Another exercise in the judicious parsing of church documents

Let’s take a look at a noteworthy excerpt from the Decree on Ecumenism of Vatican II, article 3:

It follows that the separated Churches and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.

For clarity sake, let’s enhance what is being said by substituting nouns (in italics) for pronouns:

It follows that the separated Churches and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using the separated Churches and Communities as such as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.

To enhance the clarity of this section just a bit more, let’s substitute specific ecclesial terms (in italics)for the general references:

It follows that the schismatic Churches and heretical Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using the schismatic Churches and heretical Communities as such as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.

It gets better…

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10 Comments

  1. A funny if not sad or sickening thing is Pride! When we suppose Catholics of intelligence and some kind of moral life can have written this rubbish and insulted our Christian Protestant or Orthodox brethren! The article is bordering towards mortal sin and its worse than that it is just plain ignorant!
    What is it about stupid and sinful imaginations that come from some Catholic commentators?? that leads these fools into writing such an article! It is openly blasphemous and denies Scripture and the Authority of the Council by its ridicule.
    yeh yeh yeh . . .I have no idea where you find these things Doug! I think I should cry for their sake and the harm such things inspire in souls. Its unbelievable!!

  2. The column is, unfortunately, a deliberate variant on the old “telephone game”: in which, at each repetition (call) of the original story reported, the retelling strays more and more from the original. Thus, it winds up being gratuitously self-serving to its author at the expense of accuracy and Truth, as do so very many V-II documents.

    In this case, the original text stands thoroughly condemned as is, on its own demerits. It is, at best, both cloying and confusing, as are so very many V-II documents. At worst, it promotes error…as do so very many V-II documcnts.

    • Mark,
      Glad you found the article foolish. Not certain I agree with you on the V-II documents though. However as we both have an idea? where we stand on that I will simply say Woo-hoo less we go on debating it for countless replies! 🙂

  3. Is this NOT a Change in earlier Catholic Dogma? Or was it not a Change in earlier Catholic Doctrine?
    Cathy In Confusion

    • Benedict XVI called it a “rupture” – and he ought to know, since he was one of the chief “rupturers”! The big question: is rupture just another term for error – and is error just another term for heresy?

      Doug

  4. Found this rather interesting article. Does it apply to things such as above? Maybe or not? Any suggestions . .I note the numbers at the end would put it in a stormy teacup.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditionalist_Catholic

    • The article stands pretty much on its own. The logical progression of the piece is clear and convincing. This is some of what we’ve been complaining about for the last 50 years – and it has nothing to do with traditionalism – rather infallible Catholic truth and clarity of church teachings – something which has been missing in action for more than a generation.

      Doug

      • The unusual thing I found and was not aware of was the use of the word . .Traditional Catholic . .something I have not understood (nor do I now) as it seems to encompasses so varied amount of personal belief systems outside the Great Church Orthodoxy which vary from the simply arch conservative views to the wacky and utterly heretical. Encompassing a million strong world wide!
        Nothing in comparison to the Great Church but still that’s a million souls on diverging lines? I am reminded of the Chinese Catholic State Church which claims proper catholic attention without the Vatican’s recognition. Whilst some of the Traditionalist Church members are probably faithful in their own way it is an irony that in the times they so long to return to they would have been burnt at the stake for expressing their liberal attitudes/views!
        Just a thought . . . . 🙂

  5. Scampy22,
    I personally, have not taken the Leap, to a Tradionalist Church, but MANY in my Extended Family have never stopped going to Latin Mass!
    VatII scared many Faithful away from the New Mass….they were Serious Catholics!
    The question is …Would they go to the Stake, for their TRUE BELIEFS, instead of “RUPTURED” beliefs??????

    Paul said, Hate Evil and Love Good………otherwise, you are a Hypocrite and don’t have TRUTH in you!!!

    Cathy. 🙂
    Cherry sometime, and Agitator Less

    • Cathy,
      That is a very good point!
      My quickest answer is that we have to use our intellect as we have been given it.
      The Reformation would not have taken place if the Church had been more concerned with the poor than the rich or the truth than the self seeking profligate authority of politics and the like. So it is a problem. But what do we think the Church is really?
      Its not that Luther was initially wrong, he was initially right! Yet he stumbled away from the greater truth. They say don’t throw the baby out with the bath water? or some such expression. I think that was what resulted. Don’t get self satisfied because the Catholic Church before and since has made innumerable errors and caused suffering that it should not have allowed.
      nevertheless, the Church is the true apostolic body of Christ and it therefore learns and grows to Christ. Sometimes and some ways it speaks out and it is for the faithful to adapt their lives accordingly.
      For many (every council of the Church has been disputed and it is a nonsense and worse lacks historical understanding to suggest otherwise) the Council of Vatican 2 was itself a step too far.
      I think I have pointed out previously that The Catholic Church has always existed in a group of Churches and in the first centuries these were (today they would be totally heretical) varied and many local ones especially. So the Authority of Rome has always been challenged by some.
      The Traditionalist article confirms that there are many divisions within that title as in the past. Some of these exist in utter repudiation of The Council. The SSPX is perhaps the most famous?
      I have expressed my personal opinion on that organization in the past! Let me just restate I find it anathema along with most Catholics I suspect.
      There are other Churches that simply do not like this or that from the Council and it seems Rome allows these to exist! I don’t know how as they seem basically disobedient but that’s for Rome to answer not me.
      Like many that heard Our Lord preach, some rejected him and stopped following him. Some who were not part of the Apostles group still performed miracles in his name and when the Apostles wanted them to stop Jesus stopped his Apostles from harming them. They whom are not against me etc. . .
      Many Catholics who may have grown up with the Latin Tridentine Mass and found it difficult to convert to the new Vernacular mass. Indeed Padre Pio (who always advocated full obedience to Mother Church no matter what it did) was allowed to keep the Latin mass as it was thought that like many elderly priests he would not be able to adjust so quickly in the language.
      If it is properly a matter of Conscience that an individual cannot accept a mass other than Latin and they are able to attend such a mass then go for it. BUT if an individual refuses to accept what the Church teaches (as in Vatican 2) and continues to teach fifty years later than that individual may well be in deception and working against the will of God. If they presume that they are intellectually equal or sufficient to get by whatever a pope or bishop asks of them then they are sailing very close to grave error and mortal sin.
      So would your family be burnt by the Church?
      How do I know! 🙂
      The truth is within the Catholic Church passed to the faithful by the Bishops and Councils. If a catholic simply wishes to pick and choose what they hold as sacred then they are not Catholic but Protestant!
      I regard myself as a Traditionalist like many in the Catholic Church but I simply do not understand or recognise these Traditionalist Churches that disagree with The Holy Father or critique the Council. They seem at best to be in “faded light” (term Cardinal Ratzinger coined?) and ignorant of Gods will. They have neither Saint nor Hero to admire although they do not see themselves as separate from the Great Church. I am left scratching my head because whilst I understand that people of good will . .you know what I have said about that . .I am uncertain of their good will.


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