Rorate Caeli

Was there a new Pentecost after the Council?
"-Yes, unreservedly yes! Just look at the Charismatics!"

In the above graph, the yearly ordination of priests in the Netherlands in the conciliar and post-conciliar period (mirrored in many other nations). Could this have been a 'charismatic' action of the Holy Ghost? [Graph source]

[Zenit] Here is a translation of the Advent sermon given today in the presence of Benedict XVI and members of the curia by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the pontifical household. This is the second of Fr. Cantalamessa's sermons for Advent. [Rorate: the sermon was delivered on Dec. 14, 2012.]

* * *

[; tip: reader] 

1. The Council: the hermeneutic of rupture and of continuity

In this meditation I would like to reflect on the second great cause for celebration this year: the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council.

In recent decades, the attempts to assess the results of Vatican II have multiplied[i]. This is not the occasion to pursue this line of thought, nor would time permit it. From the time of the Council, alongside these analytic interpretations there have also been attempts made to provide a synthetic evaluation - a search, in other words, for a key to interpreting the conciliar event. I would like to include myself in this endeavor and try to offer a reading of the various keys to its interpretation.

There were essentially three: aggiornamento, rupture, and renewal in continuity. In announcing the Council to the world, John XXIII repeatedly used the word “aggiornamento,” which to his merit has entered into the universal vocabulary. In the opening address of the Council he offered a first explanation of what he meant by this term:

“The twenty-first Ecumenical Council […] wishes to transmit the Catholic doctrine, pure and integral, without any attenuation or distortion […]. However, our duty is not only to guard this precious treasure, as if we were concerned only with antiquity, but also to dedicate ourselves promptly and without fear to that work which our era demands of us, pursuing the path which the Church has travelled for almost twenty centuries […]. It is necessary that this certain and unchanging doctrine, to which our faithful assent is due, be studied and expounded in the manner required by our times”[ii].

Gradually, however, as the Council’s work and sessions progressed, two opposing fronts formed, depending on whether, of the two purposes mentioned, the first or the second was being emphasized: i.e., continuity with the past or innovation with respect thereto. For the latter front, the word ‘aggiornamento’ came to be replaced by the word ‘rupture’, but it bore within it a very different spirit and very different intentions. For the so-called progressivists, it was an achievement to be greeted with enthusiasm. For the opposing front, it was a tragedy for the entire Church.

Standing between these two fronts – which agreed on the statement of the fact but were opposed in their judgment regarding it – we find the position of the papal Magisterium, which speaks of “renewal in continuity”. In Ecclesiam suam, Paul VI returns to John XXIII’s word “aggiornamento” and states that he wishes it to be regarded as a “guiding principle”[iii]. John Paul II reiterated the judgment of his predecessor at the beginning of his pontificate,[iv] and on several occasions he expressed himself in the same vein. Above all, however, it has been the current Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI who has explained what the Magisterium of the Church means by “renewal in continuity”. He did so a few months after his election, in the address delivered to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2005. Let us listen to several passages:

“The question arises: Why has the implementation of the Council, in large parts of the Church, thus far been so difficult? Well, it all depends on the correct interpretation of the Council or - as we would say today - on its proper hermeneutic, the correct key to its interpretation and application. The problems in its implementation arose from the fact that two contrary hermeneutics came face-to-face and quarreled with each other. One caused confusion, the other, silently but more and more visibly, bore and is bearing fruit. On the one hand, there is an interpretation that I would call 'a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture'; it has frequently availed itself of the sympathies of the mass media, and also one trend of modern theology. On the other, there is the 'hermeneutic of reform'".

The Pope acknowledges that a certain discontinuity and rupture did in fact occur. However, it did not pertain to the basic principles and truths of the Christian faith but rather to several historical decisions. Numbered among them was the conflict that had arisen between the Church and the modern world, culminating in the wholesale condemnation of modernism under Pius IX. However, it also regarded more recent situations, such as that created by developments in science and by the new relationship among religions, with the implications this holds for the problem of freedom of conscience. Not last was the tragedy of the Holocaust, which required a rethinking of attitudes toward the Jewish people. The Pope writes:

“It is clear that in all these sectors, which all together form a single problem, some kind of discontinuity might emerge. Indeed, a discontinuity had been revealed but in which, after the various distinctions between concrete historical situations and their requirements had been made, the continuity of principles proved not to have been abandoned. It is easy to miss this fact at a first glance. It is precisely in this combination of continuity and discontinuity at different levels that the very nature of true reform consists”.

If we move from the axiological level, i.e. of principles and values, to the chronological level, we could say that the Council represents a discontinuity with the Church’s recent past and instead represents a continuity with respect to the remote past. On many points, especially on the central point of the idea of the Church, the Council wanted to bring about a return to her origins, to the biblical and patristic sources of the faith.

The interpretation of the Council offered by the Magisterium; i.e., of renewal in continuity, had a distinguished precursor in Cardinal Newman’s Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. Newman, who has often been called “the absent Father of Vatican II”, demonstrates that when we are dealing with a great philosophical idea or religious belief, such as Christianity:

“Its beginnings are no measure of its capabilities, nor of its scope. […] In time … dangers and hopes appear in new relations; and old principles reappear under new forms. It changes with them in order to remain the same. In a higher world it is otherwise, but here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often”.[v]

St. Gregory the Great anticipated this conviction in some way when he stated that Scripture “cum legentibus crescit”, “grows with those who read it”[vi]; that is, it grows by constantly being read and lived, to the extent that new questions and new challenges in history arise. The doctrine of faith changes, then, but only in order to remain true to itself; it changes as regards historical contingencies, in order to remain the same in substance, as Benedict XVI has said.

A somewhat banal but nonetheless indicative example may be found in language. Jesus spoke the language of his time; not Hebrew, which was the noble language of the Scriptures (the Latin of his day!), but rather the Aramaic spoken by the people. Fidelity to this initial fact could not consist, nor did it consist, in continuing to speak in Aramaic to all the future hearers of the Gospel, but in speaking Greek to the Greeks, Latin to the Latins, Armenian to the Armenians, Coptic to the Coptics, and so forth right up until our own day. As Newman said, it is precisely by changing that it remains true to itself.

2. The letter kills, the Spirit gives life

With all due respect and admiration for Cardinal Newman’s immense and pioneering contribution, now at a century and a half’s distance away from his essay - and with all that Christianity has experienced since then - still we cannot fail to detect a lacuna in the unfolding of his argument: the almost total absence of the Holy Spirit. In the dynamic of the development of Christian doctrine, he does not take sufficient account of the preeminent role which Jesus reserved to the Paraclete in revealing to the disciples those truths which they couldn’t yet “bear”, and in guiding them “into all the truth” (Jn. 16:12-13).

What is it, in fact, that allows us to resolve the paradox and to talk about renewal in continuity, about permanence in change, if not the Holy Spirit’s action in the Church? St. Irenaeus understood it perfectly when he stated that revelation is like a “a precious deposit held in an excellent vessel which always, by the Spirit of God, renewing its youth, causes the vessel itself containing it to renew its youth also”[vii]. The Holy Spirit doesn’t speak new words. He doesn’t create new sacraments and new institutions. Rather, he renews and perennially enlivens the words, the sacraments and the institutions which Jesus created. He doesn’t do new things, but makes all things new!

The insufficient attention paid to the role of the Holy Spirit explains many of the difficulties that arose in the reception of the Second Vatican Council. The Tradition in whose name some have rejected the Council was a Tradition wherein the Holy Spirit played no role at all. It was a collection of beliefs and practices fixed once and for all, not the wave of apostolic preaching, which advances and sweeps through the centuries and, like every wave, cannot be grasped except in movement. To freeze the Tradition by making it begin, or end, at a certain fixed moment means making it a dead tradition, unlike that which St. Irenaeus describes as a “living Tradition”. Charles Péguy explained this great theological truth with a poet’s pen:

“Jesus didn’t give us dead words either
For us to seal up into little boxes
(Or even big ones.)
And for us to preserve in rancid oil …
Like the Egyptian mummies.
Jesus Christ, my child, didn’t give us canned words
To keep;
Rather, he gave us living words
To nourish …
He depends on us, weak and carnal,
To bring to life and to nourish and to keep alive in time
These words pronounced alive in time”[viii].

