Friday, July 29, 2011

St. Thomas on Ecumenism

Share/Bookmark The following is what can be found in St. Thomas' works on ecumenism:

The 'Moderate' Cardinal Bea on Inerrancy in Dei Verbum 11

From Augustin Cardinal Bea, The Word of God and Mankind (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1967), pp. 188-190.

An earlier schema (the third in succession) said that the sacred books teach 'truth without error'. The following schema, the fourth, inspired by words of St. Augustine, added the adjective 'saving', so that the text asserted that the Scriptures taught 'firmly, faithfully, wholly and without error the saving truth.' In the voting which followed one hundred and eighty-four council fathers asked for the adjective 'saving' to be removed, because they feared it might lead to misunderstandings, as if the inerrancy of Scripture referred only to matters of faith and morality, whereas there might be error in the treatment of other matters. The Holy Father, to a certain extent sharing this anxiety, decided to ask the Commission to consider whether it would not be better to omit the adjective, as it might lead to some misunderstanding. 

Does the inerrancy asserted in this document cover also the account of these historical events? [...]  For my own part I think that this question must be answered affirmatively, that is, that these 'background' events also are described without error. In fact, we declare in general that there is no limit set to this inerrancy, and that it applies to all that the inspired writer, and therefore all that the Holy Spirit by his means, affirms.... This thought, which re-occurs in various forms in the recent documents of the Magisterium of the Church (cf. E.B. 124, 279, 450 et seq., 539 et seq., 559) is here clearly understood in a sense which excludes the possibility of the Scriptures containing any statement contrary to the reality of the facts. In particular, these documents of the Magisterium require us to recognize that Scripture gives a true account of events, naturally not in the sense that it always offers a complete and scientifically studied account, but in the sense that what is asserted in Scripture - even if it does not offer a complete picture - never contradicts the reality of the fact. If therefore the Council had wished to introduce here a new conception, different from that presented in these recent documents of the supreme teaching authority, which reflects the beliefs of the early fathers, it would have had to state this clearly and explicitly. Let us now ask whether there may be any indications to suggest such a restricted interpretation of inerrancy. The answer is decidedly negative. There is not the slightest sign of any such indication. On the contrary everything points against a restrictive interpretation.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Council of Basle on the Vacant Apostolic See During a Council

580th Anniversary the Opening of the Council of Basle, July 25, 1431 (17th Ecumenical Council)

[If the apostolic see becomes vacant while the council is in progress, the election may not be held outside the council]'

The holy general synod of Basel, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit, representing the universal church, bears in mind that it pertains to the duty of providence to foresee the future with clear-sighted consideration and to take wholesome steps against what could bring harm to the common good. The synod is intent upon the extirpation of heresies, peace among the people of Christ and the reformation of morals, with the grace of the holy Spirit, as is really necessary in view of the present situation. It has summoned the venerable fathers in Christ, the cardinals of the holy Roman church, to this sacred council, convinced that their presence at it is fruitful in many ways in view of their authority, wisdom and knowledge of affairs. If, then, as obedient sons they are coming to the council when the apostolic see falls vacant elsewhere, such a situation would redound to the benefit of the church but the obedient cardinals would be serving the council to their own disadvantage, whereas everyone knows that obedience should bring with it not disadvantage but an increase of benefit and honour. Lest disobedience may seem to be to the advantage of some who fail to come, this holy synod, with purposeful anticipation and for the above and other reasons which can and should motivate a prudent mind establishes, decrees and defines that, in the event of a vacancy of the apostolic see while this sacred council is in progress, the election of the supreme pontiff shall be held in the place of this sacred council, and it forbids it to be held elsewhere. The synod also decrees that any attempt against this by any authority whatsoever, be it even papal, notwithstanding any constitutions issued or to be issued or anything else acting to the contrary, even if there should be special mention in so many words or a confirmation on oath, which the synod rejects with full knowledge, is null and void and of no force or importance by law; and that those who attempt such things shall be disqualified in both active and passive voice with respect to the election of a Roman pontiff and for every other dignity, and deprived perpetually of all dignities which they hold, and shall automatically incur the mark of infamy as well as sentence of excommunication. If any such pretended election should be attempted, then both the one allegedly elected and his supporters as well as those who treat him as elected incur in the same way the above-mentioned penalties. The said synod reserves to itself, except at the moment of death, absolution of everyone who in any way shall incur the said sentences or any one of them. It declares that the present decree shall bind and come into force after forty days following its publication.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Meet the Doctors: St. Laurence of Brindisi

On the Feast of St. Laurence of Brindisi, OFM, Cap., Confessor and Doctor (July 21)
From Catholic Encyclopedia, "St. Lorenzo da Brindisi"

(Also: Lawrence, or Laurence, of Brindisi.)

Born at Brindisi in 1559; died at Lisbon on 22 July, 1619. In baptism he received the names of Julius Caesar. Guglielmo de Rossi — or Guglielmo Russi, according to a contemporary writer — was his father's name; his mother was Elisabetta Masella. Both were excellent Christians. Of a precocious piety, Lorenzo gave early evidence of a religious vocation. The Conventuals of Brindisi were entrusted with his education. His progress in his studies was very rapid, and, when barely six, he had already given indication of his future success in oratory. Consequently, he was always the one chosen to address, in accordance with the Italian custom, a short sermon to his compatriots on the Infant Jesus during the Christmas festivities. When he was twelve years of age his father died. He then pursued his studies at Venice with the clerics of St. Mark's and under the supervision of one of his uncles. In 1575 he was received into the Order of Capuchins under the name of Brother Lorenzo, and, after his profession, made his philosophical and theological studies at the University of Padua. Owing to his wonderful memory he mastered not only the principal European languages, but also most of the Semitic tongues. It was said he knew the entire original text of the Bible. Such a knowledge, in the eyes of many, could be accounted for only by supernatural assistance, and, during the process of beatification, the examiners of the saint's writings rendered the following judgment: "Vere inter sanctos Ecclesiae doctores adnumerari potest."

