Vatican insults other chirches

 

I don’t think Sr. Chittister has had the chance to comment on the new CDF document about subsistit in yet.  In the meantime, we can read

PRAVDA

Vatican insults other chirches [sic] saying ‘Catholicism is the only true church’
11.07.2007    

The Vatican set itself on a collision course with other Christian faiths yesterday, reaffirming the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church in a corrective document that it said was designed to clear up recent "erroneous" doctrine, AFP reports.

The document’s central claim, that the Catholic Church is "the one true Church of Christ," is likely to revive a debate that has dogged the Vatican’s relationship with rival denominations for decades.

For the second time in a week, Pope Benedict XVI has corrected what he says are erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, reasserting the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church and saying other Christian communities were either defective or not true churches.

Benedict approved a document released Tuesday from his old office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which repeated church teaching on Catholic relations with other Christians.

While there was nothing doctrinally new in the document, it nevertheless prompted swift criticism from Protestants, Lutherans and other Christian denominations spawned by the 16th century Reformation.    [So…. this is news?]

"It makes us question the seriousness with which the Roman Catholic Church takes its dialogues with the Reformed family and other families of the church," said the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, which groups 75 million Reformed Christians in 214 churches in 107 countries.

"It makes us question [Hmmm… first pete and now repeat… ] whether we are indeed praying together for Christian unity," the alliance said in a letter to the Vatican’s key ecumenical official, Cardinal Walter Kasper, charging that the document took ecumenical dialogue back to the pre-Vatican II era.

One of the key developments from Vatican II, the 1962-65 meetings that modernized the church, was its ecumenical outreach.

Another key change was the development of the New Mass in the vernacular, which essentially replaced the old Latin Mass. On Saturday, Benedict revived the old Latin Mass, saying it was wrong for bishops to deny it to the faithful because it had never been abolished. [Leave it to Pravda to spin something, get it wrong, and by getting it wrong pretty much get it right.  Folks, you just can’t make this stuff up.] Traditional Catholics cheered the move, but more liberal ones called it a step back from Vatican II.

Benedict, who attended Vatican II as a young theologian, has long complained about what he considers the erroneous interpretation of the council by liberals, saying it was not a break from the past but rather a renewal of church tradition.

[Watch the transition here.  ZOOOM!  What a mess.]

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said it was issuing the new document on ecumenism because some contemporary theological interpretations of Vatican II’s ecumenical intent had been "erroneous or ambiguous" and had prompted confusion and doubt.

The new document – formulated as five questions and answers – restates key sections of a 2000 text the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, "Dominus Iesus," which riled Protestant, Lutheran and other Christian denominations because it said they were not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the "means of salvation."  [Welll…. no, that is not what either document said.]

"Christ ‘established here on earth’ only one Church," said the document released as the pope vacations at a villa in Lorenzago di Cadore, in Italy’s Dolomite mountains.  [Gotta love that.  They give the impression that the Pope is just hangin’ out, launching irritating document like so many paper airplanes down to the press waiting in the alpine valleys below.]

The other communities "cannot be called ‘churches’ in the proper sense" because they do not have apostolic succession – the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ’s original apostles – and therefore their priestly ordinations are not valid, it said. [This is journalism?]

The Rev. Sara MacVane, of the Anglican Centre in Rome, said there was nothing new in the document.

"I don’t know what motivated it at this time," she said. "But it’s important always to point out that there’s the official position and there’s the huge amount of friendship and fellowship and worshipping together that goes on at all levels, certainly between Anglican and Catholics and all the other groups and Catholics."

The document said Orthodox churches were indeed "churches" because they have apostolic succession and that they enjoyed "many elements of sanctification and of truth." But it said they lack something because they do not recognize the primacy of the pope – a defect, or a "wound" that harmed them, it said.

I wonder if Pravda is sharing staff with any English language new outlets.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Russia, we find this.

