Wednesday, January 26, 2011

BEING REALISTIC ABOUT LITURGICAL CHANGE AND ITS SPEED





An excerpt from Bishop Athanasius Schneider:
An interpretation of rupture of doctrinally lesser weight is shown in the pastoral-liturgical field. One can cite under this topic the loss of the sacred and sublime character of the liturgy and the introduction of more anthropocentric gestural elements. This phenomenon makes itself evident in three liturgical practices well known and widespread in nearly all the parishes of the Catholic world: the nearly total disappearance of the use of the Latin language, the reception of the Eucharistic Body of Christ directly on the hand and standing, and the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice in the modality of a closed circle in which priest and people continually look each other in the face. This manner of praying, that is: not all facing in the same direction, which is a more natural bodily and symbolic expression with respect to the truth of everyone being spiritually turned toward God in public worship, contradicts the practice that Jesus Himself and His Apostles observed in public prayer at the temple or in the synagogue. Moreover, it contradicts the unanimous testimony of the Fathers and all the prior tradition of the Eastern and Western Church. These three pastoral and liturgical practices, in noisy rupture with the laws of prayer maintained by generations of faithful Catholics for nearly a millennium, find no support in the conciliar texts, but rather contradict either a specific text of the Council (on the Latin language, see Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 36, § 1; 54), or the “mens”, the true intention of the conciliar Fathers, as can be verified in the Acts of the Council.

My comments:
Pope Benedict himself seems to indicate in SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM that having two forms of the one Roman Rite (Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms) will allow a more organic develop of the Mass. One could infer from this that eventually the Church will once again have one form of the Latin Rite Mass that will have developed organically from celebrating both forms freely. My suggestion below this post is based on that possibility.

But we must be realistic. It took over 40 years for the older, unreformed Mass to be re-instituted as the "out of the ordinary" form of the celebration of the one Roman Rite.

It may take as long if not longer for the Roman Missal to be revised to reflect a more "organic development" in its reform than what we got on the First Sunday of Advent 1969 and through the design of a secretive committee of specialists in Liturgy in Rome.

However, we must acknowledge that the Second Vatican Council's document on the Liturgy SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM is still the most authoritative document we have concerning the reform of the 1962 missal. We can't ignore it, we must simply interpret it properly. That document has been seriously misinterpreted by many and some of that many in high places.

Keep in mind that Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC, gave a presentation at a conference of cardinals and bishops held in Rome on December 17, 2010 and the proper interpretation of Vatican II and his call that the Holy Father issue a apostolic teaching on the correct interpretation. The author is auxiliary bishop of Karaganda, Kazakhstan. He is also a student of Joseph Ratzinger. The bishop's presentation certainly implies and also makes explicit that there are some seriously flawed interpretations that have been used by many in the Church, some of the many in high places, that led to ill-advised reforms or reforms in the wrong direction. You can read his suggestions for the proper interpretation of Vatican II HERE. His presentation is significant although many will ask, "Who is this obscure auxiliary bishop from Karaganda, Kazakhstan? Can anything good come from Kazakhstan?" Of course many asked the same question about Jesus and where he came from. So keep an eye on this lowly auxiliary bishop. He may be destined for higher places.

So folks, don't hold your breath for a new Roman Missal that is markedly different than the Ordinary Form we celebrate today; but we are getting a new English translation of the Roman Missal on Saturday evening, November 26, the Vigil of the First Sunday of Advent. This new missal is based upon the typical edition of the Latin Missal that was released in 2002 and it does have some minor changes from earlier post Vatican II Latin missals. This new missal is a monumental step forward, although the English parts of some of the priest's prayers are a bit lacking in beauty although accurate in translation. We've had a lack of beauty and a lack of accurate translation since the Roman Missal of 1970. So this is a monumental step forward.

The only reforms that I think we could see in the near future will be the clear option of kneeling for Holy Communion which may lead to the recovery of altar railings and the preference of Holy Communion received on the tongue.

The option of Mass ad orientem will be made clearer also.

But just remember I am not clairvoyant although I might be.

