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A very left-hand, right-hand situation May 22, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, sadness, scandals, Tradition.

Headline 1, May 22: Cardinal says Nostra Aetate and Dignitatis Humanae (the Vatican II declarations on non-Christian religions and ecumenism), do not contain binding doctrinal content!

Headline 2, May 17: Cardinal says Nostra Aetate DOES contain binding doctrinal content.

A side note: in it’s story on Headline 1 above, the USCCB’s Catholic News Service fails to note which Vatican II declarations were mentioned by Cardinal Brandmuller, and instead alludes to declarations on Christian education and the mass media! 

To say that any negotiation regarding Vatican II is a minefield, is more than a slight understatement.

From the Catholic Culture piece:

Stating that the conciliar documents have differing degrees of authority, Cardinal Brandmuller said that “there is a huge difference between a great constitution and simple declarations.” [Cardinal Koch in headline 2 above draws no such distinction, but this is right.  But, heretofore, many in authority in the Chuch have tried to claim that all documents of VII have the, total, doctrinal authority, and all had to be adhered to with religious assent.  This was especially true in the dark days of 1965~1990]

Strangely enough, the two most controversial documents [on religious liberty and relations with non-Christian religions] do not have a binding doctrinal content, so one can dialogue about them,” he continued. “So I don’t understand why our friends in the Society of St. Pius X concentrate almost exclusively on these two texts. [Well, because your colleague, Cardinal Koch, while not specifying the degree of adherence Nostra Aetate requires, implies strongly that it is owed religious assent.  And he made that statment less than a week before yours]  And I’m sorry that they do so, because these are the two that are most easy to accept if we consider their canonical nature.”

Cardinal Brandmuller added that all the conciliar documents “must be taken seriously as expressions of the living Magisterium,” while Archbishop Marchetto said that Catholics must offer “at least an adhesion of intellect and will” to all of the documents.

Cardinal Brandmuller, God bless him, is trying to assert that there are only a few potentially problematic aspects of Vatican II.  As I tried to point out regarding Guadium Et Spes, which is not a “simple declaration” but is a “great constitution,” this assertion is debateable, at best.  Yes, the declarations on ecumenism and non-Christian religions were among the most…..distressing?……confusing?…….novel?……documents produced at the last Council.  But they are not alone, nor is Guadium Et Spes alone among the “great constitutions.” 

What should I, as a lay person, make of a situation where two Cardinals speak in contradictions within days of each other on a subject of critical import?  Has such confusion or division ever reigned in the Church in the wake of any other council?  I can’t think of anything similar, at least since Calcedon.  Maybe during some of the councils attempted during the time of the Great Schism.  It’s been pretty rare, and never the sign of a “new springtime.”

I wonder if I will live to see this all get clarified?


1. dismas - May 22, 2012

I don’t have any sort of profound understanding of these things. What I do know is that the Second Vatican Council purposely refrained from defining itself as a dogmatic council, the first time this has happened in the history of the Church, as I understand. I have seen numerous popes verify this.

Why it did so and the results of doing so is the topic of lots of good books. Had the council been forced to define its documents in strict scholastic terminology, as would be the case in a council that intended to define doctrine, the fuzzy sorts of statements would not have been possible and would not have set the stage for the destruction within the Church since the council. Or so the compelling argument goes.

Given all of this, I have always been under the impression that Catholics were not bound to provide the Assent of Faith to any of the delarations of the Second Vatican Council, unless, of course, particular declarations were clear re-statements of previously defined dogma, in which case the Assent of Faith is actually to a previous council or papal declaration.

Many have an immediate gut reaction to a statement like this, misinterpreting this as a lack of respect for an ecumenical council of the Church. But it is not that. It is simply putting the Second Vatican Council into the very context into which it demanded to be placed. Not only should we not assent to novel doctrine that casts doubt on defined dogma, we are obliged to resist and to warn others.

tantamergo - May 22, 2012

Dismas –

That’s sort of the point of the rhetorical questions. Simply saying “read Vatican II in the light of “tradition,” when Vatican II is directly contrary to Tradition, doesn’t accomplish a whole lot. I love and pray for the Holy Father every day, but he is a product of his times. He played a major role in forming the council, and it played a major role in forming him. Even though he sees many of the problems that have resulted, he cannot bring himself to fundamentally challenge it.

There are many in the Church who say that VII must be accepted, unconditionally. I recall JPII saying such, but cannot recall when – maybe I’m wrong. But many priests, bishops, cardinals, etc., especially the numerous modernists, have made such claims. The very discussions with the SSPX make this clear: if the Council is just pastoral, and does not require religious assent, why would SSPX be in the position it has been for the last 25 years? You and I may assume that it does not require religious assent, the SSPX and every FSSP priest I know (ok, that’s only 6) may assume the same, but the hierarchy, from pastors to cardinals and Popes, have stated or implied the contrary – Vatican II must be accepted, all of it, with religious assent. It is only of late that this has even been a question, within the hierarchy. That is a very good thing, for otherwise, we should be lost.

Feel free to e-mail me anytime, larryr103@gmail.com

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