A major step forward in relations with the SSPX? I hope so.

One of the most significant points of conflict between the SSPX and the Holy See has been the issue of the document of Vatican II Nostra aetate, the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions.

Over the years, I’ve said that this document, as well as the document on religious liberty Dignitatis humanae, shouldn’t have to be an obstacle.  Of course, ecumenism and religious liberty are intimately intertwined.

The issue of religious liberty and ecumenism is difficult and susceptible of many Catholic approaches and views.  It should be acceptable to disagree about various aspects of religious liberty.  I am reminded of the case of Fr. Leonard Feeney, SJ, who took a hard-line position about the truth of the Catholic doctrine, “extra Ecclesiam nulla salus … outside the Church there is no salvation”.  After significant conflict with ecclesial authority, he was censured with an excommunication. Later, he was reconciled and he did not have to abure his hard-line position.

The situations of the SSPX and Fr. Feeney are not strictly parallel, but the example of the later serves to illustrate that Catholics, rather well-informed theologians, can have differing positions about difficult points of doctrine, so long as they do not dissent in a scandalous way from dogma.

There should be some flexibility when an issue is really hard, as the issue of religious liberty is.   Do people have a natural right to pursue error, or is this only a civil right?  Are there really paths to salvation outside the Church?  Does what the Second Vatican Council resolve these questions definitively?

We now see at LifeSite that an ice layer has broken in the jam at the Holy See regarding Nostra aetate.

One particular Council document with which the SSPX takes issue is Nostra Aetate (“In Our Time”), a declaration on the Church’s relationship with other religions. Some interpret it as inconsistent with or at the very least muddying the Catholic Church’s teaching that it alone is the one true religion.

Pozzo said Nostra Aetate is not dogmatic and therefore no Catholic is bound to accept it as such.

Nostra Aetate does not have any dogmatic authority, and thus one cannot demand from anyone to recognize this declaration as being dogmatic,” Pozzo said. “This declaration can only be understood in the light of tradition and of the continuous Magisterium. For example, there exists today, unfortunately, the view — contrary to the Catholic Faith — that there is a salvific path independent of Christ and His Church. That has also been officially confirmed last of all by the Congregation for the Faith itself in its declaration, Dominus Iesus. Therefore, any interpretation of Nostra Aetate which goes into this [erroneous] direction is fully unfounded and has to be rejected.”

Also, Fr. John Hunwicke cites Archbp. Pozzo, the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” (my old office) which handles relations with the SSPX.   Fr. Hunwicke also relates what the LifeSite piece contained, but includes Archbp. Pozzo’s preamble about something that happened during the Second Vatican Council, specifically about Nostra aetate (my emphases):

“The Secretary for the Unity of Christians said on 18 November 1964 in the Council Hall about Nostra aetate ‘As to the character of the declaration, [PAY ATTENTION] the Secretariate does not want to write a dogmatic declaration on non-Christian religions, but, rather, practical and pastoral norms’. [We are free to disagree with “pastoral norms”.] Nostra aetate does not have any dogmatic authority and thus one cannot demand from anyone to recognise this declaration as dogmatic. This declaration can only be understood in the light of tradition and of the continuous Magisterium. For example, there exists today, unfortunately, the view – contrary to the Catholic Faith – that there is a salvific path independent of Christ and His Church. That [he apparently means “The unfortunate existence today of such an unCatholic view”] has also been officially confirmed last of all by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith itself in its declaration Dominus Iesus. Therefore any interpretation of Nostra aetate which goes into this direction is fully unfounded and has to be rejected”.

It is not disobedience to desire clarifications about really hard questions that result from documents that are fraught with controversial points and that are not dogmatic.

I hope this signals a major step forward in relations with the SSPX.

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29 Responses to A major step forward in relations with the SSPX? I hope so.

  1. Hidden One says:

    Is there a similar statement about Dignitatis Humanae given around the time of the Council?

  2. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    If I understand correctly, members of the Anglican Communion who seek reception into the Church in the Ordinariates established for them are required only to accept the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Why is this not sufficient for the SSPX? Have they taken positions that are actually contrary to the Catechism? Are the problematic matters in the conciliar documents proposed for our de fide acceptance in the Catechism? If not, why should any additional requirement be imposed on the SSPX?

  3. Gabriel Syme says:

    Any step forward is to be welcomed as good news.

    A problem is that, although Nostra aetate is not dogmatic, it seems that the vast majority of modern prelates and clergy consider it to be so. [Hence, the need for the blogosphere.]