Let me conclude with another quote from Bishop Schneider's recent presentation:

Two groupings that maintain the theory of rupture are evident. One such grouping tries to protestantize the life of the Church doctrinally, liturgically, and pastorally. (My comment: I think this first form of rupture is the most insidious becasue it often is presented to the laity as coming from the Magisterium, the living, visible one.)

(Back to the bishop's theories:)On the other side are some traditionalist groups that, in the name of tradition, reject the Council, and avoid submission to the supreme living Magisterium of the Church, the visible Head of the Church, submitting for now only to the invisible Head of the Church, waiting for better times.


My questions:
In the arena of rupture, which one are you? How do you "reform" your rupture and get with the Church of today?

46 comments:

Paul said...

Sadly, I agree with you, Father. Sadly, because unless God grants me a lifespan not seen since the days of Adam and Eve, I am unlikely to live to see the restoration.

Kent said...

Which one am I? Good question. I vascilate between the two. I am certainly not one to accept the "protestantization" of the Catholic Church. I think that that is the one most horrible thing that has happened. Five hundred and fifty years ago people in England died rather than attend a Protestant church service. Today it is almost like the Catholic Church is bending over backwards to accommodate this heresy. But I want to be in union with the Church and I understand that rebellion against the Church and its leadership is also not a good thing. Communion in the hand, versus populum, holding hands, banal music? Shouldn't we be able to expect liturygies in strict compliance to Vatican II? I sympathize with the Lefebvrists. They want all the right things (even though they reject Vatican II). And if you fall in line behind everyone you could end up walking off a cliff. But then again you have to stand up for what you believe to be right evn if you're the only one on the bus. So my tendencies are definately towards the tradtional and conservative. But it is a lonely position. There are no 'kindred spirits' in my part of the world. I agree with Bishop Schnieder: we need a papal declaration to clear up some of the these things.

Henry Edwards said...

Well, Paul, like Madame Defarge said in A Tale of Two Cities, we of a certain generation may not live to see the end of the restoration, but at least we can thank God that we lived to see its beginning.

Robert Kumpel said...

Your post above about Bishop Vasa is a perfect example of what the problem truly is: He is being lauded as "one of America's most orthodox bishops". It's tragic that any bishop should carry a tag distinguishing him from the others, because THEY ALL SHOULD BE ORTHODOX. The same holds true in our parishes. The tone for how that parish runs will be set by the pastor. If he is a rupturista, we'll get more the same banal "That 70's Church". If he is faithful to the Magisterium and Tradition, we'll get something like how St. Joseph's in Macon runs. You could be transferred tomorrow Father and another priest could come in and change everything.

Why can't all of our priests be on the same page? Why can't all of our bishops follow the same game plan? Bishop Schneider has a brilliant solution: Lay it all out and make it clear once and for all. Because what we've been doing for the last 40 years has been a consistent disaster of inconsistency.

Frajm said...

Robert you are dead right. There is such disunity in our One, Holy, Catholic Church and there need not be if we simply followed the teachings of the Church and named a spade a spade. That's what Bishop Vasa is doing and he will have a hard time of it in Santa Rosa I predict. Some might say that he is not "pastoral" enough, others though will say that when you teach the truth and expect people who positions of leadership to uphold the orthodox teachings of the Church that is when you are most pastoral because you are leading people away from false theologies to the truth of doctrine and dogma. Then there aren't the upheavals you have in parishes and dioceses when new clergy arrive, because there is a template for what is expected.

Anonymous said...

I often wonder how anyone here, or on many such silly blogitations, DARES to judge the orthodoxy of Bishops. And I wonder how many of them do it with a signed letter to the bishop whose faithfulness they question here cowardly, under the protection of anonymity.

These men serve with the explicit approval of the Holy Father. When the Holy Father judges a bishop unworthy of his office, he is removed - and that is a very rare occurance. That is his call, not ours.

Most of the judges I see are self-appointed, theologically untrained, politically motivated marplots who have come to believe that their preferences (and they are nothing more than preferences) should be the preferences of everyone else.

