SCHOLION: Benedict’s address to non-Catholic Christian leaders

Let’s have a look at the Pope address in an ecumenical gathering with non-Catholic Christian leaders:

This address is not without problems.  There are a couple phrases I think some people will misunderstand and extract.  This happened also in the USA when Papa was talking about Catholic Education.  Alas. 

There are good things here too.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I give heartfelt thanks to God for this opportunity to meet and pray with all of you who have come here representing various Christian communities in Australia. Grateful for Bishop Forsyth’s and Cardinal Pell’s words of welcome, I joyfully greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus, the "cornerstone" of the "household of God" (Eph 2:19-20). I would like to offer a particular greeting to Cardinal Edward Cassidy, former President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who, due to ill health, could not be with us today. I recall with gratitude his steadfast dedication to improving mutual understanding among all Christians, and I would ask all of you to join me in praying for his speedy recovery.

Australia is a country marked by much ethnic and religious diversity. Immigrants arrive on the shores of this majestic land hoping to find happiness and opportunities for employment. Yours, too, is a nation which recognizes the importance of religious freedom. This is a fundamental right  [Which it was a theme in the USA too.] which, when respected, allows citizens to act upon values which are rooted in their deepest beliefs, contributing thus to the well-being of society. In this way, Christians cooperate, together with members of other religions, for the promotion of human dignity and for fellowship among all nations.

Australians cherish cordial and frank discussion. This has served the ecumenical movement well. An example would be the Covenant signed in 2004 by the members of the National Council of Churches in Australia. This document recognizes a common commitment, sets out goals, and acknowledges points of convergence without glossing over differences. Such an approach demonstrates not only the possibility of formulating concrete resolutions for fruitful cooperation in the present day, but also the need to continue patient discussion on theological points of difference. May your ongoing deliberations in the Council of Churches and in other local forums be sustained by what you have already achieved.

This year we celebrate the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Saint Paul, [whose year we Catholics are celebrating] a tireless worker for unity in the early Church. In the scripture passage we have just heard, Paul reminds us of the tremendous grace we have received in becoming members of Christ’s body through baptism. This sacrament, the entryway to the Church and the "bond of unity" for everyone reborn through it (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, 22), is accordingly the point of departure for the entire ecumenical movement[So…. we ask…. what is authentic ecumenism?  What does it lead?] Yet it is not the final destination. The road of ecumenism ultimately points towards a common celebration of the Eucharist (cf. Ut Unum Sint, 23-24; 45), which Christ entrusted to his Apostles as the sacrament of the Church’s unity par excellence. Although there are still obstacles to be overcome, we can be sure that a common Eucharist one day would only strengthen our resolve to love and serve one another in imitation of our Lord: for Jesus’ commandment to "do this in memory of me" (Lk 22:19) is intrinsically ordered to his admonition to "wash one another’s feet" (Jn 13:14). For this reason, a candid dialogue concerning the place of the Eucharist – stimulated by a renewed and attentive study of scripture, patristic writings, and documents from across the two millennia of Christian history (cf. Ut Unum Sint, 69-70) – will undoubtedly help to advance the ecumenical movement and unify our witness to the world.  [I wonder if this isn’t a signal to Lambeth.  Hmmm.]

Dear friends in Christ, I think you would agree that the ecumenical movement has reached a critical juncture. To move forward, we must continually ask God to renew our minds with the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom 12:2), who speaks to us through the scriptures and guides us into all truth (cf. 2 Pet 1:20-21; Jn 16:13). We must guard against any temptation to view doctrine as divisive and hence an impediment to the seemingly [!] more pressing and immediate task of improving the world in which we live.  [People will hear this and make a connection with the Kyoto Accord, or not drilling in Alaska.  The Pope does think doctrine is important. We can’t doubt that he believes that doctrine can and must at times be divisive.] In fact, the history of the Church demonstrates that praxis is not only inseparable from, but actually flows out of didache or teaching. [Let’s make this current: a bunch of women are going to pretend get ordained in Boston.  Read that here.  They spew about "injustice" and get the newsies dwelling on how the "Vatican" has unjust "laws" or "policies" and how it repeats them in "statements", that the "Vatican" repeats that ordaining women is "illegal".  But the reason it is "illegal" is because it is invalid.  We know it is invalid because of the Church’s teaching and Tradition.  Our laws are based on teaching.  Our prayer is based on belief.  Praxis flows from didache.] The more closely we strive for a deeper understanding of the divine mysteries, the more eloquently our works of charity [If we really buy into the Gospel message (the kingdom of God has been given to us) then we will act upon that belief.] will speak of God’s bountiful goodness and love towards all. Saint Augustine expressed the nexus between the gift of understanding and the virtue of charity when he wrote that the mind returns to God by love (cf. De Moribus Ecclesiae Catholicae, XII, 21), and that wherever one sees charity, one sees the Trinity (De Trinitate, 8, 8, 12)[To drill into this more there is a very good article on this in a recent number of Lateranum, for you priests and seminarians, etc., with Italian and access to a good library.  A handful of people would make this connection.  Benedict must have written this part.  Basically, whenever one sees charity, one sees the Trinity.  Take a look also at Deus caritas est.]

