You know about the “Doctrinal Preamble” which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gave to the SSPX. The SSPX issued a preliminary reaction to the Preamble. Now they have sent the CDF a more precise response, which the CDF will study.
Our friends at Rorate, always diligent in all matters SSPX, have some of the redirected skinny from Andrea Tornielli. Here is a sample, though you can read the rest there. My emphases:
Vaticanist Andrea Tornielli’s source in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith provides him the following information (published in today’s La Stampa – translation by Vatican Insider, corrected according to the Italian original):
The actual and proper response of the superior of the Society of Saint Pius X, Bernard Fellay, formulated according to the requests of the Holy See, arrived at the Vatican only last week. The first reply, received by the Vatican on December 21, was not considered adequate by Vatican authorities, who asked the head of the Lefebvrians [sic] to redraft it, considering the first delivery as more of a “documentation” than a reply. Thus Bishop Fellay prepared a second text, more concise, related to the doctrinal preamble that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith delivered to him last September. This second text is now being carefully examined by consultants of the Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, who follow the Lefebrvian dossier, and this could require some time.
Next week, the plenary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will meet in the palace of the Holy Office. On the agenda is a possible communication regarding relations with the Society of St. Pius X, but it is unlikely that the meeting will be decisive, because Fellay’s second response – which accepts some parts of the doctrinal preamble while questioning others – requires time to be examined. It is likely that a more accurate decision on what to do will not be made now, but in February, during a “Feria IV”, as the ordinary congregations of the former Holy Office are called. [Note: Because they take place on a Wednesday, a Feria Quarta…]
I hope the SSPX had the good sense not arrogantly to instruct Rome on its errant ways.
It is possible to go off the road into the ditch on either side of the road. Either way, you are still in the ditch.
Let us also pray that those who read what the SSPX has sent to the CDF will, with the help of grace, read correctly and with good will what they have received.
As I contemplate this, I will drink some Mystic Monk Coffee.
According to Rorate, the final version will not be decided upon until February at or on the “Feria IV”-“It is likely that a more accurate decision on what to do will not be made now, but in February, during a “Feria IV”, as the ordinary congregations of the former Holy Office are called. [Note: Because they take place on a Wednesday, Feria Quarta…].”
Well, let us hope the Neo-Cat “Mass” is not approved in the meantime. Nail biting time.
“I hope the SSPX had the good sense not arrogantly to instruct Rome on its errant ways.”
When is it ever arrogant to demonstrate what the Church has always taught and practiced and thus how certain points in the Second Vatican Council (and the post-conciliar Church) are erroneous as they contradict this – what is called “Tradition”? Is it arrogant to point out the condemnations of the popes against Modernism – which is the cause of these errors?
If this is the case, what then should we say of St. Paul resisting St. Peter to his face during the Church’s first council for his failings, or the Dominicans correcting Pope John XXII’s pulpit error (material heresy actually), or St. Athanasius standing up to a weak Pope Liberius, or St. Catherine of Sienna shaking her finger at the pope for not returning to Rome (the list goes on)?
Ultimately the SSPX is not laboring to show that Rome is wrong, but for the salvation of souls, and the errors and consequence of Modernism that has been allowed to seep into the Church has not only wrecked havoc, but is leading to the loss of souls through a lack of clear Catholic teaching and thus practice of the Faith.
“Ultimately the SSPX is not laboring to show that Rome is wrong”
Really? If it’s only a matter of approach, there would be no issue separating the SSPX from Rome whatsoever.
We are on the very same page on this one.
If the Neo-cats can be approved and accepted, then there should be no reason why the SSPX cannot be reconciled.
Father or anyone else with knowledge,
What, in particular, is the major sticking point of the document?
Actually, the renown theologian Msgr. Gherardini–who is a Vatican-based theologian, and is not affiliated with the FSSPX–has this to say on Gaudium et Spes or, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World:
…not a few pages of the conciliar documents reek of the writings and ideas of Modernism–this can be seen above all in GS. Ouch!
