New Passover for a New Exodus

Posted by on October 13, 2013 in Communion, Ecclesiology, Eucharist, Featured, Means of Grace, Sacraments, Worship | 141 comments

Continuing our series on the Eucharist, Catholics understand Jesus to be a new Moses, and what kind of new Moses would he be if he did not inaugurate a new Exodus? And of course, what was it that launched the first Exodus but the celebration of the Passover? A new Exodus under the leadership of a new Moses, then, calls for a new Passover to kick things off.

St. Paul clearly understood this typology. He wrote to the Corinthians in his first letter, 5:7-8:

For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the festival. . . .

When did Jesus institute this new Passover? The answer is the in the upper room on the night he was betrayed. Rather than just following the standard Passover liturgy, according to which the events of the original Exodus were made present to the lives of the celebrants, Jesus began talking about a different offering than the old Passover lamb. It would be by means of this  sacrifice, this  offering of his body and blood, that the new Exodus would be inaugurated.

As Brant Pitre has noted in his book, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, the dramatic act of spreading the lamb’s blood often overshadows an arguably even more important element of the rite: The Passover sacrifice was not complete until the sacrificial lamb had been eaten by the worshiper. He writes:

The reason Jesus’ identification with the lamb matters is that, in both the Old Testament and ancient Jewish tradition, the sacrifice of the Passover lamb was not completed by its death. It was completed by a meal, by eating the flesh of the lamb that had been slain. Therefore, if Jesus saw himself as the new lamb, then it makes sense that he would speak of his blood being poured out and command the disciples to eat his flesh.

Lastly, just as the old Passover feast was to be kept as a day of remembrance for all Israelites, so with the new Passover celebration of the Eucharist:

This command to renew the sacrifice every year shows that for ancient Israel, Passover was not just a one-time event. It did not happen once and then pass away. The Passover was to be observed forever, until the end of time.

By “memorial” or “commemoration” is meant more than a mere cognitive reminder, but an actual participation in the ancient saving act of God. This is why the Mishnah says that

In every generation a man must so regard himself as if he came forth out of Egypt, for it is written, “It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came forth out of Egypt” (Exod. 13:8).

The old Passover, then, was not just a reminder of what God had done in times past, but an actualization of and participation in those events. And if such was the case with the old, much more is it the case with the new: In setting in motion the new Exodus by instituting a new Passover, Jesus is inaugurating a “new and living way” by which we can, 2000 years later, participate in that Passover sacrifice by offering the Lamb and then consuming him from the altar.

Lastly, I consider it obvious that since Jesus instituted the Eucharist in the context of the Jewish Passover, he was doing something overtly sacrificial in the upper room. And since he commanded us to “do this” in memory of him, when we celebrate the new Passover feast of the Eucharist, we are doing something sacrificial as well. In the same way that Israelites of old ate nothing less than a sacrificed lamb, so we, in the new Passover feast, eat nothing less than that which we have just offered upon the altar: Jesus the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

141 Comments

  1. How did they eat His flesh in the bread
    While he was sitting with him in the flesh? Maybe this is elementary but I can’t make sense of it.

  2. While they were sitting with him

  3. Sam,

    Here’s how Thomas formulates the question:

    Further, this sacrament is called the memorial of our Lord’s Passion, according to Matthew 26 (Luke 22:19): “Do this for acommemoration of Me.” But a commemoration is of things past. Therefore, this sacrament should not have been instituted before Christ’s Passion.

    And here’s how he responds to it:

    Thirdly, because last words, chiefly such as are spoken by departing friends, are committed most deeply to memory; since then especially affection for friends is more enkindled, and the things which affect us most are impressed the deepest in the soul. Consequently, since, as Pope Alexander I says, “among sacrifices there can be none greater than the body and blood of Christ, nor any more powerful oblation”; our Lord instituted this sacrament at His last parting with His disciples, in order that it might be held in the greater veneration. And this is what Augustine says (Respons. ad Januar. i): “In order to commend more earnestly the death of this mystery, our Saviour willed this last act to be fixed in the hearts and memories of the disciples whom He was about to quit for the Passion.”

    This sacrament was instituted during the supper, so as in the future to be a memorial of our Lord’s Passion as accomplished. Hence He said expressively: “As often as ye shall do these things”

    So Jesus was doing what he did with an eye to the future. I imagine the same question could be asked of a Reformed person: “How is it his body if the cross hadn’t happened yet?” It doesn’t have to be a sacrifice to be a chronological mystery.

  4. Jason–

    And…?

    What exactly are we Protestants supposed to disagree with here?

  5. Ha ha, I was kind of thinking the same thing, Eric! We could always just rejoice in our common ground, but since that’s no fun we could argue instead over whether in the NC Passover feast we are eating something that has just been offered on an altar or not.

  6. Jason–

    Of course, you know that the original Passover lambs were killed by the families themselves and eaten at table for as yet there WAS no altar (for there was neither tabernacle not temple).

    Would you have us partake of the meal with our loins girded, our feet sandaled, with our staves in our hands, and–most importantly–in great haste?

  7. My question is about the physical change in the elements. Did transubstantiation occur in the upper room?

  8. Samer,

    “Substantial” does not mean “physical” as the latter is used today. The doctrine of transubstantiation does not teach any change whatsoever in the chemical makeup of the elements.

  9. If I understood it correctly the bread becomes flesh but “disguised” as bread. The change is different than what protestants hold to. If its all the same Jason won’t have anything to do!

  10. Samer,

    Here’s the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1376, quoting the Council of Trent:

    Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.

    The change, you’ll notice, is at the level of substance, not of accidents. That means that the appearances of bread and wine retain all their physical properties. In fact, when those properties no longer obtain, so too does the substantial Presence of our Lord cease: “The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist” (CCC 1377).

    I won’t try to speak to the various views that different stripes of Protestant hold and how precisely they compare with Catholic doctrine. Just wanted to clarify the latter.

    best,
    John

  11. Eric,

    I see your point but there is never an exact one to one correspondance from the OC shadow to the NC reality.

    What does correspond though, is that they actually ate the lamb, which was a sacrifice. Every Passover they ate the Passover lamb they did not just symbolically memorialize it. Likewise we actually eat the NC Passover lamb. It is a real participation.

    I do not see where a Protestant can truly agree with with Jason’s last sentence.

  12. Plus, after the golden calf episode the priesthood was given to the Levites only, so the firstborn of a family was no longer considered a priest as before.

    This seems like a pretty typical tactic: Unless every single detail is exactly the same between the OC shadow and NC reality, we can just deny the significance.

    Divide and Dismiss.

  13. It sounds as though you found a point of agreement with the Reformed group here. There seems to be a minimum of objection.

    Except for Sam, it seems that the rest believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord, in some manner. Is that correct? Apparently, the only objection would be “transubstantiation”?

  14. Jason–

    All I was doing was (half-jokingly) pursuing the lack of one-to-one correspondence, just to see how it might or might not apply. There was not the first inkling of a “tactic” to somehow undo the considerable amount of unanimity we can share on this topic.

    I sincerely consider the whole “divide and dismiss” allegation to be a rude, unseemly, and unacceptable impugning of our good faith in discussing these matters. There is no conspiracy. There is no conscious obfuscation. If you are going to attack my motives, then perhaps you need to pop through your own computer screen and roar like the MGM lion!

    Seeing as I was NOT denying the significance of the correspondence between the OC shadow and the NC reality, your accusation falls pretty flat….

    Puh-leeze!! A little civility goes a long, long ways. 🙂

  15. Dave H.–

    Confessional Protestants do not just “symbolically memorialize” the sacrifice of Christ. We do indeed participate in it. We actually eat the flesh of Christ and drink his blood. We simply don’t explain the mystery in the same way Catholics do.

  16. No objections just a question

  17. Eric,

    I sincerely consider the whole “divide and dismiss” allegation to be a rude, unseemly, and unacceptable impugning of our good faith in discussing these matters. There is no conspiracy. There is no conscious obfuscation.

    I apologize if I unfairly leveled the D&D charge against you. But I don’t apologize for making the general observation. If you recall my original post on Divide and Dismiss, you’ll note that I cite instance after instance in which Protestants do exactly what I suggest.

  18. Sam,

    The change is different than what protestants hold to. If its all the same Jason won’t have anything to do!

    From where I sit, Protestants want to say that they agree with the ECFs on a change taking place at the Table, and that the CC departs when they formulate the idea of transubstantiation. In order for that to work, what you need to do is (1) present an argument for why “transubstantiation” differs in some fundamental way from what the fathers said (since they taught that through the action of the priest the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ). Then, you’d need to (2) argue for why the church has no right to further articulate in more precise language what the ECFs taught (and do it in such a way as to preserve Nicene Trinitarianism, which is an example of the church doing just that).

  19. Hi Eric,

    I respectfully disagree. When I was Reformed I preferred Calvin’s spiritual reception view over Zwingi’s but even the highest view of communion in Reformedom dies the death of a thousand qualifications. When you say you eat His flesh and drink His blood you do not mean that you really eat His flesh and drink His blood. You do not believe what you are actually, physically consuming is His true flesh in blood. Some high church Anglicans do and Lutherans come close – but the varying Reformed views at their best spiritualize His presence but do not believe the actual elements become His flesh and blood.

    Calvin’s view was the most beautiful but it was also completely unbiblical. The view you expressed sounds Orthodox not Reformed.

    And really if you are not truly eating His flesh and drinking His blood then the OC shadow loses much of it’s meaning. The Jews really and truly ate the flesh of the lamb. We really and truly eat the the flesh of the Lamb.

  20. ….present an argument for why “transubstantiation” differs in some fundamental way from what the fathers said….

    Jason,

    In many of the ECF’s (i.e. Clement of Alexandria, Origen) you will find them talking about the elements as “symbolic” and an “antitype” of the body and blood of Christ. There seems to be in the ECF’s no apparent contradiction between calling the bread and the wine a symbol but also saying that the bread and wine really becomes the body and blood of Christ. They become the body and blood of Christ in a sacramental way in the ECF way of thinking. I don’t see that there is any need in the minds of the ECF’s to suggest there is a literal transformation, in that the bread and the wine cease to be actual bread and wine, and thus no reason to be reading the later Medieval concept of transformation into the language of the ECF’s here.

    The 9th century debates between Ratramnus and Rabertus begin the debate in Medieval Church as to the exact essence of the elements. But I just don’t see that there was any debate whatsoever on this matter during the era of the ECF’s. To put this a different way I don’t think you can argue against Ratramnus by using the writings of the ECF’s.

    ….argue for why the church has no right to further articulate in more precise language what the ECFs taught….

    Well of course we not argue for such a thing Jason. If we did we would be arguing against our own confessional positions.

  21. Dave H.–

    I know it’s complicated, but you’re wrong in your understanding of both the Reformed formulation AND the Catholic one. One very common mistake: spiritual does not mean non-physical. When we take on glorified flesh in heaven, we do not become ethereal, immaterial beings. Christ’s presence in the Eucharist is glorified flesh. That’s why whether you take a small wafer or a larger wafer, a tiny sip or a huge gulp of the goblet, in both kinds or just one, you are taking the whole body, blood, and soul of Christ. Even for Catholics, this means that the whole process is intensely spiritualized. For Catholics, it is a completely non-violent and unbloody event. You are “chewing” live flesh which remains alive. It is not cannibalistic!

    For the Reformed, the elements “become” the actual body and blood…by juxtaposition rather than transformation. The chemical content of the bread and wine do not change, but the elements themselves do. This is sacramental. This is mystery. Do not expect to definitively comprehend it. If you really want to get technical, the bread and wine of the Catholic Eucharist do not totally “become” the flesh and blood of Christ, for that would necessarily include the accidents, which are an essential aspect of the untransformed elements (as well as of the physical, visible body of Christ).

    I’m with Andrew on this one. If you read the ECF’s, they do not seem to wish to systematize the conflict between bread and wine which do not transform (and which are termed symbols, signs, or antitypes) and sacramental elements which indeed do transform. They do not attempt to resolve the mystery.

  22. Andrew,

    I will most likely respond with a post in which I set forth the case that the ECFs clearly taught that the bread and wine are, at the moment of consecration, transformed into the body and blood of Christ. Other than borrowing Aristotle’s substance/accidents nomenclature, the medievals taught nothing new on this score.

  23. Eric,

    Do you really think the ECFs did not teach that the B&W are transformed into the B&BOC?

    Hashtag, AbbreviationsRule.

  24. Jason,

    If you do respond with such a post I have couple of ideas. Firstly, it would be interesting to hear your take on the EO perspective on the matter. The EO read the same ECF’s as you do but deny that the ECFs were teaching that the elements change in substance. Secondly if the “ECFs clearly taught” what you say they did then why was there any controversy in the 9th century and why did it take centuries for the controversy to be resolved?

    Other than borrowing Aristotle’s substance/accidents nomenclature,….

    I think that part of the answer to the puzzle here is that the Medieval Church did not just borrow Aristotle’s nomenclature, but in addition and most importantly they imported Aristotle’s metaphysics.

  25. Andrew,

    the Medieval Church did not just borrow Aristotle’s nomenclature, but in addition and most importantly they imported Aristotle’s metaphysics.

    Do you believe that there is no such thing as substance? If not, and if you do believe the bread and wine change, then what (if not substance) in them changes? But if you don’t believe that the bread and wine change, then do you think you avoid Zwinglianism by positing that God does something in us when we receive them? Even Zwingli believed that. And the patristic evidence is indisputable that the Fathers believed in a transformation of the elements at the consecration, as Tim Troutman showed in “The Church Fathers on Transubstantiation.” So either you acknowledge that something in the bread and wine changes (and you just don’t name it ‘substance’), or you fall into Zwinglianism and depart from the Fathers. Which is it?

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  26. +JMJ+

    Eric wrote:

    When we take on glorified flesh in heaven, we do not become ethereal, immaterial beings. Christ’s presence in the Eucharist is glorified flesh. That’s why whether you take a small wafer or a larger wafer, a tiny sip or a huge gulp of the goblet, in both kinds or just one, you are taking the whole body, blood, and soul of Christ. Even for Catholics, this means that the whole process is intensely spiritualized. For Catholics, it is a completely non-violent and unbloody event. You are “chewing” live flesh which remains alive. It is not cannibalistic!
    For the Reformed, the elements “become” the actual body and blood…by juxtaposition rather than transformation. The chemical content of the bread and wine do not change, but the elements themselves do. This is sacramental.

    Speculating upon the nature of Glorified Flesh and whatnot is groovy, sho’nuff. No one has any problem with that. But this is tangential and only diverts us from the central issue…

    Do all men who receive the Eucharist eat the One-and-the-Same Flesh of Christ whether or not they receive it to Life or to Condemnation?

    If one of us answers ‘yes’ whilst the other answers ‘no’, then we’ve found the point of contention that all the appeals to ‘mystery’ can’t sweep under the rug.

  27. Wosbald–

    As I said in the last thread concerning this topic, I do not pretend to know all of the ins and outs of the fully nuanced Reformed answer, but Calvin quite definitely articulated in the Institutes that the unworthy recipient partakes of the body and blood of Christ.

  28. I’m curious how some of these Protestants defend the divinity of Christ, being that he was both fully human and fully God, but was in the form of a complete human.

    In my opinion – feel free to poke holes in this line of thinking – I feel that the bread and wine becoming the body and blood of Christ falls into the same mystery as the incarnation.

    How is Jesus fully God and fully man? At this question it becomes very appropriate to use philosophy, which is really just an appeal to the light of reason, to explain how this is possible.

    If we extend that to the Eucharist, which both the witness of Scripture and Tradition tell us is the body and blood of Christ, then it seems perfectly reasonable to explain what happens at the prayer of consecration using philosophy.

  29. @Andrew:
    The EO don’t deny that the elements are changed; they simply don’t accept the Aristotelian concept of substance. Rather, they understand natures in terms of Neoplatonic logoi, dynamis and energeia. The better way to understand it is that we both understand there to be a real change in the reality of the elements (transelementation, if you like).

    As to the 9th century, you seem to have embraced entirely the revisionist account of Ratramnus and Radbertus. What actually happened was that those two were debating the nature of epistemology about the Eucharist, not its nature, and because of Ratramnus’s view, he accused Radbertus of believing things he did not believe. In point of fact, both accepted the reality of the change and differed only on how that experience was accessible.

    The belief that Ratramnus applied this to reality as a metaphysical explanation of the Eucharist was first suggested by Berengar of Tours, who mistook Ratramnus’s treatise as one of Eriugena’s and misinterpreted the text to boot. Berengar’s belief was condemned multiple times, so it is safe to say that it is no authentic part of the Western tradition. St. John Fisher, the counter-Reformation martyr, revived Ratramnus’s writings in support of the *Catholic* view of the Eucharist, and it was at this time that the Reformers crafted the revisionist symbolizing account of Ratramnus as Berengar had done before in support of his heretical view. In short, the 9th century debate you imagine to have happened with Ratramnus didn’t actually happen until Berengar and Lanfranc, and it resulted in that view being explicitly and repeatedly condemned.

    This is yet another example of Reformation-era revisionism having been ultimately discredited when the heavy lifting of history was done. But the mythology persists no matter how many facts are unearthed. This whole idea that the Reformation was somehow part of the “Western tradition” is a similar Reformation-era myth. The support for the Reformers’ beliefs was entirely manufactured, although it took until the 21st century to run down all of those rabbit trails.

  30. Daniel M.,

    Traditionally, the Reformed difficulty with making the elements into the person of Christ both physically and spiritually has to do with transubstantiation impacting the nature of Christ’s true humanity. A human nature can only be in one place at one time, but if the elements become the physical flesh of Christ in any sense, you have the human nature, or at least part of the human nature omnipresent.

