Rorate Caeli

Castrillón speaks: in the Pope's hands

Interview of the President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" with Simone Ortolani -- published on the web by Nihil Obstat:

Eminence, indiscretions regarding the publication of a Motu Proprio which would liberalize the Latin Mass of Saint Pius V have spread widely for several months...

"The Holy Father has this situation under his eyes of universal Shepherd of the Church. Naturally, [the matter] being in his hands, we do not advance any particular note regarding it, out of holy respect. The personal interest of the Holy Father regarding the liturgy is, nonetheless, known to all, [as well as] his profound knowledge of the same, his veneration for tradition and, at the same time, his clear position to put into practice all that the Holy Spirit gave the Church in the Second Vatican Council. These are the parameters through which the historical difficulties regarding [this matter] are examined."

Cardinals Alfons Maria Stickler and Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, have declared that the Mass of Saint Pius V has never been abolished. What do you think of it?

"Cardinals Stickler and Medina are right, and their opinions are followed by the opinions of liturgy experts, other cardinals and bishops. We have ourselves studied the problem and we deem that the ancient Mass has never been forbidden. On the other hand, it is very important, to have a clear mind, to grasp the light which comes from the Successor of Peter. According to the thinking of the Holy Father, clearly expressed, there are two forms of the Roman Rite: the ordinary form, which is the Mass of Paul VI, and the extraordinary form, which is the Mass of Saint Pius V."

Many young people willingly attend the Latin Mass, in the institutes and dioceses in which (rarely, at the current stage) it is allowed. Why?

"I must be honest. The Novus Ordo Missae was a novelty in the Seventies, the Mass of Saint Pius V has returned [as] a novelty in the Two Thousands. Young people like new things: but this would not be a deep analysis.

"Rather, I have been able to personally attest that the young feel touched by the sense of sacredness and mystery which, in their view, is more perceptible in the ancient Mass.

"Besides this consideration, in general lines, the existence of not a few abuses in liturgical celebrations should not be forgotten. They are contrary to the holiness which should be proper to the great eucharistic mystery, which is the unbloody form of the Sacrifice of Calvary. These elements draw the attention -- I am sure of this -- of priests and laymen. Evidently, I will not place in mutual opposition the august sanctity of the eucharistic mystery celebrated in the two ritual forms of which we have spoken."

Will the historical figure of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, founder of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X [SSPX / FSSPX], excommunicated by Pope John Paul II for the ordination of four bishops without a pontifical mandate in 1988, be "rehabilitated" by the Church?

"Retracing the complete life story of Archbishop Lefebvre, we are certain of the great esteem and appreciation of the Church for him. He was considered worthy of being an Archbishop, Apostolic Delegate, Superior-General of his religious congregation; by speaking to people who knew him during the exercise of his ministry, the fecundity of his life is discovered.

"Yet, with the same clarity, according to the most genuine tradition of the Church, it cannot be accepted that a bishop may consecrate another bishop without a pontifical mandate, or that the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Councils, and in particular for their importance, in ecumenical Councils, be disputed.

"Archbishop Lefebvre - it is important to stress this - signed the documents of the Second Vatican Council, even though he was critical towards them, either regarding the texts, or regarding their interpretation."

Is the Fraternity of Saint Pius X [SSPX / FSSPX], the movement of Archbishop Lefebvre, a schism?

"The Fraternity of Saint Pius X is not a consolidated schism per se [di per sé], but its history has included schismatic actions, with the ordination of bishops not legitimately elected and not perfectly united to the Successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ. Moreover, there is always the danger of a schism, either by the exercise, even if partial, of the authority founded in jurisdiction, or by the overtly critical attitudes of exponents of the Fraternity towards personalities of the Church, in which I view a wound to charity.

"I greatly fear the words of Saint Jerome, according to whom schism leads to heresy, and heresy to schism. I know that there are in the Fraternity people [who are] filled with good will. The Superior General, His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay, has in the past years persevered in dialogue. I hope that the open arms of Pope Benedict XVI will be understood as a kairos, an opportune moment, and, pacifying the consciences of the faithful and of the lay people, a full effective and affective unity of the Fraternity with the Church and the Vicar of Christ will be reached."


