What Do The Little Dots Really Say? Drilling into a distortion at America Magazine


Catch Fr. Hunwicke’s comments.  HERE

___ Originally Published on: Jan 6, 2017

Sometimes libs try to pull one over on us by shaking and rattling the shiny object so that you don’t see what they are doing with their other hand.

Such is the case today at Jesuit-run America Magazine.  There the unwitting reader will surely not be able to avoid a piece by a priest from Chicago, Fr. Louis J. Cameli, who takes on the Four Cardinals and the Five Dubia.

Let’s drill.

First, Cameli denies the obvious and claims that there really isn’t anything unclear about Amoris laetitia Chapter 8.  This is nonsense.  AL 8 has content which is objectively unclear.

Next, Cameli accuses the Four Cardinals of being dishonest.  According to Cameli, the Five Dubia are not genuine doubts or questions, but rather assertions.  However, even if assertions are within the Dubia, they remain honest questions about the magisterial status of Veritatis Splendor, etc., which can easily be answered by a “yes” or a “no”.

Then, Fr. Cameli begins his own defense of Amoris laetitia 8.  There are several points which we might look at over the next couple days, but let’s start with how he handles one of his most important proof texts.

Cameli pits St. John XXIII and his opening speech, “Gaudet Mater Ecclesia” at the Second Vatican Council against the Four Cardinals, whom he has already accused of being disingenuous.

I don’t think we should allow St. John XXIII’s words and the Second Vatican Council to be so abused.

Watch how the meaning of Gaudet Mater Ecclesia is completely changed by the cuts Cameli makes.  Read these side by side, taking note of the ellipses (those are the little dots…):

GME 6 used by Cameli GME 6 more accurately translated GME 6 Original Latin
The salient point of this Council is not…a discussion of one article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Church which has repeatedly been taught by the Fathers and by ancient and modern theologians, and which is presumed to be well known and familiar to all. The salient point of this Council is not, therefore, a discussion of one article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Church which has repeatedly been taught by the Fathers and by ancient and modern theologians, and which is presumed to be well known and familiar to all. 


Neque opus nostrum, quasi ad finem primarium, eo spectat, ut de quibusdam capitibus praecipuis doctrinae ecclesiasticae disceptetur, atque adeo fusius repetantur ea, quae Patres ac theologi veteres et recentiores tradiderunt, et quae a vobis non ignorari sed in mentibus vestris inhaerere merito putamus.
For this a Council was not necessary




the Christian, Catholic, and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciousness in faith and perfect conformity to authentic doctrine….



For this a council was not necessary. But from the renewed, serene and tranquil adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still shines forth in the acts of the Council of Trent and the First Vatican Council, the Christian, Catholic and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciences in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. Etenim ad huiusmodi tantum disputationes habendas non opus erat, ut Concilium Oecumenicum indiceretur. Verumtamen in praesenti oportet ut universa doctrina christiana, nulla parte inde detracta, hic temporibus nostris ab omnibus accipiatur novo studio, mentibus serenis atque pacatis, tradita accurata illa ratione verba concipiendi et in formam redigendi, quae ex actis Concilii Tridentini et Vaticani Primi praesertim elucet; oportet ut, quemadmodum cuncti sinceri rei christianae, catholicae, apostolicae fautores vehementer exoptant, eadem doctrina amplius et altius cognoscatur eaque plenius animi imbuantur atque formentur; oportet ut haec doctrina certa et immutabilis, cui fidele obsequium est praestandum, ea ratione pervestigetur et exponatur, quam tempora postulant nostra.
The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another.



The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith or the truths which are contained in our time-honored teaching is one thing, the manner in which these truths are set forthin the same meaning and understanding – is another. Est enim aliud ipsum depositum Fidei, seu veritates, quae veneranda doctrina nostra continentur, aliud modus, quo eaedem enuntiantur, eodem tamen sensu eademque sententia.
And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character [emphases added]. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration, with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character.” Huic quippe modo plurimum tribuendum erit et patienter, si opus fuerit, in eo elaborandum; scilicet eae inducendae erunt rationes res exponendi, quae cum magisterio, cuius indoles praesertim pastoralis est, magis congruant.

Cameli made these cuts not simply because he had a word limitation on his article.  He wanted to diminish the stress that St. John XXIII placed on continuity between the Second Vatican Council and earlier Catholic teaching, including Trent and Vatican I.

We shall have to look at more of this piece in the days to come.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. JustaSinner says:

    When did the Jesuits go from Solders of Christ, to Soldiers against Christ?

  2. Bret Ramsey says:

    Quid est veritas? – Pontius Pilate

  3. Every time I read articles of this ilk, (one MUST know their enemy) I ALWAYS ask myself this question: What would my ORDINARY, Bishop Robert C Morlino, SJ would write instead.
    Then I smile and know that there is at least ONE #Jesuit who tells the TRUTH. 20 + C + M + B + 17

  4. pseudomodo says:

    Yikes, Father Z

    Your review has already been cross referenced in the comment section of the original article!

