Rorate Caeli

Spe Salvi: the Anti-Gaudium et Spes


Spe Salvi is, first and foremost, a theological meditation on the Last Things.

It is, also, a strong response to one of the most influential and problematic documents of the Second Vatican Council, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, "Gaudium et Spes". Antonio Socci explores the matter in the introduction to his article on the new papal encyclical, published today on Libero:

by Antonio SOCCI

A bomb. It is the new encyclical of Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, in which there is not a single quotation from the Council (a choice of huge significance); in which at last Hell, Heaven, and Purgatory are spoken of again (and even the Anti-Christ, even though in an excerpt of Kant); in which horrors are called by their name (for instance, "Communism", a word which, at the Council, it was forbidden to pronounce and condemn); in which, instead of greeting the powerful of this world, the powerful witness of Christian martyrs, the victims, is mentioned; in which the rhetoric of the "religions" is wiped out, by affirming that the Savior is only one; in which Mary is shown as the "star of hope"; and in which it is shown that blind faith in progress (alone) and in science (alone) leads to disaster and despair.

Benedict XVI does not quote, from the Council, even "Gaudium et spes", which nonetheless had in its title the word "hope", but wipes out the very mistake disastrously introduced in the Catholic world by that which was the main Conciliar constitution, "On the Church in the Modern World". The Pope invites, in fact, at n. 22, to a "a self-critique of modern Christianity". Particularly on the concept of "progress".

32 comments:

Pascendi said...

The Pope is trying to steer the Church away from the monstrous virus of "sociological christianity"; the social modernism that Pius XI condemned as strongly as theological modernism (though the former springs from the latter).

+ AMDG + said...

V: Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedictus XVI (Decimus Sextus).

R.: Dominus Conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

V.: Tu es Petrus

R.: Et super hanc petram aedificabo Ecclesiam meam

V: Oremus

V: Deus, qui providéntiæ tuæ consílio super beátum Petrum, céteris Apóstolis præpósitum, Ecclésiam tuam ædificári voluísti, réspice propítius ad Papam nostrum Benedíctum, et concéde, ut, quem Petri constituísti successórem, pópulo tuo visíbile sit unitátis fídei et communiónis princípium et fundaméntum. Per Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum, Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per ómnia sæcula sæculórum.

R: Amen

Ramón López
Juventutem de Argentina
www.juventutem.com.ar

Anonymous said...

"The Pope is trying to steer the Church away from the monstrous virus of "sociological christianity"; the social modernism that Pius XI condemned as strongly as theological modernism (though the former springs from the latter)."

Uhhhhhhhhhh?

Then why not repudiate Gaudium et Spes, or his own silly statements regarding V2 being the counter syllabus!

Some of you on this blog are so starving for true signs of hope that you are willing to attempt to snort any little crumb you get!

How can you honestly know what the Pope intends; can you read hearts??

As for the criterior by which to judge such matters, I refer you to God who said: "Judge them not by their words by by their deeds; by their deeds you shall know them".

Presently the only accurate determination of the ecclesial climate is that we've moved from modernism to semi-modernism: but Benedict XVI still wants you to accept the entire consequences of Vatican II as being perfectly in harmony with the Church of the prevatican II period.

That's about as logical as saying that the effective sterility of getting yourself spayed, is a natural consequence of your previous natural condition.

Which is another way of saying that what I did at the Council with all the other faithless loughts, was a gift from God which you must accept!

Pride and vainglory never so presumptiously kissed!

Anonymous said...

+amdg+

V: Benedicto, non Bnedictus

stephen said...

"Some of you on this blog are so starving for true signs of hope that you are willing to attempt to snort any little crumb you get."

"As for the criterior by which to judge such matters, I refer you to God who said: "Judge them not by their words by by their deeds; by their deeds you shall know them"."

stephen said...

Yes, Yes, Yes

Anonymous said...

Counter-counter-syllabus?

dcs said...

Then why not repudiate Gaudium et Spes, or his own silly statements regarding V2 being the counter syllabus!

How can you honestly know what the Pope intends; can you read hearts??


If then-Cardinal Ratzinger characterized GS as a "counter-Syllabus" does that mean he necessarily approves of it?