  1. That is the definitive Catholic answer, like it or not.

  2. Anonymous1:05 PM

    I agree!

  3. Today, there is an article on La stampa (italian newspaper) about motu proprio (Marco Tosatti)

  4. Anonymous1:33 PM

    "That is the definitive Catholic answer, like it or not."

    No, it's an important Cardinal offering his understanding of things. Definitive Catholics answers come from the Pope and the Magisterium, not from individual Catholics in interviews with journalists.

  5. Anonymous1:33 PM

    Sorry, I meant to say "individual Cardinals."

  6. This is fascinating on a number of levels. To pick one: the language about two forms of the Roman Rite, which formed a prominent part of the speculation about the Motu Proprio months ago, and about which little has been heard since.

    I believe this is the first time that a named source has mentioned this; and now it is a Cardinal attributing to the Pope, as his "cleared expressed" view. Does anyone know where the Pope did express this view?

  7. Anonymous1:38 PM

    A supremely rich interview that makes a profoundly clear, and, in my view, correct examination of several things.

    The revelation that in the Holy Father´s mind the rite of St. Pius V has never been abolished but has become extraordinary is important, and the SSPX would do well to pay heed to the answers pertaining to it.

  8. Anonymous2:14 PM

    Very encouraging

  9. His Eminence still doesn't fully get it. The Second Vatican Council (its text and interpretations) has been a disaster for the Church. As such, it cannot have been guided by the Holy Ghost. The New Mass, which is a child of the novelties of Vatican II, is contrary to the Holy Ghost as well. Thereby, it is not an act of the Church. As Our Lord said, "By their fruits you shall know them."

    Regarding Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX, the consecration of bishops without a papal mandate has never been considered a schismatic act, even in the 1983 Code of Canon Law! There is no schismatic tendencies in the official position of the SSPX.

    From the interview, we can see that Rome is still far off from returning to Tradition.

    May God help us!

  10. By the way, the SSPX and its bishops are in "full" union with the Church, even if they are not in full union with the person of Joseph Ratzinger.

  11. It's a very good sign, but again it's not the event itself.

    Two concerns: If the office for communications could mangle the English translation of the Apostolic Exhortation so badly, what are they going to do to this?

    Secondly, to judge by the language in the La Stampa interview, if that's freedom, please don't ever enslave me! The bishpops are going to obfuscate and obstruct like crazy, so Traditionalists or even just those who long for even handedness had better be ready to maximize the opportunity and have their lists together IMMEDIATELY for presentation to pastors.

    Further, groups would do well to be ready to make a public appearance when the document comes out, and sing the Te Deum gathered on some church steps. Call your local TV station (they're always looking for material) and put a GOOD face on it, before the local bishop buries it. Now is the time for for practical, tactical faith. If there's a breach, we need to exploit it. Fortes in Fide!

  12. Anonymous3:03 PM

    Br. Anthony's analysis is correct (for the most part -- I squirm a bit at the notion that the New Mass is not an act of the Church) and Hebdomadary's rallying cry is resounding. Let us pray that the MP is not delayed past Easter. Catholicism is more in the news this time of year than any other. Things could get very interesting.

  13. Br. Anthony writes:
    As such, it cannot have been guided by the Holy Ghost.
    I think the claim that Vatican II was "guided" by the Holy Ghost is a bit strong. But Card. Castrillon does not say this, at least in this interview, so I fear Br. Anthony is attacking a straw man.

    Does Br. Anthony wish to suggest that the Council was not protected by the Holy Ghost?

    By the way, the SSPX and its bishops are in "full" union with the Church, even if they are not in full union with the person of Joseph Ratzinger.

    It's hard to see what this statement is if not a suggestion that the chair is vacant. I thought the SSPX eschewed such speculation.

