Archive for November, 2007

Pope signs Spe SalviReuters
Well it’s only 28 pages. Comments down the road.My first comment is I like to research why a given date for the encyclical was chosen. I think this is overlooked many times.

“Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 30 November, the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle,

in the year 2007, the third of my Pontificate”Andrew and Peter called by Jesus

Artwork: Duccio di Buoninsegna, The Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew, 1308-11, Tempera on wood panel, National Gallery of Art, Washington.

On the Catholic calender Nov.30th is the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, so I think there is some underlining overture of hope towards Orhtodox in this date. Ofcourse most of Orthodoxy uses the old calander and Feast of St. Gregory the Wonderworker of Neo-Caesaria (Nov.17th) today. The issue isn’t if Nov. 30th is the feast of St. Andrew, it’s yesterday was Nov.30th or Nov.17th ;>)

But I think the former is what the Pope is appealing to especially when one considers the Papal Message to Bartholomew I on Feast of St. Andrew “Fervent Hope for an Even Deeper Communion” two years ago to the day. Perhaps Pope Benedict has requested St. Andrew to petition our Lord to heal the schism for those who have hope in Christ.

Here’s the topic from Zenit 2 years ago.

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 30, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is the message Benedict XVI sent to Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople on the feast of St. Andrew, patron of that patriarchate.

This year we commemorate the Fortieth Anniversary of 7 December 1965, that day on which Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, dissatisfied with what had occurred in 1054, decided together at Rome and Constantinople “to cancel from the Church’s memory the sentence of ex-communication which had been pronounced.” …I assure Your Holiness and the Holy Synod, and through you all the Orthodox Churches, that the Catholic Church remains irrevocably committed to promoting all suitable and helpful initiatives to strengthen charity, solidarity and theological dialogue between us….In the joy of the Feast of Saint Andrew, Holy Guardian of the Church of Constantinople, I renew to Your Holiness my fraternal love and send you my warm greetings in the embrace of peace.

From the Vatican, 26 November 2005


The Pope the very next year gave a speech in the Patriarchal Cathedral of St George Istanbul, on the feast of St Andrew on naturally
Nov. 30th, 2006

The Patriarch of Constantinople and the Pope celebrated the rite of Saint John Chrysostom who is another Saint that the current Pope draws on for guidance in healing the schism. St Andrew is also the great Saint of Scotland although I haven’t seen a connection with Anglicanism in these communications. Oneof the things that struck me in this encyclical was quotes from Far eastern Catholics Vietnamese martyr Paul Le-Bao-Tinh(para.37) & Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan(para.32), I’ve never hear of a papal document ever cite anyone from that part of the world. It refreashing. It is a letter on the last things, the most important things, yet the ones we would rather avoid or ignore, until we no longer can.

Last Judgement

On to the Encyclical-

7)…To Luther, who was not particularly fond of the Letter to the Hebrews, the concept of “substance”, in the context of his view of faith, meant nothing. For this reason he understood the term hypostasis/substance not in the objective sense (of a reality present within us), but in the subjective sense, as an expression of an interior attitude, and so, naturally, he also had to understand the term argumentum as a disposition of the subject….This in itself is not incorrect, but it is not the meaning of the text, because the Greek term used (elenchos) does not have the subjective sense of “conviction” but the objective sense of “proof”. Rightly, therefore, recent Protestant exegesis has arrived at a different interpretation: “Yet there can be no question but that this classical Protestant understanding is untenable.”5 Faith is not merely a personal reaching out towards things to come that are still totally absent: it gives us something. It gives us even now something of the reality we are waiting for, and this present reality constitutes for us a “proof” of the things that are still unseen. Faith draws the future into the present, so that it is no longer simply a “not yet”. The fact that this future exists changes the present; the present is touched by the future reality, and thus the things of the future spill over into those of the present and those of the present into those of the future.

I wonder if this will have any impact on the JDDJ with Lutherians and the canons on Faith in Trent?

Eternal life – what is it?

10. First of all the priest asked what name the parents had chosen for the child, and then he continued with the question: “What do you ask of the Church?” Answer: “Faith”. “And what does faith give you?” “Eternal life”.The parents expect more for the one to be baptized: they expect that faith, which includes the corporeal nature of the Church and her sacraments, will give life to their child—eternal life. Faith is the substance of hope. But then the question arises: do we really want this—to live eternally? Perhaps many people reject the faith today simply because they do not find the prospect of eternal life attractive. What they desire is not eternal life at all, but this present life, for which faith in eternal life seems something of an impediment…. To continue living for ever —endlessly—appears more like a curse than a gift. Death, admittedly, one would wish to postpone for as long as possible. But to live always, without end—this, all things considered, can only be monotonous and ultimately unbearable.

I never ever thought of this one. I think it very insightful. The secular society is always using technology to make things easier, faster, more pleasurable for mankind. It strives to make this life heaven without embracing the cross.
Quoting St. Ambrose

10…“Death was not part of nature; it became part of nature. God did not decree death from the beginning; he prescribed it as a remedy. Human life, because of sin … began to experience the burden of wretchedness in unremitting labour and unbearable sorrow. There had to be a limit to its evils; death had to restore what life had forfeited. Without the assistance of grace, immortality is more of a burden than a blessing.”

You can’t get anymore counter culture then that.

11…On the one hand, we do not want to die; above all, those who love us do not want us to die. Yet on the other hand, neither do we want to continue living indefinitely, nor was the earth created with that in view. So what do we really want? Our paradoxical attitude gives rise to a deeper question: what in fact is “life”? And what does “eternity” really mean?

