programs, irrigation schemes, agricultural improvements, and health services—that is, the advancement of civilization rather than religion.

41 comments:

Francis said...

All one has to do is ask any conciliar bishop, priest or layman three simple yes or no questions to determine if Vatican II radically changed Catholic dogma (which of course it couldn't because it was only a pastoral council)

(1) Is the Holy Trinity the One True God as revealed through Scripture and Sacred Tradition?

(2) Is the Catholic Church the One True Church/faith established by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in who alone there is salvation?

(3) Is Baptism (water or desire) necessary for salvation?

Of course the answer to all of these basic questions is yes, but to a modernist it would be very difficult to answer yes to these questions while at the same time adhering to Vatican II ambiguity, relativism and indifferentism.

Whats Up! said...

"Dignitatis Humanae" seems to say"

"set a good example as a Catholic, but keep your cakehole shut about speaking the Truth."

Anonymous said...

That's a great ending.. haha.

Just wondering about the misuse (?) of the word coercion: the author uses it as a synonym for conversion.

Coerce: persuade someone with the use of threat or force.

This never was official church policy. Conversion is not coercion.

Ecclesia Militans said...

For the sake of clarity, it is necessary to differentiate. If we are speaking of the Catholic Church, then it is not the Church which has failed, not truly, because those who have undertaken the work of destruction do not truly represent the Church, even if they hold positions of power.

Not only are most of them under an automatic excommunication and therefore not truly part of the Church, but even if they were, their work of destruction would not be of the Church.

Now, on the other hand, if we mean the Conciliar Church - the Church of the Council, then of course it has failed - it has been designed to fail.

So make no mistake - there is nothing similar or in common between the Church of God and the church of man.

Gregory said...

Are not some parts of this lifted directly from Amerio's Iota Unum?

Inquisitor said...

at two contradictory views of reality are merely different perceptions of the same thing. One can see in this confusion the promotion of a lethal system of religious indifferentism.

This same religious indifferentism is strongly engendered by the document Nostra Aetate as well.

GMMF said...

Anon,

I agree, that is a major problem of this piece; however, the fact is Catholics did treat them as equivalent right off the bat and still do. Paul VI's Evangelii Nuntiandi was aimed at countering this, as was the more recent CDF note on evangelization.

LeonG said...

Dignitatis Humanae certainly looks liberal in its view and can be interpreted very liberally. The fact the missions are neutralised and the ecumenical movement has been so marked in the last 50 years is attributable in character to this document. I do not ever recall in my normal Roman Catholic youth(now called traditionalist/integralist even!) ever being taught to go out and coerce conversions but we were assuredly encouraged to talk about The Faith with conviction to others when opportuniy beckoned. Nowadays modern Catholics appear very apologetic about who they are and appeal to human rights and individual liberty as they redden uncomfortably about what was once a militant faith (another grossly misunderstood term. This looks like following the "primacy of conscience" axiomatic since the mid 1960s.
We can argue forever how much Conciliar documents are responsible for laxism and indifferentism but the very nature of the church following the Councils changed completely. I had never noticed any of the hierarchy bemoaning the abuses until recently when the chief indicators and the documentary evidence for abuses and decline have become so shocking that they can no longer claim we live in the "springtime of the church".
Having read and compared both the Syllabus of Errors, Pascendi, Lamentabile Sane and Dignitatis Humanae, among other documents I cannot imagine pre-conciliar papacies ever accepting the latter document as Roman Catholic.
It is entirely understandable in view of the liberal modernist expressions contained therein in many of the Councils' discussions and documents how some Catholics and some very good ones too have become sedevacantist. Sometimes one wonders if the intention was not to reduce the church to the same level as all the other ones. Looking at ecumenical and interreligious events attended by post-conciliar popes, bishops and presbyters, not to mention laypeople, the temptation to think we have been orphaned is sometimes a strong one.

Jason C. said...

