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Archive for the ‘Papal Supremacy’ Category

This is driving me nuts. I have read in several places where Pope Benedict XVI is having discussion on writting a document on Luther and lifting the excommunication edit on Luther. The London Times has a rumor article on the Pope issuing on in the fall.

Here at least is someone that went to the wizard and received a functioning brain and dispels the rumor.

Here is another link to what the current pope thought on the topic 20 some years ago. It’s well worth the read. Ratzinger on Luther – Communio 11: Fall, 1984luther.jpg

I expect some favorable points made on Luther by the Pope this summer or fall, but those who think the excommunication on Luther would be lifted are grossly misinformed or have grossly been mislead in religious education, especially in the area of papal authority.

You see the church (including the Pope) has no authority over the dead. Judgement does indeed come from God, so the Pope does not have any authority to lift the sentence against Luther, nor would such a gesture be fruitful. It’s moot- he’s dead and God has judged him [for good or for ill]. I hesitate in using the word “has” with respect to God since this is performed in eternity, but hopefully my point is understood.

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Today is the Feast of Cathedra Petri at Rome.

chair-of-st-peter.jpg

This feast celebrates the first service St. Peter held in Rome. There is another feast of St. peter in which the church celebrates his confession to the Divinity of Jesus (Matthew 16:16-18) on Feb. 22nd.

cathedrapetri.jpg

This is the photo of the one in St. Peter’s today. I didn’t want to say much beyond that, because this issue then turns to Divine or canonical authority and that’s not what a feast day is for. Hopefully both the Orthodox & Catholic tradition can simply reflect on the wonderful contribution St. Peter gave to the church at large during the critical infancy in church development and the fulfillment of Christ mission for him ending with his promise to finally keep his word to the Lord and Love Him more then the others with the sacrifice of his life on the cross as his master foretold in John 21:18 –

Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”

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Before I begin I want to say that this is my personal opinion & understanding of the aforementioned documents and can not be construed as having any sort of teaching authority as a Catholic (pre or post Vatican II) would understand those terms, except where I quote the document directly. I don’t have any specialized training in theology. That which is infered, implied and or otherwise drawn from those documents is my own. As one who was born just several years prior to the Vatican II council, I was provided a solid, which is to say in those days “standard” understanding of the church and it’s teachings.

In the post conciliar era, the education of individuals hasn’t been maintained at that level as it was in the 50’s & 60’s and the culture has decline in morals and with the internal church scandals both in liturgical areas and in a percentage of it’s immoral priests and bishops caused further doubt in what is true. This is no fault of those individuals receiving that education, the fault lies elsewhere. Many, many individual Catholics I have known over these past 30 years or so as an adult have suffered greatly by what is commonly called the “spirit of Vatican II”.

For those that are not Cradle Catholics or for that matter post Vatican II Cradle Catholics, it’s likely difficult understanding the frequency and degree of the unnecessary changes made the past 40 years. This is not to say that the 50’s & 60’s were ideal times as a Catholic, but one obtained assurance that what was taught to you was firmly held by those who taught it and witnessed it as the Truth. Confusion, doubt and dispair can come to mind for those with a poor or limited grasp of the material.

This article then is for you who were raised in this environment and who desire to try and wrap you hands around this topic. This is not to say that this article by any means is all that you will need on the topic, but it is hoped that it will point you in the correct direction.

I say that because there are numerous, too numerous in fact, web sites which claim a traditional Catholic bend, which will attempt to lead the individual in a direction which believes these documents are not a continuation of Catholic tradition but a rejection of it.

Given the track record of a significant (IMO) number of Catholic bishops world-wide who either failed to recognize the agenda of certain prelates, who in some cases acted in what they believed was good faith and others not, would appear to give these web site justification in making that claim. I am not qualified nor will I attempt to discern motives of either those web-sites or those Catholic prelates.

However it isn’t very difficult to see that which was permitted to take place within the church these past 40 years and how many, both inside and outside the church’s formal structure, could led one to believe that Unitatis Redintegratio is not a continuation, but a departure from the documents of both Pope Pius XI & Pope Leo XIII. In this respect I emphasize with those who have grave concerns about how the Ecumenical movement has historically been implemented in actual practice. I share those concerns and I added on the documents of the CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH which addresses many of these false applications of Unitatis Redintegratio during this time frame. The timing of these IMO came about way to late in the game for my liking, but we are after all called to suffer with Christ.