I have already made mention of this anthropocentrism in the Constitution GS, a concern which Vatican II manifests in general through its dedication to man. It is a concern steeped in naivete and, I would say, in irrational kindness; it is based upon the dignity of the human person and the exaltation of his freedom through predominantly naturalistic premises. As a consequence, devastatingly little is said about the due distinction between the ontological and moral in man. This can be seen in n.22. In this passage there is not only the devastation of naive, ecumenical nature which is absurd and unsustainable, but one of unprecedented gravity precisely because it wishes to unite its own absurd thought to Christ Himself…That this reveals an absurdity (that of confusing the natural with the supernatural, which throws all to the cards on the table regarding the anthropocentric conception of the Council) is clearly understood in the events after the Council; notwithstanding, if there is a more ridiculous absurdity it is the following: ‘All this holds true not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way.’ (n.22). This text seems to open itself decisively to syncretism and its echo is recognizable a million miles away in K. Rahner’s ‘anonymous Christian’…MK 16:16 is rendered bogus… Double ouch!
Lest one thinks these are the rantings of a madman, it should be noted that the book they are from, Vatican Council II, a Much Needed Discussion, is prefaced by no less than Cardinal Ranjith!
So, maybe Econe is instructing Rome on its errors; and there is nothing disrespectful about that.
What does it say about the aims of the Holy See if the Neo-Cat ‘Mass’ receives Vatican approbation and the SSPX is ultimately left out in the cold? I want desperately to believe that our Holy Father is the ‘Pope of Christian Unity;’ however, if his Curia approves a hippy-style ‘Mass’ whose roots can be clearly traced to the influence of the late Abp. Bugnini and simultaneously turns a cold shoulder to the SSPX, then at what point is our hope that the Holy Father is a friend of Tradition merely a case of cognitive dissonance? The NCW’s founders believe Luther was right and that a sacrificing priesthood is a distinction from the laity that Our Blessed Lord never intended. The NO Masses in my parish already feature their share of ‘let’s keep the folks in the pews interested’ liturgical goofiness.
I wonder what St. Pio would have done if faced with the choice, under obedience, to abandon the Mass of Pius V and instead ‘preside’ at a NCW ‘Mass.’ Perhaps Our Lord, in His infinite mercy, took St. Pio home in 1968 so as to spare him the agony of such a choice.
Our Lady of Fatime, Pray for us…
Unfortunately, I continue to get the impression that the SSPX has a false and incomplete understanding of Tradition. It also seems the SSPX confuses unchangeable doctrinal principles with changeable prudential policies. For example, with regards to ecumenism, there is nothing wrong with the Catholic Church today adopting a more open stance to the good points in other Christian religions and even non-Christian religions. This is true because the common good today demands that all people of any kind of religious background work together to fight the more serious errors of rampant secularism and relativism. In the past, however, it was right for the Catholic Church to take a more closed approach to other religions because the common good at that time demanded that the possibility of religious indifferentism be the greatest concern.
One can also see why the Church’s approach to religious liberty has changed since the times of Pius IX and Pius X. In the 1800’s and early 1900’s, many civil societies were unified in the true Catholic Faith under more paternalistic-type governments. The spread of religious error was deemed to be a strong threat to the unity of civil society. In today’s Information Age, we realize that religious error is best combatted by private citizens who are free to dialouge and debate religious issues amongst themselves. The civil government, already busy with other tasks, does not also have to take on the task of regulating religious error. Moreover, which civil government in today’s world would even be sufficiently holy or competent enough to judge what is religious error and what is not? The government of Malta might be one example, but there are few others.
In short, times change, and the SSPX must realize that the Holy Spirit guides the Church at these times. The new approaches of ecumenism and religious liberty are too firmly established in the life of the Church at this point to be considered total errors, as some in the SSPX do.
Finally, it is incumbent upon the Holy See, I think, to do a better job explaining exactly what are the unchangeable doctrinal principles and what are the changeable policies surrounding ecumenism, religious liberty, etc., so that there will be less confusion in the ranks of the SSPX and amongst the faithful in general.
Why would the Neo-cat mass get approved anyway? What happened to the hermeneutic of continuity? It is a clear break with the remote rule o faith. Anything created ad hoc is not received and slightly modified with the succession of time, hence it cannot have continuity with the tradition.
The approval of the Neo-cats, if coupled with the failure to work with the SSPX, is nothing short of a rejection of the principle of the hermeneutic of continuity.
Salva nos Domine.
“Ultimately the SSPX is not laboring to show that Rome is wrong, but for the salvation of souls, and the errors and consequence of Modernism that has been allowed to seep into the Church has not only wrecked havoc, but is leading to the loss of souls through a lack of clear Catholic teaching and thus practice of the Faith.”
…and @Andy Milam (echoing the concerns of others):
“If the Neo-cats can be approved and accepted, then there should be no reason why the SSPX cannot be reconciled.”