    Otherwise, what has been the problem these past decades and why has it taken so long to recall what was said at the Council itself?

    I am by no means an expert on this kind of thing, but I have to wonder – why does the Church issue documents like this, which are not dogmatic? Is it not the case that such documents can only generate confusion, as seems to be the case here?

    I personally find it extremely radical – and welcome – to hear a senior Church official state unequivocally that there is no salvation outside the Church and that a contrary view is un-Catholic.

    In my lifetime, I am more used to clergy and prelates pushing a form of equivalence of religions. For example, the ecumenical services which pretend that Protestant Groups are part of the Catholic Church.

    And look at Pope Francis own writings / statements that the Jewish covenant with God has never been revoked, (thus indicating a path to salvation independent of the Catholic Church), and that muslims should stay in the religion they were raised in (indicating the same).

    If this is a step toward closing the deal with the SSPX great. But, it would be even better news if this was a sign of the Church starting to remember herself and her unique importance.

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  5. JabbaPapa says:

    I saw this yesterday, and Monsignor Pozzo’s declaration :

    Nostra Aetate does not have any dogmatic authority, and thus one cannot demand from anyone to recognize this declaration as being dogmatic. This declaration can only be understood in the light of tradition and of the continuous Magisterium. For example, there exists today, unfortunately, the view — contrary to the Catholic Faith — that there is a salvific path independent of Christ and His Church. … any interpretation of Nostra Aetate which goes into this [erroneous] direction is fully unfounded and has to be rejected.

    is extremely important.

    The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has said it before, but in ways somewhat obscure to those lacking a certain degree of formal training.

    It is a great relief to finally have this clear and simple explanation, easily understandable by all of the Faithful.

  6. bethv says:

    Sadly, Monsignor Pozzo’s declaration that Nostra Aetate does not have any dogmatic authority reminds me of Cardinal Burke’s announcement after the publication of Amoris Laetitia that it does not change Church teaching, yet others claim that it does. There are such divergent opinions and interpretations, so many in the flock who must be being led astray. If everyone in positions of similar authority doesn’t agree, how can anyone be considered the definitive voice on these issues? Are we again forced to “take sides”? Also, it really seems that previous decisions, such as those made by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in regards to Nostra Aetate, do not seems to have much influence over the current Papacy and Church hierarchy who seem in many ways to ignore previous decisions and teachings as they endeavor to create some type of “New Church” that is opposed to the Church founded by Jesus Christ. I will continue to adhere to what I can determine the truth to be with the help of sites such as yours, Father, but it breaks my heart to see the ongoing severe discord. The one good thing that has personally happened to me during this Papacy is that I now pray the Rosary several times a week because I now truly believe that this is the greatest weapon we have to counter the apparent evil that has infiltrated the Church. I pray that it is of some help. There is so little I can do otherwise, it seems.

  7. jhayes says:

    Feeney’s error was that he preached that you could not be saved unless you were formally a member of the Catholic Church. Dominus Iesus, written by Cardinal Ratzinger and mentioned by Cardinal Pozzo, clarifies that even those who are not formally members of the Catholic Church can be saved by grace coming to them as a result of Christ’s sacrifice.

    The Church is the “universal sacrament of salvation”, since, united always in a mysterious way to the Saviour Jesus Christ, her Head, and subordinated to him, she has, in God’s plan, an indispensable relationship with the salvation of every human being. The Church is the “universal sacrament of salvation”, since, united always in a mysterious way to the Saviour Jesus Christ, her Head, and subordinated to him, she has, in God’s plan, an indispensable relationship with the salvation of every human being. For those who are not formally and visibly members of the Church, “salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit”; it has a relationship with the Church, which “according to the plan of the Father, has her origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (82)

    (82) Second Vatican Council, Decree Ad gentes, 2. The famous formula extra Ecclesiam nullus omnino salvatur is to be interpreted in this sense (cf. Fourth Lateran Council, Cap. 1. De fide catholica: DS 802). Cf. also the Letter of the Holy Office to the Archbishop of Boston: DS 3866-3872.

  8. joan ellen says:

    Fr. Z: Thank you for the words “We are free to disagree with “pastoral norms.”” And distinguished from dogmatic required to be believed pronouncements. And especially being real clear that ecumenism & religious liberty, in this case, are “practical & pastoral.”
    jhayes: Thank you for the excellent distinction re: the formal Catholic relationship with Jesus & His Church, & the non-formal relationship with Jesus & His Church of other Christians.
    I hope my understanding in both examples is correct thinking.