12…The term “eternal life” is intended to give a name to this known “unknown”. Inevitably it is an inadequate term that creates confusion. “Eternal”, in fact, suggests to us the idea of something interminable, and this frightens us; “life” makes us think of the life that we know and love and do not want to lose, even though very often it brings more toil than satisfaction, so that while on the one hand we desire it, on the other hand we do not want it. To imagine ourselves outside the temporality that imprisons us and in some way to sense that eternity is not an unending succession of days in the calendar, but something more like the supreme moment of satisfaction, in which totality embraces us and we embrace totality—this we can only attempt…This is how Jesus expresses it in Saint John’s Gospel: “I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (16:22). We must think along these lines if we want to understand the object of Christian hope, to understand what it is that our faith, our being with Christ, leads us to expect. [Emphasis mine]

What I really love about this is it’s framed so conversational, it’s almost as if the Pope is sitting next to you discussing it over a cup of coffee. I can’t say how many times I’ve though about these very same issue, but i can’t quite think I’ve ever been able to focus that well on it.

17. Anyone who reads and reflects on these statements attentively will recognize that a disturbing step has been taken: up to that time, the recovery of what man had lost through the expulsion from Paradise was expected from faith in Jesus Christ: herein lay “redemption”. Now, this “redemption”, the restoration of the lost “Paradise” is no longer expected from faith, but from the newly discovered link between science and praxis. It is not that faith is simply denied; rather it is displaced onto another level—that of purely private and other-worldly affairs—and at the same time it becomes somehow irrelevant for the worldAs the ideology of progress developed further, joy at visible advances in human potential remained a continuing confirmation of faith in progress as such.

I think he’s correct this has been the trend for the past 500 years, but I think a growing minority is starting to recognize that “progress” is coming with a higher and higher cost. And that we will not solve all our problems with science.

22…First we must ask ourselves: what does “progress” really mean; what does it promise and what does it not promise?In the twentieth century, Theodor W. Adorno formulated the problem of faith in progress quite drastically: he said that progress, seen accurately, is progress from the sling to the atom bomb. Now this is certainly an aspect of progress that must not be concealed. To put it another way: the ambiguity of progress becomes evident. Without doubt, it offers new possibilities for good, but it also opens up appalling possibilities for evil—possibilities that formerly did not exist. We have all witnessed the way in which progress, in the wrong hands, can become and has indeed become a terrifying progress in evil. If technical progress is not matched by corresponding progress in man’s ethical formation, in man’s inner growth (cf. Eph 3:16; 2 Cor 4:16), then it is not progress at all, but a threat for man and for the world.

All I can say is Amen.

24. Let us ask once again: what may we hope? And what may we not hope? First of all, we must acknowledge that incremental progress is possible only in the material sphere. Here, amid our growing knowledge of the structure of matter and in the light of ever more advanced inventions, we clearly see continuous progress towards an ever greater mastery of nature. Yet in the field of ethical awareness and moral decision-making, there is no similar possibility of accumulation for the simple reason that man’s freedom is always new and he must always make his decisions anew. These decisions can never simply be made for us in advance by others—if that were the case, we would no longer be free. Freedom presupposes that in fundamental decisions, every person and every generation is a new beginning. Naturally, new generations can build on the knowledge and experience of those who went before, and they can draw upon the moral treasury of the whole of humanity. But they can also reject it, because it can never be self-evident in the same way as material inventions.

b) Since man always remains free and since his freedom is always fragile, the kingdom of good will never be definitively established in this world. Anyone who promises the better world that is guaranteed to last for ever is making a false promise; he is overlooking human freedom. Freedom must constantly be won over for the cause of good. Free assent to the good never exists simply by itself. If there were structures which could irrevocably guarantee a determined—good—state of the world, man’s freedom would be denied, and hence they would not be good structures at all.

I rather like that. The greatest generation (my parents) was that, but my generation (the baby boomers) and my children (gen X or Y) all have to make that same stand, it’s only in what structures of evil we have to say no too. My mission quote from Tolkien on the side bar address this as well.

25…Francis Bacon and those who followed in the intellectual current of modernity that he inspired were wrong to believe that man would be redeemed through science. Such an expectation asks too much of science; this kind of hope is deceptive. Science can contribute greatly to making the world and mankind more human. Yet it can also destroy mankind and the world unless it is steered by forces that lie outside it. On the other hand, we must also acknowledge that modern Christianity, faced with the successes of science in progressively structuring the world, has to a large extent restricted its attention to the individual and his salvation. In so doing it has limited the horizon of its hope and has failed to recognize sufficiently the greatness of its task—even if it has continued to achieve great things in the formation of man and in care for the weak and the suffering.

33. Saint Augustine, in a homily on the First Letter of John, describes very beautifully the intimate relationship between prayer and hope. He defines prayer as an exercise of desire. Man was created for greatness—for God himself; he was created to be filled by God. But his heart is too small for the greatness to which it is destined. It must be stretched. “By delaying [his gift], God strengthens our desire; through desire he enlarges our soul and by expanding it he increases its capacity [for receiving him]”.

40. I would like to add here another brief comment with some relevance for everyday living. There used to be a form of devotion—perhaps less practised today but quite widespread not long ago—that included the idea of “offering up” the minor daily hardships that continually strike at us like irritating “jabs”, thereby giving them a meaning. Of course, there were some exaggerations and perhaps unhealthy applications of this devotion, but we need to ask ourselves whether there may not after all have been something essential and helpful contained within it. What does it mean to offer something up? Those who did so were convinced that they could insert these little annoyances into Christ’s great “com-passion” so that they somehow became part of the treasury of compassion so greatly needed by the human race. In this way, even the small inconveniences of daily life could acquire meaning and contribute to the economy of good and of human love. Maybe we should consider whether it might be judicious to revive this practice ourselves.

My mother has always done this so I can attest to this tradition, it certainly has gone by the waist side.