  14. The bishpops are going to obfuscate and obstruct like crazy

    If true, it should not be surprising; but we are called to "instruct the ignorant" regardless of their reaction to being so instructed! ;-)

  15. Brideshead: That's just the point, we have to GET it in the news. Example: When Benedict was elected, a group of about twenty members of the choir from the local indult mass, and members of the chant schola which I was directing (by the way, we're doing Vespers this Sunday and I'll be playing the organ!) met on the steps of Immaculate Conception church in a highly touristed area of San Diego, and staged an impromptu singing of the Te Deum to the startled looks of passersby. The only think I didn't do was call the media, but this time, when and if the MP comes, you bet I will!! Others must do the same. We need to be seen to welcome the freedom, to proclaim the liturgical freedom, to claim as ours something that has never been abbrogated, but only withheld for too long. I'm feeding you propaganda here. Hopefully you'll use it for the benefit of your local church. Get your people gathered, get your list made, and CATCH THEM OFF GUARD!!!!! DON'T JUST SIT BACK AND BREATHE A SIGH OF RELIEF, THERE'S NO TIME FOR THAT. Take an analogy from sports: CAPITALIZE ON MOMENTUM. Trads all want relief, but the only relief you'll get is DURING mass. Outside of it, there will be so much work to do to fortify and defend the ground we would gain, lest we lose it to creeping inertia, which the lazy clergy will capitalize on, you can bet. Some of us may die of exhaustion, but that's the price. I earnestly urge all of you, BE PREPARED. HAVE YOUR LIST TOGETHER (to whack onto the desk of your local pastor); (and even if it's just the chant Salve Regina and a Gloria Patri), CALL YOUR LOCAL TV ROVING REPORTER, and GET TO HIM/HER BEFORE THE DIOCESE DOES (early morning spots are always tough to fill); GIVE THEM SOMETHING GOOD TO REPORT. ACT!!!!

  16. DCS said:
    "Does Br. Anthony wish to suggest that the Council was not protected by the Holy Ghost?"

    They are degrees of protection. From blatant heresy, perhaps yes. From error, no way!

    DCS said:
    It's hard to see what this statement is if not a suggestion that the chair is vacant. I thought the SSPX eschewed such speculation.

    Don't be silly and try to insinuate that I have Sedevacantist tendencies. Read what I said in my first post.

  17. Brideshead said,
    "for the most part -- I squirm a bit at the notion that the New Mass is not an act of the Church"

    How can something that has produced such rotten fruits possibly be an act of the Church?

  18. Br. Anthony writes:
    Don't be silly and try to insinuate that I have Sedevacantist tendencies. Read what I said in my first post.

    I'll let your statement below do the insinuation:

    By the way, the SSPX and its bishops are in "full" union with the Church, even if they are not in full union with the person of Joseph Ratzinger.

    If the SSPX is in full union with the Church, but not in full union with Joseph Ratzinger, it subsequently follows that Joseph Ratzinger is not in full union with the Church.

    I suggest that if you do not want people to think that you have sedevacantist tendencies that you (a) cease making such statements and (b) stop referring to the Holy Father as "Joseph Ratzinger." That will go a long way toward clearing up any confusion about your tendencies.

  19. I don't fully understand the bit about a "danger of a schism, either by the exercise, even if partial, of the authority founded in jurisdiction." The SSPX bishops don't have any jurisdiction and have never claimed to.

  20. Sorry-- should have deleted the "either."

  21. poeta writes:
    The SSPX bishops don't have any jurisdiction and have never claimed to.

    That is true, but the SSPX still does things that ordinarily require jurisdiction -- hearing confessions, witnessing marriages, and granting annulments.

