Sunday, June 21, 2015

THE LAST TIME CONSERVATIVES DISMISSED A MAJOR ENCYCLICAL IT ENDED TERRIBLY FOR THEM

William F. Buckley, Gary Wills and Eugene Kennedy:



I post below a comment that is very apropos for us to consider this morning and it is written by an anonymous author named "Anonymous Boy" and as a comment on another post about Pope Francis' splendid encyclical. I do not know who Anonymous Boy is, but his comment deserves a post since it is so well reasoned and written!

What I did not know is that Gary Wills, one of the most strident and obnoxious liberal voices in the Church (an aging Catholic like so many Catholics of his age), was a very conservative and traditional Catholic up until about 1969. He, like so many Catholics his age today, is a study in how a well-disciplined traditional Catholic from the 1950's, a Cusp Catholic bridging Pre-Vatican II to Post Vatican II became such a post-Catholic type. Many, many, many Catholics well-formed in the pre-Vatican II Church made dramatic, almost personality disordered, flip flops toward the mid to late 1960's. I mean, many, many, many sound Catholics of pre-Vatican II formation became something else in the late 1960's. That is a study worth studying before these aging dinosaurs die out! 

But Anonymous Boy's historical analysis is a wake-up call to the new Cafeteria Catholics in terms of Pope Francis' new encyclical and gives a good, but brief, overview of how Cafeteria Catholicism developed and keeps on going like the energizer bunny!

His comments are based on a very good article from The New Republic which you can read by pressing this sentence!

Here are his comments:

For those of you following the reaction to the pope's encyclical and the history of popes mixing into politics, I recommend this fascinating article, which describes how American conservatives reacted to Pope John XXIII's "Mater and Magistrat."

Much of this sound and fury will sound familiar. Here's the "boom" line: "One lesson from the Mater et Magistra contretemps is that almost all Catholics are cafeteria Catholics."

"(William F.) Buckley’s feud with the Catholic left came to a boil when Pope John XXIII released the encyclical Mater et Magistra (Mother and Teacher) in 1961, which reaffirmed the church’s support for government welfare programs and coupled them with calls to fight poverty in the Third World and end colonialism. The anti-imperialism of Mater et Magistra was particularly repellent to National Review conservatives, who thought that European domination of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia was essential for fending off communism.

In an angry editorial, National Review described Mater et Magistra as a “venture in triviality.” The magazine also published a joking note saying “Going the rounds in Catholic conservative circles, ‘Mater Si, Magistra no.’” (The joke was first made by Garry Wills, who was playing off a slogan of the Cuban Revolution: “Cuba si, Yanqui no.”)

Catholic liberals responded in kind. America described the National Review editorial as “slanderous” and the Reverend William J. Smith characterized Buckley as a “hypercritical pigmy.”

Buckley turned to his learned friend Garry Wills to work out a more theoretically satisfying response to liberal Catholics. A former seminarian, Wills tried to resolve the argument by writing a pioneering scholarly treatise on the nature of encyclicals, titled Politics and Catholic Freedom (1964). In this book, Wills argued that encyclicals are merely advisory, and not binding on specific policies.

The Mater et Magistra dispute led to many ironic consequences. In defending National Review’s capitalist Catholicism, Buckley and Wills had provided a rationale for social liberals to ignore church teachings on sexual matters, which was especially pertinent after the Vatican released the encyclical Humanae Vitae (1968), reiterating opposition to birth control and abortion. Wills himself moved to the left in the late 1960s, breaking with Buckley over the Vietnam War and civil rights. About the core issue of the Mater et Magistra debate, Wills argued in his 1979 book Confessions of a Conservative that “[t]here is something about laissez-faire individualism that is historically at odds with Catholic tradition—but this is a matter not reachable by papal fiat or by those who challenge the sincerity of their fellow believer’s religion.”

By the late 1960s, as Wills also noted, the two sides had flipped, with “‘liberals’ now denouncing encyclicals rather than using encyclicals to denounce others, ‘conservatives’ sticking with the Pope even when he had issued his disastrous encyclical on contraceptives.” One lesson from the Mater et Magistra contretemps is that almost all Catholics are cafeteria Catholics.


That article doesn't mention it, but the conservatives' reaction was much the same to XXIII's "Pacem en Terris," written in 1963 after the Cuban missile crisis, which called for an end to the arms race and a ban on nuclear weapons and asked nations to agree on disarmament.

I'm assuming that no Catholic politician was ever denied Communion for flouting "Pacem in Terris."



73 comments:

Anonymous Boy said...

Thank you, Father. In case I was unclear, and I'm sure I was, only the first two pararaphs and the last two are my comments. The rest, starting at the quote mark, was a section I clipped out of the article.

Happy Fathers Day to our spiritual fathers, and of course, all the rest as well.

Lefebvrian said...

I see little similarity between Pacem in Terris and the latest encyclical. Catholics have always had a very clear teaching on the use of war, and we are obviously against nuclear holocaust. The concept of "environmentalism" is nebulous and politicized.

And there is no comparison between the eco-encyclical and Humanae Vitae -- the latter is infallible, and the former is not. In that instance, to deny Humanae Vitae is to deny Catholic doctrine.

I think you would do well to stop criticizing people who are clearly very troubled by what is happening in the Church and the world. If you cannot understand why people are concerned about this papacy, that indicates to me a lack of pastoral sensitivity. And simply calling people a bunch of names, while being wholly in line with the pope's own tactics, does not help.

George said...

"(William F.) Buckley’s feud with the Catholic left came to a boil when Pope John XXIII released the encyclical Mater et Magistra (Mother and Teacher) in 1961, which reaffirmed the church’s support for government welfare programs and coupled them with calls to fight poverty in the Third World and end colonialism. The anti-imperialism of Mater et Magistra was particularly repellent to National Review conservatives, who thought that European domination of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia was essential for fending off communism.

>Communism did not make much inroads into Africa and the Middle East. Communism only seems to become the ruling political system when it takes a country by force, or in the case of Eastern European countries, when the Soviets shamefully had those countries ceded to it's control. In Asia, it took over South Vietnam by force but was unable to take over South Korea due to the military intervention of the West. If European domination of Africa and the Middle East kept communism out, was that such a bad thing? Colonialism brought Catholic missionaries and the Catholic faith to Africa and Asia. Does that not supersede any bad that was done(not to excuse it)? Then there is also the example of Rhodesia versus Zimbabwe(one could give other examples). The people were far better off in the former than in the latter.

The Mater et Magistra dispute led to many ironic consequences. In defending National Review’s capitalist Catholicism, Buckley and Wills had provided a rationale for social liberals to ignore church teachings on sexual matters, which was especially pertinent after the Vatican released the encyclical Humanae Vitae.

>No, Buckley and Will did not provide a rationale for liberals to ignore church teaching on sexual matters. They would have done it anyway. The difference between Mater et Magistra and Humanae Vitae is that one was more prudential(one could differ about what kind of welfare programs would be the most effective, how much to spend etc. - the same also with ending poverty in the Third world) . One could even argue whether or not welfare is the best way to help the poor . In the case of poverty in he Third world, after the Colonial powers pulled out and ended their rule of certain countries, what too often resulted was corruption and so the poor were worse off since the economies of the countries declined and much of the aid destined for them was siphoned off. Humae Vitae dealt in absolutes. There is no prudential judgement involved in abortion and artificial contraception.

These comparisons really need to be thought through.

The New Republic? Really?



Angry Augustinian said...

I have to agree with Lefebvrian. I am not even sure what your point is. So, Anonymous Boy knows how to cut and paste…he gets a lollipop.

George said...

There was a time not that long ago in the history of man that people even in the most advanced countries had to burn wood and coal to cook and heat their homes. Can you imagine the air pollution and the clear-cutting of forests that would exist today if that were still the case? Until the 19th and twentieth centuries there was not the piping an drainage systems and processing facilities to handle the sewage in our cities. Can you imagine the disease potential and problems that would result if that were still the case today? I'm sure there is not a few of our elderly living in our warmer climes who are glad that air conditioning was developed. I remember growing up at a time when recycling just wasn't done. I now recycle my newspapers, my plastic grocery bags, aluminum containers, non-aluminum metal containers, cardboard and any plastic containers. Many things are now recycled such as motor oil, which at one time were not.

Progress in not all bad. A balanced approach is necessary. Praise be to God from Whom all blessings flow.

George said...