For this reason, ecumenical dialogue advances not only through an exchange of ideas but by a sharing in mutually enriching gifts (cf. Ut Unum Sint, 28; 57). An "idea" aims at truth; a "gift" expresses love. Both are essential to dialogue. [This is harmark Benedict.  The basis of dialogue must be the truth.  So, doctrine will divide. ]  Opening ourselves to accept spiritual gifts from other Christians quickens our ability to perceive the light of truth which comes from the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul [whose year we Catholics are celebrating.] teaches that it is within the koinonia of the Church that we have access to and the means of safeguarding the truth of the Gospel, for the Church is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets" with Jesus himself as the cornerstone (Eph 2:20).

In this light, perhaps we might consider the complementary biblical images of "body" and "temple" used to describe the Church. By employing the image of a body (cf. 1 Cor 12:12-31), Paul draws attention to the organic unity and diversity that allows the Church to breathe and grow. Equally significant, however, is the image of a solid, well-structured temple composed of living stones rising on its sure foundation. Jesus himself brings together in perfect unity these images of "temple" and "body" (cf. Jn 2:21-22; Lk 23:45; Rev 21:22).  [Papa Ratzinger wrote a book called A New Song for the Lord: Faith in Christ and Liturgy Today, in which there is a section entitled: "Built from Living Stones": The House of God and the Christian Way of Worshiping God.  Check it out.  It is a fascinating book providing some of Papa‘s starting points for a theology of liturgy.  One of them, rather provocatively, is from Liberation Theology.  Christ is liberator.  He frees us from the slavery of sin and the necessity of eternal death.  In all He says and does He liberates us.  So too in the Church’s liturgy.  In the texts and gestures of Mass, Christ the True Actor is liberating us.  But I digress…]

Every element of the Church’s structure is important, yet all of them would falter and crumble without the cornerstone who is Christ.  As "fellow citizens" of the "household of God", Christians must work together to ensure that the edifice stands strong so that others will be attracted to enter and discover the abundant treasures of grace within. As we promote Christian values, we must not neglect to proclaim their source [Christian revelation and grace illuminating reason] by giving a common witness to Jesus Christ the Lord. It is he who commissioned the apostles, he whom the prophets preached, and he whom we offer to the world.

Dear friends, your presence fills me with the ardent hope that as we pursue together the path to full unity, we will have the courage to give common witness to Christ. Paul speaks of the importance of the prophets in the early Church; we too have received a prophetic calling through our baptism. I am confident that the Spirit will open our eyes to see the gifts of others, our hearts to receive his power, and our minds to perceive the light of Christ’s truth. I express heartfelt thanks to all of you for the time, scholarship and talent which you have invested for the sake of the "one body and one spirit" (Eph 4:4; cf. 1 Cor 12:13) which the Lord willed for his people and for which he gave his very life. All glory and power be to him for ever and ever. Amen!

 

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to SCHOLION: Benedict’s address to non-Catholic Christian leaders

  1. TomG says:

    Fr. Z, if that is the address in its entirety, and you say that you have “problems” with, I’m wondering exactly where the problems *are*. If the problems are what self-serving people will do in twisting it, well, what’s new about that?

  2. Tom: Only that I think phrase like “doctrine shouldn’t be divisive” will be pulled out of context and misunderstood.

  3. Jason says:

    We must guard against any temptation to view doctrine as divisive and hence an impediment to the seemingly [!] more pressing and immediate task of improving the world in which we live.

    It seems to me that he is saying that doctrine IS more important than improving the world. Improving the world only “seems” more important, because we cannot see beyond ourselves. But doctrine is ultimately more important, because it concerns who God is, what he has revealed, and how we are to live in relationship with him. As he says, when we have right doctrine, it leads us to improve the world, because we know the God who is love, and he inflames us to carry out works of love.

  4. Paul says:

    I love Pope Benedict XVI, but I can’t see how his comments on religious freedom can be reconciled with the following Magisterial teaching:

    “Whatever, therefore, is opposed to virtue and truth, may not rightly be brought temptingly before the eye of man, much less sanctioned by the favor and protection of the law” (Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei).

    Condemned Errors:

    “Liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way.” (Pius IX, Quanta Cura).

    “… the best condition of society is the one in which there is no acknowledgment by the government of the duty of restraining… offenders of the Catholic religion, except insofar as the public peace demands” (Pius IX, Quanta Cura).

    77. In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship. — Allocution “Nemo vestrum,” July 26, 1855. (Pius IX, Syllabus of Errors).

    78. Hence it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship. — Allocution “Acerbissimum,” Sept. 27, 1852. (Pius IX, Syllabus of Errors).

  5. Jrbrown says:

    I guess another confusing aspect is the terminology that all being addressed are fellow members of the “household of God”, which of course is the Church, and of which not all the persons being addressed can possibly be members. Unless we are to believe that the Church, as such, exists wherever a baptized person is regardless of that person’s relationship with the Pope or true doctrine, etc., and we know that is condemned error, condemned by this very Pope in Dominus Iesus. So, I guess I’m just a little confused by that statement as it can be easily read as affirming that same error.

  6. Jrbrown says:

    And I would probably also echo what Jason says, i.e., the particular terminology used by the Holy Father on religious freedom is not the language of the Council or the Catechism, in that such freedom is not absolute, by any means, and actually is limited by common good and public order, as per traditional doctrine. Not to mention the ‘traditional doctrine’ of the duty of nations towards the true religion, as also affirmed in Vatican II and the new Catechism. Again, these words will be taken out of context and used to support the very errors condemned by prior Popes, and to which the Church cannot adhere given their constant condemnation. This is different from a development of doctrine, but instead a question of imprecise language. Suffice it to say that no one leaving that address would think the Pope meant anything other than complete liberty of religious conscience and practice, which is condemned, and which the Pope himself has admitted is a condemned position with perpetually valid content.