Gregory, if so, I would think that's attributed in the article--HPR uses footnotes, and they have a solid editorial staff, so maybe those didn't make it through in Augustinus's post.

Augustinus said...

Jason C:

There is a link in my post to the original article on the website of the HPR. There are no footnotes. The only thing I didn't include is the combox in the original website. Instead of assuming that the contributors of Rorate are dumb, perhaps you could make better use of your eyes.



K Gurries said...

"Vatican II’s Dignitatis Humanae states that every person has a “right” to religious freedom. They are not to be “coerced,” in any way, to act contrary to their own beliefs. In seemingly contradictory fashion, the same document exhorts Catholics to use the coercive power of truth in their missionary mandate to “make disciples of all nations”: “The truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it makes its entrance into the mind at once quietly and with power.” Dignitatis Humanae thus invites Catholics to be both non-coercive, and coercive, in their dealings with non-Catholics."
===========================

The author admits -- but seems to go on to ignore -- that these are only "seemingly" contradictory. Bottom line on the VII teaching is that external forms of "coercion" in Faith are condemned. But there is an interior form of coercion -- the power of the truth as it enters the mind. Yes, Catholics are to spread the truth -- and the truth imposes itself by its own power on all those who will hear it.

Dismas said...

I take the subject matter and premises set forth in the article seriously. However, I can't help but question the sincerity and credibility of the author once I came across the incongruity and caprice of the author's statement found in the comments section of his own article:

Paul Kokoski says: September 23, 2012 at 6:54 pm - "I think that now it is only hearsay for anyone to say what our Church Fathers had in mind at Vatican II."

Perhaps he panicked under pressure from the very excellent questions and assertions posed to him by other commentators? At any rate in light of the author's lengthy assertions and assumptions set forth in his article, I find him dishonest or at least contradictory. He may not actually say what he thinks the Church Fathers had in mind, but he certainly implies he knows what they had in mind:

"It is asserting, in effect, that two contradictory views of reality are merely different perceptions of the same thing. One can see in this confusion the promotion of a lethal system of religious indifferentism. This same contradiction is advanced in other documents of Vatican II."

Joseph said...

GMMF,

It is more than a major problem with the argument since the author sets up a straw man as the very basis for the argument.

Regardless of the merits of this particular article, I think the most important thing for the Church is to disassociate the SSPX and its wagonload of ugly baggage from both the Extraordinary Form and from constructive debate about the Council. The more people who discuss the Council only in terms of the merits or failings of the Council, the less it will be about the handful of people associated with the SSPX and more about the direction of the Church itself.

Anil Wang said...

"Vatican II, then, is inviting Catholics to be both a non-missionary, and a missionary, people. It is asserting, in effect, that two contradictory views of reality are merely different perceptions of the same thing. "

Those are not contradictory by any means. There's a huge difference between between being an Islamist offering conversion or death and being a St Monica that tirelessly prayed and nagged Augustine to wake up. Pope Benedict XVI gave a good explanation, “We Impose Nothing, yet we propose ceaselessly”


WRT Pope Benedict XVI's comment on ecumenism of return, it's taken out of context. See for yourself:
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2005/august/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20050819_ecumenical-meeting_en.html

After stating this, he immediately makes references to Unitatis Redintegratio and Ut Unum Sint, What he is stating is simple, converts can enhance the faith. The Ordinariate has revived interest in the Sarum mass. Converts like Scott Hahn have revived Patristics, Typology and evangelistic zeal. Converts from Judaism have highlighted how much the Mass is in continuity with 1st century Judaism. All have added colour and texture to the faith. Yes, all these aspects were already part of the faith, but if they have been dormant for so long, the have no impact on the living faith.

I want to be charitable, but the willingness of the author to fall into the modernist lie that its possible to read any text out of context of the whole, is troubling. Sola Scriptura-like proof texts can pretty much prove anything. Assuming that there is a contradiction and thus we need to assume the liberal position rather than assume the reason one sees a contradiction is ones lack of understanding is a source of the crisis today.