I selected a blog Rorate Caeli,which I otherwise favor on other subjects as the example of what I would describe as a typical concerned, objection or rejection of this Vatican II Council document in the traditional corner and of course representative of schismatic traditional groups as well.

With all that said, due simply to the body of work involved you will need to grasp your favorite choice of beverage and snack, advise your spouse you will be busy wasting time on the computer again. Hopefully in this case it’s a good thing.

The primary source documents are:

Satis Cognitum-ON THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII – June, 1896

MORTALIUM ANIMOS-ON RELIGIOUS UNITY

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI-Jan. 6, 1928

Mystici Corporis-ON THE MISTICAL BODY OF CHRIST
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII – June 1943

ECCLESIAM SUAM -ON THE CHURCH

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PAUL VI- August, 1964

UNITATIS REDINTEGRATIO(Decree on Ecumenism)

Second Vatican Council -November 1964

Ut Unum Sint – On commitment to Ecumenism

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE John Paul II- May, 1995

Dominus Jesus- ON THE UNICITY AND SALVIFIC UNIVERSALITY
OF JESUS CHRIST AND THE CHURCH

CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH Joseph Card. Ratzinger confirmed by Pope John Paul II- August, 2000

RESPONSES TO SOME QUESTIONS REGARDING CERTAIN ASPECTS
OF THE DOCTRINE ON THE CHURCH
CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
William Cardinal Levada confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI – June, 2007

Those quotes bolded and or underlined is by me for emphasis.

Pre- Vatican II Popes Leo XIII, Pope Pius XI , & Pope Pius XII

Pope Leo XIII

(SC) (9) para. [2]…St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity. “No one who merely disbelieves in all (these heresies) can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to one single one of these he is not a Catholic” (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88)…..9. para.[5]…If then it be certain that anything is revealed by God, and this is not believed, then nothing whatever is believed by divine Faith: for what the Apostle St. James judges to be the effect of a moral delinquency, the same is to be said of an erroneous opinion in the matter of faith. “Whosoever shall offend in one point, is become guilty of all” (Ep. James ii., 10). Nay, it applies with greater force to an erroneous opinion. For it can be said with less truth that every law is violated by one who commits a single sin, since it may be that he only virtually despises the majesty of God the Legislator. But he who dissents even in one point from divinely revealed truth absolutely rejects all faith, since he thereby refuses to honour God as the supreme truth and theformal motive of faith.“In many things they are with me, in a few things not with me; but in those few things in which they are not with me the many things in which they are will not profit them” (S. Augustinus in Psal. liv., n. 19). And this indeed most deservedly; for they, who take from Christian doctrine what they please, lean on their own judgments, not on faith; and not “bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. x., 5), they more truly obey themselves than God. “You, who believe what you like, believe yourselves rather than the gospel”(S. Augustinus, lib. xvii., Contra Faustum Manichaeum, cap. 3).

13.para.[4]…In the formula of Catholic faith drawn up and proposed by Hormisdas, which was subscribed at the beginning of the sixth century in the great Eighth Council by the Emperor Justinian, by Epiphanius, John and Menna, the Patriarchs, this same is declared with great weight and solemnity. “For the pronouncement of Our Lord Jesus Christ saying: ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,’ &c., cannot be passed over. What is said is proved by the result, because Catholic faith has always been preserved without stain in the Apostolic See”(Post Epistolam, xxvi., ad omnes Episc. Hispan., n. 4). We have no wish to quote every available declaration; but it is well to recall the formula of faith which Michael Paleologus professed in the Second Council of Lyons: “The same holy Roman Church possesses the sovereign and plenary primacy and authority over the whole Catholic Church, which, truly and humbly, it acknowledges to have received together with the plenitude of power from the Lord Himself, in the person of St. Peter, the Prince or Head of the Apostles, of whom the Roman Pontiff is the successor. And as it is bound to defend the truth of faith beyond all others, so also if any question should arise concerning the faith it must be determined by its judgment” (Actin iv.).[Emphasis mine]