  7. Jason says:

    And I would probably also echo what Jason says

    I think you meant to refer to Paul’s post.

  8. QC says:

    In regards to religious liberty, the Pope is not speaking of the same thing that is being condemned; in other places he speaks of religious freedom as not being a metaphysical truth. In that sense, he speaks more about what is being condemned. In a Catholic forum a while back i wrote the following that traces and explains this teaching including that of the current Roman Pontiff. There is a unity of truth between the 19th century teaching and that of the Second Vatican Council. Too many give the teaching of Vatican II on this subject a meaning it did not intend to have.

    Writing this out is what helped me to understand it–I hope it will be helpful for others:

    Part I: http://christianforums.com/showpost.php?p=40437782&postcount=10

    part II: http://christianforums.com/showpost.php?p=40437811&postcount=11

  9. LCB says:

    QC,

    Too long and, frankly, too confusing and scattered. It would be far more readable if you started with the apparent contradiction (juxtaposing the quotes), and then worked backwards to show how they are not in contradiction at all. Just some friendly feedback ;-)

  10. Romanrevert says:

    I think that BXVI hit the nail on the head here when he stated “The road of ecumenism ultimately points towards a common celebration of the Eucharist.” This is a not-so-hidden way of saying the road of ecumenism ultimately points towards a return to the One Holy Catholic Church. How else would we have a common celebration of the Eucharist? It seems to me that the other comments are window dressing to something much larger .. that is a return to the Church. Exchanges of ideas and gifts are fine and good, but again, the ultimate goal of ecumenism is return to the Church. This cannot be understated or underemphasized. I just wish that modern Popes would care less about what these other communities think and boldly proclaim the truth in unambiguous terms as Popes of the past have done.

  11. craig says:

    The Syllabus of Errors is astonishingly unhelpful in just about every situation. So much of its practical implication hangs upon nebulous terms the Syllabus tosses around but does not bother to define.

    (Condemned error) “Liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way.” (Pius IX, Quanta Cura).

    The use of “liberty” is confusing, because that term in American usage is filtered through centuries of English common law in which the right can be limited in specific cases for specific just reasons (libel, “fighting words”, copyright, national security, among other exceptions). If Pius was saying there is no blanket right to say anything anywhere anytime, I don’t have a problem with it. The problem is in the notion of general prior restraint, and the evangelistic import of compelled practice as mentioned below.

    (Condemned error) “… the best condition of society is the one in which there is no acknowledgment by the government of the duty of restraining… offenders of the Catholic religion, except insofar as the public peace demands” (Pius IX, Quanta Cura).

    Who are “offenders of the Catholic religion”? Is this limited to interferers like petulant atheist Prof. Myers, or does it apply to any mere non-Catholic?

    (Condemned error) “77. In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship.” —Allocution “Nemo vestrum,” July 26, 1855. (Pius IX, Syllabus of Errors).

    What is exclusion? Does it imply that the force of law ought to be used against non-Catholic worship? I don’t see how true belief can be compelled, and if practice is compelled, the Catholic faith takes on an Islam-like appearance of demanding mere submission, indifferent to real assent, a stance anti-evangelistic at its core.

    (Condemned error) “78. Hence it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship.” —Allocution “Acerbissimum,” Sept. 27, 1852. (Pius IX, Syllabus of Errors).

    Should states permit non-Catholic immigrants? I don’t have a problem with a state so deciding, although it could pose problems with extending mercy to non-Catholics and with Catholics who defect from the faith later.

  12. TJB says:

    I found “A New Song For the Lord..” in a local used book store but I was very disappointed with the edition. A note at the front of the book told the reader that all Biblical quotations that Ratzinger had quoted in Greek were transliterated to english… All Bible passages were taken from the NRSV… and various other tweakings had occured to make the book more “modern.” I couldn’t believe that some publisher had found a way to turn me off from reading Ratzinger.

  13. Rose says:

    Can’t see how one can misread the sentence “must guard against the view that..” The Pope is saying we must guard AGAINST thinking that doctrine is divisive and guard AGAINST thinking that doctrine is less important than social justice work. In other words, social justice work is not more important than doctrine.

  14. Charlie says:

    I’m not sure how relevant this is to what the Holy Father is saying, but I found this in a book of mine:

    IIa IIae (Qq. 1-16) “A Tour of the Summa”:

    8. A person who has not the faith cannot be compelled by human means or authority to accept it.

    10. Unbelievers are not to be permitted to set up authority over the faithful. But in governments already established, unbelievers in office have authority over the faithful, apart from matters of divine law.

    11. The religious rights of unbelievers are to be tolerated, since these are lesser evils than those that would arise by reason of an effort to forbid or eradicate such rites.

  15. Paul tell that to Cardinal Avery Dulles

    Avery Cardinal Dulles, in an article in First Things, has some interesting notes about how we should read The Syllabus.

    http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=2279

    Next time, do your reading.

  16. Paul says:

    Do my reading? I’ve read the documents in question, and the contradiction is clear to anyone who examines them honestly. You really have to be some kind of nut to think that Pius IX would have signed Dignitatis Humanae.

    “If DH is compared with earlier official Catholic teaching, it represents an undeniable, even a dramatic, change.”

    It seems that the Cardinal agrees with me. All I’m saying is that there was a clear change. No reasonable person can deny that.