Such unusual talents, added to a rare virtue, fitted Brother Lorenzo for the most diverse missions. When still a deacon he preached the Lenten sermons in Venice, and his success was so great that he was called successively to all the principal cities of the peninsula. Subsequently, thanks to his numerous journeys, he was enabled to evangelize at different periods most of the countries of Europe. The sermons he left fill no less than eight folio volumes. He adopted the method of preaching in favour with the great Franciscan missionaries, or rather with apostolic workers of all times, who, aiming primarily to reach men's hearts and convert them, always adapt their style of discourse to the spiritual needs of their hearers. Brother Lorenzo held successively all the offices of his order. From 1596 to 1602 he had, as general definitor, to fix his residence in Rome. Clement VIII assigned him the task of instructing the Jews; thanks to his knowledge of Hebrew and his powerful reasoning, he brought a great number of them to recognize the truth of the Christian religion. His saintliness, combined with his great kindliness, completed the preparing of the way for the grace of conversion. His success in Rome caused him to be called to several other cities, where he also baptized numerous Jews. At the same time he was commissioned to establish houses of his order in Germany and Austria. Amid the great difficulties created by the heretics he founded the convents of Vienna, Prague, and Graz, the nuclei of three provinces. At the chapter of 1602 he was elected vicar-general. (At that time the Order of Capuchins, which had broken away from the Observants in 1528 and had an independent constitution, gave its first superior the title of vicar-general only. It was not until 1618 that Pope Paul V changed it to that of minister general). The very year of his election the new superior began the visitation of the provinces. Milan, Paris, Marseilles, Spain, received him in turn. As his coming was preceded by a great reputation for holiness, the people flocked to hear him preach and to receive his blessing. His administration characterized by wise firmness and fatherly tenderness, was of great benefit to the order. At the Chapter of 1605 he refused to undertake for a second term the government of his brethren, but until his death he was the best adviser of his successors.

It was on the occasion of the foundation of the convent of Prague (1601) that St. Lorenzo was named chaplain of the Imperial army, then about to march against the Turks. The victory of Lepanto (1571) had only temporarily checked the Moslem invasion, and several battles were still necessary to secure the final triumph of the Christian armies. Mohammed III had, since his accession (1595), conquered a large part of Hungary. The emperor, determined to prevent a further advance, sent Lorenzo of Brindisi as deputy to the German princes to obtain their cooperation. They responded to his appeal, and moreover the Duke of Mercœur, Governor of Brittany, joined the imperial army, of which he received the effective command. The attack on Albe-Royal (now Stulweissenburg) was then contemplated. To pit 18,000 men against 80,000 Turks was a daring undertaking and the generals, hesitating to attempt it, appealed to Lorenzo for advice. Holding himself responsible for victory, he communicated to the entire army in a glowing speech the ardour and confidence with which he was himself animated. As his feebleness prevented him from marching, he mounted on horseback and, crucifix in hand, took the lead of the army, which he drew irresistibly after him. Three other Capuchins were also in the ranks of the army. Although the most exposed to danger, Lorenzo was not wounded, which was universally regarded as due to a miraculous protection. The city was finally taken, and the Turks lost 30,000 men. As however they still exceeded in numbers the Christian army, they formed their lines anew, and a few days later another battle was fought. It always the chaplain who was at the head of the army. "Forward!" he cried, showing them the crucifix, "Victory is ours." The Turks were again defeated, and the honour of this double victory was attributed by the general and the entire army to Lorenzo.

Having resigned his office of vicar-general in 1605, he was sent by the pope to evangelize Germany. He here confirmed the faith of the Catholics, brought back a great number to the practice of virtue, and converted many heretics. In controversies his vast learning always gave him the advantage, and, once he had won the minds of his hearers, his saintliness and numerous miracles completed their conversion. To protect the Faith more efficaciously in their states, the Catholic princes of Germany formed the alliance called the "Catholic League". Emperor Rudolph sent Lorenzo to Philip III of Spain to persuade him to join the League. Having discharged this mission successfully, the saintly ambassador received a double mandate by virtue of which he was to represent the interests of the pope and of Madrid at the court of Maximilian of Bavaria, head of the League. He was thus, much against his wishes, compelled to settle in Munich near Maximilian. Besides being nuncio and ambassador, Lorenzo was also commissary general of his order for the provinces of Tyrol and Bavaria, and spiritual director of the Bavarian army. He was also chosen as arbitrator in the dispute which arose between the princes, and it was in fulfillment of this role that, at the request of the emperor, he restored harmony between the Duke of Mantua and a German nobleman. In addition to all these occupations he undertook, with the assistance of several Capuchins, a missionary campaign throughout Germany, and for eight months travelled in Bavaria, Saxony, and the Palatinate.