"I'm assuming that no Catholic politician was ever denied Communion for flouting 'Pacem in Terris'. "

Are you saying that Pres. John F. Kennedy should have been denied communion? Pacem in Terris , like many encyclicals was about the world the we should be working toward. At the time it came out, the West was dealing with an atheistic adversary that had no intention of relinquishing its nuclear arsenal. Without nuclear deterrence, might we have well seen another major conventional war on the continent of Europe? No wW.
Western country that had these weapons when 'Pacem in Terris' came out would have seriously entertained the idea of giving them up and this includes Catholic France.

Cletus Ordo said...

Apples and Oranges.

Angry Augustinian said...

The funniest thing about all of this is that, now, the Left has to pretend they love the Pope….LOL!!!

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the scientific merits, which are at best marginal, the encyclical is a failure because it gives aid and comfort to the enemies of the Gospel. Pandering is not evangelizing.

Anonymous Hex

Angry Augustinian said...

I guess carbon credits are the new indulgences, Gore a new prophet, and tithes are all the new taxes. Heresy is "climate denial." Well, if they are correct, they won't even have to burn us at the stake...just wait a few years and we burn up, anyway. LOL!

Anonymous Boy said...

Angry A. and Lefebrvian -- so where is the list of church teachings we can freely ignore? (Although in Lefebrvian's case, I'm pretty sure the list starts with obedience).

Angry Augustinian said...

Who said anything about Church teachings we can freely ignore? No one here is ignoring any infallible Church teaching or doctrine.

Angry Augustinian said...

According to the AP, the Pope is a WW II scholar now, as well as a scientist. He needs to leave WW II alone…lots of questions regarding the Church back then and her dealings with dictators...

Lefebvrian said...

Anonymous Boy, I've never suggested that anyone should ignore any Church teaching. On the contrary, I hope that everyone will believe everything the Church teaches in its entirety, especially the pope, the bishops, and all the clergy.

The modern problem, which is what we have been discussing here recently, has to do with a failure to distinguish between the levels of Church teaching and the particular assent that the faithful owe to the teachings as a result. There are some who think that everything that the pope says is de fide. This misunderstanding is one of those that was corrected by the definitions of Vatican I.

There are those who, perhaps like yourself, have turned "obedience" into the only necessary condition for being in the Church. This is another modern error. Faith is a higher virtue than obedience. A lawful superior cannot through obedience legitimately order his subordinate to commit a sin against the Faith. And so, if a superior, be he pastor, bishop, or pope, attempted to do so, such a one cannot be legitimately exercising his authority, and obedience may not bind the subordinate.

For my part, the pope has never called me on the telephone and told me to do something in particular. Come to think of it, neither has my archbishop. So, as far as obedience goes, I'm good.

And since no pope has proposed anything ex cathedra since Humanae Vitae (or, arguably Ordinatio Sacerdotales), I am caught up with believing and practicing everything the Church teaches as well.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anonymous Boy:

You might direct AA and Lefebvrian to the following website, beginningCatholic.com and its entry on infallibility. The websites addressed Catholic basics.

http://www.beginningcatholic.com/infallibility.html

The website explains:

The charism of infallibility is fully engaged only in definitive Magisterial teachings on faith and morals. This can occur in either...

• Ordinary teachings, or

• Extraordinary teachings

The Magisterium is the teaching office of the Catholic Church. It is exercised by the Pope alone when he teaches officially, or by the whole "college" of bishops together with the Pope.

Most Magisterial teachings are ordinary. The Pope's ordinary teachings are issued in the course his normal activity: his encyclicals and other documents, various addresses, etc. . . .

Frequently, the Magisterium sees fit to define some point of doctrine so that we can see, understand, and hold it with great clarity. These definitions are infallible, and we must believe them with the assent of faith.

But much of the time, the Magisterium teaches without making such definitions. Are we free to ignore these teachings that are not infallible?

"Am I free to reject any non-definitive teachings that I don't like?"

Not at all!

We must believe these teachings, too, although a lesser degree of belief is required. The technical expression is "a religious submission of mind and will". This is less than the absolute assent of faith, but it still means that we must honestly strive to understand and accept these teachings.

As a practical matter, we should assume that the even Church's non-definitive teachings are correct. They are still made with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, although not to the degree that guarantees that they're free of error.

We should have very compelling, objective reasons before challenging such teachings. (And please note that the most frequent topics of dissent are not in this category! Topics like contraception, abortion, divorce, and homosexuality are all addressed by definitive Church teachings.)

Also remember that we tend to prefer our own flawed opinions, rather than admitting that we have to change.

This call to change is the hard and unending work of Christian discipleship. It's known as conversion.

_________________________

Apparently ex-Protestant neo-Catholics like AA (I am unsure about Lefebvrian) have a very hard time with this, one assume because of their lingering Protestantism


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Faith is a higher virtue than obedience" is a false comparison. They do not exist apart and cannot, in the Catholic faith, be exercised apart.

If one is faithful, one is obedient to legitimate authority. if one is obedient, one is living the Faith.

The way Lefebvrian is going to get around this essential connection is to claim, based on personal authority, not on Magisterial authority, that ANY Church teaching with which he/she disagrees is not magisterial and, therefore, not authoritative.

Convenient, that.

Angry Augustinian said...

Obedience is in matters of faith and doctrine. How can one "believe something to a lesser degree?" I will faithfully obey the Pope in matters of faith and doctrine. I am not required to believe flawed thinking based upon bad science enjoined to Marxist ideology and I am not going to. I am not required to hug trees, support the UN, or worship at the feet of a Pope who is fallible other than in doctrinal teachings. This Pope is presumptuous, divisive, and reckless….a threat to the Church and all the faithful. So, there.

Lefebvrian said...

Anonymous 2, firstly, I have never been a Protestant, thank God. Second, I am aware of the information that you are referring to, which is the same thing I was referring to when I mentioned different levels of teaching. So... yeah... I already know all that. In fact, it's discussed in detail in those books that I recently recommended to you. Did you read them yet so we can get back to our discussion?

Fr. Kavanaugh, I've noticed that you only seem to comment on posts after I've commented. Why are you stalking me? Look, this is awkward, but I don't like you like that. I'm married. To a woman. It's not you, it's me. Please, just give me some space.

Anonymous said...

"Goods, even when legitimately owned, always have a universal destination; any type of improper accumulation is immoral, because it openly contradicts the universal destination assigned to all goods by the Creator. Christian salvation is an integral liberation of man, which means being freed not only from need but also in respect to possessions. “For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith” (1 Tim 6:10). The Fathers of the Church insist more on the need for the conversion and transformation of the consciences of believers than on the need to change the social and political structures of their day. They call on those who work in the economic sphere and who possess goods to consider themselves administrators of the goods that God has entrusted to them." CSDC 328

Angry Augustinian said...

The Pope said, in Turin today, that people who work for or invest in weapons industries are not Christians. He added, "if you trust in men you are lost"…like he trusts in fallible bad science and the men who support it and socialists causes. First thing Monday morning, I am buying more shares of Raytheon.

Dialogue said...

What was the deal with Buckley's accent?

Anonymous said...

AA is not an "ex-" Protestant.

George said...

Humane Vitae was an Encyclical issued by Pope Paul VI in response to increasing dissent from both within and without the Church over the use of artificial contraception and abortion. There is simply NO acceptable dissenting response to these things, because they are everywhere and always grave offenses against God. To dissent from this particular encyclical is to give your assent. In addition this encyclical was aimed not just to those in power and who had positions of responsibility, but to individual Catholics as well. With Pacem in Terris, can it be unequivocably said that those dissented form it were totally and without reservation always an everywhere in favor of the use of nuclear weapons? One does not have to dissent in toto from this kind of encyclical but it is possible to have a difference of opinion in how and what way nuclear weapons could be done away with. Nuclear weapons, unlike abortion and artificial conception, was not something that an individual Catholic could do much of anything about.
The same with with Mater et Magistra. The United States over the last forty years has put into place the largest and most comprehensive welfare system in the history of man. We now know that whatever good it has done, it has also done much harm.
Were Wiliam F. Buckley and others at least partially correct in the reservations thay expressed? As far as fighting poverty in the Third world, Father Shenen Boquet who is head of Human Life International, has many times written on how foreign aid from the U.S and other western countries has done much harm because it too often has come with string attached(the aid being contingent on accepting abortion and more recently same-sex marriage). Corrupt governments have also prevented foreign aid being the help it might have been. With the Encyclical Laudato Si, dissent does not mean one is in favor of pollution, unfettered economic development, or exploitation of natural resources. One can however dissent from the solutions that are proposed to address these things.