  17. Paul,
    I’m not sure what it is you’re smoking, DH says that “the highest norm for human life is the divine law-eternal, objective, and universal-whereby God orders, directs, and governs the entire universe.” Plus, Proposition 3 says that “human reason, without any relation at all to God, is the sole judge of true and false, good and evil, is a law unto itself, and is sufficient by its natural powers to procure the welfare of individuals and peoples.” That’s the key right there.

    I’m a nut? hahahahahahahahahahaha………Paul that’s bad comedy, surely you can do better than that. [Use a somewhat more congenial tone in your comments, please. – Fr. Z]

  18. Emilio III says:

    Paul, although you may have read the original documents, you did not pay too much attention to Cardinal Dulles’ article if you think he agrees with you:

    The Syllabus of Errors is a favorite source for those who wish to demonstrate an about-face of Catholic teaching on freedom of religion and on Church-State relationships. It was not a part of the encyclical Quanta Cura but an unsigned appendix to it containing a catalogue of previously condemned errors. According to Newman the Syllabus has no more doctrinal authority in itself than an index or table of contents taken apart from the book to which it refers. While Newman may have minimized the authority, he was right at least to the extent that the propositions must be interpreted in relation to the original documents from which they are excerpted.

    He goes on to put some of it in context, and finishes with:

    Over the past fifty years we have seen a strong and welcome development of the doctrine of religious freedom. Articulating the principles of the gospel in new situations, the Church has found a new voice. She speaks with a fresh awareness of the dignity and freedom that God wills for all human beings and with a deeper realization of the limited competence of civil governments. As the Church adapts her social teaching to changing political and social circumstances, she comes to a sharper perception of certain aspects and consequences of the gospel. The teaching of the nineteenth-century popes was not erroneous, but was limited by the political and social horizons of the time. In the words of DH, Vatican II brought forth from the Church’s treasury “new things in harmony with those that are old.” This process of development must continue as the Church faces the new problems and opportunities that arise in successive generations.

  19. Paul says:

    I’m aware of the argument he made in the article. The fact of the matter is that the Church now teaches that false religions have a right to public practice, whereas the Church taught the exact opposite before the council.

    I’m not even questioning the current teaching. I’m simply pointing out a factual reality and an obvious inconsistency.

  20. Maureen says:

    “You keep saying ‘inconceivable’. I do not think that word means what you think it means.”

    A lot of old theological documents assume that you know certain terms as defined by the Church, because you wouldn’t be reading theological documents if you didn’t. The problem is that, these days, even a lot of theologians don’t know the old definitions of words.

  21. Paul says:

    Roman Crusader, I’m a bit dumbfounded as to where this hostility came from. You came out guns blazing, and seem to have misconstrued a rhetorical device I used for a personal attack. Unless you claim that Pius IX would have signed Dignitatis Humanae, you weren’t the target of that remark.

    If you want to have a real discussion, please reconcile this statement:

    “Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered in their public teaching and witness to their faith, whether by the spoken or by the written word.” – Dignitatis Humanae

    With this:

    “Whatever, therefore, is opposed to virtue and truth, may not rightly be brought temptingly before the eye of man, much less sanctioned by the favor and protection of the law” (Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei).

    Condemned Errors:

    “Liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way.” (Pius IX, Quanta Cura).

    “… the best condition of society is the one in which there is no acknowledgment by the government of the duty of restraining… offenders of the Catholic religion, except insofar as the public peace demands” (Pius IX, Quanta Cura).

    77. In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship.—Allocution “Nemo vestrum,” July 26, 1855. (Pius IX, Syllabus of Errors).

    78. Hence it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship.—Allocution “Acerbissimum,” Sept. 27, 1852. (Pius IX, Syllabus of Errors).

    It can’t be done. The teaching changed. I’m not even saying that the current teaching is false, I’m simply proposing a factual reality that the teaching has changed.

  22. Paul,
    Couple things,

    15. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true. — Allocution “Maxima quidem,” June 9, 1862; Damnatio “Multiplices inter,” June 10, 1851.

    77. In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship. — Allocution “Nemo vestrum,” July 26, 1855.

    78. Hence it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship. — Allocution “Acerbissimum,” Sept. 27, 1852.

    Consider, Paul, that 15, 77, and 78 are condemning militant secularist relativism that was happening in Latin America and in Europe. Matter of fact, Gregory XVI said the same thing when referring to the extreme liberalism of Félicité de Lamennais in the encyclical Mirari Vos (1832)which “would allow all kinds of unfounded, libelous, and subversive opinions to be circulated without any legal restrictions.” This is for that reason why he used the word “insanity” “according to which freedom of conscience must be asserted and vindicated for everyone whatsoever.”

    And Pius IX said the same thing in Quanta Cura.

    Therefore, Paul, you’re essentially attacking a strawman

  23. Paul says:

    Attacking a strawman? Does DH not say that all religious communities have a right to public worship? Does this not plainly contradict what the Church taught before?

    Do religious communities have the right to be unhindered in the public exercise of their false religion, or can the state suppress the public exercise of a false religion for the good of souls?

    Both can’t be true.

  24. Dougall says:

    Paul-

    I don’t know why those who disagree with you are being so hostile.

    The people who say that this teaching on religious liberty can be reconciled, well, it seems like they aren’t reading about what the Catholic Church actually did. In the Middle Ages, the Popes actually ruled secular territory, waged military wars, etc., and yet we’re supposed to believe that other religions have an inherent right to exist, according to Catholic doctrine? Didn’t a Pope teach that it was actually ok to burn heretics at the stake? And yet other religions have an inherent right to proselytize?