14. para. [2]….”The safety of the Church depends on the dignity of the chief priest, to whom if an extraordinary and supreme power is not given, there are as many schisms to be expected in the Church as there are priests” (S. Hieronymus, Dialog, contra Luciferianos, n. 9). It is necessary, therefore, to bear this in mind, viz., that nothing was conferred on the apostles apart from Peter, but that several things were conferred upon Peter apart from the Apostles. St. John Chrysostom in explaining the words of Christ asks: “Why, passing over the others, does He speak to Peter about these things?” And he replies unhesitatingly and at once, “Because he was pre-eminent among the Apostles, the mouthpiece of the Disciples, and the head of the college” (Hom. lxxxviii. in Joan., n. I). He alone was designated as the foundation of the Church. To him He gave the power of binding and loosing; to him alone was given the power of feeding. On the other hand, whatever authority and office the Apostles received, they received in conjunction with Peter. “If the divine benignity willed anything to be in common between him and the other princes, whatever He did not deny to the others He gave only through him. So that whereas Peter alone received many things, He conferred nothing on any of the rest without Peter participating in it” (S. Leo M. sermo iv., cap. 2).

Pope Pius XI

(MA) 2….For which reason conventions, meetings and addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission. Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule.

8. This being so, it is clear that the Apostolic See cannot on any terms take part in their assemblies, nor is it anyway lawful for Catholics either to support or to work for such enterprises; for if they do so they will be giving countenance to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ.

9. These pan-Christians who turn their minds to uniting the churches seem, indeed, to pursue the noblest of ideas in promoting charity among all Christians: nevertheless how does it happen that this charity tends to injure faith?…How so great a variety of opinions can make the way clear to effect the unity of the Church We know not; that unity can only arise from one teaching authority, one law of belief and one faith of Christians. But We do know that from this it is an easy step to the neglect of religion orindifferentism and to modernism, as they call it. Those, who are unhappily infected with these errors, hold that dogmatic truth is not absolute but relative, that is, it agrees with the varying necessities of time and place and with the varying tendencies of the mind, since it is not contained in immutable revelation, but is capable of being accommodated to human life.

10. So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it. To the one true Church of Christ, we say, which is visible to all, and which is to remain, according to the will of its Author, exactly the same as He instituted it.

14. That the Church is a body is frequently asserted in the Sacred Scriptures. “Christ,” says the Apostle, “is the Head of the Body of the Church.”[13] If the Church is a body, it must be an unbroken unity, according to those words of Paul: “Though many we are one body in Christ.”[14] But it is not enough that the Body of the Church should be an unbroken unity; it must also be something definite and perceptible to the senses as Our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Satis Cognitum asserts: “the Church is visible because she is a body.[15] Hence they err in a matter of divine truth, who imagine the Church to be invisible, intangible, a something merely “pneumatological” as they say, by which many Christian communities, though they differ from each other in their profession of faith, are untied by an invisible bond.

23….For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy.

Pope Pius XII

(MC)103…Imploring the prayers of the whole Church We wish to repeat this solemn declaration in this Encyclical Letter in which We have proclaimed the praises of the “great and glorious Body of Christ” and from a heart overflowing with love We ask each and every one of them to correspond to the interior movements of grace, and to seek to withdraw from that state in which they cannot be sure of their salvation.For even though by an unconscious desire and longing they have a certain relationship with the Mystical Body of the Redeemer, they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church.

One can see from reading Pope Leo that any diverging for the teachings of the Catholic church means one is outside the formal structure of the church. Drawing on St. Augustine even if one has agreement on many points, if you disagree on a few you are not in the church. He goes on in paragraphs 13 & 14 that unity depends on the papacy. Pope Pius XI in a concise document (unlike Pope John Paul II;>) states that indifferentism, modernism and relativism are to be avoided; paragraphs 2,8-10. This will be an important point that needed to be addressed in the later documents of the CDF.

Pope Pius XII states that there is a relationship between those not in union with the Catholic church but are with the Mystical Body of Christ.