Amid so many various undertakings Lorenzo found time for the practices of personal sanctification. And it is perhaps the greatest marvel of his life to have combined with duties so manifold an unusually intense inner life. In the practice of the religious virtues St. Lorenzo equals the greatest saints. He had to a high degree the gift of contemplation, and very rarely celebrated Holy Mass without falling into ecstasies. After the Holy Sacrifice, his great devotion was the Rosary and the Office of the Blessed Virgin. As in the case of St. Francis of Assisi, there was something poetical about his piety, which often burst forth into canticles to the Blessed Virgin. It was in Mary's name that he worked his miracles, and his favourite blessing was: "Nos cum prole pia benedicat Virgo Maria." Having withdrawn to the monastery of Caserta in 1618, Lorenzo was hoping to enjoy a few days of seclusion, when he was requested by the leading men of Naples to go to Spain and apprise Philip III of the conduct of Viceroy Ossuna. In spite of many obstacles raised by the latter, the saint sailed from Genoa and carried out his mission successfully. But the fatigues of the journey exhausted his feeble strength. He was unable to travel homeward, and after a few days of great suffering died at Lisbon in the native land of St. Anthony (22 July, 1619), as he had predicted when he set out on his journey. He was buried in the cemetery of the Poor Clares of Villafranca.

The process of beatification, several times interrupted by various circumstances, was concluded in 1783. The canonization took place on 8 December, 1881. With St. Anthony, St. Bonaventure, and Blessed John Duns Scotus, he is a Doctor of the Franciscan Order.

The known writings of St. Lorenzo of Brindisi comprise eight volumes of sermons, two didactic treatises on oratory, a commentary on Genesis, another on Ezechiel, and three volumes of religious polemics. Most of his sermons are written in Italian, the other works being in Latin. The three volumes of controversies have notes in Greek and Hebrew.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Garrigou-Lagrange on Baptism of Desire


From Garrigou-Lagrange's Our Savior and His Love for Us, p. 6 (snapshot from the ITOPL file).


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Don Paco Needs Your Research: Latin Indirect Discourse


Dear latinists and Latin lovers,

(Not that kind of "latin lovers"...), I need your help. Can you think of a good, paragraph-long text from any ecclesiastical Latin source that uses indirect discourse many times, using especially the accusative + infinitive construction, and preferably with different tenses of the infinitive, and with both voices (active and passive)? Please post suggestions in the comments section below.

Thanks in advance.

In Christo Rege,


"Let us permit a Saint to labour for a Saint."


-St. Thomas Aquinas, speaking of his friend Bonaventure upon finding him engaged in writing the life of St. Francis of Assisi.

Acta of St. Bonaventure, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church (taken from Matins of his Feast).
Online Source:

Lesson iv

The town of Bagnorea (now called Bagnoreggio) in Tuscany,
where St. Bonaventure was born in 1221
Bonaventúra, Balneorégii in Etrúria natus, a letháli morbo adhuc puer, beáti Francísci précibus, cujus religióni, si convaluísset, voto matris dicátus fúerat, evásit incólumis.  Itaque adoléscens, fratrum Minórum institútum amplécti vóluit, in quo ad eam doctrinæ præstántium Alexándro de Ales magístro pervénit, ut séptimo post anno Parísiis magistérii láuream adéptus, libros Sententiárum públice summa cum laude sit interpretátus, quos étiam præcláris póstea commentáriis illustrávit.  Nec sciéntiæ solum eruditióne, sed et morum integritáte vitæque innocéntia, humilitáte, mansuetúdine, terrenárum rerum contémptu et cæléstium desidério mirífice excélluit ; dignus plane, qui tamquam perfectiónis exémplar haberétur, et a beáto Thoma Aquináte, cui summa caritáte conjúnctus erat, sanctus appellarétur.  Is enim, cum sancti Francísci vitam illum scribéntem comperísset : Sinámus, ait, Sanctum pro Sancto laboráre.
Bonaventure was born at Bagnorea in Tuscany.  In his infancy he was dangerously ill, and his mother made a vow that, if he recovered, she would dedicate him to the Order of Blessed Francis.  While he was still a young man he entered the Order by his own wish.  Under the teaching of Alexander of Hales he advanced so quickly in learning, that in seven years he lectured publicly at Paris on the Books of the Sentences, with great applause.  He afterwards explained the same Books by a brilliant Commentary.  He was distinguished, not only for the profundity of his learning, but for the integrity of his morals, the innocency of his life, his humility, meekness, contempt of earthly things, and desire of heavenly treasures ; and was fully worthy to be regarded as a model of perfection, and to be called a saint by blessed Thomas Aquinas, to whom he was united by ties of the closest friendship.  For Thomas, finding Bonaventure engaged in writing the life of St. Francis, said : Let us permit a Saint to labour for a Saint.
V.  Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.
R.  Deo grátias.
V.  But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R.  Thanks be to God.
R.  Invéni David servum meum, óleo sancto meo unxi eum : * Manus enim mea auxiliábitur ei.
V.  Nihil profíciet inimícus in eo, et fílius iniquitátis non nocébit ei.
R.  Manus enim mea auxiliábitur ei.
R.  I have found David my servant, with my holy oil have I anointed him. * My hand shall hold him fast.
V.  The enemy shall not be able to do him violence ; the son of wickedness shall not hurt him.
R.  My hand shall hold him fast.