  22. hedomadary is right.Listen to him.The media whom we all denounceform time to time for the most part do reporting out of ignorance.Get to them first and use them.Be positive and demolish the statement you know will appear that the Second Vatican Council mandated the NO.Tell them that this TLM which nourished the saints was the mass of VaticanII (that will blow them).Have quotations ready from the works of Cardinal Ratzinger.And dont forget the appeal to democracy.All tht emotu proprio is saying is that those catholics who want the mass of the least 1500 years cahave it.Why deny it?The TLM was never abrogated because never in the history of the church has the church banned a long celebrated rite.You might also mention what JPII said to the monks of Barroux:that the indult allowing the mass is simply a carrying out of the council's decree that All RITES IN THE CHURCH ARE TO BE PRESERVED. It is true you need some action which willcathch their attention like the chanting of the Salve ot Te DEum.Believe me it willbe page one news and the lead story on every newscast when the motu proprio is issued.But dont rejoice too musch because it is still lent.

  23. Cardinal Hoyos' remarks are of extreme importance. The crisis has taken 40 years, and it might well take another 40 to undo. It should be noted however, that though the Holy Father does have "open arms", certain issues do have to be clarified.

    One issue is, for example, Religious liberty. The resultant ambiguity of the Council on this has to be clarified in light of Tradition.

    "[Silvia] Scatena mentions briefly that at the end of the pontificate of Pius XII the Holy office of Cardinal Ottaviani was preparing to censure a syllabus of untraditional and unacceptable views advanced recently by authors such as Jacques Maritain and J.C. Murray on the lay character of the state and the natural right to freedom of religious inquiry and practice" (p. 622., Wick., J. "New Light on Vatican Council II" Catholic Historical Review).

    Having said that, it would be foolish to not embrace the Holy Father. One witnesses the remarkable Institut du Bon Pasteur and their ability to raise issues, to seek clarifications. let us not fear, Quas Primas will return to the Heart of the Church again. Pascal once wrote that the errors of the world prove the Church right. And dated, pastoral "declarations" can be righted with charity.


    For the benefit of Brother Anthony:

    APOSTOLORUM PRINICIPIS of Pope Pius XII (29 June 1958):

    “For jurisdiction passes to bishops only through the Roman Pontiff as We stated in Our Encyclical MYSTICI CORPORIS: Each bishop, as far as his own diocese is concerned, feeds and governs, like a true shepherd and in the name of Christ, the flock entrusted to him. Yet in exercising this office the bishops are not altogether independent but are subordinate to the lawful authority of the Roman Pontiff, and although they enjoy an ordinary power of jurisdiction, this power is directly communicated to them through the Supreme Pontiff. We referred to this teaching in the Encyclical Letter addressed to you, AD SINARUM GENTEM: The power of jurisdiction which is directly conferred by divine right on the Supreme Pontiff comes to bishops by that same right, but only through the successor of Saint Peter…”

    One therefore cannot be in union with the Church, but not in union with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict. This would logically end in the faithful claiming that they communicate their rights from pastors outside the divine hierarchy of the Church.

    Yet, this attitude is condemned:

    "2. The proposition which states “that power has been given by God to the Church, that it might be communicated to the pastors who are its ministers for the salvation of souls”; if thus understood that the power of ecclesiastical ministry and of rule is derived from the community of the faithful to the pastors,—heretical. (PIUS VI)"

    Thus once cannot claim to be in unity with the Church (but not the Pope) without being suspect of heresy.

  24. Anonymous8:57 PM

    I believe that the Motu proprio will come out before Easter, as La Stampa projects.
    Also, several Catholic publishing houses are cranking out new altar Missals of the Tridentine Latin Mass, and misselettes for the laity. They expect a big demand once the gates are opened to the Graces that will come with the return of the Tridentine Latin Mass.
    My Grandfather always compared Vatican II, its reforms, and the supression of the Tridentine Latin Mass to shutting off a powerplant.
    With the Graces from the the Tridentine Rite gone, and thousand years of Catholic tradition discarded, the Church collapsed...much like a city would without a powerplant to run things.
    With the Motu Proprio and the freedom for the Tridentine Latin Mass, the Church's energy will come back all over the world...just like a powerplant!

