Sandro Magister publishes two articles, a google translation:
The dispute over Vatican II is increasingly heated. The letters of a theologian and an archbishop
I receive and publish the following two letters. Both on the issue - now more disputed than ever - of the Second Vatican Council.
Francesco Arzillo, author of the first, is a magistrate from Rome who is an appreciated writer of essays on philosophy and theology.
Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, author of the second, in diplomacy until 2010, is one of the most systematic scholars of Vatican Council II, as well as a fierce critic of the reconstruction of that event produced by the "Bologna school" founded by Giuseppe Dossetti and then directed by Giuseppe Alberigo and Alberto Melloni.
In a letter of 7 October 2013 addressed to him and then made public, Pope Francis himself wrote to him:
"Once I said to you, dear Archbishop Marchetto, and today I want to repeat it, that I consider you the best hermeneut of Vatican Council II".
1. THE LETTER OF THE THEOLOGIAN FRANCESCO ARZILLO
the media coverage of the traditionalist criticisms of Vatican II, with annexes and connections, is quite worrying and in some ways surprising.
First of all, there is an emphasis on the Council as an "event": with a singular methodological subordination to the well-known concepts of progressive brand (of the "Bologna school" but not only). The use of historiographic methods and criteria with theological-doctrinal purposes seems to overlook the fact that the Council, as well as the documents of the conciliar and post-conciliar popes, are acts of magisterium to be interpreted according to theological and canonical criteria, without confusion of the investigation.
Paradoxically, then, we end up talking too much and almost exclusively about Vatican II, which is a Council already "metabolized" by theologians as well as by the faithful, starting from the next generation: a fairly contradictory position (if we want, even on a logical level) with respect to the traditional premises of those who profess it.
We even go so far as to say that hermeneutics, interpretation, should be excluded from the doctrinal field. But in this way the unacceptable radical hermeneutic philosophies (which reduce the truth - and ultimately the same being - an interpretative event) are confused with the physiological use of the believing intellect in the comparison with the dogmatic texts: use that has always existed and which must respond to certain canons, of which the ultimate guarantor always remains the ecclesial magisterium.
It is easier for us today to consider en bloc, for example, the outcome of the Christological councils of the first centuries; but we cannot ignore the centuries-old interpretative conflicts that took centuries to settle, even after the Council of Chalcedon in 451.
Of course it is true that dogmatic formulas have an immediate sense, potentially knowable by anyone (it is the basis of the common sense doctrine). But if further interpretative and doctrinal questions arise in reading them, they must (and have always been) faced with the method proper to Catholic theology.
The problem therefore is not the fact of interpretation, but the identification of the related criteria.
Among them, a criterion of diachronic and synchronic totality must certainly be recognized. In the diachronic profile there is that of continuity over the centuries, which excludes doctrinal contradictions, provided that the contradiction is correctly identified, in relation to the precise scope of a truth and its doctrinal "weight" (the classic "theological note").
It is evident that on some things it is not possible to settle. Think of the need, recently defended by me, of the use of the language of "substance" also in Eucharistic matter ("transubstantiation").
It is not possible to adhere to Karl Rahner's epistemology, to the extent that it potentially excludes representations and interpretations that would not necessarily be part of it from the binding content of the proposition of faith: this is a discourse that ultimately excludes the same identifiability as the referent of doctrinal discourse, which in some way needs appropriate concepts, such as included in the content of the dogma and not interchangeable "ad libitum".
But this does not mean that every linguistic change or every accent shift implies a doctrinal contradiction.
For example, on the traditionalist side the statement of "Gaudium et spes" 22 is often referred to according to which "with the incarnation the Son of God united himself in a certain way with every man" ("cum omni homine quodammodo se univit" ). The use of the adverbial phrase "quodammodo" (which, moreover, is typical of the great classical theology, inspired not by the criteria of geometric-mathematical uniqueness, but respectful of the Mystery), however, warns us to draw hasty conclusions.
