Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Published this morning by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under the name of American Cardinal William Levada are several "responsa ad dubia".

The ecclesiological questions addressed in these responsa, which are the result of confusion caused by Vatican II's Constitution on the Church "Lumen Gentium", are of inestimable importance. Finally the Church is interpreting Vatican II! I believe the doctrinal interpretation of the Council is the only way to end the era of confusion that generally follows a council. If you look at history, such was the case after Trent.

Just so with these responsa (my emphases, red comments):

"First Question: Did the Second Vatican Council change the Catholic doctrine on the Church?
"Response: The Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine, rather it developed, deepened and more fully explained it. Compare this to many diocesan newspaper commentaries which, in an attempt to simplify, talk about doctrinal "changes." Read here the doctrinal exorcism of what Pope Benedict called the "hermanuetic of discontinuity".
"This was exactly what John XXIII said at the beginning of the Council. Paul VI affirmed it and commented in the act of promulgating the Constitution Lumen gentium: 'There is no better comment to make than to say that this promulgation really changes nothing of the traditional doctrine. What Christ willed, we also will. What was, still is. What the Church has taught down through the centuries, we also teach. In simple terms that which was assumed, is now explicit; that which was uncertain, is now clarified; that which was meditated upon, discussed and sometimes argued over, is now put together in one clear formulation.' The Bishops repeatedly expressed and fulfilled this intention.

"Second Question: What is the meaning of the affirmation that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church?
"Response: Christ 'established here on earth' only one Church and instituted it as a 'visible and spiritual community', that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted. 'This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic. ... This Church, constituted and organized in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him'.
"In number 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution 'Lumen Gentium' 'subsistence' means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church ea sunt "one, holy, catholic, apostolic , in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth.
"It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them. Nevertheless, the word 'subsists' can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe... in the 'one' Church); and this 'one' Church subsists in the Catholic Church.
"Third Question: Why was the expression 'subsists in' adopted instead of the simple word 'is'?
"Response: The use of this expression, which indicates the full identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church, does not change the doctrine on the Church. Rather, it comes from and brings out more clearly the fact that there are 'numerous elements of sanctification and of truth' which are found outside her structure, but which 'as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, impel towards Catholic Unity.'
"'It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church.'

"Fourth Question: Why does the Second Vatican Council use the term 'Church' in reference to the oriental Churches separated from full communion with the Catholic Church?
"Response: The Council wanted to adopt the traditional use of the term. 'Because these Churches, although separated, have true sacraments and above all - because of the apostolic succession - the priesthood and the Eucharist, by means of which they remain linked to us by very close bonds,' they merit the title of 'particular or local Churches,' and are called sister Churches of the particular Catholic Churches.
'It is through the celebration of the Eucharist of the Lord in each of these Churches that the Church of God is built up and grows in stature.' However, since communion with the Catholic Church, the visible head of which is the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Peter, is not some external complement to a particular Church but rather one of its internal constitutive principles, these venerable Christian communities lack something in their condition as particular churches.
"On the other hand, because of the division between Christians, the fullness of universality, which is proper to the Church governed by the Successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him, is not fully realized in history.

"Fifth Question: Why do the texts of the Council and those of the Magisterium since the Council not use the title of 'Church' with regard to those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century?
"Response: According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a the?????? constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called 'Churches' in the proper sense.

"The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ratified and confirmed these Responses, adopted in the Plenary Session of the Congregation, and ordered their publication."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The more I read it over and the more I think about it, this Response of the CDF is worthless. Within it are the same ambiguities that it purports to clear up. It doesn't merely say that grace mediated by the Church is present among those outside the visible Church, but that "the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities." That is all the wiggle room that an Ecumenist needs to suggest that another community (or religion) is salvific.

The Church was and is still embarrassed to say that it is really the one true Church. If you follow the footnotes of this document you find this (4) "The Council wished to express the identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church." The Bishops were expressing concern about this by their questions and the footnoted responses (in Latin) declare that the Catholic Church IS the Church of Christ. But this wasn't plainly stated in Lumen Gentium. It still isn't being plainly stated.

For those of you who think that this document said something, I'd like to point out that this document had no public or reported opposition at all to its publication. Compare that to the Motu Proprio which was fought over for a year and a half under Benedict and longer under JPII. Ecumenists like Cardinal Kasper saw no threat at all in these Responses to their attempts to make the Catholic Church just one way among many. Satan never gives ground without a fight.