  25. Anonymous10:07 PM

    One thing is clear, reconciliation with the SSPX will render something more than just the liberalization of the Saint Pius V Missal. It will take the development of true trust between the Holy See and the SSPX. Currently this trust does not exist. After the disastrous handling of the Lefevbre issue by the pontificate of Paul VI, it will take much work to restablish this trust, and there are powerful basis for this mistrust of the Holy See by the SSPX. One thing that the Novus Ordo Mass did was to destroy the trust the people had in the clergy. After their impecable previous behavior, nothwithstanding indiviual wrongdoings, the clergy arrived at the Vatican II with the full confidence of the faithfull. That is why the laics did not complain about the Novus Ordo Mass, although clerics where criticizing Paul VI. People trusted the Pope. Paul VI destroyed that trust, and after seeing the fruits of the II VAtican Council and post-council: dissension within the Church, Liberation Theology, corruption in the clergy: homosexuality, pederasty, dissobedience in the clergy and infiltration of secularist ideas in the Church by the clergy, the clergy no longer have the trust of neither the faithful nor of the rest of the world. The days when the word of the papacy was listened without doubt are over, and now the Church has to regain the trust of the people on a constant and daily basis. So in this sense the Holy See, and the Catholic Church, does not enjoy they confidence nor the trust that the previously had. It is sad, but nevertheless these are the times we are living.

  26. Anonymous10:39 PM

    Cardinal Hoyos "I must be honest. The Novus Ordo Missae was a novelty in the Seventies, the Mass of Saint Pius V has returned [as] a novelty in the Two Thousands. Young people like new things: but this would not be a deep analysis".

    Yes Cardinal Hoyos, your analysis is superficial, because it lacks to consider what has been happening in the Church for the past 42 years. People are drawn by the novelties of rite, but by their fruits. Novus Ordo = bad fruist, Tridentine Mass = good fruits.

  27. Anonymous10:40 PM

    Cardinal Hoyos "I must be honest. The Novus Ordo Missae was a novelty in the Seventies, the Mass of Saint Pius V has returned [as] a novelty in the Two Thousands. Young people like new things: but this would not be a deep analysis".

    Yes Cardinal Hoyos, your analysis is superficial, because it lacks to consider what has been happening in the Church for the past 42 years. People are NOT drawn by the novelties of rite but by their fruits: Novus Ordo = bad fruist, Tridentine Mass = good fruits.

  28. DCS,

    I tried to respond to your comment, but my comment was erased.

    I'm not sure why, though.

  29. Anonymous writes:
    Yes Cardinal Hoyos, your analysis is superficial, because it lacks to consider what has been happening in the Church for the past 42 years.

    His Eminence goes on to make some more pertinent comments below the one you quoted.

    By the way, his surname is Castrillon, not Hoyos (Hoyos is his mother's maiden name and he appends it to his name as is customary in Latin America).

  30. That the Holy Spirit forbids error in an ecumenical council, one cannot dispute. However, this Cardinal goes to far in implying that the Holy Spirit inspired Vatican II. It's absurd to think that the Holy Spirit would inspire pastoral concerns with respect to social communications, for instance, or that the Holy Spirit inspired the praisworthy words regarding Hinduism! Vatican II was a pastoral council, not a dogmatic one, surely this Cardinal knows the difference? Past Councils forbade, for instance, women entering the sanctuary, and now, of course, there are altar girls, so are we to say that the Holy Spirit can inspire one council and then change His mind for another? Come on! People need to get over the false adulation of Vatican II: yes, it was a council, but not a dogmatic one. There are beautiful, moving, and true words in many of the documents, but also mundane, irrelevant, and hazy ones. We need to move beyond the disource of "Vatican II says this" and to the discourse of "Trent says this"; so many liberals think Vatican II is the "end-all" council, when, really, it is a relatively irrelevant council compared to most since it is surely one of the first purely "pastoral" councils.

  31. We can also point out that the Holy Ghost does not "inspire" even a dogmatic Council, nor yet a solemn papal definition of dogma. Not, at least, in the sense in which He "inspired" the words of Sacred Scripture.

    Dogmatic definitions He protects from error, but this intervention is merely "negative," not something "positive" as in the dictation to the sacred writers of the Bible.