Vatican’s honest position furthers dialogue – Metropolitan Kirill

Moscow, July 11, Interfax – The Russian Orthodox Church has called "honest" the position of the Vatican published in a document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stating that the Catholic Church is the only Church approved by Christ.

"It is an honest statement. It is much better than the so-called ‘church diplomacy’." It shows how close or, on the contrary, how divided we are," Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, who heads the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, told journalists in Moscow.

"For an honest theological dialogue to happen, one should have a clear view of the position of the other side," because "it helps understand how different we are," he said. Basically, the Vatican’s current document has nothing new and is in "full conformity with the doctrine of the Catholic Church," Metropolitan Kirill said.

"The Orthodox Church is, according to Apostolic Succession, successor and heir to the old, undivided Church. Which is why everything contained in the Catholic document rightfully applies to the Orthodox Church," the Metropolitan added.

 

This is a perfect example of how true ecumenical dialogue is stimulated.

Note the lack of hysteria.

Vatican insults other chirches
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35 Responses to Vatican insults other chirches

  1. Jonathan Bennett says:

    Looks like th article in my daily newspaper drew heavily from the same sources as this article: http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/News/International/2007/07/11/4330125-sun.html

  2. GCC Catholic says:

    It seems that some of the Orthodox are alright with this document:

    Vatican’s honest position furthers dialogue – Metropolitan Kirill

  3. Alex says:

    Pravda once was the communist propaganda mouth piece of the Soviet Union. It means “Truth” in Russian. Now it is firmly Russian-nationalist, a bit Leninist still, but also supportive of the anti-western tendencies in the Russian Orthodox Church.

    That is why they wrote this this way.

    But what can they do about it? Even nominally “Catholic” newspaper in Western Europe and the USA are attacking the Clarification of the Holy Office very clearly. While in fact they are still quite ambiguous and not willing to state the real teaching of the Vatican II taken literally in Orientalium ecclesiarum par 2-3, where it is stated that the Holy Catholic Church governed by the successor of St. Peter ís the Mystical Body of Christ. Also read Mystici Corporis (1943) and Humani generis (par. 27, 1950).

  4. Goebbels had it wrong. It’s not the big lie repeated many times, but too many little lies for one person to check up on that’s effective. On the other hand, H.E. Kirill sounds like a man we could talk to.

  5. Jacob says:

    A lot gets done when Cardinal Kaspar isn’t making his pronouncements of how things are progressing even when they aren’t.

  6. Jacob: That is not really a fair statement. First, while I am sure Card. Kaspar was involved, this was a document of the CDF. Also, the situation of the East is changing.

  7. Serafino says:

    Well, now we know what H.E. the Most Reverend Bishop of Erie plans to do about the MP.

    “Bishop Donald W. Trautman of Erie, Pa., chairman of the bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, said he would be issuing “diocesan norms to help apply and order the specifics of the pope’s letter” and would ask priests who want to celebrate the Tridentine Mass to take “a rubrical and Latin exam” before doing so.

    “Further, there will be need to ascertain that the common good of the parish prevails and to ascertain what constitutes a stable community of those requesting the 1962 missal,” he added in a statement.”

    I wonder if this is just another way to stop the MP? I also wonder, it this is legal? I wonder what Rubrical exam the good bishop would suggest for “Jazz Masses?” Would the priest have to pass exam in “the history of Jazz” or perhaps play an instrument? What about a “Clown Mass?” Attend the Bozo school of liturgy? Gay Mass? Well, I wont go there!

  8. Mark says:

    Father, I apologise because this is completely off-topic, but I thought you might want to be aware of this!

  9. JA says:

    It looks like Pravda may be sharing some news staff with English language newspapers. See today’s article on the document by Jeff Strickler in the execrable Mpls. Star-Tribune.

