Is Pont. Comm “Ecclesia Dei” building a bridge to the SSPX?

Our friends at Rorate picked up something from Riposte Catholique (in French).  Apparently, the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” sent a letter to the General House of the SSPX in Menzingen, Switzerland.  The letter is signed by the PCED’s Vice-President Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, OP.

A taste:

Abp. Di Noia therefore proposes a new, spiritual, approach. He asks both parties to move forward, each one for their part, to an examination of conscience focused on humility, docility, patience, charity. [Do I hear an “Amen!”? – On both sides, by the way.] The SSPX considers that this cannot exclude, considering the doctrinal questions at stake, the strict confession of faith. Especially considering that the dismantlement of faith, catechesis, sacramental practices adds weight to their considerations. Conversely, it is true, one could say that the continued degradation of the situation of the Catholic faith is a pressing invitation [to the SSPX] to leave their splendid isolation, and join the official rescue corps in the very spot of the accident. [As I have been hoping for years.]

An outline of the concrete solution is left, surely on purpose, somewhat uncertain by Abp. Di Noia. He recalls en passant that Rome expects from Bp. Fellay a response to the document that was given to him last June 14. But, besides that, he proposes to the SSPX a process that could be qualified as transactional:

– On the one hand, the SSPX would find anew the positive charism of the first years at Fribourg and Écône (it would try to reform what can be [reformed], first through the formation of traditional priests and by preparing them for a teaching in conformity with their formation). [They could be helpful, but I suspect they also have a lot of catch-up reading to do.]

– On the other, the SSPX still considering that certain passages of the teaching of Vatican II cannot be reconciled with the preceding Magisterium, it could discuss it, as long as it: [here goes…]

– abstains as a matter of principle from [discussing them in] the mass media; [good]

– does not establish itself as a parallel magisterium; [like the Magisterium of Nuns!]

– always presents the objections in a positive and constructive manner [good]

– bases all its analyses on deep and wide theological bases. [good]

More will come forth about this, but this is positive.

Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

And @Pontifex means “bridge builder”.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Benedict XVI, Brick by Brick, Magisterium of Nuns, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, Priests and Priesthood, SSPX, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The future and our choices, Vatican II, Year of Faith and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Is Pont. Comm “Ecclesia Dei” building a bridge to the SSPX?

  1. Legisperitus says:

    Hope remains.

  2. wmeyer says:

    I shall pray for a good result.

  3. Frank H says:

    I like that “join the official rescue corps” part!

  4. kgurries says:

    This certainly indicates a certain patience and hope on the part of the Holy See. I wonder if the recent talk given by Bishop Fellay in Canada is an indirect response to this letter.

  5. wolfeken says:

    It’s hard to take this outreach seriously, with all of the impatient and unchartiable things said about the SSPX recently by DiNoia’s boss, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller.

    But perhaps the Archbishop Jekyll and Archbishop Hyde thing by CDF will work. We can only hope.

  6. Jason Keener says:

    “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

  7. robtbrown says:

    wolfeken says:

    It’s hard to take this outreach seriously, with all of the impatient and unchartiable things said about the SSPX recently by DiNoia’s boss, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller.

    I wouldn’t call him DiNoia’s boss. Both are archbishops, and DiNoia, who was undersecretary at the SCDF for three years under Cardinal Ratzinger, is the pope’s link to the SSPX.

  8. Lynne says:

    Wolfken: “But perhaps the Archbishop Jekyll and Archbishop Hyde thing by CDF will work. We can only hope.”

    No, no. It’s good cop, bad cop…

  9. kgurries says:

    I don’t see this as playing good cop or bad cop. All of the players are saying essentially the same thing — sure styles may vary. Remember the recent interview given by Archbishops DiNoia on this topic….and he was considered the new “bad guy” by some:

    “They have to say: ‘Yes, I do believe the Church is preserved from error by the Holy Spirit.’ Then I can say, ‘Okay, then; you’re a Catholic.'”
    http://opuscula.blogspot.com/2012/07/archbishop-dinoia-speaks.html

  10. Tradster says:

    The bishops have kept the FSSP on a short leash so it begs the question of who the Vatican regards as the official rescue corps that the SSPX is being invited to join.