” One lesson from the Mater et Magistra contretemps is that almost all Catholics are cafeteria Catholics."

No, almost all Catholics are not cafeteria Catholics. Well, if you want to count all those who have left the Church then yes they are. I'm but counting them. When it come to issues of faith and morals, faithful Catholics are not cafeteria.

At any rate, Anonymous boy has set up a false equivalence between the dissent against the above encyclicals.

Jusadbellum said...

What is the Pope asking us to do?

Believe that humanity is affecting the climate? Sure, we all believe we AFFECT the climate! But one of the assertions is that "scientists believe" that CO2 is a CAUSE of climate when in fact it's a relatively minor player and a trailing indication (more warmth = more plants = more CO2).

We're thus told that the Pope believes one side's scientists' opinions (which they haven't used the scientific method to actually verify for the rest of us).

Fine.

What else are we told? That the world's politicians and financial titans are abusing both the poor and the environment, that their socio-political and economic decisions are immoral on account of the consequences in the lives of the poor and the planet and that THEY ought to change their thinking and behavior.

Now.... inasmuch as China is Communist and a vast polluter of the planet and abuser of its 1.2 billion people, what is the Pope asking us in the USA to do about the Communist government's atrocious behavior on this score?

How will a UN treaty effect a sea change in China's behavior?

How about India's or Russia's or the EU or the Islamic countries of the emerging world? How are the 1.2 billion Catholics to behave such that we convict or convince our leaders in the US, Canada, EU and central and South America to behave better for the poor and planet?

By voting to give them more money and more sweeping power?

Jusadbellum said...

A really balanced take on this over at ace of spades. http://ace.mu.nu/
The Pope's Encyclical on AGW; A Different Perspective [Sean Bannion]
—Open Blogger
"...So while I'm saying that Pope Francis is wrong on the science -- and he's quite, quite wrong -- he's not wrong on the wider theological points he's trying to make nor is he wrong to comment on what's going on in the world. "A reflective Catholic is always a Catholic rather than something else." Catholics, actual Catholics, not Cafeteria Catholics or Christians who culturally identify as "Catholic", do not fall into either/or thinking on any given point and that includes this encyclical. Faith is usually not a binary proposition. It's quite possible to be a good Catholic (or Christian) and think that Francis has some good points on care for the environment, while pointing out that his science is as dead wrong as the science in the Wells Report.

While all the attention this encyclical gets will be focused politics and the environment, Laudato Si really addresses the relationship of humans to nature, to each other and to God. It discusses the connection between sin and the ruin of the environment, it condemns the overconsumption of natural resources (I said "overconsumption," not consumption"), and -- and here's the really Catholic part of it -- shows a similar disregard for those who would ruin God's creation through abortion and population control."

Paul said...

The path to Christ is set before us and has been set for almost two-thousand years. Do we choose it or do we think we have a better way?

As for Buckley's accent: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_F._Buckley%2C_Jr.#Linguistic_expertise

Anonymous said...

"I am not required to believe flawed thinking based upon bad science enjoined to Marxist ideology and I am not going to. I am not required to hug trees, support the UN, or worship at the feet of a Pope who is fallible other than in doctrinal teachings. This Pope is presumptuous, divisive, and reckless….a threat to the Church and all the faithful. So, there."

Yes! I couldn't have said it any better. Probably the most intelligent response on this blog. Put that man's face on a can of stew.

Anonymous said...

I'm on my way to confess the grave sin of denying and hating the concept of man made global warming. That is what you want isn't it, Father McDonald? BTW trivial seems to be an appropriate description of what John 23's document was. I have never heard of his document until now which tells me that from a spiritual standpoint and a political one that it didn't stand the test of time. It became irrelevant almost about the time the ink dried. Appears global warming encyclical is headed for the same dust bin because after Thursday's launch I see little media attention. Also, I guess I need to confess my contempt for the idea that government welfare programs are good and decent and that they are promoted by saintly politicians.

Mike



Anonymous said...

Another observation about the false premise of Anon Boy's comments is that the papacies of John 23 and Paul 6 ended badly for the Church and liberals in particular. Those two popes are responsible for appointing corrupt bishops that gave us the child molestation crisis. Conservatives were able to then enjoy 35 years of light as a result of the mismanagement of the Church in the 60s and 70s. John Paul II and Benedict XVI where made possible in some part by men like Buckley. I pray another corrective action will take place after Francis' reign ends soon as he promises us that it will.

Mike

Angry Augustinian said...

Yes, the Pope hates the larger nations….the US in particular I am sure. But, hey, wait…he's from Argentina….Argentina, who waited until the very end of the war to decide to support the allies….Argentina, where Nazi leaders and war criminals, including Adolph Eichman, hid out for decades after the war…Argentina, who has always had a soft spot in her heart for oppressing the poor and loving dictators and tyrants…yeah, Argentina…LOL!

Mark said...

For those (liberals, modernists, conservatives, traditionalists...everybody) who believe that it's fine to ignore/reject Church documents, such as Encyclicals...

...well, there is a steep price to pay for said indifference.

For example, to many Catholics (and Protestants), Sunday has become "just another day"...in the United States, it's just another business day to tens of millions of Christians...in the Fall and Winter, it's a day to set aside to obsess about the National Football League.

The destruction of the Holy Day Sunday has even led to the weakening of such holidays as Thanksgiving. That has become a day to watch NFL games and then bolt to stores to get a head start on Black Friday.

Well, there are consequences to pay when we ignore, for example, Papal documents.

For example, for those who believe that ignoring Pope Saint John XXIII's Encyclical Matter et Magistra is without consequence, guess what said folks missed?

They missed the golden opportunity to have promoted the teaching to keep Sunday holy.

Mater et Magistra contains a section devoted to the Church's traditional teachings in regard to the vital need to keep Sunday holy.

Guess what we find in Pope Francis' Encyclical Laudato si? Yep...Pope Francis's Encyclical contains an exhortation to restore Sunday as a day focused upon God and liturgy.

Pope Francis also called upon Catholics to set aside time each Sunday for holy contemplative thought.

Laudato si also exhorts Catholics to view Sunday as a day of holy festivity. Not secular festivity. But a day of festivity in the sense of traditional Catholic understanding...God, rest, contemplative thought, and family gatherings.

But important teachings in regard to Sunday from Laudato si and Mater et Magistra will never reach the Faithful as long as we feel free to reject this or that Encyclical.

The next time that conservatives and Traditionalists complain that the teaching of keeping Sunday holy is all but dead among Catholics...well...direct said folks to Laudato si and Mater et Magistra.

In those Encyclicals, conservatives and Traditionalists will find powerful teachings from Popes Saint John XXIII and Francis to center each Sunday around the Eucharistic.

From there, Catholics will learn the correct way to approach each Sunday...Mass, rest, contemplative thought, and holy festivity, such as family gatherings for Sunday dinners.

Mark Thomas

Mark said...

Should Father permit, I would like to follow my latest comments with the following from Pope Saint John XXIII's Encyclical Mater et Magistra.

By having mocked then ignored said Encyclical, Catholics who have done so have lost the golden opportunity to promote the following powerful teachings from Mater et Magistra:

Making Sunday Holy

248. Allied to what We have said so far is the question of the Sunday rest.

249. To safeguard man's dignity as a creature of God endowed with a soul in the image and likeness of God, the Church has always demanded a diligent observance of the third Commandment: "Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day." (52)

God certainly has the right and power to command man to devote one day a week to his duty of worshipping the eternal Majesty.

Free from mundane cares, he should lift up his mind to the things of heaven, and look into the depths of his conscience, to see how he stands with God in respect of those necessary and inviolable relationships which must exist between the creature and his Creator.

250. In addition, man has a right to rest a while from work, and indeed a need to do so if he is to renew his bodily strength and to refresh his spirit by suitable recreation. He has also to think of his family, the unity of which depends so much on frequent contact and the peaceful living together of all its members.

251. Thus, religion and moral and physical well-being are one in demanding this periodic rest, and for many centuries now the Church has set aside Sunday as a special day of rest for the faithful, on which they participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the memorial and application of Christ's redemptive work for souls.