You’re really hitting the nail right on the head, showing why the SSPX will hardly be reconciled, preamble or no. The NeoCats can be approved and accepted because they actually did submit to Rome’s corrections (however inadequate those corrections may have seemed to many, myself included) whereas the SSPX will not submit because it doesn’t imagine that it is the SSPX that needs correction. The SSPX, on the contrary, believe that Rome is in need of correction.
Why make the SSPX jump through hoops, we may ask, when Rome can allow, say, the NeoCats and other fools to be very nearly as silly as they want to be (with generous heapings of papal praise and encouragement)? Well, because it isn’t really a matter of Rome asking the SSPX to jump through hoops, but rather vice-versa. Rome isn’t trying to give the SSPX a break as much as the SSPX are trying to see if there’s anyway they can give Rome a break.
I think many within the SSPX want to give Rome a break, so to speak, and offer them their cooperation. They simply aren’t able to, however, to any meaningful extent, because of what they see as Rome’s continuing betrayal of the authentic Catholic Tradition. And, frankly, when they see things like the Neocatechumenal Way (which is an affrontery to the Church and to her liturgy) being lauded, and other liturgical aberrations and heresies allowed to continue unpunished, their stance may be seen by some as quite pardonable.
For a variety of reasons, the course the SSPX have taken since Archbishop Lefebvre’s blow out with Pope Paul is not pardonable. The SSPX was disbanded, legally, and no matter how much they may not have liked it, you can’t just say, “well, we don’t recognize that decision and we’re going to act like nothing happened.” A bishop cannot, furthermore, decide to ordain priests and consecrate bishops in defiance of the bishop of Rome. And those priests and bishops cannot just go ahead and pretend to have a mandate and faculties to act as priests and bishops whereas they have none. Of course we cannot just treat the legitimate authority of bishops and the pope in such a renegade fashion. That sort of misbehavior is just…Protestantism. The NeoCats never did that. When Rome demanded submission, they submitted. Granted, Rome didn’t ask that they submit to very much, so perhaps there’s no comparison.
On the other hand, why was the SSPX disbanded? Should they have been? What were they doing that was so wrong that caused their bishop to rescind their charter and the Vatican to support his decision to do so? It’s hard to justify the dissolution of the Society of St. Pius X from the point of view of justice, really.
The fact is that they probably should have been encouraged and supported, not disbanded. Had they been embraced by the Vatican, it is unlikely that the SSPX would have subsequently sought out those questionable alliances that have caused them to seek their subsistence within the depraved enclaves of the lunatic fringe. Instead, they might have evolved as a healthy organ within an unhealthy Church. We’ll never know what might have been.
Whether the SSPX should have been disbanded or not, however, they were. They were. Period. Legitimately and legally. By legitimate authority. Archbishop Lefebvre and his colleagues then decided, however, that there existed a crisis in the Church so completely overwhelming as gave them the power to ignore their bishop and Rome, altogether, and to legislate on their own with regard to the matter, and with respect to the future of their fraternity.
Only when that overwhelming crisis is over, then, will Rome have the right expect the obedience of the SSPX. And who can decide when that crisis is over except for the ones who decided when it began? It isn’t for the Vatican to decide. It isn’t for the Vatican to craft a preamble to which the SSPX may agree, but vice-versa. Even should the SSPX find themselves able to embrace this preamble, what would it even mean? What would a next step actually involve, I wonder?
There’s no doubt that there is a crisis in our Church; on that I can fully agree with the Lefebvrists. It’s why I joined them once upon a time. Of course there is a crisis. But has that crisis so invalidated legitimate authority’s right to rule that it enables us to usurp higher authority when higher authority says “no”? The SSPX believe that it does, indeed, enable them to do just that. “Supplied Jurisdiction” they call it. They have whatever authority they might need until such time as Rome converts back to the true Faith. Only then can Rome expect obedience from anyone who has kept the Faith. Needless to say, the Vatican rejects that position, as indeed it must.
It isn’t a matter of simply asking the SSPX to modify its position, then, the way Rome did with the Neocatechumenal Way, for example. The NeoCats just want the right to be weirdos within the Church; they don’t need the rest of the Church to see things the way they do. From what I can decipher, they actually don’t care whether the whole Church yields to them; they’re happy to be the elite body that they imagine themselves to be. It isn’t the same thing at all with respect to the SSPX. With the SSPX, it is a matter of what the whole Church must be, not merely one of what the SSPX may be allowed to be.