    The “differing positions” have me understanding them as:
    soft-line position – main-line position (Rome) – hard-line position…so that there are those to the left of Rome & those to the right.

    But…with the excellent catechesis above…I’m thinking that with Dogma there can be no “differing positions”

  9. joan ellen says:

    …continued…& that if we differ in a dogmatic Truth…then we have need of going to Confession…to acknowledge our disbelief (sin) or to receive an enlightened understanding.

  10. excalibur says:

    Now if we can only rid ourselves of the silly notion that Mohammedanism is an Abrahamic faith. It is a political movement.

  11. Hart says:

    One would assume Uniformity of Doctrine would be of paramount concern since the mission and message of the Church is worldwide (Matthew 28: 19, 20). One, Holy, Apostolic…

  12. Hart says:

    For context, Fr. Feeney’s case was pre Vatican II, 1940’s and was disciplined firstly for disobedience, not responding to the Holy See when summoned to explain his claims. His claim that un baptized infants were assigned to Hell did not help, when considering Church teaching related to those who are ignorant of the Gospel, and those who choose to be ignorant of the Gospel.

  13. DaveP says:

    The pendulum always swings. It seems the position Father Feeny articulated was actually quite consistent with the way the faith was presented prior to the 60’s. Then in a wave of enthusiasm masquerading as ecumenism a very non-nuanced version of what the Council actually said was spread about; i.e., without any explanation that while Nostra Aetate is a genuine Vatican II document, it does not present dogmatically defined teaching, a fact that is still not well known. Everyone was so glad their Protestant, Jewish, & other non-Catholic friends would not necessarily roast in hell they overlooked the fine print.

    I hope the pendulum has begun to swing back. Pope Benedict XVI warned that we must not let the idea that God save’s whom He will (always through Jesus) reduce our commitment and zeal to evangelize.

    By the way, critics of Vatican II very often fail to put that Council into it’s context, the 1960’s. Instead, Vatican II has been blamed for nearly everything that has gone wrong since. One could just as validly argue that Vatican II actually saved the Church from an even bigger mess. If they could be persuaded to at least consider this view, SSPX could begin to see Vatican II as the scapegoat, rather than the actual cause of much of which they rightly complain.

  14. JabbaPapa says:

    excalibur :

    Now if we can only rid ourselves of the silly notion that Mohammedanism is an Abrahamic faith. It is a political movement.

    The notion of “abrahamic faith” is a “one world religion” manner of syncretism invented in the 1960s or thereabouts by Protestants claiming that all religions are essentially alike.

    Naturally, the atheists have fallen in love with the concept too.

    It is a relativist, modernist, and entirely uncatholic notion.

  15. Papabile says:

    Jhayes – With respect to extra ecclessiam, it is interesting to note that the CDF explicitly did not bind the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Feeney’s group) to this understanding of extra ecclesiam. In fact, Ratzinger was very specific that their understanding of extra ecclessiam fell within a legitimate Catholic tradition, and while NOT the normal one, was acceptable. There’s a PDF of the letter somewhere on their web site to this effect.

    Et alii… with respect to the Nota Praevia to Lumen Gentium, I find it highly ironic that Pozzo is now referring to it, as the SSPX has been clinging to this very thing since at least 1976. It’s like Rome has discovered some amazing new text a la Dan Brown.

  16. quamquam says:

    Looking at its actual text, I can’t see what the doctrinal difficulties of ‘Nostra aetate’ are supposed to be in the first place.

    So we have the pivotal statement: ‘The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions. She has a high regard for the manner of life and conduct, the precepts and doctrines which, although differing in many ways from her own teaching, nevertheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Yet she proclaims and is in duty bound to proclaim without fail, Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6). In him, in whom God reconciled all things to himself, men find the fullness of their religious life.’

    Does the SSPX think we should in fact reject what is true and holy in other religions – rather than looking for points in common, and using that to help us proclaim Christ as the fullness (like St Paul at the Areopagus in Acts 17)?

    What is said in the Declaration concerning the Muslims is nowhere incorrect. Various positive points are picked out. Their rejection of Christ’s divinity is not glossed over. Their linking of their own faith to Abraham’s is mentioned, without being endorsed.

    Then there are the various positive points about the Jews, a large number of them more-or-less direct quotes from St Paul. The section on the Jews concludes with the statement, ‘It is the duty of the Church in her preaching to proclaim the cross of Christ as the sign of God’s universal love and the source of all grace.’