  11. Geoffrey says:

    Rorate is saying that “it is not exactly a new/urgent letter, but that it was sent in early December 2012″. Bishop Fellay gave his speech in Canada on 28 December. Was his speech in response to this letter?

  12. jacobi says:

    One must pray that the SSPX will respond to Abp. Di Noia’s initiative. The conditions seem reasonable enough.
    There is no problem here that cannot be worked out given reason and goodwill. After all the Holy Father, speaking to the Chilean bishops in 1988 said,

    “ The truth is that this particular council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council;”

    They should realise that we need them back in the Church!

  13. MichaelJ says:

    My head is spinning. Once again, I ask “Who speaks for the church on this issue”? Is it Archbishop Müller, Archbishop Di Noia, Cadinal Koch? And how is this communicated? An editorial, an interview, a letter, twitter?
    I see no hope in “reconciliation” unless the Holy Father takes the reins and is personally and directly involved.

  14. anilwang says:

    For the record, according to ChurchMilitantTV (skip to 1:57min)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkZ5eqZYEQM

    The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is preparing a booklet to instruct priests on how to properly celebrate the mass. In particular, “masses towards the people” will be officially deemed a liturgical abuse since they take away from the sacrificial aspects of the mass.

    I haven’t found a backup source ( http://churchmilitanttv.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/catholic-news-roundup-01-18/ isn’t up yet) , but if true this is the best news since SP and UE.

    It would also remove a key apologetic by the SSPX (and the Orthodox) against the Catholic Church and greatly aid True Ecumenism.

    I hope and pray it is true and that the indult to allow communion in the hand has also been revoked (although it’ll be shocked if they went as far as requiring kneeling). I also pray that if true, it will be accepted with as much uniformity as the revised mass translation.

  15. poohbear says:

    anilwang, Zenit is reporting the same information on the booklet.

  16. anilwang says:

    Thanks poohbear,

    Unfortunately the Zenit article ( http://www.zenit.org/article-36355?l=english ) makes it sound like an advice booklet rather than a directive. Granted, more average priests would attempt ad orientum after this booklet is released, but there’s a lot of peer pressure involved. Few people want to stand out, so unless the Bishop mandates it, a typically faithful priest will likely bow to public and peer pressure. And unless its mandated by all Bishops, a typical faithful bishop will likely bow to public and peer pressure.

    But even if it’s just an advice booklet, it’s a start and more than a few brave priests will choose to follow it (at least on feast days, Easter and Christmas). And more may come as time progresses. Hopefully this is just a shot across the bow of the “Spirit of Vatican II” crowd, and something more mandatory will follow.

  17. acardnal says:

    I posted that link to the ZENIT article yesterday on this blog. (“altar rails” post, 17 Jan 13, 6:15 pm). It gave me the impression that it may/may take most of this year before it is formally issued.

  18. jhayes says:

    The Rorate article is a partial Egnlish translation of an article in the French-language “Riposte Catholique ” the Riposte article attempts to summarize what it identifies as “a very long letter from Mgr DiNoia”. It’s hardto identify what is actually wording from the letter and what is Riposte’s interpretation of it.

    Riposte does say “[the letter] refers to “Donum Veritatis – instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian” (24 May 1990). Certainly, that comes down to wanting objections to Vatican 2 to be presented as just simple “theological differences” [to be resolved by the Donum Veritatis process]

    Many of the points made in the Riposte article sound as if they are quoted from these sections of Donum Veritatis”

    24. Finally, in order to serve the People of God as well as possible, in particular, by warning them of dangerous opinions which could lead to error, the Magisterium can intervene in questions under discussion which involve, in addition to solid principles, certain contingent and conjectural elements. It often only becomes possible with the passage of time to distinguish between what is necessary and what is contingent.