“With the SSPX, it is a matter of what the whole Church must be, not merely one of what the SSPX may be allowed to be.”
Centristian – this statment is illuminating to me. We aren’t talking about a group that wants to carve out a “traditional” niche within the church. They want to reform the Church.
This gives me pause. It changes how I view them.
One question – how can they view the Bishop of Rome as the true Pope but not be under his authority? Wouldn’t he have to be an anti-pope to be justly ignored by them?
Quote: Let us also pray that those who read what the SSPX has sent to the CDF will, with the help of grace, read correctly and with good will what they have received.
Yes, I am praying that is so.
Centristian, “With the SSPX, it is a matter of what the whole Church must be, not merely one of what the SSPX may be allowed to be.”
Thank you for such a concise picture. It is the picture I gleaned when I was with them. You state it well. It would be wonderful if the people, including Archbp Fellay, could see the same picture. How can the reconciliation possibly happen before that? That being the SSPX, with their own particular faithful charisms, etc, willing to assimilate into the Church as She is.
“When is it ever arrogant to demonstrate what the Church has always taught and practiced and thus how certain points in the Second Vatican Council (and the post-conciliar Church) are erroneous as they contradict this …”
When the founder of the Society you represent is found to have signed those documents himself at the time. From there, you may or may not remember that the premise of this particular ecumenical council was merely pastoral, thus was not intended to define any new dogma. Finally, you may arrive at the point where the documents of that council are understood to be interpreted in the light of Tradition.
By then, and by the grace of God, you may already have overcome … the attitude.
I second manwithblackhat’s very sensible comments.
And I would like to point out that those who point to “Tradition” as the ultimate point of reference for all things orthodox and Catholic are in many ways very similar to the 16th Century protestants who saw “Scripture” in much the same light.
What both of these approaches lack is recourse to a living, interpretative authority that can have the final say on what both “tradition” and “scripture” actually mean. After all, if God intended that scripture and tradition would be the dual conduit for His revelation to humanity, don’t you think He would make certain that we would have a way of figuring these things out? That authority, as constituted by Christ on Earth, is the Catholic Church led by the Successor of St. Peter, who is currently Benedict XVI.
Trust in God, trust the Church, and pray for all concerned. We can’t go wrong with that.
I think that if the SSPX does no reconcile during this pontificate they will inevitably spawn into numerous protestant-like sects and be no more credible in 100 years than the “old Catholics” are today.
I don’t know where people get the idea that the Neocats made changes at the request of the Vatican. They adjusted nothing. Their liturgies, catechism…everything was accepted by the Vatican, with very minor modifications. Yes, that’s right: the Neocats have their own Catechism. As with most liturgically dubious groups, the Vatican made very possible concession, including the approval of a liturgy that is explicitly Lutheran in design, tailored to the Neocat founders’ belief that the Mass is not a sacrifice, and that the notion of transubstantiation is medieval bunk. If the Neocats are right, why wasn’t Luther? If Luther was wrong, why aren’t the Neocats?
I think that the SSPX’s biggest concern should be the mainstream episcopacy which will do everything possible to make the SSPX’s lives impossible–as they have done to other groups devoted to the Extraordinary Form. In spite of all of the explicit statements from the Holy Father, that the EF should be promoted in the seminaries, that it should be celebrated broadly…most Bishops, including ones with a reputation for orhtodoxy, view people devoted to the EF as the enemy, and punish priests who choose to celebrate the EF. The SSPX should be concerned, above all, with winning some sort of arrangement that frees them from the authority of local bishops.
Dan says: ‘those who point to “Tradition” as the ultimate point of reference for all things orthodox and Catholic are in many ways very similar to the 16th Century protestants who saw “Scripture” in much the same light.’
It isn’t just the SSPX who claim that that VII signalled an unprecedentes break with Catholic tradition. Bishop Athanasius Schneider has called for a Vatican II “Syllabus of Errors.” Is he a protestant, because he thinkks that this Council has caused a crisis in the Church? The Neocats affirm Lutheran ideas about the Mass. Are they not more protestant than the SSPX, whose views are more in line with Catholic teaching?
