Archive for December 12th, 2007

cathedral-of-trento.jpgThe anniversary of this major council holds implications for everyone even today. From Luther’s appeal to hold a council in 1518, it took both protestant and Catholics alone with the political issues until 1545 to get it off the ground and the protestant camp didn’t participate. The sixth session on justification likely holds the most spilled ink or electrons depending on which you think is mightier the stylus or the keyboard in this Internet age.

The Latin Rite mass which bears it’s name didn’t occur during this council; that was taken up by Pope Pius V in 1570. I’ve wondered if the aversion of the vernacular usage came about because of all the new novel ideas/heresy occurred were the vernacular mass was permitted.

In any case this is the date that launched the counter-reformation. Charles the V desired simply a reform of the church to show his rebel Protestants princes and barons that action was being taken and the breach could be healed. Francis I allied himself with Protestant factions against Charles for political gain. Francis wanted doctrinal issues at the front especially conciliarism topics, but that is what the papacy desired to avoid.

Pope Paul III wanted both doctrinal, disciplinary and reforms made. The breath of topic’s the council dealt with is IMO unmatched by any council before or after. What is truly amazing is that given the level of corruption within the church which Luther decried was able to grasp the issues and clarify what was needed to move the church forward.

Trent understood faith alone as strickly/exclusively that- only faith – not hope, not love. The addition of the term alone to Romans 3:28 “a man is justified by faith apart from works of law; was the basis of this understanding.

Trent was unable to reconcile that with Galatians 5:4-6 man is “justified by….faith working through love & 1 Corinthians 13:2 that faith without love “is nothing.

The Joint Declaration states that today’s Lutherans understand “faith” the same way that the Catholic Church understands it as “faith, hope and love”. If that’s true then the canon of Trent do not apply to Lutherans. If they hold alone as Trent understood it, then the canon stands.

Hard to believe after 4 1/2 centuries that it appears we’re still at square one. But at least we’re not going to war and killing each other over it.


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archbishop-marini.jpgArchbishop Marini takes aim at his critics

with his new book by who else Liturgical Press.

I wrote about this 2 weeks ago here.

Some ask whether the Consilium was itself faithful to the vision of the Council, or whether it operated from its own ideologies under the auspices of Vatican II. Marini regards Bugnini’s work as “one of the greatest liturgical reforms in the history of the Western church.” He write: “unlike the reform after Trent, it was all the greater because it also dealt with doctrine.” Doctrine?

Well if it was all about doctrine then the cat IS out of the bag. I have a feeling this will not help his cause and may fuel even more gas to the fire.

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A great article by American Papist’s father back in 1995 on the Bishop Crunch.

While the article is dated the material is still valid for today. Traditionally meaning before the Second Vatican Council a coadjutor was appointed only when a bishop or archbishop was ailing because, before Vatican II, bishops never retired, they died in office. Canon law requires a bishop of tender his resignation at age 75 or Can. 401 §2. A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office.

It was viewed that the coadjutor would disappear, but it’s increased not decreased. And bishops have begun to see a coadjutor appointment as an opportunity to have a larger voice in picking their successors. IMO however this law has been used to selectively accept bishops the Vatican desired to retire and keep those she felt were more in line with what the Vatican was trying to accomplish doctrinally.

Dr. Peter’s first suggestion is a good one. But only for a short(10 year) period or less.

there really are too many episcopal openings for too few qualified candidates, then reduce the number of openings. Just as parishes have a life span, so do dioceses. Surely there are some contiguous dioceses which, on their own, are barely surviving but which, if merged with each other, would be on much more stable footing. Each time that is done, the need to find two good bishops is reduced to the need to find just one.

The reason for short term solution is because the study by Inside Catholic(which I wrote about here).

there is a clear inverse linear relationship between the size of the diocese and the health of the diocese: as size increases, vitality decreases.

If anything we need to increase the number of diocese long term to increase the bishops ability to care for his flock. In ancient times North Africa had 3,200 bishops alone.

Historically (and by that I mean ancient as in 344 A.D.) the council Sardica in it’s very first canon stated

A prevalent evil and mischievous corruption must be done away with from its foundation. Let no bishop be allowed to remove from his own city to another. For the reason of such attempts is manifest, since in this matter no bishop has been found who would remove from a larger city to a smaller one. It is therefore evident that these men are inflamed with excess of covetousness, and are serving ambition and aiming at the possession of power. If it be the pleasure of all, let so great an evil be punished right harshly and sternly, so that he who is such shall not even be admitted to lay communion. All with one accord answered: Such is our pleasure.

Career advancement is just as much a temptation in church affairs as it is in the secular world. With the exception of Cardinals and Pope, perhaps it’s time to place a bishop in one diocese and keep him there. Rather then grooming the individual as an coadjutor only to move him yet again to another short handed diocese. Bishops have to have the time to establish relationships with their flock. Appointing someone that’s age 69 to a post and retires at age 75 doesn’t allow the local parish to make any kind of spiritual connections.

Perhaps the wisdom of the early church fathers should be applied to the translation(moving on) bishops.

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I find it encouraging that we have Catholic bishops actually getting or demonstrating backbone. We now have one in Brazil who is standing up for those who have no voice. I’m all for economic development, but the way this project was pushed through was to benefit the poor people of Brazil. Unlike environmental issues this is strictly a hunger strike against the halves and the have not’s.
Bishop Fasts Again for Sao Francisco River.

It’s very encouraging to see a bishop lay his life down for his sheep if necessary. Hopefully it won’t come to a decision of dying for it.

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