How on earth can we fight modernism if we assume the modernists are right?



John Fisher said...

What an astute article. The reason for these contradictiosn was the way in which Council documents were composes. Bishops at the Council had lines inserted into documents as they voted on these. These insertions were to correct or oppose previous parts of documents. This was because it was not possible to throw out entire schemas. Also the session adjudicators made misleading clarifications to the bishops when they were asked about the exact meaning of certain passages. Also the preparitory commissions that drew up schemas were not solid but Modernist. So they tried to please both Modernist and Catholic bishops. As for JPII. You think he would know the first Commandment and nor worshipping false Gods. He was guilty of breaking at least 2 commandments. That is why he should never be canonised.

Spero said...

While I enjoyed the article, it does appear to be lacking in precision on some points. The general phenomena it exposes are very real problems. However, I think it misses some distinctions and qualifications.

In my opinion, many of the problems in the Council are the result of ambiguous definitions. For example: "coercion" and "freedom." Given that in traditional theology freedom can only be for good, "religious freedom" really would only mean the freedom to be Catholic. However, we would never coerce someone at gunpoint into being baptized. It all gets complicated, however, because of the various forms of coercion that are possible, the fact that the conscience itself can't actually be coerced directly (c.f. the martyrs), and the fact that the Church has historically not opposed certain (externally) coercive measures (e.g. outlawing heretical books etc.). The bottom line is that the acceptance of the Faith needs to be a free response to truth proposed.

Again, I hope the author has really done his homework on the opinions of the Holy Father.

Being precise and careful will help the cause of Tradition. Otherwise, people will just write the whole thing off.

Nonetheless, it is great to see HPR print such a bold article (I also recall a great article on supersessionism some time ago) and I very much enjoyed it...this is the precise reason that I hope it contains no neglect of precision or research that can be exploited to make the movement for Tradition look facile.

John said...

@John Fisher wrote You think he would know the first Commandment and nor worshipping false Gods. He was guilty of breaking at least 2 commandments. That is why he (Pope John Paul II)should never be canonised.

Since you have the ability to read hearts like the Cure of Ars or St. Padre Pio you must be on the way to your own eventual canonization?

Mike said...



This article presents a fundamentally flawed notion that one is "coerced" by the truth.

Sed Contra: one is liberated by the Truth.

The whole article is tainted by this grave error.

Iratus said...

"It is obvious that the old category of ‘heresy’ is no longer of any value."

## If Fr. Kueng or Fr. Rahner or Father Curran had said that, they would be denounced as heretics. Why should the Pope treated differently ? Or is the truth of a statement measured by who says it, and not by whether it is or is not true :( ? If the Pope is in error, and can be seen by Catholic standards to be in error, it is miserable false flattery (a sin) and human respect (another sin) to deny that he is.

"Paragraph 39 of the agreement states, for example, that although “Catholics affirm the ‘meritorious’ character of good works… justification always remains the unmerited gift of grace.”"

## There is no contradiction here at least. The life of the justified is a life a sanctifying grace, *and it is within this life of grace that the works of a Christian are meritorious* - meritorious, never in the strict sense, but in the traditional & attenuated sense of being meritorious either *de condigno*, or *de congruo*.

A relation of *meritum stricte dictum* between God and man - *stricte* being the vital word - is impossible; the unjustiffied cannot even merit the first grace of justification, which is the entrance to the life of sanctifying grace; the first grace has to be given a purely gratuitous gift. And works before justification, however much they dispose the doer to justification, do not justify, and are in no sense meritorious. It is the grace of God that prompts the unjustified to dispose themselves for the reception of justification. To merit in any sense, is itself a grace. So ultimately, the life of the justified is a life of grace through and through; as is plain from St. Augustine. Grace is the condition and the life of merit.

So that paragraph 39 is orthodox, even if other statements cited on this page are not.

Matt said...