Anonymous said...

If these ruptures can be healed within the studied interpretations of Vatican II it gives me the sense that Vatican II was implemented too quickly without as much study as it might have had.

rcg

Frajm said...

Vatican II wasn't what was implemented but everybody's opinion of what Vatican II was and if they couldn't convince you that some new innovation was in the Vatican II documents, they pled that it was within its spirit. Anything went and goes.

Robert Kumpel said...

Dear Anonymous:

As one of your self-appointed marplots who judges everyone else by the lens of my "preferences", I hope you will be patient enough to consider a couple of points.

1) The Holy Father DOES appoint bishops. However, he is sometimes the last person in the loop as the previous bishop usually offers a terna of candidates, which in turn, goes to the Apostolic Nuncio of the country, which then goes to the Congregation for Bishops. The Holy Father cannot possibly know every single priest who is nominated.

2) Those close to Pope John Paul II, admitted that he was sometimes hoodwinked because, in his experience, Communists labeled their enemies as homosexuals. So when a candidate for bishop's possible homosexuality was brought to his attention, he reacted by automatically granting the appointment, believing the priest's detractors were acting the same way Communists did.

3) None of us are judging bishops, but we have a right and a responsibility to judge their actions. And some of the actions that concern us are far more serious than mere "preferences". For example, liturgical abuses that bishops tolerate in their priests are not based on "preference". Another example: Nowhere in America was Holy Communion in the hand a tradition, yet the USCCB falsely asserted that it WAS, to persuade Pope Paul VI to grant the indult for Holy Communion in the hand.

4) There are many reasons the pope is unlikely to remove a bishop, especially the risk of the bad bishop creating a schism.

5) Not all of us hide behind our anonymity (as you anonymously suggest) when communicating with bishops. I certainly haven't and it has cost me.

Paul said...

Dear Anonymous,

I will challenge the orthodoxy of a priests, bishops, and nun--along with other lay people. I have done so with all the love and skill that I can bring to bear, in line with what Holy Scripture teaches us to do. Failing to do so certainly does no favor for the soul of those who have left the teachings of the Church.

As for my qualification to judge bishops and such, I have none, but I am able to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church and I always encourage others to correct me where my understanding is in error.

Odd, how "Anonymous" attacks others for anonymous attacks.

Paul

pinanv525 said...

Well, well...looks like old Anonymous got his feathers ruffled or his cassock in a wad. Well, Anon, I am a theologically trained, unpolitically motivated, non-marplot(LOL),and I think it is rather easy to judge the orthodoxy of a Bishop...you judge them by their words and by their behavior. Now, see...wasn't that easy. The Pope can't keep up with everything and everybody, either, and he may choose for his own reasons not to discipline a Bishop even if his "orthodoxy" is in question. I would remind you also that this is a BLOG, where the expression of opinions is the purpose. So, we DARE (you do love melodrama, don't you Ignotus)express those opinions. "Marplot"...that is pretty good.One of those words we forget about sometimes, like 'glum,' 'glib,'fey,' and 'cloy.'

Adlai said...

I agree with pin about Anonymous (Comment #6) that he is our beloved friend and Spirit of Vatican II marplot, Pater Ignotus (a.k.a. the person with more pseudonyms than Sybil had personalities).

Since we all have a universal call to holiness and the Lord can work through the simplest people, even ignorant, theologically untrained laymen can call others (i.e. bishops, priests, religious, faithful) to holiness. Just think, throughout salvation history (and the especially the history of the Church) you can see many examples (Children of Fatima, St. Bernadette, St. Faustina, ad infinitum).

I'll bet my ranch house on them before some of the theologically trained post-Vatican II modernists.

Another marplot who's striving for heaven and wants to assist Jesus in leading all souls to heaven especially those in most need of His mercy.

Still waiting patiently for Pater Ignotus to "cry uncle" and allow the TLM at his parish.

Adlai

Rabinowitz said...

My question has nothing to do with
bogus conspiracy theories regarding Communist operatives; the "Robert Ludlum" theory we might call this one.

