Rorate Caeli

Fr. Pagliarani on the Hermeneutic of Continuity

The website of the the SSPX's St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary has published a translation of Fr. David Pagliarani's "Hermeneutic of the Hermeneutic of Continuity" (originally published in Tradizione Cattolica no. 3, 2010). A section of the article is a direct response to Msgr. Guido Pozzo's July 2, 2010 speech to the FSSP on the ecclesiology of Vatican II.


  1. How someone can even begin to believe that Pope Benedict XVI's "hermeneutic of continuity" somehow connects the Church's Tradition with the Conciliar documents is beyond belief itself.

  2. Anonymous1:32 PM

    If one interprets the "Hermeneutic of Continuity" as meaning that the ONLY way of interpreting the VII texts is through the lens of tradition, then it seems to me this is correct, and ultimately what the Hermeneutic of Continuity needs to be.

  3. Anonymous2:39 PM

    As someone who tends to identify more with FSSP than with SSPX, I must commend Fr. Pagliarani on a magnificent exposition of the crisis and the darkness that has descended upon the Church. Why can't FSSP do work like this?

    Let us re-double our Lenten prayers and mortification. Let us plead for forgiveness and deliverance. While I hold these popes responsible for what they have done, I am starting to believe that we all, collectively, have played a role in this by perhaps incurring a chastisement that has deprived us of Supreme Pontiffs who trumpet and uphold the fullness of Tradition.

    Let us show God we are worthy of Restoration!

  4. How someone can even begin to believe that Pope Benedict XVI's "hermeneutic of continuity" somehow connects the Church's Tradition with the Conciliar documents is beyond belief itself.

    It's easy when one doesn't start from the assumption that the Conciliar documents cannot be read in the light of tradition.

  5. Anonymous4:45 PM

    Regardless of what criticisms the SSPX has of the pope, or the Council, or even the FSSP, the truth is that the priests and bishops of the SSPX do not, according to the pope, practice any lawful ministry within the Church. The FSSP, however, do operate and have a lawful ministry within the Church.

    No matter what the criticisms of the SSPX are against the pope or the council, this has not, and probably will not, change, since the SSPX does not have any real interest in reconciliation. Fifty years from now, the FSSP will still likely be operating and flourishing in the Church, while the SSPX will not. In fifty years, who will still be listening the SSPX drone on and on about the Council?

  6. "Yet, if the solemn Magisterium of a Council cannot manage to make itself understood, to the point that forty years later — the time of a biblical generation — a pope has to call for a proper interpretation in pointing out basic hermeneutic criteria, it can only mean one thing: that Council failed in its specific finality."

    I don't think this is a defensible position for several reasons that I take a closer look at here:

    This conclusion does not seem logical for several reasons. There is no such thing as a text (Divine, Magisterial or otherwise) that is completely immune to abuse or being taken out of its proper context. In other words, readers are often going to read into a document what they are pre-disposed to take away from it. This is simply a reality of human nature and sin. For example, we know from experience that the Bible is subject to many false interpretations. It can easily be abused and taken out of proper context. Yet the fact that the Bible can be understood falsely does not imply any defect in Sacred Scripture. Furthermore, the fact that the Magisterium must subsequently “complete” the doctrine contained in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition by making more explicit what is only implicit does not imply that Divine Revelation is “incomplete” in some way. We can consider another example in the dogma “Outside the Church there is no salvation.” The fact that this dogma was subsequently "clarified" and “completed” -- in the sense of making more explicit what was already implicit -- during the Pontificate of Pius XII does not imply any defect in the dogma itself. It simply supports the fact that humans are capable of reading documents in a one-sided manner and applying mental filters based on what they are pre-disposed to understand. Furthermore, the subsequent “completion” does not imply an “incomplete” doctrine – even if it draws the truth out more explicitly. If we are going to be realistic about it then we should recognize that the role of the Magisterium in this process will continue until the end of time. In every case, the only authentic interpreter of the Magisterium is the Magisterium itself.

  7. "We can wonder: why did the Magisterium not intervene after the Council in the way described by the Pope?3 If it has done so, why has it not succeeded in its intention of making clear exactly what the Council meant?"

    I think that it's clear that the Holy See has acted to correct the many false interpretations. For example, one can find a good many of them here:

    But the problem is not so much in the texts themselves (or in any subsequent clarification). The problem is rooted in the will of individuals that are bent on reading what they want to read into any given text. This has always been the case.

  8. "By definition, an infallible text cannot be interpreted."

    We are dealing with human beings that interpret everything. Consider the dogma of EENS. Human beings will find various ways to "interpret" the dogma. Some will interpret it in a more "strict" or even one-sided manner. If interpretations become too extreme then the Magisterium must step in to correct it -- as was done during the Pontificate of Pius XII. This is the nature of the things and it will always be so.

  9. Hermeneutics...indeed. Where is it? I dont see any around. Dont mention the so-called Reform of the Reform.

    Hermeneutics demand basically two things, namely, paradigm and methodology. They are intertwined really. Where, or rather what is the paradigm in the Pontiff's endeavour? Tradition? Good, but according to what perspective, Augustinian, Thomist, Patristic, Bellarminian, etc? And then methodology...normative? empirical? comparative? synthetical? dialectical?

    Where is the scholastic rigour in his Hermeneutic of the Continuity? Stating ad nauseam the first principles on which your theory/hypothesis rests does not make it a theory/hypothesis, and more importantly, in our context, a teaching worthy of serious consideration. I do sincerely hope he is at work with it.

    From this point of view, therefore, Fr. Pagliarani's article deserves attention and reflection. Our case is hand is not only to be 'decided on merits', but also on, as Father says, structural-functional considerations.

  10. If all the texts of Vatican II can be interpreted in a traditonal way, then language has no meaning.

  11. Anonymous6:25 PM

    I agree with K. Gurries responses, but have a further query: If, for the sake of argument, we were to grant everything in Fr. Pagliarani's paper, would it justify the claim of a continuing state of emergency. If this Pope's call for a proper interpretation/reception of VII is indeed an admission of its failure, as Fr. Pagliarani claims, isn't it also the end of the purported 'state of emergency' that began with VII? Doesn't the practical (even if, per Fr. Pagliarani, imperfect) attempt, starting at the top with the Pope's attempt to traditionalize VII indicate that the state of emergency is over?

    I suspect the Hermeneutic of Continuity, understood as part of a broader effort in the Church to return her to her traditions, implicitly repudiating much of the 60s, 70s, and so on, receives such scorn from SSPX et alia, because it goes to the heart of the 'state of emergency' argument. (For the emergency to be over, things do not have to be perfect - they never were - but only, in my reading, moving in the right direction)

  12. Anonymous6:27 PM

    Ann. 16:45

    Sad comment of yours, uncharitable, and short-sighted.


  13. "The statement of Benedict XVI has the advantage of underlining a fundamental principle, namely, that there can be no rupture but only continuity in the magisterial teaching of the Church: what the Church has always taught can neither be superseded nor set aside but constitutes Her patrimony, which one may neither reject nor modify in its fundamental content.

    Let us point out right away that the truth affirmed by Benedict XVI is in one sense extremely simple, and that it belongs to rudiments of the faith and to the fundamental principles defining the very nature of the Church."

    In other words, to admit the possibility of rupture in the magisterium is to deviate from the Faith itself. That the supreme magisterium can somehow DEFECT from Faith and morals is not something to be contemplated without doing violence to the Faith itself. This principle is admitted up front. One wonders why so much energy is devoted to contradict this principle by attempting to demonstrate the impossible -- defection and rupture from the Faith and Tradition?

  14. "A principle which is good in itself runs the risk of being pernicious if it is applied without the necessary discernment, precisely on account of its intrinsic value; the maxim which has it that the Council must necessarily be in continuity with Tradition is a preconceived idea which falsifies the whole status quaestionis and proves an ideological approach — with our apologies to Msgr. Pozzo."

    Here the principle that was just affirmed (see comment above) is subsequently contradicted. The supreme magisterium can either DEFECT or it is INDEFECTIBLE. There really is no middle option -- and it matters little whether a solemn council is characterized as dogmatic or pastoral -- whether it issued anathemas or not. Indefectibility is not some termporary charism that must be deliberately engaged -- it is constant and perpetual. I hope the good Father is not calling this into question.

  15. Some concluding oberservations on these concluding points...

    "The Council does not teach in the classical sense, but brings together old expressions and content with new expressions and content; elements of a dogmatic nature and considerations of a pastoral and contingent nature."

    Is the combination of new and old (nova et vetera) something invented by Vatican II? The reality is that the magisterium often teaches in manner that combines dogmatic and pastoral/contingent aspects. This is how it always has been. The pastoral/contingent aspects are precisely what makes a doctrine "reformable". Furthermore, even the dogmatic aspects are subject to development in the sense that what is implicit in the dogma can always be made more and more explicit (there is infinite depth to mystery).

    "The product which results does not have a definitive value but rather constitutes a basic platform for a constant and ceaseless reinterpretation, always living and modern, which one cannot anchor in a particular historical moment nor express through fixed and immovable statements."

    This is not a question of constant "reinterpretation" -- however, there can be new APPLICATIONS according to circumstances. It is important to distinguish the immutable principles from their legitimate variable application. There will never be such a thing as a fixed application within the contingent order. Furthermore, there will always be a certain development of dogmas insofar as the implicit is made more explicit. To expect anything different is not to live in reality. I go into a lot more depth in "Rupture Theology" here:

  16. Joe B8:31 PM

    K Guries, I find Fr. Pagliarani's argument (that if we're still waiting for an explanation of what the heck VCII docs meant after 40 years, then they can't be binding) to be much stronger than yours, which approaches the condemned notion that there is no truth or that it cannot be stated clearly.

    Anon 18:25, if you lose 99.9 percent of your assets and then regain one percent, your state of emergency continues. What is the percent of TLM attendees today? The percent even of regular Novus Ordo attendees? The decline of seminarians, even poorly formed?

    "... the SSPX does not have any real interest in reconciliation". Not until tradition is relatively safe again, after which they would concur with their own suppression if it suited the Holy Father (Bishop Fellay's own published words.) And it would be unjust to punish them in any way for such a cause.

    "It's easy when one doesn't start from the assumption that the Conciliar documents cannot be read in the light of tradition."

    It is clear to me that Father's paper does not concern dogma, but "pastoral" advice. Father takes Pope Paul VI's word for it that there are no dogmatic pronouncements in the VCII documents, so if the documents were intended to be pastoral and temporary, the argument is that they need not necessarily be free of poor pastoral advice for our time if not for their own. But we can't have a serious discussion about how to correct the dismal state of the church if we can't even address that possibility.

  17. Anonymous8:57 PM

    Knowing that the Pope can be criticized for a defect in administration, how does this critique rise to the level of "an incomplete view of Tradition?" (an implied rejection of dogma that JPII speaks of)

    Yes, the anathemas are gone, yes the Pope is no longer forceful with the Bishops, yes any and every false opinion seems to persist ... these are all defects in administration that don't touch the unfailing nature of the Magisterium.

    Likewise, the overall conclusion of this critique is that the "hermeneutic of continuity" assumes a deficiency in administration of previous Popes and in the Council itself. To that should be said "so what" ... that's a judgment anyone can make, including an inferior to a superior. Most certainly it's a judgment a current Pope can make of previous ones or even a Council. Besides, isn't the judgment that the Council or previous Pope's have failed the judgment that the SSPX wants the Pope to make? If the "hermeneutic of continuity" is this judgment, there should be dancing in the streets.

    I am at a loss as to why there isn't reconciliation. The only disobedience there seems to be on the part of the SSPX is an overall tenor of criticism of administration. What exactly is the disobedience or denial of dogma that constitutes the separation?

  18. Anonymous10:11 PM

    -----Anon 18:25, if you lose 99.9 percent of your assets and then regain one percent, your state of emergency continues. What is the percent of TLM attendees today? The percent even of regular Novus Ordo attendees? The decline of seminarians, even poorly formed?

    I am Anon 18:25. I see where you are comging from, but let me try to illustrate my point with a different analogy.

    Hurricane Katrina floods New Orleans. It is an emergency and residents flee the city. Then, the storm is over, the waters begin to recede. The emergency is over, now the work of reconstruction and rebuilding begins. To be sure, it is hard work, but not an emergency in the same way the flood is.

    I think the waters are receding in the Church. The 70 and 80's are over. To be sure, there is a big mess to clean. But while cleaning is urgent, it isn't an emergency

  19. Anonymous10:54 PM

    The problem is that Benedict XVI's understanding of Second Vatican in light of tradition appears to consist of discontinuity within continuity, if his December 2005 curial address is any indication.

    I cannot see how this holds water in the end. If what by all appearances had been solid doctrinal teaching before 1960 are now going to be relativized and contextualized into an alloy composite of some core piece of permanent doctrine with gobs of pastoral prudential application that is not permanent, then most any traditional teaching - not just ecumenism, interfaith interactions, and church-state/religious toleration - has no foundation to stand as an immutable truth.

    If this hermeneutic becomes permanent, there's nothing preventing a future pope or pope/council from applying it anywhere they please: culture of life, culture of family, sacramental theology, Marian dogmas, even Trinitarian dogmas.

    Can we ever be sure that the Trinity is an immutable core dogma? What will stop a future pope/council from telling us that the dogmatic proclamation of First Nicaea was a radical, rigid, defensive polemicized teaching against the aggressive excesses of fourth-century Arianism, and that, having moved past this unfortunate phase of Church history, we are to be open now to understand various modalities of the ineffable mystery of the dynamic interplay between the human and divine in Jesus Christ.

    And don't forget: we have to pursue unity with Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses, groups that reject the Trinity. Can't we be told we must remove every possible stumbling block to achieve unity?

  20. "K Guries, I find Fr. Pagliarani's argument (that if we're still waiting for an explanation of what the heck VCII docs meant after 40 years, then they can't be binding) to be much stronger than yours, which approaches the condemned notion that there is no truth or that it cannot be stated clearly."

    Joe B, then I don't think you clearly understand what I wrote -- it must be an "interpretation" thing or you did not read it carefully.

    I would point out again that the confusion and error is not attributed to the texts themselves. The problem is in hearts and minds that are pre-disposed to understand a given text they way they want to (think how Protestants often use the Bible this way -- to justify a certain position).

    So, not sure where you get the idea that I am saying that there is no such thing as truth or that it can't be communicated clearly. On the contrary, I am saying that ignorance and sin are realities -- and it often prevents people from facing the truth and seeing it clearly for what it is.