RC said, "It is asserting, in effect, that two contradictory views of reality are merely different perceptions of the same thing. "

This is the thinking, the mindset of liberals! Their whole mentality of liberalism is a contradiction to truth and intellect.

CH DUPUY said...

"The author admits -- but seems to go on to ignore -- that these are only "seemingly" contradictory. Bottom line on the VII teaching is that external forms of "coercion" in Faith are condemned. But there is an interior form of coercion -- the power of the truth as it enters the mind. Yes, Catholics are to spread the truth -- and the truth imposes itself by its own power on all those who will hear it."
This is in line with the naive proposal by John XXIII at the beginning of the Council that from then on the Church would renounce to issue condemnations, and instead would convince by the clarity of the Truth.
If that were so, Protestants would have come on board long ago, but instead have persisted in their error, and still do in spite of the post conciliar ecumenical movement, which if anything, has fortified them, in view of the weakened position of the Church.

Common Sense said...

Dear Dismas,

How about you read that article a bit more attentively? You might find that there is a real contradiction between the teaching of 260 Popes prior to John XXIII. Our Divine Master tells us 'may your yes be yes and your no be no'. It is not so difficult to see and comprehend that there is a rupture between the pre-Conciliar Church and the post-Vatican II, both in essence and substance. I'm old enough to remember the old ways and to compare them to the new ones. The new Church, it seems, bears all the characteristics of the apostate one. I agonise over the sad and pitiable state the Church found itself in. This is my opinion.

David of Glasgow said...

John,

Since you have the ability to read hearts like the Cure of Ars or St. Padre Pio you must be on the way to your own eventual canonization?

There is all the difference in the world between making a judgement about an act in the external forum (the objective act of violating one of the Commandments) and in the internal forum (the degree of sin attached to such an act).

Murder is the violation of a Commandment. However, the murderer may have been coerced or drugged and so the degree of sin is considerably less.

Catholic moral teaching has always made it clear that whilst we cannot make a judgement regarding the internal forum we can - and should - make a judgement regarding the external forum. Otherwise, we should just sit on our hands and make no protest against abortion, for example, because we do not know what pressure women are under who have abortions.

It is indisputable that John Paul II performed a number of acts that in the external forum we can say do violate the First Commandment. We cannot judge about his personal sin in doing this. Let us leave that to God.

Gregory said...

In paragraph 50 of "Iota Unum - a Study of Changes in the Catholic Church in the XXth Century" [1985], the author, Romano Amerio, wrote, when talking about "innovators in the post-conciliar period" (in 1996 translation by Rev. John P. Parsons, P. 105, fifth edition, 2005, paperback, Sarto House):

"To this they add another technique, characteristic of those who disseminate error: that of hiding one truth behind another so as to be able to behave as if the hidden truth were not only hidden but simply non-existent."

Note Amerio's "to be able to behave".

-

In paragraph 49 of the same, titled "Novel hermeneutic of the Council. Semantic change. The word 'dialogue'." - Amerio wrote:

"Some words that had never been used in papal documents and which occurred only in specific fields have acquired an enormous popularity in the short space of a few years. The most notable of these is the word 'dialogue', which was previously unused in the Church. Vatican II used it twenty-eight times and coined the famous formula which expresses the axis or main intention of the council: 'dialogue with the world' (*) and 'mutual dialogue' (**) between the Church and the world'." (Amerio's footnotes: *Gaudium et Spes, 43.; ** " 'Mutual' seems somewhat redundant, since if only the Church talks there is no dialogue but a monologue.")

-

Later, again in paragraph 50 of the above, Amerio wrote, concerning the concealment of truth: "The procedure we have described is often effected by using the conjunction 'but'…the use of 'but' often occurs in the speeches of the council fathers, when they lay down in their principle assertion something which will be destroyed by the 'but' in a secondary assertion, so that the latter becomes what is principally asserted."

-

At the very least I would expect not to have to wonder where the credit (if any) is given to Amerio in Kokoski on the H&PR online version of this article (especially as other attributions are made). I assume that Amerio is roundly accredited in the printed version. I'm also assuming that I'm correct in assuming that Amerio is due at least a humble nod?