All three documents are direct and at least the first two relatively concise.

Council and post Council documents:

If one reads Pope Paul VI, Vatican II -Unitatis Redintegratio, & Ut Unum Sint by Pope John Paul II there is a discernable difference in tone and openness to the failures of the human aspect of the church institution, not found in the pre-council documents and a clear plea for dialog with other churches and communions. One must recall that Pope Paul VI lifted the anathemas of 1054 as did Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople on December 7,1965. The question arises does the lifting of the anathema from the Catholic side mean that the Orthodox church while not in full communion is no longer in schism?

The emphasis on the post council documents are about dialog, pray and acknowledgement that the Holy Spirit works in and through individual Christians outside the formal boundaries of the Catholic church, but that these efficacy is by the same Catholic church. Corporate bodies are defined as communities, not particular churches.

Pope Paul VI on

Popes Leo XIII and Pius XII on the Church

(ES) 30. There are, however, two documents which deserve special mention: the encyclical Satis cognitum of Pope Leo XIII, published in 1896, and the encyclical Mystici corporis of Pope Pius XII, published in 1943. These documents offer us ample and clear teaching concerning the subject of Our present discourse: that divine institution through which Christ continues His redemptive work in the world.

46. First We must lay down a few rules to guide us in the work of reform. Obviously, there can be no question of reforming the essential nature of the Church or its basic and necessary structure. To use the word reform in that context would be to misuse it completely. We cannot brand the holy and beloved Church of God with the mark of infidelity.

109. We readily accept the principle of stressing what we all have in common rather than what divides us. This provides a good and fruitful basis for our dialogue, and we are prepared to engage upon it with a will. We would even go further and declare our readiness to examine how we can meet the legitimate desires of our separated Christian brothers on many points of difference concerning tradition, spirituality, canon law, and worship, for it is Our dearest wish to embrace them in a perfect union of faith and charity.

We must stress however that it is not in Our power to make any concessions regarding the integrity of the faith and the obligations of charity. We realize that this may cause misgiving and opposition in certain quarters, but now that the Catholic Church has on its own initiative taken steps to restore the unity of Christ’s fold, it will not cease to exercise the greatest prudence and deliberation. It will continue to insist that the claims it makes for itself-claims which still have the effect of alienating the separated brethren-derive from the will of Christ, not from any spirit of self-aggrandizement based on the record of its past achievements, nor from any unsound theological speculation. Rightly understood, they will be seen to be for the good of all, for the common unity, liberty and fullness of the Christian life. The Catholic Church will never cease to prepare itself by prayer and penance for the longed-for reconciliation.

110. Are there not those who say that unity between the separated Churches and the Catholic Church would be more easily achieved if the primacy of the Roman pontiff were done away with? We beg our separated brothers to consider the groundlessness of this opinion. Take away the sovereign Pontiff and the Catholic Church would no longer be catholic. Moreover, without the supreme, effective, and authoritative pastoral office of Peter the unity of Christ’s Church would collapse. It would be vain to look for other principles of unity in place of the true one established by Christ Himself. As St. Jerome rightly observed: “There would be as many schisms in the Church as there are priests.”

And Primacy of Service and Love

We would add that this cardinal principle of holy Church is not a supremacy of spiritual pride and a desire to dominate mankind, but a primacy of service, ministration, and love. It is no vapid rhetoric which confers on Christ’s vicar the title: “Servant of the servants of God.”

Vatican II

(UR) 3…The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect. The differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church-whether in doctrine and sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church-do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body,(21)refers to Council of Florence Session VIIIand have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.(22)refers to S. AUGUSTINUS, In Ps. 32, Enarr. 11, 29: PL 36, 299

3.[con’t]….It follows that the separated Churches(23) and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.

Nevertheless, our separated brethren, whether considered as individuals or as Communities and Churches, are not blessed with that unity which Jesus Christ wished to bestow on all those who through Him were born again into one body, and with Him quickened to newness of life-that unity which the Holy Scriptures and the ancient Tradition of the Church proclaim. For it is only through Christ’s Catholic Church, which is “the all-embracing means of salvation,” that they can benefit fully from the means of salvation. We believe that Our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, in order to establish the one Body of Christ on earth to which all should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the people of God.

