How the mighty have fallen.
La Civiltà Cattolica is a periodical edited by Jesuits which receives some vetting from the Secretariat of State and, thus, is considered by some to have a measure of “authority”.
However, true authority is based on the truth of premises and the quality of arguments… no matter who writes it or vets it.
“Hmmm…”, quoth I. “Let’s have a look!”
In the Editorial under – Nell’ultima pubblicazione – n° 3971 del 12/12/2015 (the text is in Italian) I found the names of the other Jesuit publications. Of course they are European, but I nevertheless found interesting the absence of Amerika.
Even more amusing was this. Pay attention to their use of the authority of Lumen gentium for their… point:
La Costituzione dogmatica conciliare sulla ChiesaLumen gentium (LG) afferma autorevolmente: siccome «Cristo è stato mandato dal Padre “per annunciare ai poveri un lieto messaggio…, guarire quelli che hanno il cuore contrito” (Lc 4,18 Vlg), “a cercare e a salvare ciò che era perduto” (Lc 19,10), similmente la Chiesa abbraccia con amore quanti sono afflitti dall’umana debolezza, anzi riconosce nei poveri e nei sofferenti l’immagine del suo Fondatore povero e sofferente, cerca di sollevarne l’indigenza e in essi intende servire Cristo» (LG 8).
The Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium (LG) asserts authoritatively: given that “Christ was sent by the Father ‘to announce to the poor a joyful message…, to heal those who have a contrite heart’ (Luke 4:18 Vulgate), “to seek and to save that which was lost’ (Luke 19:10), similarly the Church embraces with love all those who are afflicted by human suffering, but rather recognizes in the poor and in the suffering the image of her poor and suffering Founder, seeks to alleviate destitution and in them means to serve Christ” (LG 8).
Sounds pretty pious, no?
Not if you read it carefully.
First, the writer utilizes Lumen gentium as an authoritative witness to the point he is trying to make. However, Lumen gentium authoritatively affirms others things as well, such as the obligation we have to submit to properly defined and taught doctrine (not always a Jesuit strong point), and that those who resist membership in the Church, knowing her for what she is, cannot be saved. Lumen gentium clearly upholds traditional doctrine about the Church’s hierarchical structure and insists on a qualitative difference between the priesthood of the ordained and of the laity. There are more items, but that’s enough for now.
But, the Jesuit version of the Documents of Vatican II (i.e, the passages they accept) would be as thin as the Gnostic versions of the Bible.
Next, LG 8 says that Christ was sent by the Father “to bring good news to the poor, to heal the contrite of heart”. What does “contrite” mean? Note that Luke 4:18-19 are problematic in the Vulgate and in the Greek. Some scholarly Greek versions omit the part about “contrite heart” (ἰὰσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τὴν καρδίαν). But no matter. The writer is citing the Council document Lumen gentium which reads “Christus a Patre missus est “evangelizare pauperibus,… sanare contritos corde” (Lc 4,18)”. We, therefore, have to go with the “contrite heart” statement.
Again, what does “contrite” mean? Contrition of heart (from Latin contritio “a wearing down of that which is hard”) is sorrow of heart for and detestation of sin along with the resolution not to sin again (Council of Trent, session XIV, 4). Contrition is necessary for forgiveness and, thus, for salvation. It must be genuine. It is more perfect when it comes from love for God, less perfect when it comes from fear of punishment (called “attrition”). Christ came to heal those who are sorry for the sins they have committed and detest sin. They have repented. They are not just sad. They are not just afraid. They have turned a corner on sin.
Here’s the problem… This is the crew who are constantly chanting mercy mercy mercy without, seemingly, any strong exhortation to repentance and conversion and adherence to the Church’s teaching on faith and morals. This crew utilizes a conciliar text which they shove in our face as authoritative (i.e., intended to end all discussion). However, the very text they cite (and there are textual problems with it) affirms precisely what they are trying to avoid: that we have to stop sinning to be healed.
Furthermore, note that, all of a sudden, Christ’s words are really important! They weren’t so important in the question of the clear and indisputable text about indissolubility of marriage. But here, the Council and Christ’s words – which I think they misapply – are authoritative even though the Greek and Latin texts are a bit contested.
C’mon, guys. You would think that Civiltà Cattolica could field a better team than this.