However, it must immediately be said that, on the opposing front of extremism, things were not going any better. Here there was willing talk of the “spirit of the Council”, but unfortunately it was not the Holy Spirit. “Spirit of the Council” denoted that greater impulse toward the new, that greater innovative courage that wasn’t able to be part of the Council texts due to the resistance of some, and to the compromises it was necessary to make between parties to reach unanimity.

I would now like to attempt to illustrate what seems to me to be the true key to a pneumatic interpretation of the Council; in other words, what the true role of the Holy Spirit is in the implementation of the Council. Drawing upon St. Augustine’s bold and daring thought regarding the Pauline saying on the letter and the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:6), St. Thomas Aquinas writes:

“The letter denotes any writing that is external to man, even that of the moral precepts such as are contained in the Gospel. Wherefore the letter, even of the Gospel, would kill, unless there were the inward presence of the healing grace of faith”[ix].

Within the same context, the holy Doctor states: “The New Law is chiefly the grace itself of the Holy Ghost, which is given to those who believe in Christ”[x]. 

The precepts of the Gospel are also the New Law, but in a material sense, as regards the content; the grace of the Holy Spirit is the New Law in the formal sense, for it gives us the strength to put these same Gospel precepts into practice. It is what Paul calls “the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:2).

This is a universal principle that applies to every law. If even the Gospel precepts, without the grace of the Holy Spirit, would be “a letter that kills”, what shall be said of the precepts of the Church? And what shall we say, in the case before us, about the decrees of Vatican II? The “implementation” or carrying out of the Council is not a simple straightforward matter of applying its decrees in a literal and almost mechanical way. Rather, we must seek to apply them “in the Spirit”, meaning by this the Holy Spirit, and not some vague “spirit of the Council” which is open to every whim. The papal Magisterium was the first to recognize this need. In 1981, John Paul II wrote:

“The whole work of renewal in the Church, so providentially set forth and initiated by the Second Vatican Council - a renewal that must be both an updating and a consolidation of what is eternal and constitutive of the Church's mission - can be carried out only in the Holy Spirit, that is to say, with the aid of His light and His power”[xi].

3. Where to look for the fruits of Vatican II

Did this eagerly awaited “new Pentecost” really occur? One well-known Newman scholar, Ian Ker, highlighted the contribution Newman can offer to our understanding of not only the unfolding of the Council itself, but also of the post-conciliar era[xii]. Following the definition of papal infallibility at Vatican I in 1870, Cardinal Newman was led to make a general reflection on the councils and the meaning of their definitions. His conclusion was that Councils can often have effects which are not intended at the time by those who participated in them. They can see much more, or much less, than what such decisions will produce thereafter.

Thus, Newman was doing nothing more than applying to conciliar definitions the same principle of development, which he had illustrated in regard to Christian doctrine in general. A dogma, like every great idea, cannot duly be understood until its consequences and historical developments have been seen. To use his image, it is only after the stream moves away from the rugged soil whence it arises that its bed at last becomes deep, and broad, and full[xiii]. This is what happened with the definition of papal infallibility, which in the heated climate of the time, seemed to many to contain much more than what the Church and the Pope himself actually drew from it. It did not make further Ecumenical Councils redundant as some at the time had feared, and as others had hoped. Vatican II confirms this[xiv].
This all finds a singular confirmation in Gadamer’s hermeneutic principle of the “history of effects” (Wirkungsgeschichte). According to this principle, in order to understand a text, it is necessary to consider the effects it has produced in history by becoming part of the same history and entering into dialogue with it[xv]. This is what occurs in an exemplary way in the spiritual interpretation of Sacred Scripture. It not only explains the text in light of what has preceded it - as the historical-philological interpretation does through research into sources – but also in light of what has followed thereafter. It explains prophecy in light of its realization in Christ, the Old Testament in light of the New.

All this sheds a unique light on the post-conciliar era. Perhaps here, too, the true realizations of the Council lay in places other than where we were looking. We were looking at changes in structures and institutions, at a different distribution of power, at the language that was to be used in the liturgy, while we failed to realize how small these changes were compared to the work that the Holy Spirit was accomplishing. We imagined we would break the old wineskins with our own hands, while God was offering us his own method of breaking old wineskins - by filling them with new wine.

When asked whether there was a new Pentecost, we should respond without hesitation: Yes! What is the most convincing sign of this? The renewal of the quality of Christian life wherever this Pentecost was received. The key doctrinal event of Vatican II can be found in the first two chapters of Lumen Gentium, in which the Church is defined as a sacrament and as the people of God journeying under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, animated by his charisms, under the guidance of the hierarchy. In short, the Church as mystery and institution; as koinonia before gerarchia [Rorate: hierarchy/hierarchia]. John Paul II reinforced this vision and made its implementation a priority as the Church entered into the new millennium[xvi].

We wonder: where has this image of the Church passed from the documents to life? Where has it assumed “flesh and blood”[xvii]? Where is the Christian life being lived out according to the “law of the Spirit” with joy and conviction, by attraction and not by constraint? Where is God’s Word held in highest honor? Where is it that the charisms are being manifest? Where is the eager concern for a new evangelization and for the unity of Christians being felt?

Since we are dealing with an interior reality that takes place in human hearts, the ultimate answer to these questions is known to God alone. Concerning the new Pentecost, we should repeat what Jesus said about the Kingdom of God: “No one will say: ‘Lo it is here!’ or ‘Lo it is there!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you” (Lk 17:21). And yet, we can perceive some of the signs, also with the help of religious sociology, which deals in these matters. From this point of view, the answer given in many quarters to this question is: in the ecclesial movements!

One thing, however, should immediately be pointed out. Belonging to the ecclesial movements are also those renewed parishes, associations of the faithful and new communities in which the same koinonia and the same quality of Christian life are being lived out. From this perspective, movements and parishes should not be seen in opposition to or in competition with each other, but united in the realization, in different ways, of the same model of Christian life. Some of the so-called "basic communities” are also to be numbered among these realities; those at least, in which the political element has not taken precedence over the religious.

We must insist on the correct name: “ecclesial” movements and not “lay” movements. The majority of these movements are formed not by one, but by all ecclesial components: laity, to be sure, but also bishops, priests, and men and women religious. They represent all charisms, the “people of God” described in Lumen Gentium. It is only for practical reasons (because the Congregations for Clergy and for Religious already exist) that the “Pontifical Council for Laity” oversees these movements.

John Paul II saw in these living movements and parish communities “the signs of a new springtime of the Church”[xviii]. On various occasions Pope Benedict XVI has expressed the same sentiments[xix]. In his homily for the Chrism Mass of Holy Thursday 2012, he stated:

“Anyone who considers the history of the post-conciliar era can recognize the process of true renewal, which often took unexpected forms in living movements and made almost tangible the inexhaustible vitality of holy Church, the presence and effectiveness of the Holy Spirit”.

In speaking of the signs of a new Pentecost, we cannot fail to mention - if for no other reason than the sheer vastness of the phenomenon - the charismatic Renewal, or Renewal in the Spirit. Properly speaking it is not an ecclesial movement in the sociological sense of the word (it has no founder, structure, or spirituality or its own); rather, it is a current of grace destined to disperse itself throughout the Church, like an electrical charge in the mass, and then eventually disappear as a distinct reality.

When, for the first time, in 1973, one of the great architects of Vatican II, Cardinal Suenens, heard talk of the phenomenon, he was writing a book entitled The Holy Spirit – Source of all our Hopes, and here is what he recounts in his memoires:

“I gave up writing the book; I thought it was a matter of the most basic courtesy to pay attention to the possible action of the Holy Spirit, however surprising it might be. I was especially interested in the talk of the awakening of charisms; at the Council, I had pleaded the cause of such an awakening”.