I also said nothing about the process of appointing bishops. After appointment, however, a bishop has, de facto, the Holy Father's approval. I guess blog commentators are in a better position to judge a Bishop than the Holy Father.

To say "I can read the Catechism therefore I can judge the orthodoxy of a bishop" is utterly preposterous. I can read the US Code and the Constitution, but that does not make me an expert on Constitutional Law.

This is not about the universal call to holiness. It is about a person with no theological training, no study in the Church's history, law, systematic theology, moral theology suddenly standing in judgment of a Bishop.

It is hubris and is it damaging the church. It is the infection of our Church by the Smoke of Satan - American Slash and Burn Politics. Falsely accusing bishop of heterodoxy is no aid to souls on their journey to heaven.

Frajm said...

I have to agree with Rainbowitz on this. Different bishops have different pastoral styles. It would be very divisive in a parish or a diocese for people to be on a witch hunt in terms of the orthodoxy of either priests or bishops. Bishop Vasa's requirements in terms of a profession of faith, are precisely that, his right and his requirement, but this particular profession of faith is not mandatory Canon Law--but dioceses and even pastors are free to require it if they discern its advisability.

Now if a priest or a bishop is promoting same sex marriage, female priests and liturgical norms that are clearly at odds with the Roman Missal and General Instruction, then sure, the laity have a right to voice their concerns and to be heard.

Robert Kumpel said...

Father, you are correct, so I guess I indirectly agree with Archie Bunker's attorney on this one. However, I would also add that it is not unreasonable for the laity to question, or to quote St. Thomas Aquinas:

"There being an imminent danger for the faith, prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects."

However when we do so, we must do so with humility, recognizing the office that our priests and bishops hold.

The problem is, a lot of us have reduced the entirety of the Bible and Sacred Tradition to two words: "judge not." However, Jesus was not commanding us to turn our brains off.

What do I mean? Take for example Summorum Pontificum. This Motu Proprio was promulgated by the Holy Father for very specific reasons, particularly because bishops were not being generous with Pope John Paul II's indult for the TLM, as JPII had asked. As soon as Summorum Pontificum was published, we had some bishops (and I mean SOME, not ALL) who began to set up roadblocks by suddenly requiring Latin proficiency exams, lists of registered parishioners who demanded the Mass, or just plain ignored requests from the laity for the Mass of the ages. It is not hubris or insubordination to question why a bishop would resist the wishes of the Holy Father. One Vatican Cardinal went so far as to call those resisting Summorum Pontificum as "agents of the devil." So far as I've seen, no one on this blog has accused any bishop of being in league with the devil, but we have a reasonable right to question. However, our questions must be asked in charity and humility, two areas where I confess, I am weak. However, we DO have a responsibility to be alert--not witch hunters--but alert to those things that damage the integrity of the faith and the good name of the Catholic Church.

As far as the smoke of Satan goes, I would suggest it also extends to those corners of the Church where congregants sat like patsies and swallowed whole teachings that tickled their ears, even though their previous Catholic training ran counter to it. Sadly, we are living in a period where the correction is just beginning and I fear it is going to be slow and painful.

Frajm said...

I think your comment on Summorum Pontificum is very apropos. A bishop must provide for a stable group in whatever parish who desire the EF Mass an opportunity to have it and the pastor of the parish must also be open to providing for this pastoral need even if he must find a priest from elsewhere to actually celebrate the Mass. The laity have every right to air their grievance when what the Holy Father has directed is not offered or recognized in a parish or diocese.

Templar said...

Perhaps there would be a lot less questioning if there was a lot more evidence of leadership, starting with Bishops taking the vow against modernity.

I come from a parish whose response to SP was the pastor printing in his parish bulletin that there will not be a TLM at his Parish while he was there, and his wording was far from charitable. Our Bishop's response? The Pastor was elevated to Monsignor. He's still in place and recently celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalope with Aztec dancers. It is unreasonable to say this can not be questioned.

My Mother told me at a young age that the Catholic Church welcomes being questioned because it believes the Fullness of Truth will always carry the argument. A far cry from "don't judge me" which is what my children like to claim as immunity.