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I found this article on several blogs and having searched the internet, I haven’t found much in the way of a Catholic response to what I feel is a well thought out approach to the issue of ecumenicism. I think the topic fits better with RCC and Orthodoxy then Anglicanism. Be that as it may, all of Fr. Kirbys efforts deserve a measured response, even if it’s a disjoined one by me. I didn’t feel I had a strong enough handle to address his part III section on validity of orders, perhaps some else will do so. My remarks are in red, his in black(emphasis & underlines are mine), primary resources in blue and secondary in purple. Link to his full article here.

His Premise:
But many would say that the most fundamental principle that each Church holds is that it and it alone is the One True Church and that those bodies outside its present communion are thus not so. Why? Because their confidence about their beliefs is founded on a confidence about who they are. And since both sides believe in the Unity and Unicity of the Church, it seems that this in combination with their self-identification as that Church leads logically to a perfectly symmetrical yet utterly irreconcilable understanding of the Church and the goal of ecumenism.

If this is true, it means that, whatever theological and doctrinal barriers are broken, the greatest hurdle that will have to be faced is answering the question “Who is coming back to whom?”In other words, who, if any body, will admit they were wrong about their basic identity and accept that for centuries they have been outside the Una Sancta, the Catholic Church? Catholic ecumenism is a question then, not just of how to forge a common future, but how to interpret a divided past.

Anglican Catholics have been somewhat distinctive in that their self-understanding has asserted their Catholicity but in a non-exclusive manner. That is, they have seen present divisions as being within the Catholic Church, such that they along with the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, and perhaps even Oriental Churches are in fact all in the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

I don’t know if he is supporting the Branch theory (an EOC take) or not.

This Anglican non-exclusivity has then been used against us. Our appeal to Catholic consent, it is claimed, means that we cannot differ from the exclusivist ecclesiologies common to Rome and the East without trampling the Vincentian Canon and proving our Protestantism.

I have to historically agree with him on this point soome with good intent others not.

Al Kimel, in his Pontificator’s Fourth Law states that “A church that does not understand itself as the Church, outside of which there is no salvation, is not the Church but a denomination or sect.” My past response to this on his blog, with minor modifications, follows:

This is not so much an axiomatic law as a derived one. I submit that it is based on the following argument (or something like it):

1. Any truly Catholic ecclesiology must not only teach that the church is visible and one, but that it is visibly one.

2. A Church holding a Catholic ecclesiology will obviously believe that it is Catholic.

3. Therefore, such a Church must also hold that any body outside its visible unity, that is, not part of its internal communio in sacris, is outside the unity of the Catholic Church. [1 + 2]

4. Any truly Catholic ecclesiology must also teach that outside the Church there is no salvation.

5. Any body claiming to be a church which does not hold a truly Catholic ecclesiology is a denomination or sect.

6. Therefore, a church that does not understand itself as the Church, outside of which there is no salvation, is not the Church but a denomination or sect [3 + 4 +5
The first premise identified above as underlying this Law has the following corollary for historical interpretation: Any break in communion that discontinues the visibility of unity between one Christian body and another, if the two groups were previously united within the Catholic Church, must leave one group outside the Catholic Church until that breach is visibly healed. Call this proposition 1*.
Thus, if any historical circumstances exist that have very commonly been interpreted by theologians with undisputedly Catholic ecclesiologies in ways that conflict with this corollary, then it must be accepted either that the corollary is oversimplified and requires denial or modification or it must at least be admitted that its denial does not prove a theologian is an ecclesiological heretic! Therefore, given the existence of such interpretations of Church history by substantial numbers of Catholic and Orthodox theologians in good standing, proposition 1 of 6 and the derived Fourth Law would no longer obtain in their present form. Call the existence of such interpretations contra-1*, or C-1*. Now for the evidence.

I would say that they are oversimplified. There are IMO two aspects of the papacy that theologians have just scratched the surface. The Marian and the servant of the servants of God aspect.

1) Marian – Cardinal Marc Ouellet-Mary’s role is deeper than that of Peter

…All the Church must therefore be willing to make an exchange of gifts that goes beyond finding political, let’s say, formulas. That is why in my thinking on the ecumenic movement I tried to develop the Marian principle.

In what sense?
OUELLET: The ecumenic orientation is too centered on the episcopacy, on relations between collegiality and papacy and not enough on the bases of the faith and hence on the role of Mary, that – and in this the Orthodox are very close to us – is deeper than the role of Peter or of the bishops. Thinking is needed on the Marian principle as the basis of the unity of the Church. This fact, according to me, has not been still sufficiently gone into in ecumenic dialogue

I agree with the Cardinal on this point.

A great link citing many references to primary sources on Mary and the Church: Figure and Model

Catechism of the Catholic Church 773. In the Church this communion of men with God, in the “love [that] never ends,” is the purpose which governs everything in her that is a sacramental means, tied to this passing world.192 “[The Church’s] structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ’s members. And holiness is measured according to the ‘great mystery’ in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom.”193 Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the Church’s mystery as “the bride without spot or wrinkle.”194 This is why the “Marian” dimension of the Church precedes the “Petrine.”195[ emphasis mine ]

The citation (195) refers back to PJPII MULIERIS DIGNITATEM #27

This is of fundamental importance for understanding the Church in her own essence, so as to avoid applying to the Church–even in her dimension as an “institution” made up of human beings and forming part of history–criteria of understanding and judgment which do not pertain to her nature. Although the Church possesses a “hierarchical” structure,[53] nevertheless this structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ’s members. And holiness is measured according to the “great mystery” in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom. She does this “in the Holy Spirit,” since “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom 5:5). The Second Vatican Council, confirming the teaching of the whole of tradition, recalled that in the hierarchy of holiness it is precisely the “woman,” Mary of Nazareth, who is the “figure” of the Church. She “precedes” everyone on the path to holiness; in her person “the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle (cf. Eph 5:27).”[54] In this sense, one can say that the Church is both “Marian” and “Apostolic-Petrine.”[55]

Crisis Magazine-By David L. Schindler mentions

Recuperating a rightful understanding of Mary within the reality of the Church was crucial for John Paul II’s sense of how a one-sided notion of the Church, as a hierarchical and clerical institution (Vatican I), was to be integrated into a notion of the Church as communio, a communion of persons (Vatican II), in a way that neither weakened the importance of the Petrine institution nor reduced the “People of God” to a democratic congregation.