I did query one specific paragraph within the H&PR combox facility some 12 hours ago, after posting my initial question on RC last night. The comment awaited moderation for an hour. It was then published. However no reply has been forthcoming. I shan't bother again.

Quod scripsi, scripsi.

John said...

It is indisputable that John Paul II performed a number of acts that in the external forum we can say do violate the First Commandment. We cannot judge about his personal sin in doing this. Let us leave that to God.

Exactly my point. But in declaring Pope John Paul guilty and denying his beatification on account of his guilt then John Fisher has gone beyond questioning the guilt of his action into judging the guilt of his soul.

While is true that we have the right to make protest when observing things that are wrong, there are also virtues like charity and prudence which need to guide our actions. I remember a SSPX priest who gave an excellent talk to the Holy Name Society of the parish i once attended on prudence. Then as now, it is too often ignored.

Gratias said...

Rorate Caeli would seem the perfect place to have such a discussion. It would be useful to post specific V2 texts, how Bugnini and Paul VI implemented them, and what the CCC says about it. Then the readers could present their personal experiences. This being the Year of Faith, we could present constructive suggestions to improve the Church from within.

Picard said...

Here of course K.Gurries and others are right:

There is no contradiction between "coercion" by truth and the non-allowness of real coercion.

The article is not that good, confusing coercion and/with conversion.

But anyway, there are other problems in Vat. II and post-Vat.II-mag., as also the article points to.

And there is some contradiction in DH with the pre-Vat.II-mag., but not this the author of the article claims.

David of Glasgow said...

John,

This is what JohnFisher actually wrote:

That is why he should never be canonised.

This is not "denying his beatification". Yes, John Paul II may have repented at some point after these events and is now enjoying the Beatific Vision (let us hope so) but the question is whether he should be canonised which is not the same thing as being saved.

Since these violations of the First Commandments were very public there would need to have been public recantations of these same violations on the part of John Paul II for canonisation to be appropriate.

Otherwise these acts will effectively be also canonised in an analogical sense: "I know I am praying with pagans but St John Paul II did the same and the Church wouldn't have canonised him if it didn't approve."

John said...

Otherwise these acts will effectively be also canonized in an analogical sense: "I know I am praying with pagans but St John Paul II did the same and the Church wouldn't have canonized him if it didn't approve."

And Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors which scandalized the people and Apostles too. And he rebuked them because of their murmuring. I do not defend the Pope's actions at Assisi, but I will not condemn them or pass judgment on them.

Deacon Augustine said...

@ Gregory: "Later, again in paragraph 50 of the above, Amerio wrote, concerning the concealment of truth: "The procedure we have described is often effected by using the conjunction 'but'…the use of 'but' often occurs in the speeches of the council fathers, when they lay down in their principle assertion something which will be destroyed by the 'but' in a secondary assertion, so that the latter becomes what is principally asserted.""

This "technique" is widely known and used in liberal theological circles where it is commonly reduced to the idiom: "Everything before the "but" is b***s**t!"

David of Glasgow said...

And Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors which scandalized the people and Apostles too. And he rebuked them because of their murmuring. I do not defend the Pope's actions at Assisi, but I will not condemn them or pass judgement on them.

Again, there is all the difference in the world between Christ eating with sinners, which offended the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, and John Paul II - to take just one example - inviting Animists (otherwise known as Voodoo priests) to pray to their demons (Psalm 95:5) for 'peace', which was an objective violation of the First Commandment.

In fact, we cannot help but pass judgement against an act in the external forum. We tacitly evaluate everything that we perceive. What you seem to be saying in the words "I will not condemn them or pass judgement on [the Pope's actions at Assisi]" is that you don't think them bad at all. Not great, but not that bad either.

John said...

What I'm saying is that I do not think that what was done at Assisi was a great idea and it was confusing. However, the Pope is the supreme judge of the Church on Earth and I will not presume to pass judgement on his actions as though I had some authority to do so.