252. Heavy in heart, We cannot but deplore the growing tendency in certain quarters to disregard this sacred law, if not to reject it outright. This attitude must inevitably impair the bodily and spiritual health of the workers, whose welfare We have so much at heart.

253. In the name of God, therefore, and for the sake of the material and spiritual interests of men, We call upon all, public authorities, employers and workers, to observe the precepts of God and His Church and to remember their grave responsibilities before God and society.

Oh, well...Mater et Magistra is just a "liberal policical" Encyclical that certain folks have mocked, rejected, and ignored.

By having done so, said folks have contributed to the failure of Church teachings, for example, in regard to the keeping of Sunday holy, from having reached the Faithful.

Mark Thomas

Lefebvrian said...

Mark, you have an excellent point about the necessity to know the contents of and believe the teaching contained in papal documents. Let's take the example of Unam Sanctam, which illustrates your point very clearly due to its brevity and clarity.

That papal bull presents "the golden opportunity to have promote[] the teaching" that "it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff." This declaration from Unam Sanctam is part of the ordinary, infallible Magisterium.

By ignoring this papal bull, then, folks have contributed to the failure of Church teachings, for example in regard to the necessity of being a member of the Roman Catholic Church, to reach the faithful and the entire world.

Considering how ignored this important document (Unam Sanctam) has been in our time of indifferentism, I would agree with you that "there are consequences to pay when we ignore . . . Papal documents."

Another apropos example in our times is Pope Gregory XVI's encyclical Mirari Vos, which takes on the topics of liberalism and religious indifferentism. For example, what desperate need is there in our times to remind the people of the following admonition from the Vicar of Christ:

"Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle that 'there is one God, one faith, one baptism' may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever."

Let us all pay heed to papal documents and, where required, humbly believe, in accordance with the Church's instruction, the statements of the Holy Church of Christ, speaking through the Magisterium.

Anonymous said...

Mark Thomas,

Maybe it would be best to make the main focus of encyclicals consistent with doctrinal teaching rather then making the main focus some kind of twisted understanding of economics and science and then throwing in some good stuff so people can say -"You see, he said that you shouldn't work in Sundays"

Mike

Anonymous Boy said...

I plan to respond.... but I'm awaiting my personal phone call from the Pope. Or at least an archbishop.

Mark said...

If Father is willing, I would like to present from Laudato si Pope Francis' exhortation to center Sunday upon God and His Holy Divine Liturgy.

Should people heed Pope Francis' exhortation in question, then we will regain Sunday as a day of Mass, rest, contemplative thought, and holy "festivity"...for example, a day to gather with family.

However, should Catholics ignore reading Laudato si, then they will have squandered the golden opportunity to have spread the word that Pope Francis desires that Christians return Sunday to its holy and proper place in the life of believers.


237. "On Sunday, our participation in the Eucharist has special importance. Sunday, like the Jewish Sabbath, is meant to be a day which heals our relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world.

Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, the “first day” of the new creation, whose first fruits are the Lord’s risen humanity, the pledge of the final transfiguration of all created reality. It also proclaims “man’s eternal rest in God”.[168]

In this way, Christian spirituality incorporates the value of relaxation and festivity.

We tend to demean contemplative rest as something unproductive and unnecessary, but this is to do away with the very thing which is most important about work: its meaning.

We are called to include in our work a dimension of receptivity and gratuity, which is quite different from mere inactivity. Rather, it is another way of working, which forms part of our very essence.

It protects human action from becoming empty activism; it also prevents that unfettered greed and sense of isolation which make us seek personal gain to the detriment of all else.

The law of weekly rest forbade work on the seventh day, “so that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your maidservant, and the stranger, may be refreshed” (Ex 23:12).

Rest opens our eyes to the larger picture and gives us renewed sensitivity to the rights of others.

And so the day of rest, centered on the Eucharist, sheds it light on the whole week, and motivates us to greater concern for nature and the poor."

----------------------------------------------------------------------

As His Holiness Pope Francis made clear, should we center Sunday upon the Eucharistic, then the proper understanding and use of the Catholic Sabbath, which is a great gift to us from God, will become clear to Catholics.

It is unfortunate that many Catholics have declared that they won't spend one second of time reading/paying attention to Laudato si.

That is unfortunate, as they will have missed Pope Francis' teaching in regard to
the Catholic Sabbath.

Mark Thomas

Angry Augustinian said...

I think it is great too keep the Sabbath holy…go home after Mass, turn on the air conditioner, put the sprinklers on in the yard, fill up the pool for the kids to swim, turn on the Braves game for some disgusting conspicuous consumption, pop a roast in the oven, and clean your guns while you watch the game in your Confederate flag bathing suit.

Mark said...

Should folks with nefarious intentions attempt to misuse Laudato si, how can those Catholics who refused to have read the Encyclical set the record straight in regard to Laudato si?

I recall those times when Culture of Death folks quoted Pope Francis following, for example, Papal press conferences, advanced the lies that Pope Francis had "softened" the Church's teachings on artificial birth control, abortion, and homosexuality.

Certain Catholics declared that they would not pay attention to Pope Francis' remarks...they had expressed that they were indifferent to Pope Francis.

Guess what? Said Catholics rendered themselves incapable of having quoted the transcriptions of His Holiness' comments in regard to artificial birth control, abortion, and homosexuality.

Said Catholics were/are unable to counter lies advanced by Culture of Death folks.

The same will occur should Catholics refuse to read Laudato si.

Should powerful Culture of Death individuals and/or groups attempt to twist Laudato si to advance the Culture of Death agenda, then the "I ignore Pope Francis" Catholics will find themselves unable to set the record straight.

Information is power. In many ways, a person who has refused to read Laudato si will have rendered himself/herself powerless.

Mark Thomas

Angry Augustinian said...

Regarding soil and water, in the U.S., the National Centers for Environmental Information maintains a series of environmental indicators for various risks. The environmental indicator for runoff risk for drinking water has not increased, but decreased sharply — by 60 percent from 1973-74 to 1996-97, the latest period for which data is posted. Likewise, soil erosion on cropland is not increasing, but decreasing, having declined 41 percent between the first (1982) and most recent (2010) Natural Resources Inventory.

Likewise, according to the EPA, US air quality has improved dramatically. In 1980-2013, ground-level ozone was down 33 percent, nitrogen dioxide 54-60 percent, sulfur dioxide 81 percent, carbon monoxide 84 percent, and lead 92 percent. Particulate matter was down 34 percent in just 2000-2013. In Air Quality in America, Joel M. Schwartz and Steven F. Hayward show that available data going back to 1900 document that air quality was improving at the same rates even before passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970. (No wonder environmentalists have switched to calling carbon dioxide – the breath of life for plants – a “pollutant.”)

Globally, the United Nations’ 2014 Millenium Development Goals Report documents similar news:

· The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation reports that from 1990 to 2010, the share of the world’s people without sustainable access to safe drinking water was cut in half, meeting its goal five years ahead of schedule. In 1990-2012, the share of the world’s population with access to an improved water source increased from 76 to 89 percent, meaning that more than 2.3 billion people gained access to an improved source of drinking water.

· Meanwhile in developing regions, the proportion of undernourished people decreased from 24 percent in 1990–1992 to 14 percent in 2011–2013. From 1990 to 2012, the proportion of the world’s children under the age of five who were estimated to be stunted – having inadequate height for their age – declined from 40 to 25 percent.

rcg said...

I have not had the chance to read it while away this week. A practice I try to enforce with homilies, letters, and other documents, etc. from clergy is to let the initial reaction wash over me, then read it again, maybe several times, maybe even aloud, to see how I can understand it from the author's perspective and hopefully his meaning. I will start by reminding people that Pope Francis the man comes from an environment, society, and culture that is terribly corrupted. His understanding of capitalism is that of South American oligarchies. I understand much of what he says and I believe it is accurate insofar as it goes; but seems very incomplete. I can't tell if it is limits to his understanding or to his rigor. I think he understands very well the immensity of the struggle people locked in a battle with sins such as homosexuality and greed. I like his comparison of the Church to a field hospital: we have to get them to come in while they are still sick, not after they start to heal. I am in the arms industry and consult for a large company. My particular expertise is in foreign military sales. I have not read the statement AA refers to above, but will search for it. I will say that it is not far wrong for the same reason that his infamous, "Who am I to judge?" Was basically right. We can give a lot of power to fools, if we are not careful.

Angry Augustinian said...

Much of the above is due to efforts and investment by the US and other large, major nations…and capitalism.