V.  Jube domne, (Dómine) benedícere.
V.  Vouchsafe, Reverend Father (O Lord), thy blessing.
Benedíctio 5: Christus perpétuæ det nobis gáudia vitæ.R.  Amen.
Benediction 5: May Christ bestow upon us the joys of life eternal.
R.  Amen.
Lesson v
Divíni amóris flamma succénsus, erga Christi Dómini passiónem, quam júgiter meditabátur, ac Deíparam Vírginem, cui se totum devóverat, singulári ferebátur pietátis afféctu ; quem in áliis étiam verbo et exémplo excitáre, scriptísque opúsculis augére summópere stúduit.  Hinc illa morum suávitas, grátia sermónis et cáritas in omnes effúsa, qua singulórum ánimos sibi arctíssime devinciébat.  Quam ob rem, vix quinque et trigínta annos natus, Romæ summo ómnium consénsu generális órdinis miníster eléctus est ; susceptúmque munus per duodevigínti annos admirábili prudéntia gessit ac laude sanctitátis.  Plura constítuit regulári disciplínæ et amplificándo órdini utília ; quem una cum áliis ordínibus mendicántibus advérsus obtrectatórum calúmnias felíciter propugnávit.
He was consumed with the flame of divine love, and had a special feeling of devotion to the Passion of Christ the Lord, which was the subject of constant meditation to him ; and to the Virgin Mother of God, to whose service he vowed himself ; and this devotion he strove also to arouse in others both by word and example, and he laboured to spread it by his writings and treatises.  And so came that sweetness of manner, grace of speech, and the charity which he extended to all, by which he completely and utterly conquered every soul.  Wherefore, when only thirty-five years of age he was elected, at Rome, by unanimous consent, Minister General of the Order ; and having accepted the office, he fulfilled it for eighteen years with admirable prudence and the recognition of his sanctity.  He made many rules, useful for regular discipline and the increase of the order ; which, together with the other mendicant orders, he defended successfully against the calumnies of their enemies.
V.  Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.
R.  Deo grátias.
V.  But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R.  Thanks be to God.

St. Clare and St. Bonaventure
R.  Pósui adjutórium super poténtem, et exaltávi eléctum de plebe mea : * Manus enim mea auxiliábitur ei.
V.  Invéni David servum meum, óleo sancto meo unxi eum.
R.  Manus enim mea auxiliábitur ei.
R.  I have laid help upon one that is mighty, I have exalted one chosen out of the people. * My hand shall hold him fast.V.  I have found David, my servant, with my holy oil have I anointed him.
R.  My hand shall hold him fast.

V.  Jube domne, (Dómine) benedícere.
V.  Vouchsafe, Reverend Father (O Lord), thy blessing.
Benedíctio 6: Ignem sui amóris accéndat Deus in córdibus nostris.
R.  Amen.
Benediction 6: May God enkindle in our hearts the fire of his holy love.
R.  Amen.
Lesson vi

St. Bonaventure presiding at the Council of Lyons
Ad Lugdunénse concílium a beáto Gregório décimo accersítus et cardinális epíscopus Albanénsis creátus, árduis concílii rebus egrégiam navávit óperam ; qua et schísmatis dissídia compósita sunt, et ecclesiástica dógmata vindicáta.  Quibus in labóribus, anno ætátis suæ quinquagésimo tértio, salútis vero millésimo ducentésimo septuagésimo quarto, summo ómnium mæróre decéssit, ab univérso concílio, ipso præsénte Románo Pontífice, fúnere honestátus.  Eum Xystus quartus, plúrimis maximísque clarum miráculis, in Sanctórum númerum rétulit.  Multa scripsit, in quibus summam eruditiónem cum pietátis ardóre conjúngens, lectórem docéndo movet : quare a Xysto quinto Doctóris Seráphici nómine mérito est insignítus.
He was summoned to the Council of Lyons by blessed Gregory X, and having been created Cardinal Bishop of Albano, he diligently performed a noted work for the council in very difficult circumstances ; in which the dissensions of the schism were composed, and the dogmas of the Church vindicated.  In the midst of these labours he died, to the great grief of all, in the fifty-third year of his age, and in the year of salvation 1274, and his funeral was honoured by the whole council and by the presence of the Roman Pontiff himself.  Sixtus IV, after Bonaventure had become illustrious for many and great miracles, placed him in the list of the Saints.  He wrote many books, in which the highest erudition and the fire of piety are so united as both to touch and instruct the reader.  Sixtus V on this account worthily distinguished him by the name of the Seraphic Doctor.
V.  Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.
R.  Deo grátias.
V.  But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R.  Thanks be to God.

The funeral of St. Bonaventure in the presence of the Roman Pontiff
R.  Iste est, qui ante Deum magnas virtútes operátus est, et omnis terra doctrína ejus repléta est : * Ipse intercédat pro peccátis ómnium populórum.V.  Iste est, qui contémpsit vitam mundi, et pervénit ad cæléstia regna.
R.  Ipse intercédat pro peccátis ómnium populórum.V.  Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
R.  Ipse intercédat pro peccátis ómnium populórum.
R.  This is he who wrought mighty deeds and valiant in the sight of God, and all the earth is filled with his doctrine: May his intercession avail for the sins of all the people.V.  He was a man who despised the life of the world and attained unto the kingdom of heaven.
R.  May his intercession avail for the sins of all the people.V.  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R.  May his intercession avail for the sins of all the people.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Four-Day Course in Spanish on How to Celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass

Share/Bookmark To be held in Guadalajara, Mexico, July 25-29 @ The Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara
Organized by FSSP México and Una Voce Guadalajara.

Cheap Summas!