John said...

To continue my last post, it is one thing to act in a charitable spirit of correction as did St. Catherine of Siena in her letters to Popes Gregory XI and Urban VI. It is quite another to run around posting comments or writing articles saying that the Pope with certainty has violated the 1st Commandment and/or should never be canonized on account of such.

Janet B. said...

Seeing this lovely clear post fills me with gratitude for the author and for the blogger who placed it before us. The theological arguments on Vatican II sometimes can leave a person reeling, but this article concentrates on the paralysis of evangelization caused by the contradictions in the words of the text of the Council,a different angle and a much more emotional one for me. It's all about the words! I have a post that likens the buried contradictions in Vatican II to the bits of poison in the apple that cast Sleeping Beauty into her deadly slumber--and our Church, as well. They *paralyze* us in our efforts to win back our families, our children, our neighbors, our society. This is easy to do to human beings. Teachers know well how students can be thrown off by any contradictory message in a set of explanations or directions, however slight. This is like that, only it's not one classroom but the whole world. I swear to you that I saw a document on the vatican website, on the New Evangelization, in which one sentence that started off to be about 'what is to be done to evangelize,' was so hamstrung by all the cross-purposed caveats that had come before, that it just--quit. No ending, no completing idea, and not even a period, it just tapered off. It was telling, because it textually reproduced what happens in anybody's brain when attempting to process the clearly contradictory messages with which the constitutions of VII are loaded, as this post so calmly and reasonably demonstrates. You can't be a missionary and at the same time deny the need for people to convert. It drives me wild when people don't see it--I always think it can only mean that they're not trying to talk to people at all and that's why they don't notice that it's impossible given the stupid mis-directions. Let us just have a clear cut statement: 'our Faith rules, be nice when you talk about it.' That's what we need. Instead we get a bunch of gobbledy gook that ends up saying black is white, up is down, our Church is special but so are all the rest and even no church at all is okay. The only possible synthesis of the mess is syncretism, which is why the Holy Father keeps denying that's what he's saying. And then he goes on and does it, most lately in a call for joint services among Christians in the Middle East, in The Church in the Middle East. It's up at the Vatican website. I'm going to try to write a post about the many misdirections in it, because in this instance the effects of contradiction on this particular subject are getting people not only damned, but killed first. But just go read it and you'll see, it's like a textbook case for exactly what this author is saying. (No, saying that that does not make one a bleeping bleep.)

Gregory said...

Well, indeed, Deacon Augustine. Amerio's identification of such - and many other rhetorical tricks, tactics and "sleights of tongue" besides - is searing. Which is why I feel it's a little discourteous to see so much of his expert analysis barely given a nod over at H&PR. The whole episode - particularly concerning the alarming lack of courtesy within its combox - has left me quite confused. I'll put it no more strongly than that. It's their business; I'll let them get on with it.
If anything, though, the matter has again driven home to me the sad reality that Amerio's genius is so criminally unknown by so many across orthodox Catholicism. One can only attribute (yes, that word!) that to the despicable and very effective suppression under which his works were all but stifled for two quite critical decades between the mid-80s and the "liberation" under Pope Benedict XVI.
I suppose, then, it is good to see the influence of Amerio's mind, so very evidently(!) already filtering gradually into the mainstream (and yes, it does seem that a discussion is under way that cannot be stopped, RC is bang on the money; I rather think that Bishop Schneider sent a ball rolling two Christmases ago and it is gathering momentum by the month). So I imagine that's all Amerio would have hoped and prayed for. For truly, the power of his pen has the ability to restore even the fuzziest Catholic mind back to "factory reset".
Whether people wish to be so restored is another matter. Of pride -v- humility.

Carl said...