    Now, some RCs around here have said that the elements do not become the human flesh of Christ (If I have read them correctly) but that they become the person of Christ. While I might quibble with that, if all that means is that the person of Christ is present and that we have access to His full humanity because His omnipresent person bridges the divide between earth and heaven, where His glorified human body is physically located, then that is essentially Calvin’s position, more or less.

  31. Jonathan,

    Yes, Protestant ideas are clearly foreign to the Western tradition.

    I mean, Jerome obviously never said anything about beliefs not given in Scripture but claimed as part of tradition:

    http://www.puritanboard.com/f35/jerome-scripture-four-translations-quote-latin-text-5124/

    And then men like Bernard had no idea of imputation of Christ’s righteousness, I mean none whatsoever:

    http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2012/11/imputation-attested-by-in-early.html

    And of course, even you’ve admitted that the papacy was not there in the early church.

  32. A human nature can only be in one place at one time.

    What about (POOF!) appearing in a room with locked doors? Can a human nature do that? Perhaps the risen and glorified humanity of Christ is relevant here?

  33. Jason,

    The human nature (body) of Christ is still only in one place at one time in that instance if, indeed, we are to read that text as Jesus beaming himself into the room.

    No doubt the risen and glorified humanity of Christ has differences from His pre-glorified state, but it seems to confuse the natures if we start attributing a form of omnipresence to the human nature.

  34. @Robert:
    You’ve proved the point nicely. If you think those passages demonstrate Protestant distinctives, then you are even more in the grip of delusional conspiracy theories than I thought.

  35. Robert,

    The human nature (body) of Christ is still only in one place at one time in that instance if, indeed, we are to read that text as Jesus beaming himself into the room.

    No doubt the risen and glorified humanity of Christ has differences from His pre-glorified state, but it seems to confuse the natures if we start attributing a form of omnipresence to the human nature.

    I don’t think it’s enough to arrive at the concept of limited locality of Christ’s body by implication of this text. I don’t see why Christ, being that he is the second person of the Trinity, could not be omnipresent. To limit his presence is to limit the quality of being God, which I do not think you’re willing to do.

    Augustine suggests: “Each receives Christ the Lord, Who is entire under every morsel, nor is He less in each portion, but bestows Himself entire under each.”

    The way St. Thomas Aquinas frames the objection is:

    Objection 1: It seems that Christ is not entire under every part of the species of bread and wine. Because those species can be divided infinitely. If therefore Christ be entirely under every part of the said species, it would follow that He is in this sacrament an infinite number of times: which is unreasonable; because the infinite is repugnant not only to nature, but likewise to grace.

    Reply to Objection 1. Number follows division, and therefore so long as quantity remains actually undivided, neither is the substance of any thing several times under its proper dimensions, nor is Christ’s body several times under the dimensions of the bread; and consequently not an infinite number of times, but just as many times as it is divided into parts.

    Objection 2. Further, since Christ’s is an organic body, it has parts determinately distant. for a determinate distance of the individual parts from each other is of the very nature of an organic body, as that of eye from eye, and eye from ear. But this could not be so, if Christ were entire under every part of the species; for every part would have to be under every other part, and so where one part would be, there another part would be. It cannot be then that the entire Christ is under every part of the host or of the wine contained in the chalice.

    Reply to Objection 2. The determinate distance of parts in an organic body is based upon its dimensive quantity; but the nature of substance precedes even dimensive quantity. And since the conversion of the substance of the bread is terminated at the substance of the body of Christ, and since according to the manner of substance the body of Christ is properly and directly in this sacrament; such distance of parts is indeed in Christ’s true body, which, however, is not compared to this sacrament according to such distance, but according to the manner of its substance, as stated above (1, ad 3).

    So the issue, once again, comes down to substance.

  36. Jonathan,

    Considering that traditionally a large number of Roman Catholics have believed that tradition teaches things not found in Scripture but also taught by the Apostles, then the quotes from Jerome work quite well, no? After all, it is a Protestant distinctive that one should not claim something as deriving from the Apostles unless it can be proved by written Scripture, although Protestants around here are accused of begging the question when they assume that the only Apostolic tradition we can be confident of possessing comes in the Scriptures.

    But wait, Rome still hasn’t really come down on material sufficiency vs. that two source theory idea of oral tradition has it. It’s like nailing jello to the wall.

  37. Daniel–

    In every single formulation of the Real Presence, it is the flesh and blood of Christ which is both human and divine. The bread and the wine do not enter into it. Besides, in the Incarnation, God becomes man; man does not become God. The flesh and blood of Christ did not “morph” into divinity as he grew! Similarly, we become divine at regeneration. Our participation in the divinity of Christ is instantaneous. We are not slowly divinized through time. We become a new creature at our new birth and grow in divinity just as a babe grows in humanity. We do not become more divine. Instead, we increase in our inherent divinity through the sanctification process.

    Technically, the bread and the wine do not become Christ. Christ physically manifests himself in the gifts of the Eucharist, either by spiritually and sacramentally taking over the space where the substance of the bread and wine used to be, or by spiritually and sacramentally juxtaposing his heaven-bound body with the substances of bread and wine, or through the Lutheran concept of ubiquity.

    To posit that there is some sort of hypostatic union between the body and blood of Christ and grains of wheat or droplets of wine is both grotesque and heretical. The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is totally Christ, not some hybrid of substances….

  38. Robert,

    I’m just curious, where does Jerome say that all divine revelation must come from scripture alone? O read the part where he says scripture strikes down false apostolic tradition… That was great. I believe that too! But scripture does not strike down authentic apostolic tradition. Or else how could Jerome have come to hold all of the insanely catholic beliefs that he held that you would argue aren’t found in scripture?

  39. And of course, what was it that launched the first Exodus but the celebration of the Passover? A new Exodus under the leadership of a new Moses, then, calls for a new Passover to kick things off.

    St. Paul clearly understood this typology. He wrote to the Corinthians in his first letter, 5:7-8:

    1 Cor 5:7-8

    “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast , not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

    1. Where does Paul say it is ‘new’ Passover in the above?

    2. Even if we have to pretend to care for historical-critical method, what does “let us keep the feast” mean to the Corinthian believer in the middle of the 1st century, be he Gentile or Jewish?

  40. 1. “New” is implied by the fact that Christ is a new Moses who inaugurated a new covenant and new Exodus to the new Jerusalem.

    2. It means he celebrates the Eucharist, thereby participating in the body and blood of Christ, the new Passover Lamb.

  41. Do you believe that there is no such thing as substance? If not, and if you do believe the bread and wine change, then what (if not substance) in them changes?

    Bryan,

    You must be misunderstanding my point. I’m not challenging metaphysics per se, only a specifically Aristotelian metaphysic as it pertains to the Scholastic attempt to resolve the issue at hand. Do you understand? I’m not arguing against substance, that would be impossible. The question we are speaking of is what metaphysic we employ and whether such a metaphysic can be squared with that of earlier theologians.

    I brought up the EO perspective because the EO has a similar perspective on the importance of the ECF’s to Christian theology and because they look at the same ECF’s that you, Tim, and other Catholics do, but come to different conclusions. Here’s a quote from Energetic Procession on the EO understanding : …Rather it would be better to say that the bread and wine change into the body and blood of Christ without ceasing to be bread and wine in substance but as having a new mode of existence. I don’t think that there is any contradiction is saying that there is a real change but that the physical substance does not change. The change here would be mystical and sacramental but not one of physical substance. And I don’t think there is any necessary contradiction between the EO perspective here and what the ECF’s say in the quotes Tim brings to bear. So your “indisputable” comment is without merit. There has been a dispute between East and West since the Medieval era.

    From the Reformed perspective obviously not the same as that of the EO although not totally dissimilar. We don’t speak of the elements as changing, but we do speak of the worthy receivers truly feeding on Christ spiritually. This typological connection between the elements and that which they represent is not out of accord with some of the ECF’s like Clement of Alexandria and Origen. It depends on which ECF’s you choose.

    So either you acknowledge that something in the bread and wine changes (and you just don’t name it ‘substance’), or you fall into Zwinglianism and depart from the Fathers

    So if by “changes” you mean changes in substance as the Scholastic theologians of Rome taught, then this is a false dichotomy which fails to deal with other possibilities.

  42. The EO don’t deny that the elements are changed; they simply don’t accept the Aristotelian concept of substance.

    Jonathan – That’s just what I said previously to Jason and now to Bryan. This is what we are talking about here – whether there is a change in substance and whether the ECF corpus supports the contention that there is a change in substance of the elements.

    On Radbertus/Ratramnus, to be honest I did not know that there were Catholics who questioned the traditional account of the matter. The standard reference and encyclopedic works outside of the Protestant/Catholic sites on Ratramnus support what I was saying. See the Encyclopedia Britannica article for instance. Of course because the EB or any other reference work says it does not make it true. I’m just interested if you can provide me with a source outside of the Catholic apologetics sites to support your contentions.

    I don’t want to get too deep into this but let me quote something from Jaroslav Pelikan on the matter:

    In his use of the term “figure” for the body in the Eucharist and in his refusal to identify it with the body born of Mary, Ratramus could claim the support of a long and distinguished Augustinian tradition, in which the concept of the “body of Christ” itself and the idea of “eating” it were part of a broader and more spiritual way of speaking and thinking that went far beyond the Eucharist.

    Firstly I would point out that what Pelikan points to is a debate about the nature of the Eucharist. And further references that I see in the secondary literature speak again of a metaphysical debate over the nature of the Eucharist between Ratramnus and Radbertus. But you say that it was not about the nature of the Eucharist. So where are you getting this idea from? Can you reference something in the literature to support your contention?

    Secondly, like some of the ECF’s, there is in Ratramnus a concept that the Eucharist is a “figure” of the body without positing anything about actual transformation. Ratramnus was known for the phrase he used of the Eucharist: “non in veritate sed in figura.” Is this the phrase that you think we have “misinterpreted?” If so then how?

    The understanding of Ratramnus as speaking against transubstantiation was not just a Protestant matter. De corpore was on the Index of Forbidden Books for three and half centuries.

  43. Now correcting the messed up formatting above:

    Do you believe that there is no such thing as substance? If not, and if you do believe the bread and wine change, then what (if not substance) in them changes?

    Bryan,

    You must be misunderstanding my point. I’m not challenging metaphysics per se, only a specifically Aristotelian metaphysic as it pertains to the Scholastic attempt to resolve the issue at hand. Do you understand? I’m not arguing against substance, that would be impossible. The question we are speaking of is what metaphysic we employ and whether such a metaphysic can be squared with that of earlier theologians.

    I brought up the EO perspective because the EO has a similar perspective on the importance of the ECF’s to Christian theology and because they look at the same ECF’s that you, Tim, and other Catholics do, but come to different conclusions. Here’s a quote from Energetic Procession on the EO understanding :

    …Rather it would be better to say that the bread and wine change into the body and blood of Christ without ceasing to be bread and wine in substance but as having a new mode of existence.

    I don’t think that there is any contradiction is saying that there is a real change but that the physical substance does not change. The change here would be mystical and sacramental but not one of physical substance. And I don’t think there is any necessary contradiction between the EO perspective here and what the ECF’s say in the quotes Tim brings to bear. So your “indisputable” comment is without merit. There has been a dispute between East and West since the Medieval era.

    From the Reformed perspective obviously not the same as that of the EO although not totally dissimilar. We don’t speak of the elements as changing, but we do speak of the worthy receivers truly feeding on Christ spiritually. This typological connection between the elements and that which they represent is not out of accord with some of the ECF’s like Clement of Alexandria and Origen. It depends on which ECF’s you choose.

    So either you acknowledge that something in the bread and wine changes (and you just don’t name it ‘substance’), or you fall into Zwinglianism and depart from the Fathers

    So if by “changes” you mean changes in substance as the Scholastic theologians of Rome taught, then this is a false dichotomy which fails to deal with other possibilities.

  44. Luke 22:1

    “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover.

    15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; ”

    “20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. ”

    It is within the context of Passover proper , and not a ‘New’ Passover, that Yeshua HaMashiach institutes the new covenant, with the third cup of Blessing/Redemption. Passover at last has its fulfilled meaning, but nevertheless is still happening within the context of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Otherwise said, New Covenant is encapsulated within Passover, which in turn is itself encapsulated within the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

    So let’s try again. When Paul says “Let us keep the Feast”, what does the 1st century believer hear?
    It is NOT Eucharist as a Catholic would say. Here’s a hint, putting your original lopsided quote of 1 Cor 5:7-8 in context:

    “6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast , not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth”

  45. OK, I give up. Formatting is screwed up, hopefully you can make sense of it nonetheless….

    In the post to Jonathan only the first sentence is meant to be a quote.

  46. @Andrew:

    That’s just what I said previously to Jason and now to Bryan. This is what we are talking about here – whether there is a change in substance and whether the ECF corpus supports the contention that there is a change in substance of the elements.

    I just don’t get what the difficulty in understanding this is. As I said, Eastern Orthodox deny that there is a change in Aristotelian substance, but they accept that there is a real change in existence. Whether that existence is articulated in terms of Aristotelian substances or Neoplatonic metaphysics, there is a real change so that the thing before ceases to be what it was before and becomes a different thing. It may retain certain properties of what it was before, but it isn’t the same thing. We can quibble about the metaphysical nature all day, but Calvin’s point (and the WCF’s point) was that the thing does not become another thing. You’re majoring on minors here; the EO say there is no change in substance, but it is not the same thing as before.

    On Radbertus/Ratramnus, to be honest I did not know that there were Catholics who questioned the traditional account of the matter. The standard reference and encyclopedic works outside of the Protestant/Catholic sites on Ratramnus support what I was saying. See the Encyclopedia Britannica article for instance. Of course because the EB or any other reference work says it does not make it true. I’m just interested if you can provide me with a source outside of the Catholic apologetics sites to support your contentions.

    I have no idea what you mean by the “traditional account.” Both Protestant and Catholic historians conceded that Ratramnus was not a symbolist and believed in a real metaphysical change in the Eucharist over a century ago. The question was over the use of the terms “figura” and “veritas,” which no one denies was a metaphysical dispute but which had nothing to do with acceptance of or opposition to transubstantiation, which both men accepted. At best, it was a question over the mechanism of transubstantiation and (more importantly) how it was perceived by the faculties of faith, which was primarily an epistemology question.

    See, e.g., Schaff: “In this work Ratramnus maintained that the elements are not the actual body and blood of the Christ of history, but are mystic symbols of remembrance. He might, therefore, be regarded as a symbolist, seeing in the Eucharist a sacrificial meal, the efficacy of which depends on the intensity with which the recipient realizes the redeeming passion of Christ. This does not, however, completely express his position, for he maintained at the same time that ‘according to the invisible substance, i.e., the power of the divine Word, the body and blood of Christ are truly present ‘ (cap. xlix.). This shows that Ratramnus was more than a symbolist, and that he believed in a real presence which was received by the faithful through the spirit of God.”
    http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/encyc/encyc09/htm/iv.vii.liv.htm

    The Catholic Encyclopedia reports as follows:
    “A wrong interpretation of the words ‘figura’ and ‘veritas’, and a few ambiguous passages have given rise to the opinion among a few Catholics and most Protestants that Ratramnus taught a merely symbolic presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Various German, French, and English translations made by the Sacramentarians only served to corroborate this opinion. For this reason it was placed on the Index of Prohibited Books in 1559, but was removed in 1900.”
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12659c.htm

    Now Schaff also (wrongly) thought that Radbertus was the first to teach transubstantiation, thus putting Ratramnus as a kind of proto-Protestant antecedent, although not truly Calvinist. It is that idea, the idea that Radbertus was advocating transubstantiation and that Ratramnus was rejecting it, that has lost any kind of real historical currency as far as I can tell, although one still sees some people advocating it. It’s questionable whether that characterization is even true of Berengar of Tours, because he seems to have been opposing a far more literalist position than transubstantiation, but his “tropical” (metaphorical) view nonetheless appears to have gone too far, whether or not his condemnation was fair. I recommend Toivo Holopainen’s _Dialectic and Theology in the Eleventh Century_ for an incredibly detailed analysis.

    Anyway, the most recent work I remember accepting this oversimplification was Harold O.J. Brown’s _Heresies_, a quite dated survey work that I considered to present a gross oversimplification of the picture. If the EB is saying that the dispute between Radbertus and Ratramnus was over the metaphysical nature of the Real Presence, I can hardly dispute it. If the EB says that Ratramnus was a symbolist, I would find that hard to believe, since people generally haven’t believed that for a long time. And if the EB equates Radbertus’s position with transubstantiation and Ratramnus’s with opposition to transubstantiation, then they’re just flat out wrong. Maybe Schaff believed that 150 years ago, but I think in the 21st century, we’ve all more or less figured out that this was hugely exaggerated. Or I would say that we’ve all figured that out, except that there appears to persist some Protestant backwater where the news hasn’t yet reached.

    It’s this sort of thing that I find so frustrating about these dialogues. Jason’s flat out right; this idea that the Reformed concept of the Eucharist had any antecedents in Western theology before Calvin just doesn’t hold water given the extensive patristic studies of the last several decades. Now, there’s nothing in principle wrong with admitting “yep, Calvin just made it up, but he had the most accurate Scriptural view, so all those guys just got it wrong.” I don’t find that convincing, but it’s respectable. It’s the denial of the facts that are troubling.

    If we can all just agree that Protestantism came out of nowhere on the Sacraments, sola scriptura, propitiatory sacrifice, and imputed justification, at least in the sense of realizing something in Scripture that people got wrong for fifteen centuries, then OK. But we should at least be to the point in this day and age where we can agree on that basic reality. We know that as surely as we know any fact of ancient history; the only people who dispute it these days have a theological axe to grind. So why can’t we just admit what everyone is selling rather than pretending that there’s still a scholarly dispute to resolve?