Yet this quote is bandied around by some as if they knew what he intended by the statement, as if they could read his heart!

Jamie said...

I realise this is not the most appropriate place to ask, but can someone please help me on this page to defend Pope Pius XII?

Top 10 common misconceptions

Someone is quoting Hitler's Pope against Pius XII and I have insufficient knowledge to debate. If you can all go there and point out the truth I would appreciate it immensely.

Anonymous said...

For Jamie:
Fight the good fight!
Here is something very recent:

http://www.insidethevatican.com/newsflash/2006/newsflash-oct25-06.htm

First Things also has excellent essays on this issue:

http://www.firstthings.com/search.php?recherche=pius+xii&search_type_ft=ft&search_type_blog=blog

Jamie said...

I don't know if rph2odbp came from here, but if so, thank you - your comment was brilliant.

Athelstane said...

Hello Jamie,

I also recommend Rabbi David Dalin's monograph, THE MYTH OF HITLER'S POPE.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0895260344/lewrockwell/

"Rabbi Dalin points out that neither Cornwell nor Susan Zuccotti, another Pius XII critic, mentions the sheltering of three thousand Jews at Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s own summer residence. "Yet at no other site in Nazi-occupied Europe were as many Jews saved and sheltered for as long a period as at Castel Gandolfo during the Nazi occupation of Rome." Kosher food was served to the Jews sheltered there. Jewish children were even born in the Pope’s private apartments."

Most major libraries should have it if you can't afford it or can't wait.

As for Spe Salvi - I haven't had a chance to read more than a few excerpts from it, but I am certainly looking forward to it now. An encyclical with not a single quote from Vatican II? It's almost unthinkable - til now.

Jamie said...

Athelstane: thank you so much

Anonymous said...

I, for one, have just finished Spe Salvi, and I was quite impressed. It's language was, typical of Pope Benedict, theologically deep and beautiful. His demonstration that faith and hope are essentially the same inspired me.

WLMS said...

What council?

Servus Dei said...

Is there a translation of the whole article cited available anywhere?

percy said...

zI've read a lot of comments doubting the actions of the Pope. One must look at the current encyclical not as a gesture to steer traditionalist within the Church back to the fold of Peter but an action of Peter himself as supreme pastor of the Universal Church to teach and to bring back the Church to its rightful thinking. Thus I ask all to also pray that the Holy Father may continue to steer the Church to orthodoxy.

Let us pray:
O Gracious Lord, grant Thy servant Benedict the holiness and wisdom to continue in serving Thy Church with zeal and longing. Protect him against all evils; defend him against his enemies that in the shepherding of Thy Church he may be able to lead them to salvation. Grant O Most Loving Father, that his Pontificate brings forth the conversion of all sinners, the reconciliation of all schismatics and the eradication of all heresies. O Holy Spirit that breathe life into the Church and inspire many to martyrdom, will that he whom You inspire to be elected to the supreme pontificate be given the charism to lead the entire Church with courage and understanding. Make him strong to withstand all profanation, doubt and indifference. Make him the foundation of all orthodoxy so that in his teaching we may glimpse the verity of truth and revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Sean said...

I gave up on encyclicals as wordy nonsense a long time ago but having now read spe salvi I am starting on Deus caritas est. At last, something that makes sense to an ordinary Catholic.

Anonymous said...

How complex we make our existance.

Perhaps it should have been commanded that " thou shalt exist ".

Thou shalt love, be gentle, thou shalt forgive.

It hurts me when the leader of my church condemns and forbids and reprimands and judges. It has the scent of the flame.

How then can our truth by fiat, force and edict be any better than other cruel and absolutist religeons ?

Christ saw this in our hearts I am sure - he saw our future and the danger of any mortal soul with the power to state " thou shalt ! Thou shalt not ! ".

" I will not comdemn ". Look it up.

Pertinacious Papist said...