    Does ‘Nostra aetate’ say everything that could be said? Obviously not. Neither does any Church document. This is hardly grounds for rejecting it.

    Does Vatican II anywhere teach that there is one true religion? Yes, in the Declaration on Religious Liberty, ‘Dignitatis Humanae’ (1):

    ‘God Himself has made known to mankind the way in which men are to serve Him, and thus be saved in Christ and come to blessedness. We believe that this one true religion subsists in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus committed the duty of spreading it abroad among all men.’

    I would be quite upset if ‘Dignitatis Humanae’ turned out to have no doctrinal value! (Granted, it is obviously not an infallible definition, and thus rejection of this or that point would presumably not entail separation from full communion with the Catholic Church.)

    What is meant by ‘subsists’, some might object? The CDF made that absolutely clear in 2007: (‘Responses to some questions regarding certain aspects of the doctrine on the Church’) – but it is already sufficiently found in Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism that ‘it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God.’ (3)

    And the necessity of the Catholic Church for salvation? ‘Lumen Gentium’ (14): ‘The Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.’

    We shouldn’t make the situation worse than it is by fantasies about what Vatican II actually taught and didn’t teach. Rather, let’s play up these statements for all they’re worth.

  17. Ann Malley says:

    @quamquam:

    “…We shouldn’t make the situation worse than it is by fantasies about what Vatican II actually taught and didn’t teach. Rather, let’s play up these statements for all they’re worth.”

    The fantasy is the belief that not looking to the root cause of confusion and clarifying it, though difficult due to the fact that we’ve progressed down the road of ambiguity that has wreaked demonstrable havoc within the Church, is not the way to go.

    You ask whether or not the Society would have us reject what is good. That is a loaded question. A question, perhaps unwittingly, intended to pit the Society against a supposed good. Well, friend, medicine is good, but if it is not properly administered can lead to the death of the patient.

    As for subsists, try contained, that is contained in the Deposit of the Faith. Words are important, friend. Precision in application. For while we are very wary about the credentials of those we trust with our health, our safety in air travel, even the integrity of our GPS system, this feigned embrace of the ambiguous with regard to the salvation of souls is worrisome.

    Grace builds on nature. And thus if we let natural confusion abound and double down on selected quotes from St. Paul to lend a potentially confused meaning to the Spirit, then we invite confusion. That is not of God.

    And while statements of St. Paul are used, it is how such statements are used that is at issue. Quotes taken out of context are a weapon of the Devil who can quote scripture to his end.

    You state, “I would be quite upset if ‘Dignitatis Humanae’ turned out to have no doctrinal value! (Granted, it is obviously not an infallible definition, and thus rejection of this or that point would presumably not entail separation from full communion with the Catholic Church.)”

    Why would you be upset? For despite your feelings on the matter what you consider “obvious” is not obvious at all. Thus the clarification of the weight of said points is in order for the salvation of souls. Not the salvation of the facade that all is well with VII documents and that one should just give them a hearty pass.

  18. ConstantlyConverting says:

    I think one of the things often overlooked with speaking about the pieces of the Church that are divided is the relationship of the Church to the Pope. David’s relationship to Israel was that of marriage, the people as a whole to him as the leader. Obviously the Church to the Pope copies this, and is/will be perfected in the relationship between Jesus and the Bride. If that is the case, we should be thrilled and patient in walking together. Canon law only further supports the importance of walking together despite differences, except in rare cases where further separation is encouraged through enabling, because earthly marriages will never be entirely united. That doesn’t mean the Church stops speaking the truth, but it doesn’t require perfect unity to continue in the married state. The married state, in time, is a journey toward unity.

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  20. LA says:

    So why couldn’t the CDC just say this 40 years ago?! Why did they decide to punish those who did not accept the novelties bit ambiguities in the V2 docs, pressing them into a “irregular status”? Seems to me it would have saved thousands of people a whole lot of distress if this had been clarified 40 years ago. Sheesh.

  21. LA says:

    So why couldn’t the CDC just say this 40 years ago?! Why did they decide to punish those who did not accept the novelties AND ambiguities in the V2 docs, pressing them into a “irregular status”? Seems to me it would have saved thousands of people a whole lot of distress if this had been clarified 40 years ago. Sheesh.