  32. Chris said:
    "That the Holy Spirit forbids error in an ecumenical council, one cannot dispute."

    Many dispute it regarding Vatican II because it was not a dogmatic council.

  33. Br. Anthony- Vatican II did not issue new dogmas, but it was a dogmatic council. This is shown by the fact that there are two explicitly "dogmatic" constitutions. It is also shown in John XXIII's opening speech, when he said, "The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously." It is shown in the papal bull of Paul VI that closed the Council. It is also shown in his Catechesis on how to properly interpret the Council (Jan 12, 1966) and in the Creed which he professed on behalf of the Church (June 30, 1968).

    I fear, brother, that you are still operating upon the erroneous presuppositions regarding the "pastoral" and "doctrinal" character of Vatican II. The last council and all previous councils are inseparably both doctinal and pastoral.

    The fruits of Vatican II: How is it possible to judge its fruits by examining the effects of disobedience? As we look at the past 40 years we have ample evidence of the fruits of ABANDONING the Church's teaching. But these are the fruits not of Vatican II, but of western secularism and the post WWII cultural revolution. Vatican II has been routinely abused, disfigured and disobeyed.

    Brother Anthony- reading your posts, I am left wondering why you are so quick to blame the head for the torture suffered by the body. As God cannot be blamed when his law is violated, so the Magisterium cannot be blamed when its teaching is ignored.

  34. Poeta- I agree with you that we must distinguish between biblical inspiration and the Holy Spirit's activity as Paraclete of the Church, but I disagree that this latter intervention is merely a negative, passive protection.

    John 12-17 is the definitive text in discussing this subject of how the Holy Spirit acts as Paraclete. Clearly, he is a guide and an advocate like unto Christ. This means that he plays a positive role in teaching, governing and sanctifying the Church. Positive role, nothing. He is the principal and agent of this teaching, governance and sanctification.

    This is not the same as his role in Biblical inspiration. He is not causing men to circumscribe the Word of God in human language. But he is causing men to teach the Church as he sees fit.

    I think the closest contact between these two roles must be in the definition of dogma, but even here we are not speaking of God's written word per se, but the definitive and indispensable written interpretation of God's word. It is an act that definitively manifests the Church's unwritten Tradition.

    At any rate, I don't believe Christ's own words on the subject can be squared with the claim that the Paraclete only negatively protects from error, without positively guiding the Church.

  35. Why do my comments keep being erased?

  36. Anonymous11:45 AM

    The following statement concludes the closing speeches for the Second Vatican Council on 8 December, 1965:

    'We decided moreover that all that has been established synodally is to be religiously observed by all the faithful, for the glory of God and the dignity of the Church and for the tranquility and peace of all men. We have approved and established these things, decreeing that the present letters are and remain stable and valid, and are to have legal effectiveness, so that they be disseminated and obtain full and complete effect, and so that they may be fully convalidated by those whom they concern or may concern now and in the future; and so that, as it be judged and described, all efforts contrary to these things by whomever or whatever authority, knowingly or in ignorance be invalid and worthless from now on.'

    Do Archbishop Lefebvre and his followers stand condemned by this statement? Brother Anthony, what say you? I agree with you that the Council has produced bitter fruits, because the reformers who have mutilated the Mass and advanced a false ecumenism believe that they are OBEYING the Council, not disobeying it. Nevertheless, the closing statement of the Council quoted above gives me pause.

  37. Br. Anthony- I've had that problem too. After you're done writing, highlight the text and copy it to your clipboard. Sometimes it takes two or three tries before it posts correctly.

    Brideshead, I will defend SSPX on this point. They may believe they oppose the conciliar documents, but my own opinion is that they hold and oppose the same false interpretation which is so widespread in the world today.

    The three major theological problems (religious liberty, ecumenism and collegiality) are reducible to the sacramental ecclesiology laid down in the first chapters of Lumen Gentium. Neither SSPX nor the liberals who they oppose demonstrate any understanding of this ecclesiology.