    The willingness to submit loyally to the teaching of the Magisterium on matters per se not irreformable must be the rule. It can happen, however, that a theologian may, according to the case, raise questions regarding the timeliness, the form, or even the contents of magisterial interventions. Here the theologian will need, first of all, to assess accurately the authoritativeness of the interventions which becomes clear from the nature of the documents, the insistence with which a teaching is repeated, and the very way in which it is expressed.(24)

    When it comes to the question of interventions in the prudential order, it could happen that some Magisterial documents might not be free from all deficiencies. Bishops and their advisors have not always taken into immediate consideration every aspect or the entire complexity of a question. But it would be contrary to the truth, if, proceeding from some particular cases, one were to conclude that the Church’s Magisterium can be habitually mistaken in its prudential judgments, or that it does not enjoy divine assistance in the integral exercise of its mission. In fact, the theologian, who cannot pursue his discipline well without a certain competence in history, is aware of the filtering which occurs with the passage of time. This is not to be understood in the sense of a relativization of the tenets of the faith. The theologian knows that some judgments of the Magisterium could be justified at the time in which they were made, because while the pronouncements contained true assertions and others which were not sure, both types were inextricably connected. Only time has permitted discernment and, after deeper study, the attainment of true doctrinal progress.

    25. Even when collaboration takes place under the best conditions, the possibility cannot be excluded that tensions may arise between the theologian and the Magisterium. The meaning attributed to such tensions and the spirit with which they are faced are not matters of indifference. If tensions do not spring from hostile and contrary feelings, they can become a dynamic factor, a stimulus to both the Magisterium and theologians to fulfill their respective roles while practicing dialogue.

    26. In the dialogue, a two-fold rule should prevail. When there is a question of the communion of faith, the principle of the “unity of truth” (unitas veritatis) applies. When it is a question of differences which do not jeopardize this communion, the “unity of charity” (unitas caritatis) should be safeguarded.

    27. Even if the doctrine of the faith is not in question, the theologian will not present his own opinions or divergent hypotheses as though they were non-arguable conclusions. Respect for the truth as well as for the People of God requires this discretion (cf. Rom 14:1-15; 1 Cor 8; 10: 23-33 ) . For the same reasons, the theologian will refrain from giving untimely public expression to them.

    28. The preceding considerations have a particular application to the case of the theologian who might have serious difficulties, for reasons which appear to him wellfounded, in accepting a non-irreformable magisterial teaching.

    Such a disagreement could not be justified if it were based solely upon the fact that the validity of the given teaching is not evident or upon the opinion that the opposite position would be the more probable. Nor, furthermore, would the judgment of the subjective conscience of the theologian justify it because conscience does not constitute an autonomous and exclusive authority for deciding the truth of a doctrine.

    29. In any case there should never be a diminishment of that fundamental openness loyally to accept the teaching of the Magisterium as is fitting for every believer by reason of the obedience of faith. The theologian will strive then to understand this teaching in its contents, arguments, and purposes. This will mean an intense and patient reflection on his part and a readiness, if need be, to revise his own opinions and examine the objections which his colleagues might offer him.

    30. If, despite a loyal effort on the theologian’s part, the difficulties persist, the theologian has the duty to make known to the Magisterial authorities the problems raised by the teaching in itself, in the arguments proposed to justify it, or even in the manner in which it is presented. He should do this in an evangelical spirit and with a profound desire to resolve the difficulties. His objections could then contribute to real progress and provide a stimulus to the Magisterium to propose the teaching of the Church in greater depth and with a clearer presentation of the arguments.

    In cases like these, the theologian should avoid turning to the “mass media”, but have recourse to the responsible authority, for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders servite to the truth.

  19. Pingback: Did You Know St Peters First Church in Rome was a House Church | Big Pulpit

  20. Gratias says:

    “He [Arch. di Noia] recalls en passant that Rome expects from Bp. Fellay a response to the document that was given to him last June 14. ” The Holy Father has the patience of a Saint.

    We all need to fight from within, difficult as it may be. And it is very difficult, as we have learned from the expulsion of the EF from the Mission San Juan Buenaventura in Los Angeles.

  21. AnnAsher says:

    I find it shocking that any pontifical commission would publicly admit to the the continuing degradation of the faith; that the faith and practice of it has been dismantled. Is this not precisely what SSPX has been saying? Sounds a bit to my like the Holy Spirit is bringing Rome to Econe’ not vice versa.

  22. wmeyer says:

    AnnAsher: Should we prefer a commission to be whistling in the dark? Pretending all is well?

  23. jhayes says:

    “I find it shocking that any pontifical commission would publicly admit to the the continuing degradation of the faith; that the faith and practice of it has been dismantled.”