Saturday, July 09, 2011

1630th Anniversary of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed

1630th Anniversary of the Closing of the First Council of Constantinople 

The exposition of the 150 fathers (The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed)

We believe in one God the Father all-powerful, maker of heaven and of earth, and of all things both seen and unseen. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten from the Father before all the ages, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father, through whom all things came to be; for us humans and for our salvation he came down from the heavens and became incarnate from the holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, became human and was crucified on our behalf under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried and rose up on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; and he went up into the heavens and is seated at the Father's right hand; he is coming again with glory to judge the living and the dead; his kingdom will have no end. And in the Spirit, the holy, the lordly and life-giving one, proceeding forth from the Father, co-worshipped and co-glorified with Father and Son, the one who spoke through the prophets; in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. We confess one baptism for the forgiving of sins. We look forward to a resurrection of the dead and life in the age to come. Amen.

Canons of the First Council of Constantinople

Canon 1: The profession of faith of the holy fathers who gathered in Nicaea in Bithynia is not to be abrogated, but it is to remain in force. Every heresy is to be anathematised and in particular that of the Eunomians or Anomoeans, that of the Arians or Eudoxians, that of the Semi-Arians or Pneumatomachi, that of the Sabellians that of the Marcellians, that of the Photinians and that of the Apollinarians.

Canon 2: Diocesan bishops are not to intrude in churches beyond their own boundaries nor are they to confuse the churches: but in accordance with the canons, the bishop of Alexandria is to administer affairs in Egypt only; the bishops of the East are to manage the East alone (whilst safeguarding the privileges granted to the church of the Antiochenes in the Nicene canons); and the bishops of the Asian diocese are to manage only Asian affairs; and those in Pontus only the affairs of Pontus; and those in Thrace only Thracian affairs. Unless invited bishops are not to go outside their diocese to perform an ordination or any other ecclesiastical business. If the letter of the canon about dioceses is kept, it is clear that the provincial synod will manage affairs in each province, as was decreed at Nicaea. But the churches of God among barbarian peoples must be administered in accordance with the custom in force at the time of the fathers.

Canon 3: Because it is new Rome, the bishop of Constantinople is to enjoy the privileges of honour after the bishop of Rome.

Canon 4: Regarding Maximus the Cynic and the disorder which surrounded him in Constantinople: he never became, nor is he, a bishop; nor are those ordained by him clerics of any rank whatsoever. Everything that was done both to him and by him is to be held invalid.

Canon 5: Regarding the Tome [2] of the Westerns: we have also recognised those in Antioch who confess a single Godhead of Father and Son and Holy Ghost.

Canon 6: There are many who are bent on confusing and overturning the good order of the church and so fabricate, out of hatred and a wish to slander, certain accusations against orthodox bishops in charge of churches. Their intention is none other than to blacken priests' reputations and to stir up trouble among peace- loving laity. For this reason the sacred synod of bishops assembled at Constantinople has decided not to admit accusers without prior examination, and not to allow everyone to bring accusations against church administrators -- but with- out excluding everyone. So if someone brings a private (that is a personal) complaint against the bishop on the grounds that he has been defrauded or in some other way unjustly dealt with by him, in the case of this kind of accusation neither the character nor the religion of the accuser will be subject to examination. It is wholly essential both that the bishop should have a clear conscience and that the one who alleges that he has been wronged, whatever his religion may be, should get justice.

But if the charge brought against the bishop is of an ecclesiastical kind, then the characters of those making it should be examined, in the first place to stop heretics bringing charges against orthodox bishops in matters of an ecclesiastical kind. (We define "heretics" as those who have been previously banned from the church and also those later anathematised by ourselves: and in addition those who claim to confess a faith that is sound, but who have seceded and hold assemblies in rivalry with the bishops who are in communion with us.) In the second place, persons previously condemned and expelled from the church for whatever reason, or those excommunicated either from the clerical or lay rank, are not to be permitted to accuse a bishop until they have first purged their own crime. Similarly, those who are already accused are not permitted to accuse a bishop or other clerics until they have proved their own innocence of the crimes with which they are charged. But if persons who are neither heretics nor excommunicates, nor such as have been previously condemned or accused of some transgression or other, claim that they have some ecclesiastical charge to make against the bishop, the sacred synod commands that such persons should first lay the accusations before all the bishops of the province and prove before them the crimes committed by the bishop in the case. If it emerges that the bishops of the province are not able to correct the crimes laid at the bishop's door, then a higher synod of the bishops of that diocese, convoked to hear this case, must be approached, and the accusers are not to lay their accusations before it until they have given a written promise to submit to equal penalties should they be found guilty of making false accusations against the accused bishop, when the matter is investigated.
If anyone shows contempt of the prescriptions regarding the above matters and presumes to bother either the ears of the emperor or the courts of the secular authorities, or to dishonour all the diocesan bishops and trouble an ecumenical synod, there is to be no question whatever of allowing such a person to bring accusations forward, because he has made a mockery of the canons and violated the good order of the church.

Canon 7: Those who embrace orthodoxy and join the number of those who are being saved from the heretics, we receive in the following regular and customary manner: Arians, Macedonians, Sabbatians, Novatians, those who call themselves Cathars and Aristae, Quartodeciman or Tetradites, Apollinarians-these we receive when they hand in statements and anathematise every heresy which is not of the same mind as the holy, catholic and apostolic church of God. They are first sealed or anointed with holy chrism on the forehead, eyes, nostrils, mouth and ears. As we seal them we say: "Seal of the gift of the holy Spirit". But Eunomians, who are baptised in a single immersion, Montanists (called Phrygians here), Sabellians, who teach the identity of Father and Son and make certain other difficulties, and all other sects -- since there are many here, not least those who originate in the country of the Galatians -- we receive all who wish to leave them and embrace orthodoxy as we do Greeks. On the first day we make Christians of them, on the second catechumens, on the third we exorcise them by breathing three times into their faces and their ears, and thus we catechise them and make them spend time in the church and listen to the scriptures; and then we baptise them.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

'Nouvelle' Exegesis: A Neo-Conservative Interpretation of Biblical Inerrancy


The Problem.  Some neo-conservative Catholic biblical scholars (nouvelle theologie exegetes), such as Andrew Minto from Franciscan University of Steubenville, are using the techniques of ressourcement to re-interpret the dogma of the inerrancy of Scripture.  