    I don't mean to equate SSPX with their liberal opposition. Clearly, SSPX is Catholic and their opposition - although often maintaining the bonds of visible communion - is secular and anti-Catholic. I just mean that they hold very similar false opinions regarding the Council. The analogy goes no further than that.

    I pray that SSPX will accept the "hermeneutic of continuity" and soon be regularized in the Church. Nothing could be better for SSPX, Tradition or for the Church. I believe this would remove the scandal which leads many traditionalists to sedevacantism.

  38. On the question of Vatican II and errors in its documents,can I make one point that perhaps someone can answer. In the document 'Nostra Aetate', concerning Buddhism, it states; "Again, Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination."
    Am I wrong in taking from this that a Buddhist can reach spiritual perfection and the highest knowledge of the Divinity, on his own, or with God's help. Yet, did not Jesus Christ say that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and that no one can come to the Father except through Him? A Buddhist does not believe in, pray to, or recognise the Divinity of Christ. If a Buddhist can indeed do it without Him, what is the point in being a Catholic? On the other hand, again, if Buddhists can achieve this, why are they not converting to the Catholic Faith?

  39. Anonymous11:25 AM

    Anonymous underscores what Chris said earlier:

    'There are beautiful, moving, and true words in many of the documents, but also mundane, irrelevant, and hazy ones.'

    So, I ask again, what are to we to make of that concluding statement from the closing speech of the Second Vatican Council?

  40. Brideshead:
    "the reformers who have mutilated the Mass and advanced a false ecumenism believe that they are OBEYING the Council, not disobeying it."

    I think this is highly debatable. The original reformers were responsible for inserting into the conciliar documents phrases which could be easily misused, to enable them to suggest to the ignorant that their later plans were in conformity with the Council. However, there is no doubt that the Consilium which drafted the Novus Ordo knew that it had gone way beyond the mandate of the Council.

    With Peter:
    I would be fascinated to learn how sacramental ecclesiology, as adopted in "Lumen Gentium," underlies the other problems you mention. Can you suggest further reading?

    I think we have to read the passage on Buddhism as describing its own self-description, not as an endorsement of that position. You're quite right that perfect liberation and supreme illumination can come only from Christ. Obviously, it's possible for a Buddhist to be saved, through baptism of desire, but not "through" Buddhism.

  41. Cerimoniere- This was a realization that took place in my academic studies, in rigorously analyzing the conciliar and post-conciliar documents, and in conversation with traditionalists who oppose the Council. It wasn't extracted from a single source and so I can recommend no book. Out of respect for the nature of this website, which isn’t really a forum for Vatican II apologetics, I will only briefly describe the connection between these controversies and the ecclesiology of which I speak.

    Let me briefly summarize the ecclesiological position of Lumen Gentium. The Church on earth is the visible sign of the invisible reality of the Church in heaven, a sign instituted by Christ to efficaciously communicate grace to the world, restoring fallen man to a state of redemption. It is the Church’s mission to gather the elements of goodness, sanctification and truth, which have been fragmented and scattered through original sin and the history of iniquity. These elements, though outside the Church’s visible boundaries, belong to the Church by right. These elements – insufficient, inefficacious and not salvific in themselves – become endowed with sufficiency, efficacy and salvation if and when they are accompanied by the subjective condition of truly invincible ignorance. As the Church gathers these elements into her bosom, her glory increases in the world, but she gains nothing that she does not already have in mystery. This increase is brought about through the Church’s work, dialogue, preaching, catechesis and the celebration of the sacraments, most especially the sacrificial offering of Holy Mass (in a word, “evangelization”). As time passes from the Lord’s first coming, the wheat and the weeds continue to grow up together and progress until that day when Christ will come again and bring about a final separation, which will be the result not of a continuous evolution, but of sheer and unprecedented grace. Nevertheless, just as a certain historical evolution PREPARED the Jewish people for the first coming of Christ, so also a certain evolution will prepare the world for his coming in glory, when Christ will at last be all in all. This is the sacramental ecclesiology of Lumen Gentium.