I'm not sure what good can come of pitting Spe Salvi directly against Gaudium et Spes, except, perhaps, provoke discussion. I'm not sure even Socci does this. Doesn't Socci suggest, rather, that Spe Salvi represents a powerful response to the hermeneutic of rupture that often (wrongly) appeals to the "Spirit of Vatican II" and Gaudium et Spes? Whatever infelicities and ambiguities the latter document may contain, it is a product of an Ecumenical Council and, if read in light of the Constitutional documents of the Council and a hermeneutic of continuity with Sacred Tradition, needn't -- and, it seems to me, shouldn't -- be read in antithesis to Spes Salvi.

New Catholic said...

Dear Dr Blosser,

Without disagreeing with you, I would say that Gaudium et Spes is certainly characterized by an opening to the modern world, while Spe Salvi brings back the necessary mistrust of the modern world; that Gaudium et Spes is too much concerned with the "man of our time", while Spe Salvi reminds all that "man always remains man" - including in his evil inclinations.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Dear New Catholic,

While I agree that this is how Gaudium et Spes is typically understood by the "Spirit of Vatican II" set, I'm not sure it's fair to say that this is simply what the document says. Paragraph 37 says that "human progress ... brings with it great temptation.... For a monumental struggle against the powers of darkness pervades the whole history of man. The battle was joined from the very origins of the world and will continue until the last day ... 'Be not conformed to the world' (Rom. 12.2). Here by the world is meant that spirit of vanity and malice which transforms into an instrument of sin those human energies intended for the service of God and man." And there's much more to the point in paragraphs 38 & 39.

New Catholic said...

Yes - yet is that the general tone of the document?

I thought this reader's comparison useful as a first sketch (there could be many others). There are exceptions to the dominant tone in both documents, but they are different in an objective reading of their entire contents.

Now, from this moment onwards, Spe Salvi must be used as an interpretative guide of Gaudium et Spes (which is a great step in the implementation of the "hermeneutics of continuity")- though I am quite certain that it will never seem as dated as the latter...

Pertinacious Papist said...

While Gaudium seems clearly to have been animated by writers who, at times, exhibit a spirit of incautious over-optimism about evolutionary human progress, I think it does traditionalists no service to suggest that it, as a Magisterial document, is a piece of heterodoxy. One has to look carefully at all that the document says. Paragraph 37 says that "human progress ... brings with it great temptation.... For a monumental struggle against the powers of darkness pervades the whole history of man. The battle was joined from the very origins of the world and will continue until the last day ... 'Be not conformed to the world' (Rom. 12.2). Here by the world is meant that spirit of vanity and malice which transforms into an instrument of sin those human energies intended for the service of God and man." And there's much more to the point in paragraphs 38 & 39.

The "reader's comparison" you reference, drawing from your post, highlights the difference in emphasis between the two documents. But it goes farther. For example, it states that Gaudium nowhere mentions 'Eternal life.' But this is singularly unhelpful as well as untrue. In paragraphs 37-39 one finds not only the great warnings against the seductive temptations that come with human progress, not to be conformed to this world, about this world -- deformed by sin -- passing away, but also clear statements about God preparing a "new dwelling place" for His people, a clear "witness" to the desire for "a heavenly home," with "death overcome and the sons of God raised up in Christ."

I admit there seems to be a problem in the overall thrust and tone of Gaudium, simply given the events of the last half-century; but, to be fair, I think we can't overlook what's actually stated there either, where it does speak to the seductive temptations of human progress and the transitory character of this world in view of the world to come.

New Catholic said...

Who said it is heterodox?

The writer has a point: Catholic texts should use clear terms. It is true that several concepts linked to eternal life are present in GS - but the term itself is omitted. Communism is omitted, as well as its dreaded consequences - and it is an omission which speaks loudly, no matter how many times "Atheism" is used.

Now, I did not see Socci, myself, or anyone else suggest that GS is a "piece of heterodoxy". But when you admit that it may rightly be criticized for its "incautious over-optimism about evolutionary human progress", then it is difficult to understand why resist the concept that Spe Salvi and GS are so different. GS is addressed to some men of 1965 (or 1935...) about the contemporary man, which is why it has always seemed anachronistic. Spe Salvi was written for the men of the 21st century, but its object is the man of all times: this makes it a more "Catholic" document, since the universality of the faith is not limited to space, but also extends in time. That is why is is "contra GS" - not because GS is "heterodox".

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

The Pope is definately trying to steer us away from the direction of modernism. As a person who has read Spe Salve, I enjoy it quite much. It is not the documents themselves that are bad, it's the interpetations of the documents/council, which in case you haven't noticed Benedict's trying to correct this. Long live Pope Benedict :)

Anonymous said...

New Catholic has a point.

Traditionalists have for some time assumed that "counter" means the same thing as "contra."

Ratzinger asserted that Gaudium et Spes was a "counter" syllabus and we all took this as an admission that the two documents "contradict" each other, but this isn't what it means at all. Likewise, in saying that Spe Salvi is a "counterpoint" to Gaudium, New Catholic isn't admitting that there's a contradition.

It just means that sometimes a thing can be true and not really tell the whole story. It can be misleading or incomplete. Perhaps the Syllabus of Errors was too pessimistic about the advances in the modern age (keyword: perhaps). Whether you accept that or not, at least you can have the honesty to admit that a person who believes this is not rejecting the Syllabus.

Whatever truth is in such an assertion about the Syllabus, I (and most everybody here I suspect) would say that GS swung twice as far in the opposite direction. Spe Salvi has strike the right balance of realism and sobriety regarding the modern age.

Feel free to correct me, New Catholic, if I've misrepresented your opinion.

New Catholic said...

Thank you, dear Anonymous; that was certainly what was meant by me.

Pertinacious Papist said...

My friend, nobody in this post (Socci or yourself) or in this combox has said that GS is heterodox. What I said was suggest that GS is heterodox -- and I think that there are some things in Socci's remarks as well as in the configuration of your post's title that could be easily read (or mis-read, to be precise) by the sedevacantist fringe as suggesting precisely that.

I'm with you in agreeing with the Anonymous commentator's summation of the issue. I think he pretty well nails the issue. I would even go farther than the another commentator (Joe of St. Thérèse) and insist that some consiliar documents are bad in the sense that they are ambiguous and lend themselves to misinterpretation. That is why they need to be read in the light of the other conciliar documents and in the light of Sacred Tradition as a whole.

Thanks for your clarifications, and God bless. -- PP

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your compliments, NC and PP, I am the Anonymous formerly known in these parts as "with peter."

I particularly want to agree with your second paragraph, PP. Not that I really have an opinion about whether the documents are bad, but I would defend the legitimacy and catholicity of the opinion you express here. Who can doubt that the Council Fathers failed - utterly failed - to anticipate how their words would be taken and misconstrued to justify:

- Scripture being partly erroneous (when speaking of matters unrelated to salvation)
- All religions are equally good because salvation can be obtained in each.
- Religious liberty is a fundamental and universal political right that cannot be infringed upon (even in countries where the common good and just requirements of public order necessitate that Catholicism be given special privileges).

I can demonstrate that V2 neither said these things nor justified their assertion. No problem. What I cannot do is demonstrate how V2 took the slightest preventative care to avoid these sorts of interpretations.

We can talk all day about the hermeneutic of continuity - and thus rescue the orthodoxy of the Council - but at the end of that day, we're going to have to admit that the Council Fathers failed precisely on pastoral grounds and in reading the signs of the times. And this despite all their bragging and bloviating about their wisdom and prudence in this regard. And when we look back, we're going to have to remember John XXIII's churlish dismissal of those "prophets of doom" who history has vindicated tenfold.

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Barto said...

I agree with the original post by Antonio SOCCI. It CANNOT be an accident or random thing that the pope did not cite or refer to the Second Vatican Council even one time. This might be historic, in that it might be the first encyclical since that Council that does not cite that Council. I think the older Joseph Ratzinger is in deep anguish over all the profound harm that the younger Joseph Ratzinger (and others) caused with the Second Vatican Council. I think he doesn't want to cause yet another rupture by suddenly denouncing that Council, but he is working to lead us away from the poisonous effects of the teachings and pastoral guidelines of that Council. Joseph Ratzinger has a conscience. We saw that when practically the first thing he did as pope was punish the notorious sex offender Fr. Marcial Marciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ. People should read and re-read "Spe Salvi." Confronted by all the corruption in myself, in Society, and even in the Church, "Spe Salvi" restored my Hope to a profound degree.