As is well known, they are interested in a 'dynamic orthodoxy', an orthodoxy that affirms (at least verbally) the traditional dogmatic formulae of our faith, but one according to which the understanding of those formulae is--according to their post-conciliar rhetoric--'continuously being renewed' (i.e., evolving), or 'understood anew in every age' (i.e., reinterpreted), in order to 'meet the demands of the times' (i.e., accomodate modern trends of thought).  In plain English, they accept the traditional words of our dogmas, but reject their traditional meaning.

So what is their novel interpretation of inerrancy?  They now take that dogma as meaning, not that the Bible is free from all falsehood (or false statements), but merely that it is free from intentional deceit.  To do this, they re-interpret the meaning of 'error', to include only intentional, false affirmations and to exclude unintentional errors.  In other words, they narrow down the meaning of “error” to “deceit,” such that “inerrancy” means “lack of deceit” and not “absence of false affirmations.”  They then conclude that the Bible can contain false statements--not only historical and 'scientific' falsehoods, but even moral and doctrinal falsehoods--but that this does not take away its inerrancy because those false statements are not 'errors' in the sense of deceitful statements.  They are unintentional falsehoods.  This novel interpretation ultimately allows them to cede to the peer-pressure of (faithless) historical-critical scholars who have supposedly found hundreds or even thousands of errors in Scripture--without thereby becoming heretics (at least in their minds).  And, what is perhaps most insulting: as is so typical of the ressourcement movement, these scholars even cite the teachings of the Magisterium and of the Church Fathers, in particular St. Augustine, in their favor.

The Truth of the Matter.  This is a grossly heterodox interpretation of the dogma of inerrancy.  This interpretation contradicts, not only the consensus of Fathers and approved Theologians (which of itself is authoritative) and the explicit teaching of the Magisterium, but also sound reasoning. 

In particular, it is a gross misinterpretation of the Church Fathers and of the Magisterium to say that they believed in the ‘inerrancy’ of Scripture only in the sense of lack of deceit, but not in the sense of an absence of false affirmations. Indeed, the Fathers of the Church argued that there are no errors in Scripture because God cannot be deceitful, but they also believed that Scripture lacked any false affirmations. In fact, given of the nature of God, the divine attribute of God's veracity, inerrancy follows necessarily from lack of deceit. 

For St. Augustine, for instance, there is no possibility of any error in Scripture (in particular a merely unintentional error), because he, like all the Fathers, were aware that the Scriptures have an all-knowing God as their primary author, and thus any error on the part of the human author (whether intentional or unintentional) would entail deceit on the part of God. In other words, there is nothing unintentional in Scripture, because God willed all of it. St. Augustine clearly understands the inerrancy of Scripture as meaning that there is nothing contrary to truth in Scripture. Hence, to claim that St. Augustine admits there are errors in Scripture is to misunderstand his words. 

He writes to St. Jerome: 

“On my own part I confess to your charity that it is only to those books of Scripture which are now called canonical that I have learned to pay such honor and reverence as to believe most firmly that none of their writers has fallen into any error. And if in these books I meet anything which seems contrary to truth, I shall not hesitate to conclude either that the text is faulty, or that the translator has not expressed the meaning of the passage, or that I myself do not understand...” (Epistle 82.1: ‘Et crebrius alibi’). 

But this is not the teaching of St. Augustine alone. Pope Leo XIII (Providentissimus Deus 21) says that these “words of St. Augustine to St. Jerome may sum up what [the Fathers] taught.”  

Indeed, let us learn from the Church what exactly the mind of the Fathers on this matter is. Pope Leo (ibid.; DS 1952 [3293]) continues:

And so emphatically were all the Fathers and Doctors agreed that the divine writings, as left by the hagiographers, are free from all error, that they labored earnestly, with no less skill than reverence, to reconcile with each other those numerous passages which seem at variance—the very passages which in great measure have been taken up by the "higher criticism;" for they were unanimous in laying it down, that those writings, in their entirety and in all their parts were equally from the inspiration of Almighty God, and that God, speaking by the sacred writers, could not set down anything but what was true.” (Emphasis added.)

Recommendations.  For an excellent site dedicated to defending the dogma (and the traditional understanding) of the inerrancy of Scripture, visit the Saint Jerome Biblical Guild.   You will find there lots of nice resources and reading suggestions.  Also Salvatore J. Ciresi, the guild's founder and director, publishes a periodical newsletter which you can receive via email for free.

Another great site for learning sound biblical teaching is the Roman Theological Forum.  It provides many articles regarding theological and polemical issues.  Although I cannot recommend all the articles, the articles on biblical matters are quite good.


Sunday, July 03, 2011

A previously unpublished talk by Paul VI on St. Thomas Aquinas

Share/Bookmark Link to Rorate-Caeli.