    It’s weird. This New Theology seems to always be about the definition of terms, instead of actually saying something substantive. If theology is just twisting semantics to become aligned to the situation, what good is it?

    It seems like we are going to have to go back to Thomism or face disintegration. The Holy Father is so admirable, but I wonder sometimes, why he is such a proponent of ecumenism and liberty, especially considering the situation our societies are in.

    In the end religious liberty doesn’t amount to much. We may not be able to legally practice even our religion in 50 years…..

  25. Pierre Hountet says:

    Paul,

    Thank you very much for exposing the contraction so clearly. And as an attempt to respond to Dougall’s question (above), I am tempted to say that those who disagree with Paul are being so hostile precisely because they also see the contradiction but they cannot admit it. As Cantor so famously wrote it to Dedekind, Ich sehe es, aber ich kann es nicht glauben! (I can see it, but it I cannot believe!).

    It appears to me that Paul did an excellent job at exposing propositions which contradict each other, or, to me more accurate, propositions thereof some implications are contradictory.

    For instance:
    Proposition A:
    “Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered in their public teaching and
    witness to their faith, whether by the spoken or by the written word.” – Dignitatis Humanae
    implies (note that this a =>, not a )
    “It is not right to prevent a religious community from teaching its faith publicly, whether
    by the spoke or by the written word”
    I am now taking this weaker proposition as my major premise.

    In addition, here is my first minor premise, based on observing what one “religious community” xyz is teaching:
    “Religious community xyz is publicly teaching its faith according to which Jesus did not
    raise from the dead”.

    Conclusion:
    “It is not right to prevent religious community xyz from publicly teaching that Jesus
    did not raise from the dead.”
    which becomes my second major premise. However,
    “It is the truth that Jesus rose from the dead”,
    which implies the weaker proposition:
    “religious community xyz is publicly teaching a doctrine that is opposed to the truth”.
    which I am going to take as my second minor premise, and hence obtain asecond conclusion (call it A- since A => A-):
    “It is not right to prevent religious community xyz from publicly teaching a doctrine that
    is opposed to the truth”

    Now, consider proposition B:
    “Whatever, therefore, is opposed to virtue and truth, may not rightly be brought temptingly before the eye of man, much less sanctioned by the favor and protection of the law” (Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei).
    which I take as a major premise, in combination with the same second minor premise as above:
    “religious community xyz is publicly teaching a doctrine that is opposed to the truth”
    therefore, conclusion (call it B- since B=>B-).
    “religious community xyz may not rightly brought temptingly before the eye of man a doctrine that is opposed to the truth”.

    All right, we have now established that A=>A- and B=>B-. Now, A- and B- are evidently in contradiction; ad absurdum we deduce that A and B cannot be both true: either one of them is false, or both are. But they cannot both hold.

    Paul was simply exposing this fact. The teaching has changed. Everyone should accept it or forget about any attempt at having a logical discussion.

  26. SARK says:

    Thank you Paul and Pierre,

    The two propositions are clearly contradictory.

    The key, and I will allow, still unanswered question is which one of these propositions does the Holy Father agree. On the answer to this question so much depends.

    JMJ

  27. Pierre Hountet says:

    JMJ,

    Thank you. Please note, however, that he may also disagree with both

  28. QC says:

    Sorry for the confusion above–for me tracing the teaching in a more chronological way according the method of the hierarchy of truth was helpful. It is also helpful to parse the dogmatic from the practical/prudential. If one wants to place texts side by side and then explain their relationship, one would have to follow this method anyway.

    Generally, many people are giving DH a meaning it is not intended to have. In the second link I provided above, I quoted from the relatio explaining this. People have a right to pursue the truth and worship God according to it, and people have the right to come faith freely. That is what authentic religious freedom is. The point of DH is to assert that truth and then make practical decisions for states given modern circumstances to promote the common good.

    The Pope said this a while back:

    “Basic decisions, therefore, continue to be well-grounded, whereas the way they are applied to new contexts can change. Thus, for example, if religious freedom were to be considered an expression of the human inability to discover the truth and thus become a canonization of relativism, then this social and historical necessity is raised inappropriately to the metaphysical level and thus stripped of its true meaning. Consequently, it cannot be accepted by those who believe that the human person is capable of knowing the truth about God and, on the basis of the inner dignity of the truth, is bound to this knowledge.

    It is quite different, on the other hand, to perceive religious freedom as a need that derives from human coexistence, or indeed, as an intrinsic consequence of the truth that cannot be externally imposed but that the person must adopt only through the process of conviction.”

    Too many give certain historical and practical decisions a more metaphysical meaning, which they are not intended to have.

    In regards to the Syllabus, one must read the actual allocutions. It is not intended to stand on its own. Each point in the Syllabus is not meant to be a dogmatic definition on its own.

  29. QC says:

    Dougal,

    Popes when ruling as such did not destroy those of other religions. On the other hand, those who wanted to do so were condemned (John of Falkenberg and the monk Radulph come to mind as good examples of this–they wanted forcefully suppress paganism and Judaism respectively–Falkenberg was condemned by Martin V, and Radulph by St. Bernard and his bishop and that condemnation re-stated centuries later by Benedict XIV). Heresies were suppressed by force only when the common good necessitated it. For example, the Albigensians were a violent group. First, Dominicans were sent to preach to them. When the Dominicans were killed, force was used to suppress the Albigensians. Heresies during those times were never peaceful–they always disturbed the just ordering of society. On the other hand, pagans and usually Jews would live peacefully. Thus Bl. Gregory X condemned those who interfered with those practicing the Jewish faith of Paul III condemned those suppressing by force pagan religions–rather in both cases preaching and holy living was exhorted as the means to conversion.