  10. Jacob says:

    Father: I should have been less obtuse though, I apologize. My point was the same you are making in that I do in fact think that relations with the East would perhaps be a lot better if they were done by CDF. I see a lot of what HE says in the press about how things are progressing and then I see how the Russians are looking for /real/ progress and I wonder at the delusions HE is operating under or if he is just talking to talk. Whereas CDF issues a document that calls it like it is and the Russians see it as ‘honest’.

  11. Michael says:

    Every Diocese’s reaction seems to be the same: “You already have a place to worship according to the 1962 Missal, so Summorum Pontificum won’t apply here.”

    How will we overcome these obstacles bishops are putting before us before the ink on the MP has even dried? I find it hard to believe, given these statements, that parish priests won’t be pressured into denying “stable groups” access to the Tridentine Liturgy by their bishops. How can such bishops be expected to mediate when 9 times out of 10 their probably even more unwilling than pastors to grant such requests? Appeal to Ecclesiae Dei commission just won’t be an option. It takes years for the Vatican to get anything done.

  12. jaykay says:

    And now, from the opposite end of Europe to where Pravda’s at, here’s a flavour of good, unbiased, “just the facts” reporting from Ireland’s “paper of record” the Irish Times:

    “Bad timing in Rome’s ‘one, true church’ line

    Could there have been a more unnecessary or inappropriately timed document from the Vatican as that published yesterday? asks Religious Affairs Correspondent Patsy McGarry.

    And now, from the people who brought us Limbo, then took it away. Who gave us Hell, took it away too, and have since tried to give it back to us. Who gave us the Latin Mass, took it from us, and gave it back last Saturday.

    Yes, from those same people we now have a repeat, summer-time restatement of why being Roman Catholic is “simply the best”. Furthermore, they explain again why being Protestant is to be a yellow-pack Christian.

    Yes, from the very people who under Pope Paul VI told us that Christians who were Protestant belonged to “sister churches” of the Roman Catholic Church, we are being told again that Protestant (Reformed) churches are not really sister churches at all.

    Now, they are not even churches “in the proper sense”. A bit like St Christopher, they have been demoted. They are now mere “ecclesial communities”. You could say they remain in something of an ecclesiological Limbo. If Limbo still existed.

    Pity our Anglicans, our Presbyterians, our Methodists, etc. They do not know it really, despite being told before, but their priests/ministers are not really priests or ministers at all. And as for their Holy Communion – it’s a sham! All a sham.”

    ………………. 0 ………………..

    And much more in this vein ensues. Here’s the link, although I wouldn’t bother really if I were you, you can get the drift from the above (I think it’s subscription anyway):

    http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2007/0711/1184103680151.html

  13. Ever notice the media’s often careless–or just plain ignorant–usage of words such as “doctrine” and “dogma” or “Church teaching?” Oftentimes the inadvertent conceptual swap can lead to some serious misunderstandings, e.g., the Limbo discussion of late.

  14. Andy S. says:

    As I heard in Prague: Není pravda v novinach a nený noviny v Pravdĕ.

    There’s no truth in the news and no news in Pravda.

  15. Janet says:

    I have a question. I’m noticing now that both of these recent documents released the past few days by the Vatican are being well-received by the Eastern Orthodox.
    Is this Benedict’s larger motive perhaps? Reunite Rome with the East, even if it means alienating the Protestants?
    If so, it’s a worthwhile ‘gamble’. To reunite East and West in his papacy, would be a wonderful accomplishment.

  16. Father, I think Pravda got that from the AP feed. Almost identical stories are appearing all over the place, with very few differences. Silly, worthless AP!

    I can say from an Eastern Orthodox perspective that the CDF document is no surprise at all to the Orthodox, but is refreshingly free of “ecu-chatter”, the fluff-talk that means nothing and accomplishes less. We share the same perspective on Protestantism.

    Likewise, singling out the issue of Papal Primacy is also perfectly honest, as it does describe a major point of contention among the Orthodox. While some Orthodox would say there are a number of actual heresies in practice in the Roman Church, even those are debated. The “filioque” can be understood otherwise than as a heresy (though it still shouldn’t have been unilaterally added to the Creed), as can a number of other doctrines that differ from their Orthodox counterparts.