This perhaps may be an opening which has yet to be tapped. While there are likely obstacles as well with this route simply because of the subject of Mary as church (especially with those of the Baptist communions) but could bear fruit I think with Anglicans and especially with Orthodoxy. If we reflect on Rm 5:5 emphasis of working through the Holy Spirit; this is certainly an avenue which has been acknowledged by the Catholic church as normative in many communities. SO perhaps in this sense there is no break in communion.

2) Servant of the servants of God

In this area I think the effort will be primarily on the papacy’s effort to place emphasis on service to the people of God. One area I think would be a great project would to review historical actions taken by the papacy to see if the action is one based on Papal primacy or one of his other titles (Partiarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Archbishop/Metropolitian of Roman province, Sovereign of Vatican city state (Political). Everyone perceives the papacy simply as the role of Vat. I, but for example Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to the USA will involve different aspects/titles. If everyone were able to more clearly see how the pope’s actions relate to which title, then perhaps it would bring more clarity as to how,when and where he exercises authority.

88. Among all the Churches and Ecclesial Communities, the Catholic Church is conscious that she has preserved the ministry of the Successor of the Apostle Peter, the Bishop of Rome, whom God established as her “perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity” 146 and whom the Spirit sustains in order that he may enable all the others to share in this essential good. In the beautiful expression of Pope Saint Gregory the Great, my ministry is that of servus servorum Dei. This designation is the best possible safeguard against the risk of separating power (and in particular the primacy) from ministry. Such a separation would contradict the very meaning of power according to the Gospel: “I am among you as one who serves” (Lk 22:27), says our Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church. On the other hand, as I acknowledged on the important occasion of a visit to the World Council of Churches in Geneva on 12 June 1984, the Catholic Church’s conviction that in the ministry of the Bishop of Rome she has preserved, in fidelity to the Apostolic Tradition and the faith of the Fathers, the visible sign and guarantor of unity, constitutes a difficulty for most other Christians, whose memory is marked by certain painful recollections. To the extent that we are responsible for these, I join my Predecessor Paul VI in asking forgiveness.147 [emphasis mine]

95. All this however must always be done in communion. When the Catholic Church affirms that the office of the Bishop of Rome corresponds to the will of Christ, she does not separate this office from the mission entrusted to the whole body of Bishops, who are also “vicars and ambassadors of Christ”.153 The Bishop of Rome is a member of the “College”, and the Bishops are his brothers in the ministry. Whatever relates to the unity of all Christian communities clearly forms part of the concerns of the primacy. As Bishop of Rome I am fully aware, as I have reaffirmed in the present Encyclical Letter, that Christ ardently desires the full and visible communion of all those Communities in which, by virtue of God’s faithfulness, his Spirit dwells. I am convinced that I have a particular responsibility in this regard, above all in acknowledging the ecumenical aspirations of the majority of the Christian Communities and in heeding the request made of me to find a way of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to a new situation. For a whole millennium Christians were united in “a brotherly fraternal communion of faith and sacramental life … If disagreements in belief and discipline arose among them, the Roman See acted by common consent as moderator”.154[emphasis mine] Ut unum sint


C-1* EXHIBIT A. During the Meletian Schism in the ancient Church, Meletius of Antioch and his flock were not recognised by or in communion with Rome. Most of the East did recognise him and reject his rival – even to the point where he presided for a while at the sitting of an Ecumenical Council. Eventually, not only was Meletius’ claim to be the legitimate Catholic Bishop recognised universally after his death, but he was canonised and his successors (not his rival’s) were the Patriarchs of Antioch. Thus, visible unity was broken without either side being considered by anyone in hindsight as outside the Church. However, it could be argued that visible unity was merely “somewhat obscured” since Meletius was in communion with bishops who were in communion with Rome.

Well lets speak of history then. Meletius use of the term homoousios sounds very much like Sabellianizism when he supports the creed of 325 at the council of Antioch of 363 which he presided over as Socrates Scholasticus relates in book 3,25,14 of his church history. Especially since the term homoousios, which to some seems novel and inappropriate, has been judiciously explained by the fathers to denote that the Son was begotten of the Father’s substance, and that he is like the Father as to substance.

The “east” includes Alexandria and St. Athanasius, so I don’t believe that Meletius claim to being Catholic was valid. He was not accepted by either Partiarch of Alexandria or Rome. St. Pope Damasus “Tome” has an interesting canon at the synod of Rome 382 which I believes was implied to address Meletius status –

9) Those also who have moved from churches to churches, we hold as not belonging to our communion until they return to those cities in which they were first established. But if one is ordained in the place of one who is living, while another is moving, let him who has left his own city be without the dignity of the priestly office until his successor rests in the Lord.

Translation of bishops from one diocese to another was often done to gain a larger, more affulient church and influence with the Emperor. This canon was to prevent this.

I don’t believe the example obtains.

C-1* EXHIBIT B. A large number of Orthodox theologians and hierarchs contend that the difference between themselves and the Monophysites has been, for many centuries at least, based on logomachies. As a consequence they also hold that the two Churches already hold to the same Faith and possess the same Sacraments, and are thus already one in the most important sense, such that restored intercommunion is justified. These theologians appear not to contend that such a restoration would be a return of a schismatic body to the Catholic Church but that it would be the resolution of unfortunate, long-standing misunderstandings between sister Churches. Thus, it is effectively recognised that true ecclesial unity can co-exist with lack of visible unity for considerable periods.

IMO the only question is did they support/sign the Henticon?