    That is the exhortation of the Second Vatican Council as well.

    Likewise, however, in regards to current praxis, it would not be unreasonable if there were a completely Catholic state, for that state to not permit foreign sectarian missionaries to enter and cause dissensions. This was the case in some Latin American countries in the 1970s, for example.

  30. Sid Cundiff says:

    Sorry Paul and Pierre, but to coerce and to compel by the sword of The State is Semi-Pelagian and thus violates the infallible dogma proclaimed and taught in the canons of the 2nd Synod of Orange, a dogma that trumps ANY non-dogmatic statement by ANY pope. And this infallible dogmatic definition has NOT changed in 13 Centuries. If Quanta Cura and the Syllabus were to be in violation the 2nd Synod of Orange, then it would be Pius IX who would have changed and who would have stood in contradiction, and Dignitatis Humanae would be upholding the ancient tradition and teaching.

    The above discussion ignores utterly the historical circumstance of Quanta Cura and Dignitatis Humanae. The former was issued in the crisis surrounding the events of 1861: all Italy save Latium was suddenly in the new Italian Kingdom, and the Papal States were threatened. It was felt at the time that unless the pope ruled the Papal States, the pope would become a vassal of the Italian State. We know now that this didn’t happen.

    Above also ignores the true content of Pius IX’s teaching. Pius’ real enemy was Nationalism — and Nationalism remains an evil, it having caused two world wars, the mess in the Balkans, the mess in Palestine, racialism, ethnic conflict, and a host of other evils. Thus he REAL purport of Pius IX’s teaching is still very important and very relevant, and from his teaching we can learn much. Ironic how our some perfectly happy with Nationalism cite Pius, and ignore his real teaching. DON’T GET ME WRONG: I’m calling no writebacker here a Nationalist.

    Dignitatis Humanae was issued in the wake of Fascism, Clerical Fascism, Naziism (extremist nationalism and racialism), and Leninist-Stalinism. A jackboot in the face (or an airplane into a building) isn’t the way to secure the Faith.

  31. David Kastel says:

    The new teaching on “religious liberty” as expressed by V2 and in the above quote by Pope Benedict XVI clearly contradicts the dogmatic statements of Pius IX, but it also contradicts the First Commandment.

    The First Commandment clearly forbids to man the worship of false gods and the practice of false religions. Therefore, to claim that each man has a “FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT” to worship false gods and to practice false religions contradicts the Catholic Faith…clearly. It would be equally false to assert that each man has a fundamental right to commit adultery or to steal or to take the Lord’s name in vain. Nobody has a “RIGHT” to do something that contradicts the 10 Commandments.

    Now, it sometimes may not be expedient for the State to prohibit by law the practice of false religions. This may have been the case in the 1800s as well as today. But, sometimes, it may be in fact be expedient to do so. Therefore, it cannot be said that a man has a “fundamental right” to practice any of the false religions, since the State may, in fact, prohibit any one or another of them, if it is expedient to do so.

    In the same way, it may not be, and probably is not, expedient for the state to prohibit “coveting your neighbors wife.” But it must never be said that any man has a “fundamental right”, given by God, to do so.

    The State may prohibit the practice of false religions but it may also allow the practice of false religions. That is not a question of doctrine, but of prudence. The doctrinal question is whether man possesses, from God, a “fundamental right” to the practice of false religions, and of course, the answer is no. The Council was wrong.

  32. Patrick T says:

    David,

    What of the practice of religions that contain much, but not the totality of the Truth?

  33. MD says:

    “We must guard against any temptation to view doctrine as divisive and hence an impediment to the seemingly [!] more pressing and immediate task of improving the world in which we live”

    I sure the Holy Father understands the danger of taking the “more pressing and immediate task” too far. Taking into consideration what he stated in a September 2003 interview.

    ——-

    Raymond: My final question, what do you see, your Eminence, as the great danger and the great hope in the Church today?

    Cardinal: I see the great danger is that we would be only a social association and not founded in the faith of the Lord. For the first moment, it seems important that only what we are doing and the faith appears not so important. But if the faith disappears, all the other things are discomposed, as we have seen. So, I think there is a danger at this time with all these activities and external visions is to underestimate the importance of faith and to lose the faith, even a Church where the faith would not be so essential.

    Raymond Arroyo with Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
    http://www.ewtn.com/library/ISSUES/RATZINTV.HTM
    ——-

  34. Pierre Hountet says:

    Sid,

    Sorry Paul and Pierre, but to coerce and to compel by the sword of The State is Semi-Pelagian and thus violates the infallible dogma

    Non sequitur: it does not follow that my argument would be incorrect since I was not discussing the issue of coercion. I was showing that two propositions were contradictory, and thus that the teaching had changed. Please show where my syllogistic argument is wrong. Thank you.

  35. There’s a reason why Pius IX said what he did. He was referring to the situations in Latin America and in predominantly Catholic countries. It wouldn’t apply to America for instance because America is not a Catholic nation.

  36. Pierre, Syllabus of Errors and Dignatatis Humanae are theologically the same thing.

  37. LCB says:

    1) The syllabus itself is an unsigned attachment to the encyclical, and does not itself have the force that an encyclical has.
    2) The condemnations in the syllabus come from other places. Not all of those condemnations are themselves Church teaching.
    3) All sections in the syllabus must be understood in their original context.