Unfortunately, the average ‘fully regularized’ catholic is likely to have far more protestant views than the average SSPX-er. I attend a NO parish. A good percentage of my fellow parishioners would scoff at the Real Presence, the Mass as sacrifice, the Trinity, Christ’s divinity, and most basic Catholic teachings. Father didn’t like the new wording of the Nicene Creed, so now we’re using the Apostles’ creed–presto, chango, problem solved! Those liturgical progressives sure are clever.
The biggest problem with Vatican II is that, since so many of those crucial documents are vaguely worded, they’ve been freely interpreted, and the common interpretation of them has not been in the light of Catholic Tradition–the ‘Hermeneutic of Continuity’, as advocated by the Holy Father. Most of our Priests, Bishops, Cardinals, have been steeped in the Hermeneutic of Disruption view of VII; the Holy Father’s words are not having any effect on them. Hence the likelihood that the Vatican will keep the SSPX out in the cold while the Neocats are embraced.
1) No, Bp. Schneider is not a protestant. His proposal for a syllabus, as I understood it, was to draft a document that would dispel the errors of interpretation that have arisen regarding the VII documents. Never, to my knowledge, has he condemned the documents themselves. He also submits to the jurisdiction of the Holy Father and (as he is an auxillary bishop), the authority of his own dioscean bishop. While the SSPX may pray for the Holy Father and give lipservice to his jurisdiction, they do not abide by it. And, while they may not be in formal schism, they are certaintly not in formal unity with the Church either. This problem could be easily solved if they reconciled.
2) Yes, many “fully regularized” Catholic laypeople and clergy have some pretty crazy ideas about the faith. But the errors of individuals cannot be extrapolated into “therefore the Church is in error and the SSPX must save it.” The Church saves us, not the other way around. Again, if the SSPX wants to correct the problem they can submit to the jurisdiction of the Pope and Bishops and more effectivly participate in the New Evangelization as Catholic clerics with JURISDICTION to hear confessions, say Mass, witness marriages, etc.
3) I don’t know that much about the whole NeoCat thing, but from what I read here it sounds strange (liturgically, at least). But again, I would rather error on the side of submitting to the Church’s judgment on the issue than go off on my own and following “Tradition” without the authoritative guidance of the Holy See.
Quite simply, those who have stuck it out in the Church, even in difficult times, have been vindicated. Those who have left (even when it seemed like the rational thing to do) have been condemned. I pray that the SSPX will be numbered among the former.
Manwithblackhat: “When the founder of the Society you represent is found to have signed those documents himself at the time…”
Every conciliar document required 3 signatures:
1. I was present when the document was read for publication.
2. I agree to its contents.
3. I was present when the document was published.
Everyone was required to sign lines 1 and 3; however it was for signature line 2 that Archbishop Lefebvre held back his signature for 2 of the documents.
Manwithblackhat: “From there, you may or may not remember that the premise of this particular ecumenical council was merely pastoral, thus was not intended to define any new dogma.”
Precisely the same point the SSPX has been making thus showing to what extent we are required to give assent to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council that manifestly contradict what the Church had always previously taught and practiced (Tradition). Msgr. Gherardini has also made the same point recently: http://sspx.org/miscellaneous/msgr_gherardini_vatican_ii_is_not_super_dogma_12-12-2012.htm.
Manwithblackhat: “Finally, you may arrive at the point where the documents of that council are understood to be interpreted in the light of Tradition.”
This is what Archbishop Lefebvre always advocated, as well as the recent theological commission; the critical nuance here is what cannot be reconciled with Tradition – the immutable teachings of the Catholic Faith – must be rejected.
Ralph: “how can they view the Bishop of Rome as the true Pope but not be under his authority? Wouldn’t he have to be an anti-pope to be justly ignored by them?”
What if the pope is not obeying his predecessors, such as the solemn condemnations of liberal and modernist errors by Popes Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, St. Pius X, Pius XI, and Pius XII? Which pope then should we obey? That is the crux of the question of obedience – the SSPX does indeed profess its obedience and fidelity to the pope (Benedict XVI) but under the unchanging principle that every Catholic of every age has been required to follow: when correct and following the Church: obey / if incorrect and not complying with the Church: must obey Christ (the Church) first. This is not difficult to assess, since we already have the clear and definitive teachings of the Church against ecumenism, collegiality and other post-conciliar errors.
So while we pray for the pope and obey him when he gives a just command (one that is congruent with the Faith), we unfortunately (and it is unfortunate) that we must appear disobedient when he teaches something that is not congruous with the Faith. This besides, I am pretty sure that the SSPX would be in favor of the restoration of the papal tiara, the sedia gestatoria, and the traditional reverences to His Holiness – and I am sure none of their priests would hesitate to kiss the Shoe of the Fisherman, unlike some mainstream members of the episcopacy (which is where the *real* disobedience to the Holy Father is!).
At about the same time that Benedict issued summorum pontificum and actively began the process of reconciliation with the SSPX, His Grace the Most Reverend William Richardson publicly denied that the Holocaust occurred. I’ll interpret that my way, you interpret it your way.
TheAcolyte I don’t remember anyone kissing the shoe of the fisherman on June 30, 1988. However you can watch Archbishop Lefebvre’s ring being kissed on that day if you tune into youtube
I am with Father Z – How the SSPX advances their arguement is more the problem – And its a problem many traditionalists have…as bad as many liberalists ..sort of a “Look at how WE do it… we are doing it right”
Until the SSPX accepts religious tolerance IMHO – There is going to be an issue – You can argue things like Liturgy, orders, etc. Those are small T’s .. But if you really look at things Religous tolerance is older. It deals with allowing God to work on those people..and not impressing a faith on them
Also .., people always seem to come back to restoring this cermemonial or that one . I jsut want to say I dont get that – Our Goal is to profess the gospel to all the nations. Things such as a tiara…or the chair that he was carried in – while they do show a sense of importance..I think need to be secondary
We have bigger problems to deal with in the church then what the Pope wears… we have still an abuse crisis. We have still a shortage of priests… we have still issues with Catechism. Those are more important then, forgive the assertion, a hat.
To me those dont make me “Catholic” – I am Catholic by my adherence to the Church (big C church)..and what I express in my daily life. Perhaps we could offer up a prayer that the SSPX sees that first as being catholic, and other things, second
Traditionalism wants to reassert itself and it’s adherents are all passionately attached to the SSPX a schismatic sect. [Factually incorrect. Intentionally so? Probably.] Archbishop Lefebvre basically resurrected the spirit of Martin Luther back in 1988.
If you’re going around kissing fishermen’s shoes you had better be careful not to start picking and choosing which fisherman’s shoes you’re going to kiss. This includes the fact that he might be wearing
Prada in your own opinion.
The problem is the proposition on religious liberty proposed in Dignitatis Humanae, pastorally, is directly contrary to Pius IX’s teaching in Quanta Cura:
Against the doctrine of Scripture, of the Church, and of the Holy Fathers, they do not hesitate to assert that “that is the best condition of civil society, in which no duty is recognized, as attached to the civil power, of restraining by enacted penalties, offenders against the Catholic religion, except so far as public peace may require.” From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI, an “insanity,” viz., that “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.” But, while they rashly affirm this, they do not think and consider that they are preaching “liberty of perdition;” and that “if human arguments are always allowed free room for discussion, there will never be wanting men who will dare to resist truth, and to trust in the flowing speech of human wisdom; whereas we know, from the very teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, how carefully Christian faith and wisdom should avoid this most injurious babbling.” (no. 3, emphasis mine)
Now look at Dignitatis Humanae:
“Therefore, the right to religious freedom has its foundation, not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature. In consequence, the right to this immunity continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligations of seeking the truth and adhering to it.
“Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered in their public teaching and witness to their faith, whether by the spoken or written word. (DH no. 2, my emphasis).
There is a clear and direct contradiction between the two teachings, which is why I emphasized “public”. This is an important distinction. By saying it is apart of the nature of man, DH is saying it is a “right”. Leo XIII, in accord with all Traditional Catholic philosophy says of a right: “For right is a moral power” (Libertas no. 23), and he continues: “which as We have before said and must again and again repeat – it is absurd to suppose that nature has accorded indifferently to truth and falsehood, to justice and injustice. Men have a right freely and prudently to propagate throughout the State what things soever are true and honorable, so that as many as possible may possess them; but lying opinions, than which no mental plague is greater, and vices which corrupt the heart and moral life should be diligently repressed by public authority, lest they insidiously work the ruin of the State.”
DH is using largely the same language when referring to a “right”, but affirms there is a right to a the things the remote rule of faith (the prior magisterium of every Pope who ever spoke on the subject) says there is no right to.
Tolerance of false positions is prescribed by the remote rule, and as such is part of the tradition. I have never met an SSPX priest who did not accept the principle of tolerance prescribed by the prior magisterium. It is the question of rights that the Society (correctly) objects to, and it is doing the correct thing by demonstrating this contradiction to the Vatican which needs to deal with this problem.