    Ann Asher, i think that is part of Riposte’s commentary, not necessarily a quote from +Di Noia’s letter:

    “À l’aide de textes de saint Paul, saint Augustin, saint Thomas, Mgr Di Noia propose donc une nouvelle approche, spirituelle. Il demande que les deux parties procèdent, chacune pour sa part, à un examen de conscience à propos de l’humilité, de la douceur, de la patience, de la charité. La FSSPX estime que cela ne peut exclure, compte tenu des questions doctrinales en jeu, la rigueur de la confession de la foi. D’autant que le morcellement de la foi, de la catéchèse, des pratiques sacramentelles, amène beaucoup d’eau à son moulin. Inversement, il est vrai, on pourrait dire que la dégradation continue de la situation de la foi catholique est une invitation pressante à quitter son splendide isolement et à se joindre aux corps officiels de secouristes dans les lieux sinistrés eux-mêmes.

  24. persyn says:

    Anilwang is correct about Priests being afraid, and what is needed is a statement to any instruction that says, in effect, “any Bishop who doesn’t implement this to the fullest extent will be reassigned as Titular Bishop of Boonietoolies, Egypt and housed in a monastery that makes the Bastille look like the Waldorf Astoria”. Just my $0.02, if it’s even worth that.

  25. fvhale says:

    While not using the French word “dégradation,” the French translation of the Letter accompanying Summumorum Pontification does twice use “les déformations”:

    Beaucoup de personnes qui acceptaient clairement le caractère contraignant du Concile Vatican II, et qui étaient fidèles au Pape et aux Evêques, désiraient cependant retrouver également la forme de la sainte Liturgie qui leur était chère ; cela s’est produit avant tout parce qu’en de nombreux endroits on ne célébrait pas fidèlement selon les prescriptions du nouveau Missel; au contraire, celui-ci finissait par être interprété comme une autorisation, voire même une obligation de créativité; cette créativité a souvent porté à des déformations de la Liturgie à la limite du supportable. Je parle d’expérience, parce que j’ai vécu moi aussi cette période, avec toutes ses attentes et ses confusions. Et j’ai constaté combien les déformations arbitraires de la Liturgie ont profondément blessé des personnes qui étaient totalement enracinées dans la foi de l’Eglise.

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/letters/2007/documents/hf_ben-xvi_let_20070707_lettera-vescovi_fr.html

  26. Johnno says:

    Regardless of how ‘pastoral’ VII is, there’s no denying that there has been a massive reorientation that the post-council Magisterium will seek to impose on the SSPX by virtue of obedience to the Magisterium, even if it is contradictory to the turths of Catholicism?

    For example here’s one argument the SSPX put forth with regards to the Church and Pope’s new attitude towards the Jews:
    http://www.sspx.org/miscellaneous/judaism_and_church_before_and_after_vatican_ii_vennari-1-11-2013/judaism_and_church_before_and_after_vatican_ii_vennari-1-11-2013.htm

    So even if Rome was to say things such as ‘VII was only pastoral, not dogmatic’ what good is it if it still imposes upon the SSPX the illicit practices that are being promoted implicitly?

    So, are the SSPX expected to follow Rome’s example where we keep the interpretation of VII in line with tradition, where we agree the council was pastoral, we agree that the Jews must convert to Catholicism to be saved, we agree that Christ’s sacrifice has fuifilled the convenant and the new convenant makes obsolete the old etc. BUT… the SSPX must follow Rome’s example of carrying on ecumenical relations with the Jews as if none of those things mattered and silenced these Catholic truths for the sake of peaceful political relations? If ecumenism’s purpose to convince the jews through dialogue to convert, or is it just a means of exchanging nice-ness, political correctness and general plesantries with each other?

    It will not only come down to interpreting VII correctly, but it will also be a case of what Rome forces the SSPX to do that they are afraid of, and their concerns are rightly justified. The Church cannot believe one thing, but then act indifferent about it. Delivering half-truths to the Jews and other religions is not honest nor useful to the Church’s mission. It’s especially silly when our ecumenical partners of other faiths don’t care to return the favor. We whisper sweet nothigns about how we share all these nice common thigns, and they in turn loudmouth how the Catholic Church is a flawed religion but it’s nice that VII is finally getting the Church to open up about its shortcomings and to see itself as no different than the rest.