    Pierre and Paul… you are assuming the meaning of the statements in question are manifestly clear and mean exactly what you want them to mean. That’s a protestant approach to papal documents; taking a small portion and presuming it perfectly explains the whole while meaning exactly what you say it does. That’s sloppy theology. Example: “Whoever believes in my name shall be saved.” And Protestants declare, “We’re all saved, since we believe in the name of Jesus!” Gosh, so simple, and so wrong.

    It’s not an issue of a person having a “right to be in error.” Rather, it is an issue of a person having a right to follow his/her conscience within reasonable means. To violate an individual’s right to freely follow his/her conscience (a sacrosanct right) would be a greater evil than their unauthentic worship. To force, through state compulsion, a certain form of worship would be even worse. Reasonable restrictions, of course, apply (no human sacrifices, etc.). That, along with some of the key condemnations, make it seem rather clear that neither of you read Cdl. Dulles’ argument. If you did, I suggest re-reading it, because you clearly don’t understand it. Please don’t claim “I’m familiar with the arguments” and then dismiss them out of hand. You’re only familiar with the strawmen.

    If you still would like, we can start really parsing phrases and asking questions. What does “opposed to truth and virtue” mean? Has it been defined? In what context is it used?

    Is Judaism opposed to truth? Certainly and obviously not, though it is not Christ’s Church. Is Islam opposed to truth and virtue? Perhaps, but can’t opposed mean TOTALLY against, and Islam is not necessarily totally against truth, even though it is not Christ’s Church. What about stoicism or platonism? Surely the stoics and platonists had laudable virtue. If they did not, we would never teach them in Catholic schools and seminaries… since that would be placing a temptation before the eye.

    And so on regarding Hinduism, Buddhism, and almost all major world religions. Infact, if they agree with the Church in any way, they contain at least some aspect of truth and virtue within them… even if only accidentally. Only when we get into things like satanism do we arrive at beliefs that are opposed to truth… but many would agree that such forms of worship should be restricted by the state because of their tendency towards violent violation of other’s rights, etc.

    SO, what is a belief/approach that is totally opposed to truth and virtue? Sounds like militant secularism… which is exactly what Pius XI was condemning in the first place.

    Just because you dislike the actual meaning of the texts, or just because you disagree with the actually meaning of the texts, or just because you refuse to understand the actual meaning of the texts… doesn’t mean the texts are contrary to each other.

    Your approach is entirely Protestant, picking quotes out of context to be used in a prooftext fashion. “Jesus says X, the Catholics do Y, I claim the two are opposed…so the the Catholics are false and all going to hell.” Yet they understand neither what Jesus has said, nor what the Church does. “Pius XI says A, VII says B, I claim the two are opposed… so the ‘New Church’ is false.” Yet you neither understand what Pius said nor what VII says.

    So tell me, if you can, when did you learn more about the meaning of Church documents than multiple Popes and 2000+ of the world’s bishops gathered together in one place in an Ecumenical Council? Since when does the authority of Peter rest with you?

    It seems far more likely that you are in error than the Universal Church.

    Yours in Christ,
    -LCB

    P.S. According to your own argument, the government should force you to believe what Benedict says.

  38. LCB says:

    According to the logic used earlier:

    I. Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)

    II. The Catholic Church teaches, “The Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation” (Lumen Gentium).

    III. Therefore the Catholic Church is false, since it disagrees with Jesus.

    Look what happens when we entirely ignore context? That is what has happened here (I’m aware it’s not a proper syllogism, but I trust the readers here can fill in the missing steps).

  39. Let me begin by sweeping away the real straw man that we can expect to see crop up in any discussion on religious liberty:

    “What is exclusion? Does it imply that the force of law ought to be used against non-Catholic worship? I don’t see how true belief can be compelled”—Craig
    “P.S. According to your own argument, the government should force you to believe what Benedict says.”—LCB

    Or, if you prefer it with some theological jargon:
    “Sorry Paul and Pierre, but to coerce and to compel by the sword of The State is Semi-Pelagian”—Sid Cundiff

    We are not talking about compelling belief; Faith is, as we know, a gratuitous gift of God, so it is futile to attempt to impose it by force. What is at issue here is whether the State has a duty to acknowledge the truth and thwart the dissemination of heresy. I contend that it does. I do this in union with all the hierarchs (some Saints, some sinners) who taught and practised this during the fifteen hundred years of Christendom. Let’s not become hung up on the controversies of the nineteenth century; we need to take into account the long, long history that precedes the corrupting influence of liberalism and mass-membership partisan democracy. LCB, you bring out the reliable reductio ad Hitlerum of the Catholic blogosphere, namely, the comparison to Protestantism:

    “Your approach is entirely Protestant, picking quotes out of context to be used in a prooftext fashion.”

    But the Protestant picks a proposition and tests it against his own subjective interpretation, whereas the Catholic tests it against an objective criterion, namely Tradition (by which I mean, the deposit of Faith transmitted unchanged over time, taken with all that expresses its permanence). Suppose Newman is right (I think he’s wrong), and “the Syllabus [of Errors] has no more doctrinal authority in itself than an index or table of contents taken apart from the book to which it refers” (according to Emilio III); but it is still a faithful collection of continuous teaching and practice over many centuries, is it not? Whereas DH is an attempt to incorporate the novelty of religious liberty into Catholic teaching on the State.

