Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The CDF blows "Vatican II" myths out of the water

You can read the latest document here.

In one way, I feel sorry for the people who are outraged at the latest document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

They were sold a false bill of goods.

For over forty years, they were told that Vatican II represented a radical shift in Church's doctrinal stance.

It was a spin concocted by liberal, dissident Catholics. It was vehicled by the mainstream media, because it made a good story, and because it corresponded to the general zeitgeist of the 60's and the 70's.

The various western Catholic churches bear a large degree of resopnsibility because they allowed that myth to be circulated. Some of the clergy even subscribed to it and built their ministry around it.

In turn, Catholics grew up believing it. They didn't think it was necessary to believe Church doctrine or submit to authority.

The mainstream media never bothered to properly research stories on the Catholic Church, so it fuelled the spin.

It's not surprising that many non-Catholics, especially the liberal-minded are hysterical over this document.

They think the Church has gone back.

The Church isn't going back. It never changed in the first place!

Some of the outrage is due to ignorance. They believe the MSM reports, which are often erroneous and mistaken. They also interpret Catholic doctrines through a liberal filter. Saying the Church is the only true Church isn't saying that other Christians are worthless. It's saying that Christ established the Catholic Church, its hierarchy, entrusted Revelation to her, and instituted her sacraments. That's it. It's not a statement on people. It's a statement on organization, doctrine and sacraments.

The Church does not say that other ecclesial communities are completely devoid of all grace:

It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.

But what the Church does say is that it is a historical and theological fact that Christ founded a church with a hierarchy, a doctrine and sacrament, and that church is the Catholic Church:

Christ "established here on earth" only one Church and instituted it as a "visible and spiritual community"[5], that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted.[6] "This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic […]. This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him"[7].

In number 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium ‘subsistence’ means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church[8], in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth.

The Church is not saying she's giving herself this role. She is saying that it is Christ that founded this church-- it's all from God himself.

No doubt, that will not appease all liberal-minded individuals. The notion of Divine Revelation and Truth itself is arrogant to them-- never mind claims of being established by God. They will also assume that we are making our own doctrines. Liberals often assume that if people disagree, it's out of some unconscious, malicious intent.

But they should at least understand what is really at issue here, instead of howling over doctrines that do not exist. But sometimes I think it's so convenient for many to howl, they don't want to bother to research. It creates more political capital that way.

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