  47. @Robert:
    Yes, clearly, Catholics don’t believe we should use Scripture to rebut invented claims of apostolic tradition. You got us. St. Jerome was totally against us, because Catholics obviously never reject false claims of tradition like the ones the Arians made. Oh, wait, except for every council condemning the Arians.

    I’m hoping you are not serious, because if you are, that would just be sad.

    And after what seems like a million posts explaining the Catholic position, if you *still* can’t distinguish between penal substitutionary atonement (which Catholics accept) and imputed justification (which we don’t), something is wrong with your thought process.

  48. Jonathan,

    If after all this time you think that the mere assertion that Protestants have no claim to anything in the pre-Reformation Western Church means anything, then something is wrong with your thought process.

  49. Jonathan, Kenneth, et al,

    What is also fascinating is that probably the top Roman Catholic NT scholar in America, if not the top NT scholar of every tradition, notes how Luther’s addition of “alone” to faith so that we get “faith alone” in Romans 3:28 was by no means novel, being also used by:

    Origen
    Hilary of Poitiers
    Basil the Great
    Ambrosiaster
    John Chrysostom
    Cyril of Alexandria
    Bernard of Clairvaux
    Theophylact
    Theodoret
    Thomas Aquinas

    and also approvingly by

    Theodore of Mopsuestia
    Marius Victorinus
    Augustine

    So clearly, there was no antecedents in the tradition for Protestant thought. I mean, why take the word of a scholar who sat on the Pontifical Biblical Commission when I can trust Jonathan’s infallible exegesis of patristic sources.

    Now one might argue that Protestantism is a further development of what was implicit in the tradition, and I have no problem with that. But to say it is unknown is absolutely ridiculous. True, many of these fathers would have placed a greater emphasis on faith formed by love than has often been shown in Protestant systematics, but no Protestant—Luther included—would argue that justifying faith can exist without love. The question is to whether it is the meritorious ground of justification, which is debate that does not even make much sense before the developed theories of penance, condign merit, and congruent merit against which the Reformers were reacting.

    Which means that Rome has no better claim to the pre-medieval tradition than does Protestantism.

    What is also interesting is what Fitzmeyer says about Trent:

    “Sola fide also occurs in canon 9 of the Tridentine “Decree of Justification” of 1547 (DS 1559), where it is said that it cannot be so interpreted as to exclude all human cooperation in the grace of justification or any preparatory dispositions of the will. It is usually recognized today that it is thus formulated against a problematic that differs from what Lutherans then had in mind and is no longer church-divisive.”

    Of course, if an infallible council is infallibly reacting to a movement but the council does not even understand the movement against which it is reacting, that raises serious questions about ecclesiastical infallibility…

  50. Robert,

    Even if I concede that all of those people made the same translation mistake as Luther…. Which I don’t…. So what? Are you really suggesting that any of those people believed in sola fide? Puhlease.

    All kinds of liberal minded scholars were on the biblical commission. Heck, Vatican 2 was practically RAN by flaming liberal hippy cardinals. So what? Luther made a mistake by adding “alone” into the text of Romans. His doctrine of sola fide is heretical and completely novel. Live with it. Admit what your selling. Your confession is a heresy the same as JWs or Mormons. You have no more in common with the early church than they do. The main thing you have in common with JWs and Mormons is anathema.

  51. Grouping the Protestants with JWs and Mormons is a wee bit over the top. I keep reading these posts waiting for something too compelling to ignore but nothing yet. As the primary representitives of the CC to most of us you should measure your words.

  52. Samer,

    Catholicism makes some pretty extreme claims. There is no salvation outside of the Church and protestants are, essentially, in the same boat as JWs and Mormons. Most educated JWs have a VERY good knowledge of Church history and have very clever biblical and historical arguments the same as an protestant sect. Have you ever dialoged with a smart one? Its quite the ride! I don’t want to be rude and I probably should keep in mind that there are more people reading these things than the knuckle heads im primarily talking to! Its nice to meet you looking forward to reading more of your comments

  53. Kenneth,

    Protestants aren’t essentially in the same boat as JWs and Mormons if they’ve been validly baptized:

    If any one saith, that the baptism which is even given by heretics in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, with the intention of doing what the Church doth, is not true baptism; let him be anathema.

    Council of Trent, Session IV, Canon 4 on Baptism

    JWs and Mormons do not baptize validly; most Protestants do.

    best,
    John

  54. Yes it is true that protestants hold several remnants of the faith such as baptism. However, it would be a good idea to keep in mind the distinction between a valid sacrament and a fruitful one. If a person formally holds to heretical or schismatic teachings a sacrament may he valid but unfruitful (meaning no grace is received). The only way a sacrament could be both valid AND fruitful in a protestant sect is if a person is in a state of invincible ignorance. They can be saved only in as much as they can escape from their heresy not BECAUSE of it. Both a JW and a protestant need invincible ignorance to be in good standing with God. Therefore, they are both in the same boat. We can call it the ship of hopeful invincible ignorance

  55. Kenneth,

    The only way a sacrament could be both valid AND fruitful in a protestant sect is if a person is in a state of invincible ignorance. They can be saved only in as much as they can escape from their heresy not BECAUSE of it.

    I agree.

    But a validly baptized believer who is inculpably ignorant of the truth of the Catholic Church is still not in the same boat as someone who is inculpably ignorant of the truth of the Catholic Church but has not been validly baptized.

    The former has certainly been born again to new life in Christ, and will therefore be saved unless he falls into mortal sin (including by not entering full communion with the Church if he or she ceases to be inculpably ignorant).

    The latter has not certainly been born again to new life in Christ. His or her inculpable ignorance of the truth of the Catholic Church means that his or her failure to be a member thereof will not pose an obstacle to his or her salvation, but in no way does it mean that there might not be other such obstacles.

    So, again, with all the qualifications in place that you rightly pose, and with due diligence to avoiding the grave error of indifferentism, I repeat that it is not accurate to put validly baptized believers in the same boat as JWs and Mormons.

    best,
    John

  56. +JMJ+

    John S wrote:

    Protestants aren’t essentially in the same boat as JWs and Mormons if they’ve been validly baptized…

    True enough, in an epistemo-ontological sense. Most/many Protestants, in their very Being, have been made Christians.

    But, being Protestants, they don’t recognize their Sacramental Initiation as being the Ground of their Christian Identity. And so, psychologically speaking, Protestants are as if they were unbaptized.

  57. Wosbald,

    I’m just trying to repeat what the Magisterium says. But I’m intrigued by your comment. Can you say more? In my experience, it doesn’t seem accurate. Maybe of Baptists and Pentecostals, but certainly not of all Protestants. And what kind of access do you have to Protestant psychology? Maybe I just don’t understand what you’re saying. I’d like to hear more.

    best,
    John

  58. +JMJ+

    John S,

    I’m with Kenneth on this. Many Catholics proceed by assuming that valuing that which is not valued (and even more, is specifically repudiated) by Protestants (i.e. their Baptismal Regeneration) is some path to ‘ecumenical’ common ground (I’m not saying that this necessarily characterizes yourself, BTW). The point is that (and this can’t be stressed enough) this not common ground. Okay, yes, there is common ground in Reality, but there is no common ground psychologically. Protestants don’t care whether or not we recognize their Baptismal Initiation.

    Now, though I’ll certainly affirm the worth in valuing in others that which they don’t value in themselves, I must say that the radically different ecclesiology which Baptismal Regeneration and the Protestant Visible/Invisible Church dichotomy represents means that, when it comes to interacting with Protestantism, ecumenism is not even an issue. Instead, it is conversion that matters. This is unlike the situation when dialoguing with Orthodox (or even some Anglicans), in which a shared ecclesiology (sacramentalism) means that true ecumenism is possible.

  59. Wosbald,

    Thanks for the expansion. The only reason I got involved was to clarify the Reality the Church teaches, which I think is a big deal. I think bearing witness to the Reality of the valid baptism of people who don’t appreciate what they’ve got can be useful. Learning what my own valid baptism in a Baptist church really was, was an important ingredient in my conversion. But this may be a matter of prudence. In substance, I think we’re on the same page.

    best,
    John

  60. John,

    Pius IX syllabus of errors condemns the idea that we should have good hope for the salvation of those outside the Church. Sure, those who are baptized in a state of ignorance (like babies or small children before the age of reason) belong to the Church by right of baptism (Aquinas called this belonging to the “soul” of the Church) But what hope do they have of salvation outside the Church? Are we to entertain the thought that MAYBE they will continue to to be ignorant and free of mortal sin? I will concede that a protestant who has been baptized validly AND fruitfully was at least for a time a regenerated Christian…. But that does not mean they are not in the same boat as JWs and Mormons. They are in a situation where they can only be saved by their continued and persistent ignorance of the truth. They share a nice big boat…

  61. John,

    if you were baptized as a Baptist and you were fully catechized in your protestant sects theology and not INVINCIBLY ignorant of the RCC your baptism was valid but not fruitful. Not unlike a couple who was married in a state of mortal sin or a man who takes the Eucharist in an unworthy manner. You were REALLY baptized… But received no grace that usually comes with the sacrament. Something to discuss with your priest.

  62. Kenneth,

    Good heavens, stop imputing indifferentism to me.

    And your last post is absurd. I was seven years old and validly baptized. I was undoubtedly invincibly ignorant of the claims, much less the truth, of the Catholic Church. When I ceased to be so, I incurred the grave responsibility to enter the Church, which, by the grace of God, I did.

    best,
    John

  63. John,

    I’m not saying that you are being indifferent lol I’m attempting (poorly) to illustrate why it is fair to say that JWs and Mormons are in the same boat of hopeful invincible ignorance as protestants in a general sense! Some Baptists are baptized much later on in life. If its valid its valid I was just trying to make a point that of you HAD been fully catechized your baptism would not REALLY have done anything for you. If your in full communion now that’s wonderful! I’m still on my way…. Jumping through annulment hoops

  64. Kenneth,

    Did you not get the memo that I’m not under the anathema anymore?

    I don’t mean to be rude, but I continue to find it a little amusing how critical you are of the church and its last ecumenical council. I mean, if a council can be run by flaming hippy liberals—and on this, I think you are correct in many ways—what good is a council, and what good is ecclesiastical infallibility? Not much.

  65. Okay, thanks, Kenneth. It seemed like you thought I was saying something that was out of line with Blessed Pius IX. I’ve worked hard to cultivate a hermeneutic of continuity, including Pio Nono’s Syllabus and various allocutions that are relevant to how the Tradition as a whole understands EENS. I’m sure I have more to learn. I can’t say, though, that I see any way of reading Lumen Gentium, Unitatis Redintegratio, or, indeed, Pope Leo XIII’s Satis Cognitum or Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae such that validly baptized, inculpably ignorant non-Catholics are in the same boat as the unbaptized (even if they are quasi-Christian like JW and Mormons). How many inculpably ignorant non-Catholic Christians are there? I have no idea, because I can’t read their hearts, and when I try to imagine how many factors I would need to have detailed knowledge of to make that determination, well, it makes me glad that God alone is their Judge. Our job is to bear witness to the truth.

    By the way, I want to sincerely thank you for the witness you yourself are bearing by being willing to “jump through annulment hoops.” I never take it for granted when someone is willing to pay a personal cost for his fidelity to Christ and His Church.

    best,
    John

  66. @Robert:

    So clearly, there was no antecedents in the tradition for Protestant thought. I mean, why take the word of a scholar who sat on the Pontifical Biblical Commission when I can trust Jonathan’s infallible exegesis of patristic sources.

    Fitzmyer also says that St. Paul’s concept of “faith working in love” has to be considered in what is meant by “faith” and that focusing on justification would not be complete salvation. So basically, he’s saying that Luther was reasonably correct in translating that individual passage, but he missed the forest for the trees in his overall theological exposition. The Fathers that he cites agree with Fitzmyer, not Luther, and Fitzmyer is a Catholic. So how is that supposed to show that Protestantism had a foundation where Fitzmyer says it doesn’t? Fitzmyer’s conclusion is that Luther was essentially Catholic in his belief on justification, so either he didn’t really depart from the tradition, in which case the Reformation was largely a misunderstanding, or if he did, he didn’t have support in the tradition. In no case does Fitzmyer say that Luther was right to rebel against the Church, because he believes the Church was both Biblical and traditional on this point.

    True, many of these fathers would have placed a greater emphasis on faith formed by love than has often been shown in Protestant systematics, but no Protestant—Luther included—would argue that justifying faith can exist without love. The question is to whether it is the meritorious ground of justification, which is debate that does not even make much sense before the developed theories of penance, condign merit, and congruent merit against which the Reformers were reacting.

    It’s not a question of whether justifying faith can exist without love, but whether the “faith” by which people are justified includes the working of faith or doesn’t. And again, do you think the Fathers were so oblivious that they just didn’t get it? That they failed to read Romans or Galatians? Come on! They believed in the unbloody sacrifice of the Eucharist as a propitiatory offering, and they believe in public penance for reconciliation with the Church; what more do “developed theories” of penance and merit add to that?

    This is all MYTH. The Fathers knew about all of these things. It was the ignorance (or arrogance) of the Reformers that they thought of themselves as the first people to ever have these ideas. They weren’t. There were no new theological issues in the Reformation with respect to the Protestant distinctives.

  67. John,

    I think we are on two different pages. My original statement was that JWs and protestants both have very clever historical arguments even though, ultimately, their theology is alien to the ECFs. Both of their theologies are anathematized and thus their confessions are in “the same boat”. Is every single individual that is born into these confessions damned? By no means. But every single person who is not ignorant and actually SUBSCRIBES to said heresy is in the same boat as a JW. Better?

  68. Jonathan,

    Fitzmyer also says that St. Paul’s concept of “faith working in love” has to be considered in what is meant by “faith” and that focusing on justification would not be complete salvation.

    Which Protestant focuses on justification as complete salvation? Sure there are modern Protestants who do, but Calvin and Luther certainly didn’t. They would argue that if you get justification wrong, you get salvation wrong, but Calvin certainly put a great deal of attention on perseverance, sanctification, et al as part of salvation.

    This is all MYTH. The Fathers knew about all of these things. It was the ignorance (or arrogance) of the Reformers that they thought of themselves as the first people to ever have these ideas. They weren’t. There were no new theological issues in the Reformation with respect to the Protestant distinctives.

    Well, to my knowledge, Calvin at least did not think of himself as being the first person to have these ideas, which is why he continually turns to the fathers. You can perhaps argue that Calvin did not use his sources responsibly, but you can’t argue that he thought he was teaching something de novo.

    As far as the Eucharist as a sacrifice of propitiation, well, that’s what is being debated here right now, and the evidence is not nearly so clear cut as you would like it to be. If it is then you certainly have to reject the papacy and the treasury of merit as well.

    As Alister McGrath notes in his work on the history of justification as a doctrinal formulation, the Protestant understanding demonstrates both continuity and discontinuity with what came before it, as does Protestantism on virtually every matter. I have no problem admitting that or recognizing discontinuity. You, it is clear, cannot recognize any continuity. Other RCs can admit as much without it destroying their faith. Why can’t you?

    And we’re supposed to be the fundamentalists.

  69. Robert,

    I find V2 to be a strong testament to the protection of infallibility the Holy Ghost shrouds ecumenical councils with. If a council ran by Congar, Kung, Rahner, Murray, Kasper, and Lubac can only at best produce a “pastoral council” with various ambiguous statements that’s AMAZING. There were no definitions given at the council and there is still to this day NOTHING new forced on the faithful as a result of its documents. I am a huge advocate that things should go right back to the way they were and there is nothing stopping us from doing so. Whoever you want to blame for the failures of V2 (virtual council, liberals, whatever) the issue at stake is not I fallibility but over all health and vitality. We will get things back on track. The trads are growing more influential by the day (were hearing more and more from then all the time now).

  70. +JMJ+

    John S wrote:

    Wosbald,
    Thanks for the expansion. The only reason I got involved was to clarify the Reality the Church teaches, which I think is a big deal. I think bearing witness to the Reality of the valid baptism of people who don’t appreciate what they’ve got can be useful. Learning what my own valid baptism in a Baptist church really was, was an important ingredient in my conversion. But this may be a matter of prudence. In substance, I think we’re on the same page.

    Oh sure, I think that we’re on the same page.

    I find it unsurprising that the turning-point in your conversion was in realizing that what you received from the Baptists was not what the Baptists said that it was. If a Protestant comes to value his Baptismal Initiation as being operatively efficacious, then the heavy-lifting is already done, for, whatever that person may then be, he is certainly no longer a Protestant.

  71. Kenneth,

    JWs and protestants both have very clever historical arguments even though, ultimately, their theology is alien to the ECFs.

    Certainly. One is a whole lot more alien than the other, but no argument.

    Both of their theologies are anathematized and thus their confessions are in “the same boat”. Is every single individual that is born into these confessions damned? By no means. But every single person who is not ignorant and actually SUBSCRIBES to said heresy is in the same boat as a JW. Better?

    Yes and no. If by “in the same boat” you mean that a baptized Christian who culpably rejects the Church’s teaching authority is, like non-Christians who are subjectively culpable for not being Christians, personally in danger of perdition, then of course that’s true: “they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.” If that’s all you mean, then no argument here. Of course, I can’t look into Protestants’ hearts to find out whether or not they’re inculpably ignorant of the truth of the Catholic Church, and don’t as a default posture presume their ill will.