Dialogue said...

Sunday is not the "Catholic Sabbath". The Church has always recognized Saturday as the one and only weekly Sabbath. The Christian observance of Sunday is similar to the Jewish observance of the Sabbath, but that does not make it our Sabbath.

gob said...

"Fergit Hell" huh Gene.

Anonymous said...

The encyclical was written by a group of writers appointed by the Pope. The drafts were reviewed and agreed to by selected persons and/or group(s). The Pope does not have the time or expertise to prepare such a complex document such as this is. He is taking the recommendations of people he trusts. This is not to demean his expertise just to state reality. Naturally, the final document says what he himself accepts as fact or well thought out opinion. In short, it is now his baby.

In the end it is a document that will define his papacy along with anything else he publishes after the synod on the Family. After these he may wish to retire.

His message resonates best with secularists and atheists and somewhat also with liberal Catholics. Atheist and non-Catholics hear perhaps the first time (they did not listen in the past) that our Church is not against science, evolution in particular. Listening to a popular NPR program, I heard the host positively purring about this news (to her) as she was discussing this in length with other liberal commentators.

So, why did he write it? My best guess is : 1. he promised to his cardinal electors that as Pope he would not be self referential when speaking in the name of the Church; and 2. because he guesses, perhaps rightly, that this is the best way to grab the attention of the public outside the Church. For what purpose I do not know. I hope it is to push a Catholic view point on public policy. I think he succeeds with the first and fails with the second objective.

The greatest weakness of the encyclical in my view is that it was not written by Benedict XVI.

George said...

Mark Thomas:

"For those (liberals, modernists, conservatives, traditionalists...everybody) ...who believe that it's fine to ignore/reject Church documents, such as Encyclicals..."

Whose ignoring /rejecting? Are there that many rejecting (or that have rejected) the Encyclicals you cite in toto? Faithful Catholics can accept the moral dimensions and aspects which are set forth and elaborated in an Enyclical while differing with the prudential aspects ( not yet proven scientific conclusions and economic proposals for example, where opinions can differ). The prudential aspects also include possible solutions or remediations.

"Well, there are consequences to pay when we ignore, for example, Papal documents."

Whose ignoring? I see people differing and disagreeing with certain aspects. What faithful Catholic is going to disagree with keeping Sunday Holy? Or abortion being a grave evil? With the Encyclical Laudato Si, dissent and disagreement does not mean one is in favor of pollution, unfettered economic development, or exploitation of natural resources. One can however dissent from the solutions that are proposed to address these things. One simply cannot conclude that disagreeing with certain parts of an Encyclical, one is dismissing the document in it entirety.

"For example, for those who believe that ignoring Pope Saint John XXIII's Encyclical Matter et Magistra is without consequence, guess what said folks missed?"
"They missed the golden opportunity to have promoted the teaching to keep Sunday holy."
"The next time that conservatives and Traditionalists complain that the teaching of keeping Sunday holy is all but dead among Catholics...well...direct said folks to Laudato si and Mater et Magistra."

There are some reading this blog who were not around when Matter et Magistra was issued, and there are others who were too young at the time to even have a Papal document on their radar. At any rate, even if one was around at the time and old enough to be interested, its not like it would have been published where it was conveniently accessible.The internet was still decades away. Perhaps if one was in close proximity to a Catholic institution of higher learning one could obtain a copy. So most of us here did not miss a golden opportunity. I don't know how it was disseminated by the bishops of the time. Absent any additional knowledge of the situation in the Church back then. I'm not going to make any unjust accusations against them. I would hope that Catholics in those parts of the country where they have a substantial presence would take the Holy Father's exhortation to heart and refrain from shopping on Sunday. I suspect that the ones that do this will be the Traditionalists more than the progressives but I'll be glad to be proven wrong.






George said...


Cardinal Donald Wuerl said on Sunday that Pope Francis’ recently-released thoughts on global warming are intended to open the dialogue on the issue, not to be a definitive statement."

"Whether it's economics, whether it's politics, whether it's finance, everything has a moral dimension to it because its human," Wuerl told Fox News. "And what the Pope is holding up for us is, we can't just close in on ourselves, our own personal interests, our economic or financial interests or political interests. We have to look at this through the moral dimension of how does this affect everybody on the planet."

“The pope is talking about what we should be doing, not ‘Here is a political agenda that you must accept.’ …

Angry Augustinian said...

The Pope clearly has a political agenda. This country and other developed nations have long been aware of and acting to correct environmental issues (see my post above). These are common sense matters for civilized nations and do not need a papal encyclical to address them. The whole thing was unnecessary. Why does the Pope choose this too make so much noise about given other moire serious moral problems facing the Church? It is clear from his other comments regarding industrialized nations and industry that he hates capitalism and free markets. He also hates the military, which is the only reason the Church still exists.

Anonymous 2 said...

Lefebvrian:

Thank you for the clarification. Are you then SSPX? Judging from your identifier and from your posts citing to pre-Vatican II magisterial documents and challenging various aspects of Vatican II it seems you may be.

Thus you say “Let us all pay heed to papal documents and, where required, humbly believe, in accordance with the Church's instruction, the statements of the Holy Church of Christ, speaking through the Magisterium” and you discuss Unam Sanctam and Mirari Vos in this context.

These two documents appear to make sweeping and uncompromising claims about the necessity for salvation of bending the knee to Rome. But, of course, the fundamental question is a constitutional one regarding the proper interpretation and effect of those claims. This underscores yet again the importance and value of us all gaining a better understanding of the proper hermeneutic for interpreting and applying magisterial documents. This fundamental issue keeps on resurfacing, and until we grapple with it we will go round and round making no progress on these questions but just continuing to disagree.

Can we at least agree that as a matter of logic the Vatican II Council and those who implemented its mandates that appear to conflict with various pre-Vatican II magisterial documents:

(a) Were ignorant of such pre-Vatican II documents (unlikely), or

(b) Deliberately acted in violation of infallible binding Church norms that could never be changed, or

(c) Appropriately limited the reach and/or effect of infallible or fallible Church norms through legitimate hermeneutical techniques of interpretation of magisterial documents, or

(d) Inappropriately and mistakenly purported to do so through the use of illegitimate hermeneutical techniques of interpretation of magisterial documents?

(continued)

Anonymous 2 said...

In helping to select among these logical alternatives, perhaps I can return the favor of your book recommendations by mentioning the following two books by the Jesuit Francis Sullivan:

 The Magisterium: Teaching Authority in the Catholic Church (1983) (http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Magisterium.html?id=FQYBAAAACAAJ


 Creative Fidelity: Weighing and Interpreting Documents of the Magisterium (1996) http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/723288.Creative_Fidelity

One reviewer said of the second book


“Frank Sullivan's book is simply a must-read and know book for anyone who reads an official Catholic Church document, EVER! Fr. Sullivan does a thorough job of explaining what dogma is, how it is different from doctrine, and the principles that one must consider - questions being asked, history of development around the issue, purpose of the teaching - when evaluating whether something is a dogma, a definitive doctrine, a non-definitive doctrine, or a theological opinion. He develops key interpretive principles for weighing the importance of text and provides ample examples from ancient and more recent church history. I find this book to be extremely helpful to combat "armchair" church experts who think that everything the popes say is infallible and who do not understand that an ecumenical council's writings (like those of Vatican II) matter more doctrinally than a memo from the Roman Curia. These distinctions and more enable people to read the official teaching texts of the church more comprehensively, and more faithfully.”


A couple of years ago I proposed on this Blog that those interested form a study group to explore together the constitutional question of how magisterial documents should be interpreted and who had the authority to undertake such interpretation. I did not get any takers. I did get an expression of skepticism from those thinking much as you seem to do, about the value of these books and suggestions that they were unreliable. I mention them again here just to show that the question of the proper interpretation of magisterial documents such as you cite is much more complicated than is often made out by those insisting on their literal interpretation, not to mention their infallibility.



Lefebvrian said...

1 of 2

Anonymous 2, I am a layperson. The SSPX is a priestly fraternity.

There are aspects of the Vatican II documents that are incompatible with the Magisterium as it has been handed down to us through the centuries through the popes and ecumenical councils. Unfortunately, those aspects of rupture have been emphasized to the exclusion of those things from Vatican II that are in conformity with the Tradition. Lest anyone say that I am personally judging there to be some discontinuity, I would not propose to do so (and I do not expect my protestations on this point to stop those who will levy that charge at me). That conclusion is one that has been debated at the highest levels of the Church for many decades now. Suffice it to say that, if there was no question of discontinuity, Pope Emeritus Benedict would not have found it necessary to discuss the hermeneutic of continuity in the first place.