Frajm said...

Just to be clear and fair Templar, I don't suspect that the priest in question was elevated to Monsignor because he doesn't follow Summorum Pontificum's relatively recent mandate. I suspect he was named a monsignor before Summorum Pontificum? And that he is an exemplary priest in all other areas.(If not this is not the place to highlight where he fails.)

Rabinotitz said...

Traditionalist "Catholics" began to seethe with consternation bordering on apoplexy when the Vatican announced that Pope will meet with leaders of world religions in Assisi in October to pray for peace. Examples:

"Like Pope Pius XI who, in the 1920s, said, “The Catholic Church has never permitted its subjects to take part in congresses of non-Catholics. The union of Christians cannot be considered except by promoting the return of the dissidents to the One True Church.”

But, Blanche, this ain't 1920!

"The leader of the Society of St Pius X has expressed anger at Pope Benedict’s decision to hold another inter-religious meeting at Assisi."

The oh-so-holy practitioners of "traditional" Catholicism call out the Vicar of Christ!

"We are afraid that whatever you (Pope Benedict)may say to clarify things more, the simple faithful, of whose number we are, everywhere in the world will see but one fact (and that is all that will be shown, for example, on television): the Vicar of Christ not only speaking, debating, dialoguing with the representatives of other religions, but also praying with them. As if the manner and the end of prayer were indifferent."

The "simple faithful" can't understand! Sob, sob. Grow up.

Complete and utter clap-trap, all from the keyboards of those who have read the Catechism and, therefore, are quite self-assured that they know better than the Bishop of Rome.

Next time you need heart surgery, call your next door neighbor who read a book on thoracic surgery a few years ago.

And yes, pinanv525, this does strike a cord, because it strikes at the very heart of our faith, the task given to the Bishop to be the teachers and leaders.

Hal said...

Mr. Rabinowitz, what is your point? No one here has even broached the topic of Assisi, yet you throw this up in our faces, and make your condescending "sob sob" provocations. Why are you wasting your time with us if you hold us in such contempt?

I would guess that most of the regular readers of this blog disagree with the pope on this issue, but most of us are also respectful enough to wait and see and withhold any criticism. Can you not show US the same courtesy? I would also remind you that while meeting with pagan leaders certainly does fly in the face of traditional teaching, by doing so, he might be accused of violating it, but he is doing nothing to change it. The authority of the teachings still hold.

You're not going to convert anyone here to your version of the Church, so why not join your friends and go back to reading U.S. Catholic, or, if you want a fight this badly, why don't you go down to your neighborhood bar where they can see your face and you can't hide behind your fake name? Most of us look upon you with pity as a mere pain in the...you fill in the blanks.

pinanv525 said...

"Rabino-titz?" Give me a break. LOL!You paint with a broad brush, Ignotus. Really, until you choose one identity and stick to it I find it hard to take you seriously. Nothing is more cowardly or disingenuous than to come on here under ten different names and play the troll. On other forums you would have been banned long ago. Let's see, in an earlier post, you wanted to play "my theology degree is bigger than your's." I can play that. Bring it on...
Traditional Catholics have reason to be concerned and smart... Priests like you are one of the reasons. Bishops have let us down in many instances and get off with a slap on the wrist. You don't have to be a Priest or a Bishop to know when something is amiss. Your condescension is disgusting. BTW, if you read Paul again, we are all called to be teachers and leaders, in a Word, witnesses. Grow up yourself.

Hal said...

Ohhhh, Rabinowitz is a PRIEST? Methinks he doth protest much.

Henry Edwards said...

May I suggest that folks might not be so hard on members of that graying generation of priests who were ordained without having received the liturgical and theological formation that we associate with younger and more faithful priests. If they retain invincible ignorance or even heretical beliefs from their seminary days, perhaps their teachers deserve the greater part of the blame.

pinanv525 said...