    But I still think it’s important to insist that they’re not in the same boat in the sense that one of them is a Christian and the other isn’t. One has the indelible baptismal character that marks him as “belonging to Christ,” one doesn’t. To one the Church can say, “The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter.” Can’t say that to a JW or a Mormon, whether they’re personally culpable or not. When a formerly JW or Mormon catechumen is being prepared for baptism, they’re not yet heirs. When the Church receives the validly baptized but non-Catholic into full communion, she calls them to what is already their heritage by virtue of the indelible Reality—whether or not the spiritual fruits are enjoyed—of their baptism. That’s a real difference that I don’t think should be elided.

    best,
    John

  72. Wosbald,

    I find it unsurprising that the turning-point in your conversion…

    Well, a turning point. Ten thousand reasons that all amount to one, and all that.

    … was in realizing that what you received from the Baptists was not what the Baptists said that it was. If a Protestant comes to value his Baptismal Initiation as being operatively efficacious, then the heavy-lifting is already done, for, whatever that person may then be, he is certainly no longer a Protestant.

    Exactly. Which is why I think as a rule it’s more helpful to affirm the unrecognized Reality to Protestants instead of telling them that they’re for all intents and purposes they’re on the same plane as the non-baptized.

    best,
    John

  73. Kenneth,

    The trads are growing more influential by the day (were hearing more and more from then all the time now).

    Have you not been reading the conservative RC freakout over all of Francis’ recent off-the-cuff sayings.

  74. Mateo,

    Yes, I can sin and so sin every day. Heck, I’m probably sinning right now as I type this. I’m certainly at this moment not loving God as much as I should. None of us are.

  75. @Robert:

    Which Protestant focuses on justification as complete salvation?

    I didn’t say that they did. Fitzmyer made two points: one is that “faith” doesn’t exclude the outworking of faith, and the other is that justification is not the only aspect of salvation. Protestantism, by limiting the ground of justification to faith, violates the first; therefore, Fitzmyer disagrees with that view. Unless one makes the first mistake, one won’t make the second. Some Protestants do make that second mistake, which is a sign that the first error really is an error.

    Well, to my knowledge, Calvin at least did not think of himself as being the first person to have these ideas, which is why he continually turns to the fathers. You can perhaps argue that Calvin did not use his sources responsibly, but you can’t argue that he thought he was teaching something de novo.

    Again, not what I said. His point was that he was responding to an error that was new, so that he was deploying the patristic resources to respond to the new error. In point of fact, the issues that he believed to be new, on account of a new error, were in fact resolved centuries before him. He just didn’t have the benefit of knowing the patristic sources as well as we know them today. I don’t care whether he thought he was innovating or not; that is completely irrelevant. All that matters is whether he was innovating.

    As Alister McGrath notes in his work on the history of justification as a doctrinal formulation, the Protestant understanding demonstrates both continuity and discontinuity with what came before it, as does Protestantism on virtually every matter. I have no problem admitting that or recognizing discontinuity. You, it is clear, cannot recognize any continuity. Other RCs can admit as much without it destroying their faith. Why can’t you?

    What are you talking about? “Destroying their faith?” Are you not reading, or do you just not care what I say? I don’t view Protestantism as an intellectual threat; it has no bearing on my thought at all. I am advocating for people putting their emotional commitments aside and looking at the hard facts, and you keep trying to turn this into some sort of apologetics effort. If you want to be Protestant, be Protestant; there’s nothing I can do about that. But we should be able to discuss history without it mattering what one’s religious commitments are, because religious commitments don’t determine what the historical facts actually were.

    That’s good that you’re willing to admit discontinuities. What you don’t seem to grasp is that we have identified where those discontinuities are in the patristics literature. We know, for example, that the Fathers accepted the “sacramental treadmill” that you decry as a denial of the Gospel. We know that they accepted propitiatory sacrifice, and if there is a “debate” on that point, it certainly isn’t a scholarly debate. I see a lot of emotion here, and no facts. I see no scholars taking your view on this and certainly no specialists in the authors in question. That’s the problem.

  76. John,

    OK I see what your saying. Yes I agree with everything you just said. I’m still going to insist that both groups are sharing space on the “hopefully I’m inculpably ignorant” bus. But your distinction is valid and noteworthy. The post V2 posture of putting these baptized heretics in their own special little group has in effect demissioned the Church and resulted in mass confusion. If someone tells me they are a protestant I assume they know what that means. I think this is a better stance for evangilization. Let everyone know where we all really stand

  77. Robert,

    ohhhh yeahh. Traditionalists are used to this kind of thing though from what I gather. They have been feeling more catholic than the pope for roughly 50 years. The difference is now even the neocatholics are feeling that way! Lol ironic. Bishop Fellay just critiqued the crap put of Feancis leading everyone to believe the SSPX is preparing for formal schism…. Crazy times…. I’m hoping that Francis can turn it around…. But if he can’t…. I’m hoping the Church wakes up and FINALLY smells the roses. Maybe Francis the awesome can be a recruit for the traditionalist cause

  78. Jonathan,

    We know, for example, that the Fathers accepted the “sacramental treadmill” that you decry as a denial of the Gospel. We know that they accepted propitiatory sacrifice, and if there is a “debate” on that point, it certainly isn’t a scholarly debate. I see a lot of emotion here, and no facts. I see no scholars taking your view on this and certainly no specialists in the authors in question. That’s the problem.

    Really? There was a united mind of the earliest fathers on this? I guess all those fathers who thought repentance was only possible once after baptism don’t matter do they? Wait, Rome rejects that, too.

    “With the dawn of the third century the rough outlines of a recognized penitential discipline were beginning to take shape. In spite of the ingenious arguments of certain scholars, there are still no signs of a sacrament of private penance (i.e. confession to a priest, followed by absolution and the imposition of a penance) such as Catholic Christendom knows to-day. The system which seems to have existed in the Church at this time, and for centuries afterwards, was wholly public, involving confession, a period of penance and exclusion from communion and formal absolution and restoration—the whole process being called exomologesis.” Early Xn Doctrines p. 216 (Kelly)

    So the earliest Fathers don’t have what we now know as the sacrament of reconciliation, though one could easily see how what Kelly describes could develop into it. Of course, one can also see what Protestants refer to as church discipline here as well, though we typically don’t like the word penance. But if someone is in grievous sin in my church, he or she is barred from the Lord’s Table for a time until evidence of true contrition is forthcoming. Depending on the sin, He or She will also be instructed to make things right with any offended party. If the person persistently refuses, he or she will be excommunicated. If the person does not, he or she will be publicly reconciled to the church.

    Has Kelly been “refuted” on this, and if so, where? Where do the earliest fathers refer to this process as a sacrament? Where is it infallibly defined and not just mentioned as a matter of course and practice? Once the church defines something as a matter of dogma, that is where you have serious problems.

    Again, my problem is the absurd claim that Protestants don’t have any claim to be reflecting the traditions that came before them. You are trying to be “above the fray” but your persistent assumption is that Rome and maybe the East—when it is convenient for you—do have such a claim.

    Just like Protestants, Rome and the EO pick and choose from the early fathers that which they are going to believe. They take some fathers over others, and even within those fathers take some strands of thought and not others, argue which parts of which fathers are more consistent than others, etc. If Protestants do not reflect the traditions before them at all, nobody does.

  79. Jason, my question is “Do you really believe this in your heart?”
    After years of WCF defense, do you really and truly look at the little wafer and think, “Literally the flesh of Christ, and a miracle that I still sense it as a wafer besides?” Or do you believe it in the sense that you believe the Roman church has the apostolic authority to declare what is true, and since they declared it, it’s true?

  80. I believe it like I believe any article of faith. When you look in the mirror or take inventory of your spiritual life, so you believe in your heart that you have been miraculously remade into a new creation by the power of the Spirit, even though you have the same DNA as you did before you first trusted in Christ, and to all outward appearances you’re no different from any other pagan human?

    We all believe in transubstantiation.

  81. Kenneth,

    I am intrigued by your opinion that the Church should go right back to where she was prior to Vatican II. From your statements here, you seem to think that the Council has produced, and is producing, no good fruits at all.

    By contrast, Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI both spoke of Vatican II (i.e. the true teachings of the Council found in the documents themselves) quite positively. Do you think that the last two Popes were terribly wrong about Vatican II? (That’s a serious question, not a rhetorical one.)

    Benedict XVI was also a personal friend of, and theological collaborator with, Henri de Lubac. Together with van Balthasar and others, they helped to found “Communio.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communio

    Do you think our last Pope was terribly mistaken in working with de Lubac and van Balthasar? (Another serious question.) I’m sincerely trying to understand where you’re coming from in your seeming disdain for Vatican II. I hope that you aren’t offended by my questions. They aren’t meant to be offensive. I really want to understand your perspective.

    One last question. Have you read the documents of Vatican II?

  82. Sorry for the typo: I should have written *von* Balthasar. (And to think, I have some of his books!) Comboxes are good for my humility sometimes. 🙂

  83. Christopher,

    Leaving off the “Von” or not, it clear that you know your stuff! I always appreciate it when you show up.

    Glad you posed these questions to Kenneth. I’ve been wondering what he dislikes about Vatican II. Not that I know what it’s all about, it’s just that the those representing the Reformed view keep using Kenneth as an example of Catholic disuinty and comparing to Protestantism’s kind.

    Susan

  84. Here you go all!

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0247KPoCITM&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D0247KPoCITM

    this is a presentation on a traditionalists view on V2 followed by some really tough questioning from the other side. Traditionalism isn’t an example of catholic disunity. Liberalism is though

  85. Susan,

    Glad you posed these questions to Kenneth. I’ve been wondering what he dislikes about Vatican II. Not that I know what it’s all about, it’s just that the those representing the Reformed view keep using Kenneth as an example of Catholic disuinty and comparing to Protestantism’s kind.

    When you, who I think just admitted doesn’t know all that V2 is about, Christopher and the Vatican, who affirm V2, and Kenneth, who clearly does not like it, are all members in good standing of the RC Church that is supposed to make things so clear for us, you have not found any more unity than Protestantism has. It really is as simple as that.

    V2 is ecumenical or it isn’t. If it is, it is binding and infallibly so. If it is binding and infallibly so, Rome needs to drum all these arch-traditionalists out.

  86. +JMJ+

    I’ve got no problem with Kenneth’s POV (and others’ of like-mind). The common enemy in the should be Modernism. However, the only issue is that, for many on the ‘trad’-side of the equation, if one is anything other than a Thomist-of-the-Strict-Observance, then one is a “liberal/suspect/intellectual lightweight/crypto-Modernist, etc.” (One sees a similarly Integralist theological attitude in the East, where, if one is anything other than a Palamist, one is a “Rationalist/Schoolman (sneer)/Romanizer/Western devil, etc.”)

    Simply put, there are those that need to realize that the early 20th century theo-philosophical Integralism (and the institutional stranglehold and intellectual stagnation which often accompanied it) is just as culpable, in its own way, for the chaos of Vat II, the Novus Ordo, and the advance of Modernism into the Church. The challenge for the Church in the 21st century is to find a Third Way.

  87. Wosbold,

    I was right there with you until you said that Thomistic philosophy shares some of the blame for the post V2 chaos! That’s just crazy. I will agree though that there is a little pharasee attitude in the read camp that is annoying. Its just a defense mechanism in my opinion. These people have been the bonafide outcasts of the Church for decades now. Even today pope Francis seems to be a “who am I to judge” kinda guy to everyone EXCEPT traditionalists. I think the chip on traditionalists shoulders leads to a type of “we are more catholic than you are” mentality.

    PS

    Thomism rules

  88. +JMJ+

    Kenneth wrote:

    Wosbold,
    I was right there with you until you said that Thomistic philosophy shares some of the blame for the post V2 chaos! That’s just crazy.

    I didn’t say that. I’m perfectly fine with Thomism. But the turn-of-the-century, quasi-institutionalized Thomistic Integralism is another story.

  89. Ahh I see. I’ve heard people tell of how the manuals were stuffy and intellectually constrictive. Perhaps you could outline for me how this institutionalized thomism played a role in the norvus ordo, advance of modernism and general post V2 chaos. By most historical accounts the Church went into a nose dive after “reform” arrived.

  90. Christopher,

    By contrast, Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI both spoke of Vatican II (i.e. the true teachings of the Council found in the documents themselves) quite positively.

    the truth taught in the council documents are all things that were true before the council. Its the innovations that are problematic. These innovations have resulted in a “continuing process of decay,” (Cardinal Ratzinger) “collapse of the liturgy,” (Cardinal Ratzinger), “silent apostasy” (Pope John Paul II), and “so many disasters, so many problems, so much suffering: seminaries closed, convents closed, the liturgy trivialized” (Pope Benedict XVI) and then of course “from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.” (Pope Paul VI)

    The Church today is like a man who gets crushed by an 18 wheeler and for some reason can’t recall what happened. Lubac and Balthazar would have been (and arguably were) condemned theologians before the council. This is undeniable. I believe there was a papal encyclical specifically aimed at reeling in Lubac in particular. Afterwards they become house hold names of upstanding orthodoxy. Kind of strange isn’t it?

    I have not read the documents in their entirety.

  91. +JMJ+

    Kenneth wrote:

    Perhaps you could outline for me how this institutionalized thomism played a role in the norvus ordo, advance of modernism and general post V2 chaos.

    I’ve kinda been doing that in my posts, here and there, for a number of months. However, you don’t seem to be connecting with a number of my thoughts on the matter. And that’s okay. You’re orthodox, so this isn’t some pressing issue for me (not to mention it being off topic). And if you keep following my posts, maybe my viewpoint will become a bit clearer over time.

  92. Kenneth,

    Those quotes from the John Paul II and Benedict XVI, of course, were about the reception of Vatican II. If you’re going to represent their full position on the Council, though, you also need to take account of things like this, from the Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei:

    I feel more than ever in duty bound to point to the Council as the great grace bestowed on the Church in the twentieth century [emphasis in original]: there we find a sure compass by which to take our bearings in the century now beginning” [JPII, Novo Millenio Ineunte 57]. I would also like to emphasize strongly what I had occasion to say concerning the Council a few months after my election as Successor of Peter: “if we interpret and implement it guided by a right hermeneutic, it can be and can become increasingly powerful for the ever necessary renewal of the Church” [Address to the Roman Curia of 22 Dec 2005].

    best,
    John

  93. Oops, forgot to close the italics tag after “Porta Fidei.” Jason, if you can fix that, awesome. If not, sorry about that.

  94. Kenneth,

    De Lubac was ordered not to write publicly for a time, while his works were examined by the Church. Eventually, those works were cleared, and he was allowed to write freely again. He was a personal and theological friend of Ratzinger, as was von Balthasar. http://vox-nova.com/2008/04/02/pope-benedict-xvi-on-henri-cardinal-de-lubac/

    In the interest of consistency, it seems to me that Catholics who believe that de Lubac and Balthasar are modernists have to explain the fact that the overall work of both theologians was admired by John Paul II *and* Benedict XVI. To be clear, I don’t agree with or like every single thing that de Lubac and von Balthasar ever wrote, but Benedict XVI was no modernist, and he openly exhorted Catholics to study von Balthasar. http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/benxvi_praiseshub_oct05.asp

    You quote phrases from Benedict XVI, to seemingly imply that he is speaking of inherently negative things stemming from Vatican II *itself*, but how do you explain the fact that he regularly spoke of the Council and its teachings positively in his writings and public addresses?

    There have been serious problems following various Council in the Church’s history. According to historical documents of the period, at the time of the Arian controversy, in certain parts of the world, there were more openly Arian bishops than Trinitarian ones! Moreover, for a while *after* the Council which dealt with the Arian heresy, there were actually more Arians than there had been *before* the Council.

    Such realities are part of why I don’t believe that the post-Vatican II problems in the Church are the fault of the Council itself. If one studies Church councils over the course of 2, 000 years, one finds that serious problems still persisted for some time, even after the Councils which were called to address them.

  95. +JMJ+

    I don’t believe that Vat II was either The Great Scourge, the cause of the problem, or The Great Deliverer, the cure for the problem. Vat II was simply a symptom of the problem.

  96. Robert,

    The fact that there is a substantive difference between the Catholic Church and all of the denominations resulting from the Protestant Reformation can be seen from the fact that there exists a visible teaching authority, in the Magisterium, which has been able, throughout the Church’s history, to define doctrines and dogmas which are to be believed by all Catholics throughout the world.

    In the five hundred years since the Reformation, has Protestantism been able to produce anything similar to the Catechism of the Catholic Church– a document which all Protestants can read, throughout the world, to know what they are to believe?

    As a former confessional Protestant myself, I know that Protestants claim that the Bible *is* their authoritative document for what they are to believe, with historic confessions playing a lesser, but still authoritative, role. However, in the end, serious differences still exist, among Protestant denominations, on various issues, in terms of teaching that is understood to be *from Scripture itself*– and, at least from what I can see, there is no comparable teaching authority in Protestantism that can formally settle the disputes, on a worldwide level, as the Magisterium can and does within the Catholic Church.

    The fact that there is *subjective* disunity, among individual Catholics, in terms of what they are willing to *accept* of the Magisterium’s teaching, is simply not analogous to the *formal disunity* in Protestantism about matters that are claimed to be settled by Scripture itself (with historic confessions playing a secondary role). Even when Catholics disagree about what the Pope and Magisterium mean by particular statements, the fact remains that the Pope and Magisterium exist, in terms of public teaching authorities, to publicly clarify what has been misunderstood for *all Catholics worldwide*. Some of those Catholics still may not understand the clarifications, or they may not like what they hear from the Magisterium, but the Magisterium can continue to clarify, as long as is needed. In Protestantism, when serious differences over Scriptural interpretation arise, the result is often a church split and the founding of a new denomination. It has been happening ever since the Reformation– with no end in sight, short of Christ’s return.