I do not know why the fathers of the Second Vatican Council disregarded the Traditional teachings in the areas where they did so. The history of the council, written contemporaneously with the council and afterward by those present, seems to indicate a collective of progressivist bishops who pushed through a pre-determined agenda. By the time they did so, being so well organized in advance of the council, it was difficult for the other bishops to stop them, and they ultimately failed despite monumental efforts.

I do not see that there is a hermeneutical problem with these things from Vatican II, to be honest. Pope Paul Vi stated clearly that nothing infallible happened at the council. So we know that we can continue to believe those things that were previously infallibly defined without being in error. If Pope Paul VI had proposed something infallible, that would be a major problem in terms of reconciling the differences. Since he spoke clearly, that problem does not exist. This, to me, indicates strongly the care that the Holy Ghost provides for the Church of Christ.

Knowing what we know about the levels of teaching, we can agree, I suspect, that all statements from the Magisterium pertaining to the faith and morals are owed at least "religious assent of the intellect." That is the level of assent owed to Vatican II, except for those teachings contained therein that were already part of the Deposit, to which a higher degree of belief is owed (by virtue of their having been promulgated in some more solemn fashion).

That being the case, where there is a conflict between the Vatican II statement and a prior statement to which a higher degree of assent is required, we must believe that to which a higher degree of assent is required. Again, since there is nothing infallible in Vatican II's documents that wasn't previously defined and part of the Deposit, this is the safest course to be sure that one is holding the Catholic Faith.

Is it possible to interpret the Vatican II statements that are questionable in such a way as to bring them in line with the pre-existing Magisterium? Doing so would eviscerate the Vatican II text to the point that one might as well keep to the original, clearer statement. It is similar to Fr. McDonald's liturgical proposals -- one could make the Novus Ordo "Traditional," but in so doing, one would be reinventing the Tridentine Mass. Tradition binds in such a way as to avoid having to create or recreate.

Lefebvrian said...

2 of 2

This is somewhat beside the point, but bears mentioning: Practically speaking, what has happened in the Church since Vatican II is a complete reliance on that single council and the subsequent writings of the popes and bishops' conferences to the exclusion of nearly everything that came before. Even if Vatican II were not problematic in some ways, this sort of dualist approach itself indicates that many believe there to have been a rupture. They, of course, choose to believe only those things coming after Vatican II to be things proposed for our belief. This is a much more real problem than the so-called Traditionalists, whose adherence to the Magisterium is based on the biding force of the entire Tradition. Moreover, these people make up the vast majority of the Church, especially when compared to the Traditionalists.

I hope I have sufficiently answered your comment here. Frankly, I am not disposed to discuss this topic (Vatican II interpretation) anymore -- I have put a lot of thought into it personally and have moved on, secure in the Faith. But I appreciate your level-headed and thorough comment so I wanted to take the time to respond to you. If I lived where you live, I would be very happy to discuss in person this and any other things we could find to discuss. I am certain we'd find such discussions to be much more profitable and (given my usual struggle with civility on the Internet) respectful. Alas, we don't not live in the same place. Perhaps, if we both arrive at the Throne of Our Lord, through his mercy and grace, we can hash it out then when all questions will be answered.

This was typed on a phone, please forgive any typos.

Anonymous said...

http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/fetzen-fliegen/item/1819-why-i-m-disregarding-laudato-si-and-you-should-too

For anyone interested in getting a summary of Laudato -Si. It is a fair assessment of the encyclical. I think much more "well reasoned" than Anon Boy's half baked idea that conservatives critiquing John 23 caused more liberalism.

Mike

Mark said...

To: Lefebvrian.

I agree that we should read and promote the teachings that you noted.

I would add that would do well to read and obey Summorum Pontificum.

Bishops should read Vatican II's teachings that call for the Mass to include Latin and Gregorian Chant. Seminarians are to be trained in Latin, according to Vatican II.

Pope Saint John XXIII's teachings on Latin should be promoted by our bishops.

I am sympathetic to your point.

Mark Thomas


Anonymous 2 said...

AA:

Thank you for sharing the information from the EPA and the UN. There is indeed good news to celebrate. Here is a link to the 2014 UN Millennium Goals Report for those interested in more details on progress made:


http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/publications/mdg-report-2014.html


And here is a link to a UN website discussing progress still to be made (“A New Sustainable Development Agenda” on United Nations Development Programme website)


http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/mdgoverview.html


The UN and Pope Francis seem to be on the same page. Thus according to the UN website:

“Voices around the world are demanding leadership in 2015 on poverty, inequality and climate change.

“These universal challenges demand global action, and this year presents unprecedented opportunities for achieving the future we want. This September, world leaders will gather at the United Nations in New York to adopt a new agenda for sustainable development. This is also the year when they will reach a global agreement on climate change at the Paris Climate Conference.

“These new global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will guide policy and funding for the next 15 years, beginning with a historic pledge to end poverty. Everywhere. Permanently.”

Are we to infer from your later posts that you now support the work of the UN (compare 4:47 p.m. on June 21)? Are we to infer that you now support a global agreement on climate change? Does the good news keep on coming?







Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2,

A digression here based on something you wrote, which nevertheless may address your post. I think that it is a telling (and tragic) comment on the state of the Church that you suspect (rightly or wrongly is irrelevant) Lefebvrian of being SSPX because of his concern over the lack of citations to pre-VII documents. This is not a criticism of you; your comment is simply illustrative of an extremely common mindset in the Church that doesn't even think to refer to, much less think about, papal or conciliar documents that were issued prior to the early 1960s.

We are told over and over again that the post-VII Church is in continuity with what went before. But you wouldn't know it by reading what the encyclical or the CCC or other post-VII documents cite to or quote. The vast majority of the CCC notes, for instance, cites either to the Bible or to VII. That's an awfully skewed approach to both magisterial authority and the history of the Church. Viewed in isolation--apart from the massive liturgical, disciplinary, catechetical, etc. changes of the past 50 years, which I won't address here--it looks very Protestant (specifically, very Baptist) in that it seems to want to throw out all the centuries of encrustation and get back to the "real" Gospel and the "real" Jesus. In this case the "real" deal partakes very heavily of modern(ist) notions of social justice/social welfare, and arguably, in the case of this encyclical, liberation theology. (Every time somebody seeks to get back to the "real" Gospel, the Gospel he comes up with reflects very heavily the spirit of the age; why should this be any different?)

In sum, the very fact that one can take Lefebvruian's concern with older documents as a sign that he's not, shall we say, in the Catholic mainstream is, if you will, rather damning not of him, but of of the Catholic mainstream. It suggests that VII was about rupture and not continuity, despite all the protestations to the contrary. That is the basic notion that traditionalists find so unsettling and upsetting. Then, when the liberals here insinuate that the trads are Protestant or whatever for not accepting post-VII stuff--when the liberals themselves seem, at best, oblivious to pre-VII stuff and at worst openly dismissive of it--the result is a peeing contest in which each side claims to be the true Catholics and accusing the other side of being modernist/Protestant/heretical/schismatic/whatever. From that point on we get far more heat than light.

For my part, if it's a choice between 1900 years of pre-VII authority and 50 years of post VII upheaval, I know which one I'll take. I'll start taking the post-VII crowd more seriously when I see more evidence from them of actually trying to foster the continuity they claim exists by integrating the new into the old more concretely, explicitly, and convincingly.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2,

A digression here based on something you wrote, which nevertheless may address your post. I think that it is a telling (and tragic) comment on the state of the Church that you suspect (rightly or wrongly is irrelevant) Lefebvrian of being SSPX because of his concern over the lack of citations to pre-VII documents. This is not a criticism of you; your comment is simply illustrative of an extremely common mindset in the Church that doesn't even think to refer to, much less think about, papal or conciliar documents that were issued prior to the early 1960s.