  27. Anilwang, I would be quite surprised if the forthcoming CDW document deemed versus populum a liturgical abuse. Starting at 2:10 in the youtube video you linked, I transcribe the following:

    ” . . . . emphasized that the Second Vatican Council did not allow such Masses, nor did it permit priests to celebrate Mass facing the people, and [the][that] liturgical abuse must be stopped to preserve the sacrificial sense of the Eucharist.”

    The run-on clauses juxtapose several different issues, and I suspect from the context that the reader meant to say “that” where it seems she seemed to say “the”. Which would only mean the general statement that (unspecified) “liturgical abuse must be stopped to preserve the sacrificial sense of the Eucharist.”

  28. jhayes says:

    fvhale, the SP letter is not a criticism of the OF Mass but of “arbitrary deformations” that some people made to “the prescriptions of the new Missal” [Missal of Paul VI – now in its Third Edition]

    “Many people [e.g. the SSPX] who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.

  29. jhayes says:

    My bracketed insertion should have read [outside of the SSPX]

  30. Clinton R. says:

    I second the concerns raised by Johnno regarding the Church’s view of the Jews post Vatican II. There is much to ponder on. Does the Church now believe the Old Covenant is still valid? Are there duel Covenants? Do the Jews have to convert? Has the Old Law been rendered null and void and replaced by the New? If the answers differ from the teaching of the Catholic Church prior to the Second Vatican Council, then how can we say the Council must be seen as a hermeneutic of continuity and not one of rupture? If the visits to synagogues in recent times by John Paul II and Benedict XVI represent the first stage to bring the Jews to Christ and His Church, then the concerns of the SSPX are allayed. If Nostra Aetate is in fact a major shift in Church teaching in relation to the Jews , as Kurt Cardinal Koch and others espouse, then that raises serious concerns. Especially since Cardinal Koch has labeled the SSPX as “anti-Semitic”. Is it because the SSPX believes the Gospel should be preached to all men? By that standard, many saints would be ‘anti-Semitic’. If the Church no longer teaches the Jews need to accept Christ, then I don’t see a reconciliation with the SSPX. Of course, this is all in God’s hands and I pray His Will be done. +JMJ+

  31. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Clinton R,
    in this order:
    1. yes, as approved by our Lord (and objectively “transformed” in the New Covenant)
    2. objectively no.
    3. objectively yes.
    4. no, the Church never taught so. Merely, as the Church always taught, the ceremonial part of it has been declared fulfilled and set out of application. (“null and void” sounds a bit like “uninteresting” and “less rank of civilization”…)
    5. hermeneutics means “manner of interpretation”. Who wants to apply (not hold) hermeneutics of continuity, does not mean to say there were no reforms (which is the friendlier word for breaks). He means to not suppose a break until forced to do so by the contents of the documents.

    On the opinions of H. Em. Cardinal Koch, I’m not sufficiently informed.

  32. jhayes says:

    “Who wants to apply (not hold) hermeneutics of continuity, does not mean to say there were no reforms (which is the friendlier word for breaks).”

    The SSPX points out that there are differences between older documents and Vatican II. Benedict’s basic position, as I understand it, is that the old documents should not be read as if every word or statement had the same value. As the Instruction “Donum Veritatis” says:

    “24. Finally, in order to serve the People of God as well as possible, in particular, by warning them of dangerous opinions which could lead to error, the Magisterium can intervene in questions under discussion which involve, in addition to solid principles, certain contingent and conjectural elements. It often only becomes possible with the passage of time to distinguish between what is necessary and what is contingent….

    When it comes to the question of interventions in the prudential order, it could happen that some Magisterial documents might not be free from all deficiencies. Bishops and their advisors have not always taken into immediate consideration every aspect or the entire complexity of a question….

    The theologian knows that some judgments of the Magisterium could be justified at the time in which they were made, because while the pronouncements contained true assertions and others which were not sure, both types were inextricably connected. Only time has permitted discernment and, after deeper study, the attainment of true doctrinal progress.”

    That was in 1990, when he was Prefect of the CDF. In his Christmas address to the Curia in 2005, after becoming Pope, he expanded on his view that some statements in earlier documents were “contingent” – and gave some examples.