Reference #23. Cf. CONC. LATERANENSE IV (1215) Constitutio IV: Mansi 22, 990; CONC. LUGDUNENSE II (1274), Professio fidei Michaelis Palaeologi: Mansi 24, 71 E; CONC. FLORENTINUM, Sess. VI (1439), Definitio Laetentur caeli: Mansi 31, 1026 E.

4….The term “ecumenical movement” indicates the initiatives and activities planned and undertaken, according to the various needs of the Church and as opportunities offer, to promote Christian unity. These are: first, every effort to avoid expressions, judgments and actions which do not represent the condition of our separated brethren with truth and fairness and so make mutual relations with them more difficult; then, “dialogue” between competent experts from different Churches and Communities. At these meetings, which are organized in a religious spirit, each explains the teaching of his Communion in greater depth and brings out clearly its distinctive features. In such dialogue, everyone gains a truer knowledge and more just appreciation of the teaching and religious life of both Communions. In addition, the way is prepared for cooperation between them in the duties for the common good of humanity which are demanded by every Christian conscience; and, wherever this is allowed, there is prayer in common…..the divisions among Christians prevent the Church from attaining the fullness of catholicity proper to her, in those of her sons who, though attached to her by Baptism, are yet separated from full communion with her. Furthermore, the Church herself finds it more difficult to express in actual life her full catholicity in all her bearings.

24…the divisions among Christians prevent the Church from attaining the fullness of catholicity proper to her, in those of her sons who, though attached to her by Baptism, are yet separated from full communion with her. Furthermore, the Church herself finds it more difficult to express in actual life her full catholicity in all her bearings.This Sacred Council exhorts the faithful to refrain from superficiality and imprudent zeal, which can hinder real progress toward unity. Their ecumenical action must be fully and sincerely Catholic, that is to say, faithful to the truth which we have received from the apostles and Fathers of the Church, in harmony with the faith which the Catholic Church has always professed, and at the same time directed toward that fullness to which Our Lord wills His Body to grow in the course of time.

Pope John Paul II

(UUS) 10 …The Council states that the Church of Christ “subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him“, and at the same time acknowledges that “many elements of sanctification and of truth can be found outside her visible structure. These elements, however, as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, possess an inner dynamism towards Catholic unity”.

“It follows that these separated Churches and Communities, though we believe that they suffer from defects, have by no means been deprived of significance and value in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church“.

11. The Catholic Church thus affirms that during the two thousand years of her history she has been preserved in unity, with all the means with which God wishes to endow his Church, and this despite the often grave crises which have shaken her, the infidelity of some of her ministers, and the faults into which her members daily fall.

38…As far as the formulation of revealed truths is concerned, the Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiaestates: “Even though the truths which the Church intends to teach through her dogmatic formulas are distinct from the changeable conceptions of a given epoch and can be expressed without them, nevertheless it can sometimes happen that these truths may be enunciated by the Sacred Magisterium in terms that bear traces of such conceptions. In view of this, it must be stated that the dogmatic formulasof the Church’s Magisterium were from the very beginning suitable for communicating revealed truth, and that as they are they remain for ever suitable for communicating this truth to those who interpret them correctly”.

Ok so what’s the beef and what happened?

The recovery begins-

J.Cardinal Ratzinger

Dominus Iesus:

4. The Church’s constant missionary proclamation is endangered today by relativistic theories which seek to justify religious pluralism, not only de facto but also de iure (or in principle).[ Exactly what Pope Pius XI warned against.]As a consequence, it is held that certain truths have been superseded; for example, the definitive and complete character of the revelation of Jesus Christ, [denial of which is heresy] the nature of Christian faith as compared with that of belief in other religions,[ditto] the inspired nature of the books of Sacred Scripture,[ditto]the personal unity between the Eternal Word and Jesus of Nazareth,[ditto] the unity of the economy of the Incarnate Word and the Holy Spirit, [ditto]the unicity and salvific universality of the mystery of Jesus Christ, the universal salvific mediation of the Church, the inseparability — while recognizing the distinction — of the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Christ, and the Church, and the subsistence of the one Church of Christ in the Catholic Church.