C-1* EXHIBIT C. During the Great Western-Papal Schisms, when there were multiple claimants to the papacy, each with considerable followings at times, visible unity of the Western Church was broken. However, the RCC has canonised as Saints people on opposing sides of these schisms. Also, the fact that it was difficult to tell with certainty which was the true Pope, such that even till today no official and binding decision has been made by the Vatican as to who were the true Popes, has led to RC historians and theologians not portraying any of the various flocks as outside the true Church.

This is a period of 40 years total. I would ask what Saints didn’t accept Pope Martin after that period? The question is as far as I can tell one of obedience not of heresy. IF members of the SSPX accept Pope Benedict XVI, but had rejected Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II are they still outside the church?

C-1* EXHIBIT D. It is now common in ecumenical (revisionist?) history to claim that the EOC and RCC did not really completely break communion or finalise the schism till many centuries after previously posited dates. It appears to be a permissible and common opinion among orthodox RCs and the EO to say that sacramental communion was not properly or completely absent till the 18th Century. However, the very fact that the schism had been dated by most people as being from much earlier shows that whatever unity there was, was noteasily visible. And this includes to the people contemporary with the disputed period, since in Anglican-Roman debates of the 17th Century it was commonly contended by Roman interlocutors that the EOC was in schism and heresy.

This is strickly my opinion in reading church history and I have to say that the break was gradual but from a much earlier period. Historians have traditionally pointed to 1054, but with all humility in my lack of formal training in this field over and against those who are grossly overeducated compaired to myself I have to say that the latest date of a formal visable schism was the Council in Trullo. Those canons not already approved prior to it in the west were anti-latin. The process of latin only and greek only liturgies was well on the way. The reference to the 5th ecumenical council (which you mentioned late in this piece) was rejected by much of the western church for several centuries. It’s acceptance as an ecumenical council IMO is exclusively be based on papal primacy. Otherwise those western churches who rejected this council are vaild and place this council as only a regional eastern synod non-binding on the universal church.

C-1* EXHIBIT E. It has never been contended by any canonist or theologian, as far as I know, that any excommunications, even at the Papal or Conciliar level, are infallible. Though the theological reasoning behind them can be, the necessarily accompanying examination of particular evidence regarding a person or group is corrigible. Thus it is implicitly accepted that people, including bishops, can be visibly excluded from the Church unjustly and thus not truly be outside the Church. This is yet another case when the visibility of unity is imperfect, and admission of such imperfection is permissible.


So, how should we explain the significance of present divisions? In what ways has unity been preserved? Can the history of the “schisms”, especially at the apparent breaking points, be understood in a way that acquits both sides in each case of formal schism or heresy? Is there a way the elephant in the room can be dealt with rather than ignored, without anyone having to repent of their self-understanding? I believe there are satisfactory answers to all these questions – yes to the last two! — that will allow Catholic ecumenism to succeed.

No I don’t think so, but that’s because I perceive your position as strickly jurisdictional, which if one only looked at Vat. I could get that impression. IF we keep the dialog only on this level I very much doubt we’ll get anywhere.

Since the schism was grown into in such a gradual, haphazard and (in the end) unreflective or non-binding manner, it seems permissible to view it as never definitive. In that case, there is no need for either side to exclude the other from its identification of the One Church. Instead, they should start from the premise that they at least might never have been truly or fully divided, and approach doctrinal dialogue from that hopeful perspective. (Let’s not forget that both East and West have basically disowned the mutual excommunications of 1054, so one must assume they accept that, whatever happened afterwards, the state of schism existing at that time did not really mean one side or the other was outside the Church.)

Well since 500 A.D. the only recognized method was via the Formula of Hormisdas. I don’t see a way around that one.

An objection to this reasoning from the RC side might consist of a simple quotation of the recent Papal Encyclical, DOMINUS IESUS:

“Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him. The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches. Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church, since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church.” [Emphasis added.]

But, even if this were an infallible doctrinal pronouncement, its statements of historical fact rather than principle would be corrigible (and fallible). What if the RCC and EOC can come to an agreement on Roman Primacy (which neither EO nor Anglican Catholics have ever simply denied, all believing themselves to hold to the Catholic teaching in this matter) without repudiating their respective authoritative Traditions, but instead synthesising them? Then the above statement would be seen to be based on sound theology and reasoning but a historically conditioned misapprehension of the relationship between the other particular Churches’ teaching and the dogma of the RCC. Thus the statement could be “moved beyond” with relative ease and no loss of face or authority.

If the Catholic position towards the Anglican communion with respect to apostolic succession and valid Eucharist were determined as jurisdictional rulings not theological one then I’d say yes. However, I think without further research they were theologically based. But I’m clearly out of my depth here which is why I didn’t address your part III at all.

Also, the Fathers of the 5th Ecumenical Council struck Pope Vigilius off the diptychs and refused him communion till he would do what they (and the whole Catholic Church, eventually) considered the right thing about the Three Chapters: i.e., condemn them and the doctrines contained therein. To say that an Ecumenical Council did its job successfully but, by the way, was composed pretty much entirely of formal schismatics (and heretics for denying in practice the absolute necessity of being in communion with and complete subjection to Rome?) is a bit too ridiculous for words. Therefore, broken communion with Rome, even when it is broken deliberately from the non-Roman side, is not and never has been sufficient proof of schism.

Actually if one looks at this complex council Emperor Justinian wanted Pope Vigilius excommunicated, but communion with the see of Rome to remain in tack.

Later the council states

We therefore anathematize the Three Chapters before-mentioned, that is, the impious Theodore of Mopsuestia, with his execrable writings, and those things which Theodoret impiously wrote, and the impious letter which is said to be of Ibas, and their defenders, and those who have written or do write in defence of them, or who dare to say that they are correct, and who have defended or attempt to defend their impiety with the names of the holy Fathers, or of the holy Council of Chalcedon. Session VIII

Was Pope Vigilius a defender of the Three Chapters or a defender of Chalcedon? Africa and much of Gaul and northern Italy rejected this council for hundreds of years. The question could just as easily be, what constituted an Ecumenical council?