Watching the video and reading all these points, my disappointment over the lack of an agreement has virtually disappeared. This business about "the (doctrinal, not merely prudential) errors of Vatican II" needs to be resolved for any agreement to be worthwhile. It would be unseemly for their to be an "agreement" while the parties disagree about whether Dignitatis Humanae can be read in a completely orthodox light or whether it is irremediably erroneous. This has many profound consequences and is not a mere "detail." Unless such a thing is agreed upon, any so-called "agreement" would really be a mere arrangement and destined to fail.

In other words, the failure of this discussion seems necessary if something of real substance is to come about.

Woody said...

Here is a piece by "former priest" James Carroll describing the "lost revolution" of Vatican II:

http://articles.boston.com/2012-09-30/opinion/34161353_1_roman-catholic-bishops-gregorian-chant-religious-life

My initial question is: if it is now "lost" (surely a debatable point, given the popularity of Carroll's view of the thing), does that mean it was never a "revolution"?

My second question: if it was a revolution, even if the Church has now been clawed back to normality, can we ever trust that another revolution will ot occur? Or as Fr. Seraphim Rose would have said, that THE Revolution will not break out again in the Church?

LR said...

"Jesus ate w/tax collectors and sinners": Worshipping false Gods is not "dining w/tax collectors and sinners", but, in fact, a Jewish friend of JPII's said that JPII NEVER told him or his family that they needed to accept Jesus Christ to receive eternal life. This contradicts what Jesus, himself, said to His own people. I wonder who's right: Jesus or JPII?

Where is Kluger now according to Jesus Christ? Are the Jews "our beloved elder brothers" as JPII said when he made a historic visit to Rome's synagogue -- could a statement like that ever be made by Jesus Christ, Sts. Peter, Paul, Stephen or any of the disciples who WERE Jews and who were beaten, killed and tossed out of towns and synagogues for declaring Jesus Christ was the Messiah, the Son of God?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/8988755/Jewish-friend-who-influenced-Pope-John-Paul-dies.html

(Note the Jewish friend influenced the Pope (the vicar of Christ) NOT the reverse.)

JPII, publicly worshiped and prayed to Gods other than the Trinity. You cannot accuse Jesus Christ of committing idolatry by "dining" with tax collectors and sinners or excuse JPII of idolatry by citing Jesus. Tell me, if Jews are our beloved elder brothers, are Muslims and Protestants our beloved younger brothers and modernists our sons while hindus and budhists are our beloved cousins and animists our beloved fathers and grandfathers (certainly Cardinals Pell & Muller would have us believe so)?

Cardinal Dolan will shortly spread a banquet for Herod to gain favor and influence for "the Church". This is also not what Jesus did in dining w/tax collectors and sinners.

Unfortunately, some Catholics seem to idolize the pope and/or "the Church"; in doing so they have become deaf, dumb and blind to the truth (Jesus Christ).

AO said...

My understanding of the "new evangelization" is that the Catholics still attending on a semi regular basis are supposed to bring back their lapsed family members--though how w/their poor catechesis and tepid belief they are to manage this, IDK. According to Cardinal Wuerl:

"In the words of Pope Benedict, the new evangelization is a “re-proposing of the Gospel” to people who have drifted from practice and even belief...the new evangelization begins right in believers’ own backyards, preaching to “those who are convinced they already know the faith and it holds no interest for them."...New evangelization seeks to reach “those who have been baptized but never really evangelized,” or brought into a full, mature relationship with Christ, Cardinal Wuerl said. These are the people who were raised in the faith, often received their sacraments, but for whom “the Gospel doesn’t mean anything in particular.”"

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/cardinal-wuerl-new-evangelization-re-proposes-gospel-to-those-who-drifted-from-faith/

Of more interest to me is the contradiction spoken of in this article: Yesterday, the priest sermonized that:

(1) Man can't (re)name what he hasn't created (call a "white oak" a "red maple") in seeming ignorance of Genesis 2:19.

(2) For the same reason, because God has created it to be between one man and one woman, the MD legislature cannot redefine "marriage"(I believe he was referring to the creation Bible "myth" per Cardinal Pell).