And here is what he wrote after having personally verified and lived from within this experience now shared by tens of millions of Catholics:

“Suddenly, St. Paul and the Acts of the Apostles seemed to come alive and become part of the present; what was authentically true in the past seems to be happening once again before our very eyes. It is a discovery of the true action of the Holy Spirit, who is always at work, as Jesus himself promised. He kept and keeps his “word”. It is once more an explosion of the Spirit of Pentecost, a jubilation that had become foreign to the Church”.[xx]

The ecclesial movements and new communities certainly do not exhaust the full potential and the expected renewal of the Council, but they do respond to the most important of these, at least in the eyes of God. They are not without weaknesses and at times partial drifts. But what other great renewal has appeared in the history of the Church without human flaws? Did not the same thing occur when the mendicant orders appeared at the beginning of the thirteenth century? At that time as well, it was the Roman popes, especially Pope Innocent III, who first recognized and embraced the grace of the moment, and encouraged the rest of the episcopate to do the same.

4. A promise fulfilled

What, then, we wonder, is the meaning of the Council, understood as the collection of the documents it produced: Dei Verbum, Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et spes, Nostra aetate, etc.? Are we to leave them aside and expect everything from the Spirit? The answer is contained in the phrase with which Augustine sums up the relationship between the law and grace: “The law was given that grace might be sought, and grace was given that the law might be kept”[xxi]. The Spirit does not dispense us, then, from making use of the letter; i.e. the decrees of Vatican II. On the contrary, it is he who urges us on to study them and to put them into practice. And actually, outside of scholastic and academic spheres where these decrees serve as material for discussion and study, it is precisely within the ecclesial movements mentioned above that they are held in high regard.

I have experienced this in my own life. I got rid of the prejudices against the Jews and against the Protestants, which I had taken in during my years of formation, not by reading Nostra aetate, but by having experienced the new Pentecost in my own small way, thanks to the encouragement of some brothers. Afterward I felt the need to reread Nostra aetate, as I had likewise reread Dei Verbum after the Spirit aroused in me a new love for the word of God and for evangelization. However, this movement may occur in two alternate directions. Some - to borrow the language of Augustine – are led from the letter to seek the Spirit, while others are moved by the Spirit to observe the letter.

The poet T.S. Eliot penned several verses, which may enlighten us regarding the meaning of the celebrations currently underway for the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II:

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time”[xxii]

After so many explorations and controversies, we have arrived where we started; that is, at the event of the Council itself. All of the intrigue, however, has not been in vain for, in the deepest sense, only now are we able to “know the place for the first time”, that is, to evaluate its true significance, which was unknown even to the Council Fathers themselves.

This allows us to say that the tree that has grown since the Council is consistent with the seed from which it came. What, in fact, gave rise to the event of Vatican II? The words with which John XXIII describes the emotion that accompanied “the sudden flowering in his heart and on his lips at the simple word Council”[xxiii] bear all the signs of a prophetic inspiration. In the closing address of the first session, he spoke about the Council as a “new and dearly desired Pentecost, which will enrich the Church abundantly with spiritual energies”.[xxiv]

Fifty years later, we cannot but note the fulfillment of the promise made by God to the Church through the mouth of his humble servant, blessed John XXIII. If to talk of a new Pentecost seems an exaggeration, given all the problems and controversies that arose in the Church after and on account of the Council, we need only to reread the Acts of the Apostles and to note that problems and controversies were all but lacking after the first Pentecost. And they were no less heated than today’s!

[Translation by Diane Montagna]

[i] Cf. Il Concilio Vaticano II. Recezione e attualità alla luce del Giubileo, edited by R. Fisichella, Ed. San Paolo 2000.
[ii] John XXIII, Opening Address of the Council, 11 October 1962, n.6,5.
[iii] Paul VI, Encyclical Ecclesiam suam, n. 50.
[iv] John Paul II, General Audience of August 1, 1979.
[v] J.H. Newman, The Development of Christian Doctrine, London, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1909, sec.17.
[vi] St. Gregory the Great, Commentary on Job XX, 1 (CC 143 A, p.1003)
[vii] St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III, 24, 1.
[viii] Ch. Péguy, Le Porche du mystère de la deuxième vertu, La Pléiade, Paris 1975, pp. 588 s. (English title: Portal of the Mystery of Hope, London, Wm. B. Eerdman’s Publishing Co., pp.54-55).
[ix] Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, I-IIae, q. 106, a.2
[x] Ibid. q. 106, a.1; cf. Augustine, De Spiritu et littera, 21,36.
[xi] John Paul II, Apostolic Letter A Concilio Constantinopolitano I, 25 marzo 1981, in AAS 73 (1981) 515-527.
[xii] I. Ker, Newman, the Councils, and Vatican II, in “Communio”. International Catholic Review, 2001, pp. 708-728.
[xiii] Newman, op. cit. p. 46
[xiv] An even clearer example can be seen in what occurred at the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431. The definition of Mary as the Theotokos, Mother of God, according to the intentions of the Council and, above all, in those of its great promoter Cyril of Alexandria, had solely to affirm the unity of Christ’s person. In fact, it paved the way for an immense flowering of devotion to the Virgin, and to the building of the first basilicas in her honor, including the basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. The unity of Christ’s person was later defined in another context and in a more balanced way by the Council of Chalcedon in 451.
[xv] Cf H.G. Gadamer, Wahrheit und Methode, Tübingen 1960
[xvi] Novo millennio ineunte, 42.
[xvii] I. Ker, art. cit. p.727.
[xviii] John Paul II, Novo millennio ineunte, 46.
[xix] Cf. his address to ecclesial movements on the vigil of Pentecost 2006 in: The Beauty of Being a Christian. Movements in the Church. Proceedings of the Second World Congress on the Ecclesial Movements and New Communities (Frascati 31 May – 1 June 2006), Rome, Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2007.
[xx] Card. L.-J. Suenens, Memories and Hopes, Dublin, Veritas 1992, p. 267.
[xxi] Augustine, De Spiritu et littera ,19,34.
[xxii] T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets V, The Complete Poems and Plays, Faber & Faber, London 1969, p.197:
[xxiii] John XXIII, Opening address of the Second Vatican Council, 11 October 1962, n. 3,1.
[xxiv] John XXIII, Closing address of the first period of the Council, 8 December 1962, nr. 3,6.


  1. Nauseo1:42 AM

    "'aggiornamento,' which to his merit has entered into the universal vocabulary."

    To his merit? Is this some kind of sick joke?

  2. "The Tradition in whose name some have rejected the Council was a Tradition wherein the Holy Spirit played no role at all."

    My jaw dropped at that line. Even on the most charitable reading possible, this is an unbelievable assertion.

  3. So, if there were a huge increase in the practice of Satanism, its "sheer vastness" would make it a sign of a new Pentecost?

  4. Hm. Fr. Cantalamessa does have a few good points - namely that the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and it is He Who ought to have been allowed to guide the council and its reforms, but He was prevented from doing so because the approach was severely misguided. And that the so-called 'Spirit of the Council' had nothing to do with the Holy Spirit.

    Seeing a 'new Pentecost' in the small pockets of various ecclesial movements and the charismatic phenomenon while the Church at large is dying out is of course - well, rather optimistic. Why doesn't he at least include all those thriving traditional parishes with lots of Masses, Confessions, solid catechism etc.? Are they also not communities where the Faith is lived out in an exceptional way? Rather he accuses us of wanting to live a 'dead' Tradition, one unconnected to the Holy Spirit. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Traditionalists believe that the disciplinary and devotional life of the Church has developed precisely under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and that is why we value it so much. Where this Tradition is lived to the full, it generates lots of new life, as it did before the council and as it always has.

    However, against what many here are thinking I would caution that people involved in the movements and charismaticism - at least in my experience - do tend to be quite orthodox. They may have a nonsensical approach to liturgy, and they may have slightly bizarre ideas about spirituality, but generally one senses in them a great love of God, a joy and a fire that is commendable. In my opinion they must be approached as people with good will, even when they talk a lot of nonsense like the good Capuchin. They must be shown that the intimacy with God and the development of charisms that they seek can be found just as well and better in traditional spirituality.