First appeared as a three-part series at The Continuum, where Fr Matthew Kirby writes and co-hosts. Fr. Kirby is a prolific blogger, and a serious thinker and apologist for Continuing Anglicanism. He is also a priest in the Diocese of Australia in the Anglican Catholic Church. He is also a Franciscan Tertiary, as well as a physics/maths/religious studies teacher in a local Roman Catholic Senior High School, St Mary’s Campus of All Saint’s College, Maitland.

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Rorate Caeli has a great translation of Monsignor Andrea Giusto statement  to stop the traditional Latin mass in the Diocese of Savona Noli.

Now before everyone goes through the roof, one has to look at the circumstances (facts of the matter). I think perhaps all the facts have yet to come in, one for the monsignor’s side (only one I’ve found so far) is this

“The stop is fair – don Giacosa replies – The Latin Mass was a concession by the Pope, it is supposed to unite, it cannot become a way to do proselytisms or to please the nostalgics, mostly [from] outside the Parish.”

I’d like for a moment to reflect on the “mostly from outside the Parish”. If this is true then I have an issue with having the latin mass. The sole question should be is the requst coming from individuals within the parish or not. If yes then there isn’t anything the Monsignor can legitimately do about it. 

If however, there is an organized movement of Catholics outside the parish who simply want to force the issue then it wrong.

One of the by-products of these past fourty years has been the idea that a Catholic can pick and chose where they go to church. While we don’t take a vow of Stability  like the Benedictines, I think it’s clearly time to instill that virtue. This vow is more difficult then any other rule in the modern world. Cleaning up our own parish, particularly if it has “spirit of Vat II” type still in positions of authority. People of a traditional stripe have tended to avoid these parish even thought they fall within the area of that parish.  Catholics have rights and by law they are: the right to having the Word of God preached; the sacraments administered; the Eucharist confected; adequate religious instruction.

Grow were you are planted.

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A great article by Inside Catholic

Summary: Titled “The state of the Church in America, Diocese by Diocese – 2007”. The thrust of the study was what effect does the local bishop have on the health of the local Diocese? Their source documents are the Official Catholic Directory and complied for 2005. Study covers 1995 to 2005.

Now for the good news – The USA population grew by 13% and Catholicism grew by 22%. Infant baptism was 22% of the population born in America for 2005. As the study relates “this figure belies the belief that the Catholic Church is expanding through higher rate of birth. We received 149,603 Adults into the church, up 6% from 1995.

Now the distressing news – 18% drop in the number of priests for 1995. 45 diocese had no ordinations in the past 10 years out of 176 possible. It noted attracting vocations from outside its own diocese and thereby didn’t loss priests to retirement or death.

39% of the diocese loss adherents, 34% had moderate growth, and 28% saw dramatic growth [as a percentage of the total in the diocese]. Much of this was caused by migration of the population [rust belt to sun belt, etc.].

Based on the size of the current priesthood, # of increased vocations, increase in # of adult receptions was the prime indicator for this study of the health of the diocese. Clearly this isn’t all but I would agree it is a reasonable gage.

Based on that if you live in Shreveport, Metuchen(NJ), Dodge city, Yakima, El Paso, Des Moines, Houma-Thibodaux, Dallas, Honolulu, or Amarillo your bishop needs a lot of pray and help. They all lost a 77 point ranking or greater out of 176 diocese total.

The most suprising stat for me was that the South is the strongest followed by the Rocky Mountains, Pacific Coast, Industrial Mid-west, and last was the Northeast – the cradle of American Catholicism.

“So the Church is, by this measure, most healthy in that region that is traditionally the least hospitable to it, and is least healthy in that region where it has the longest history and in which are found both the greatest concentration and largest number of Catholics in it. New England has the greatest decline in priests, lowest rate of ordination, and lowest rate of adult reception. …Catholic diocese seem to be most successful when they are self-consciously the pilgrim Church on earth.”

Another interesting item was the size of the diocese – “there is a clear inverse linear relationship between the size of the diocese and the health of the diocese: as size increases, vitality decreases.”

The stats are pretty accurate at least for me. Metuchen was the parish that I was raised in and everyone I knew was Catholic. In fact, outside of a few Jewish friends I hadn’t met a protestant until I was 7 years old. When I go back there for visits one can see that while it’s still Catholic it’s old compaired to when I was there. On the other hand in Fort Worth we finally received our first diocese priest (going about 7 years without one).

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Mai Yamani

Abdullah understands that his wobbly regime will only be able to withstand the radical gales that are now blowing if it can forge the type of stability-seeking alliance that Metternich built

The recent meeting in the Vatican of the “Custodian of The Holy Places,” King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, and Pope Benedict XVI was a seminal event, particularly as it comes at a time when radical Muslims are decrying the role of “crusaders” in Middle East politics. It was also the clearest sign yet of a rising “Holy Alliance” among the world’s conservative leaders. For the key audience for this meeting of Muslim king and Roman Catholic Pontiff did not consist of their followers, but another conservative leader, President George W Bush. …

Moreover, Abdullah understands that his wobbly regime will only be able to withstand the radical gales that are now blowing if it can forge the type of stability-seeking alliance that Metternich built. The King, like Metternich and the Austrian Kaisers, understands de Tocqueville’s dictum that the most dangerous moment for a regime is when it starts to reform. Having begun, ever so carefully, to politically open his country, the King knows that he needs regional peace and a lowering of Islamic holy rage.

The problem is that Abdullah cannot rely on his domestic conservative allies to give him the time that the Kingdom needs. The Wahhabi religious establishment, the Saudi state’s hidden co-rulers, could very well obstruct Abdullah’s attempts at regional religious reconciliation. Members of the religious police remain adamant that the country’s Christian guests must continue to live according to strict Wahhabi rules of behavior. While the Wahhabis could yet be bribed again with oil money, the sect’s power-hungry judges eagerly await the next beheading, stoning, or lashing in Riyadh’s public square.

Thus, uniting the forces of status quo conservatism, even if some of those conservatives are Christian, is the only viable diplomatic strategy open to Saudi Arabia. For conservative rulers usually fall when they fail to grasp their own vulnerability, especially when the revolutionary challenge is cloaked in conservative garb. After all, few political systems can defend against those, like Saudi Arabia’s Islamic radicals, who claim that they can preserve the system and its religious values more effectively than the current rulers.

Only an alliance of conservative leaders and powers (including a retreat by America from diplomatic radicalism), Abdullah believes, can restore some stability to the Middle East.

Mai Yamani is a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution

To read in full:

Daily times

I had thought that perhaps Abdullah was seeing the Pope based primarily for a religious visit. Apparently if this article is correct much more of a political gambit. In which case Pope Benedict XVI request for the opening of Saudi Arabia to the building of Christian Churches, human rights, evangelizing, etc. – is likely fruitless.

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This book was originally published in German in 1989. The English translation 1st edition 2003, published by Fortress Press, Minneapolis; is what I will quote from.
Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries
Lampe summarizes that the first Christians came from the Roman synagogues. He uses a term I was not familiar with “sebomenos” which he defines as “a pagan favoring Jewish monotheism, who is not yet a proselyte”. This would make sense and with the backdrop of the epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, his(St.Paul) appeals to freedom from the law and no need to be circumcised were strong recruiting points for these pagans.

Lampe does an excellent job of bring together local tradition, relationships of burial places, and the Tituli churches of Rome.

He also does a social-historical theme of 1st Clement, the Shepherd of hermas, St. Justin, Marcion, and Valentinian which any history buff I think would enjoy.

Foreword by Robert Jewett xiii 2nd paragraph

  • Lampe’s thesis is that Christianity in Rome flourished in several of the poorest and most densely populated districts of Rome. The earliest as well as subsequent history of Roman house churches through the end of the second century indicates social”fractionation” between many small cells that lacked central coordination. This social pattern matches the profile of the separated synagogues in Rome.

Introduction pg. 1

I look first at the beginnings of Christianity in the city down to the separation from the synagogue (Part 1). I next attempt a topographical overview: In which quarters of the city did the Christians live? Who were their neighbors there? What strata of society predominated there (Part 2)? The next parts are diachronic. Part 3 examines the general information provided by the sources. Where are the relevant social-historical materials that give general information about Rome’s urban Christianity to be found? To what extent do the sources themselves generalize? part 4 deals with individuals whose names we know(prosopography). How can the general and the specific in Parts 3 and 4 be related to each other? …In Part 5, I offer an overview of urban Roman Christianity as a whole in light of these findings, adding a particular view.

pg. 2

  • My interest is twofold. I want to learn about the daily lives of the urban Roman Christians of the first two centuries, the realities of their social lives. To meet these people in their “situation” is a goal of our research in itself, independent of the question of how this situation relates to their theology, to their expressions of faith. Second, it must nonetheless be asked where – if at all – interrelations between situation and theology can be discovered. My ultimate goal is to contribute at least one element to a multidimensional interpretation of texts and faith expressions of early Christianity. This is the only way to exclude superficial interpretation or, occasionally, are suggested by purely inner-theological, history-of-tradition analyses of texts.
  • The only real issue I had with his work was part 5.

    His thesis on Chapter 41, pg. 397 :

    • The fractionation in Rome favored a collegial presbyterial system of governance and prevented for a long time, until the second half of the second century, the development of a monarchical episcopacy in the city. Victor was the first who, after faint-herated attempts by Eleutherus, Soter, and Anicetus energetically stepped forward as monarchical bishop and (at times, only because he was incited from the outside) attempted to place the different groups in the city under his supervision or, where that was not possible, to draw a line by means of excommunication. Before the second half of the second century there was in Rome no monarchical episcopacy for the circles mutually bound in fellowship. .

    Lampe seems to have accepted the traditional dating of 1st Clement as 96 A.D.. He has an extensive Bibliography but T.J.
    Herron’s work “The Dating of the First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians: The theological basis of the majoral view” (Rome: Disseratio ad Doctorum in Facultate Theologiae Pontificiae Unversitatis Gregorianae, 1988) was not included, [likely because Lampe finished his work in 1989]. He does site Edmundson, but not John A. T Robinson; all of whom support an early dating of 1st Clement to 70 A.D.

    Lampe does not offer up anything new, however what he does do is provide a much better lens with which to understand the book of Romans and the social life of the earliest Roman Christians.

    I was going to include a discussion point on this aspect of 1st Clement, but I’ve found someone has already started a web page on it Clement Dialogue

    Anyone else who has read his work I’d be interested in their take as well.

    From Paul to Valentinus

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    A new cardinal created for Houston

    Catholics living in Houston, Texas, and the southern United States have a cardinal to call their own.

    This morning a bareheaded Archbishop Daniel N. DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston walked down the aisle of St. Peter’s Basilica in a newly tailored red cassock.


    Smiley N. Pool : Chronicle

    Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo kneels before Pope Benedict XVI after he received a red biretta to signify his elevation into the College of Cardinals in a consistory in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

    In the middle of a nearly two-hour ceremony, he climbed the white marble steps to the altar and knelt before Pope Benedict XVI. He was given a skull cap. Then the white and gold clad pope reached slightly forward and placed the three pointed red hat, a biretta, on DiNardo’s head.

    And the archbishop was a cardinal.

    As he left the altar, DiNardo rearranged the hat before it slipped off his head. Like the other newly created cardinals he weaved his way through 13 rows of cardinals seated in the basilica, greeting the members of the group he had just officially joined.