    Religious Liberty- Human freedom is a primary element of the Church's treasury which exists universally. And it is the basic element to which the Church's evangelization appeals. If people don’t have freedom, they cannot choose Christ. And if they reject him, well, that decision should also be manifest to God and to the world. In this way - no matter what happens -freedom itself will be restored to the Church as her possession.

    Faced with secularization, dechristianization and totalitarianism, promoting religious liberty has actually become an important value in promoting the re-christianization of states. The Christian states are like a spoiled virgin, it is no longer appropriate to prevent her from ever fornicating: Now it is time to teach her how to make good decisions. In the 1800s, the virgin was not yet fully defiled. The Syllabus of Errors should be seen as a father’s last attempt to keep his daughter from getting into that car with the high school jock. This is all very metaphorical, let me restore it to doctrinal language. The common good and just requirements of public order are not going to be protected by suppressing non-Catholic religions and sects. On the contrary, granting freedom and working with these religions and sects is actually the best way to break the ever-encroaching tyranny of the secular and practical atheism which now rules the roost. In some circumstances, religious liberty threatens the common good, in some circumstances, it benefits the common good. This is NOT relativism. The same sun that causes ice to become liquid is the same sun that causes mud to become solid. It is the world that changes, not the truth. To move from secularist to Buddhist is to move toward the truth. To move from Catholic to Buddhist is to move away from it.

    Ecumenism- Dialogue, as shown above, is a stage in evangelization, which deepens the Christian witness (working hard and being charitable) and prepares for preaching and catechesis. Ecumenism, done properly, will help prepare the restoration of the great elements of goodness, sanctification and truth to the fullness within the Church. Dialogue can deepen the Church’s appreciation for these elements which are already a part of her structure. Speaking with Protestants will increase your appreciation of Scripture. Talking with Buddhists will deepen your appreciation of mystical realities. On the other hand, the Church has redemption and true restoration to offer to these fragmented worldviews. To Protestants, we offer the Tradition and Authority which gives Scripture its accurate and definitive divine meaning. To Buddhists, we offer the Logos which gives continuity and order to their eclectic mystical insights. Dialogue does not produce conversion, but it can prepare for conversion. When dialogue is done correctly, it enables a good preacher or catechist to reap what the Holy Spirit has sewn.

    This post is already too long. Let’s save collegiality for another time.

  42. Brideshead- that closing speech was actually a papal brief, which is of higher authority than a speech. What do we make of it?

    Everything in the Council is valid and legal. It must be accepted with religious submission of intellect and will. This does not mean, however, that nothing can be questioned, analyzed or suggested for clarification or reformulation. After all, none of the formulas proper to the Council are per se dogmas.

    To go so far as to accuse the Council of error or even imprudence, is to tempt the wrath of God. One should treat all magisterial documents with respect, even when and ESPECIALLY when one is reading them critically. It is much better try to find more traditional language to express the Council's meaning. This, in my opinion, is what the hermeneutic of continuity is all about.

  43. With Peter, many thanks for indulging my theological curiosity. Sacramental ecclesiology makes perfect sense to me. The link between that and the rest remains hazier, however.

    I appreciate that restricting non-Catholic religions does not always conduce to the common good, but that in itself is no advance on previous teaching, nor does it seem to me to follow particularly from "Lumen Gentium." I am not even sure what it means to say that "Human freedom is a primary element of the Church's treasury which exists universally."

    I think the problem that we struggle with in regard to the conciliar documents is this: never before have we known magisterial documents to have been shaped so largely on the human level by people so heterodox. We know that many heretics were involved in drafting the Council's documents, and we know that they sought to do so in ways that favoured their errors.

    We know that the protection of the Holy Ghost constrained this in some ways. However, I am not clear that faith requires us to believe that this protection extended beyond preventing the documents from containing formal error.

    Anyway, as you say, we have abused the patience of our host too long, I think...but thank you for your reflections.

  44. This is not the appropriate forum for discussions with agents provocateurs.