I would like for Ignotus/Rabinotits/Maria/et al to articulate for us his view of the Liturgy and the Mass and his vision of the Church vis a vis Protestantism (since he is big on "ecumenism")and other world religions. Also, what are the theological reasons he will not allow the TLM in his Church (or is it something as simple as that he is too lazy to learn it).
Fr. has been abundantly forthcoming and specific about his own theology and views on the Mass and Liturgy. He has been remarkably pastoral and instructive (not to mention patient)and he has responded openly to all Ignotus' challenges and smug repartee. All Ignotus has done is ridicule, talk down to Fr. and the members of the Blog, and bleat phony outrage.

Henry Edwards said...

"I would like for Ignotus/Rabinotits/Maria/et al to articulate for us his view of the Liturgy and the Mass and his vision of the Church"

On the other hand, perhaps this Pater Ignotius ("Ignorant Father") has already said enough for us to get it.

I'm thinking of the farm boy leaving home in the country for Saturday night in town, whose father told him, "Just keep your mouth shut, and nobody will know what a fool you are."

Maybe I.F. should have kept his mouth shut.

RabinoWitz said...

My point is that people who judge the orthodoxy of bishops are usually doing so with little or no understanding of the decisions being made. And their judgment is being made with little or no understanding of the theological or canonical underpinnings of the bishop's decision.

The Assault on the Pope's Assisi plans was merely an example of people who do not know what they are taling about judging bishops.

Templar said...

I do not believe that Pater Ignotius translates as "Father Ignorant". Years ago Catholic Hospitals would enter "Pater Ignotius" on the birth record of a Bastard Child, which makes me believe it's more proper translation would be "Father Unknown", but not being a gifted Linguist I could be wrong.

As for our own PI, well....might I suggest that the best approach is to just not feed the troll.

Rabinowizaditz said...

Rabinowitz:

You've had your fun. Please go bother some other Catholics. Run along now.

SqueekerLamb said...

Troll - light, Troll - bright
I wish I may,
I wish I might
chomp this troll I read tonight.

Rabinowitz said...

There is a difference between suggesting that something is "amiss" and accusing a Bishop of heterodoxy or heteropraxis.

The example of those who have attacked ther pope's plans for the October Assisi gathering is an example. Those leading the assault have judged, without competence, the actions of a bishop. And they are wrong.

pinanv525 said...

Well, Ignotus, I agree that something may be "amiss" and not heterodox...yet. Sometimes there is a fine line. Perhaps those upset by the October meeting should wait until after the meeting to criticize and judge, There should be plenty of reason then. LOL!

And, just why does Pope Pius' 1920 statement not have relevance today? Has Catholic belief changed? Is it still not the goal that all Christian Trinitarian denominations return to the True Church? Your idea of ecumenism seems to be to "meet them half way (with what ever sacrifices of dogma and liturgics it takes)." But, at a time when the Church is under such assault from without and within, any compromise will be turned against the Church. We have seen this time and time again.
Now, the Pope Pius Society is a pretty radically conservative group. That doesn't upset me per se as much as it does some but, when they become obstinate and unyielding in the face of such a strong and orthodox Pope as Benedict, it concerns me. Time will tell...

Rabinowitz said...

Was Pius's 1920 statement "de fide"? All the evidence - subsequent papal and conciliar teaching - suggests it was not.

It is "relevant?" Yes, but it is not normative when removed - decontextualized - from the on-going development of doctrine regarding the relationship of the Catholic Church to other Christian denominations.

I do not believe that ecumenical or interreligious relations equate to giving up dogma. Neither does Pope Benedict. Those who oppose the Assisi gathering wrongly suggest that it does. They judge a bishop - the Bishop of Rome in this case - without adequate understanding of both doctrine and praxis.

And that was my original point.

pinanv525 said...

Alright, Ignotus, your point is well taken. I have no argument with what you say regarding the Assisi meeting.