You get the idea

The roots of these problems are to be found in certain presuppositions of both a philosophical and theological nature, which hinder the understanding and acceptance of the revealed truth. Some of these can be mentioned: the conviction of the elusiveness and inexpressibility of divine truth, even by Christian revelation; relativistic attitudes toward truth itself, according to which what is true for some would not be true for others; the radical opposition posited between the logical mentality of the West and the symbolic mentality of the East; the subjectivism which, by regarding reason as the only source of knowledge, becomes incapable of raising its “gaze to the heights, not daring to rise to the truth of being”; the difficulty in understanding and accepting the presence of definitive and eschatological events in history; the metaphysical emptying of the historical incarnation of the Eternal Logos, reduced to a mere appearing of God in history; the eclecticism of those who, in theological research, uncritically absorb ideas from a variety of philosophical and theological contexts without regard for consistency, systematic connection, or compatibility with Christian truth; finally, the tendency to read and to interpret Sacred Scripture outside the Tradition and Magisterium of the Church.On the basis of such presuppositions, which may evince different nuances, certain theological proposals are developed — at times presented as assertions, and at times as hypotheses — in which Christian revelation and the mystery of Jesus Christ and the Church lose their character of absolute truth and salvific universality, or at least shadows of doubt and uncertainty are cast upon them.

Hence the traditionalist valid concerns with the validity of Vatican II is actually caused by those who implemended the council in ways not only not intended, but in ways counter to them.

6. Therefore, the theory of the limited, incomplete, or imperfect character of the revelation of Jesus Christ, which would be complementary to that found in other religions, is contrary to the Church’s faith….Such a position is in radical contradiction with the foregoing statements of Catholic faith according to which the full and complete revelation of the salvific mystery of God is given in Jesus Christ.Thus, theological faith (the acceptance of the truth revealed by the One and Triune God) is often identified with belief in other religions, which is religious experience still in search of the absolute truth and still lacking assent to God who reveals himself. This is one of the reasons why the differences between Christianity and the other religions tend to be reduced at times to the point of disappearance.

17… the ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery, are not Churches in the proper sense; however, those who are baptized in these communities are, by Baptism, incorporated in Christ and thus are in a certain communion, albeit imperfect, with the Church.

The Christian faithful are therefore not permitted to imagine that the Church of Christ is nothing more than a collection — divided, yet in some way one — of Churches and ecclesial communities; nor are they free to hold that today the Church of Christ nowhere really exists, and must be considered only as a goal which all Churches and ecclesial communities must strive to reach”. In fact, “the elements of this already-given Church exist, joined together in their fullness in the Catholic Church and, without this fullness, in the other communities

Donimus Iesus isn’t quite as blunt as the pre-council popes letters, but it IMO strikes an excellent balance that appears harsh to the spirit of vatican II crowd and to some of our separated brothers. But it was and is needed to combat the relativism that creeped into the church particularly with her theologians.

In number 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium‘subsistence’ means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church, in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth.

It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them. Nevertheless, the word “subsists” can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe… in the “one” Church); and this “one” Church subsists in the Catholic Church

“It is through the celebration of the Eucharist of the Lord in each of these Churches that the Church of God is built up and grows in stature”.However, since communion with the Catholic Church, the visible head of which is the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Peter, is not some external complement to a particular Church but rather one of its internal constitutive principles, these venerable Christian communities lack something in their condition as particular churches.

In summary then Vatican II council and the post conciliar popes have been and continue to be faithful to the pre-Vatican II popes and the ancient Tradition of the Catholic church. It can be said in all frankness that the response times were like the liturgy responses rather late in the damage control area. This however is not the fault of the councils documents, but of the individuals who chose to be as Pope Puis XI termed “pan-christian” which is to say false christians.

1st draft, on the 80th anniversary of Pope Pius XI Mortalium Animos.

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1. An Anglican is fully Catholic by the standards of the Scriptures and the Patristic period.