    It is unsurprising that, hitherto, the discussion has been framed in terms of ‘rights’ rather than of duties; I take it that many of you have well and truly inhaled the spirit of Americanism, or secularism as we now call it, and are trying more or less desperately (LCB, I’m looking at you; ease up on the bold type) to reconcile it with Tradition (which is impossible; Roman Crusader’s assertion that the “Syllabus of Errors and Dignatatis Humanae are theologically the same thing” is simply preposterous). The American school system seems to have been phenomenally successful at indoctrinating its pupils with a creepy reverence for that besmirched but influential document, the American Constitution, with its world-view of self-evident rights rather than God-given duties (and let’s bear in mind that error has no rights, though I know that’s an unfashionable cliché). At the risk of your skulls exploding from the tension of trying to contain two completely contradictory systems of thought, ask yourself this: which is more conducive to the Social Reign of Christ: secular, liberal democracy or the Confessional State? Another question: How many babies went unbaptised in, say, Mediaeval England compared to the present day? The requirement for the State to promote the True Faith and suppress heresy might not be a revealed truth, but I don’t think that it can be dismissed as a mere prudential judgment either. It is a usage, if you will, that has a venerable place in Christian history, or dare I say, in Christian Tradition.

    LCB, it looks like I’m picking on you, but I have to single you out again for this shocker:
    “To violate an individual’s right to freely follow his/her conscience (a sacrosanct right) would be a greater evil than their unauthentic worship.” This epitomises the kind of crypto-secularism that passes for Catholic social theory these days, and I reject it right down to its ‘primacy of conscience’ foundations. And your impersonation of jesting Pilate:
    “If you still would like, we can start really parsing phrases and asking questions. What does “opposed to truth and virtue” mean? Has it been defined? In what context is it used?”
    does you no credit either.

    Finally: Roman Crusader says that “15, 77, and 78 are condemning militant secularist relativism”. That is why these teachings are so important for our times! The benign stage of secular, liberal democracy is passing. We will soon be reminded that all States are Confessional States, it’s just a matter of what religion they confess.

    Reginaldvs Cantvar – NOT

  40. craig says:

    “What is at issue here is whether the State has a duty to acknowledge the truth and thwart the dissemination of heresy.”

    A duty to acknowledge the truth and thwart heresy can mean many things. It can mean the establishment of a state church and official participation of the church in state rituals. It can mean giving the church copyright-like authority over her own documents. It can even mean state-mandated religious instruction in schools. Even the last of these is not intrinsically oppressive of non-believers, so long as it does not include compulsory participation in religious rites.

    It does not intrinsically mean suppression of non-approved worship, although it can and has (cf. the Elizabethan acts that made criminals out of British Catholics). Compulsion of worship is *not* a straw man, so long as you argue that Catholic regimes have no duty to follow the same moral constraints applicable to non-Catholic regimes. If one assumed hypothetically that Islam were true, would it be oppressive for a Moslem regime to force Catholics to say the shahada?

    “Whereas DH is an attempt to incorporate the novelty of religious liberty into Catholic teaching on the State.”

    Do you accept Dignitatis Humanae as being authoritative Catholic teaching? A yes or no answer will suffice. Because several Popes now and the Magisterium as a whole have made clear that it is. It sounds to me like you have declared them in error.

    Lastly, if you want to argue that it is better for an individual to worship unauthentically rather than wrongly, take it up with our Lord. He had relatively mild words to say about the wrong worship of the Samaritans and the Roman soldiers, but plenty to say about the Pharisees’ inauthenticity.

  41. “A duty to acknowledge the truth and thwart heresy can mean many things”—Craig

    I do not see how State acknowledgement of the truth can mean anything other than the State confessing Christ. What does it mean for you? But I agree that suppression of heresy can mean many things.

    “[…] It does not intrinsically mean suppression of non-approved worship, although it can and has (cf. the Elizabethan acts that made criminals out of British Catholics). Compulsion of worship is not a straw man …”—Craig

    Suppression of non-approved worship is one thing, compulsion of worship is quite another, and is certainly a straw man, since no-one can be compelled to worship; it’s an impossibility. But I recall a law from Tudor England requiring subjects to ‘abide quietly’ at Church during the required times. This would seem to me like a sensible requirement to have on the statute books, at least with application to baptised Catholics.

    “Do you accept Dignitatis Humanae as being authoritative Catholic teaching? A yes or no answer will suffice.”—Craig

    I do not agree that a yes or no answer would suffice. I agree, firstly, that it is the output of a valid Council. But: Do DH’s contents belong to the extraordinary Magisterium? No. Do all its contents belong to the ordinary and universal Magisterium? Evidently not, by virtue of their lack of universality across time. And even the New Catechism moderates the worst excesses of DH.

    “Because several Popes now and the Magisterium as a whole have made clear that it is.”—Craig

    Scores of other Popes taught and practised otherwise. And the “Magisterium as a whole” (which is an expression with which I am unfamiliar) has not done what you say.

    “It sounds to me like you have declared them in error”—Craig

    I have done no such thing, and I don’t have the competence to do so. But I do, please God, have the Sense of the Faith, and some ability, however modest, to examine recent developments in the light of Tradition.

    And I’m not sure what you mean by your final paragraph, since I don’t think that anyone should (or can) be compelled to worship, though again, suppression of blasphemous worship is another thing entirely.

    One other thing: Fr. Zuhlsdorf, whence came the suffix to my pseudonym and U.R.L.? Later this year we mark the 450th anniversary of Cardinal Pole’s passing from this world; it is hardly necessary to point out that I am not really that noble Englishman. I will be alert to a mysterious “– NOT” appearing beside Ottaviani’s comments in future.

    Reginaldvs Cantvar