My concern is not that ecumenism "equates" to giving up dogma; my concern is that it will end up there. Besides, given what we believe about the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, isn't the only proper form of ecumenism for the Church to be found in evangelism, proseltysing, and making the Faith easier for Protestants to understand and accept? I believe the Church needs to speak from the strength of her ancient and profound faith and witness rather than cast about for points of possible compromise. Like it or not, Protestants saw the developments in the post Vat II Church as compromise moving towards union. Apparently, so did some Bishops and Priests. If you want to read a cogent Protestant take on Vatican II, find Karl Barth's, "Ad Limina Apostolorum." It is short and to the point...a Reformed view of Vat II. It is fairly reserved as opposed to some Protestant theologians who saw it as an open door. Sorry to disappoint them with John Paul II and Benedict...LOL!

Anonymous said...

Just a suggestion Father: Next time you see Rabinowitz or Ignoramus or whomever this person is, try using your "delete" button. You don't need to give his agenda a forum. Let him start his own blog.

Rabinowitz said...

What does the Church SAY the proper form of ecumenism is? Not, "What do I think or what does Fr. McDonald think, but what do the Church's own documents SAY?"

The Church has very directly said that ecumenism is not proselytism in Dignitatis Humanae / The Declaration on Religious Liberty. See section 4 in that document.

Unitatis Redentigratio / The Decree on Ecumenism directly states that "the restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council."

Further it states "It follows that the separated Churches and communities as such, though we believe they suffer from the defects already mentioned, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Chirst has not refrained from using them as MEANS OF SALVATION (emphasis mine)which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church." (This last portion was what was restated in Dominus Iesus.)

To assault Bishops who, given their rights and authority as official teachers of the faith, pursue ecumenical (or interreligious) dialogue as defectors or, worse, heretics, is why I return to my original point. That is that people presume to judge the Bishops of the Church when, on such subjects such as ecumenism, they are woefully incompetent to pass such judgments.

I am sorry if that sounds like condescension, but it is the truth.

Hal, my point here is not to convert you or anyone else to my way of thinking, but to present the Church's way of thinking for your consideration. If you find the Church's way of thinking painful, that is your issue, not mine.

pinanv525 said...

The Church's definitions of ecumenism are fine. It is what people read between the lines that is the problem.

Hal said...

Great stuff Rabinowitz, certainly nothing we haven't heard before, over and over and over and over. In fact, you have just given us a fantastic example of why Bishop Schneider's call for clarifying Vatican II and issuing a syllabus of misinterpretations is so timely.

One cannot help but question after reading your quote from the document cited, "What does that mean for all previous teaching?" Take for example, Mortalium Animos, which says:

"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."

And what about the perennial:

"Extra Ecclesium Nulla Sallus"
("Outside of the Church there is no salvation")?

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Can we tell a man with terminal cancer that he can use his tumor as a "means of healing"?

God cannot be and teach one thing in one age and be and teach another later on. He must be consistent. If such is the case, then what is it here that is inconsistent? Did Jesus just get wiser in the 60's and inspire the Vatican II bishops to finally "get with it"? Or could it be there there are flaws in Vatican II? Is it possible that when Pope Paul spoke of the "smoke of Satan" that it meant more than just the laity being upset about having the rug pulled out from under them?

It is well-known, that as Cardinal Ratzinger, our pope did not like his predecessor holding court with the unbelievers at Assisi. We don't know a whole lot about what he's going to do this time around. One intrepid blogger has suggested that the pope is going to invite the leaders of these other false religions an invitation to become Catholics. Whatever he is going to do, it would be imprudent and presumptuous for us to say much about it at this stage. Yet YOU INSISTED ON BRINGING THIS UP.

Questioning a bishop is not "assaulting" the bishop. If such were the case, I suppose St. Catherine of Siena, or St. Paul should have been damned for assault, since both "assaulted" the bishop of Rome. The employment of such-overdramatized language to suit one's complaints is so baby-boomerish.

Now, if you are done trying to say, Nahh, Nahh, Nahh and stick your finger in other people's eyes, maybe you can recall that Cardinal Ratzinger has warned us that Vatican II cannot be interpreted as some sort of "superdogma" that takes precedence over all else. As pope, has told us that we cannot look at its documents in terms of rupture. If you cannot accept the unalterability of God's truth, if you cannot see the barren landscape that you insist on invoking as a "new springtime" then that is your issue, not mine.