  22. quamquam says:

    @Ann Malley:

    We should certainly look for the root cause of confusion, but that root cause is demonstrably not the actual texts of Vatican II, which (summarising again) are quite clear to those who read them that:

    Christ is the one mediator, the unique way of salvation (Lumen Gentium 14); the way, the truth and the life, in whom men find the fullness of their religious life, and his cross is the source of all grace (Nostra aetate 2, 4). There is one true religion, one Church of Christ, existing in its fullness with all the means of salvation, in the Catholic Church alone (Declaration on Religious Liberty 1; Lumen Gentium 8; Decree on Ecumenism 3). The Catholic Church was founded by Christ as necessary for salvation, such that anyone knowing this and refusing to enter it or remain in it could not be saved (Lumen Gentium 14).

    The Council also teaches the presence of ‘elements’ of truth and grace outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church. For greater ‘clarity’, the Council might instead have denied those elements of truth and grace – with the drawback that such a denial would be demonstrably false. Pre-conciliar Catholic teaching rejects an ‘all-or-nothing’ approach to grace, goodness and truth – as though unless someone has the fullness, they really have nothing at all (see e.g. the condemned propositions in Clement XI’s ‘Unigenitus’).

    It is the mark of heresy and error to so insist on one set of truths, as to deny the truths at the ‘opposite end’ of the spectrum. Catholic teaching, contrary to this human tendency to over-emphasise points that we personally have latched onto, presents the full picture, with all the complementary aspects.

    There are statements in the Gospels themselves that an opponent could try to describe as ‘ambiguous’ or ‘confusing’ (taken in isolation and without any further explanations) (e.g. Mt 10:18; Mk 13:32; Mt 19:9; Jn 14:28) – but that is exactly why, in Christ’s plan, we interpret different texts in the light of one another, whether we are dealing with Scripture or the Magisterium.

    To reply to your points about St Paul, I would need to know exactly where you thought ‘Nostra aetate’ was misrepresenting his teaching or taking it out of context. Romans 11 is clear that God has not rejected his people, and that his gifts and calling are irrevocable (vv. 1; 29). St Paul is also clear, as is Vatican II (see above), that all salvation is through Christ and his Cross.

    My statement about being ‘upset’ if ‘Dignitatis Humanae’ turned out to be non-Magisterial was a rhetorical way of saying that it contains valuable teaching from the point of view of the defence of Catholic Tradition (such as I had just quoted). In fact, I have no doubt that it is an authoritative teaching document of the Magisterium (as is clear from its language in various places), and I personally have no difficulty in giving to every part of its doctrinal teaching, accordingly, religious submission of intellect and will (Lumen Gentium 25), proportionate to that degree of authority (cf. CDF, ‘Mysterium Ecclesiae’) that Bl. Paul VI and the Council Fathers intended to give it. (On the other hand, it clearly does not fulfil the requirements for being an infallible definition, and no one claims that it does.)

    There are of course a variety of root causes of the crisis in the Church, but one of them is surely the neglect of the actual conciliar texts, and the replacement of them (by various liberals and traditionalists alike) with an imaginary, ambiguous version of what the Council said.

  23. quamquam says:

    Sorry, a scripture reference in my preceding post should be Mk 10:18, not Mt 10:18.

  24. JabbaPapa says:

    quamquam :

    Looking at its actual text, I can’t see what the doctrinal difficulties of ‘Nostra aetate’ are supposed to be in the first place

    The section on the Jews is quite good, but the rest of the text includes some false claims about the other religions, particularly Islam, capable of leading some of the Faithful into errors.

    God certainly inspires everyone, but this does not justify dangerous suggestions that any other religions than Christianity and Judaism are centred around God.

  25. Mike says:

    It is time for the Church to own the flaws in Vatican II-era documents, most notoriously Nostra Aetate, which takes pains to avoid stating plain truths that might offend the liberal reader, such as that salvation resides only in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Irrespective of such glosses, the document’s tone and its effects comport far more with a syncretic Universalism than with the Catholic Faith that the Holy See and all Catholics are duty-bound to proclaim always and in all places.

    Alongside the fog engendered by conciliar documents, the myriad scandals that daily ooze forth from careless use of the Novus Ordo contribute mightily to the hermeneutic of rupture that is being stoked by the institutional Church under the current papacy and the feckless USCCB.

    The current turn of events suggests that the Holy Father, if not himself willing to arrest the pace of the Church’s destruction, is not unwilling that the SSPX should do so. Such would seem to be the wayfarer’s best hope this side of Judgment.