  5. Tinker, Tailor3:06 AM

    "Let me first say a few words about the origin of the problem. In the 1960s, when the Roman Missal was translated into German under the responsibility of the bishops, there was an exegetical consensus that the words “the many” and “many” in Is. 53, 11 and further was a Hebrew expression to indicate the community, the “all”. The word “many” in the accounts of Matthew and Mark was accordingly considered a Semitism to be translated as “all”. This is also related directly to the Latin text that was to be translated, that the “pro multis” in the Gospel accounts refer back to Is. 53, and must therefore by translated as “for all”. This exegetical consensus has know shattered; it no longer exists. In the German translation of Sacred Scripture the account of the Last Supper states: “This is my Blood, the Blood of the Covenant, which is shed for many” (Mark 14:24, cf. Matt. 26:28). This indicates something very important: The rendering of “pro multis” with “for all” was not a pure translation, but an interpretation, which was and remains very reasonable, but is already more than translation and interpretation.

    "This mingling of translation and interpretation belongs in hindsight to the principles which, immediately after the Council, directed the translation of the liturgical books into the vernacular. It was understood how far the Bible and the liturgical texts were removed from the language and thought of modern man, that even when translated they would remain largely incomprehensible to the participants of the divine service. It was a new endeavour that the sacred texts were, in translation, disclosed to the participants of the service, yet still remained removed from their world, yes, would now even be more visible in their removal. One not only felt justified but even required to mix interpretation into the translation and so shorten the way to the people, whose hearts and minds would be reached through these words."

    "The Word must exist as itself, in its own shape which is perhaps strange to i[u]s; the interpretation must be measured to the faithfulness to the Word itself, but at the same time be made accessible to the modern ear."

    Why don't they pray to the Holy Spirit if they want to know how to reach people? Imagine thinking they have to modify Jesus' words for MODERN man - after 2000 years. The old Testament is what 7000 years old?

  6. Fidus et Audax3:28 AM

    My goodness, it takes a whole lot of scrolling with my mouse just to get to the bottom of this steaming heap of bull dung. I can just imagine having to sit through this sermon, our poor Holy Father, pray for him.

  7. Blah blah blah, but with the quotes from the right people: Sts. Gregory the Great and Thomas Aquinas, John XXIII and Gadamer - Fr. Cantalamessa knows his audience and knows how to get an A from his Professor. All these men will keep repeating the delightfully delusional mantra: "No rapture happened" while presiding over the community-organizing weekend events designed by the committee rather than celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that nurtured Gregory and Aquinas they just quoted. It reminds me of the delusionally dignified gatherings of Politburo of the Brezhnev time. None of them believed a word spoken but they had to keep appearances... You understand ...

  8. Gratias4:08 AM

    Fr. Cantalamessa, "sings the Mass", has such a nice ring to it. Yet his preaching is dangerous because he starts from the premise that V2 was a good thing.

    It was terrible: John XXIII called this Council at the worst possible time, the Sixties; Paul VI placed the implementation of the aggiornamento in the hands of a likely Freemason, Bugnini; John Paul II let it all solidify during his long pontificate. Pope Benedict XVI talks about an interpretation in continuity but his bishops do not listen, doubling down in the rupture of the liturgy.

    At this moment in history the Catholic Church has an indispensable role linking the past and the future. The past in being erased. The zeitgeist is to ignore the past. The only worse timing than that of John XXIII would be to convoke a Council in the Age of Obama and current Socialist triumph.

  9. Anonymous4:15 AM

    Poor, Poor Holy Father, poor sweet, deluded man. It's quite touching, really.


  10. Spero4:41 AM

    All the same old strawmen...all the same old cliches! If we remove the caricatures, and replace them with the real positions, this sermon would seem to number a lot more than the SSPX in the category of those with bad hermenutics or who are quenching the Spirit.

    It has all the classic arguments:

    Archeologism: "discontinuity with the Church’s recent past and instead represents a continuity with respect to the remote past..."

    Cloaked ridicule of liturgical Latin: "Jesus spoke the language of his time; not Hebrew, which was the noble language of the Scriptures (the Latin of his day!), but rather the Aramaic spoken by the people."

    If you had love in your heart and would stop resisting the Holy Spirit, then you would agree with me: "The insufficient attention paid to the role of the Holy Spirit explains many of the difficulties..." " ...a Tradition wherein the Holy Spirit played no role at all. It was a collection of beliefs and practices fixed once and for all, not the wave of apostolic preaching..." "Yes! What is the most convincing sign of this? The renewal of the quality of Christian life wherever this Pentecost was received..."

    Red Flag: "According to this principle, in order to understand a text, it is necessary to consider the effects it has produced in history by becoming part of the same history and entering into dialogue with it[xv]."

    Classic neo-conservatism?...Vatican II as super-dogma...(maybe I am reading too much into this...but what about Trent etc.?): "he Spirit does not dispense us, then, from making use of the letter; i.e. the decrees of Vatican II."

  11. Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM, CAP. Preacher to the Papal Household.

    I was looking at all this as an outsider but I couldn't help being moved. I said to myself: "This is a prophecy for the future of the church. One day the church shall be reunited in one single visible body. This is how it will happen; through all of us repenting, praying and weeping together, under the Lordship of Christ." But can you imagine, I was still very critical and said to myself: "This is very beautiful. No doubt this comes from the Lord, but I cannot accept it." I was unprepared to understand the expressions of other Christian denominations, especially Pentecostals.

    Today we tend, and rightly, to recognise in other religions their own dignity and their own role in the divine plan of salvation. The Council (in the decree Nostra Aetate) acknowledged the elements of good and truth present in other religions and makes it clear that God doesn't merely 'tolerate' what is good; rather, he 'wants'� it and makes the most of it, even if it is accompanied by elements that are not good. The Old Testament too contains elements which are passing and morally unacceptable, but this doesn't prevent us from recognising its immense religious value... I am a Catholic (and an Italian at that!), but I have to say that there are times when I wish that Germany would give another Luther to the world of today because, certain particular doctrines and controversial points aside, Luther for me is the man whose faith in Jesus Christ was more rock-solid than granite. It was he who said, 'To lose Christ is to lose all. To possess Christ is to possess all: if Christ is mine, I possess all and can find all.'"

  12. Clinton R.7:52 AM

    Sad to say this sounds like more modernist jibber jabber. A 'new' Pentecost? Did the old one run out of juice? Prejudice against the Jews and Protestants? Does that explain why the Church no longer believes that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church? The modernists still are trying to convince us of the greatness of Vatican II. Sorry, we have eyes and ears and have seen the destruction of the Faith thanks to the heterodoxy that Vatican II opened the doors to.

  13. Benedict Carter11:02 AM

    The ability to willingly blind oneself and choose delusion over reality surely has a psychologocal explanation? Are these prelates playing too many computer games?

  14. ditto the above: 'lot of scrolling', 'blah blah', yeeesh! words of wisdom a rarely long-winded - it's seems every trumpet blast to celebrate VII proceeds to explain the inestimable worth of some old dissafected cleric's rusty needle in a protestant haystack.

    I should know, though my mother was catholic - the 'new spirit' freed her from from pesky things like baptising and raising her kids in the faith - i was subjected to a childhood of soul calcifiying protestant lectures and worldy legalisations of things spiritual so that I grew to detest the creator/beauracrat I encountered there for a long time.

    Lord save us from fast food communions and restore throughout the Church the soul
    preserving and soul vivifying Sacrifice of the Mass.

  15. Cardinal Newman’s Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. Newman, who has often been called “the absent Father of Vatican II”, demonstrates that when we are dealing with a great philosophical idea .....The doctrine of faith changes... ...A dogma, like every great idea....

    What on earth is this all about? Father seems to have recast Revelation and The Original Deposit of Faith and changed it into an "idea."

    Is this the Catholic Faith? Is it just an idea that we Catholics have?

    Orestes Brownson laid his intellectual scythe to the ideas of Cardinal Newman and laid waste to his radical ideology; those who read Brownson will harvest a solid Faith - not an idea to which men can apply their intellects to reform and reshape for each epoch.

    I find this entire presentation worrisome and weird.

  16. The Holy Father must have been squirming in his seat having to listen to that.

    As has been said elsewhere, Neo-Moderism, in its various forms, is still alive and well in the Church.