    The fact that so many Protestants don’t even see these countless church splits and new denominations as seriously problematic is evidence of a radical reinterpretation of Christ’s high priestly prayer that His followers would be one, as He and the Father are one, so that the world would see and know that He was sent by the Father.

  97. Susan,

    Thanks for the kind words! I’m happy to comment when I can! Even chronic pain issues can’t keep me down all the time! 🙂

  98. @Robert:
    Kelly, an Anglo-Catholic, is talking about the assertion that private auricular confession to a priest has been around from the beginning, a case that is, in my view, difficult to make. Even today, the Eastern Catholic churches hold confession in front of the altar, so this should not be surprising. The process he outlines is accurate, and given the persecution, there was extensive debate about whether it could (or should) be applied at all or how many times. Regardless, the practice that Kelly is distinguishing is not the sacrament of penance, for which public confession is an entirely adequate form, but the later practice of private confession.

    Getting back to the point, which is Protestantism, the relevant point is whether the people receiving this penance were considered “unsaved,” which is to say having lost the salvation they had received in baptism. The answer to that question is that they absolutely were considered lost until they were re-admitted to the fellowship. There were questions about whether that was effective before or after penance, which relates to the developed doctrines of temporal punishment and indulgences. But this absolutely contradicts the Reformed view that the regenerate could not be lost (one that Luther did not share). The fact that these baptized Christians, who were viewed as regenerate, could require readmission to the Church contradicts this view.

  99. John,

    I accept the second vatican council as a leitimate ecuminical council. No doubt that if we place the documents from vatican 2 in the context of previous councils and papal encyclicals the Church will be renewed! In that case, everything good about Vatican 2, everything true, will not be anything new.It will simply be repeating that which has already been taught! Unfortunately, most Catholics do not do this. One of the biggest flaws of Neo-Catholicism is that whatever policy or practice a pope allows, even if it is novel and contradictory to his predecessors and Tradition, must be accepted as the new standard of orthodoxy. This reasoning amounts to mere legal positivism, as it is not tied to any objective doctrinal standard. For example, any Catholic before the Motu Proprio in 2007, who insisted that the Traditional Mass was never abrogated was a out of union with the pope.Yet after the 2007 Motu Proprio, Catholics could hold this exact same position, and yet be orthodox! Thus, Neo-Catholicism’s vision of orthodoxy is constantly in flux, dependent on personal papal preferences, while traditionalists’ view of orthodoxy remains constant, regardless of who is pope. AnyCatholic who disagreed with the translation of “pro multis” as “for all” was “divisive” or “disobedient” according to the mainstream catholicworld.Faced with such an unprecedented and clearly erroneous translation of the New Mass in English, many pious souls preferred to continue to assist at the then “illicit” Tridentine Mass. Now, after nearly four decades, the trads have all been vindicated byQuo Priumum of Pius V &Summorum Pontificum of Benedict XVI.The point I am trying to make John is that everytime I have these conversations there is always this unspoken assumption that one should never disagree with any statement a recent pope has ever made. “oh so you think JP2 was wrong!” “but b16 said THIS”…. We have three legs of authority not just one. We do not hold to sola ecclesia. Dietrich Von Hildebrand Wrote

    …what is fitting at a time when no heresies occur in the Church without being immediately condemned by Rome, becomes inappropriate and unconscionable at a time when uncondemned heresies wreak havoc within the Church, infecting even certain bishops, who nevertheless remain in office.

    Should the faithful at the time of the Arian heresy, for instance, in which the majority of the bishops were Arians, have limited themselves to being nice and obedient to the ordinances of these bishops, instead of battling heresy? Is not fidelity to the true teaching of the Church to be given priority over submission to the bishop? Is it not precisely by virtue of their obedience to the revealed truths, which they received from the Magisterium of the Church, that the faithful offer resistance?[27]

    canon 212 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law gives Catholics the right, and sometimes the duty, to make our spiritual concerns known to the hierarchy of the Church, as long as it is done respectfully.

    memorize that! There is a good chance we may be needing to take advantage in the next few years

  100. Christopher Lake,

    In the interest of consistency, it seems to me that Catholics who believe that de Lubac and Balthasar are modernists have to explain the fact that the overall work of both theologians was admired by John Paul II *and* Benedict XVI.

    I’m sorry. I didnt mean to give the impression that Lubac and VBalt were modernists. They were just bad theologians that were influential in the council. They were placed in the same company as Kasper, Congar, Kung, Murray, etc in one of my comments but i dont want to insinuate that they were all equals! They are just examples of theologians who would have been condemned before the council and are rockstars afterwards.

    how do you explain the fact that he regularly spoke of the Council and its teachings positively in his writings and public addresses?

    B16 was struggling valiantly to create a hermeutic of continuity that was basically no existent. He made some headway. Moved the Church into a very good direction. Again, I want the same thing! Im not against Vatican 2. Im against the changes that have come with it…. even though ZERO of those changes are being forced upon us doctrinally!

    According to historical documents of the period, at the time of the Arian controversy, in certain parts of the world, there were more openly Arian bishops than Trinitarian ones! Moreover, for a while *after* the Council which dealt with the Arian heresy, there were actually more Arians than there had been *before* the Council.

    Apples to oranges. Nicea was an infallible ecumincal council which provided new doctrinal content that was to be adhered to by all the faithful. V2 supplied no new definitions. Nicea was called in response to a crisis that had arisen in the Church. Vatican 2 created a crisis by directly implimenting novel pastoral programs, coupled with various ambiguities (that were intentionally placed in certain documents by Cardinal Kaspers own admissionthat resulted in confusion and outright apostacy coupled with various ambiguities, that were intentionally placed in certain documents by Cardinal Kaspers own admission) that resulted in massive confusion and apostacy.

    Such realities are part of why I don’t believe that the post-Vatican II problems in the Church are the fault of the Council itself.

    You can not blame everything on the good ole “cyber” council argument.
    1. ecuminism 2. dialog 3. liturgical innovations are all things that were literally ushered in by the council fathers themselves !!! They are all horribly disasterous. My point is that none of these things have any doctrinal content. They are not binding. We dont have to change a LICK of what we were doing before the council. The second vatican council has been treated as a mandate for change when in fact it changed NOTHING! Thats the point that I keep on trying to explain to people. Look at the fruits! Everything we have “reformed” has crumbled. You have heard of the phrase “if it aint broke dont fix it”. Thats some good old southern wisdom the church militant needs to come to grips with. Stop tinkering with a system that has worked perfectly for over 1900 years.

  101. This is what true obedience looks like. By Dr. Mattei discussing the FFI situation

    …Today there is a purely legalistic and formalistic conception which tends to see the law as a mere instrument in the hands of those who have power (Don Arturo Cattaneo, 2011). According to the legal positivism, which has infiltrated into the Church, what is considered correct is issued by the authority… The law is only seen as the will of the rulers and not the reflection of the divine law, according to which God is creator and foundation of every law. He is the living and eternal law, the absolute principle of any law (jus divinum, ed. Juan Ignacio Arrieta, 2010).

    For this reason, in a conflict between human and divine law, God and not the people is to be obeyed (Acts 5:29). Obedience is owed ??to superiors because they represent the authority of God, and they represent it, because they keep the divine law and apply it. St. Thomas Aquinas affirms that it is better to fall into excommunication and exile to foreign lands where the earthly arm of the Church does not reach, than to obey an unjust command: ille debits potius excommunicatione, sustinere (…) vel in alias regiones remotas fugere (Summa Theologiae, Suppl, q. 45, a 4, 3 Upper)…

    The resistance to unlawful commands is sometimes a duty to God and to our neighbor…The Franciscans of the Immaculate had obtained from Benedict XVI the extraordinary goods of the so-called “Tridentine” Mass, accepted and celebrated again today by thousands of priests lawfully throughout the world. There is no better way to express their gratitude to Benedict XVI and at the same time to express their protest against the injustice done to them, than to continue to celebrate in the serenity of a clear conscience, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the traditional Roman Rite. No law can force their conscience. Maybe only few will do this, but compliance to prevent greater evil, will not help to avert the storm that goes beyond their Order and the Church.[46]

  102. Jonathan,

    Kelly, an Anglo-Catholic, is talking about the assertion that private auricular confession to a priest has been around from the beginning, a case that is, in my view, difficult to make. Even today, the Eastern Catholic churches hold confession in front of the altar, so this should not be surprising. The process he outlines is accurate, and given the persecution, there was extensive debate about whether it could (or should) be applied at all or how many times. Regardless, the practice that Kelly is distinguishing is not the sacrament of penance, for which public confession is an entirely adequate form, but the later practice of private confession.

    Getting back to the point, which is Protestantism, the relevant point is whether the people receiving this penance were considered “unsaved,” which is to say having lost the salvation they had received in baptism. The answer to that question is that they absolutely were considered lost until they were re-admitted to the fellowship. There were questions about whether that was effective before or after penance, which relates to the developed doctrines of temporal punishment and indulgences. But this absolutely contradicts the Reformed view that the regenerate could not be lost (one that Luther did not share). The fact that these baptized Christians, who were viewed as regenerate, could require readmission to the Church contradicts this view.

    If there is no developed sacrament of penance and ex opere operato sacramentalism, there is no sacramental treadmill. You are quite correct, however, that the view that regeneration cannot be lost is a Reformed distinctive. As far as I am aware, most—if not all fathers—would have believed that the truly regenerate could be lost, but then again, so do modern Arminian Protestants who don’t have ex opere operato sacramentalism.

    Public confession may be entirely adequate for the modern sacrament of reconciliation, but it is quite a leap to go from their to assuming that the Fathers had essentially the same view of sacramentalism that Trent does, which is what you must assume if you think that the Fathers have no less of the “sacramental treadmill” than RCs.

  103. +JMJ+

    Christopher Lake wrote:

    De Lubac was ordered not to write publicly for a time, while his works were examined by the Church. Eventually, those works were cleared, and he was allowed to write freely again.

    De Lubac’s “crime” was in identifying the then-predominant, heavily overextended Aristotelianized Thomism as a proto-Modernism (a ‘precursor’ to Modernism). Obviously, this did not endear him to the entrenched establishment which was convinced that the only way to fight Modernism was with an ever-louder reiteration of their Theological perspective. Modernism couldn’t be effectively fought with a system which, though not Modernistic, traded on the same basic noetic (though Modernism overextended the Aristotelio-Thomistic thread past the point of breakage and into flat-out Rationalism).

    The needless infighting between these two schools (I’m not exonerating the Nouvelle movement of all youthful imprudence or excess) allowed Modernism to work behind the scenes during the Council Era, whilst the watchmen were bickering. Instead, that which should have happened (long before the Council) was a re-ascendence of Platonism correcting the dialogue back toward the philo-theological center and, thus, reestablishing the organic synthesis which prevailed in the pre-14th century Church. This would have/could have given a profound answer to the Modernistic challenge. No doubt that this would have also been in conflict with the convictions of the modern world, but at least there would have been the prospect of a fresh and cogent debate from a perspective alien to Modernism, instead of the stilted silence issuing from a wrecked and demoralized Thomistic school and the profound lament of many Nouvelles, who watched multitudinous clergy and faithful view their own theological works, not as powerful witnesses of a potent and fresh orthodox perspective, but solely as useful means to revolutionary ends.

  104. Wosbold,

    lubacs “crime” was well documented in a Humani generis. Many theologians actually maintained that encyclical was primarily written for the benefit of Lubac. That is a very rare honor indeed! As much as you would like to place blame on the scholastics the proof is in the pudding my friend! Did the Church collapse under the watch of the Thomists? Nope. Never to late to turn back though…. 😉

  105. +JMJ+

    Kenneth,

    So, it’s okay for “trads” to be “vindicated”, but it’s not okay for de Lubac?

    As much as you would like to place blame on the scholastics the proof is in the pudding my friend! Did the Church collapse under the watch of the Thomists? Nope.

    Correlation does not imply causation.

  106. WOSBOLD

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc eh? It can not be a coincidence that after reforming 10 things 10 things crumble!!!! Reform the liturgy the parishes empty. Reform the seminaries the seminary empties. Reform catholic schools catholic schools close down. Reform the convents down go the convents. Post hoc ergo propter hoc? Maybe. But I doubt it.

  107. Kenneth,

    You write that De Lubac and von Balthasar are “bad theologians who were influential at the Council.”

    Of von Balthasar, Pope Benedict XVI said, “I had the joy of knowing and associating with this renowned Swiss theologian. I am convinced that his theological reflections preserve their freshness and profound relevance undiminished to this day and that they incite many others to penetrate ever further into the depths of the mystery of the faith, with such an authoritative guide leading them by the hand.” http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/benxvi_praiseshub_oct05.asp

    In the forward to de Lubac’s book, “Catholicism,” Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, eventually to be Pope, writes approvingly, “(De Lubac) makes visible to us in a new way the fundamental intuition of Christian Faith so that from this inner core all the particular elements appear in a new light…”

    Yet de Lubac and von Balthasar are, in your view, “bad theologians”?

    You also write that the “ecumenism” and “dialog” of the last fifty-plus years (as ushered in by Vatican II) have been “disastrous” for the Church. Every Pope since John XXIII seems to have profoundly disagreed with you on that point.

    Now, I should say, I have seen so-called ecumenism and dialog practiced in a spirit of indifferentism, and that was/is certainly wrong, but that was/is *not* the ecumenism and dialog actually taught by Vatican II. Huge difference there.

    You appear to believe that the “system” of Catholicism (your wording– I’m not sure what that means) worked all-but-perfectly before Vatican II. If that were truly the case, then the Council would have never been called, and *all* of the Popes following it would not have spoken positively about it.

    Last thought– you opine, in regard to Vatican II and the Church before the Council, that our last Pope “was struggling valiantly to create a hermeutic of continuity that was basically no(n) existent.” That is perilously close to saying that he was teaching a fabrication of his own mind. Do you think that you understand Vatican II, and the Church before the Council, better than Benedict XVI does? (Again, an honest, serious question, not rhetorical.)

  108. Kenneth,

    The only way you can say nothing doctrinal is going on at V2 is if you want to limit doctrine in the most narrow fashion possible. But you cannot change worship without changing doctrine. The church’s worship is its doctrine.

    But what this is all proving is that Roman unity is a farce, as is the clarity Rome is supposed to bring to us poor divided Protestants. Rome doesn’t really care if V2 is embraced enthusiastically, which is why you are a RC in good standing, Pelosi is, Benedict is, Francis is, etc.

  109. Christopher,

    Now, I should say, I have seen so-called ecumenism and dialog practiced in a spirit of indifferentism, and that was/is certainly wrong, but that was/is *not* the ecumenism and dialog actually taught by Vatican II. Huge difference there.

    What’s worse is that the infallible heads of the church can’t agree on ecumenism.

    JPII is kissing Qur’ans
    Benedict has some negative things to say about Muslims and doesn’t want to call Protestant churches churches
    Francis is opening the doors to atheists and impenitent homosexuals

    And I’m supposed to believe Rome is in continuity with Peter and Paul.

  110. Robert,

    your comment is much easier to respond to so you first and then when I have more time to give a quality answer I’ll return to Chris (whose sincerity and patience I greatly appreciate).

    The only way you can say nothing doctrinal is going on at V2 is if you want to limit doctrine in the most narrow fashion possible

    Ok so define ecumenism from a doctrinal standpoint. Don’t tell us what ecumenism is tell us what it means doctrinally. Give me a good Ludwig Ott definition of ecumenism. Its impossible. There is no doctrine of ecumenism. There is no dogma of dialog. What does the naw mass mean? Define it for me. Again don’t describe it. I want to know what it MEANS doctrinally. Vatican 2 changed everything but it also changed nothing at all. Christopher Ferrara calls this the great facade. Traditionalist don’t deny one single doctrine of V2…. Because is there IS NO NEW DOCTRINE to accept!!!

    But what this is all proving is that Roman unity is a farce, as is the clarity Rome is supposed to bring to us poor divided Protestants…..JPII is kissing Qur’ans
    Benedict has some negative things to say about Muslims and doesn’t want to call Protestant churches churches
    Francis is opening the doors to atheists and impenitent homosexuals

    IN PRINCIPLE you have no way of knowing what is dogma and what is not. In PRINCIPLE a RC does (three legs of authority). its a nice modest argument. Your going after your own straw men again

  111. Robert,

    In certain cultures, kissing a gift is a sign of respect for the one who has given it. Pope John Paul II was not blessing the contents of the Quran.

    Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI spoke of the objective, inherent problems with Islam, as well as its similarities to Judaism and Christianity. There is no discontinuity between the two Popes on that point. Have you read the section on Islam in JPII’s book, “Crossing the Threshold of Hope”? It might help with your misunderstandings of his view of Islam.

    Pope Francis did not say that atheists who reject God, *while* understanding who and what they are rejecting, can be saved. He also did not say anything that embraced impenitence, whether regarding homosexual sex or any other sinful activity. He did say, during his time serving the Church in Argentina, that a same-sex marriage bill in the country was the work of Satan.

    “Rome” is in apostolic continuity and doctrinal continuity with Peter and Paul. Of course, you don’t accept that, as you are invested in defending historically novel interpretations of Peter and Paul’s teachings that did not exist before the Protestant Reformation. I used to do the same, as a “Reformed Baptist.” I was sincere but mistaken. When I realized this, I returned to the Catholic Church. You are clearly sincere too but similarly mistaken.

  112. Robert,

    I see your argument. I really do. But consider this. Perhaps one day the rad-trad vs neocatholic debate will reach a point that schism seems impossible to avoid. The wells are poisoned on both sides and compromise is impossible. What happens next? The magesterium steps in and makes some judgments to clarify the matter. We then have a way to unite. The ref has blown the whistle and the ball is put back in play. This is exactly what is IN PRINCIPLE impossible for Protestantism as a whole.