In a remarkable article published in the magazine "30 Days" in 2010, the great Jesuit biblical scholar Ignace de la Potterie recalled the previous Thomistic according to which "considering the generality of men, all the time in the world, Christ is the head of all men, but according to different degrees "(" Summa theologica "III, 8, 3) and explained:
"But if the words" according to different degrees "and" in a certain way "were not removed from the phrase" Summa theologica "and from the phrase" Gaudium et spes ", all the data of the Catholic faith would not be respected. And in fact the Council itself, in the dogmatic constitution 'Lumen gentium' (13), faithfully following Tradition, clearly distinguishes between the call of all men to salvation and the actual membership of believers in the communion of Jesus Christ. According to the method proper to all biblical revelation. "
This is a simple, great example of hermeneutics of continuity applied to a fundamental point of Catholic doctrine, for which the Christian is not such by nature, but by grace.
It is only a matter of proceeding on the basis of the "intellectus fidei", putting aside the postulates and apriorisms proper to certain practices that are likely to affect also in the field of politics, ecclesiastical and otherwise.
2. THE "CIRCULAR" OF ARCHBISHOP AGOSTINO MARCHETTO
Dear friends and acquaintances,
happy holidays, if you can enjoy it! But I think I owe you these lines that touch my "love", the Vatican II Ecumenical Council. In fact there is a novelty: I want to say that up to the beginning of this summer there were many who testified the fall of interest - let's say so - for the last Great Synod, despite my high lai.
In fact, I believe that the current "crisis" from which the Catholic Church suffers is also caused by this abandonment, by the question of its correct hermeneutics, the one announced precisely by Pope Benedict XVI, that is, not "of rupture and discontinuity, but of reform and renewal in the continuity of the one subject Church ".
Now, since the beginning of the summer, there has been an unfolding of an interest which is also revealed in conflicting relationships. I will not report here, but instead two remarks, namely that there is no mention of the need for non-rupture (accepted instead from the extreme positions radicalized after Vatican II, with weakening of the intermediate interpretation, that is to say, of the "et ... et" hermeneutics, that is the so-called "traditional", a quite different category than those who are called "traditionalists") and little emphasis is given to the "continuity of the one subject Church".
This is especially due to the introduction of "new parameters" or "new ecclesial pragmatics" which does not worry too much about this continuity, thanks also to the exorbitant evaluation of the "signs of the times". In fact they cannot be considered almost as if they were a new, added Revelation (it was a question addressed in the Council) and here we find the great question of their interpretation, indeed we could say frankly of the critical relationship of the Church with modernity, better, with the contemporary world, with today.
This is not enough, because the serious initial historical-ideological conditioning of the vision of Vatican II as an "event" has remained (see the French historiography, for the historical vision, especially after "Les Annales"), which leads the correct interpretation.
In this regard - as I was able to present better in the first history of the Council's historiography (see my "Vatican II Ecumenical Council. Counterpoint for its history", LEV, Vatican City 2005, p. 407) - it turned out that the work of the "school of Bologna" was largely published with great historical and ideological gaps, both as regards private council journals, but above all because it was performed without the support of official documents essential for understanding the Magno Synod, such as the Acts of its governing bodies and the general secretariat.
Today, then, we can resort to that extraordinary source of knowledge of Pope Paul VI which is the Diary of Cardinal Pericles Felici, a publication edited by me. From my studies in fact (in addition to the volume cited above, see also the one entitled "The Vatican II Ecumenical Council. For its correct hermeneutics", LEV, Vatican City 2012, p. 380) I draw the belief that even those who recall, praising them, other hermeneutic tendencies, that of Peter Hünermann, for example, or John W. O'Malley, Gilles Routhier or Christoph Theobald, actually brings polluted water to the same mill.
Indeed, we went into the factual, claimed reception of the Great Synod, skipping the intermediate step of hermeneutic weighting. Perhaps thinking, erroneously, that "what made boss has".
With the best wishes and best regards.