    “It is precisely in this combination of continuity and discontinuity at different levels that the very nature of true reform consists. In this process of innovation in continuity we must learn to understand more practically than before that the Church’s decisions on contingent matters – for example, certain practical forms of liberalism or a free interpretation of the Bible – should necessarily be contingent themselves, precisely because they refer to a specific reality that is changeable in itself. It was necessary to learn to recognize that in these decisions it is only the principles that express the permanent aspect, since they remain as an undercurrent, motivating decisions from within.

    On the other hand, not so permanent are the practical forms that depend on the historical situation and are therefore subject to change.

    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….

    The Second Vatican Council, with its new definition of the relationship between the faith of the Church and certain essential elements of modern thought, has reviewed or even corrected certain historical decisions, but in this apparent discontinuity it has actually preserved and deepened her inmost nature and true identity.”

  33. robtbrown says:

    bJohnno says,

    we agree that the Jews must convert to Catholicism to be saved,

    That is not the position of St Thomas. He says that one saved by Christ (cf the New Law), but that it is possible that a Jew be saved because the Old Law is the antetype of the New.


    we agree that Christ’s sacrifice has fuifilled the convenant and the new convenant makes obsolete the old etc.

    If the Old Covenant is obsolete, then the moral precepts contained within it (Ten Commandments) are also obsolete.

  34. jhayes says:

    Johnno, Benedict dscussed the issue of the Jews in the second volume of Jesus of Nazareth. Here is a portion of the transcript of a press conference organized by Ignatius Press at hat time. Fr. Weinandy of the USCCB responds to a question from John Allen:

    “John Allen: Thank you, this question is directed in the first place to Father Weinandy although anyone who wants to respond I’d be very grateful. Father I’m interested in the section of the book that the Benedict refers to as the time for the Gentiles pages 27 and the following in which he talks about among other things Israel’s role in evangelization and it seems he quotes Hildegard of Bingen to the effect that the Church must not concern herself with the conversion of the Jew.

    It would seem the Holy Father is saying that at least in this order of history – it’s the Church should not be worrying about the conversion of the Jew. I’m wondering first of all, is that an accurate reading, do you think, of what the Holy Father is saying? Secondly, what would the theological significance of that be?

    Father Thomas Weinandy: John that struck me too when I read it, I think the context in which the Pope is quoting both Hildegard of Bingen and also Bernard of Calvo is he’s talking about the age of the Gentiles that we first need to have the true number, the full number of Gentiles coming to faith in Christ and after we have the full number of Gentiles coming to faith in Christ then in the Lord’s own time the conversion of the Jews will be accomplished.

    But he’s stressing here first of all, that to say should not concern herself with the Jews because it’s a fixed time for God is that our major concern right now should be with regards to the Gentiles but he’s also saying I think that there’s no specific program that the Catholic Church has to convert the Jews, again that’s in God’s time, leaving open the freedom of the conscience that Jews can become Christians as Christians could become Jews. So that would be my overall answer, now did you have – what was your second part of it again John?

    John Allen: Well the point was the theological significance of that and of course what I have in mind with that is you’re very familiar obviously with the debate over covenant (admission), the criticism that was raised by Cardinal (Douglas), the debates around the so called dual-covenant theology and I’m just wondering if anything the Pope says here bears any of that.

    Father Thomas Weinandy: Well I don’t think the Pope would be here sanctioning a dual- covenant kind of theology, I think he would very much uphold the fact that the Lord Jesus came to save all peoples and nations, both Jews and Gentiles and that while the emphasis, the desire is that all be converted at this point in time we don’t know when the conversion of the Jews will take place and it one sense we shouldn’t be too anxious about that because that’s going to happen at the Lord’s time but I don’t think (inaudible) anything about the dual-covenant theory or that we should not at least have any care or whether or not Jews become Christian or not.”

    http://www.ignatius.com/promotions/jesus-of-nazareth/downloads/Tele-PressConferenceTranscriptJesusOfNazarethHolyWeek2011March09.pdf

  35. Johnno says:

    robtbrown

    – “That is not the position of St Thomas. He says that one saved by Christ (cf the New Law), but that it is possible that a Jew be saved because the Old Law is the antetype of the New.”

    All religions posess moral compasses we share in common with regards to charity, forgiveness, searching for union with God etc. and could be considered stepping stones towards Christ’s Gospel who fulfills what they are seeking and grasping for. It is possible for other people of faith to be saved through the Church, but it doesn’t make their false faiths legitimate.