Modernism in 65 Concise Propositions

On the 104rd Anniversary of Pope St. Pius X's Syllabus of Errors

The Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition, Syllabus Condemning the Errors of Modernism (Lamentabili sane), Approved by Pope St. Pius X, 4 July 1907:

With truly lamentable results, our age, casting aside all restraint in its search for the ultimate causes of things, frequently pursues novelties so ardently that it rejects the legacy of the human race. Thus it falls into very serious errors, which are even more serious when they concern sacred authority, the interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and the principal mysteries of Faith. The fact that many Catholic writers also go beyond the limits determined by the Fathers and the Church herself is extremely regrettable. In the name of higher knowledge and historical research (they say), they are looking for that progress of dogmas which is, in reality, nothing but the corruption of dogmas.

These errors are being daily spread among the faithful. Lest they captivate the faithful's minds and corrupt the purity of their faith, His Holiness, Pius X, by Divine Providence, Pope, has decided that the chief errors should be noted and condemned by the Office of this Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition.

Therefore, after a very diligent investigation and consultation with the Reverend Consultors, the Most Eminent and Reverend Lord Cardinals, the General Inquisitors in matters of faith and morals have judged the following propositions to be condemned and proscribed. In fact, by this general decree, they are condemned and proscribed.

1. The ecclesiastical law which prescribes that books concerning the Divine Scriptures are subject to previous examination does not apply to critical scholars and students of scientific exegesis of the Old and New Testament.

2. The Church's interpretation of the Sacred Books is by no means to be rejected; nevertheless, it is subject to the more accurate judgment and correction of the exegetes.

3. From the ecclesiastical judgments and censures passed against free and more scientific exegesis, one can conclude that the Faith the Church proposes contradicts history and that Catholic teaching cannot really be reconciled with the true origins of the Christian religion.

4. Even by dogmatic definitions the Church's magisterium cannot determine the genuine sense of the Sacred Scriptures.

5. Since the deposit of Faith contains only revealed truths, the Church has no right to pass judgment on the assertions of the human sciences.

6. The "Church learning" and the "Church teaching" collaborate in such a way in defining truths that it only remains for the "Church teaching" to sanction the opinions of the "Church learning."

7. In proscribing errors, the Church cannot demand any internal assent from the faithful by which the judgments she issues are to be embraced.

8. They are free from all blame who treat lightly the condemnations passed by the Sacred Congregation of the Index or by the Roman Congregations.

9. They display excessive simplicity or ignorance who believe that God is really the author of the Sacred Scriptures. 

10. The inspiration of the books of the Old Testament consists in this: The Israelite writers handed down religious doctrines under a peculiar aspect which was either little or not at all known to the Gentiles.

11. Divine inspiration does not extend to all of Sacred Scriptures so that it renders its parts, each and every one, free from every error.

12. If he wishes to apply himself usefully to Biblical studies, the exegete must first put aside all preconceived opinions about the supernatural origin of Sacred Scripture and interpret it the same as any other merely human document.

13. The Evangelists themselves, as well as the Christians of the second and third generation, artificially arranged the evangelical parables. In such a way they explained the scanty fruit of the preaching of Christ among the Jews.

14. In many narrations the Evangelists recorded, not so much things that are true, as things which, even though false, they judged to be more profitable for their readers.

15. Until the time the canon was defined and constituted, the Gospels were increased by additions and corrections. Therefore there remained in them only a faint and uncertain trace of the doctrine of Christ.

16. The narrations of John are not properly history, but a mystical contemplation of the Gospel. The discourses contained in his Gospel are theological meditations, lacking historical truth concerning the mystery of salvation.

17. The fourth Gospel exaggerated miracles not only in order that the extraordinary might stand out but also in order that it might become more suitable for showing forth the work and glory of the Word lncarnate.

18. John claims for himself the quality of witness concerning Christ. In reality, however, he is only a distinguished witness of the Christian life, or of the life of Christ in the Church at the close of the first century.

19. Heterodox exegetes have expressed the true sense of the Scriptures more faithfully than Catholic exegetes.

20. Revelation could be nothing else than the consciousness man acquired of his revelation to God.

21. Revelation, constituting the object of the Catholic faith, was not completed with the Apostles.

22. The dogmas the Church holds out as revealed are not truths which have fallen from heaven. They are an interpretation of religious facts which the human mind has acquired by laborious effort.

23. Opposition may, and actually does, exist between the facts narrated in Sacred Scripture and the Church's dogmas which rest on them. Thus the critic may reject as false facts the Church holds as most certain.

24. The exegete who constructs premises from which it follows that dogmas are historically false or doubtful is not to be reproved as long as he does not directly deny the dogmas themselves .

25. The assent of faith ultimately rests on a mass of probabilities .

26. The dogmas of the Faith are to be held only according to their practical sense; that is to say, as preceptive norms of conduct and not as norms of believing.

27. The divinity of Jesus Christ is not proved from the Gospels. It is a dogma which the Christian conscience has derived from the notion of the Messias.

28. While He was exercising His ministry, Jesus did not speak with the object of teaching He was the Messias, nor did His miracles tend to prove it.

29. It is permissible to grant that the Christ of history is far inferior to the Christ Who is the object of faith.

30. In all the evangelical texts the name "Son of God'' is equivalent only to that of "Messias." It does not in the least way signify that Christ is the true and natural Son of God.

31. The doctrine concerning Christ taught by Paul, John, and the Councils of Nicea, Ephesus and Chalcedon is not that which Jesus taught but that which the Christian conscience conceived concerning Jesus.

32. It is impossible to reconcile the natural sense of the Gospel texts with the sense taught by our theologians concerning the conscience and the infallible knowledge of Jesus Christ.