    We want unity. We want Christ’s Church to be one, but not through a process of ignoring issues or pretending that we have no differences to work out.

  17. Michael says:

    The Orthodox depise what the Church has done to her liturgy probably more than most traditionalists. As a Greek friend of mine once explained to me, “you can’t set aside almost two thousand years of tradition because of something that happened in the 60s, and the Orthodox can’t respect the Catholic Church’s decision to do that after Vatican II” He is right of course. Before VII, the main obstacles were doctrine, now they’re doctrine AND discipline. The Orthodox could once admire our liturgical language, our chant and silk vestments, our jeweled mitres and our love of tradition. For years, we’ve bent over backwards to appease Protestants and eliminate the practices and teachings the made us different from them, and now the only union that was ever realisticly foreseeable to begin with, the healing of the Great Schism, is less likely because of it. The first step to restoring an appreciation of tradition as the best vehicle for Tradition with a capital T is by not forbiding its expression. And if that distances us from ecclesiastical communities who ordain women, rally for gay marriage and support a woman’s right to an abortion, then so be it. Our souls will be better off because of it.

  18. Shoshiru Honda says:

    What do we have in common with “Christian communities” born of the Reformation?
    Not much.
    So it donest’t matter it they are angry. The Pope and the Catholic Church speak for the fullness of the Faith. If these other communities disagree, is their right. But they are still wrong.

  19. Shoshiru, what does anyone have to do with the lost sheep?

    Hmmm?

  20. Guy Power says:

    “Document Released By Pope Stirs Catholic Controversy”
    By Father Jonathan Morris

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,288976,00.html

  21. Laura Lowder says:

    Note the lack of widespread distribution of these unhysterical, rational, and honest comments.

  22. michigancatholic says:

    That’s actually a straightforward and honest statement by the Russian Orthodox Church as well, to their honor. This is how real ecumenism begins.

    It would be impossible to discuss religious truth meaningfully without reference to underlying truth in communication. I don’t know why some people don’t realize this. Maybe they think they’re not discussing truth, but rather something else? Fuzzy thinking, that.

  23. Ad Orientem says:

    This Orthodox Christian is perfectly fine with the document. Metropolitan +Kirill’s opinion seems to be pretty close to what I wrote on my own blog about the matter (I would be concerned if a contrary opinion were expressed). It’s an honest statement of position which provides clarity in serious discussions. Thats a good starting point.

    ICXC
    John

  24. Mila says:

    Father, is this really from Pravda? Or from a news agency such as AP, AFP, etc.? Because I’m sure I read the exact same article in The Miami Herald yesterday, including the line “Benedict, who attended Vatican II as a young theologian”…blah blah bla! I guess there are no real journalists anymore.

  25. I thought this point was quite interesting from question four, which treats the question of the Orthodox 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 realised in history.”

    So there is no room for Catholics to say that it matters not what Protestants in their “ecclesial communities” think. Our own universality as realized in history is wounded/defective in some respect because of their absence from full communion.

    Any controversy I have seen from the Orthodox side seems to focus on the application of the word “defectus” (wound) to the situation of the Orthodox Churches. I’ve been seeing many comments of Orthodox Christians taking offense at having their particular churches being referred to as somehow “defective”. I think the admission that the full realization of our universality as the Catholic Church in history is intended to say that we are wounded as well by their absence, while still maintaining the “divine and inviolable constitution of the Church contained in revelation” (from the commentary) by upholding the fullness of Petrine primacy as intended by Jesus Christ.