  113. Christopher,

    OK. First off let me start by saying that I am surprised that after all my comments on legal positivism and the constant fluctuation of the neocatholics orthodoxy you are still zeroed in on defending Balthazar and Lubac! Lol nevertheless, I am prepared to defend my charge that they were bad theologians who held to condemned theological principles.

    Lubac had an entire papal encyclical aimed at reining him in so I think we can leave that alone. What about vbalt? It is well documented that this theologian was fond of the *hope* that all men were actually in heaven and absolutely none in hell. Vbalts hope even extended to Judas! What isn’t well known is the defense of this novel view. The most disconcerting feature of Balthasar’s hope for universal salvation is that its logic appears to require an assumption of Christ’s ignorance and fallibility. Balthasar stated:

    “The word of Christ, who spoke as no other had spoken, who alone spoke as one having power, is nonetheless an insecure bridge between the wordlessness of the world and the superword of the father”

    an insecure bridge? Really?

    In You Crown the Year With Your Goodness, Balthasar stated:

    But is not the Son of God also God? As such, is he not omniscient? Yes, but that does not mean that he wished to share all his divine attributes with his human nature. Here, doubtless, there are mysteries we shall never fully penetrate. But one thing we can say: just as the Son, as God, eternally receives full divinity (and hence full omniscience) from his Father, so he eternally gives himself, all that he has and is, back to the Father in gratitude; it is at his Father’s disposal. Thus, in some way, we can understand that, when the Son’s eternal “procession” from the Father takes the shape of a “mission” to the world, the Son deposits his divine attributes (without losing them) with the Father in heaven. For we read that he “emptied himself” of his divine form (Phil. 2:27) precisely so that he could be humanly obedient unto death

    Ahhh so when Jesus is on a mission he checks His divine powers with the Father and “empties himself” so that he can have a sort of divine amnesia! Incase you may still have your doubts there is also his commentary on “no one knows the hour”

    he [Jesus] is strictly ignorant of the hour. “But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, not the Son, but only the Father” (Mk. 13:32). This is crucially important; we must take it absolutely literally

    absolutely literal? Because Balthasar’s hope for universal salvation contradicts Christ’s words in John 17:12 and Luke 13:23-24, the validity of Balthasar’s hope logically depends upon the possibility of Christ’s statements in John 17:12 and Luke 13:24 being erroneous. So, even though Balthasar nowhere explicitly states it, his “hope” is logically based upon his theory that Christ did not speak with omniscience and infallibility.

    this view was officially condemned by Pope Vigilius on May 14, 553, when he taught that “If anyone says that the one Jesus Christ, true Son of God and true Son of Man, was ignorant of future things, or of the day of the last judgment … let him be anathema.” (Denzinger, 29th ed., No. 419).

    Pius X “condemned” any statement that denies “the infallible knowledge of Jesus Christ” or any statement that denies that Jesus had “knowledge circumscribed by no limit” (Denz. Nos. 2032, 2034, 2065[a]).

  114. +JMJ+

    Kenneth wrote:

    Ok so define ecumenism from a doctrinal standpoint. Don’t tell us what ecumenism is tell us what it means doctrinally. Give me a good Ludwig Ott definition of ecumenism. Its impossible.

    Ecumenism is intra-Church dialogue (ecumenism means discussion “within the house”.)

    So, ecumenism is theological (even informal) dialogue (iron sharpening iron) between the differing theological perspectives within the dogmatic parameters. The Neo-Thomists collapsed because they were not ecumenical. They saw their school as being equivalent to Catholicism, as being integral to the Faith. So, you’re right that there’s no “doctrine” of ecumenism inasmuch as there’s no doctrine of being magnanimous and of not thinking that one has all the answers or the only answers.

    I agree, though, that one cannot have true ecumenical dialogue with those who do not have a shared ecclesiology. One can’t have a discussion “in the house” with those who think that the visible house is just a rough and imperfect analogue of the true, invisible house.

  115. Christopher,

    on ecumenism and dialog. Cardinal Walter Kasper, the John Paul II appointee who heads the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, openly admits that conciliar and post-conciliar ecumenism amounts to a rupture with the past, and says that Pope Pius XI’s “ecumenism of return” (by which non-Catholics are expected to return to unity with the Catholic Church by becoming Catholics) “no longer applies after Vatican II.” “Today,” he says, “we no longer understand ecumenism in the sense of a return, by which the others would ‘be converted’ and return to being ‘catholics.’ This was expressly abandoned by Vatican II.” On another occasion, he explained: “The old concept of the ecumenism of return has today been replaced by that of a common journey which directs Christians toward the goal of ecclesial communion understood as unity in reconciled diversity.”

    Since John Paul II is committed to the systematic implementation of Vatican II, why would he appoint a man to head the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity unless he shared Vatican II’s outlook? Might Cardinal Kasper’s view, in fact, actually be the one promoted by Vatican II? If not, how could a man of Kasper’s background and education make such an elementary error in conciliar interpretation, and why has John Paul not corrected him? Are the texts of the Council completely blameless in all of this? Are traditionalists doing damage to the Church by demanding answers to these questions, or is Cardinal Kasper doing damage to the Church by abandoning Catholic teaching?

    one more example of the failure of this pastoral program. The evangelism (or not) of the Jews.Cardinal Walter Kasper, speaking in his capacity as the papally appointed President of the Pontifical Council for Religious Relations with the Jews, declared that “the old theory of substitution is gone since the Second Vatican Council. For us Christians today the covenant with the Jewish people is a living heritage, a living reality…. Therefore, the Church believes that Judaism, i.e. the faithful response of the Jewish people to God’s irrevocable covenant, is salvific for them, because God is faithful to his promises.”

    On Christmas night 1998, John Cardinal O’Connor appeared on Nightline along with a young Catholic man who was converting to Judaism. Asked if the young man had Cardinal O’Connor’s blessing, His Eminence replied: “Oh yes. Oh yes. He doesn’t need it, but he has my blessing, if we’re going to call it such, because that’s what the Church teaches…. I would be keenly disappointed if there are Christians, and most particularly Catholics, who watch this at Christmas time and have animosity towards Stephen, towards what has happened. If they want to have animosity, I’d rather they have it toward me…. If they want to consider me wrong, that’s fine. But I think that he is happy in his choice. I think that his mother is peaceful in his choice, and I think God is smiling on the whole thing.”

    In late 2001, the Pontifical Biblical Commission released a book entitled The Jewish People and the Holy Scriptures in the Christian Bible, according to which the Jews’ continued wait for the Messiah is validated and justified by the Old Testament. According to papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, speaking at a Vatican press conference, “It means it would be wrong for a Catholic to wait for the Messiah, but not for a Jew.”
    The Good Friday liturgy was altered in 1974 in such a way that the previous prayer’s supplication that the Jews be converted to Christ was almost completely obscured.

    what I meant in my comments on B16 was that he was the FIRST to try to implement a reading of continuity with the council documents. Previously the council had just been a warrant for change. B16 definitely understands more about the documents than I do. But he was also more inclined than I to save these horrible pastoral programs and I’m not ashamed to call that error

  116. Kenneth,

    Thanks for your reply and for this overall conversation. Respectfully, in terms of the historic facts, you are incorrect that Pope Benedict XVI “was the FIRST to try to implement a reading of continuity with the council documents.” Long before the Papacy of Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II was vocally advocating for an understanding of Vatican II in continuity with the pre-conciliar Church. I clearly remember JPII doing so, because I read his words about it, and I also remember wishing that my “hermeneutic of rupture” priest would follow the Pope’s lead!

    Regarding your quotations from von Balthasar and Cardinal O’Connor, honestly, I will have to do more research to make sure that I understand those quotations in their original context. Christ does say, in the Scriptures, that He, the Son, does not know the time of His return. Now, He must have meant that statement in a *provincial* sense, in the sense of willingly deciding not to *make use* of His omniscience regarding that subject, because obviously, He was still God and still omniscient.

    In regard to the O’Connor quote, it certainly sounds very problematic, and if he literally said it as you quote it, then I would disagree with him, because the official teaching of the Church disagrees. However, earlier in this thread, John S. pointed out that in your earlier selection of quoted phrases from Benedict XVI, supposedly about Vatican II, Benedict was actually referring, in context, to the *negative reaction* to Vatican II, from so-called “progressives” who embrace a “hermeneutic of rupture.” I want to make sure that I understand your quotations of von Bathasar and Cardinal O’Connor in their original contexts. (I have done numerous internet searches and, thus far, have been unable to track down solid documentation of O’Connor’s words on *any* young man converting from Catholicism to Judaism. To be clear, I’m *not* saying that you are incorrect here; I just haven’t found those statements yet, so I can’t comment further on them.)

    You have repeatedly described orthodox Catholics who disagree with you on the specific matters we have discussed here (i.e. Vatican II, and the thinking of John Paul II and Benedict XVI in relation to it, and the theological soundness, or lack thereof, of de Lubac and von Balthsar) as “neocatholics.”

    Given that the last two Popes spoke warmly of Vatican II, and given that they both were friends and conciliar, theological comrades-in-arms, so to speak, with de Lubac and von Balthasar, how, in your thinking, are John Paul II and Benedict XVI *not* “neocatholics”? Or would you say that they are “neocatholics” (as opposed to what? Orthodox Catholcs?)? Again, please don’t take my direct questioning to be offensive. I’m honestly trying to understand your perspective.

    On a last note (for this comment)– for any Protestant who may be reading this discussion between Kenneth and me, it is a serious category mistake to allege that any disagreement between he and I, here, is comparable to the formal, doctrinal, and ecclesiological disunity in Protestantism. Kenneth and I may have our disagreements, but we both accept the teaching authority of the Pope, and of the Magisterium teaching in continuity with him, on matters of faith and morals. Kenneth and I are not about to leave historic Christianity, as found in the Catholic Church, for doctrines based on the Scriptural misinterpretations of men who left the Catholic Church (i.e. Luther, Calvin, etc.) *because* of those Scriptural misinterpretations and because of their rejection of the teaching authority of the Pope and Magisterium.

  117. Kenneth,

    P.S. On Cardinal Kasper, and John Paul II, in relation to Vatican II’s stance on evangelizing Jewish people, I’ll have to reply later (and Lord willing, I will). I’m literally in too much physical pain to write another comment now, due to chronic pain issues from an accident earlier this year. Thanks again for the discussion.

  118. Christopher,

    I am so sorry to hear that you are suffering! I hope you feel better soon brother and will be praying for your recovery.

    Long before the Papacy of Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II was vocally advocating for an understanding of Vatican II in continuity with the pre-conciliar Church

    jp2 gave it lip service but no implementation. Actions speak louder than words and praying with witch doctors and Muslims at Assisi was no hermeneutic of continuity. You would also still need to explain why JP2 appointed Kasper as the head of ecumenism and never corrected any of his statements that claimed V2 had ended the Churchs call for “return” and “conversion”. After all that you would need to explain WHY you feel the need to defend it?!? Its a pastoral program not a doctrine of the Church. The fruits of these innovations are *record low numbers in every catholic indicator across the board*! The spirit of Vatican 2 sucks. We don’t need to throw out the documents…. But we DO need to stop looking at the ambiguous statements IN the documents and searching for some kind of doctrinal “development” that’s going to fix the problems that the very council fathers created with their ambiguous formulas and novel pastoral programs in the first place! In other words we should stop looking to Vatican 2 to solve our problems and look instead to Tradition.

    earlier in this thread, John S. pointed out that in your earlier selection of quoted phrases from Benedict XVI, supposedly about Vatican II, Benedict was actually referring, in context, to the *negative reaction* to Vatican II, from so-called “progressives” who embrace a “hermeneutic of rupture.”

    Those quotes were never meant to be about the Vatican 2 documents but about their implementation. My opinion about the V2 documents are that they can mean anything to anyone. They are filled with compromise formulas and thus can definitely be read in continuity as B16 attempted to show the world. They can also be read as a mandate to end conversion as Cardinal Kasper has shown lol so which way is it? Again, the best thing to do would be to pretend like Vatican 2 never happened. There are no NEW truths in those documents. all the old truths are BETTER explained by previous councils that are not notoriously ambiguous and “pastoral” in nature. why not just walk away from this nightmare? The young man whom the cardinal refused to convert (in the name of.vatican 2) is Stephen Dubner. Do a search for his and the cardinals names. Here is a quote from Stephens website recounting their encounters.

    Not only did I not become a priest, but I became . . . a Jew. My mother thought this preposterous. To her, Judaism was an outmoded religion whose only contribution had been to preserve monotheism until Christ came along.

    We fought, stewed, then stumbled into a prickly silence. That’s when I went to see the cardinal.

    This was four years ago, and he was still strong. His desk was immaculate, his in-box empty. On his lapel he wore a small red-rose pin, the same pro-life symbol my mother favored. I told him about our dilemma. “I don’t mean to turn this into a shrink session or a confessional,” I said, “but how would you suggest that we go about resolving that conflict?”

    He listened hard; you would have thought he was considering a matter far more momentous than one family’s theological dispute. “I think in two ways,” he finally answered. “First off, I would look at recent declarations of Pope John Paul II about the validity of Judaism. This has radically changed Jewish-Catholic dialogue. Radically.” His second point concerned “the primacy of an informed conscience” — that is, the Vatican’s belief that if someone has duly educated himself in the ways of the Church and the ways of another faith, and feels that God wants him to belong to that other faith, that is where he indeed belongs. The cardinal told me I should go to my mother and tell her “that this is where you think God wants you to be, an informed Jew.”

    awesome. Is this cardinal acting as a rogue? Nope. He is PERFECTLY in line with the tone set by Kasper who was appointed by JP2 (whom never corrected a word of this). All in the name of Vatican 2 approved ecumenism. Of course NOW things have changed. So NOW you will tell me that’s not what the council really really meant by ecumenism. As long as everyone is looking to Vatican 2 to stop the fluctuation It will never end. The answer isn’t at the liberal convention. The answers are in Tradition.

  119. , how, in your thinking, are John Paul II and Benedict XVI *not* “neocatholics”? Or would you say that they are “neocatholics” (as opposed to what? Orthodox Catholcs?)?

    A neocatholic is an orthodox RC. They accept all Church Dogma and are in good standing with the Church. They are described as neocatholics because they are a kind of “new conservative”. They are the conservative group born into a liberal world. Many of them are holy wonderful people. Traditionalists are people who just went on being Catholic after V2. They didn’t change a thing and don’t see why they should. Traditionalists are the only group of Catholics that are continually marginalized. The magesterium will befriend Jews, atheists, Muslims, whatever. But the SSPX? Oh no you gotta be REALLY careful with those guys. They are like the Taliban. E.O.? Oh they are OK. Traditionalists? Gotta keep a REALLY close eye on those Nazis. Haven’t you noticed?

    The Fraternity of St. Peter is a society of pontifical right established in 1988 for priests who wished to offer the traditional Latin Mass. No one questions the doctrinal orthodoxy of its priests.they had two perfectly orthodox seminary rectors removed and their election of their superior overturned by the Vatican.

    Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos promised in June 2000 “that the papal Commission [Ecclesia Dei] will be more present, from now on, in the seminaries and the other houses of the Fraternity, and will watch attentively for their good behavior. It may also happen that the Ecclesia Dei Commission will intervene again, should it become necessary.”
    Did the Vatican “watch attentively” over the past forty years for “good behavior”

    gotta keep a close eye on those damn traditionalists! Meanwhile, every other heresy and innovative statement UNDER THE SUN is completely ignored. Explain those priorities?!? The truth is the magesterium on AVERAGE for the last forty years hasn’t really wanted continuity. They wanted change. They got it too!

    B16 and JP2 are both popes that could easily be qualified as neocatholic. (sort of conservative) Obviously B16 was light years more conservative than JP2 but still had his liberal moments! Although both popes helped move the Church back towards Tradition (to varying degrees) both pontificates had problems. So that while I can say they are good popes… They were also problematic popes.

  120. Kenneth,

    Thank you for your most recent replies to me, and for your prayers concerning my physical recovery. Those prayers are very appreciated and needed.

    You and I actually agree much more, on the issues that we’re discussing here, than it may seem. To be clear, I am not lukewarm or indifferent about evangelization at all. (I also don’t think, from my reading of the Vatican II documents, that they teach lukewarmness or indifference about evangelization!) I care *deeply*, as a Catholic, about the evangelization of non-Christians, and I also care about seeing more of our Orthodox and separated Protestant brothers and sisters come into full communion with the Catholic Church.

    Are you familiar with the site, “Called to Communion”? If not, it’s a site for true ecumenical dialogue (i.e. *not* overlooking differences but actually discussing and dealing with them!) between Catholic and Reformed Protestant Christians. Before the onset of my chronic pain issues (which began earlier this year), I used to be very active in the comment boxes at CTC. If you haven’t been to the site, or haven’t spent much time there, I highly recommend it. CTC played a huge role in my return to the Catholic Church from years as a committed Reformed Protestant. Many other people have also come into, or returned to, the Catholic Church partially because of the articles and discussions at CTC. http://www.calledtocommunion.com

    I actually tried to begin writing a reply to your two most recent comments earlier this morning, just after returning from Mass (I was hurting so much that I barely made it there, but thanks be to God, I was able to attend!), but through hitting the wrong key at the wrong time, I lost that reply. Unfortunately, part of living with chronic pain, for me, means that I have to be ever-careful about monitoring the amount of time that I spend sitting in a given position– which, in turn, means that I can’t spend nearly the amount of time in online discussions that I once did. Over the last few months, I have paid, in actual physical pain, for some of the lengthy comments that I have left on various blogs. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I have to cease commenting online altogether, of course, or I would have never started our discussion! 🙂 However, I do have to really watch how much time I spend per day typing at my computer. It’s difficult for me that this is where my life is, at the age of 40, but it is what it is. Please know that I will reply to your most recent responses. It may take a day or two or three for me to type out my entire response and post it here, but I will do so. Thank you for hanging in there with me. 🙂 I hope you’re having a wonderful Lord’s Day, brother!

  121. Looking forward to it Christopher!

  122. +JMJ+

    Kenneth wrote:

    WOSBOLD
    Post hoc ergo propter hoc eh? It can not be a coincidence that after reforming 10 things 10 things crumble!!!! Reform the liturgy the parishes empty. Reform the seminaries the seminary empties. Reform catholic schools catholic schools close down. Reform the convents down go the convents. Post hoc ergo propter hoc? Maybe. But I doubt it.

    Stay on subject, please. We were talking about de Lubac’s Aristotelio-Thomist critique, and now you’ve switched gears to talking about the “reforms”.

    That which I’m saying is… that which helped create the environment which made the “reforms” possible from the get-go was the Neo-Thomists’ helping to set up the Church for an eventual fall by 1) their strongarm tactics which made them a lot of enemies, 2) their maintenance of the near-exclusive dominance of a hyperextended noetic which provided indirect support for the growth of Modernism (and Naturalism, Protestantism, Baianism, Jansenism, etc) and 3) the devastation and collateral damage which would inevitably follow their own collapse when this noetic’s achilles heel would eventually be widely exposed for all to see (which de Lubac had simply identified and prophesied). He saw the danger and was trying to avert it. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  123. WOSBOLD,

    I think you have lost track of the conversation. The orthodox magesterium (that happened to also be Thomists) can not be accused of deviating from Tradtion. They can also not be shown to have implemented any pastoral programs that resulted in massive confusion and apostacy throughout the entire Church. None of these things happened until after the regime of novelty took power. To this you responded

    Correlation does not imply causation.

    I responded that the Church was factually/statistically flourishing under the strongarmed hyper extended noetic in every single catholic indicator accross the board up until the liberal “reforms” took place. By reform I mean the removal of the strong armed hyper extended noetic 😉 This is not a debate of abstract theological principles. The results speak for themselves. I have not strayed from the topic I am just pointing out the obvious concrete facts of history. This is why Paul VI lamented, as the Second Vatican Council’s vaunted “opening to the world” had already begun to cause endless calamity, that “the opening to the world became a veritable invasion of the Church by worldly thinking. We have perhaps been too weak and imprudent.” (Speech of November 23, 1973). Indeed, the very mission of Our Saviour was, as He Himself declared (John 16:33), to “overcome the world,” not to be “open” to it.

  124. +JMJ+

    Kenneth wrote:

    To this you responded
    Correlation does not imply causation.

    What I meant was that correlating de Lubac’s identifying of the Neo-Thomist achilles heel and his warning of their own impending collapse with their collapse, itself, does not necessarily mean that he caused their collapse.

  125. Oh alright i must have misread you. I am not familiar with Lubacs writing on the subject and so can’t comment either way.

  126. Kenneth,

    I’m sorry, again, for taking so long to get this reply to you. This week has been a rough one, pain-wise. Thanks for your patience with me, brother.

    First, in the interest of honesty– even brutal honesty–, I would not deny that, since Vatican II, there has been confusion, and even embracing of heresy (perhaps unwittingly, perhaps not), by *some* highly-placed members of the hierarchy, on more than one subject, including evangelization.

    Sadly, it does seem, from the material I have found regarding Cardinal O’Connor and Stephen Dubner, that the Cardinal counseled Stephen wrongly on the nature of conscience and on the importance of baptized Catholics remaining *in Christ, in a state of grace*. Obviously, this would mean (among other things) continuing to affirm that Jesus is the Incarnation sent by the Father, the Messiah who died on the Cross for our sins and who rose again and promised to return when the time has been fulfilled.

    Unfortunately, it seems that, in the situation of counseling Stephen Dubner, Cardinal O’Connor bought into a certain, seriously mistaken idea about the autonomy of individual conscience, especially regarding baptized Catholics, which has *never* been taught by the Catholic Church (not in Vatican II, not ever) and which is *still* condemned by the Church.

    When Cardinal Kasper made his statement about the Church no longer calling many people to return to her, he was, unfortunately, expressing similar thinking, although he was speaking of non-Catholic Christians and the Church. Still, he was incorrect– *and* moreover, his statements, and Cardinal O’Connor’s statements, *simply do not* reflect what the Vatican II documents teach on these matters.

    Why, therefore, did Pope John Paul II continue to keep these men in such positions of leadership in the Church? I cannot speak to his mind, because, obviously, I am not him (Memory Eternal!) However, I can say that the Pope did *not* subscribe to the non-Catholic ideas about individual conscience, and/or to the distressing indifference about clearly proclaiming the Catholic faith to non-Catholics, that we see in the thinking of Cardinals O’Connor and Kasper here. I can back up my statements with Vatican II documents and Papal encyclicals. In this regard, I want to give you a few friendly, Catholic-to-Catholic challenges.

    I’m sure that you’ve heard of “Lumen Gentium,” the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1964. Have you read the document (beyond excerpts quoted here or there on websites)? If not, then, I challenge you to read “Lumen Gentium,” and see if you find “autonomy of conscience” and “indifferentism” taught therein. http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html (You can also buy it in print form, cheaply, if you wish. I did, for a class that I took at the John Paul II Institute in Washington, D.C.)

    In a similar vein, have you read Pope John Paul II’s 1990 encyclical on the *permanent validity* of the Church’s missionary mandate: “Redemptoris Missio”? If not, then I challenge you (again, in a friendly, Catholic-to-Catholic way!) to read that one as well, and see if you find the erroneous thinking which you have come to associate with Vatican II. I think that you may be very pleasantly surprised, and encouraged, by what you find in that encyclical. It is filled with the *actual* spirit of Vatican II (from the documents), rather than the *counterfeit* spirit that has been pushed in all too many American parishes of the last fifty years. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_07121990_redemptoris-missio_en.html

    On the matter(s) of non-Christians, the Gospel of Christ, and evangelization, in 2007, the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith released a document which reaffirms the *orthodox teaching* of the Vatican II documents: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20071203_nota-evangelizzazione_en.html

    The above document leaves these matters in no doubt– *although* if more Catholics (both clergy and laity) had simply carefully read and submitted to *all of the clear statements* in 1964’s “Lumen Gentium” (as opposed to seizing upon some statements and overlooking or ignoring others!), then there would have been no need for the 2007 CDF document!

    Alas, all too often, we sinners can be very selective listeners, including Catholics with the Magisterium (and, being a sinner, I do not excuse myself here)… which is one of many reasons why we *need* the living, continuing, teaching voice of the Magisterium.

  127. Christopher,

    Glad to hear from you again! A couple of brief thoughts….

    1.i have not read lumen gentium or the papal encyclical you posted and will gladly meet your challenge this evening.

    2. I do not believe that the *documents* of v2 are heterodox. I think that they are *ambiguous* and so are not to be considered the “go-to” documents when looking for Church teaching.

    3. Because of the ambiguity as long as people are looking back to V2 for answers we will continue to have headaches theologically.

    4. There are NO NEW TRUTHS defined for the Church in these documents that are binding on the faithful. Only old truths being restated in “modern” (ambiguous) language.

    5. Therefore, the best course of action for us facing the crises is to pretend there never was a council! Live as if V2 never happened! Why not?

    6. Here is my challenge

    a. Explain to me why it is NOT a good idea to act as though the council never happened (some beneficial pastoral program (ecumenism, dialog, etc) some legitimate development of doctrine that you believe has taken place, some authoritative binding new *anything* that prevents us from going back to the way things were when the Church was flourishing.

    2. Read iota unam! Classic book documenting the crises. The author is well respected and carefully documents the problems that have arisen in the Church. This is not just a book explaining what we should complain about… This is a work that gives the proper posture for a solution. Nothing has been changed! Not one jot or tittle (hence the name iota unam). The sspx has made the book available for free online

    http://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/books/Iota_Unum/index.htm.

  128. Kenneth,

    Thanks for your reply and for taking the time to read those documents and the Papal encyclical. Please don’t feel that you need to try to read all of them in one evening though! 🙂 (I did recommend a third one too– perhaps I wasn’t clear on that– the CDF’s 2007 “Doctrinal Note On Some Aspects of Evangelization.” It would be amazing to me if you were able to read *and* absorb “Lumen Gentium,” “Redemptoris Missio,” and the CDF’s “Doctrinal Note” all in one evening, although maybe you’re just a much, much faster reader and absorber of serious theological and ecclesiological documents than I am!)

    Thanks for the link to “Iota Unum.” In answer to your challenge, I will, indeed, read it in full. Honestly though, that will have to be a long-term project for me, one that will likely long outlast this particular conversation we are having in this thread. In paperback form, “Iota Unum” is an 816-page book!! I will read it, but I will have to buy it in print form. I don’t currently have a working printer, and with my chronic pain issues (and poor eyesight!), it would take me years to read such a lengthy book solely on my computer. Therefore, I will need to order the paperback from an online source (I’ve already found one).

    I notice that you pointed me to the text of “Iota Unum” at an SSPX website. Out of curiosity, are you a member of an SSPX parish?

    Also concerning the SSX, in a 1988 letter to four of his bishops-elect, Archbishop Marcel Lefebrve made some very strong claims about “Rome.” Would you agree with these statements?

    “In Rome they are most upset. De Saventhem gave me Cardinal Ratzinger’s fax number. They have spiritual AIDS down there. They no longer have God’s grace, their immune system has shut down. I do not think one can say that Rome has not lost the Faith. As for eventual sanctions, the unpleasantness grows less with time. The humble people will understand, it is the clergy who will react.” http://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/Archbishop-Lefebvre/To_the_Four_Bishops_Elect_June_13_1988.htm

    As for why I believe that it is important for Catholics to read, to understand, and to be able to articulate and defend, *the contents of the actual documents of* Vatican II (including in regard to conversations on Sacred Tradition, Vatican II, and the SSPX), please read this short news article: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/vaticans-doctrine-chief-pius-x-society-must-accept-vatican-ii-teachings/

    There are no *new* dogmatic teachings in the documents of Vatican II– but the SSPX apparently finds the VII *articulation* of at least *certain* Catholic truths, found in the documents, to be problematic. I don’t believe that “Rome” has “spiritual AIDS,” as did Lefebvre in 1988– at a time when AIDS was literally a death sentence.

    In the decades leading up to Vatican II, there were serious problems in the Church among both the clergy and the laity. If you don’t think that this is the case, then I can only say, please keep reading the actual VII documents *and* the writings of the last several Popes, from John XXIII up through Pope Francis. To be perfectly clear, I am *not* recommending that any Catholic *ignore* Church documents before Vatican II– not at all! If I were, then I would be subscribing to the hermeneutic of rupture myself! Perish the thought! By all means, Catholics should read and strive to understand documents of the Church from every age, as they are able.

    However, when Popes Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis have all spoken warmly and highly of Vatican II and its documents, it is logical to conclude that the faithful Catholic is not simply free to interpret the Vatican II documents and judge them harshly in light of his/her *understanding* of *previous* Church documents– a tendency I have seen on the part of the SSPX.

    When I returned to the Catholic Church, I had to fully accept the teaching authority of the Church as the *authoritative interpreter* of both Sacred Scripture *and* Sacred Tradition. My acceptance extended to that teaching authority’s interpretation of Vatican II.

    If the SSPX did not have a problem accepting the Pope’s and the Magisterium’s authoritative interpretation of Vatican II, then logically, it seems that they (the SSPX) would not even need to be in continuing talks with the Vatican on the matter.

  129. Christopher,

    It would be amazing to me if you were able to read *and* absorb “Lumen Gentium,” “Redemptoris Missio,” and the CDF’s “Doctrinal Note” all in one evening

    Oh, no! What I meant was that I would begin that very evening! I will take me at least a week or so to comb through all three! I am nearly finished with Lumen Gentium already.

    Thanks for the link to “Iota Unum.” In answer to your challenge, I will, indeed, read it in full. Honestly though, that will have to be a long-term project for me, one that will likely long outlast this particular conversation we are having in this thread. In paperback form, “Iota Unum” is an 816-page book!!

    Well I didnt want to waste my challenge! Iota Unam belongs in every Catholic library it is a work of genius and you learn so much about the Church. Very challenging read but oh-so-worth-it.

    I notice that you pointed me to the text of “Iota Unum” at an SSPX website. Out of curiosity, are you a member of an SSPX parish?

    No I am not. I attend an FSSP parish in Houston.

    Also concerning the SSX, in a 1988 letter to four of his bishops-elect, Archbishop Marcel Lefebrve made some very strong claims about “Rome.” Would you agree with these statements?

    I do not envy the SSPX but I do not condemn them either. Apb Lefebvre was a loyal son of the Church and IMO was never validly excommunicated a la Joan of Arc. He wrote the comments in question just a few short years after the bizaar Assisi prayer meetings and at the height of the novelties being pushed by Kasper and Co. (which, again, were completely unchecked by JP2). History will tell how this will all ultimately be remembered… Im withholding judgement on the entire affair. In recent years, the SSPX has been vindicated on quite a number of issues concerning the mass and the liturgy… we will see how far the pendelum continues to swing in their direction under Pope Francis. Unfortunately, recent comments by Bishop Fellay give the impression that they are gearing up for formal schism. I pray not.

    There are no *new* dogmatic teachings in the documents of Vatican II– but the SSPX apparently finds the VII *articulation* of at least *certain* Catholic truths, found in the documents, to be problematic

    Im not affiliated with the SSPX so i cant speak for them. However, on my view, if the magesterium insists that there are no *new* truths being defined then there is nothing stopping me from believing the exact same way people believed before the council was gathered.

    However, when Popes Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis have all spoken warmly and highly of Vatican II and its documents, it is logical to conclude that the faithful Catholic is not simply free to interpret the Vatican II documents and judge them harshly in light of his/her *understanding* of *previous* Church documents– a tendency I have seen on the part of the SSPX.

    This is false in every way imaginable. The last few Popes spoke warmly of V2 because they want desperately to save their legacy. Who wants to be remembered as being a part of the most disasterous ecumincal council in history? This idea that one can never resist the pope was borne out of the reformation and would have been absolutely foreign to any Catholic prior to that time. Did Paul not rebuke Peter to his face? According to current popular thought Paul was never free to do so! Did Athanasius not resist Liberius and the heretical eastern bishops? There ARE times when it is OK to call a Pope out on the carpet.

    When I returned to the Catholic Church, I had to fully accept the teaching authority of the Church as the *authoritative interpreter* of both Sacred Scripture *and* Sacred Tradition. My acceptance extended to that teaching authority’s interpretation of Vatican II.

    If the SSPX did not have a problem accepting the Pope’s and the Magisterium’s authoritative interpretation of Vatican II, then logically, it seems that they (the SSPX) would not even need to be in continuing talks with the Vatican on the matter.

    If that is the case then you would have agreed with Cardinal Kasper and O’Connor whenever their thought was the dominant one and then would have had to change your mind once it became clear the Chrch wasnt going in that direction. This is exactly what Im talking about when I say that neocatholicsm amounts to legal positivism. The Latin mass is bad/ oh wait no it was never abrogated! SSPX are schismatics/oh no they are just in an abnormal canonical state! You agree with the translation of “pro multis” then you disagree. For a neocatholic orthodoxy is ALWAYS in flux. Whatever the Pope of the moment likes is the new rule of faith. Thats crazy talk. Like it or not Christopher we converted during a time of extreme crises! We dont get to enjoy a new spring time of flowers and daisies! Time to leave the revolt (protestantism) and join the reform! (traditionalists) This is the era we were born into. Is it a pretty depressing reality? Yup. But its better than a neocatholic wonderland.

  130. Kenneth,

    In your most recent comment, you have descended to personal insults toward me and other people whom *you* believe to be “neocatholics.” You don’t have to condescendingly tell me that it’s time to “leave the revolt (Protestantism)…” Kenneth, I left it when I returned to the Catholic Church and submitted to her teaching authority. I am neither a “neocatholic” nor a so-called “traditionalist” of your understanding. I am a Catholic who holds to the hermeneutic of continuity which, despite your earlier assertion, has been taught by every single Pope from John XXIII to Pope Francis (though the term itself was coined more recently).

    I am a “traditionalist,” simply because I am a Catholic who seeks to think with the mind of the Church. However, I am not about to “join the reform (traditionalists),” of which you speak. In the way that you and many other people, in my experience, articulate it, it is honestly not attractive at all. It smacks of an arrogant, Protestant-tinged form of Catholicism in which one and one’s “traditionalist” friends negatively assess all other Catholics, including the last five Popes and the current one, to be supposedly corrupted by “neocatholicism.” That is the true “crazy talk” here. This will be my last post in this discussion.

  131. Christopher,

    I am so sorry to hear that I came off as offensive! When I read your comments i went back and read what I wrote because I had no intention of coming off as offensive or insulting! I thought that I had already explained earlier that I love all my neocatholic friends! I’m not using that term as a derogatory term anymore than I would think “traditionalist” is derogatory. Also, I wasn’t condescendingly telling you to leave the revolt! I was trying to illustrate what it feels like to leave a reformed background only to find the Church is in need of reform! Its just sort of ironic and funny. I’m sorry again Chris I didn’t mean to offend you, hope you read this!