  17. Manfred1:34 PM

    Let me focus on the reference to the Holocaust in the sermon. I have many Jewish friends who shared with me their joy at Vat. II as it finally clarified that Jews did NOT have to convert in order to be saved, but that their own covenant was yet valid. They had been supported in that belief by remarks they had received from "Catholic" writings and speakers. Vat.II sowed nothing but confusion. The writers of the documents themselves admitted to deliberate ambiguity.

  18. Brian2:21 PM

    I can just imagine having to sit through this sermon, our poor Holy Father, pray for him.

    The Holy Father must have been squirming in his seat having to listen to that.

    Were a rational, spiritually-minded person to specifically select a priest to preach and provide meditations for his household, he would naturally select a preacher whose ideas and spirituality are consistent with his own beliefs and aspirations in order to serve as inspiration to guide his own life, thinking, and actions, as well as those of his entire household.

    According to Wikipedia:

    In 1980, Cantalamessa was appointed the Preacher to the Papal Household by Pope John Paul II. He has remained in this position under the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. In this capacity, he provides meditations to the Pope and other high-ranking officials each Friday during Lent and Advent, and is "the only person allowed to preach to the Pope."

    Having been selected by our Holy Father, Fr. Cantalamessa is "the only person allowed to preach to the Pope."

    The pope is not squirming through this, he selected this priest to be his personal preacher.

  19. NIANTIC3:12 PM

    This is how they think and talk in the NewChurch. They even invoke the Holy Ghost to try and explain away their delusion. I always thought the Holy Ghost could not ever, and would not ever, contradict Himself......

    And so the leadership of the Church sits there nice and comfortable and congratulate themselves on how clever they are and how wise, and how wonderful things really are.
    Please Rome, stop trying and make fools of us. We see, we hear and we know!

    How very sad, and I say how very evil. We would do well and ignore them. Lord have mercy!

  20. A Mom3:58 PM

    If the Holy Spirit played no role in the Tradition of the past, then why are current churchmen seemingly so afraid of it? If it is not of God, it will die out on its own, right? Why fight so hard against it then? Why work so hard to keep it away from the people?

    This is the second time in a week that I have read that the new springtime exists in the new ecclesial movements (without referencing any in particular, of course). May God have mercy on me then, because I just don't see it. I'm not talking about numbers, I'm talking about fruits.

  21. .I have many Jewish friends who shared with me their joy at Vat. II as it finally clarified that Jews did NOT have to convert in order to be saved, but that their own covenant was yet valid

    Dear Manfred. That is a heresy and that is not what V2 taught. The New Covenant supplanted/cancelled/superseded - pick any word you want - the Old Covenant.

    The Old Covenant is Kaput; it ain't Kosher. The Dual Covenant Theory is a delusion held by the likes of Mark Shea but it ain't Catholic Theology.

  22. "I am a Catholic (and an Italian at that!), but I have to say that there are times when I wish that Germany would give another Luther to the world"-- Fr. Cantalamessa

    "Having been selected by our Holy Father, Fr. Cantalamessa is "the only person allowed to preach to the Pope."

    The pope is not squirming through this, he selected this priest to be his personal preacher."--Brian

    Brian, the truth hurts, very much.

  23. Barbara5:26 PM

    “This allows us to say that the tree that has grown since the Council is consistent with the seed from which it came."

    Well, this is true. "The seeds of confusion" in the Church were planted at the Second Vatican Council and the "fruits of confusion" in the Church are visible for all to see.

    Goodness, gracious me- unbelievable that these learned men are still under the spell. I don't understand it.

    As for the Charismatics,they may be well-intentioned many of them - but their hootenanny prayer meetings are crazy with emotion. During my searching days, I actually went twice to their prayer gatherings.

    Someone here the other day said that the people who comment on this blog are obsessed by the Second Vatican Council. Well, with this type of preaching being promoted in defence of that disastrous event, I can only say who can blame them?

    Besides, the real obsession about the Council "that heralded the New Springtime" is coming from most of the hierarchy...

  24. I am always baffled when I read or hear about a new Pentecost following Vatican II:

    Is this just a way of living the virtues of charity and hope by not becoming depressed with the many negative things in the Church of today and by stressing some positive (albeit small) aspects, instead of lamenting and criticizing? Or is it delusion, whereby good people don't fully grasp reality and think that the Church is better off today than 50 years ago?

    If you think about statements from the recent synod of bishops, it seems that quite a bleak picture was painted, so the hierarchy must be aware of the present situation. Maybe they don't know or remember the situation before Vatican II and thus sincerely believe in the new Pentecost.

    Or could it be that I myself am deluded? Who am I to know better than the Pope and nearly all bishops. This is such a difficult time. Where are the saints that God sends to give us guidance? Let us all increase our prayers and mortifications in these days of Advent.

  25. Picard6:04 PM


    You are right, Vat. II does not (explicitly and directly) say any such thing as the old covenant were still in force etc. ["...not by reading Nostra aetate", as Cantalamess admits.]-

    but it says many things that lead to such conclusions, as also Cantalamessa drwas them in saying:
    " I got rid of the prejudices against the Jews and against the Protestants, which I had taken in during my years of formation,..."

    Besides the Gadamer-reference this is one of the worst parts in Cantalamessas modernistical speach, showing the whole destruction of any sound Catholic thinking.

    Kyrie eleison!

    P.S. Ceterum censeo Vaticanum secundum esse delendam...

  26. Manuel6:10 PM

    Usquequo, domine, oblivisceris nos in finem ?
    Usquequo avertis faciem tua ad nos ?

    I think this is pure denialism.

    Oculos habent et non videbunt, os habent et non loquentur

  27. What a miserable shame most people now do not comprehend what is taking place in the modernist church. Do you not follow what Pope St Pius X was telling us about the enemies of The Church? Do you not understand the great work of Padre Luigi Villa in exposing ecclesiastical freemasonry? Is it not clear enough that the NO is the perverse liturgical instrument by which The Faith and the priesthood has been poisoned by protestantism and liberal modernism? Do the chief indicators not admonish what is still to befall the church which is slowly but inexorably succumbing to the masonic ecumenical and interreligious agenda Teilhardian pantheism?

    The church about which we write is a new vehicle for a new conciliar paradigm now well into its second generation approaching a third. The "razing of bastions" was all about the eventual supplanting of tradition for something entirely new, as far as Catholicism is concerned.

    Not one pope since 1965 has supported Sacred Tradition liturgically other than a few carefully crafted minor concessions. These are more apparent than real. Pastoral processes are no longer Catholic essentially. No one is going to Hell and The Jews are saved by their old covenant with God.

    Meanwhile, the church resembles a patchwork quilt of sects and lay communities while the modern presbyterate fades away into extinction. At the same time any return to tradition is skillfully manipulated and assiduously controlled to prevent its total restoration. This will be achieved by finally abrogating The Latin Mass with a hybridised LTM/NO which process began in 1962 and according to public statements and knowledge will be achieved in gradual steps, one of which significantly makes itself known next year. Furthermore, it will not be the last until the liberals have at last laid all Sacred Liturgical Tradition to rest.

    The origins of the problem we know already; the betrayal we can see today very clearly. What more evidence do we require? Prophet Daniel and The Book of The Apocalypse admonish us - abomination of desolation - cardinal Pacelli has forewarned us of the empty sanctuary with no red lamp while the author of all this who approved it admitted to the smoke of Satan in the sanctuary and the self-destruction of the church. Undeniable. We can see it ourselves if we have the eyes to see. Compromise, division and ecumenism are the enemies of Our Blessed Lady. The Councils did all they could to thwart Her as Mediatrix and a certain John XXIII discounted Her admonitions from Fatima.

    How much more evidence do we need of a church in apostasy?

  28. Picard7:33 PM

    This allows us to say that the tree that has grown since the Council is consistent with the seed from which it came. [Cantalamessa]

    In fact!
    (ideo ceterum censeo...!)

  29. The Rev. M. Forbes8:00 PM

    Just lovely! Nothing like the sound of seminarians singing praises

    The one thing that troubles me slightly is that the musical and verbal logic do not always match. Grouping these petitions in threes means that the third petition is more related to the following ptitions than to the other two in the group. Small stuff!


  30. Pulex9:27 PM

    Very nice! Fr. Cantalamessa wants the 'New Pentecost' to be identified by its fruits. Fine. The traditional communities have fruits - priestly and religious vocations, really Catholic schools, openness to life, missionary zeal, etc. Therefore, they are the work of the Holy Spirit. It follows from papal preacher's own words.

    As regards the 2nd Vatican council, all the council fathers have taken the antimodernist oath, the both popes have sworn also the coronation oath. Therefore, whatever in the council documents contradicts these oaths is obviously not inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of truth cannot be a spirit of perjury.

    A to the 'movements', they are different from the hippie generation. Most of the sincerely try to practice the faith as the Church teaches, to observe the Commandments, etc. They only have not received the necessary guidance from their pastors, especially, concerning liturgy. Some have become traditionalists, others, although they find the novus ordo to be OK, are quite open to the traditional liturgy, too.

  31. Fr. C begins by saying that Pope Blessed John XIII opened the Council be saying ...It is necessary that this certain and unchanging doctrine... but then he goes on to anoint Blessed J.H. Newman as ...The absent Father of Vatican II and credits him, as he should, with speaking about Christianity as, "...a great philosophical idea.." which white hot intellect focuses on that which has existed and so ignites it such that the solidity of doctrine and dogma is evaporated to become some ethereal emotion.

    Blessed Newman treats the Church as though the Catholic Church (as the institution of Christianity; not an idea) went out into the world as a half-baked idea whose doctrines developed over time as great minds went to work on its incomplete and/or confusing Divine Revelation.

    Look, I have always aspired to be a low-brow but even I can smell how fetid such a claims is - it is sulphurous and malign and a deadly idea that seems to have infected the intellects of too many Catholic Theologians.

    Everybody should read Orestes Brownson's review of Blessed Newman's, Development of Doctrine for it seems to me that the ideas in it have become the fulcrum with which the Catholic Church has been dislodged to such a point that everything seems to be up in the air or out the door; From Limbo jettisoned to Heaven and Hell as not places etc etc etc

    Here is a copy and paste from Brownson's devastating critique of Newman's idea of doctrine developing:

    In plain words, was the Church able to teach truly and infallibly in the age of Saints Clement and Polycarp, or of Saints Justin and Irenaeus, the whole Catholic faith, and the precise Catholic faith, on any and every point which could be made, -- or was she not? If she was, there can have been no development of doctrine; if she was not, she was not then competent to discharge the commission she received? Was what she then taught the faithful sufficient for salvation? Is not what was then sufficient all that is really necessary now? If so, and if she teaches doctrines now which she did not then or insists on our believing now what she did not then, how will you exonerate her from the charge brought by Protestants, that she has added to the primitive faith, and teaches as of necessity to salvation what is not necessary, and therefore imposes a burden on men's shoulders they ought not to be required to bear? Moreover, where are these developments to stop? Have we reached the end? Has the Church finally brought out the whole body of dogmatic truth, or are we, like the Puritan Robinson, “to look for new light” to break in upon her vision? Mr. Newman seems to think new developments are needed; for he mentions several fundamental matters, which he says he supposes “remain more or less undeveloped, or at least undefined, by the Church.”

    In embracing the ideas of Blessed Newman, the Catholic Church has served as its on sapper and undermined itself as an Infallible Institution for by what right can it insist that others must believe the most recent Doctrinal changes for, by its own internal logic, development of Doctrine always bears with it the moral certainty that Doctrine will change again.

    This is madness...

    I find this idea of Christianity as an idea to be profoundly unsettling and the LAST thing Holy Mother Church ought be doing is leading into temptation and despair those of us who are weak and troubled.

  32. Thanks to 'LeonG'

    never heard of Padre Luigi Villa before:

    Almost sixty years ago, “Padre Pio first met Father Luigi Villa, whom he entreated to devote his entire life to fight Ecclesiastical Freemasonry. Padre Pio told Father Villa that Our Lord had designs upon him and had chosen him to be educated and trained to fight Freemasonry within the Church. The Saint spelled out this task in three meetings with Father Villa, which took place in the last fifteen years of life of Padre Pio. At the close of the second meeting [second half of 1963], Padre Pio embraced Father Villa three times, saying to him: ‘Be brave, now…for the Church has already been invaded by Freemasonry!’ and then stated: ‘Freemasonry has already made it into the loafers (shoes) of the Pope!’ At the time, the reigning Pope was Paul VI.

  33. I understand that by some Roman tradition, the Capuchins supply the papal preacher, so I am not so sure how much direct input Pope Benedict had on that; was not Fr. Cantalamessa also preacher under Bl. John Paul II? Also, it seems that the Pope, as a good German professor, would sit and listen respectfully to some presentation that he did not entirely agree with, so as to hear the other side. Perhaps we should see what he says in the next few weeks that might be an answer.

    Finally, and most important, I have just found that Prof. Roberto de Mattei's book, Vatican Council II:an Untold Story, is available for order at The table of contents is set out in full and is extremely impressive. I have already ordered my copies.

  34. Barbara8:23 AM

    I would tend to agree with all you said LeonG, especially about the widespread apostasy which is most evident where I live and work, but I do not tend to think that the Old Rite will disappear under the the umbrella of a hybrid Mass (Yuck!) because, even if a minority, there are too many Traditional Catholics and priests to let that happen. The priest I know who exclusively offers up the Traditional Latin Mass will NEVER offer a hybrid one. His own words. Tradition will triumph. His own words too. Because it is True. His own words. There are many priests and Catholic people getting it now. The Catholic Blogsphere has helped this along a lot. For example I know of at least two young men who found their priestly vocation through reading "Catholic" on the Internet. Both are traditional. I found out that the Old Rite had never been abrogated through the internet. And bit by bit the scales fell from my eyes - I am also convinced of Fr. Z's slogan Save the Liturgy, Save the World. We'll be all right. Something will happen to get us back on track completely -it is inevitable.


  35. Fr. C has been known to make controversial statement when preaching on important occasions. For example:

  36. wretchedwithhope

    Only blind people can fail to see that we have a new church with a new paradigm that is guided by the very philosophies condemned by Pope St Pius X incidentally praised by Padre Pio as the pope who was most Christ-like among all the popes. I have followed him for many years - he had a very definite dislike for freemasonry becaiuse he knew it excommunicated Catholics from their Faith and is a road leading to Hell. He rescued many Catholics from its abominable slavery and ensured ecclesiastical freemasonry would be exposed by Padre Luigi Villa. He has gone to his rest but this does not mean the enemy sleeps too. It means the job of defending The Truth is left for those of us who know it. Eccelsiastical freemasonry and liberal modernism are the enemies of Christ.

    I have studied both the Neo-Cats and Charismatics from within since to do so has a professional affiliation. Neither are Catholic - the Neo-cats are anti-NO and anti-Tradition while the charismatics are protestant pentecostalism in modernist catholic vestment. They are accepted within the church structure because they are both ecumenical and interconfessional - the jews are acceptable and embraced on the one side, while protestants are made worthy on the other. They are part of the novel sectarian and perennialist trend in the liberal modernist church. No one in their right Roman Catholic mind can deny this.

    In many parts of the world charismatic prayer groups disobey their bishops and develop their own sprituality. I have known many who have some quite unusual ideas about The Holy Ghost and prophecy. I have heard, also, with my own ears, Neo-Cat catechists tell their young charges in the movement that the NO and the pre-conciliar church have got it all wrong: the church was never intended by God to be like it is. Once I brought up the question of Our Blessed Lady and her concern for the priests and was told not to talk about that load of old _____________ . [expletive deleted]

  37. The Emporer has no clothes. He is nude. Naked. We can all see it. The rosiest coloured glasses cannot conceal his most private parts. There is no credibility in Vatican II. It was a manufactured lie from start to finish. It was an evil subversion, influenced by Socialism, Protestantism, and Freemasonry, which has in every way exceeded its pastoral authority, and as such it commands no obedience to any of the faithful. Vatican II is the devil at work in the church.