    In IC XC,

    Gordo

  26. Sorry for the garbled last paragraph. I wrote it B.C. (Before Coffee) :-)!

    Here is what I MEANT to say:

    “Any controversy I have seen from the Orthodox side seems to focus on the application of the word “defectus” (wound) to the situation of the Orthodox Churches. I’ve been seeing many comments of Orthodox Christians taking offense at having their particular churches being referred to as somehow “defective”. I think the admission that the our universality as the Catholic Church in history is not fully realized is a way to say that we are wounded by their absence, while we still maintain the “divine and inviolable constitution of the Church contained in revelation” (from the commentary) by upholding the fullness of Petrine primacy as intended by Jesus Christ.”

    There (sip). Much better!

    In IC XC,

    Gordo

  27. RBrown says:

    Gordo,

    The following was supposed to be on this thread, but for some reason it appeared on another. After I shut down the computer improperly, then re-booted.

    Anyway:

    Isn’t it the usual strategy of liberals to say the problem is with someone else? For example, those who consider homosexuality wrong are now commonly referred to as “homophobes”–as if there is something wrong with them rather than with the homosexual.

    This was also often the MO in seminaries in the 70’s. Anyone in favor of Catholic doctrine or, God forbid, with an affection for Latin liturgy was labeled (often by the formation team) neurotic and “encouraged” to leave.

  28. John Fannon says:

    I thought that the Pope’s statement on the validity of post-Reformation
    Protestant Churches only reflected what the Church has been saying for
    a century or more.

    But why is it that the SSPX Bishops, and the Official Chinese Govt Bishops have orders that are regarded by Rome as valid, but illegitimate,and the Anglicans or the Lutherans orders are considered as both illegitimate and invalid?

    With the SSPX, Archbishop Lefevre consecrated 4 Bishops.
    Does this mean that these 4 can continue the Apolostolic succession by
    consecrating other Bishops with valid (through illegitimate) orders?

    If it’s self perpetuating in this way, why didn’t it occur with the Anglicans?
    There were presumably Bishops in England who sided with Henry VIII,
    whose orders were valid. So why weren’t their subsequent consecrations of Bishops
    and ordinations of Priests considered valid but illegitimate?
    How was the Apostolic Succession broken?

    Excuse my ignorance about this Father, but I am just interested
    in ‘how the rules work’.

  29. Sean says:

    John Fannon: If it’s self perpetuating in this way [SSPX bishops] why didn’t it occur with the Anglicans? There were presumably Bishops in England who sided with Henry VIII, whose orders were valid. So why weren’t their subsequent consecrations of Bishops and ordinations of Priests considered valid but illegitimate? How was the Apostolic Succession broken?

    The dimensions are valid/invalid and licit/illicit.

    Validity requires a bishop in apostolic succession using a proper form of words. The Lefebvre bishops are valid as Lefebvre had apostolic succession and used the proper form of words. The Church of England bishops were initially in apostolic succession but early on the Church of England consecration formula was changed so that the bishops were rendered incapable of creating a valid bishop causing apostolic succession in the Church of England to lapse in the following generation.

    Licitness is a question of whether the consecrating bishop had the power to act. So

    SSPX – valid but illicit.

    CofE – invalid and illicit.

  30. mark says:

    John:

    I’m probably wrong, but I believe w/Anglicans there’s a wording issue too. Which explains why some trads are all upset about the post V2 RC ordination rites – they say they have the wording of the Anglican ceremony. OR something?

  31. Stephen says:

    Sean – would you please elaborate? The proper form of words? A correct formula? Do mean like an incantation? Sounds way too much like magic. Very Buginish too.

  32. Stephen,

    All liturgical actions involve words and those words and actions mean things. Sean is not reducing the liturgical celebration to a magic formula, where validity and licitness define the entire meaning of the worship. Validity and licitness are at a minimum essential characteristics of liturgical worship, but the sacraments themselves are signs and their value and significance as signs cannot be reduced to formulas or recipes.

    For a good read on this, I would highly recommend “The Bible and the Liturgy” by Jean Danielou as well as Louis Bouyer’s “Rite and Man: Natural Sacredness and Christian Liturgy”. Come to think of it, any of the Notre Dame Liturgical Studies series are a worthwhile read in this regard!