Athanasius I didn’t expect a Spanish Inquisition.!!! I think the reason that I support DH so much is that I’m the kind of person who would eventually find himself handed over to the civil arm and burned at the stake! There, if the truth were to be told!
The Acolyte said: “to what extent we are required to give assent to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council that manifestly contradict what the Church had always previously taught and practiced (Tradition).”
Pope Benedict’s point is that there is no contradiction between the documents of The Second Vatican Council and Tradition if you interpret Tradition correctly – recognizing that any encyclical or other teaching applies basic principles to situations which are specific to a particular time or context. The principles remain valid but the applications may be different in other times or contexts. The problem is to discern which are the principles and which are their contingent applications.
This is somewhat like the problem of deciding what is the core truth of the Genesis narrative of creation.
Athanasius you may be interested to know that on August 26th I had a mass offered for John Lambert at St John Neumann Church in Knoxville Tennessee. John Lambert was burnt to death by Henry VIII for denying the Real Presence. I think you’ll find that in spite of Henry’s burning and the 300 burnings of his daughter Mary that Catholic church hasn’t fared all the well in England these 500 years.
Athanasius since you brought up Pius IX you might be interested to know that Gregory II Hanna Youssef-Sayour (October 17, 1823 – July 13, 1897) was the Greek Catholic Melkite Patriarch who was cast down at the feet of Pius IX while Pius IX placed his foot on Gregory’s neck over the issue of Papal infallibility. We’re back to kissing the shoe of the fisherman it seems.
Firstly, that is a non-sequitur, I don’t think you correctly understood the argument. There is no question of that. We are talking about the question of “rights” as opposed to the principle of the toleration of error (which is affirmed by the pre-conciliar magisterium). The question with DH is not an issue over toleration of non-Catholics in society, it is of the question in re of the rights of erroneous teaching. The former is a question of civil prudence while the latter is a question of what the Church has always and everywhere believed. We can put it this way:
Toleration of non-Catholics in civil society: Pre-conciliar magisterium: Yes; VII: Yes
False religions have rights in the classical Catholic understanding of a right:
Pre-conciliar magisterium: No; VII: Yes
That is the issue at hand with DH. Not toleration, but rights in the Catholic understanding: “[A] right is a moral power” .
Thus the injection of ludicrous language which dealt with the prudence of another time and culture (which is often exaggerated) only serves to obfuscate.
Leon, none of the points you raise have anything to do with what I wrote. Check the argument again please.
Give me a break! That is an urban legend created by the historian Hefele who had an axe to grind against Papal infallibility and made all kinds of calumnies against that Holy Pope. Nevertheless, even if that was true (which its not) it doesn’t negate Pius IX’s teaching magisterium which enjoys universal magisterial infallibility, unlike DH which was a document of a pastoral council.
Does not infallibility exist when it is taught with the whole college of bishops?
Byt your understanding of “Rights” Athanasius, with respect, you would expect an inquisition – Man has no right at all to impose beliefs on someone – Impose meaning pressure people into believing or worse “convert by the sword” – Do we not remember the command by the Savior to “Shake the dust from our sandals” ? That implies plant the seed, if it isnt effective, MOVE ON, and let the Holy spirit work
The very first line of DH you posted
““Therefore, the right to religious freedom has its foundation, not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature.”
Suggests this – Man, because of free will, has a right to be in error, because God made him that way (or her…) . that has been true since the dawn of time. It is why and what earned us a Savior , as the Exaltet goes “Oh Happy Fall , Oh Necessary sin of Adam, that brought to us such a Redeemer” –
Sin is a choice, just like belief is a choice. When you say a person does not have a right to believe….even if that right is compelte heresy and error, you strip that person of the human dignity that God gave him – I think DH understands this better – God made us to choose to freely serve him… To listen or not. That is a something we are born with in our nature, and thus is a right.. Might not be what we want as believers..might not be what we like… but it is a right
Simply because a previous pope believed one thing or one way , does NOT make it dogmatic or infallible. Infallibility needs more then the pope teaching… and does not exist every time the pope teaches. I had thought there were only 3 instances of the Pope ever teaching infalliby . One has to deal with the Immaculate Conception, as an example.
I could argue that because Certain popes did not dogmatically teach on something that is official dogma, that they too were in error, but that would be a baseless arguement