We are told over and over again that the post-VII Church is in continuity with what went before. But you wouldn't know it by reading what the encyclical or the CCC or other post-VII documents cite to or quote. The vast majority of the CCC notes, for instance, cites either to the Bible or to VII. That's an awfully skewed approach to both magisterial authority and the history of the Church. Viewed in isolation--apart from the massive liturgical, disciplinary, catechetical, etc. changes of the past 50 years, which I won't address here--it looks very Protestant (specifically, very Baptist) in that it seems to want to throw out all the centuries of encrustation and get back to the "real" Gospel and the "real" Jesus. In this case the "real" deal partakes very heavily of modern(ist) notions of social justice/social welfare, and arguably, in the case of this encyclical, liberation theology. (Every time somebody seeks to get back to the "real" Gospel, the Gospel he comes up with reflects very heavily the spirit of the age; why should this be any different?)

continued . . .

Anonymous said...

continued . .

In sum, the very fact that one can take Lefebvruian's concern with older documents as a sign that he's not, shall we say, in the Catholic mainstream is, if you will, rather damning not of him, but of of the Catholic mainstream. It suggests that VII was about rupture and not continuity, despite all the protestations to the contrary. That is the basic notion that traditionalists find so unsettling and upsetting. Then, when the liberals here insinuate that the trads are Protestant or whatever for not accepting post-VII stuff--when the liberals themselves seem, at best, oblivious to pre-VII stuff and at worst openly dismissive of it--the result is a peeing contest in which each side claims to be the true Catholics and accusing the other side of being modernist/Protestant/heretical/schismatic/whatever. From that point on we get far more heat than light.

For my part, if it's a choice between 1900 years of pre-VII authority and 50 years of post VII upheaval, I know which one I'll take. I'll start taking the post-VII crowd more seriously when I see more evidence from them of actually trying to foster the continuity they claim exists by integrating the new into the old more concretely, explicitly, and convincingly.

Anonymous said...

George reports what Cardinal Wuerl said about the Pope's encyclical "The pope is talking about what we should be doing, not ‘Here is a political agenda that you must accept".

A lot of Catholics don't appear to know the teaching on infallibility. Theologian Mon Brunero Gheradini explains it:

"First of all, it must be said that the Magisterium is not a super-church that can force judgements and modes of behaviour on the Church herself; nor is it a caste privileged over and above the people of God, a kind of higher power that must be obeyed without further ado. It is a service, a diakonia. But also a task to be performed, a munus, indeed the munus docendi that cannot and must not be superimposed upon the Church, from whom and through whom it was born and operates. From a subjective viewpoint, it coincides with the teaching Church (Pope and bishops united with the Pope) for the function of proposing officially the Faith. From the operational viewpoint, it is the instrument through which such function is carried out.

All too often, though, the instrument is made into a value in itself and called upon to cut short any form of discussion at its very onset, as if the instrument were above the Church and the huge mass of Tradition - to be received, interpreted, re-transmitted in its integrity and fidelity - did not stand before it. And here, precisely, those limits become evident that safeguard the Magisterium from the danger of elephantiasis and the absolutistic temptation.

No need to dwell on the first of these limits, the Apostolic succession. It should not be difficult for anybody to prove, case by case, its legitimacy and consequently the succession in the possession of the charism proper to the Apostles. Some words, however, must be spent upon the second limit, to wit the assistance by the Holy Spirit. The quick-and-easy process that has taken hold today is more or less the following one: Christ promised to the Apostles (hence to their successors, that is to say to the teaching Church) the mission of the Holy Spirit and his assistance for the exercise of the munus docendi in truth; thus, error is abjured from the start. Yes, Christ did make such a promise, but He also showed the conditions for its coming true. Unfortunately, in the very way of appealing to that promise, one can discern its serious adulteration: the words of Christ are either not reported or, should they be cited, not given the meaning they have. Let us see what this is all about.

The promise is reported mainly by two texts of the fourth evangelist: John 14:16-26 and John 16:13-14. In the first one already, one of these limits resounds with extraordinary clarity: Jesus, in fact, does not stop at the promise of the Spirit of the truth (please note these italics, due to the definite article tes, which keeps being translated far and wide with "of"; as if truth were an option for the Holy Spirit who, to the contrary, impersonates it), but foretells his function: He will recall to memory all that He, Jesus, had previously taught. It is, then, an assistance that preserves the revealed truth, not one that inserts into it truths other than, or different from those revealed or presumed to be such.

CONTINUED

Anonymous said...

While confirming the first text of John's Gospel, the second one further defines the matter: the Holy Spirit, in fact, "shall lead you to the whole truth," even to that which Jesus does not tell as yet, because it is above and beyond the capacity of his disciples (John 16:12). In so doing, the Spirit "will not speak on his own account", but will say all that he hears...He will take from what is mine and convey it to you." Thus, there will be no further revelations. The single one is closed with those to whom Jesus is now speaking. His words appear with a univocal meaning concerning the doctrine taught by Jesus, and that doctrine alone. This is no cryptic or coded language, but bright as the sun. One might take exception on the perspective of apparent novelty in relation to what, now untold by Jesus, shall be announced by the Holy Spirit, but the fact of limiting his assistance to a lead function toward the possession of all truth revealed by Christ excludes substantial novelties. Should such novelties emerge, there will be new meanings, not new truths; hence the perfectly correct "eodem sensu eadmque sententia" of Vincent de LĂ©rins. In summary, the claim to latch on to the assistance of the Holy Spirit at every rustling of leaves - I mean at any novelty, and particularly at those that measure the Church by standards common to those of the dominant culture and the so-called dignity of the human person - is not only a structural overturning of the Church on herself, but also consigns to total oblivion the texts cited above.

CONTINUED

Anonymous said...

This is not all. The limit to magisterial intervention is also found in its technical formulation. In order to be truly magisterial, whether or not in a definitorial sense, the intervention must resort to an already enshrined formulary that must convey, without any uncertainty whatsoever, the will to speak as "Pastor and Doctor of all Christians in matters of faith and morals, by virtue of his Apostolic Authority," if it is the Pope who speaks; or the will of the Council fathers to link Christian faith with divine Revelation and its unbroken transmission must be conveyed with equal assurance (for example, by an ecumenical Council) through the usual formulae of dogmatic declaration. Failing such premises, one may speak of Magisterium only in a broad sense. Not every single word of the Pope, be it written or spoken, is Magisterium; and the same holds true for the ecumenical Councils, quite a few of which did not deal with dogma or did not deal with it exclusively: on occasion they even grafted dogma onto a context of internal diatribes and personal or faction quarrels, such as to render absurd any magisterial claim on their part within that context. An ecumenical Council of unquestioned dogmatic-Christological importance such as that of Chalcedon, that spent most of its time in a shameful struggle over personal preferences, prerogatives, depositions, rehabilitations, still makes a decidedly negative impression. Not in this is Chalcedon dogma. Likewise, the Pope's word is not dogmatic when he declares privately that, "Paul did not intend the Church as an organization, an institution, but as a living organism, where all work for one another and with one another, being united from Christ on." The exact opposite is true, and it is a known fact that the first institutional form was structured by Paul in a pyramidal shape, precisely to favour the living organism: the Apostle at the summit, then the episkopoi-presbyteroi, the hegoumenoi, the proistamenoi, the nouthetountes, the diakonoi: these are distinct functions and tasks, not precisely defined as yet, butthe distinctions are already those of an institutionalized organism. Let it be quite clear that, even in this case, the christian attitude must be one of respect and, at least in principle, also of adhesion. If, however, adherence to a case such as the one set above is not possible for the conscience of the individual believer, this fact does not imply rebellion against the Pope or denial of his Magisterium; it only means that this is not Magisterium."

http://www.centreleonardboyle.com/Tradition-Magisterium.html

Jan

Flavius Hesychius said...

Hmmm... A2, I think I expressed interest when you brought it up a second time. I may have been here the first time, but, alas, I don't remember. I think I may have just begun to comment here when you did.

(Has it really been 2 years? Wow... mind=blown)

Anonymous said...

Anonoymous at 1.38 am - well said - this is the very reason why we have talk of the preconciliar Church and the postconciliar Church, almost as if the Church began at the Second Vatican Council. This is, as you say, a sad indictment of the Catholic mainstream which seems to be totally ignorant (and not interested) in what went before. These documents to which Lefebvrian refers are what the teachings of the Church are based on and so if they want to discuss encyclicals, etc, then they need to bone up on some of these documents and also on what a Catholic must and must not believe because it is a simple fact that most of the posters on this blog do not know what the Church teaches in that regard at all.

As Mons Gheradini says: "All too often, though, the instrument [the Magisterium] is made into a value in itself and called upon to cut short any form of discussion at its very onset, as if the instrument were above the Church and the huge mass of Tradition - to be received, interpreted, re-transmitted in its integrity and fidelity - did not stand before it."