[However, as long as the legislature doesn't re-name this activity "marriage", the Church has no objection. The former Archbishop of Baltimore explains: "In all likelihood, each of us knows and loves homosexual persons and believes they should be treated with the same dignity and respect as anyone else...But there are other avenues for granting certain rights and benefits to couples who are not married. Treating heterosexual and same-sex relationships differently does not equate to unjust discrimination."

http://www.catholicreview.org/article/faith/no-time-to-abandon-conviction

But if we all know and love homosexuals and they need to be treated with the same dignity and respect as anyone else, and we all accept homosexual couples as long as we don't call them "married", why can't they adopt (or buy) children? Here you will see a homsexual couple having "their" child baptized Catholic:

http://www.gente.com.ar/nota.php?ID=17821]

3) This priest never goes there. After declaring the legislature can't redefine marriage or if they can, why not as between a man and a beast or five men and five women w/out ever saying what would be wrong w/this either, he moves on to "religious liberty". Here again the state has taken a positive good that all people have a right to health care and turned it into a violaton of religious freedom. Us Catholics will always and should always be free to "dialogue" among ourselves about what our faith means (I believe he was referring to contraception) BUT "religious liberty" means the State can never tell us what to do (he reads a quote from Thomas Jefferson)!

Can God tell us Catholics what to do?

To me it is the same unhell(thy) nonsin(se) as this article talks about in regard to conversion and non-conversion.

But I know that "the word of God is living and all-efficient, and much sharper than a double edged sword, and it pierces to the separation of soul and spirit and of joints, marrow and of bones, and judges the reasoning and conscience of the heart." Heb 4:12

The more I see what's happening today--from evolution (the teaching of "science" to our children in school) to prohibiting use of "mother" and "father" (less than 100 years)--the more I believe.

David of Glasgow said...

Jason,
What I'm saying is that I do not think that what was done at Assisi was a great idea and it was confusing. However, the Pope is the supreme judge of the Church on Earth and I will not presume to pass judgement on his actions as though I had some authority to do so.

I wonder if you are perhaps thinking of the expression "may be judged by none" that is used in, for example, the Dictatus Papae of Gregory VII, Unam Sanctam of Boniface VIII, Cum ex Apostolatus officio of Paul IV, and Canon 1404 of the Code of Canon Law (1983)?

If so, then you need to be aware that this asserts that the Roman Pontiff has the Primacy of Jurisdiction against the error of Conciliarism. It does not mean that the private or pontifical acts of the Pope are immune from moral evaluation. That kind of thinking belongs more properly to Scientology or the cult of an Eastern 'guru' but it has never been given approval by the Catholic Church and no Pope has claimed such a prerogative for himself.

Was the licentiousness of Pope John XII beyond criticism simply because he was the Pope? If not, then why should the participation of a Pope in a pagan ceremony (a far more grave violation of Divine and Natural Law) be beyond criticism?

To continue my last post, it is one thing to act in a charitable spirit of correction as did St. Catherine of Siena in her letters to Popes Gregory XI and Urban VI. It is quite another to run around posting comments or writing articles saying that the Pope with certainty has violated the 1st Commandment and/or should never be canonized on account of such.

You seem unable to distinguish between the objective violation of a law, which is indicated by external signs, and the subjective guilt of the person who violates that law. A person who drives through a red light has broken the law even though he may have done so because someone is sitting in the back seat of the car with a gun to the driver's head. Similarly, participation in a pagan ritual is identified by external participation not by the subjective intention of the person who participates. The First Commandment is violated by any participation in a non-Catholic rite, regardless of the subjective state of the person who violates that Commandment.

David of Glasgow said...

I should like to point out that I am in no way opposed to the canonisation of Pope John Paul II. However, I do think that it would be scandalous (in the theological sense of the word) if he were canonised without the magisterium explaining how these problematic acts on the part of the late Pope are compatible with previous magisterial prohibitions against those same acts (Mortalium Animos etc).