  21. Tom the Milkman11:39 PM

    @anon 16:45
    In fifty years, who will still be listening to the SSPX drone on and on about the Council?

    I don't know, but, fifty years or five hundred, the truth is not a perishable good. It doesn't wilt like a willow, or waste like a watermelon. In the spirit of Lent, I recommend listening to the SSPX now. Many among us have for many years, and are not confounded. God bless.

  22. Anonymous12:59 AM

    Mr. Gurries, in my humble opinion, has a very clear, correct and Catholic understanding in all of this!

    May the Lord direct many souls to your site Mr. Gurries, your grasp on these difficult questions are spot on! Bravo.

  23. Joe B1:25 AM

    Yes, I understand that is our divide - you sincerely believe the storm is over and only the cleanup remains, and I believe we are still failing to even address the presence, much less the causes, of a storm. The phrase new springtime keeps coming up from the highest authorities.

    But I would look for an as yet unthinkable event to occur before I would consider your view - a strongly worded Vatican position that the Novus Ordo must cease to be offered. I believe the Novus Ordo, although certainly valid, is indeed such a striking departure from Catholic liturgical tradition and has such a dismal history that it represents an impassible object against a true and profound reform, just as the TLM probably had to go in order to implement the chaos that followed (?) Vatican II. Until that time, our position remains precarious and one stroke of the pen away from secreting back to the catacombs, so to say.

    Will this occur? I say absolutely yes. It's just a matter of time, and I leave it to Our Lady of Fatima to arrange.

  24. It seems some have a different idea of the indefectibility of the Church and its magisterium. The errors and sins of Popes and bishops in no way affect the magisterium which is indefectible in accordance with the promise of Christ himself.
    Blessed Newman in the Catholic Appendix in his book "Arians of the Fourth Century" notes
    " . . . . . . while it is historically true, it is in no sense doctrinally false, that a Pope, as a private doctor, and much more Bishops, when not teaching formally, may err, as we find they did err in the fourth century. Pope Liberius might sign a Eusebian formula at Sirmium, and the mass of Bishops at Ariminum or elsewhere, and yet they might, in spite of this error, be infallible in their ex cathedra decisions.”
    Ex Cathedra decisions and formal teaching were strenuously avoided with everything to do with VII. Compare Pope Paul VI's proclamation of the Novus Ordo Mass with Saint PiusV's Bull "Quo Primum". The conditions for infallibility are strictly defined by Vatican I. Very few popes have actually engaged their infallibility in such a way in the history of the Church. Most times they are acting infallibly by restating the Ordinary Magisterium to hammer home the traditional teaching of the Church to new groups of wayward sheep.
    The Second Vatican Council was pastoral not dogmatic. Bishop DeCastro-Mayer acted prudently by deciding that its counsels did not have any use in his diocese and just ignored it. What a pity that many more bishops did not do the same.

  25. I would point out again that the confusion and error is not attributed to the texts themselves.

    Wrong! Incredible that you would say such a thing.

  26. John McFarland2:04 PM

    Mr. Gurries,

    The problem with the items in your proposed syllabus of errors is that in general they do one of two things: they either teach a mitigated progressivism, or their rebukes to progressivism are really no rebukes at all.

    Dominus Jesus still teaches that there are elements of the faith outside the Faith, which is not the doctrine of the Church.

    So ecumenism is still inconsistent with the Savior's injunction to teach ALL that I have commanded you.

    So the Holy Father's criticisms of relativism are at odds with his own relativism, as witnessed in his address (at Subiaco?) the day before his predecessor died, in which he said that there is no truth that is not historically determined.

    I have no doubt that the authors of these pronouncements do not understand -- or do not want to understand -- their implications. But their basic tenor is, objectively speaking, still progressivist, and still gives aid and comfort to the enemies of the Cross of Christ.

    Men can indeed twist any pronouncement.

    But the Church's traditional way of dealing with that problem was to formulate its teachings in a way that only those in transparent bad faith could misconstrue it. As Fr. Pagliarani in effect observes, the resistance to the teaching of Trent was not because the dissenters misunderstood that teaching, but because they understood it all too well.

    Unfortunately, one can hardly say the same of the teachings of Vatican II. They are at best unclear; and as explained by the Holy Father and other devotees of Vatican II, they remain unclear.

  27. Picard2:17 PM

    As K. Gurries says himselfe even infllible text (sometimes) can be interpretet in different ways [so that´s riight].

    But - as I said again and again before - this is exactly the case re the dogma of the infallibility and indefectibility of the Church/magisterium.

    K. Gurries interpretes it in a very strict sense, so that no authentic teaching of the magisterium, at least of the Pope, could ever be wrong (theologically, so erroneous).

    But that is only one possibility (and I argue the less probable). There is the (I think better founded) opinion that authentic teachings (that claim not for infallibility) can be really wrong.

    So he is not right or at least it is only his privat opinion that the texts of Vat.II can not be wrong and that such a position (that they could be wrong) would be erroneous itselfe.

    That is not the case. You can hold the opinion that non-infallible texts of the authentic magisterium (like Vat.II-texts) could be wrong. And you are still totaly Catholic.

    But enough re this; we discussed this before.

    I´ll come to another point now (next comment).

  28. Anonymous3:35 PM

    Since the Council closed in 1965, there has been controversy about the term "the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church". I believe it has been 'interpreted' at least 4 times by the CDF in an authoratative manner, against errors promoted by theologians (including periti of the Council itself). To this day, the term is debated and its origins are unclear, the meaning being even less clear.

    Human language is supposed to be about communication of ideas - the words are signs of these ideas. If they fail to clearly communicate an idea, they fail as language. If a term is so ambiguous and unclear as 'subsisit', the fact that it is in a Dogmatic Constitution of an Ecumenical Council is even more troubling.

    It seems the real point of the FSSPX priest is that one must understand the intention of the Council and the Pope who confirmed it based on the actions of the Pope and Curia following the Council. Interreligious dialogue has now brought us to the doorstep of syncretism and the denial of the missionary nature of the Church. We even see the Pope (as a private theologian, carrying absolutely no Magisterial authority) stating that the Church should not attempt to witness Jesus Christ to the Jews. He was at Vatican II, knew all the participants and the Popes of the Council, has written numerous books, overseen Magisterial documents, etc. Please don't tell me that he too is 'ignorant' of the 'true Council'. The fact is that the 'true Council' seems to be very elusive and extremely historically conditioned, not having engaged in definitive infallible teaching, but instead deliberately 'modern' expressions conditioned by theology of the 50's and 60's, which now sounds very dated.
    J Brown

  29. Anonymous3:44 PM

    John McFarland wrote:

    "I have no doubt that the authors of these pronouncements do not understand -- or do not want to understand -- their implications. but their basic tenor is, objectively speaking, still progressivist, and still gives aid and comfort to the enemies of the Cross of Christ."

    Mr. McFarland, who are the enemies of the Cross of Christ? Please recall that Our Lord Himself, when dying on the Cross said, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."

    Aren't we also commanded, by Our Lord, to love our enemies and pray for them? What about the parable of the Good Samaritan?

    Tell you what. You've heard of the Catholic Answers forum, right? I suggest that you go there and have a look at the non-Catholic religions section. That's where Catholics and non-Catholics debate. I suggest that you try to charitably debate and stand up for your Catholic faith there, as I endeavored to do. It isn't an easy thing to do, believe me.

    The Cross isn't an easy thing to follow. We all want to be "comfortable" instead.

  30. Anonymous4:35 PM

    Joe B wrote:

    "...Not until tradition is relatively safe again, after which they (SSPX) would concur with their own supression if it suited the Holy Father (Bishop Fellay's own published words.) And it would be unjust to punish them in any way for such a cause."

    The excommunications of the four SSPX have been lifted, so the punishment has also been withdrawn, too. However, there are still issues to be resolved before a reconciliation can be achieved. I contend that the SSPX will not reconcile, since its emphasis on and its demand for only having "tradition" as a basis for Church teaching will not likely be granted.

    Regarding the need to have tradition relatively safe again, I don't see that the Church was ever ONLY about "tradition," or about being "safe." If you want to have a "safe" religion, then I suggest that to join your local Protestant church where everyone is safe and comfortable. Safe and comfortable is not what being a Catholic is all about.

  31. "K. Gurries interpretes it in a very strict sense, so that no authentic teaching of the magisterium, at least of the Pope, could ever be wrong (theologically, so erroneous)."

    Picard, that's not exactly what I say in the "Rupture Theology" article. True, the authentic magisterium can't DEFECT in the order of Faith and morals -- but that does not exclude error in every respect -- including the possiblity of pastoral/prudential error. In this sense, a "reformable" (non-ex Cathedra) teaching is not understood as a potentially heretical teaching that we are free to view with suspicion. It simply means that the teaching involves dogmatic aspects -- that are indefectibly true -- along with contingent and prudential aspects -- that are not immune to error in each and every instance. But please read the article -- because I am only relating what is directly contained in magisterial sources.

  32. I live in Brazil. Fortunatly, I am able to attend a SSPX Mass.
    However,the Brazilian CNBB has chosen "How Climate Change and Global Warming affect the Poor" as their theme for Lent.
    The Climate Change, Global Warming nonsense is one of the biggest scams to be perpetrated on mankind . The object is to enrich bankers and hasten the de-industrialisation of the West.
    Why are these Bishops propagating this Communist agenda? Who are their real masters? Why have they been allowed to base Lenten observation on outright lies and why hasn't this den of overt Communist activists not been excomunicated?

  33. Gideon Ertner6:53 PM

    Mr. Gurries, a few remarks:

    "The problem is rooted in the will of individuals that are bent on reading what they want to read into any given text."

    But texts can make it easier or harder for people to read wrong things into it. Apparently no-one has ever been in doubt about what Pastor Aeternus says: those who don't like it don't try to re-interpret it but simply deny that what it says is true. The fact that it is so easy to read wrong things into the documents of Vat II indicates a defect in the text.

    "That the supreme magisterium can somehow DEFECT from Faith and morals is not something to be contemplated without doing violence to the Faith itself."

    But if you're implying that that is the FSSPX's position you are very wrong. The FSSPX rather believe that the Magisterium has failed in its duty to properly TEACH Faith and morals - not out of apostasy but due to a misguided rapprochement with "modern man", constituting a severe confusion of ecclesial priorities. This is not far from what Pope Honorius did when he refused to pronounce authoritatively on the Monothelite heresy, for which he was subsequently condemned by St. Leo II (who wrote that Honorius "did not, as became the Apostolic authority, extinguish the flame of heretical teaching in its first beginning, but fostered it by his negligence.").

  34. Gideon Ertner6:58 PM

    Of course I should say that alle the FSSPX's silly talk about "converting" Rome does imply that they see some sort of apostasy in the Magisterium - something they will deny, of course.

    At any rate, one is left wishing that the FSSPX will show the same degree of intellectual rigour in their speech as they expect from the Magisterium.

  35. Gideon Ertner7:01 PM

    Dominus Jesus still teaches that there are elements of the faith outside the Faith, which is not the doctrine of the Church.

    I don't have time to look it up but... doesn't DI rather teach that there are elements of truth outside the Faith? There can be no objection against that.

  36. Gideon, Pastor Aeternus indeed teaches the following:

    " the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been kept undefiled, and her well known doctrine has been kept holy...knowing full well that this See of Saint Peter remains ever free from all blemish of errors, according to the divine promise of the Lord Our Saviour..."

    That seems clear enough -- "ever free from all blemish of errors." Then why is this very Traditional teaching apparently not understood by some who claim to be following Tradition? Why all the discussion and argumentation that the supreme magisterium (including Vatican II) really has defected by proposing doctrines contrary to
    Faith and Tradition? Why argue that the Faith is not understood in Rome -- and that Tradition has been lost or must be recovered? Confusion primarily originates in individual hearts and minds that resist such clear doctrines.

  37. Anonymous8:40 PM

    Apparently no-one has ever been in doubt about what Pastor Aeternus says: those who don't like it don't try to re-interpret it but simply deny that what it says is true.

    Actually, in my experience most people who don't like Pastor Aeternus ARE in doubt about what it says/means. These people think it means that the Pope is a living saint who is always right about everything, and that is why they don't like it.

  38. K Gurries,

    That reference is regarding dogmas and solemnly condemned errors (i.e., the errors the conciliar Pontiffs have adopted in one way or another).

  39. Gideon,

    Your use of the term "Magisterium" makes it very difficult to counterattack your reference to apostasy. Let us say that many members of the Church hierarchy have apostasized.

  40. Br. Anthony, are you sure you are not "interpreting" this in a convenient manner? For example, compare your interpretation to Pope Gregory XVI:

    "Furthermore, the discipline sanctioned by the Church must never be rejected or be branded as contrary to certain principles of natural law. It must never be called crippled, or imperfect or subject to civil authority. In this discipline the administration of sacred rites, standards of morality, and the reckoning of the rights of the Church and her ministers are embraced. To use the words of the fathers of Trent, it is certain that the Church "was instructed by Jesus Christ and His Apostles and that all truth was daily taught it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit." Therefore, it is obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain "restoration and regeneration" for her as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be considered subject to defect or obscuration or other misfortune."
    Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, 9-10, 1832)


    Indefectibility involves the permanent and perpetual charism of truth in Faith and morals.

  41. Notice that the reference is to the "Church". The pope and the Church are not the same thing. The pope may make use of the Church's infallibility.

    The extension of the Church includes the pope, but not vice versa.

  42. The proposition that the pope can err in teaching Faith and Morals is evident by the centuries old "Papal Coronation Oath". In it, the pope promises not to break from Tradition and if he were to do so, he is to be accursed.

  43. Anonymous12:23 AM

    Mr. Gurries,

    You have removed Mirari Vos from its historical context. It was the progressive position, even at the time of Gregory XVI, that the Church needed to be "restored and regenerated." This was the battle cry of the progressives before, during and after the Second Vatican Council, and continues to be to the present day. This was the original contradiction of Mirari Vos. Those who Mirari Vos condemned have been the progressive victors of recent Church history.


  44. Anonymous1:09 AM

    K. Gurries, I hope that you continue to post and shed the light of the Church's Magesterial teachings. Great posts!

  45. Gideon Ertner9:53 AM

    Even Pastor aeternus makes it clear that the Pope can err when it teaches that the teaching of the Pope is only infallible when this teaching is presented in a specific way.