Rabinowitz said...

Hal, demanding that a bishop, in this case the Bishop of Rome, renounce his plans for a meeting of world religion leaders in Assisi is an assault. It is a denial of his (the bishop's) God-given authority to be the teacher of his diocese and, in the case of the Bishop of Rome, the preiminent teacher for the Catholic Church.

I brought it up because it is a signal example of people who, without adequate (or any) understanding of matters theological, historical, or canonical, fly into apoplectic fits when a bishop, in this case the Bishop of Rome, does something they think is inappropriate.

They are wrong to demand that the plans be scuttled. They are not competent to judge the Bishop of Rome and his plans.

Vatican II is not "superdogma" and neither is Mortalium Animos. They are both parts of a living, growing understanding of our realtionship with God. We call that understanding of our relationship with God "theology." The thoughts of Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Henri de Lubac were all "novel" in their day.

"Extra ecclesiam nulla salus" remains the Church's teaching. However, we have come to a better, more expansive understanding of just who is "church" and who is not. See: The Documents of the Second vatican Council AND Dominus Iesus for the clarification you need.

God's Truth is unalterable. Our human understanding of that Truth is, by virtue of our limited human understanding, forever alterable.

pinanv525 said...

"God's Truth" is a vague and philosophical concept. I prefer "God's Word." Also, "...more expansive understanding..." is a code phrase for "let's mess with it."
The Word of God is not predicated upon human understanding. Human understanding is meaningless with out revelation and faith. See Anselm.

Hal said...

So who is demanding that the pope scuttle his plans for the Assisi meeting? Certainly no one who is commenting here.

Rabinowitz said...

Hal - see the comments I posted above re: objections to Assisi. I know not one here is objecting, but I use those I posted as an example of unwarranted attacks on bishops, in this case the Bishop of Rome.

Thomas Aquinas gave us a more expansive understanding of grace. Agustine gave us a more expansive understanding of Original Sin. This is not a "code word" but a reality.

Templar said...

This is really like wrestling with a Pig. The pig enjoys it, and you just get muddy for your efforts.

pinanv525 said...

Ignotus, you are using "expansive" to mean "progressive and inclusive." This is exactly why it is a vague and meaningless word in a theological context (or any context). I'm sure that usage fits your ecumenical bent and your "ecclesiology-lite" preferences. Both Aquinas and Augustine begin with the same stance as Anselm..."faith seeking understanding." Augustine's theology of sin and grace is damned near Calvinistic, so watch out. To refer to it as "expansive" is only to say that it emphasizes more clearly the depths and extent of our sin and the absolute necessity for an overpowering grace for redemption. Christology is central for Augustine, meaning that any doctrine or theology that dilutes Christo-centrism or denies the power of His Presence is suspect...see:world religions. This is what all the reform of the reform is about. Whatever Vat II intended, the resulting de-emphasis upon the role of the Priest and the Real presence and all this BS (that is a theological term) ecumenism is an attack on both Augustinian and Thomistic understandings of the Church, doctrine, and theology. But, you know this.

Rabinowitz said...

I am perfectly happy to understand that "expansive" means "emphasizes more clearly." Unitatis Redegtigratio "emphasizes more clearly" our Church's desire for the unity of Christians AND our understanding of where we and they stand in relationship to each other. There are aspects of the relationship that, previously, we de-emphasized and understood with inadequate clarity.

Among the implementation documents, Ad Totam Ecclesiam / Directory Concerning Ecumenical Matters Part 1, is part and parcel of the "emphasis and clarification" Holy Mother Church has given us.

But there is NO Catholic sense in which "expansive" means simply repeating or restating what has already been said or written.

Revelation closed with the death of the last Apostle. The Church understands that "faith seeking understanding" is an expansive and progressive process. Were it not, no theologians or papal/conciliar teaching of any flavour would have appeared on the scene, giving us greater emphasis and clarity along the way.

pinanv525 said...

WE are arguing semantics here. you and I have different understandings of "expansive" and "progressive."

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