    "Is that clear?" ~ Ned Beatty addressing Peter Finch in Paddy Chayefsky's screenplay, "Network"

  38. Mad. Stark, raving, metaphysically mad.

  39. John L11:40 PM

    This tedious modernist Franciscan commits the common crime of citing Newman in support of his heresy. In fact what Newman said about doctrine was this:

    "…the Apostles had the fullness of revealed knowledge, a fullness which they could as little realize to themselves, as the human mind as such, can have all its thoughts present before it at once… the Creed (i.e. the Deposit, I say the Creed as more intelligible since it consists of Articles) was delivered to the Church with the gift of knowing its true and full meaning…there is nothing which the Church has defined or shall define but what an Apostle, if asked, would have been fully able to answer and would have answered, as the Church has answered, the one answering by inspiration, the other by its gift of infallibility…the differences between them being that an Apostle could answer questions at once, but the Church answers them intermittently…and secondly and on the other hand, that the Church does in fact make answers which the Apostle did not make, and in one sense did not know, though they would have known them, i.e. made present to their consciousness, and made those answers, had the question been asked." [see Journal of Theological Studies, 1958].

    His simple point is that the Apostles in the course of their lifetimes would not have been able to explicitly address every question that the Church would face in subsequent millennia - there would not have been enough time in their lives to do so. His theory of development is an account of how the Church comes to express in explicit terms the implicit knowledge of the Apostles, something Orestes Brownson did not understand.

  40. Picard12:04 AM

    Not-Spartacus et all:

    Well, it is not only that word "idea" that shows us the totally relativistic and uncatholic concept of Cantalamessa, but esp. his reference to Gadamer and Cantalamessas sentence:

    "This all finds a singular confirmation in Gadamer’s hermeneutic principle of the “history of effects” (Wirkungsgeschichte). According to this principle, in order to understand a text, it is necessary to consider the effects it has produced in history by becoming part of the same history and entering into dialogue with it[xv]"

    Do you understand what he is telling us - yes, that we can not grasp the understanding of a text from the text selfe but only after reading his "Wirkungsgeschichte".

    So truth is changing through time - or exactly: there is no fix truth at all! Panta rei!!

    Btw., exactly the thinking and philosophy of Müller!!

  41. Dogma does not develop.

    Dogma is irreformable, by its very nature, and is to be *believed*, not interpreted.

    Dogma requires the assent of divine and Catholic Faith it is to be believed in exactly the sense in which it was expressed by the Church in Her solemn definition.

    Because the strongest currents of modernist theology are explicitly aimed at changing the meanings of the words by which the Church has solemnly defined her dogmas (chief among these being "no salvation outside the Church"), Blessed Newman's concept of development of doctrine (not dogma) is useful in the attempt.

    It ought not be controversial that the Church's doctrine develops, in exactly the sense that Blessed Newman suggests in John L's citation above.

    But once the Holy Catholic Church exercises Her divine charism in defining a dogma, then its expression is indeed fixed for all time, and can never be reversed, corrected, set aside, or equivocated by any subsequent teaching whatsoever.

    This fact is deadly poison to the wishes of all those Catholics (there are, alas, a great many) who effectively agree with the arch-heresiarch Karl Rahner that the Church has erred in Her definitions concerning, especially, "nulla salus extra ecclesiam".

    The attempt to deny the dogma, whilst at the same time denying that one denies it, has led to the "stark, raving metaphysical madness" of Father Cantalamessa's incredible sermon.

    Tip of the hat to Rad Trad, who sums it up succinctly.

  42. Judith3:02 AM

    But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?

    Luke 18:8

  43. After my conversion to the Faith some years back, I encountered Fr. Cantalamessa's homilies through ZENIT. As he was preacher for the papal household, I thought it would be edifying to read his homilies. Sadly, the more of his homilies I read the more disappointed and even (at times) alarmed I got, since it seemed that he had at least a tinge of modernistical thinking. Having no desire to read any more of such homilies, I stopped reading Fr. Cantalamessa. I've since not seen any reason to change my mind.

  44. Dear John L. Mr Brownson, a fellow Vermonter, had Blessed Newman pegged exactly; for instance, BJHN taught that Purgatory was a doctrine that was a product of the thought of man after many years of strident and laborious intellectual reflection; that is, it was not Divine Revelation.

    What we have in this new dispensation of the cult of man in the new pentecost of the springtime in the civilisation of love is a Lil' Licit Liturgy which is the "Work of Human Hands," and Doctrines that are the Works of Human Minds.

  45. Picard3:09 PM


    If only Pp. Benedikt would think like you ("Having no desire to read any more of such homilies") - but instead of fireing this preacher he appoints an other thinker of the same backround and thinking, (E)B Müller, to the head of the CDF!!

    GOD have mercy on us!

    (And btw ceterum censeo...)

  46. It may be added that, in matter of fact, all the definitions or received judgments of the early and medieval Church rest upon definite, even though sometimes obscure sentences of Scripture. Thus Purgatory may appeal to the "saving by fire," and "entering through much tribulation into the kingdom of God;" the communication of the merits of the Saints to our "receiving a prophet's reward" for "receiving a prophet in the name of a prophet," and "a righteous man's reward" for "receiving a righteous man in the name of a righteous man;" the Real Presence to "This is My Body;" Absolution to {73} "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted;" Extreme Unction to "Anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord;" Voluntary poverty to "Sell all that thou hast;" obedience to "He was in subjection to His parents;" the honour paid to creatures, animate or inanimate, to Laudate Dominum in sanctis Ejus, and Adorate scabellum pedum Ejus; and so of the rest.


    7. Lastly, while Scripture nowhere recognizes itself or asserts the inspiration of those passages which are most essential, it distinctly anticipates the development of Christianity, both as a polity and as a doctrine. In one of our Lord's parables "the Kingdom of Heaven" is even compared to "a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took and hid in his field; which indeed is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree," and, as St. Mark words it, "shooteth out great branches, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof." And again, in the same chapter of St. Mark, "So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground, and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how; for the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself." Here an internal element of life, whether principle or doctrine, is spoken of rather than any mere external manifestation; and it is observable that the spontaneous, as well as the gradual, character of the growth is intimated. This description of the process corresponds to what has been above observed respecting development, viz. that it is not an effect of wishing and resolving, or of forced enthusiasm, or of any mechanism of reasoning, or of any mere subtlety of intellect; but comes of its own innate power of expansion within the mind in its season, though with the use of reflection and {74} argument and original thought, more or less as it may happen, with a dependence on the ethical growth of the mind itself, and with a reflex influence upon it. Again, the Parable of the Leaven describes the development of doctrine in another respect, in its active, engrossing, and interpenetrating power.

    Purgatory as a truth contained in The Original Deposit of Faith or, as BJHN believed, Purgatory as a product of the work of human minds?

    BJHN claim is not Catholic - nor ought we expect it to be - as he wrote this as a protestant.

  47. The fact is, these men are wedded to Vatican II like Catholics in the past were wedded to the doctrine of the Real Presence. They have defined Vatican II in their minds as an unalloyed good, it must be good, they participated in it or were formed by it (and its "spirit"), they have rejoiced in its purported freedoms and they have frequently reaped great rewards in their careers or other venues for their being constant apologists for it. To put it simply, they cannot imagine repudiating or criticizing Vatican II any more than most of us could imagine repudiating Trent, in spite of all the evidence that shows the Church in the final stages of collapse.

    Not only that, but these men have raised up proteges to maintain the illusion long after they are gone.

    Only a persecution can clear away this mess. I really don't want one, for I fear I will fail, but I can't see another way for the Church to be cleansed.

  48. Doctrine too is percolated, as it were, through different minds, beginning with writers of inferior authority in the Church, and issuing at length in the enunciation of her Doctors. Origen, Tertullian, nay Eusebius and the Antiochenes, {366} supply the materials, from which the Fathers have wrought out comments or treatises. St. Gregory Nazianzen and St. Basil digested into form the theological principles of Origen; St. Hilary and St. Ambrose are both indebted to the same great writer in their interpretations of Scripture; St. Ambrose again has taken his comment on St. Luke from Eusebius, and certain of his Tracts from Philo; St. Cyprian called Tertullian his Master; and traces of Tertullian, in his almost heretical treatises, may be detected in the most finished sentences of St. Leo. The school of Antioch, in spite of the heretical taint of various of its Masters, formed the genius of St. Chrysostom. And the Apocryphal gospels have contributed many things for the devotion and edification of Catholic believers [Note 7].