    – “If the Old Covenant is obsolete, then the moral precepts contained within it (Ten Commandments) are also obsolete.”

    This does not follow and contradicts everything St. Paul taught and emphasized. The numerous covenants themselves had to do with the agreements between God and Adam, God & Abraham, God and Israel etc. that was in finality accomplished by Christ, as sacrificing Himself to pay for the breaking of the original covenant that demanded blood repayment on the part of mankind. The moral law is always consistent throughout, if anything only building upon its foundation with further developments. Going by this statement we ought to then continue ceremonial laws like circumcizing ourselves and avoiding pork?

    Perhaps we are getting caught here in my poor choice of wording. ‘Obsolete’ could be better put as ‘fulfilled’ by Christ, who then in turn establishes a New Convenant that still builds upon the moral foundation set by the Old. This means that given that Christ has fulfilled it, it is no longer legally binding. however we then enter the New Convenant which still demands the moral obligations of the Old one. Hence St. Paul’s legal argument that Christ’s sacrifice has freed us from the law. So any Jews continuing to hold on to it are not really achieving anything by it and thus in practice disregard the truth.

    jhayes

    Pope Benedict’s view in Jesus of Nazareth is brought up and critiqued in the SSPX article I posted:

    “Unfortunately, Pope Benedict does not mention the full quote of St. Bernard that rounds out Catholic doctrine on this point. In union with the perennial doctrine of the Church, St. Bernard teaches, “We are told by the Apostle that when the time is ripe all Israel shall be saved. But those who die beforehand [that is, those who do not convert] will remain in death.”

    The complete quote from St. Bernard runs dead against Vatican II’s new orientation, so it is not mentioned. Pope Benedict here is showing himself to be primarily an ecumenical theologian rather than a truly Catholic one. As far back as 1962, the brilliant Greymoor theologian Fr. Edward Hanahoe warned that a tactic of ecumenical theologians is to pass over in “significant silence” any Catholic truth that opposes their ecumenical framework.”

  36. jhayes says:

    Johnno, I don’t see the second sentence of the quote from Bernard in what Paul wrote:

    25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

    26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

    27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

    28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.

    Romans 11

  37. jhayes says:

    Johnno, now that I have located my copy of Benedict’s book, I am even more puzzled by the SSPX article you linked.

    Benedict quotes what Bernard said to Pope Eugene III in “De Consideratione” but the SSPX complains he omitted something Bernard said in a different document (“Letter to England to Summon the Second Crusade, 1146″)

    Here is Benedict:

    Here I should like to recall the advice given by Bernard of Clairvaux to his pupil Pope Eugene III on this matter. He reminds the Pope that his duty of care extends not only to Christians, but: “You also have obligations towards unbelievers, whether Jew, Greek or Gentile” (De Consideratione III/1, 2). Then he immediately corrects hmself and observes more accurately: “Granted, with regard to the Jews, time excuses you; for them a determined point in time has been fixed, which cannot be anticipated. The full number of Gentiles must come in first….”

    Here is the line the SSPX quotes from a different document by Bernard. As I pointed out in my earlier post, the second sentence is not part of what Paul said in Romans 11. MOre importantly, the whole quotation is not from the document Benedict uses.

    “Finally we are told by the Apostle that when the time is ripe all Israel shall be saved. But those who die before will remain in death.”

    http://www.ccjr.us/dialogika-resources/primary-texts-from-the-history-of-the-relationship/258-bernard-of-clairvaux

  38. Johnno says:

    jhayes –

    It may well be that the SSPX article has got the quote wrong and that Benedict XVI may just be referring to another one in the same vein. But in the end the context is clear if we are to take St. Bernard’s meaning consistently when he says that the full conversion of Israel in the future is still to occur as we would rightfully hope for, yet also that Jews who do not convert in the interim are still endangering their souls, which is something that can be avoided if they accepted the Gospel.

    It is still in line with what St. Paul says. In his day, they encountered the most resistence from the Jews, so St. Paul, himself understanding full well their stubborness, because he himself in his zeal also persecuted the Christians, decided to focus on the Gentiles. This doesn’t mean Peter and the other apostles stopped trying to spread the Gospel to the Jews, and neither obviously did Paul.