    Which of course is not the same as saying that Catholics are completely free to reject any and all Papal statements that are not presented in this way. Vatican II was certainly correct and in accord with Tradition when it taught that such statements require "religious assent, if not supernatural Faith."

  46. Gideon,

    Many of the controversial propositions of Vatican II do NOT require a religious assent because they contradict and/or make ambiguous previous Magisterial teachings.

  47. Tradster1:15 PM

    Mr. McFarland:

    When you state the following:

    "Dominus Jesus still teaches that there are elements of the faith outside the Faith, which is not the doctrine of the Church."

    could you elaborate on this? Is there official Church teaching you can point to that clearly and directly rules this theological teaching out of court?

  48. Anonymous3:07 PM

    K Gurries,

    Giles is exactly right, Mirari Vos condemns the VII revolution and especially the liturgical reform, and it's the topsy-turvy world we live in that you and others can turn that authority to serve the revolution it denounced. Please examine what occasioned these pronouncements, and you may begin to see our point of view.


  49. Tradition has been brokjen and "bastions razed" by the liberal modernists at the councils. They celebrated their achievements because this is what they did. The hermeneutic of continuity is nothing but a formula of words with no objective evidence to demonstrate it. Both the liturgy & pastoral processes are ruptures with the past because this is how they were designed. The conciliar documents can be interpreted to justify what the liberals have done. This is why the church is as it is now.

  50. David L Alexander, St.Peter sinned and then converted, by the grace of God. Many popes have done the same, as have most of us. Every pope has a duty to adhere to the indefectible magisterium of the Church and must follow the converted Saint Peter, not the sinful Peter. We cannot follow blindly any action of any pope which is contrary to the deposit of the faith. We must be obedient to all the popes who have done their duty in passing on the deposit of Faith. If some have failed to do this we pray that God is merciful to them. (" uneasy lies the head which wears the crown") If today we see "Peter" doing something contrary to what has always been taught before and dogmatically defined , such as "outside the Church there is no salvation", we are not permitted to blindly follow out of a false sense of obedience. We must above all, be obedient to the truth. If you had been obedient to some of the "Peters"in the history of the Church you would probably find yourself in Hell.
    It is not really a difficult task to find the truth. Read St.Thomas Aquinas, St Teresa of Avila, St John of the Cross et al, and the encyclicals of the the the popes of the 19th and early 20th centuries, some of whom warned us of the storm to come. Due to the fact that we are in the middle of the greatest heresy to ever afflict the Church and being warned by repeated visitations of the Blessed Virgin Mary as to the dangers we have to contend with we are obliged to get closer to the eternal Christ who is outside of time , "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever." Modernism, "the synthesis of all heresies" is only here in our time. Pray, and do not blindly follow any pope. If you had done so in the fourth century you would have been an Arian. Obey in all things which are lawful, study your catechism, know your faith. Pray for the Holy Father, that he may do his duty to pass on the treasure of the faith. Abjure his errors!, but love him as a brother.
    R Kenne

  51. Anonymous10:44 PM

    Councils have been aborted and revoked in the Church's history. It would be in the best interest for Bishop's and Priest's to do as Pope Benedict XVI has asked and realize the continuity with Trent, etc. If they continue to treat it as a new beginning, an end all, they in a few decades, may find themselves without a Council at all to refer to. This Council in an age of communication has wrought all kinds of misinterpretation and sent it through the airwaves, poisoning much of its' message and sending erroneous interpretations galore. This was and is quite destructive. It needs to be handled with the same magnitude of communication. Not a small address to the problem here and there. An unequivocal denunciation of all error and misinterpretation must be delivered from Rome in no uncertain terms. Anathemas and all. At first it will be a shock, but then it will set in. And the use of Papal authority and the Magesterium will be well on its' way to respect and understanding that has been lost and undermined since the Council. Not everyone, but millions of Catholics will support our Pope. Obedience is part of the Catholic soul and only needs to be re-awakened. The Council renedered portions of our Catholic conscience and soul numb, dormant. It is time, past time for our Holy Father to speak to us in a language we understand. The Catholic language, anathemas and all. Without it the Catholic Faith is splintered all over the place. The very thing Rome claims to be trying to reconcile worldwide is the very thing that needs pronouncements. Not from a Priest, not from a Bishop or Cardinal, but the Pope. Why the fear, Christ will not abandon his Church, he will succeed.

  52. Anonymous10:49 PM

    With the Holy Fahter being so authoratatively silent on so much people have no choice but to look back to the Council and its' documents and interpret them themselves. That is why we desperately need encylicals, decress, etc. so that we stop looking to some documents from the 60's. We needs documents with Papal authority and reek of it so that we stop looking back. We need to look at now. A decree with clarity and precision can be used to excise many demons lurking in the ambiguous documents of the past. And it becomes of premanent record.

  53. Anonymous11:20 PM

    AFter reading all these posts and confusion I can really see we are probably worse off than before the Second Vatican Council. That speaks volumes. It can't be denied.

  54. Anonymous11:36 PM

    The subject of the “ Hermeneneutics of Continuity vs. Rupture” together with the infallibility of Ecumenical Councils has been addressed at other Catholic forums, such as , by good theologians that contribute to that site, some of them clerics or that have studied for the priesthood. While they acknowledge the infallibility of such Councils, they are very good at pointing out the errors of VII, and their rupture with past doctrine of the Church. It seems that Bl. JXXIII by summoning the Council with his “aggiornamento” motto, although his intention was not to modernize the Church, such call suggested to the modernists that were teeming inside the clergy, that updating (aggiornamento), meant exactly that. As a consequence, they jumped at the opportunity because they considered Holy Mother Church as archaic and “passé”, and introduced every kind of novelty inspired by this motto. Among them were many heretical and quasi heretical bishops, such as Cardinal Lercaro, the original Head of the Liturgical Commision to whom Cardinal Bacci referred as “Luther resurrected”.
    At Angelqueen forum they have concluded that although Ecumenical Councils are infallible, VII has many erroneous doctrines vs. Traditional Catholic doctrine, and unable to explain such discrepancies they have concluded, the same as bishop Fellay, that it is mysterious that such differences occurred.
    Now, as I understand, because I am no theologian, to be infallible, the documents of an Ecumenical Council have to be signed by all the attending bishops, that means that it has to be unanimously approved. Bishops are required to sign them under the threat of excommunication if they don’t. That is why it is believed that Archbishop Lefevre signed them. But there is one important case in point with Cardinal Ottaviani. As it is known he objected to many of the reforms of VII, as the Decree on Religious Liberty, Dignitatis Humanis and especially the Novus Ordo Missae, as pointed out in his famous “Ottaviani Intervention”, where none of his objections were accepted by the Pope, with the exception of the definition of the Mass. It is known that he was presented with a document that affirmed that his objections had been met with, and due to his failing sight the document was read to him by a certain envoy. Consequently, he signed them with the confidence that VII documents were doctrinally sound.
    If this is so and he was wrongly misguided, his signature is invalid, because it was obtained with deceit, and infallibility of the Council would not be warranted.
    I do not know if father Malachi Martin, who was in the circle inside the Council has written about this, but it would be interesting to know.

  55. Anonymous4:12 AM

    I agree with Msgr. Gherardini that VII was a true and valid Council and thus that there was no rupture...

    I think Mr. Gurries' site contains the answers to the concerns set forth by those comments above.

  56. M. A.1:07 AM

    "Now, as I understand, because I am no theologian, to be infallible, the documents of an Ecumenical Council have to be signed by all the attending bishops, that means that it has to be unanimously approved. Bishops are required to sign them under the threat of excommunication if they don’t."

    I believe you are correct. Interestingly, the Abbe de Nantes in his research found that at least a couple of hundred bishops refrained from signing some of the documents of VII. So, no, the whole of VII did not receive unanimously consent! These bishops were not punished in anyway.

  57. Gratias11:06 PM

    Thank you for the important essay.

    I found the thesis that if the interpretation or Hermeneutic of VC2 has been wrong then the devastation the humanist Bishops brought to the Catholic Church has no justification very compelling.

    The progressives came after the Church like a ton of bricks immediately after VC2. Archbishop Bugnini, the accused Freemason, came out with a liturgy-destroying ordinary mass that contained the germ of constant revisions and evolution into the panoply of ordinary masses that Catholics are forced to endure now. No one Parish recieves the same mass. Yet all are Protestantized, and the Virgin Mary ostracized. With the entire authority of Paul VI behind the Modernists, the Latin Mass was forbidden overnight.

    For all their Aggiornamento, the Church Fathers could not find a bad thing to say about Communism, the main issue
    of their day.

    So here we find ourselves, trying to rebuild the forma extraordinaria bit by difficult bit. Perhaps we need some help of those that brought us to where we are. I love that the Holy Fater gave us SP, UE, and only offers Communion kneeling and on the tongue. Yes, but what about only appointing Bishops that have offered Latin Mass in person? What about having every single Diocesan bishop being instructed to offer at least a few every-Sunday Forma extraordinary masses, according to their numbers of Babtized Catholics in their care?

    It is very true that our Benedict XVI ISA very Holy long-range chess player. I hope lives 100 years. But we are wasting generations of souls to a misguided Humanism seeking heaven on Earth. Time is both with us and against us. By us I mean Catholic faithful.

    Our duty at places like this, and by attending as many Latin masses as as we possibly can, is to change Catholic opinion, demonstrating that this progressivism brought to us by Vatican Council II is just plain wrong, not a matter of Hermeneutics or Interpretation.

    The church fathers, John XXIII, and Paul VI must have been perfectly aware of what their Modernism/Socialism
    would bring. Today, even the Dalai Lama is a Marxist.


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