  5. Benedict Joseph says:

    God reward you, Father. And I look forward to your further analysis.
    Abandoning my hesitancy to be bold I will simply say it appears there is current within the Church a not unsubstantial number of clergy who are not merely unperceptive, without depth and knowledge, but are deliberately mendacious. One need ask for what purpose. An answer to that would unmask a multitude of sins.
    This is often unnoticed because they merely propose without appealing to another, or citing a rationale, or deliberately offer a misinterpretation – but it does jump out when one presents the comparison clearly as you provide here.
    This has been going on for decades. No one challenges this mode of operation, and all goes on, and erroneous proposals are allowed legs and the people are deceived, others left confused.
    Luke 11:11-13 comes to mind – “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
    The laity requires bread and is given vermin instead. And from pastors. The physician are not healing but aggravating dire conditions.
    Disputes transpiring within the Church are reduced in importance as mere debates between different viewpoints. They are not that pedestrian. The tapestry of the Faith is so intertwined one cannot tug on any strand without effecting another.
    There is either mindfulness of this undeniable reality or there is a rejection of its vital importance – and that could only be if the Faith itself is deemed as deficient so to be in need of replacement.
    The barbarians are within the gates.

  6. sirlouis says:

    Remember that Father Hunwicke had a great series of reflections on eodem tamen sensu eademque sententia on his blog in June and July of last year. He nailed it down tight.

  7. Elizabeth D says:

    Bishop Morlino (who is also my bishop) is technically an ex-SJ, he did in fact leave the Jesuits to become a diocesan priest in Michigan where he was a seminary professor.

  8. Xopher says:

    Matthew 23

  9. KAS says:

    Leaving out portions of a quote without ellipses would get any student of mine a full letter grade drop on their paper.

  10. iamlucky13 says:

    Good presentation of the textual differences.

    Even what he quoted does not provide a basis for ignoring the relationship of doctrine to pastoral accompaniment (“a formation of consciousness in faith and perfect conformity to authentic doctrine”). The shiny thing he holds up actually supports the dubia, as the dubia are precisely about ensuring consciences are conformed to authentic doctrine.

    I agree with him that the dubia are assertions. So what? All questions assert the questioner’s understanding of a topic to some degree. “Why is the sky blue?” is an assertion there should be a reason for this to be so. “Can footnote 351 be applied to the divorced and remarried?” is an assertion that it has been the previous understanding that it can not. The assertive nature of the questions does not invalidate the questions.

    The assertion is not, however that Amoris Laetitia is unfaithful. The assertion is that certain interpretations are. The question is whether those interpretations are the intended meaning.

    Father Cameli’s overall argument seems to be that the Four Cardinals fail to recognize the pastoral intent of Amoris Laetitia. Why not “accompany them” and give them the benefit of supposing they are equally as capable of reading the exhortation as Father Cameli himself is, and are therefore aware of the stated pastoral intent?

    Had he honestly done so, he’d have been able to see the questions as grounded in concern that certain interpretations of Amoris Laetitia are not pastoral, but instead could lead people away from conformity to authentic doctrine. Jesus accompanied the Samaritan woman, but he never implied that her actions were of no consequence, nor did she in turn try to justify her actions.

    Father Sparado’s post is in a category of its own. Perhaps he could clarify for us when 2+2 = 5 in theology, or any other way in which theology is defined by contradiction. Also, please stop the hashtag abuse. It’s a bad enough form of markup even when used with semantic coherence. Scattered randomly through posts it’s even more irritating to me than leaving your capslock on.

  11. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    Fr. Cameli’s assertion that THE DUBIA CANNOT BE ANSWERED put me in mind of that scene in “The Exorcist,” where the demons are heard, via a backwards tape recording, saying, “We are no one.”

    For any adult, baptized, educated Catholic to declare that “the dubia cannot be answered” is a public confession that “I am no one. My will is in total command of my intellect, which I have WILLED to cease to function. I have CHOSEN to be no one.”

  12. jameeka says:

    “We shall have to look at more of this piece in the days to come” …
    Oh good, especially how the cropped quotes from “Veritatis Splendor” have been pulled away from the encyclical’s whole, away from the very points that the Dubia highlight.

    This Amerika piece does nothing to answer the questions posed by the Cardinals, questions which continue to be ignored.

    Never mind that “accompaniment” is placed on a much higher plane than Truth. It’s the dictatorship of relativism re-warmed.

  13. Pingback: MONDAY EDITION | Big Pulpit

  14. Pingback: Another look at Fr. Cameli in Jesuit-run ‘America’: Use of Scripture | Fr. Z's Blog

  15. Pingback: Is ‘Amoris laetitia’ compromised because of ghostwriter plagiarism? | Fr. Z's Blog

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