This is exactly what is happening, where liberals are using these bullying tactics and Catholics are being led to falsely believe that they have to accept this latest encyclical, without even a discussion on it, when, as even Cardinal Wuerl says, "The pope is talking about what we should be doing, not ‘Here is a political agenda that you must accept".

Catholics need to educate themselves on what the Church actually teaches so they won't be browbeaten by a bunch of liberals with a political agenda to push.

Jan

Anonymous said...

From Anonymous at 1:38

Thanks, Jan. And running with your quotation, These long, pastoral documents such as last week's encyclical, most of its post-VII predecessors, and the VII documents themselves, are "pastoral" in the sense that they do a lot of explaining as to why they reach the conclusions that they do. And the longer the explanation and the more intricate the facts and citations in the explanation, the more they invite discussion and critical analysis, which can expose things like logical weakness, grammatical vagueness and ambiguity, and even bias. As someone above noted, a few hundred years ago we didn't have widespread literacy or availability of these documents (maybe that's why they weren't usually written in the long expository style they are now). Fifty (even twenty or thirty) years ago we didn't have the net or a Vatican website. Catholics simply paid, prayed, and obeyed. That's how the dramatic changes in the wake of VII were accomplished so effectively--the laity, as a whole, were't in the habit of analyzing, reflecting on, and challenging what was happening.

It is only now that we are a culture than can and must expect prompt, widespread, critical analysis of any official promulgation. This is something that the hierarchy isn't used to. The result is something that I have seen and experienced from modern collectivist liberals in many contexts: either a genuine belief/expectation or a pretense that once they explain their position, everybody will see the wisdom of it and accept it, followed by a repressive reaction when people don't do that. (To get an idea of this playbook, you may want to read Marcuse's _A Critique of Pure Tolerance_, in which he advocates, with a straight face, tolerance for Leftist, but not for Rightist, views.)

Regardless, if logical fallacies or vagueness/ambiguity of language or other problems show up in a document purporting to be magisterial--problems that belong to the general world of logical discourse and not uniquely to theology, much less the Magisterium--and theological or doctrinal pronouncements rest on the fallacies found within that document--then do those conclusions also thereby fail? Do they lose their validity? I would argue that there is a strong possibility they do.

Anonymous said...

From Anonymous at 1:38 continued . . .

A dicier problem: if we detect a strong bent of liberation theology (for example) in an encyclical in terms of choice of evidence, does that call the conclusions into question? This is trickier for a variety of reasons. If the underpinning is arguably heretical, I think we get the same result. If, on the other hand, it's something legitimate--say, Thomistic as opposed to Augustinian reasoning, or Franciscan versus Jesuit outlooks, then one may more easily say that God has chosen to speak through this pope, including his personal life experiences and spirituality.

Of course, to decide which is the case--to figure out whether the long explanations in the underpinnings are in line with orthodox Catholic Tradition--one must analyze it, and this is what makes modernists uncomfortable. They would much rather tell us that the pope said it and that makes it all right and we had better believe it or we aren't good Catholics. But if that's the case, then the hierarchy has made a big mistake by writing such long-winded documents that _invite_ reading by large audiences. Thy can't have it both ways.

To return to my original point, when you have a 40,000 word encyclical with nearly 200 footnotes that cites very little that was written prior to the 1960s (except for the Bible, getting back to the "real" gospel dontchaknow)) and practically none of it papal or conciliar, and this pattern is generally repeated in most post-VII pronouncements, then one perceives a pattern that suggests at best an ignorance of or callous indifference to Tradition and continuity, and at worst a systemic desire to ignore or even suppress Tradition. When people bring this fact up in many different ways, they're criticized, censured, or called names (one of which isn't "Catholic."). And I find it hard to accept a claim that all of these documents are in keeping with Tradition when they seem to ignore, referentially, about 90 percent of that tradition. Again, when the mainstream, both lay and hierarchical, starts seriously addressing these concerns, maybe we can move forward, but not until then.

Anonymous 2 said...

Lefebvrian:

Thank you for your gracious response. I should have said: Do you belong to an SSPX parish? And yes, if we lived in the same place, I think we could have some very enriching conversations.

Anonymous at 1:37 a.m.:

I think I can be forgiven for speculating that Levebvrian might be associated with SSPX given the identifier.

By the way, Levebvrian, why_have_you chosen it?

Flavius:

I think you may be right about that. I apologize for not remembering precisely. Thank you for your interest in the idea and willingness to participate. You were probably the only taker though.



Anonymous 2 said...

Lefebvrian (and others):

Let’s see if we can advance the conversation by taking matters one step at a time with a specific focus and making explicit what you may already be implying in previous posts.

Is it your view that Unam Sanctam and Mirari Vos are infallible teachings? Is yes, what makes them infallible. If no, what level of authority do they have and why?


Lefebvrian said...

Anonymous 2, I attend SSPX Chapels when possible. I chose this moniker because there are certain Churchmen who like to throw around names like "crypto-Lefebvrian" -- so I thought I'd just go ahead and be a non-crypto-Lefebvrian. Also, I have a great affinity for Abp. Lefebvre and the Society he founded. So this name is one I use with some level of humble pride.

As for Unam Sanctam, it seems to be infallible based on the wording used in its definition and the content thereof. So this is de fide.

I don't think that Mirari Vos is as clear in terms of its level of authority, but it is an interesting read.

I don't have my Denzingers with me right now, so I cannot check the exactness of those statements.

Anonymous said...

from anonymous 1:37:

Anonymous 2; I wasn't criticizing your identification of Lefebvrian. I think you're right that the name gives it away. :-) I was merely pointing out that you were using an analysis that says something not necessarily about you, but about many people in the post-VII Church, viz., "He's interested in pre-VII stuff, ergo he must be in SSPX (or a trad or whatever)."

Anonymous 2 said...

Lefebvrian:

Terrific – many thanks for the reference to Denzinger, which I did not know about. I did find a link to the text in the Wikipedia entry for Denzinger (to the Latin text and to the English and French translations). Here are both links for interested readers:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Joseph_Dominicus_Denzinger

http://patristica.net/denzinger/ (English translation)

Next question: On the assumption that Unam Sanctam is infallible, what does the following language actually mean?

“With Faith urging us we are forced to believe and to hold the one, holy, Catholic Church and that, apostolic, and we firmly believe and simply confess this (Church) outside which there is no salvation nor remission of sin . . . . [W]e declare, say, define, and proclaim to every human creature that they by necessity for salvation are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff.

Here is a fascinating exegesis by Mark Shea that I have just found and read quickly. Unless I am mistaken, it seems to reconcile the Vatican II position with the above language rather nicely:

http://www.mark-shea.com/unam.html







Lefebvrian said...

Anonymous 2, I cannot recommend highly enough the combination of Denzinger's Sources of Catholic Dogma and Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic Doctrine. One needs to have the former to look up the citations in the latter. Every Catholic who seriously desires to know what the Church teaches, with reference to the original texts, should have these books.

With regard to Unam Sanctam, I cannot now recall seeing anyone argue that Vatican II is inconsistent with it. That certainly wasn't my purpose when I mentioned it earlier in this discussion.

I will read Mark Shea's analysis when I have some time (I am in the process of moving right now). I cannot imagine that "reconciling" Unam Sanctam with Vatican II is a difficult task, honestly. We know that the Church teaches that it is possible for some who are not visible members of the Church to reach salvation.

Contrary to the Feeneyites, there is a baptism of desire, and there is invincible ignorance -- in fact, Abp. Lefebvre wrote against this false conception of the Church and salvation. You might find this link edifying, if you're interested in the topic.

Anonymous 2 said...

Thanks, Lefebvrian.

Please help me understand then just what it is that the SSPX finds objectionable in Vatican II. I thought there were four aspects, including the Church’s articulated position regarding non-Catholic Christians and non-Christian religions.

Lefebvrian said...

Anonymous 2, in order to understand the SSPX's position on Vatican II, in my opinion, the best place to start is to read Archbishop Lefebvre's Open Letter to Confused Catholics.

If you are not already aware of Abp. Lefebvre's biography, it might benefit you to read a little about his life before starting the Society in order to better appreciate the things that happened later in his life. Wikipedia should suffice to give you some background about his early life and ministry prior to the Council and the Society's founding.

Anonymous 2 said...

Many thanks, Lefebvrian.