  26. quamquam says:

    JabbaPapa:

    Looking over the text of ‘Nostra aetate’, I suppose the main point of contention you refer to is whether Muslims worship the same God as us?

    If this is the point of disagreement, then even if ‘Nostra aetate’ was held to be non-magisterial, we would still come up against the words of ‘Lumen Gentium’, a document of higher authority, and indisputably magisterial: ‘The Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind’ (16).

    I would explain the teaching of Vatican II as follows: if Muslims, in their own minds, worship ‘That being who created the universe, who revealed himself to Abraham and through Jesus [held at least as a prophet]’, then this being is not a different being from the true God whom we worship (though of course they are in grave error in denying his Trinitarian reality).

    Again, ‘Lumen Gentium’ is not infallible either, so one might withhold assent on this point without separating from full communion with the Church.

    Of course, it still calls for religious submission of mind and will (according to its own teaching (25), and according to the dogma of Vatican I whereby all owe obedience to the Pope (DS 3060, 3064)). The CDF document ‘Donum veritatis’ (28) spells out the conditions, already long accepted in a general way, under which someone might legitimately withhold assent from non-infallible magisterial teachings: ‘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.’

    For myself, I have no clear evidence that Vatican II is wrong on this point of the Muslims, so I gladly take its teaching as giving me Spirit-guided clarification on the issue. However, I accept that if someone, after prayer and study, is sincerely and humbly convinced of the opposite for what seem to them to be clear and valid reasons, then they do not sin in withholding assent.

  27. JabbaPapa says:

    quamquam :

    Thanks for the response.

    we would still come up against the words of ‘Lumen Gentium’, a document of higher authority, and indisputably magisterial: ‘The Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind’ (16)

    Just because it’s in Lumen Gentium doesn’t automatically make it dogmatic.

    And there’s an inaccuracy right there — Muslims do not “profess to hold the faith of Abraham”, they claim that Abraham was a Muslim.

    Uniquely among the Vatican II documents BTW, whose original Latin is commonly betrayed in English translation towards a liberal bias, Nostra Aetate is actually *more* shocking in the original.

    Of course, it still calls for religious submission of mind and will (according to its own teaching (25)

    That submission is not at all characterised as absolute — our Bishops “are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth”, which is not the same as agreeing with everything they may say ; and “religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff”, characterised as “judgments made by him … according to his manifest mind and will”, “known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking”. Quite apart from the fact that this rules out his off-the-cuff marginalia, it is clear anyway that Lumen Gentium 16 is a doctrine explaining the need for the non-Christians “who have not yet received the Gospel”, not “related” to the People of God as the English has it but “ordered towards” (“ordinantur”). The English-language suggestion that “God … as Saviour wills that all men be saved” is a deviation from the text which says that He desires Salvation for all men, Salvation having BTW been defined as being provided always through Christ “the one mediator”) LG 8, and also see LG 10 “While it transcends all limits of time and confines of race, the Church is destined to extend to all regions of the earth and so enters into the history of mankind. Moving forward through trial and tribulation, the Church is strengthened by the power of God’s grace, which was promised to her by the Lord, so that in the weakness of the flesh she may not waver from perfect fidelity, but remain a bride worthy of her Lord, and moved by the Holy Spirit may never cease to renew herself, until through the Cross she arrives at the light which knows no setting.”.

    Another error in the English of LG 16 is “Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience” — whereas it should read “Those then, who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely in their hearts seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience, can reach their eternal salvation.”

    ‘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.’

    This does not constitute a requirement of assent to objective factual errors — LG 67 : Following the study of Sacred Scripture, the Holy Fathers, the doctors and liturgy of the Church, and under the guidance of the Church’s magisterium, let them rightly illustrate the duties and privileges of the Blessed Virgin which always look to Christ, the source of all truth, sanctity and piety. Let them assiduously keep away from whatever, either by word or deed, could lead separated brethren or any other into error regarding the true doctrine of the Church.

  28. jacobi says:

    “extra Ecclesiam nulla salus “ is Catholic doctrine. Nostra Aetate is a deeply flawed document.

    What puzzles me is that elements in the Church are so down on the SSPX when the widespread heterodoxy, so prevalent throughout the Church, is tolerated and even encouraged by those up to the highest level.

    What in Heavens name is going on?

  29. JesusFreak84 says:

    In the same sources where I read that PCED statement, I also read that a formal structure of a personal prelature {sp?} HAS been formally offered to the SSPX. Interesting times, for sure 0.0