    God bless!

    In IC XC,

    Gordo

  33. RBrown says:

    I thought that the Pope’s statement on the validity of post-Reformation Protestant Churches only reflected what the Church has been saying for a century or more.

    It’s not a question of validity with Protestants (exc Anglicans). Protestants think that a Church is a community of the Baptized. Catholics (and Orthodox) think that a Church is a community centered on the Eucharist (Baptism being implicit), which necessitates the priesthood (Holy Orders), which is turn necessitates Apostolic succession.

    But why is it that the SSPX Bishops, and the Official Chinese Govt Bishops have orders that are regarded by Rome as valid, but illegitimate,and the Anglicans or the Lutherans orders are considered as both illegitimate and invalid?

    With the SSPX, Archbishop Lefevre consecrated 4 Bishops.
    Does this mean that these 4 can continue the Apolostolic succession by
    consecrating other Bishops with valid (through illegitimate) orders?

    If it’s self perpetuating in this way, why didn’t it occur with the Anglicans?
    There were presumably Bishops in England who sided with Henry VIII,
    whose orders were valid. So why weren’t their subsequent consecrations of Bishops
    and ordinations of Priests considered valid but illegitimate?
    How was the Apostolic Succession broken?

    Excuse my ignorance about this Father, but I am just interested
    in ‘how the rules work’.
    Comment by John Fannon

    The power of bishops to ordain is independent of Roman jurisdiction. Thus, the SSPX consecrations of bishops was valid.

    The Reformers (e.g., Lutherans) didn’t believe in the ministerial priesthood, and so there was never any question of valid Orders.

    The Anglicans likewise didn’t believe in the priesthood. Anglican Orders are invalid simply because there was no intent to ordain priests. Apostolic succession is based on the priesthood, and the Anglicans didn’t want to be priests.

    Toward the end of the 19th century Pope Leo XIII decided to re-establish the Catholic hierarchy in England. The Anglicans, feeling threatened, tried to get Rome to declare their Orders invalid. Rome looked at the history of the situation and Pope Leo said that hundreds of years earlier, the Anglicans themselves had ended Apostolic succession.

  34. RBrown says:

    Sean – would you please elaborate? The proper form of words? A correct formula? Do mean like an incantation? Sounds way too much like magic. Very Buginish too.
    Comment by Stephen

    No, Sacramental Form is not magic words–magic words don’t need Sacramental Power.

    Even the Orthodox trace Eucharistic Consecration to words–the Epiclesis.

    Three things are necessary for Sacramental Validity:

    1. Proper matter–can’t consecrate potato chips and root beer, and can’t ordain a dog. Matter also includes gesture, e.g, the matter of Baptism is the pouring of water or immersion in it.

    2. Proper form–the words which designate the matter. “This is my Body” designating bread as the Body of Christ.

    3. Minimal Intention–which is always general, i.e., to intend what the Church intends. In the case of Anglican Orders it was established that the intention of the Anglicans didn’t have minimal intention because their intention contradicted the intention of the Church. This intention was manifest not only in the form but also in Anglican theology.

  35. Stephen says:

    RBrown,
    Love the use of the word “trace” in this context. Invoking the Holy Spirit can be said to simply “reveal” the operator, for even if the priest flubs the words, the breaad and wine did become the Holy Mysteries. Orthodox only hesitate to define precisely when this happens-hence the aversion to a hyper-emphasis on what words are said and how they are said. (Luther apparently suffered from worrying about this hyper-emphasis, for example). All we really know for sure is that great things happen from “Blessed is the Kingdom”. This same sense animated the western rites before the Mass of Paul VI, which due in part to its artifical insertion and mish mash of prayers, places an very unwholesome and untraditional hyper-emphasis on saying the words, iif only because there are so few of them in any one of what, ten versions now? If you really want to undermine the “work of the people”, add another ten more and then you’ll really have a gnostic elite running your show.