This is pretty non-specific and therefore difficult to address. Since Fr. Hart has refered to the Vincentian Canon in the past which was written in the 5th century, what are the odds that the Catholic church St. Vincent refers to is one other then the bishop & church of Rome? And the standard of Scripture is if anything a canon, which was developed over time by a given church. So while one can discuss which church (Rome or Canterbury) is closer to “the church” , one can certainly say that Pope ST. Leo the Great was closer still to said church and I don’t think there’s much argument as to who is closer in standards to St. Leo.

2. Our orders have been preserved without defect, with all of the charisms and power Christ has granted through his apostles to his Church.

I am out of my depth on this one. I defer to the bishop of Rome, but I recognize that his judgement in this is jurisdictional not doctrinal, so there’s hope that perhaps some evidence in the historical record will come to light that perhaps will change that ruling.

3. Our doctrine is better and more pure than that of Rome.

The standard for schism & or heresy more so then the Vincentian Canon is the Formula of Hormisdas, I doubt that Fr. Hart’s doctrine is as pure(as in compliance with) as the following Formula

And consequently I hope that I shall be in one communion with you, the communion which the apostolic see preaches, in which is the whole and perfect solidarity of the Christian religion, promising for the future that at the celebration of the holy mysteries there shall be no mention made of the names of those who have been separated from the communion of the Catholic Church, that is, who are not in agreement with the apostolic see.

Points 4 & 5- given that he is a Saint of the church aren’t deemed to give a response on the issue of his Character. I never cared for his concept of development either, but that’s not a cause to speak ill of the dead.

6. The Pope is not infallible.

Pope Agatho letter to the 6th Ecumenical council builds on Pope Hormisdas Formula and maintains the Apostolic see has never err and remains unsoiled, that with a pope condemned of failing to correct heresy. In fact Vat.I uses the Formula in it’s definitions.

7. The Pope does not have Universal Jurisdiction.

Only if your of the school of Orthodoxy which rejects the doctrine of a universal church. If the Catholic church is only visible as a local entity, joined with other Catholic churches aka. insofar as a local church possesses Christ entirely, every Eucharistic community is the Church and all other forms of synodal, national or universal bodies which are external to the nature of the church. If that could be demonstrated I think he would have a point.

8. The Pope is the bishop of Peter’s See, but so is the Patriarch of Antioch.

In the first three centuries Rome, Alexandria and Antioch were the Peterine sees. There was however, only one Chair of St. Peter and it went with him to Rome. IMO one would have to bring forth evidence that the church in Antioch celebrated the feast of the Chair of St. Peter to claim that they actually believed that venerable see still held some or joint authority of the Apostle. Info on the Cathedra Petri

9. The service of Holy Communion is a perfectly valid Mass or Eucharist.

Like point #2 I’ll have to defer on this one.
10. Our Anglican fathers were not Calvinists or Lutherans. –Agreed
11. “Protestant” is not the opposite of “Catholic.”-The meaning has changed over time and the revelance today certainly isn’t as strong as it once was, but isn’t that because the Protestants are finding more in common today with Catholicism then in the past?

12. Some Catholics are Protestant Catholics.

I haven’t read that much of Fr. Hart to know what he means by that. Since the term “Catholic” is IMO attempted to be co-oped I don’t know if he is referring to Anglo-catholics protesting, Catholic-Protesting [in which case they either are in heresy or schism on doctrinal matters already determined or they are at liberty to hold positions not yet finalized, in which case they aren’t protestant, but simply Catholic.

13. We do not need doctrines like “the merits of the saints” or a concept of Purgatory as “temporal punishment.”

If I agreed that his points 1, 3, 6 to 8 were correct; but I don’t. The need is easier to accept when one holds to point #1 as expressed by the Catholic church.

14. When the Articles say that “The Romish doctrine of Purgatory is a fond thing,” this does not mean that we are supposed to be fond of it.

Naturally, but perhaps if Article VI had not removed the two books of Maccabees from Bible as in point #1, then a continuing practice of prays for the dead would allow for a better understanding of Purgatory.

15. At the end of the day, if it is not in the Bible, it REALLY cannot be necessary for salvation.

Again standing on Article VI, I would expect from an Anglican. I can as my church understands it agree with it, but certainly not as those in 1563. But I’m much to much a fan of St. Ambrose, Eusebius of Vercelli & Lucifer of Cagliari to allow the state to determine articles of faith.