  132. Kenneth,

    Thanks for your apology, brother. It is accepted. I understand that you didn’t mean to come off as offensive in your previous reply to me. I

    know some of how you must feel, leaving a Reformed background and coming into the Catholic Church. I, myself, returned to the Church from years of being a “Reformed Baptist.” You seemed shocked to come into the Church and find that she was in need of reform herself. I don’t know why this would shock you though, if you have studied the long and often difficult history of the Church– including the fact that, historically, problems which Church Councils were called to address were sometimes worse, for a while, *after* the Councils than before them! The period after Vatican II provides simply another example of this in a 2,000-year history. Yes, it’s a crisis. The Church has always had them though– including in the decades before Vatican II, which to you, apparently seems
    be a virtual “golden age” of the Church. Such was not the case– at all.

    Some self-styled “traditionalists” and their writings strive to give a different impression. I know, because I’ve read and heard them. “The Church was so strong before Vatican II! There was no need for a theological or ecclesiological approach to anything! The Council was a mistake, and the post-conciliar years have been the proof of it!”

    Again, in the interest of historical honesty, the Church needed serious reform well before Vatican II. The more that one studies the VII documents themselves, and the more that one studies the writings and speeches of the Popes since Vatican II, the need for the Council can be clearly seen.

    I understand that, in light of the ongoing problems in the Church today, it seems to you that the Council was a mistake and a failure, and that we should just attempt to move on and act as if it never happened. However, the last five Popes and the current one clearly disagree with you there. I encourage you to read their writings, which often cite Vatican II documents. Of course, I encourage you to continue to study the VII documents themselves.

    Some self-styled “traditionalists” (I’m not referring to you here!) seem to approach the VII documents in the same spirit that anti-Catholic Protestants often approach the Catholic Church. “Ok, I’ll study and do research on them… *so* I can show how they are problematic (or, possibly, in need of outright refutation)!” You seem to be more open-minded than some traditionalists in your willingness to read the VII documents in a spirit of receptivity. As your Catholic brother in Christ, I encourage that spirit of receptivity– but more importantly, the last five Popes and the current one encourage it, from what they have written and said. They are worth heeding, much more than I am.

    If you do read and study the VII documents though, and the post-Vatican II writings of the Popes, and you *still* think that the Council was a mistake, and that the way forward for the Church is to think and act as if the Council never happened– why not attempt to get in touch with the Pope and talk about it (if you haven’t already done so)? I’m being perfectly serious here. This Pope has actually called Catholic laypeople and has answered e-mails from them. If, after studying the Vatican II documents in a spirit of receptivity, you still believe that the Council should never have happened, and that those who hold to the hermeneutic of continuity are mistaken, and that Pope Francis and the preceding five Popes are “neocatholics”– I encourage you to contact the Pope. If he answers, it could be an amazing and fascinating discussion!

    One last thought: I understand that you didn’t mean to offend me if your previous reply. In the spirit of brother-to-brother discussion though, I ask you that you go back and read that last reply to me again, and please try to hear how it sounded to me. From what you write, you believe that you and other similarly-minded Catholics are the Catholic traditionalists, while, in your view, I and others who hold to the hermeneutic of continuity are “neocatholics.” Again, this would seem to include Blessed John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, and all of the Popes since Vatican II. Can you see, in that light, how the “neocatholic” characterization is *deeply* offensive to me and many other Catholics?

    I am a traditionalist, *because* I am a Catholic– and not a “lip-service Catholic” who doesn’t care about what the Church teaches. I returned to the Church from Calvinisitic Protestantism. I fully accept the Church’s teaching authority on both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition– an acceptance which has cost me the friendships of almost all my Reformed friends and earned me many rebukes and even more shunning! My respect for the Church’s teaching authority extends to the Vatican II documents and the writings of the post-VII Popes on the hermeneutic of continuity. When I returned to the Church, I gave up the Protestant concept of the “right” to interpret either Scripture *or* Tradition outside of the teaching authority of the Church. That *makes* me a Catholic traditionalist!! 🙂

    Last thought– can you understand how the term “neocatholic” sounds to me like a slur (even if an unintentional slur!), akin to “Romanist,” which some Protestants use to characterize both you *and* me?

  133. P.S. Sorry for the typing mistakes, Kenneth. Still in physical pain here and trying to type and read carefully.. sorry for the mistakes.

  134. Christopher,

    Thanks for your apology, brother. It is accepted

    it was from the heart man, I am sorry. I’m sort of loud and confrontational in a good natured kind of way in person…. Comes off like an A-Hole on the keyboard. I’ll be more careful in the future.

    You seemed shocked to come into the Church and find that she was in need of reform herself. I don’t know why this would shock you though, if you have studied the long and often difficult history of the Church– including the fact that, historically, problems which Church Councils were called to address were sometimes worse, for a while, *after* the Councils than before them! The period after Vatican II provides simply another example of this in a 2,000-year history.

    So true! They say that Church historians are the last to despair in times of crises! One could be reminded of Jesus words during the storm out at sea “O you of little faith”. It is good to remember never to despair no matter how things may look at the moment.

    “The Church was so strong before Vatican II! There was no need for a theological or ecclesiological approach to anything! The Council was a mistake, and the post-conciliar years have been the proof of it!”

    Again, in the interest of historical honesty, the Church needed serious reform well before Vatican II.

    Needed serious reform? I have heard this asserted before but I have never seen it backed up. Could you please provide me with some concrete statistical facts that show the Church was in need of reform? I don’t see how anyone could dispute that the Catholic Church had been flourishing before Vatican II. Pope John XXIII commented prior to the council describing the Church as “the Church of Christ, which is still so vibrant with vitality.” (Humanæ Salutis, Dec. 25,1961.) Now, instead of “vibrant with vitality” we have “continuing process of decay,” (Cardinal Ratzinger) “collapse of the liturgy,” (Cardinal Ratzinger), “silent apostasy” (Pope John Paul II), and “so many disasters, so many problems, so much suffering: seminaries closed, convents closed, the liturgy trivialized” (Pope Benedict XVI) (I was hoping I would get the chance to use those quotes in proper context. Score!)

    I understand that, in light of the ongoing problems in the Church today, it seems to you that the Council was a mistake and a failure, and that we should just attempt to move on and act as if it never happened. However, the last five Popes and the current one clearly disagree with you there. I encourage you to read their writings, which often cite Vatican II documents. Of course, I encourage you to continue to study the VII documents themselves.

    I’m not sure that they do disagree with me. Keep in mind Christopher that I am not arguing for an invalid council. I’m not arguing for actual errors being in the documents themselves. Whenever V2 represents infallible catholic truth I think that’s wonderful. Lets take the council away from the liberals and make it ours! the hermeneutic of continuity is the way to accomplish this. But what does that mean Christopher? if nothing new was defined and we are placing the documents in the context of previous Church teaching then *how could that still entail drastic change*? That’s key. I propose a complete return to the old ways. (refraining from saying complete return to Tradition) I propose that there is nothing stopping us from doing so.If you disagree with those two propositions I have yet to learn why! You keep on telling me you think its a mistake to pretend the council never happened…. And then you say you want a hermeneutic of continuity… What change does this hermeneutic entail? That’s the critical point! I don’t see how we can have it both ways? If we want to say V2 brought no new definitions/only represented what the Church has always taught then what is all the fuss about?

  135. Christopher,

    From what you write, you believe that you and other similarly-minded Catholics are the Catholic traditionalists, while, in your view, I and others who hold to the hermeneutic of continuity are “neocatholics.”

    A neocatholic is a completely orthodox and faithful roman catholic. They represent the “new conservatives” of the Church. A “traditionalist” is someone who advocates that the solution to the Church is crises is the return of everything that was “updated” by the council to the way it was previously. Ferrera describes them as “those who just went on practicing the faith of their fathers after the council”. We are not contrasting heretics with saints here. Just two different views that are both completely orthodox. I think a hermenuitic of continuity is fantastic!!!! But what does that entail? That’s where the disagreement may be. I say not one jot or tittle has changed and everything that has is completely unbinding and pastoral in nature. You say….. What? What change do you think this hermeneutic of continuity brings?

    Can you see, in that light, how the “neocatholic” characterization is *deeply* offensive to me and many other Catholics?

    .

    yes I can and I am very sorry for not being more clear. I don’t want to use that as a derogatory term but merely as a descriptive one that is helpful in distinguishing our two views. If you have alternative language that is equally helpful in making that distinction I will happily use those instead! Sorry, again.

  136. Kenneth,

    I’m sorry, again, for taking so long to reply, brother. These chronic pain issues just aren’t letting up for me, and they have kept me from doing many things that I would have liked to do recently… as I remind myself to offer up the suffering!

    You are absolutely justified in wanting details from me, concerning my statement that the Church needed “serious reform” in the decades leading up to Vatican II. One relevant detail which a friend of mine brought up, last night, actually, is that the Oath Against Modernism well predated Vatican II, and that, if the Church in the early 20th century had been as healthy as she *appeared* in certain visible ways, then the Oath would not have been necessary! The fact is, though, that Modernism and other errors had long been problems within the Church, before Vatican II, and even before the 20th century. Vatican II was called, partially, because the work of the *FIrst* Vatican Council was not finished. The following article is lengthy, but it’s worth reading, because it gives an honest view of the problem of Modernism in the early 20th-century Church (showing that there were serious theological issues to be addressed, beneath a *seemingly* calm and relatively problem-free surface in the Church): http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3142

    There were also serious problems of personal understanding and practice of the Catholic faith that needed to be addressed among the laity and the clergy in the Church in the decades before Vatican II. Now, I can imagine many people balking at this statement, given the all-too-often lamentable state of catechesis *following* Vatican II (a reality that I do not deny, and that, in fact, I have experienced personally!), but the *misimplementation* of Vatican II, in many quarters in the Church, does not negate the *positive, orthodox revitalizing* of Catholic lay life for which the Council was partially intended!

    In light of the post-Vatican II silliness in the Church, this may be hard for us 40-and-under people to understand, but it apparently was the opinion and experience of some in the Church (including John XXIII) that, leading up to Vatican II, the “faith life” of many laypeople was in need of a revitalization, *and* that the Church needed to address certain problems in the 20th-century world that had led many laypeople to have an unduly pessimistic view of how to relate, as Catholics, to the modern world.

    To this end, Vatican II promoted a greater posture of open engagement with the world (especially by the laity) than was found in the preceding decades, *not* compromising the historic Catholic faith (again, read the VII documents themselves for the proof), but also moving beyond a certain kind of ossified “fortress mentality” that had begun to be noticeable in the Church before Vatican II. Blessed (soon-t0-to-be Saint!) John XXIII’s thinking was that the Church, including the laity, needed to be more openly “missionary” in spirit in regard to the truth and hope of Catholicism to the modern world at that time. Unfortunately, misinformed and goaded on by the American, and larger Western, media of the 1960s, and by some of their not-so-well-catechized (apparently!) colleagues, many priests, nuns, and bishops mistook this *Catholic call from the Pope* for a greater missionary engagement with the world to be an actual call for bringing “the spirit of the modern world” into the Church in a decidedly non-historically-Catholic way! However, this is *not* what Blessed John XXIII and Pope Paul VI intended with the Council, and, again, it is not what one finds when one reads the Church documents from those years!

    Consider this. Not too long ago, during his reign as Pope, Benedict XVI observed that Vatican II had not really even begun to be implemented in most Catholic parishes. What, then, exactly *had* been implemented in most parishes for the last fifty years?? In the thinking of the Pope, it was, obviously, not the *true* spirit of Vatican II, found in the documents themselves, but a spirit that was decidedly different than Vatican II, while *claiming* the name and spirit of the Council.

    According to Benedict XVI, the true, good fruits of Vatican II have just now really *begun* to be reaped. These fruits are found in many places all over the world. They are found in reverent Latin Masses *and* reverent Masses in the vernacular, the latter of which I attend every week at my parish. http://www.silverspringcatholic.com/ Our Masses are mostly in English, but there is also Latin and Greek, and there is traditional liturgical music. The fruits of Vatican II are found in personal prelatures such as Opus Dei, which did not exist, as it is now, before the Council. The fruits of Vatican II are found at websites such as “Called to Communion,” the Catholic-Reformed dialogue site which played a crucial role in leading me back to the Church. Prior to Vatican II, lay, and even some clergy, Catholics and Protestants engaged in much mutual suspicion and condemnation, but *not* a great amount of serious dialogue. Read the book, “Is the Reformation Over?” for more on *that* reality!

    Also, I mentioned this much earlier in our discussion, but from reports that I have heard and read, prior to Vatican II, in the early 20th century and even before then, it was utterly commonplace for many members of the laity to come to Mass and simply pray the Rosary, only “snapping to attention*, so to speak, when the time came to receive the Eucharist. That is an extreme of non-participation in the Mass by the laity, and it was one which, apparently, was quite widespread before Vatican II.

    Now, at the *other* extreme, believe me, I am no fan of ridiculous post-Vatican II “liturgical innovations,” supposedly intended to *encourage* participation by the laity– such as rock bands at Mass and people dancing up and down the pew aisles. These things are distortions and debasements of the liturgy. However, if one reads the official Vatican II and post-Vatican II documents on the liturgy, these “innovations” are nowhere to be found! Seriously, the documents are quite traditional! I particularly commend certain ones to you, if you haven’t already read them. For example, there is “Musicam Sacram” from 1967: http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_instr_19670305_musicam-sacram_en.html

    I want to leave one last link here, with apologies for giving you so much to read! If you want a really helpful and detailed view of specific reasons as to why Blessed John XXII called Vatican II, and why it was *needed* in the Church (in a more detailed way than I have space and time to provide here), please carefully read this article (even the parts that may not seem related at first glance): http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/history/world/wh0090.html

    I stand by my promise to buy and read “Iota Unum” too! I will read some of it at the link you provided, but I’ll also buy a paperback copy, which, given my pain issues, will be easier reading for me than long hours spent at my computer. In that vein, thanks for reading my lengthy comments here and the documents and articles to which I’ve linked, as you are able! God bless, brother! 🙂

  137. P.S. Kenneth,

    I forgot to address the issue of the terms “traditionalist” and “neocatholic.” In my view, as one becomes increasingly familiar and conversant with the *actual contents of the Vatican II documents*, there is no need for such terms, because it becomes clear that the documents have legitimate continuity with Catholic Tradition. You and I are both traditionalists, in that we are both Catholics who care about Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Pope and Magisterium’s authoritative role in interpreting them. Therefore, I don’t think that there is any need to have the term, “traditionalist,” for you, and/or “neocatholic,” for me. We are Catholics!

  138. Christopher,

    Thank you for the information and also all the great links. Unfortunately, I just noticed that the sspx does not make iota unam available in its entirety but, rather, skips all around for whatever reason. I would just read the paperback if I were you and enjoy one of the greatest catholic works of the 20th century. I will be keeping you in my prayers! Get healthy my friend!

  139. Thanks so much for your prayers, Kenneth! (I need them!) I will get the paperback of “Iota Unum!” Thank you for the discussion! God bless, brother!

  140. +JMJ+

    Kenneth,

    Material like Iota Unam reminds me of precisely how the Neo-Thomists (or more accurately, the strong current of Integralism which had permeated the theological establishment [and which had just happened to be Neo-Thomist]) contributed to the tension that led to the Conciliar crisis. Now, I don’t mean to say that Iota Unam doesn’t contain its own measure of truth, because I certainly believe that it does. But breezing through the material on your link, I found myself alternately nodding and shaking my head. Though I’ve long supported the SSPX’s mission and praxis as a practical antidote to the postconciliar chaos, I think that much of their rhetoric is occasionally smug, at best, and outright divisive, at worst.

    This Theological Integralism (the inability of theology to recognize its own limits, its own provisional character), along with the insinuation and suspicion and division which it foments, is a form of ideological absolutism (a mode of idolatry). An ‘ideolatry’ (or, in this case, a ‘theolatry’).

    The Church simply need to come to terms with the destructive nature of this Integralist tendency. This would not require (and certainly should preclude) the dissolution of the Aristotelio-Thomistic noetic. However, it would require us to acknowledge its own limits. If Catholics could increasingly come to terms with this, then the Church could more smoothly move forward in humility.

    Here is an excellent article which illuminates the issues raised by de Lubac and which doesn’t ignore the problematics of his systematic (as all orthodox theologies have problematics, due to their core of indeterminacy/incompleteness).

    http://www.ts.mu.edu/readers/content/pdf/69/69.3/69.3.2.pdf

    Hope that you find this helpful.

  141. Wosbold,

    Material like Iota Unam reminds me of precisely how the Neo-Thomists (or more accurately, the strong current of Integralism which had permeated the theological establishment [and which had just happened to be Neo-Thomist]) contributed to the tension that led to the Conciliar crisis.

    Can you provide a positive case that neothomistic integralism led to the current crises? Keeping in mind the fact that the Church was healthy up until the thomistic manuals were abandoned and also that traditional thomistic parishes around the good are still flourishing with the youth leading the charge and the alternatives are decayings rapidly…

    Now, I don’t mean to say that Iota Unam doesn’t contain its own measure of truth, because I certainly believe that it does. But breezing through the material on your link, I found myself alternately nodding and shaking my head. Though I’ve long supported the SSPX’s mission and praxis as a practical antidote to the postconciliar chaos, I think that much of their rhetoric is occasionally smug, at best, and outright divisive, at worst.

    what did you not agree with in your skimming? I agree that the SSPX can be divisive and smug. The language they use can be way over the top. I am not affiliated with them and I attend an FSSP parish. The only difference between the two as far as I can tell is one group actively defies common interpretations of V2 and the other just pretends the council never happened (which I happen to think is the medicine to the Churchs sickness)

    Whatever you qualms with A/T thought it can not be denied that this noetic seems to be the best for the Church and her overall health. A quick survey of history and the thriving parishes of the present are evidence of that!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

wordpress visitor