    The deep meditation which seems to have been exercised by the Fathers on points of doctrine, the disputes and turbulence yet lucid determination which characterize the Councils, the indecision of Popes, are all in different ways, at least when viewed together, portions and indications of the same process. The theology of the Church is no random combination of various opinions, but a diligent, patient working out of one doctrine from many materials. The conduct of Popes, Councils, Fathers, betokens the slow, painful, anxious taking up of new truths into an existing body of belief. St. Athanasius, St. Augustine, St. Leo are conspicuous for the repetition in terminis of their own theological statements; on the contrary, it has been observed of the heterodox Tertullian, that his works "indicate no ordinary fertility of mind in that he so little repeats himself or recurs to favourite thoughts, as is frequently the case even with the great St. Augustine.

    Nope. Sorry. I know how beloved BJHN is in the modern Catholic Church but what he says here about the development of doctrine is clearly heretical; Doctrines are not derived via the dutiful and determined work of human minds no matter how intelligent they are.

    Catholic Doctrines are part of the Original Deposit of Faith - not what BJHN said they were, and how they were arrived at - and what he claimed is completely at odds with Traditional Catholicism and those who think they can resolve the galactic distance twixt the two (Catholic truth and Newman ideology) have a better chance of finding a new Mayan Calendar in Donald Trump's hair than they have of convincing me that the two competing views are compatible rather than antagonistic.

    (And I have not even raised the matter of Newman's hatred of the Pope and the Council AFTER the Dogma of Infallibility was promulgated or Newman's hatred of the Syllabus: if he be a Catholic Champion, I am an astronaut)

    I thank the moderators of Rorate Caeli for being so patient with me in this thread; I know I have virtually hijacked it with my rejection of the claims of BJHN in the matter of development of doctrine and I will post no more remarks about the curious ideas of BJHN.

  49. @ I am not Spartacus

    I think in your justifiably nauseous reaction to Fr Cantalamessa' are misconstruing what Newman meant in Development of Doctrine.

    He did not mean that the teachings of the Church are concocted by men, but rather that their written definitions, wording, and practice take shape over time, under the work of men but also under the aegis of the Holy Ghost. An example that comes to mind is the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. The belief that the Blessed Virgin was made perfect in God's eyes is absolutely ancient (1st or 2nd century Ephesus), and you find it in Eastern liturgical texts from the 3rd and 4th centuries. This, that our Lady was made perfect by God, is the fundamental truth, but one which took 18 centuries to word in a way worthy of proclamation, which Pius IX did under the Paraclete's guidance. There was no invention during those 18 centuries, but there was certainly refinement in how we perceived this truth via the great Eastern Doctors, by Don Scotus in the Middle Ages, by the great Marian priests of the Counter-Reformation, all the way until the First Vatican Council. Do not conflate elucidation with invention.

  50. Question to Fr Cantalamessa: If there was no Holy Ghost in the Tradition of the Church before Vatican II, would your ordination be invalid?

  51. Martyjo9:32 PM

    It is really hard to believe that this kind of Modernist heresy (for such is what it is) is being preached to the Pope and his household with impunity. Has this Fr. Cantamalessa never read Pope Pius XII's condemnation of the error of "antiquarianism?" Had he done so he could not so easily have dismissed about 1500 years of Magisterial teaching and Sacred Tradition under the pretext (used also by the Protestant Reformers of the XVI century) that the Council sought to return to the spirit and practices of the early Church. He spoke of Vatican II as "the great tree" which has grown from the seed of the Gospels, but the truth is that the great tree, all those centuries of Catholic teaching and Tradition was hacked down by Vatican II to make way for a return to the seed. This is incredible!

    Our Lord warned us: "By their fruits ye shall know them."

    Vatican II has resulted in universal mass apostasy from the true faith and to the creation of a new religion at parish level which is almost identical to liberal Anglicanism or, in certain cases, Pentecostalism. We are seeing here the punishment of the Third Secret of Fatima, namely apostasy from the top down! The Pope needs more prayers offered up for him.

    As for the Charismatic movement, I've seen this phenomenon at work. It is most certainly NOT a work of the Holy Spirit.

    I recall the typical Charismatic, such as the one that was in my own parish many years ago, until I took myself off to safety with the SSPX. He was a classic hippie complete with multi-coloured tank top, plastic sandals and crum-infested beard. He wore a big wooden cross around his neck, presumably for reasons of humility(!) and was often found stretched out like a flag on the Sanctuary floor mumbling in (forked) tongues. Afterwards he would return to his live-in-lover at their shared flat!!

    How long, O Lord, will these rainbow people have control of thy Holy Church!

    Interesting that Fr. Cantamalessa mentioned Cardinal Suenens in a postive light. This is the Cardinal to whom the illicit introduction of Communion in the hand is attributed. How much longer, O Lord!

  52. Jim Swarthow4:32 PM

    JPII in Crossing the Threshold of Hope said that since VII we've experienced a qualitative renewal instead of a quantitative one. I think this is valid considering that the culture has not received the message of the Council yet. Since 1960 Catholics have been dissenting over contraception, and by extension a whole host of teachings. There has been no renewal or conversion amongst Catholics by and large. Although it is purely academic at this point, it seems possible that the revolution in the Church would have occurred even if we had the traditional Mass and the same manner of expressions in teaching as before. The revolution has not exempted the religions and societies which are outside the Church. It is a world-wide phenomena. We just dn't have a vocations crisis, we have numerous crises which are outside the Church's situation. So so much is laid at the feet of the Council or the Mass, but every societal statistic is in decline in the meaningful categories. Furthermore, this was taking place before the Council. COntraception was a concern of the COuncil Fathers because it was already taking place. Mass attendence numbers are not as rosy as it seems. And the post WWII bump in vocations would not have been sustained, but was a reaction to the displacements in humanity. Correlation does not equal causation. Every post-Council period is difficult. Read the Council documents, and see that they are beautiful texts which call for conversion and a renewed dedication to holiness.

  53. No Jim.

    It is the Councils being hijacked by the liberal modernists who literally threw three years of carefully prepared documents in the trash can and then proceeded to hold sway over the majority until they were managing the councils themselves. This opened the door for them since all the forthcoming documents were ambiguous enough to permit anything. And it is anything the church has given us since. The intention to open the church to the world effectively neutralised it and its role in providing an international benchmark for public behaviour and morality.

    As Padre Pio indicated the earth could survive without the sun less easily than without The Latin Mass he said so beautifully all his priesthood. The Holy Mass almost vanished for many years and is only just beginning to be reestablished in some areas of the Western Latin Rite Church once again. The hierarchy then went on to betray the laity with liberal ideas and with opposition to papal authority on some key issues such as artificial birth control and in disobeying the rubrics for The NO Mass.

    It is thus that the church has responsibility for such a rapid decline socially since it has misrepresented its large membership around the world.

    Ecumenically and interconfessionally it has also propagated religious indifference by horizontalising not only the liturgy but also the papacy collegially. Every novel measure has been implemented facilitating the socio-cultural degeneration we see today. The church has therefore disobeyed its Master Who mandated the spread of The Gospel without compromise and without division, as gatherers not scatterers. The liberal modernists have implemented a coup which they are no longer able to control and which has completely divided them also.

    Thus, the world no longer has a spiritual gold standard to look to since everyone has his own through "primacy of conscience" and his own individual dignity-given rights. These are revolutionary ideologies driven by the modern church today.

  54. ‘Aggiornamento’ came to be replaced by ‘Rupture’, and it was simply the tale of crack down. The whole world society has seen the outcomes but it was not into interest with a different character. Today’s new generation has with a different communication flavor and no gap is maintained for any such old issues…Simply a Holy Spirit is maintained...


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