I think the Anglican communion has much tradition to bring to the Catholic communion. It should be welcomed back and allowed to keep it’s rites. The church would greatly benefit from it just as it does it’s other rites within the faith. And I’d much rather have a Fr. hart in the fold then a Bishop Thomas Gumbleton.

The last two points seem more of an appeal to Anglicans so I’ll leave those alone.

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Today the Catholic church commemorates the death of Pope Silvester I.

Little is actually know of this Pope, but because it was during his reign that the 1st Ecumenical council was held various supporters of the papacy and those opposed to it have by my understanding made mountains out of mole hills.

Various Catholic e-polygists will state that the papacy called all the Ecumenical council. As if their authority is endangered if one failed to do so. First problem is that we have no original documents to refer to on this or what was later the second Ecumenical council.

The first bit of evidence comes from Rufinus who’s church history is very close(circa 400) to the time of the council which was in 325 A.D. Constantine made his decision “on the advice of the clergy”according to Rufinus, Hist. Eccl., 1:218. That’s pretty open ended. Likely it’s Hosius of Cordova

who was the Emperor’s consultant. Of the two extant lists by Mansi massive work “Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio” and two by Pope Gelasius the first name is always Hosius of Cordova followed by two priests of Rome Vincentius and Vitus, they are followed by much more famous personages who have much higher authority within the church:St. Alexander of Alexandria, Eustathius of Antioch, Macarius of Jerusalem, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Eusebius of Caesarea, and Nicholas of Myra(yes that’s Santa Claus).

It is significant that mere priests are listed ahead of metropolitans and other bishops and this is because they represent the Pope at the council.

Although the fact that the Pope did not attend this council the papacy used this as an excuse not to attend future councils, thereby maintaining the ability to veto items that it found displeasing.

Protestants will frequently note that this is the date of the birth of the Catholic church. Such a claim is very far from true. However what isn’t noted by either protestants nor Catholics sadly is Constantine’s change towards the church from 314

My own desire is, for the common good of the world and the advantage of all mankind, that your people should enjoy a life of peace and undisturbed concord. Let those, therefore, who still delight in error, be made welcome to the same degree of peace and tranquillity which they have who believe. For it may be that this restoration of equal privileges to all will prevail to lead them into the straight path. Let no one molest another, but let every one do as his soul desires. Only let men of sound judgment be assured of this, that those only can live a life of holiness and purity, whom you call to a reliance on your holy laws. With regard to those who will hold themselves aloof from us, let them have, if they please, their temples of lies: we have the glorious edifice of your truth, which you have given us as our native home. We pray, however, that they too may receive the same blessing, and thus experience that heartfelt joy which unity of sentiment inspires- Chapter 56

As for those who will not allow themselves to be cured of their error, let them not attribute this to any but themselves. For that remedy which is of sovereign and healing virtue is openly placed within the reach of all. Only let not any one inflict an injury on that religion which experience itself testifies to be pure and undefiled.-Chapter 59 – Book II Life of Constantine

The problem with this was two fold. One was the merging of the emperor acting as a bishop confusing the role of church & state on the one hand, which created issues btwn the latin and greek speaking church in centuries later and eventually to the schism in 1054 A.D.

The other was the entrance of crypto-pagans and heretics

Thus were the lurking-places of the heretics broken up by the emperor’s command, and the savage beasts they harbored (I mean the chief authors of their impious doctrines) driven to flight. Of those whom they had deceived, some, intimidated by the emperor’s threats, disguising their real sentiments, crept secretly into the Church. For since the law directed that search should be made for their books, those of them who practiced evil and forbidden arts were detected, and these were ready to secure their own safety by dissimulation of every kind. Chapter 66 book III.

Freedom of religion was desired initially to prevent Christians from being deprived of property, killed and shunned. However, it was realized by the Emperor that paganism was already dead and the only viable instrument to unite the empire he wanted to preserve was through Christianity.

The church leaders were slow to react to the changes, most having lived under the reign of VALERIUS DIOCLETIANUS

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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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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

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

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

II

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.

Agreed.

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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