    From the back of the basilica, crowds of Houston area residents broke into applause that rang throughout the basilica.

    That applause was nothing in comparison to the cheer that went up near the start of the service when Benedict announced DiNardo’s name as he read the list of 23 new cardinals.

    “I’m pretty sure we were the loudest,” said Greg Friend of Spring.

    Applause rang out from the faithful of each corner of the world represented Saturday: Kenya, France, Spain, and Brazil, to name a few. But the entire basilica seemed to offer sustained applause as the patriarch of Babylon for Chaldeans, H.B. Emmanuel III Delly of Iraq, received his red hat, a sign of the office.

    After the ceremony, the new Iraqi cardinal joined the pilgrims from his country gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

    The pilgrims from Houston for DiNardo headed up a hill from the square for a reception at the Pontifical North American College.

    Source: Houston Chronicle

    Since he is 57 he will likely be one of the electors in at least one enclave. He is a Cardinal Priest. And the lucky dog he got one of my all-time favorite Saints parish in Rome.


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    Christ Pantocrator

    I really think all guys should get pumped up about this feast.

    The readings are from2 Sam. 5:1-3

    In those days, all the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said:
    “Here we are, your bone and your flesh.
    In days past, when Saul was our king,
    it was you who led the Israelites out and brought them back.
    And the LORD said to you,
    ‘You shall shepherd my people Israel
    and shall be commander of Israel.'”
    When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron,
    King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD,
    and they anointed him king of Israel.

    We move into Colossians 1:12-20

    He is the image of the invisible God,
    the firstborn of all creation.
    For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth,
    the visible and the invisible,
    whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;
    all things were created through him and for him.
    He is before all things,
    and in him all things hold together.
    He is the head of the body, the church.
    He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
    that in all things he himself might be preeminent.
    For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
    and through him to reconcile all things for him,
    making peace by the blood of his cross
    through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.

    It a service to remember that our Lord will return in power and glory. Sorry I don’t believe that Christ is going to be dressed up as a 16th century silk rope with female appearances Christ the King

    Catholicism has Orthodoxy beat when it comes to Icongraphy with respect to Christ sacrifice on the Cross, but Orthodoxy has Catholicism beat when it comes to Christ the King.

    Christ Pantocrator at the second coming will come as we say in the creed “to judge the living and the dead”.

    With the married and single males either sitting back or missing in action on Sundays, it’s an easier draw to get them in the pews when we focus on what has been traditionally know as male qualities. Strength, courage, self-sacrifice, justice and merciful victor. Granted most of us don’t live up to those qualities, but how can our boys grasp it if it’s not demonstrated some times in the liturgy.

    Perhaps it’s just a guy thing.

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    long to rip the document. Ambiguity and theologians are identical twins when it comes to words. Given church politics I wonder if the ROC was really that upset at Estonian being there or was it a pretext to allow the MP to opt out of the discussion and provide an opportunity to override anything he didn’t like at a latter day and save face.

    The document was not signed by the representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate as they abandoned one of the first Commission’s sessions in Ravenna in October this year. They disagreed about a participation of the so-called “Estonian Apostolic Church” established by the Constantinople Patriarchate on the Russian Church’s canonical territory in 1996.

    Bishop Hilarion requests the Theologian Commission to examine the ambiguous document adopted at the Orthodox-Catholic conference in Ravenna

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    Cardinal to ‘honour’ sacked Archbishop

    This is simply over the top by Cardinal O’Connor. It’s one thing to provide a place to hawk a dissatisfied archbishop new book A Challenging Reform Realizing the Vision of the Liturgical Renewalwith the direction of where the liturgy is head. It’s another to use the throne room of Archbishop’s House in Westminster.

    I can understand Marini, anyone who feels their lives work is being undermined or deleted wants to defend themselves. However, Cardinal Cormac is fostering/promoting a media revolt by placing this in his throne room. Desent not on theological matters, but on jurisdictional ones in which he is trumped is nothing short of outright disobedience.

    I would think Cardinal Cormac would agree with Pope John XXIII

    The Importance of Obedience
    30. We are offering clerics this total obedience as a model, with full confidence that its force and beauty will lead them to strive for it more ardently. And if there should be someone who dares to cast doubt on the supreme importance of this virtue-as sometimes happens at the present time-let him take to heart these words of Our predecessor of happy memory, Pius XII, which everyone should keep firmly in mind: “The holiness of any life and the effectiveness of any apostolate has constant and faithful obedience to the hierarchy as its solid foundation, basis and support. ” (44)

    31. For, as you well know, Venerable Brethren, Our most recent predecessors have often issued serious warnings to priests about the extent of the dangers that are arising among the clergy from a growing carelessness about obedience with regard to the teaching authority of the Church, to the various ways and means of undertaking the apostolate, and to ecclesiastical discipline.



    10. Nevertheless the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. For the aim and object of apostolic works is that all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord’s supper.

    14. …Yet it would be futile to entertain any hopes of realizing this unless the pastors themselves, in the first place, become thoroughly imbued with the spirit and power of the liturgy, and undertake to give instruction about it. A prime need, therefore, is that attention be directed, first of all, to the liturgical instruction of the clergy.

    I find myself as a cradle Catholic in a no-man’s land on this one, hopefully with Pope Benedict XVI.

    There appears (at least on the surface) only two camps [those of the “spirit of vatican II crowd”] which have made all the changes/developments in the liturgy which Archbishop Piero Marini as papal Master of Ceremonies was always pushing the envelope. And the trad-catholics who think Rome has finally starting the process of repenting of her evil ways and moving towards a pre-Vat II era, which only increases the former group of their suspicions that they are right.

    I believe the Pope will merge the two rites of the latin & N.O. at some point. This will likely raise the ire of both of those groups, I pray that Pope B16 can raise up the third group in short order.

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