    Furthermore, with regards to Israel and its descendents, many of the original tribes were scattered the world over, many who settled abroad who did not return and many who would also cease to be Jews in their own time accepting the customs and faiths of their new homelands with the passage of time and intermarriage and unfaithfulness, yet these are still legitimate descendents of Abraham whom God vowed to gather together into the Kingdom. So taking the Gospel to the Gentiles also reaches out to the lost descendents of Abraham, thus if the whole of Israel’s legacy is to be saved, this necessitates also those scattered amongst the gentiles. So it should be noted that the ‘fullness of the Gentiles being brought in’ is in line with this understanding in order that Israel might in all fullness be saved.

    St. Paul is not letting their current failure to convert Israel stand in the way of the Gospel, instead leaving the hope of Israel’s full conversion as an inevitability up to God’s own time and determination as the whole world converts. This is not a licence to ignore the Jews by imagining that they will be fully saved by remaining in the Old Covenant. It is the hope that future generations will one day convert in the fullness of time. It is also tinged with Paul’s patriotism for the people of Israel whom he belongs to, the hope of its inevitable acceptance of Christ in the future. This is also in line with Biblical types where a Prophet is not accepted in his own home and numerous examples where the Messiah/God is rejected by his ‘first born/chosen people’ and where the corruption of the Jewish religious authorities/leaders, right of kingship, keys to the kingdom shall be taken away to be given to another more worthy as numerous parables and accounts foreshadow. When Christ uses the example that the family eats their meal first before sharing the scraps with the dogs, ideally it would’ve been nice if Israel as a whole converted first, before heading out to the Gentiles, but this was not to be, but as Christ says, He did not only come for Israel, but administers to the outcasts (gentiles) too. And if the tree and vineyards the master took the time to administer to doesn’t bear fruit, then it is to be cursed and cut down.

    This all on top of the complexity of Judaism today where there are still those Orthodox Jews attempting to rebuild the Temple and again reoffer the Temple Sacrifices as the Mosaic Covenant demands, versus other modern day forms of liberal Judaism that do not depend on the Old Covenant, instead replacing it with a new man-made Judaism different and removed from what God established, in similar vein to what Protestantism is to Catholicism. Then there are more esoteric things like Kaballa etc. So one is not like the other at all, so what are we to make of these? Are we grouping all these Jews together? Which ones are accounted for in Vatican II and Pope Benedict XVI’s writings as being truly part of Israel? Does he distinguish? And are we then to forget the descendents of the original Israel who are now far removed from their faith, maybe even atheists or otherwise, but for whom would still be considered as ‘safe’ under that Old Covenant? Or are they perhaps apostate and not acceptable? If so then, if we are to discriminate against them, why stop at the more Orthodox Jews who we as Catholics know are stuck in a convenantal relationship that is completed by Christ who invites them to take the next step? How do we know who is or isn’t safe by remaining in a Jewish identity?

    The fact is we don’t. While it is always possible that people of other faiths obtain the Baptism of Desire, it is imprudent for us as Catholics in posession of the truth to ignore them. We are obligated for their sake to convince them to convert, keeping St. Paul’s hope in mind not to be discouraged, for inevitably one day the entire world will be Christian; The Gentiles and with it Israel. But as St. Bernard states many will be lost along the way of their own volition, and it is therefore our duty to try and save them.

    If this is not the entire goal of this ‘Ecumenism,’ then what is the point? Is it the Church’s mission to convert and save men for the afterlife? Or is it the Church’s goal to establish peaceful concords and treaties amongst nations and religions on Earth, goals that Christ Himself said was impossible except only through Him, by ensuring that everyone stays and only plays on their side of the fence? Where we all get together at a United Assembly and call out to a range of gods and goddesses and spirits while the representatives of Christ’s Church remain silent out of tolerance?

  39. jhayes says:

    Here is the complete text of the letter from +Di Noia to he SSPX

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2013/01/di-noias-letter-full-text-in-french.html?m=1

  40. Cavaliere says:

    @jhayes Here is the complete text of the letter from +Di Noia to he SSPX

    Even though Cardinal Di Noia remains hopeful that things can get resolved, it seems clear from the first paragraph of his letter that time is winding down for the SSPX and that sooner rather than later we could see them formally out of the Church.