33. Everyone who is not led by preconceived opinions can readily see that either Jesus professed an error concerning the immediate Messianic coming or the greater part of His doctrine as contained in the Gospels is destitute of authenticity.

34. The critics can ascribe to Christ a knowledge without limits only on a hypothesis which cannot be historically conceived and which is repugnant to the moral sense. That hypothesis is that Christ as man possessed the knowledge of God and yet was unwilling to communicate the knowledge of a great many things to His disciples and posterity.

35. Christ did not always possess the consciousness of His Messianic dignity.

36. The Resurrection of the Savior is not properly a fact of the historical order. It is a fact of merely the supernatural order (neither demonstrated nor demonstrable) which the Christian conscience gradually derived from other facts.

37. In the beginning, faith in the Resurrection of Christ was not so much in the fact itself of the Resurrection as in the immortal life of Christ with God.

38. The doctrine of the expiatory death of Christ is Pauline and not evangelical.

39. The opinions concerning the origin of the Sacraments which the Fathers of Trent held and which certainly influenced their dogmatic canons are very different from those which now rightly exist among historians who examine Christianity .

40. The Sacraments have their origin in the fact that the Apostles and their successors, swayed and moved by circumstances and events, interpreted some idea and intention of Christ.

41. The Sacraments are intended merely to recall to man's mind the ever-beneficent presence of the Creator.

42. The Christian community imposed the necessity of Baptism, adopted it as a necessary rite, and added to it the obligation of the Christian profession.

43. The practice of administering Baptism to infants was a disciplinary evolution, which became one of the causes why the Sacrament was divided into two, namely, Baptism and Penance.

44. There is nothing to prove that the rite of the Sacrament of Confirmation was employed by the Apostles. The formal distinction of the two Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation does not pertain to the history of primitive Christianity.

45. Not everything which Paul narrates concerning the institution of the Eucharist (I Cor. 11:23-25) is to be taken historically.

46. In the primitive Church the concept of the Christian sinner reconciled by the authority of the Church did not exist. Only very slowly did the Church accustom herself to this concept. As a matter of fact, even after Penance was recognized as an institution of the Church, it was not called a Sacrament since it would be held as a disgraceful Sacrament.

47. The words of the Lord, "Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained'' (John 20:22-23), in no way refer to the Sacrament of Penance, in spite of what it pleased the Fathers of Trent to say.

48. In his Epistle (Ch. 5:14-15) James did not intend to promulgate a Sacrament of Christ but only commend a pious custom. If in this custom he happens to distinguish a means of grace, it is not in that rigorous manner in which it was taken by the theologians who laid down the notion and number of the Sacraments.

49. When the Christian supper gradually assumed the nature of a liturgical action those who customarily presided over the supper acquired the sacerdotal character.

50. The elders who fulfilled the office of watching over the gatherings of the faithful were instituted by the Apostles as priests or bishops to provide for the necessary ordering of the increasing communities and not properly for the perpetuation of the Apostolic mission and power.

51. It is impossible that Matrimony could have become a Sacrament of the new law until later in the Church since it was necessary that a full theological explication of the doctrine of grace and the Sacraments should first take place before Matrimony should be held as a Sacrament.

52. It was far from the mind of Christ to found a Church as a society which would continue on earth for a long course of centuries. On the contrary, in the mind of Christ the kingdom of heaven together with the end of the world was about to come immediately.

53. The organic constitution of the Church is not immutable. Like human society, Christian society is subject to a perpetual evolution.

54. Dogmas, Sacraments and hierarchy, both their notion and reality, are only interpretations and evolutions of the Christian intelligence which have increased and perfected by an external series of additions the little germ latent in the Gospel.

55. Simon Peter never even suspected that Christ entrusted the primacy in the Church to him.

56. The Roman Church became the head of all the churches, not through the ordinance of Divine Providence, but merely through political conditions.

57. The Church has shown that she is hostile to the progress of the natural and theological sciences.

58. Truth is no more immutable than man himself, since it evolved with him, in him, and through him.

59. Christ did not teach a determined body of doctrine applicable to all times and all men, but rather inaugurated a religious movement adapted or to be adapted to different times and places.

60. Christian Doctrine was originally Judaic. Through successive evolutions it became first Pauline, then Joannine, finally Hellenic and Catholic.

61. It may be said without paradox that there is no chapter of Scripture, from the first of Genesis to the last of the Apocalypse, which contains a doctrine absolutely identical with that which the Church teaches on the same matter. For the same reason, therefore, no chapter of Scripture has the same sense for the critic and the theologian.

62. The chief articles of the Apostles' Creed did not have the same sense for the Christians of the first ages as they have for the Christians of our time.

63. The Church shows that she is incapable of effectively maintaining evangelical ethics since she obstinately clings to immutable doctrines which cannot be reconciled with modern progress.

64. Scientific progress demands that the concepts of Christian doctrine concerning God, creation, revelation, the Person of the Incarnate Word, and Redemption be re-adjusted.

65. Modern Catholicism can be reconciled with true science only if it is transformed into a non-dogmatic Christianity; that is to say, into a broad and liberal Protestantism.

The following Thursday, the fourth day of the same month and year, all these matters were accurately reported to our Most Holy Lord, Pope Pius X. His Holiness approved and confirmed the decree of the Most Eminent Fathers and ordered that each and every one of the above-listed propositions be held by all as condemned and proscribed.

PETER PALOMBELLI, Notary of the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition.