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Assisi-Contrast: Lefebvre and Benedict XVI

What are the important differences in first principles?

Tracing the direct line from the 1949 Holy Office Letter to the Prayer Meeting at Assisi

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Pio T



Joined: 28 Feb 2007
Posts: 73

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:31 am    Post subject: Assisi-Contrast: Lefebvre and Benedict XVI

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From Catholic Family News webpage:
http://www.cfnews.org/assisi3.htm

Pope Benedict Announces Interreligious Summit at Assisi
October 2011 meeting will mark 25th Anniversary of John Paul II's 1986 pan-relgious gathering

Hindus have already agreed to participate

The Contrast:

Archbishop Lefebvre on Assisi 1986:
“He who now sits upon the Throne of Peter mocks publicly the first article of the Creed and the first Commandment of the Decalogue. The scandal given to Catholic souls cannot be measured. The Church is shaken to its very foundation.”

Pope Benedict XVI's recent statement on Assisi:
Speaking in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Pope Benedict said the aim of the [upcoming October] summit would be to "to solemnly renew the effort of those with faith of all religions to live their faith as a service for the cause of peace"…. He said the summit would also "honour the memory of the historical event promoted by my predecessor". (Jan. 1, 2011)



Important Related Links regarding the pan-religious Assisi meetings:


• “The Spirit of Assisi vs. Saint Francis of Assisi”, by John Vennari
- two completely different spirits

• “Rome-SSPX: Background to the Doctrinal Discussions” – documents that the 1986 pan-religious meeting was one of the two signs Archbishop Lefebvre saw as demonstrating the necessity to consecrate bishops.

• Bishop Bernard Fellay, SSPX on the 2002 Assisi meeting

• The Society of St. Pius X on Assisi I and Assisi II

• Modern Ecumenism Condemned by Sacred Scripture, by Bishop George Hay

• Pope Benedict XVI to hold religious peace summit this October

• Hindus okay for participation in Pope’s religious peace summit

all articles at: http://www.cfnews.org/assisi3.htm
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Drew



Joined: 05 May 2008
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:24 pm    Post subject:

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Below is an Open Letter by Mr. D. M. Drew in reply to Dr. Jones' article, Traditionalism at the End of its Tether. An edited version was published in the November issue of Culture Wars Magazine. The letter is critical of both Dr. Jones and the SSPX's but for different reasons. The letter argues that the doctrinal foundation of the Prayer Meeting at Assisi is the the 1949 Holy Office Letter censoring Fr. Feeney for his defense that there is "no salvation outside the Church." The 1949 Letter, never entered into the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, was then inserted into Denzinger's by Rev. Karl Rahner, pictured in the previous post with Rev. Ratzinger, and then authoritatively referenced in the document of Vatican II, Lumen Gentium that deals with the nature of the Church.

I would like to know how anyone can accept the 1949 Letter as orthodox and still marshal a convincing argument in principle against these interfaith prayer meetings? In the SSPX talks in Rome, if both sides accept the orthodoxy of the 1949 Letter, what objection can be offered to these prayer events? What is the problem with praying with non-Catholics if they might just as well be in the state of grace as a baptized Catholic? As the letter below says, "After all, if the Holy Ghost dwells within the souls of many pagans, infidels, heretics, Jews, Muslims, even atheists and agnostics who are in the state of grace and secret members of the Mystical Body of Christ, why should we refuse to pray with them?"

Drew



Link to Original: http://www.saintspeterandpaulrcm.com/OPEN%20LETTERS/Culture%20Wars%20reply%20for%20web%20posting%209-10.htm


Why the SSPX Cannot Effectively Defend Catholic Tradition

Open Letter to E. Michael Jones, editor of Culture Wars Magazine in Reply to his article entitled, “Traditionalism at the End of its Tether.”


(http://www.culturewars.com/2010/Tether.htm)



Note: This letter is in reply to the feature article published in Culture Wars Magazine in the September 2010 issue. That published article is broader and more detailed than the web page edited version that is provided in this posting. An edited version of this reply letter was published in the November 2010 issue of Culture Wars Magazine.



Dr. Jones,


Traditionalism is not “at the end of its tether.” Maybe the SSPX is but not traditional Catholicism. The appellation, “traditional” has only become necessary in the modern age to distinguish Catholics from liberal Catholic modernists and the conservative Catholic dupes who profess Church membership. If the SSPX is at the end of its tether it is because they have failed to effectively articulate the current doctrinal and liturgical defense of traditional Catholicism with sufficient understanding and clarity. It may prove a tragedy that at this critical historical period they are taken by you and others as the spokesman for Catholic tradition.


If I did not know better I might get the impression from your article that you have never heard of the condemned heresy of Modernism. The word “modern” and its cognates appears 17 times in your edited web page version yet not once in your article is it identified as a heresy. Not even when you quote Cardinal Ottaviani’s maxim, “Always the same,” and dismiss it as a “theological version of Groundhog Day” is the heresy of modernism mentioned. Truth does not change and maybe if you reflect upon that fact you could, like the character in Groundhog Day, enter upon the work of developing the virtue of fortitude which more often than not requires the patient standing of our ground.


It is, as you say in your concluding remarks to Bishop Richard Williamson that “There is no third way” between what he identifies as “the two extremes of either Truth or Authority.” But to see the problem as a negotiation between “Truth or Authority” is to misstate the problem. Every Catholic is firstly subject to Truth, including those Catholics in Authority. The response to Truth is assent of the intellect and the will. The response to Authority is obedience. Obedience is owed to Authority by the virtue of Justice but Obedience is not the first subsidiary virtue of Justice. That distinction belongs to the virtue of Religion. It is the virtue of Religion that determines whether an act of Obedience is a virtue or a sin. Any good book on moral theology will list the acts of the virtue of Religion and there is not an act of the virtue of Religion that has not been trampled upon since the close of Vatican II by liberal Catholics who have brought along their conservative Catholic confederates by the leash of Authority.


Reflecting upon the virtue of Religion what stands out is that they are for the most part physical acts that are quantifiable. The Catholic religion is an incarnational religion. The Faith is not something that is only held in the internal forum but must necessarily be expressed by acts of the virtue of Religion. This obligation to express our religion in the public forum by acts of the virtue of Religion is a duty imposed by God and therefore the acts of the virtue of Religion embodied in the Immemorial Ecclesiastical Traditions that are perfectly consonant with our Faith are necessary attributes of that Faith and are possessed as a right by every Catholic. That is why St. Pius X, in his condemnation of Modernists in Pascendi Dominid Gregis, defended our ecclesiastical traditions by saying:


They (the Modernists) exercise all their ingenuity in an effort to weaken the force and falsify the character of Tradition, so as to rob it of all its weight and authority. But for Catholics nothing will remove the authority of the second Council of Nicea, where it condemns those “who dare, after the impious fashion of heretics, to deride the ecclesiastical traditions, to invent novelties of some kind.... or endeavor by malice or craft to overthrow any one of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church”; nor that of the declaration of the fourth Council of Constantinople: “We therefore profess to preserve and guard the rules bequeathed to the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, by the Holy and most illustrious Apostles, by the orthodox Councils, both general and local, and by every one of those divine interpreters, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.” Wherefore the Roman Pontiffs, Pius IV and Pius IX, ordered the insertion in the profession of faith of the following declaration: “I most firmly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and other observances and constitutions of the Church” (emphasis mine).


Ecclesiastical Tradition is founded upon Divine Tradition and human nature, both of which are immutable, and that is why there are elements of Ecclesiastical Tradition that are immutable so that in the Tridentine profession of faith, we dogmatically declare as an article of Divine and Catholic Faith that we “most steadfastly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions, and all other observances and constitutions of the same Church.” The SSPX does not understand this. They follow the 1962 transitional Bugnini Indult extra-ordinary form of the Novus Ordo because they regard the liturgy as purely a matter of Church discipline that is the proper subject matter for “liturgical committees” stuffed with “liturgical experts.”[ii] They have entered into the argument as “liturgical experts”, not with the intent of defending tradition, but to make their own liturgical opinions prevail. They have made themselves the judge of what liturgical changes are doctrinally sound and what are not. They cannot object to the Novus Ordo or the Reform of the Reform in principle. If they had simply adhered to the immemorial Roman rite of the Mass as their right they could have confronted Authority with Truth on the liturgical question just as the Catholics of Milan did when Rome attempted to suppress the Ambrosian Rite.[iii]



If anyone says that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church, accustomed to be used in the administration of the sacraments, may be despised or omitted by the ministers without sin and at their pleasure, or may be changed by any pastor of the churches, whomsoever, to other new ones, let him be anathema.

Council of Trent, Session VII, On the Sacraments, Canon 13



On the question of dogma, the SSPX, like the Modernists, err regarding the nature of dogma, which they treat as the proper subject for theological exposition to gain new interpretative insights unfettered by the restrictive literal meaning of the words. St. Pius X in Pascendi condemns the heresy of Modernism and the Modernist’s rejection of dogma. The word dogma and its cognates appear 36 times in the encyclical. In Pascendi St. Pius X says that dogmas are not "symbols" of the Truth but "absolutely contain the Truth." Again in Pascendi, St. Pius X says:


On the subject of revelation and dogma in particular, the doctrine of the Modernists offers nothing new - we find it condemned in the Syllabus of Pius IX, where it is enunciated in these terms: Divine revelation is imperfect, and therefore subject to continual and indefinite progress, corresponding with the progress of human reason; and condemned still more solemnly in the Vatican Council: The doctrine of the faith which God has revealed has not been proposed to human intelligences to be perfected by them as if it were a philosophical system, but as a divine deposit entrusted to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully guarded and infallibly interpreted. Hence the sense, too, of the sacred dogmas is that which our Holy Mother the Church has once declared, nor is this sense ever to be abandoned on plea or pretext of a more profound comprehension of the truth.

St. Pius X, Pascendi




In Lamentabili Pope St. Pius X condemns the proposition that, "The dogmas which the Church professes as revealed are not truths fallen from heaven, but they are a kind of interpretation of religious facts, which the human mind by a laborious effort prepared for itself." Again in the same document St. Pius X condemns the error that holds that, "The dogmas of the faith are to be held only according to a practical sense, that is, as preceptive norms for action, but not as norms for believing."


This last condemnation is important to understand. There are linguistic clues to the nature of dogma that help make the comments of St. Pius X more intelligible. All dogma is expressed in the form of categorical universal propositions that are in the order of truth-falsehood. They remain either true or false regardless of time, person, place or circumstances. Once a doctrine is dogmatically defined it becomes a formal object of Divine and Catholic Faith. A heretic is a baptized Catholic who refuses to believe an article of Divine and Catholic Faith.


Commands, injunctions, laws, orders, precepts, etc. are in the order of authority-obedience. All commands, injunctions, laws, orders, precepts etc. are hierarchical, they do not bind in cases of necessity or impossibility such as invincible ignorance, they have no power against a conscience that is both true and certain, and they must be in accord with natural law and Divine positive law. None of these restrictions apply to dogma.


Time and again and again and again Catholics apply the restrictions that govern commands, injunctions, laws, orders, precepts, etc. to limit the universality of dogmatic truths. They treat dogmas as preceptive norms for action, but not as norms for believing.” The following two quotations by Pope John Paul II are examples of this corruption of language and truth.


Normally, it will be in the sincere practice of what is good in their own religious traditions and by following the dictates of their own conscience that the members of other religions respond positively to God’s invitation and receive salvation in Jesus Christ, even while they do not recognize or acknowledge him as their Saviour.
John Paul II, The Seeds of the Word in the Religions of the World, September 9, 1998


For those, however, who have not received the Gospel proclamation, as I wrote in the Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, salvation is accessible in mysterious ways, inasmuch as divine grace is granted to them by virtue of Christ's redeeming sacrifice, without external membership in the Church, but nonetheless always in relation to her (cf. RM 10). It is a mysterious relationship. It is mysterious for those who receive the grace, because they do not know the Church and sometimes even outwardly reject her.

John Paul II, General Audience, May 31, 1995



Modernists are really linguistic deconstructionalists. They begin by transferring dogmatic truths from the order of truth-falsehood to the order of authority-obedience and then use authority as a weapon against truth. They end up denying the intentionality of language and then the meaning begins to change with the wind.


This novel doctrine of ‘salvation by implicity’ was formulated in the 1949 Letter sent from Cardinal Marchetti-Selvaggiani in the Holy Office to Cardinal Richard Cushing of Boston (Protocol No. 122/49) condemning Fr. Leonard Feeney’s defense of the traditional teaching on the necessity of the Church membership for salvation.


This 1949 Letter, first published in 1952, has come to be the doctrinal foundation for new Ecumenical Ecclesiology that has entirely replaced St. Robert Bellarmine’s definition that the Catholic Church “is the society of Christian believers united in the profession of the one Christian faith and the participation in the one sacramental system under the government of the Roman Pontiff.” It is this Ecumenical Ecclesiology that is the underpinning for the destruction of nearly every Ecclesiastical Tradition in the Latin rite since Vatican II, the most important of which is the traditional Roman rite of the Mass.


This Letter of the Holy Office is heretical. But before addressing that question, it should be remembered that this Letter was never entered formally in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis and therefore it has no greater authority than a private letter from one bishop to another. The Letter was included in the 1962 edition of Denzinger’s, not by virtue of the authority of the document, but rather by the modernist agenda of the editor, Rev. Karl Rahner. This Denzinger entry was then referenced in a footnote in the Vatican II document, [i]Lumen Gentium
.


The 1949 Letter was written to address Fr. Feeney’s defense of the dogma that there is “no salvation outside of the Catholic Church.” Fr. Feeney did not formulate his theological teaching on ‘baptism of desire’ until several years after this Letter was written. So it is an error to say as some have said that the 1949 Letter “condemns Fr. Feeney’s teaching on Baptism.”


The 1949 Letter says that people can gain salvation by an “implicit” membership in the Catholic Church. The material cause of this “membership” and salvation is the “good disposition of soul whereby a person wishes his will to be conformed to the will of God.” This is a form of Pelagianism. The 1949 Letter denies the defined dogmas of the Catholic Church that an explicit Faith is necessary for salvation, that the sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation, and that being subject to the Roman Pontiff is necessary for salvation. No quote from Scripture, father, doctor, saint, council, magisterial document or accepted tradition affirms this belief of ‘salvation by implicity’. Since supernatural Faith is believing “what God has revealed on the authority of God,” there is no explanation provided how there can be “supernatural faith” if someone does not know if God has revealed anything or what, if anything, God has revealed. The people who think this Letter is orthodox should be asked to try their hand at writing a Credo of implicit Catholic Faith.


The 1949 Letter further undermines all dogma by its modernist affirmation that, “dogma must be understood in that sense in which the Church herself understands it. For, it was not to private judgments that Our Savior gave for explanation those things that are contained in the deposit of faith, but to the teaching authority of the Church.” The truth of the matter is that the dogmatic formulation is the “sense in which the Church herself understands” divinely revealed truth. It is the Church giving “explanation (to) those things that are contained in the deposit of faith” It is the dogma itself that is infallible and dogma is not subject to theological refinement but itself is the formal object of Divine and Catholic Faith. To say, “dogma must be understood in that sense in which the Church herself understands it,” is to claim for the theologian an authority that belongs to the dogma itself. When this modernist proposition is accepted, there is no dogmatic declaration that can be taken as a definitive expression of our faith for it will always be open to theological refinement.


On September 1, 1910, one-hundred years ago this month, St. Pius X published his Motu Proprio, Sacrocrum Antistitum, containing the Oath Against Modernism which was made both by the author and the recipient of the 1949 Letter. In that oath they swore to almighty God, that they would “wholly reject the heretical notion of the evolution of dogmas, which pass from one sense to another alien to that the Church held from the start” and that they “likewise condemn every error whereby is substituted for divine deposit, entrusted by Christ to His spouse and by her to be faithfully guarded, a philosophic system or a creation of the human conscience, gradually refined by the striving of men and finally to be perfected hereafter by indefinite progress.”


The 1949 Letter as published also contained a critical mistranslation of a passage from the encyclical, Mystici Corporis, by saying that non-Catholics "are related to the Mystical Body of the Redeemer by a certain unconscious yearning and desire," The words “related to” are a mistranslation of the Latin which should read “ordained toward.” Also the Latin original is in the subjunctive mood expressing a wish or desire, and not a condition of fact. It is properly translated as “may be ordained towards” and not, as was done, in the indicative mood as “related to.” It is evident that this mistranslation entirely changes the meaning of what Pius XII said.



Archbishop Lefebvre accepted the 1949 Letter as an orthodox expression of Catholic faith as evidenced by his own writings. The society he founded does so as well.


The doctrine of the Church also recognizes implicit baptism of desire. This consists in doing the will of God. God knows all men and He knows that amongst Protestants, Muslims, Buddhists and in the whole of humanity there are men of good will. They receive the grace of baptism without knowing it, but in an effective way. In this way they become part of the Church.
The error consists in thinking that they are saved by their religion. They are saved in their religion but not by it. There is no Buddhist church in heaven, no Protestant church. This is perhaps hard to accept, but it is the truth. I did not found the Church, but rather Our Lord the Son of God. As priests we must state the truth.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Open Letter to Confused Catholics


And the Church has always taught that you have people who will be in heaven, who are in the state of grace, who have been saved without knowing the Catholic Church. We know this. And yet, how is it possible if you cannot be saved outside the Church? It is absolutely true that they will be saved through the Catholic Church because they will be united to Christ, to the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Catholic Church. It will, however, remain invisible, because this visible link is impossible for them. Consider a Hindu in Tibet who has no knowledge of the Catholic Church. He lives according to his conscience and to the laws which God has put into his heart. He can be in the state of grace, and if he dies in this state of grace, he will go to heaven.

Bishop Bernard Fellay, The Angelus, A Talk Heard Round the World, April, 2006



The 1949 Letter is the theological foundation for modern ecumenism, and ecumenism is the theological foundation for the Novus Ordo and the justification for the overturning of nearly every single Ecclesiastical Tradition in the Roman rite since Vatican II. It is, and should be, a problem for every traditional Catholic that quotations of Archbishop Lefebvre and statements made by Pope John Paul II, the Great Ecumenist, on this question of salvation are in such close agreement because they are in principle agreeing with modern Ecumenical Ecclesiology that presupposes that there are many invisible “Catholics” among the heretics, schismatics, infidels, and pagans of the world and that the Church of Christ in fact “subsists” in the Catholic Church and is not, in this world, co-extensive with its visibly baptized members who profess the one, holy, catholic and apostolic faith.

The SSPX’s disagreement with the Vatican on Ecumenism can only be with the means employed and not the ends, a disagreement of degree and not one of kind. Since ecumenism is the overarching theological justification for the transmutation of every Ecclesiastical Tradition since Vatican II, and since the SSPX regards Ecclesiastical Traditions as purely disciplinary matters, and not as necessary integral elements of our Faith, they can only argue questions of policy and not principle. With ‘salvation by implicity’, there can be no meaningful argument against Ecumenism or Religious Liberty. The accusation of schism becomes meaningless. Pope John Paul II’s prayer meeting at Assisi makes perfect theological sense. After all, if the Holy Ghost dwells within the souls of many pagans, infidels, heretics, Jews, Muslims, even atheists and agnostics who are in the state of grace and secret members of the Mystical Body of Christ, why should we refuse to pray with them?


Pope Benedict XVI, in December of 2005 addressing the Roman Curia on his “hermeneutics of reform,” emphasized that there is a need for “distinguishing between the substance and the expression of the faith.” That is, he holds that there is a disjunction between Catholic truth and dogmatic formulations. The SSPX expresses a similar opinion with regard to the dogmatic declarations on necessity of the sacraments in general and the sacrament of baptism in particular for salvation, as well as the dogmatic declarations on the necessity for salvation of being a member of the Catholic Church, of professing the Catholic Faith explicitly, and of being subject to the Roman Pontiff. The SSPX argues against a strict literal reading of these dogmatic formulations. Here they are in agreement with the modern Church that dogmatic formulations are open to theological refinement not necessarily in agreement with the literal meaning of the words.


The SSPX discussions with the Vatican on doctrinal and liturgical questions can go nowhere because the SSPX has taken liturgical and doctrinal positions that in principle are indistinguishable from the Modernists. Their liturgical position, grounded in the Bugnini 1962 transitional extra-ordinary form of the Novus Ordo Missal, will make it impossible to resist the Reform of the Reform. The doctrinal position that holds that dogma is not a definitive expression of our Faith, a formal object of Divine and Catholic Faith, but rather a human expression open to endless theological refinement, will undermine any possible opposition to Ecumenical Ecclesiology.


The common end of all Modernist activity is the destruction of dogma. The SSPX in their negotiations with Rome cannot defend the Catholic Faith against Modernist errors because the only defense is the immutable universal truth of defined Catholic dogma. In accepting the 1949 Letter as normative, they have stripped themselves of the only weapon against a corrupted authority. They cannot effectively complain about the prayer meeting at Assisi because they have accepted its theological justification.


Hilaire Belloc said, ‘Europe is the Faith and the Faith is Europe.’ It sums up the core principle of our cultural heritage. There is no real defense of our culture without defending the Faith. Belloc’s contempt for G. G. Coulton was because he was a medievalist who did not understand, and in fact hated, the first principle of medievalism. Like Coulton you are publishing a magazine entitled “Culture Wars” and you cannot defend the faith, the very heart of our culture, because you do not see its necessary relationship to the Ecclesiastical Traditions that make the faith known and communicable and thus, the heresy of Modernism is invisible to you. You cannot see the problem beyond a question of “schism.” The analogy between the situation of the SSPX and the priest sex scandal is inappropriate and only demonstrates a belief that the Church’s relation to the culture is more as a victim of its corruption than its mother and guardian. Leo XIII said in Inscrutabili Dei Consilio, “Religious error is the main root of all social and political evils.” The Vatican II, a pastoral council that has proven itself to be a pastoral failure, binds no Catholic conscience on questions of faith.


D. M. Drew

Ss. Peter & Paul Roman Catholic Mission

York, PA



Msgr. Annibale Bugnini, an alleged Mason, directed the liturgical reform from 1948 until 1976. The 1962 Missal, issued at the mid-point of his liturgical tenure, existed only about 2½ years. It was regarded by Bugnini, who took credit for its authorship, as only a transitional Missal toward his ultimate goal of the [i]Novus Ordo. Pope Benedict XVI in Summorum Pontificum said that the relationship of the 1962 Missal to the Novus Ordo is one of organic development, that “They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.”

This is true statement for Bugnini said in his book, The Reform of the Liturgy, 1948-1976, that the first principles of liturgical reform adopted by his commission, first principles that were novel, artificial ideological constructs, guided his work and remained absolutely consistent throughout his entire tenure. The first principles guiding the formation of the 1962 Missal are the same principles that would give us the Novus Ordo. When Bugnini was asked if the 1962 Missal represented the end of his liturgical innovations he said, “Not by any stretch of the imagination. Every good builder begins by removing the gross accretions, the evident distortions; then with more delicacy and attention he sets out to revise particulars. The latter remains to be achieved for the Liturgy so that the fullness, dignity and harmony may shine forth once again” (The Organic Development of the Liturgy by Fr. Alcuin Reid). Thus such feasts as the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the Chair of St. Peter at Rome, the Finding of the True Cross, St. John before the Latin Gate, and many, many other liturgical changes, considered “gross accretions and evident distortions” by those who would eventually give the Church the liturgical “fullness, dignity and harmony” of the Novus Ordo, were done away with in the 1962 Missal.

It is a fact that the 1962 Missal has never been afforded the standing of Immemorial Tradition by Rome. Every papal document touching upon this Missal treats it entirely as a subject of Church discipline governed entirely by human positive law first under the norms of Ecclesia Dei as an Indult and now under the restrictive legal stipulations of Summorum Pontificum as a grant of privilege by positive law. At no time in the history of the Church has an immemorial liturgical tradition been reduced to the status of an Indult, which is the permission to do something that is not permitted by the positive law of the Church. This constitutes presumptive proof that Rome does not regard the 1962 Missal as the Immemorial Roman Rite.

The 1962 Bugnini transitional Missal was adopted by the SSPX in 1983 as their liturgical standard.



[ii] It perhaps one of the greatest errors of the last century that Catholics have regarded the Liturgy as entirely a matter of Church discipline and forgotten its essential relationship with Catholic dogma. This error is refuted by the following quotations:


"However, the term disciplina in no way applies to the liturgical rite of the Mass, particularly in light of the fact that the popes have repeatedly observed that the rite is founded on apostolic tradition (several popes are then quoted in the footnote). For this reason alone, the rite cannot fall into the category of 'discipline and rule of the Church.' To this we can add that there is not a single document, including the Codex Iuris Canonici, in which there is a specific statement that the pope, in his function as the supreme pastor of the Church, has the authority to abolish the traditional rite. In fact, nowhere is it mentioned that the pope has the authority to change even a single local liturgical tradition. The fact that there is no mention of such authority strengthens our case considerably.

"There are clearly defined limits to the plena et suprema potestas (full and highest powers) of the pope. For example, there is no question that, even in matters of dogma, he still has to follow the tradition of the universal Church-that is, as St. Vincent of Lerins says, what has been believed (quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab ominibus). In fact, there are several authors who state quite explicitly that it is clearly outside the pope's scope of authority to abolish the traditional rite."
Msgr. Klaus Gamber, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy



"Liturgy and faith are interdependent. That is why a new rite was created, a rite that in many ways reflects the bias of the new (modernist) theology”.
Msgr. Klaus Gamber, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy


Further evidence that the immemorial Roman Rite, our “received and approved” rite, is not a matter of simple discipline:
The Tridentine Profession of Faith of Pope Pius IV, Iniunctum Nobis, prescribes adherence to the “received and approved rites of the Catholic Church used in the solemn administration of the sacraments.” The “received and approved rites” are the rites established by custom, and hence the Council of Trent refers to them as the “received and approved rites of the Catholic Church customarily used in the solemn administration of the sacraments (Sess. VII, can XIII). Adherence to the customary rites received and approved by the Church is an infallible defined doctrine: The Council of Florence defined that “priests…. must confect the body of the Lord, each one according to the custom of his Church” (Decretum pro Graecis), and therefore the Council of Trent solemnly condemned as heresy the proposition that “ the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church customarily used in the solemn administration of the sacraments may be changed into other new rites by any ecclesiastical pastor whosoever.”
Fr. Paul Kramer, The Suicide of Altering the Faith in the Liturgy


Pope Pius XII said regarding the error of liturgists:
“They wander entirely away from the true and full notion and understanding of the Sacred Liturgy, who consider it only as an external part of divine worship, and presented to the senses; or as a kind of apparatus of ceremonial properties; and they no less err who think of it as a mere compendium of laws and precepts, by which the ecclesiastical Hierarchy bids the sacred rites to be arranged and ordered."
Pope Piux XII, Mediator Dei


“‘Lex orandi, lex credendi’ -- the law for prayer is the law for faith”, and, “In the sacred liturgy we profess the Catholic faith explicitly and openly”….. “The entire liturgy, therefore, has the Catholic faith for its content, inasmuch as it bears public witness to the faith of the Church.”
Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei


Pope Benedict XVI, said in his book, Spirit of the Liturgy:
The Liturgy cannot be compared to a piece of equipment, something made, but rather to a plant, something organic that grows and whose laws of growth determine the possibilities of further development. In the West there has been, of course, another factor involved. This was the Papal authority, the Pope took ever more clearly the responsibility upon himself for the liturgical legislation, and so doing foresaw in a juridical authority for the forth setting of the liturgical development. The stronger the papal primacy was exercised, the more the question arose, just what the limits of this authority were, which of course, no-one had ever before thought about. After the Second Vatican Council, the impression has been made that the Pope, as far as the Liturgy goes, can actually do everything he wishes to do, certainly when he was acting with the mandate of an Ecumenical Council. Finally, the idea that the Liturgy is a predetermined ''given'', the fact that nobody can simply do what he wishes with her, disappeared out of the public conscience of the Western [Church]. In fact, the First Vatican Council did not in any way define that the Pope was an absolute monarch! Au contraire, the first Vatican Council sketched his role as that of a guarantee for the obedience to the Revealed Word. The papal authority is limited by the Holy Tradition of the Faith, and that regards also the Liturgy. The Liturgy is no ''creation'' of the authorities. Even the Pope can be nothing other than a humble servant of the Liturgy's legitimate development and of her everlasting integrity and identity.
Pope Benedict XVI, Spirit of the Liturgy



[iii] When Pope Nicholas II ordered the suppression of the Ambrosian Rite, he was opposed by the Catholics of Milan who refused his order. This order was subsequently overturned by Pope Alexander II who declared it to have been “unjust.” Further, human law, even the highest form of human law imposed by the pope, has all the limitations of every human law. That is, it must be a promulgation of reason, by the proper authority, promoting the common good, and not in any way opposed to Divine or natural law. As St. Thomas has said, an ‘unjust law is not a law.’ St. Thomas lists three principal conditions which must be met for any human law to be valid: 1) It must be consistent with the virtue of Religion; that is, it must not contain anything contrary to Divine law, 2) It must be consistent with discipline; that is, it must conform to the Natural law; and 3) It must promote human welfare; that is, it must promote the good of society (Fr. Dominic Prummer, Moral Theology). These criteria, required for the validity of any human law, make the suppression of immemorial tradition all but impossible to legitimately effect. The pope has no authority to bind an unjust law and therefore the Catholics of Milan were completely within their rights to refuse the order of Pope Nicholas II. And we are, like them, within our rights to refuse any of liturgical innovations that overturn immemorial custom.

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Drew



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:38 pm    Post subject:

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The questions that I previously posted were not intended to be rhetorical. I have done an Angelqueen search and have found many on the memberslist who have defended the orthodoxy of the 1949 Letter. That is, those who believe that the only criteria for salvation is an internal disposition of the soul that God alone sees and condignly rewards with sanctifying grace and eternal salvation, and that a profession of explicit faith in the Trinity, Jesus Christ, etc. is not necessary for salvation, that being a member of the Catholic Church is not necessary for salvation, that being subject to the Roman Pontiff is not necessary for salvation, and that the sacraments are not necessary for salvation. I also know that several SSPX priests who read this forum support the orthodoxy of the 1949 Letter as well. I would invite them to come forward and explain what objections in principle can be offered against the ecumenical prayer meetings at Assisi.

Drew

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MICK



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:24 am    Post subject:

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This is a very interesting thread and I don't want to derail it, but I have a couple questions/comments for Drew.

Drew says:

Quote:

The questions that I previously posted were not intended to be rhetorical. I have done an Angelqueen search and have found many on the memberslist who have defended the orthodoxy of the 1949 Letter. That is, those who believe that the only criteria for salvation is an internal disposition of the soul that God alone sees and condignly rewards with sanctifying grace and eternal salvation, and that a profession of explicit faith in the Trinity, Jesus Christ, etc. is not necessary for salvation, that being a member of the Catholic Church is not necessary for salvation, that being subject to the Roman Pontiff is not necessary for salvation, and that the sacraments are not necessary for salvation. I also know that several SSPX priests who read this forum support the orthodoxy of the 1949 Letter as well. I would invite them to come forward and explain what objections in principle can be offered against the ecumenical prayer meetings at Assisi.

Drew



If explicit Faith were absolutely necessary for salvation, how could any baptized child be saved if he died before the age of reason and his ability to explicitly learn and express his Faith?; or a severely mentally retarded person, who doesn't even know who or what a Roman Pontiff is?-not unlike many non-Catholics who've never been exposed to the Truth? Or the Holy Innocents murdered by Herod? Wouldn't implicit Faith, or the willingness to know-if given the chance-be sufficient in the Eyes of God in these situations? And what about the innummerable number of Catholics, likely you and I, who have some wrong interpretation or belief about certain dogmas and doctrines at some time or another because of invincible ignorance. None of us are as knowledgeable as St. Thomas Aquinas. Is God going to punish us for that?


And finally, after reading the reply Open Letter by Mr. Drew you posted, it seems he blames the whole crisis in the Church on the deliberate liberal misinterpretion of 'No Salvation Outside the Catholic Church' caused by the 1949 Letter to Boston, which lead to false ecumenism, which lead to disasterous Council, which lead to the Novus Ordo and ultimately to the ruin of Tradition and the crisis in the Church. Doesn't this seem a bit oversimplistic? What about the morality factor. From what I've read and heard, Europe was pretty sinful far before the Council, with France having only 15% Catholics attending Sunday Mass. And then you had the Contraception issue, where most Catholics rejected the Church's teaching, opting for the Pill and the pagan/hedonistic lifestyle promoted by the T.V., music, and culture in general.

It seems just too easy to blame this whole Apostasy on a perhaps wrongful interpretation of EENS, as if sin and bad morals had nothing to do with it. Anyway, I could be wrong. Maybe loss of Faith always preceeds loss of morals. I don't know.

Anyway look forward to your response!

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Michael Wilson



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:34 pm    Post subject: 1949 letter

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I wholeheartedly accept and subscribe to the 1949 letter from the Holy Office condemning Fr. Feeney and the false doctrine which he proffesed, while explaining the the true meaning of EENS.
The "Feeneyite" arguments are balderash.
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phaley



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:55 pm    Post subject:

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Why all the problems with EENS as it is properly interpreted? Who knows, other than Our Lord Himself, what anyone believes in his heart of hearts? Our Lord saved the "good" thief on the cross instantaneously, a person who had no knowledge of the Catholic Church as we know it. Our Lord also gave a sermon on the mount specifying what we must do in order to be saved and the alternative for those who operate out of their own selfish motives. He saved scores of persons in the Old Testament who became sanctified after Our Lord sacrificed Himself on the cross. About all we can do as human beings, it seems to me, is to accept the judgments of our Holy Church about which deceased souls are in heaven. Our own poor faculty of Judging is certainly not something I would give credence to, so why even bother? Take what the Church says and go with it, says I. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I remember the nuns telling us that only Our Lord knows for certain those who names are written on the Book of Life. That said, I recall to mind that which the Church says with respect to certain judgments - "worthy of belief" or something like that.
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Drew



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:10 pm    Post subject:

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MICK wrote:

This is a very interesting thread and I don't want to derail it, but I have a couple questions/comments for Drew.

Drew says:

Quote:

The questions that I previously posted were not intended to be rhetorical. I have done an Angelqueen search and have found many on the memberslist who have defended the orthodoxy of the 1949 Letter. That is, those who believe that the only criteria for salvation is an internal disposition of the soul that God alone sees and condignly rewards with sanctifying grace and eternal salvation, and that a profession of explicit faith in the Trinity, Jesus Christ, etc. is not necessary for salvation, that being a member of the Catholic Church is not necessary for salvation, that being subject to the Roman Pontiff is not necessary for salvation, and that the sacraments are not necessary for salvation. I also know that several SSPX priests who read this forum support the orthodoxy of the 1949 Letter as well. I would invite them to come forward and explain what objections in principle can be offered against the ecumenical prayer meetings at Assisi.

Drew



If explicit Faith were absolutely necessary for salvation, how could any baptized child be saved if he died before the age of reason and his ability to explicitly learn and express his Faith?; or a severely mentally retarded person, who doesn't even know who or what a Roman Pontiff is?-not unlike many non-Catholics who've never been exposed to the Truth? Or the Holy Innocents murdered by Herod? Wouldn't implicit Faith, or the willingness to know-if given the chance-be sufficient in the Eyes of God in these situations? And what about the innummerable number of Catholics, likely you and I, who have some wrong interpretation or belief about certain dogmas and doctrines at some time or another because of invincible ignorance. None of us are as knowledgeable as St. Thomas Aquinas. Is God going to punish us for that?


And finally, after reading the reply Open Letter by Mr. Drew you posted, it seems he blames the whole crisis in the Church on the deliberate liberal misinterpretion of 'No Salvation Outside the Catholic Church' caused by the 1949 Letter to Boston, which lead to false ecumenism, which lead to disasterous Council, which lead to the Novus Ordo and ultimately to the ruin of Tradition and the crisis in the Church. Doesn't this seem a bit oversimplistic? What about the morality factor. From what I've read and heard, Europe was pretty sinful far before the Council, with France having only 15% Catholics attending Sunday Mass. And then you had the Contraception issue, where most Catholics rejected the Church's teaching, opting for the Pill and the pagan/hedonistic lifestyle promoted by the T.V., music, and culture in general.

It seems just too easy to blame this whole Apostasy on a perhaps wrongful interpretation of EENS, as if sin and bad morals had nothing to do with it. Anyway, I could be wrong. Maybe loss of Faith always preceeds loss of morals. I don't know.

Anyway look forward to your response!




Mick,

The questions you have posted have available answers that have been addressed before, but I think their discussion at this point would cloud the picture. Suffice to say, heretics characteristically begin in the practical order by attachment to sin. Then there follows the theoretical order, the distortion of a divinely revealed truth that leads to the denial of other divinely revealed truths. It’s the denial of the divinely revealed truth that earns them the name of “heretics.” Formal heresy is the end stage of an advanced illness. But, the corruption is a two way street. The theoretical formulation of error will invariably lead to a corruption of morals.

Dr. Jones, ignoring doctrinal questions, in his article drew an analogy between what he identifies as the “schism” of the SSPX and those who leave the Church because of the priest sex scandal. He blames the moral corruption of society for the moral corruption of the Church. He was answered by quoting what Pope Leo XIII, Inscrutablil Dei Consilio, “Religious error is the main root of all social and political evils.” That is true. All morality is grounded in dogma. The morality of the Prayer Meeting at Assisi has its justification in modern ecumenical ecclesiology. Modern ecumenical ecclesiology has its justification from Lumen Gentium, the “dogmatic constitution on the Church,” and this document authoritatively references the 1949 Letter.

The 1949 Letter discards defined Catholic dogmas (I assume that you are aware of these dogmas) that explicit faith, submission to the Roman pontiff, and the sacraments are necessary for salvation. It does not deny these dogmas directly but rather treats them as perceptive norms of action and not as norms of believing, that is, it treats them as commands unrelated to truth and not as formal objects of divine and Catholic faith. Preceptive norms do not bind in the cases of physical or moral impossibility, while truths bind universally. This is a formally condemned error of Modernism. Dogmas are divinely revealed truths. They are not commands. Once the restriction burden of truth is discarded, it’s an easy matter to get around the restrictions of a command. The saying goes, ‘There is always a good reason to do the wrong thing.’

Do you accept the 1949 Letter as an orthodox expression of Catholic Faith? If you believe this, I want to know on what grounds that you can object to the Prayer Meeting at Assisi? On the dais with JPll, fittingly holding potted plants, the vegetable kingdom being the common level unity, included a garden variety of heretics, schismatics, pagans, animists, idolaters, etc. The 1949 Letter affirms that the only things that are necessary for salvation are mattes of the internal forum and can be know only to God. Everyone at the Prayer Meeting at Assisi may have been in the state of grace and temples of the Holy Ghost. That being the case, why not pray with them? After all, if truth is not an impediment to God why should it be an impediment to us?

Archbishop Lefebvre accepted and Bishop Fellay accepts the orthodoxy of the 1949 Letter and yet they were critical of JPII’s Prayer Meeting at Assisi and have been critical of ecumenism in general. It is a common experience that theoretical errors are not seen for what they are until their practical implications become evident. The theology of the 1949 Letter leads directly to the Prayer Meeting at Assisi. That is the “evident practical implication” that should be staring everyone in the face. I am asking those who accept the 1949 Letter as orthodox and yet oppose the Prayer Meeting at Assisi to explain themselves.

I do not think the case stated is an “oversimplification.” Mortimer Adler wrote a nice book entitled, Ten Philosophical Mistakes, which I would encourage anyone to read. The first three chapters discuss the principle modern errors and the last seven discuss secondary errors. It is enlightening to see how the corruption of the modern mind can be reduced “little” errors of epistemology. Mr. Adler, a Thomist and a Jew who converted to the Catholic faith about a year before he died at the age of 98, was a very bright man. He was the inspiration for The Trivium by Sister Miriam Joseph, C.S.C., Ph. D. which was part of the core curriculum at St. Mary’s College at South Bend from the mid-1930s until Vatican II. He was one of the major editors for the Encyclopedia Britannica, set up the Great Books of the Western World, and wrote dozens of books and edited even more on a wide variety of subjects. Yet, despite the complexity of the matter, Adler was able to trace enormous practical consequences to simple theoretical errors. That should not be surprising to us. God, who is truth, is simple.

The theology and liberal philosophical errors that underpin the 1949 Letter have a long history from the 16th century to the present but the 1949 Letter is of a different order. It is appealed to as a magisterial document, which it clearly is not, by those who claim that it is authentic Church teaching.

In the doctrinal discussions that are currently going on between the SSPX and Rome, what reply can be offered when Rome, as they did in Vatican II, appeals to the 1949 Letter as justification for ecumenism?

Drew

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Drew



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:29 pm    Post subject: Re: 1949 letter

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Michael Wilson wrote:

I wholeheartedly accept and subscribe to the 1949 letter from the Holy Office condemning Fr. Feeney and the false doctrine which he proffesed, while explaining the the true meaning of EENS.
The "Feeneyite" arguments are balderash.



Michael Wilson,

Good. Now you have to explain why there is a problem with the Prayer Meeting of Assisi. Or is it that you have no problem with Prayer Meeting?


Drew

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HallnOates



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:29 pm    Post subject:

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Drew is outside the Church.

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Drew



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:04 pm    Post subject:

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phaley wrote:

Why all the problems with EENS as it is properly interpreted? Who knows, other than Our Lord Himself, what anyone believes in his heart of hearts? Our Lord saved the "good" thief on the cross instantaneously, a person who had no knowledge of the Catholic Church as we know it. Our Lord also gave a sermon on the mount specifying what we must do in order to be saved and the alternative for those who operate out of their own selfish motives. He saved scores of persons in the Old Testament who became sanctified after Our Lord sacrificed Himself on the cross. About all we can do as human beings, it seems to me, is to accept the judgments of our Holy Church about which deceased souls are in heaven. Our own poor faculty of Judging is certainly not something I would give credence to, so why even bother? Take what the Church says and go with it, says I. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I remember the nuns telling us that only Our Lord knows for certain those who names are written on the Book of Life. That said, I recall to mind that which the Church says with respect to certain judgments - "worthy of belief" or something like that.



Phaley,

You say, “Our own poor faculty of Judging is certainly not something I would give credence to, so why even bother? Take what the Church says and go with it.”

I can only assume then that you have no objection to the Prayer Meeting of Assisi since that is “what the Church says” to do. At least you are not willing to make any critical judgment against it. The “go with it” has gone to the Prayer Meeting at Assisi. Is that where your faith has taken you? Dogma, divinely revealed truths that are formal objects of divine and Catholic faith, are essentially unknowable? And even if know, they are inconsequential since they materially have no bearing on salvation? Just do whatever is being done? You need to make a distinction between what the Church “teaches” and what individual churchmen “do” and “say.” There is a truth, it can be known and it can be communicated.

So if you have no objection to ecumenism you can have no real objection to the Novus Ordo structure for which it is the foundation. Do you participate in ecumenical prayer meetings?

Drew

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Drew



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:08 pm    Post subject:

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HallnOates wrote:

Drew is outside the Church.



HallnOates,

I have noticed how often you post and how remarkably little you have to say.

Drew

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phaley



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:15 pm    Post subject:

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Drew wrote:

phaley wrote:

Why all the problems with EENS as it is properly interpreted? Who knows, other than Our Lord Himself, what anyone believes in his heart of hearts? Our Lord saved the "good" thief on the cross instantaneously, a person who had no knowledge of the Catholic Church as we know it. Our Lord also gave a sermon on the mount specifying what we must do in order to be saved and the alternative for those who operate out of their own selfish motives. He saved scores of persons in the Old Testament who became sanctified after Our Lord sacrificed Himself on the cross. About all we can do as human beings, it seems to me, is to accept the judgments of our Holy Church about which deceased souls are in heaven. Our own poor faculty of Judging is certainly not something I would give credence to, so why even bother? Take what the Church says and go with it, says I. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I remember the nuns telling us that only Our Lord knows for certain those who names are written on the Book of Life. That said, I recall to mind that which the Church says with respect to certain judgments - "worthy of belief" or something like that.



Phaley,

You say, “Our own poor faculty of Judging is certainly not something I would give credence to, so why even bother? Take what the Church says and go with it.”

I can only assume then that you have no objection to the Prayer Meeting of Assisi since that is “what the Church says” to do. At least you are not willing to make any critical judgment against it. The “go with it” has gone to the Prayer Meeting at Assisi. Is that where your faith has taken you? Dogma, divinely revealed truths that are formal objects of divine and Catholic faith, are essentially unknowable? And even if know, they are inconsequential since they materially have no bearing on salvation? Just do whatever is being done? You need to make a distinction between what the Church “teaches” and what individual churchmen “do” and “say.” There is a truth, it can be known and it can be communicated.

So if you have no objection to ecumenism you can have no real objection to the Novus Ordo structure for which it is the foundation. Do you participate in ecumenical prayer meetings?

Drew

You are wrong and you assume incorrectly, Bro. Joseph, for when I speak of the Church I mean that which the Church has proclaimed through valid councils and which has been proclaimed as dogmatic truth not by any individual opinion within the Church. So, don't place me in the same category as those who preach the theory of ecumenism for they are individuals and individuals can be wrong, even popes speaking as individuals. Indeed, even persons such as yourself can be wrong. Where my faith has taken me is not for you to decide, and I summarily reject your point of view. Your accusations against me bespeak a disordered mind for if you have read any of my posts, you know better.
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Drew



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:14 pm    Post subject:

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phaley wrote:

Drew wrote:

phaley wrote:

Why all the problems with EENS as it is properly interpreted? Who knows, other than Our Lord Himself, what anyone believes in his heart of hearts? Our Lord saved the "good" thief on the cross instantaneously, a person who had no knowledge of the Catholic Church as we know it. Our Lord also gave a sermon on the mount specifying what we must do in order to be saved and the alternative for those who operate out of their own selfish motives. He saved scores of persons in the Old Testament who became sanctified after Our Lord sacrificed Himself on the cross. About all we can do as human beings, it seems to me, is to accept the judgments of our Holy Church about which deceased souls are in heaven. Our own poor faculty of Judging is certainly not something I would give credence to, so why even bother? Take what the Church says and go with it, says I. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I remember the nuns telling us that only Our Lord knows for certain those who names are written on the Book of Life. That said, I recall to mind that which the Church says with respect to certain judgments - "worthy of belief" or something like that.



Phaley,

You say, “Our own poor faculty of Judging is certainly not something I would give credence to, so why even bother? Take what the Church says and go with it.”

I can only assume then that you have no objection to the Prayer Meeting of Assisi since that is “what the Church says” to do. At least you are not willing to make any critical judgment against it. The “go with it” has gone to the Prayer Meeting at Assisi. Is that where your faith has taken you? Dogma, divinely revealed truths that are formal objects of divine and Catholic faith, are essentially unknowable? And even if know, they are inconsequential since they materially have no bearing on salvation? Just do whatever is being done? You need to make a distinction between what the Church “teaches” and what individual churchmen “do” and “say.” There is a truth, it can be known and it can be communicated.

So if you have no objection to ecumenism you can have no real objection to the Novus Ordo structure for which it is the foundation. Do you participate in ecumenical prayer meetings?

Drew

You are wrong and you assume incorrectly, Bro. Joseph, for when I speak of the Church I mean that which the Church has proclaimed through valid councils and which has been proclaimed as dogmatic truth not by any individual opinion within the Church. So, don't place me in the same category as those who preach the theory of ecumenism for they are individuals and individuals can be wrong, even popes speaking as individuals. Indeed, even persons such as yourself can be wrong. Where my faith has taken me is not for you to decide, and I summarily reject your point of view. Your accusations against me bespeak a disordered mind for if you have read any of my posts, you know better.




Phaley,

I have never read any of your posts as far as I remember. I made no assumptions from anything other than your immediate post in reply to my question.

The question that I have asked is for those who accept the 1949 Letter as an orthodox expression of Catholic teaching to explain their objections in principle to the Prayer Meeting of Assisi. I am pleased to hear you say, “don't place me in the same category as those who preach the theory of ecumenism.” So now I assume that you object to the great ecumenical Prayer Meeting at Assisi.

Please tell me, do you accept the claims of the 1949 Letter and if you do, what are the grounds for your objection to Pray Meeting at Assisi or for that matter, any ecumenical prayer meeting?

Drew

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phaley



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:07 pm    Post subject:

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I know nothing of the contents of the 1949 letter but I think it was written to correct Fr. Feeney's strict interpretation of EENS. As I understand it, Fr. Feeney was opposed to Baptism of Blood and Baptism of Desire. So, I'll not comment on the supposed "claims" in the letter. Suffice it to say, that Fr. Feeney and the Church were supposedly reconciled on this matter before Fr. Feeney's death.

I do not espouse ecumenical prayer gatherings with heretics, schismatics and unbelievers and I believe those who preach the efficacy of such gatherings are not only wrong but are going against the specific instructions of previous popes like Pope Boniface VIII who said in Unam Sanctam: "Outside this Church there is no salvation and no remission of sins and... We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff." But I also believe that Our Lord and Savior is the One who decides with finality who it is that is within His Church.

In addition Pope Eugene IV, in Cantate Domino (1441) says: "The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the "eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41), unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church."

It is apparent that in these times some churchmen have taken a different interpretation on the remarks of the two Popes quoted above but I stand with the two popes mentioned and cannot see any "wiggle-room" to what they have pronounced. So, to put it in a nutshell: one has to be a member of Christ's Church to be saved and Christ Himself decides who it is that is within His Church, both materially and formally. Paul Haley (phaley) does not decide these matters.
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MICK



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:16 pm    Post subject:

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Drew, here is the relevant part of the 1949 Letter from the Holy Office, that you are referring to:

Quote:

That one may obtain eternal salvation, it is not always required that he be incorporated into the Church actually as a member, but it is necessary that at least he be united to her by desire and longing. However, this desire need not always be explicit, as it is in catechumens; but when a person is involved in invincible ignorance, God accepts also an implicit desire, so called because it is included in that good disposition of soul whereby a person wants his will to be conformed to the Will of God. These things are clearly taught in the dogmatic letter which was issued by the Sovereign Pontiff, Pope Pius XII, on June 29, 1943 (Mystici Corporis)... he mentions those who are related to the Mystical Body of the Redeemer "by a certain unconscious yearning and desire," and these he by no means excludes from eternal salvation; but on the other hand, he states that they are in a condition "in which they cannot be sure of their salvation" since "they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church!" With these wise words he reproves both those who exclude from salvation all united to the Church only by implicit desire, and those who falsely assert that men can be saved equally as well in every religion. (Letter to the Archbishop of Boston, August 8, 1949).



Drew writes:

Quote:

The 1949 Letter discards defined Catholic dogmas (I assume that you are aware of these dogmas) that explicit faith, submission to the Roman pontiff, and the sacraments are necessary for salvation. It does not deny these dogmas directly but rather treats them as perceptive norms of action and not as norms of believing, that is, it treats them as commands unrelated to truth and not as formal objects of divine and Catholic faith. Preceptive norms do not bind in the cases of physical or moral impossibility, while truths bind universally. This is a formally condemned error of Modernism. Dogmas are divinely revealed truths. They are not commands. Once the restriction burden of truth is discarded, it’s an easy matter to get around the restrictions of a command. The saying goes, ‘There is always a good reason to do the wrong thing.’



I see the 1949 Letter from the Holy Office as directed towards the Archbishop of Boston, clarifying that ostensibly non-Catholics can possibly be joined to the Church and be saved through Baptism of desire/blood. Great Saints have been saying the same exact thing for hundreds of years. Why not go further back into history and cite their writings as the 1st cause of this whole false ecumenism disaster? Why just start with the 1949 Letter?

Drew writes (particularly):

Quote:

The 1949 Letter discards defined Catholic dogmas (I assume that you are aware of these dogmas) that explicit faith, submission to the Roman pontiff, and the sacraments are necessary for salvation.



Wouldn't this mean that baptized children who die prior to the age of reason and the capability to acquire explicit Faith are automatically damned? Why would the Church bother to be so adament about infant Baptism, since they couldn't acquire explicit Faith until much older? And wouldn't this mean that St. Thomas Aquinas failed to have explicit Faith necessary for salvation because he didn't believe in the Immaculate Conception (though excused, because it wasn't dogmatically defined until 1854-yet was invincibly ignorant and had implicit Faith)?

Drew writes:

Quote:

Please tell me, do you accept the claims of the 1949 Letter and if you do, what are the grounds for your objection to Pray Meeting at Assisi or for that matter, any ecumenical prayer meeting?



Yes, I, like St. Alphonsus, accept the claims.

I object to the Prayer meeting at Assisi, because the Pope and Bishops are giving scandal, and are failing in the heavy responsibility given to them by Christ, who said to 'Go forth and teach all nations, what I have commanded you, baptizing them in the name of Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit' and 'To whom more is given, more will be required'.

The Pope and the Bishops should instead point out why the Catholic religion is the TRUE RELIGION, and ask them to convert.

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Pax Vobiscum



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:04 pm    Post subject:

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Drew wrote:

The 1949 Letter, never entered into the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, was then inserted into Denzinger's ...



A few weeks ago I read an article by Msgr. Fenton written in the '50's, in which he said something I had never heard before. He stated that the 1949 letter in question was entered in the Acta Apostolicea Sedis in 1952. Are you aware of this? I'll see if I can locate the article and post it here.

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Drew



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:42 pm    Post subject:

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MICK wrote:

Drew, here is the relevant part of the 1949 Letter from the Holy Office, that you are referring to:

Quote:

That one may obtain eternal salvation, it is not always required that he be incorporated into the Church actually as a member, but it is necessary that at least he be united to her by desire and longing. However, this desire need not always be explicit, as it is in catechumens; but when a person is involved in invincible ignorance, God accepts also an implicit desire, so called because it is included in that good disposition of soul whereby a person wants his will to be conformed to the Will of God. These things are clearly taught in the dogmatic letter which was issued by the Sovereign Pontiff, Pope Pius XII, on June 29, 1943 (Mystici Corporis)... he mentions those who are related to the Mystical Body of the Redeemer "by a certain unconscious yearning and desire," and these he by no means excludes from eternal salvation; but on the other hand, he states that they are in a condition "in which they cannot be sure of their salvation" since "they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church!" With these wise words he reproves both those who exclude from salvation all united to the Church only by implicit desire, and those who falsely assert that men can be saved equally as well in every religion. (Letter to the Archbishop of Boston, August 8, 1949).



Drew writes:

Quote:

The 1949 Letter discards defined Catholic dogmas (I assume that you are aware of these dogmas) that explicit faith, submission to the Roman pontiff, and the sacraments are necessary for salvation. It does not deny these dogmas directly but rather treats them as perceptive norms of action and not as norms of believing, that is, it treats them as commands unrelated to truth and not as formal objects of divine and Catholic faith. Preceptive norms do not bind in the cases of physical or moral impossibility, while truths bind universally. This is a formally condemned error of Modernism. Dogmas are divinely revealed truths. They are not commands. Once the restriction burden of truth is discarded, it’s an easy matter to get around the restrictions of a command. The saying goes, ‘There is always a good reason to do the wrong thing.’



I see the 1949 Letter from the Holy Office as directed towards the Archbishop of Boston, clarifying that ostensibly non-Catholics can possibly be joined to the Church and be saved through Baptism of desire/blood. Great Saints have been saying the same exact thing for hundreds of years. Why not go further back into history and cite their writings as the 1st cause of this whole false ecumenism disaster? Why just start with the 1949 Letter?

Drew writes (particularly):

Quote:

The 1949 Letter discards defined Catholic dogmas (I assume that you are aware of these dogmas) that explicit faith, submission to the Roman pontiff, and the sacraments are necessary for salvation.



Wouldn't this mean that baptized children who die prior to the age of reason and the capability to acquire explicit Faith are automatically damned? Why would the Church bother to be so adament about infant Baptism, since they couldn't acquire explicit Faith until much older? And wouldn't this mean that St. Thomas Aquinas failed to have explicit Faith necessary for salvation because he didn't believe in the Immaculate Conception (though excused, because it wasn't dogmatically defined until 1854-yet was invincibly ignorant and had implicit Faith)?

Drew writes:

Quote:

Please tell me, do you accept the claims of the 1949 Letter and if you do, what are the grounds for your objection to Pray Meeting at Assisi or for that matter, any ecumenical prayer meeting?



Yes, I, like St. Alphonsus, accept the claims.

I object to the Prayer meeting at Assisi, because the Pope and Bishops are giving scandal, and are failing in the heavy responsibility given to them by Christ, who said to 'Go forth and teach all nations, what I have commanded you, baptizing them in the name of Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit' and 'To whom more is given, more will be required'.

The Pope and the Bishops should instead point out why the Catholic religion is the TRUE RELIGION, and ask them to convert.




Mick,

I am glad to read that you “object to the Prayer Meeting at Assisi.” The reasons you have given are sound. But where does that leave the Holy Office Letter of 1949? According to that Letter all the participants in that Prayer Meeting may have been in the state of grace and temples of the Holy Ghost. Why not pray with them? How can it be a “scandal”?

The 1949 Holy Office Letter has nothing directly to do with the question of the sacrament of Baptism. It is a red herring used by those whose only purpose is to discredit Fr. Feeney and confuse the issue. Fr. Feeney did not produce his theological opinions on Baptism until several years after this letter was written. The Holy Office Letter is censoring the literal interpretation of the Catholic dogmas on salvation; specifically, the necessity for explicit faith, the necessity of being a member of the Church, the necessity for the sacraments, and the necessity of being subject to the Roman Pontiff for salvation. Invincible ignorance excuses from the obligation to obey laws but it does not excuse from the divinely revealed truths that must be believed for salvation.

You asked, “Why just start with the 1949 Letter?” Because the 1949 Letter is erroneously regarded as a Magisterial Document, the first of its kind, which was referenced in Lumen Gentium at Vatican II as a justification for the new Ecumenical Ecclesiology. “The Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church.” It is the ‘authoritative reference.’

Children at Baptism express an explicit Faith in the truths revealed by God through their sponsors. Also, the Church requires assurance that the sponsors and parents will properly instruct children in the truths of our Faith when they grow. Without these assurances, the Church will not baptism a child.

Faith is defined as believing what God has revealed on the authority of God (Vatican I). It does not exclude material error. St. Thomas may have been a material heretic with respect to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception but he was not a formal heretic. Further St. Thomas did not have “implicit faith” in the Immaculate Conception. Explicit Faith is believing in the revelation of God on the authority of God who reveals. Implicit Faith is both ignorant of the God who reveals and His revelation. It cannot believe because it does not know if God has revealed anything. It cannot love what it does not know.

Drew

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Drew



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:01 pm    Post subject:

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Pax Vobiscum wrote:

Drew wrote:

The 1949 Letter, never entered into the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, was then inserted into Denzinger's ...



A few weeks ago I read an article by Msgr. Fenton written in the '50's, in which he said something I had never heard before. He stated that the 1949 letter in question was entered in the Acta Apostolicea Sedis in 1952. Are you aware of this? I'll see if I can locate the article and post it here.




I have heard this claim but I have not been able to find, nor has anyone ever produced, a document from the Holy Office directing Cardinal Cushing to publish the 1949 Holy Office Letter in 1952, or the protocol number of any such document, or the AAS reference.

Doing a word search for "feeney" in the 947 pages of the 1952 edition of AAS produces no reference to Fr. Leonard Feeney.

St. Pius X in the apostolic constitiution, Promulgandi Pontificias Constitutiones, established the AAS in 1908, which is the only official press of the Holy See for the doctrinal and disciplinary problems.  It replaced the Acta Sanctae Sedis founded by Blessed Pius IX in 1865.


There is no question of doctrine that I am aware of since 1908 that has not been published in the AAS except for the Holy Office Letter of 1949.

As St. Pius X said, it is the "only official press of the Holy See for the doctrinal...problems." If it is not published in the AAS it is not an act of the apostolic see.

Drew

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HallnOates



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:24 pm    Post subject:

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Quote:

Objectively speaking, Feeneyites commit a grave sin against the Faith, even if they are not aware of it. This is the reason why the Society of Saint Pius X does not allow any proselytism of this error in or around its chapels and faithful, either by word of mouth or by written handouts. In a time of normality in the Church, Rome would continue to act authoritatively, condemning this error and possibly making a de fide definition concerning baptism of blood and desire. If it is time that Feeneyites take advantage of the confusion caused by the breakdown in the Church’s authority, we have no excuse for contributing to this confusion by weakness or lack of clarity in our exposition of the Church’s teaching, as found in the Catechism of the Council of Trent.



http://sspx.org/District_Superiors_Ltrs/2001_ds_ltrs/may_01_district_superiors_letter.htm

There are
no Feeneyites in Heaven.


I'd hate to go before the Judgment Seat of God with the spreading of this grave sin against the Faith on my soul or allowing this grave sin against the Faith to have been spread and possibly infected into those who were once Catholic faithful and who then fall into heresy.

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MICK



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:36 am    Post subject:

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Drew, below I will post an article from the American Ecclesiastical Review, December, 1952, written by Msgr. Joseph Fenton, that should not only put a rest to all your arguments, but should be bookmarked by everyone, for it is the best explanation of the Church's teaching "Outside of the Catholic Church No Salvation" I've come across. (and written by someone who was very learned in this subject matter).

In it, he claims the "Holy Office letter will stand as one of the most important authoritative doctrinal statements of modern times" and that "In accomplishing its purpose, the Holy Office letter has given to Catholic theologians by far the most complete and detailed exposition of the dogma that the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation which has yet to come from the ecclesiastical magisterium"

Read it for yourself, and you will find that Feeneyism and the St. Benedict Center group errors when it denies "the possibility of salvation for any man who had only an implicit desire to enter the Catholic Church".

And for fairness sake, if I'm to understand you as a Religious Brother, Drew you should have no reservation in atleast telling us what Religious Order you belong to, so that we know right off the bat where you are coming from. With the anonymity of the internet, you never know if you're communicating with someone who is considered outside the Church, like those BLEEPS! or Feeneyites.

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MICK



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:39 am    Post subject:

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http://catholicforum.forumotion.com/t180-fr-joesph-fenton-on-the-1949-holy-office-letter


Fr. Joesph Fenton on the 1949 Holy Office Letter


.The following is taken from the American Ecclesiastical Review, December, 1952, pages 450-461, published by the Catholic University of America Press … any emphasis in the text is from the original.)


THE HOLY OFFICE LETTER ON THE NECESSITY
OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH


The science of sacred theology has been greatly aided by Archbishop Cushing’s action in publishing the full text and the official English translation of the Holy Office letter on the Church’s necessity for salvation. This letter, the third of three Roman documents to directly deal with this dogma over the course of the last ten years, contains the accurate and authoritative explanation of a divinely revealed truth that had been very frequently misinterpreted in recent Catholic writing. The publication of this document can and should serve to bring about a decided improvement in the treatment of the dogma of the Church’s necessity for salvation in our popular Catholic literature.

The text of the letter consists of twenty-four paragraphs. The first three of these are introductory, and speak of the circumstances that prompted the issuance of this message. The following sixteen deal with “explanationes…ad doctrinam pertinentes.” The last five paragraphs contain “invitamenta atque exhortationes, quae ad disciplinam spectant.”

In the introduction, the letter asserts that it is dealing with a grave or serious controversy which has been stirred up (excitata) by people connected with St. Benedict Center and Boston College. It further states that the Holy Office believes that the controversy arose in the first place because of a failure properly to grasp and to appreciate the axiom “extra Ecclesiam nulla sallus,” and that the dispute became embittered by reason of the fact that some of those associated with St. Benedict Center and with Boston College refused respect and obedience to legitimate ecclesiastical authorities.

Both here and in the doctrinal part of the letter we encounter the clear implication that the Holy Office is taking cognizance of many varieties of mistakes about the Catholic Church’s necessity for salvation. When the letter sets out to place the blame for the embitterment of the controversy, it directly inculpates the St. Benedict Center group, which was guilty of disrespect and disobedience to ecclesiastical authority, and which, incidentally, was originally punished precisely for that disobedience. When, on the other hand, the document speaks of the origin of the dispute, it simply ascribes the controversy itself to a failure to know and to appreciate the formula “extra ecclesiam nulla sallus.” Those who have studied in any detail the copious modern writings on this subject are well aware that there have been several faulty explanations of this dogma published during the first part of the present century.

Thus what makes this letter from the Holy Office so outstandingly important is the fact that it sets out, not only to correct the basic misinterpretation of the dogma made by the St. Benedict Center group, but to show the doctrinal quality of the teaching itself and to offer an accurate, full, and authoritative outline of its explanation. In accomplishing its purpose, the Holy Office letter has given to Catholic theologians by far the most complete and detailed exposition of the dogma that the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation which has yet to come from the ecclesiastical magisterium.

The specifically doctrinal portion of the Holy Office letter opens with a paragraph which repeats what the Vatican Council taught about those truths which we are bound to believe with the assent of divine and Catholic Faith. The letter tells us that “we are bound to believe with divine and Catholic faith all of those things contained in God’s message that comes to us by way of Scripture or Tradition (quae in verbo Dei scripto vel tradito continentur), and which are proposed by the Church, not only in solemn judgment, but also by its ordinary and universal teaching activity, to be believed as divinely revealed.

Now the teachings we are obliged to believe with the assent of divine and Catholic faith are the truths which we know as the dogmas of the Catholic Church. These dogmas are truths which the apostles of Jesus Christ preached to His Church as statements which had been supernaturally communicated or revealed by God Himself. They constitute the central or primary object of the Church’s infallible teaching activity.

It is important to note that our Holy Office letter describes the doctrine “that there is no salvation outside the Church,” not only as an infallible teaching, but also as a dogma. It insists, in other words, that this doctrine is not merely something connected with God’s public and supernatural message, but that it belongs to the revealed message itself. The doctrine is presented as a truth which the apostles themselves delivered to the Church as a statement which God had supernaturally revealed to men through Our Lord. It is one of the truths with which the Church is primarily and essentially concerned.

In thus designating this teaching as a dogma of the Church, the Holy Office letter merely repeated what Pope Pius IX had taught in his allocution Singulari quadam, issued Dec. 9, 1854, and in his encyclical Quanto conficiamur moerore, published on Aug. 10, 1863. Thus our document does not make any new contribution on this particular point. It merely recalls, for a generation which might have forgotten the fact, the sovereign truth that the teaching with which it is concerned is an actual part of divine public revelation.

Our letter also brings out two important consequences of the fact that the doctrine of the Church’s necessity for eternal salvation is actually a Catholic dogma. The first implication is that this truth is one of “those things which the Church has always preached and will never cease to preach.” The second implication is to be found in the fact that God has entrusted the authoritative and infallible explanation of these revealed truths, not to private judgment, but to the teaching authority of the Church alone. Both of these implications are highly important for our contemporary theologians. As a matter of fact, the Holy Father himself took up these two points in his encyclical Humani generis, which, though it appeared two years before the publication of the full text of the Holy Office letter, was actually written a year after this document.

In the context of the present discussion and the misunderstandings which occasioned the writing of our letter, the reminder that the Church has never ceased to preach and will never cease to preach the truth that it is necessary for man’s salvation is timely and advantageous. It is important to note that the letter uses the term “praedicare, to preach.” By employing this word, the document assures us that, during every part of its history, the Catholic Church continues to set forth publicly and openly the teaching it has received from God through Our Lord and His apostles. Thus the Holy Office does more than merely affirm that the Church has always conserved and guarded its doctrinal treasures. It insists that the Church has never ceased to teach its own dogma.

Now there has been a long tendency on the part of some Catholic writers to imagine that certain dogmas of the Church tend to grow obsolete, and that, in the interests of its own progress, the Church does not insist too rigorously upon those teachings which are represented as out of touch with modern conditions. Pope Leo XIII reproved one aspect of this tendency in his letter Testem benevolentiae. It is perfectly manifest that the one dogma of the Church which its enemies would consider as least in line with the currents of modern thought is the teaching that there is no salvation outside of the true Church. Similarly a mentality like that of the St. Benedict Center group would tend to hold that, at least in our time, the Church universal has not been teaching the dogma of its own necessity for man’s salvation effectively.

Moreover, this statement of the Holy Office letter comes as a rebuke to the more extreme forms of the much discredited “state of siege” theory, according to which the Church has in some way modified its doctrinal life since the days of the Council of Trent by adopting an artificially defensive position. Our letter assures us at this point that the Church will never pass over or soft-pedal any of its dogmas, in the interests of a so-called defensive mentality or for any other reason.

The second implication or consequence noted by the Holy Office letter is equally timely. In insisting upon the fact that Our Saviour has confined the explanation of His dogma, not to private judgment, but to the ecclesiastical magisterium alone, the letter makes it perfectly clear that Catholics are to be guided in their understanding of revealed truth by the official teachers of the Church, and not by any merely private authors, however ingenious and influential these latter may be. And, to put the matter as concretely as possible, Catholics are not to accept any teachings of private writers, even when these teachings seem particularly in harmony with the modern mentality, if these teachings are not strictly in accord with the doctrine of the magisterium. It is quite obvious that private teachings of this sort have been presented in recent times, on the subject of the Church’s necessity for salvation and in other sections of ecclesiology.

These first three paragraphs in the doctrinal portion of the Holy Office letter deal with the fact that the teaching that “there is no salvation outside the Church” is a dogma of the Catholic faith, and with two of the consequences that follow upon that fact. The remainder of the doctrinal section (the only one with which we are directly concerned in this article) is given over to an exposition of the way in which the Church itself understands and teaches the dogma of its own necessity for eternal salvation. In these few paragraphs, theologians will find that three distinctions, long used by the Church’s traditional theologians in their explanation of the Church’s necessity for salvation, are here, for the first time, presented clearly and decisively in an authentic statement of the Church’s magisterium as employed by the teaching Church itself in its own understanding and explanation of the dogma. They are (1) the distinction between a necessity of precept and the necessity of means, (2) the distinction between belonging to the Church in re and belonging to it in voto, and (3) the distinction between an explicit and an implicit intention or desire to enter the Catholic Church. It is precisely because all of these distinctions are used for the first time in a document of the magisterium to explain the Church’s necessity for salvation that this letter is one of the most important Roman documents of recent times.

First, the Holy Office shows us that the classical distinction between the necessity of precept and the necessity of means, long used by competent theologians in explaining the dogma of the Church’s necessity for salvation, actually enters into the Church’s own understanding and explanation of this doctrine. Dealing with the Church’s necessity of precept, the letter brings out the fact that the command, “to be incorporated by Baptism into the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church, and to remain united to Christ and to His Vicar.” Is one of the orders which Our Lord actually commissioned His apostles to teach to all nations. The document goes on to explain the Church’s necessity of precept to mean that “no one will be saved who, knowing the Church to have been divinely established by Christ, nevertheless refuses to submit to the Church or withholds obedience from the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth.”

The Sacred Congregation’s letter thus states explicitly that there is a serious command issued by Our Lord Himself to all men, a command that they should enter and remain within the true Church. The man who disobeys that command is guilty of serious sin. If he should die in that state of willful disobedience, he will inevitably be lost forever. Such is the basic meaning of the Church’s necessity of precept, as explained by the letter from the Holy Office, and as understood by the Church itself.

This document also teaches us, however, there is more than a necessity of precept involved in the dogma of the Catholic Church’s necessity for salvation. It insists upon the fact that Our Lord has “also decreed the Church to be a meansof salvation, without which no one can enter the kingdom of eternal glory.” In other words, Our Saviour has done two things: He has commanded all men to enter the Church; and He has established this society as one of the supernatural resources apart from which no man can enjoy the Beatific Vision as a member of the Church triumphant in heaven.

This statement by the Holy Office is tremendously important in the field of dogmatic theology. For many years past there have been attempts on the part of some Catholic writers to depict the Church’s necessity for salvation as exclusively or almost exclusively a mere necessity of precept. Now the authoritative voice of the Roman Church itself assures us that the Church is necessary both with the necessity of precept and with the necessity of means. This letter is the first authoritative document in which this truth is set forth clearly and explicitly.

Likewise of tremendous moment is the letter’s use of the classical theological distinction between belonging to the Church in re and belonging to it in voto. Henceforth those who wish to explain Catholic teaching on this point should use these two distinctions (necessity of precept as distinct from necessity of means: belonging to the Church in re as distinct from belonging to it in voto.), if they are to act as faithful exponents of Catholic truth. It is interesting to note that the Holy Office has made no use of such terminology as “the soul and the body of the Church,” or “the Church as the ordinary means of salvation,” in setting forth what the Church itself has always understood as the meaning of its own necessity for eternal salvation.

Furthermore, it is also interesting to see the connotations of the terms “votum” and “desiderium,” used here by the Holy Office communication. These terms are translated, not incorrectly, but perhaps somewhat inadequately, in the official English translation of the letter as “desire” and “yearning.” In employing these terms the Holy Office makes it clear that, in order to be saved, men must either be attached to the Church actually or in re as members, or be joined to the Church by a genuine act of the will, intending or desiring to become members.

In other words, according to the connotations of these two terms, the explicit votum by which a man may be joined to the Church so as to achieve his salvation must be a real desire or intention, and not a mere velleity. The act of the will in which the implicit salvific votum of the Church is contained must likewise be more than a mere velleity. This operation also must be a real and effective act of the will.

In teaching that a votum or a desiderium of the Church can, under certain circumstances, suffice to bring a man to the attainment of the Beatific Vision, we must not forget that the Holy Office letter likewise uses a procedure which has been employed by the traditional Catholic theologians for many years. It classifies the Church itself, along with the sacraments of Baptism and Penance, among “those helps to salvation which are directed toward man’s final end, not by intrinsic necessity, but only by divine institution.” Conversely, of course, it thus implies the existence of other resources which are ordered to man’s ultimate goal by way of intrinsic necessity. Realties like the Church itself, and the sacraments of Baptism and Penance, may under certain circumstances achieve their effect when they are processed or used only in intention or desire. Helps of the other classification, like sanctifying grace, faith, and charity, must, on the other hand, be possessed or used in re if they are to achieve their purpose at all.

The letter applies this principle when it assures us that, in order for a man to obtain eternal salvation, “it is not always required that he be incorporated into the Church actually as a member, but it is necessary that at least he be united to her by desire and longing.” Such, of course, has been the explicit teaching of traditional Catholic theologians since the days of Thomas Stapleton and St. Robert Bellarmine. It is a commonplace of Catholic theology that a man could be saved if, finding it impossible to actually to join the Church as a member, he really sincerely intended or desired to live within this society.

The Holy Office then proceeds against what has been perhaps the most obstinate and important error of the St. Benedict Center group when it explains that “this desire need not always be explicit, as it is in catechumens”; but that “when a person is involved in invincible ignorance, God accepts also an implicit desire, so called because it is included in that good disposition of soul whereby a person wishes his will to be conformed to the will of God.”

It is noteworthy that the theologians of the Church have never included the doctrine of the Church itself among those supernatural truths which must be held explicitly if there is to be the necessary minimum for an act of true and salvific divine faith. The Holy Office letter, however, does not go to this theological reasoning, but directly to the authoritative teaching of Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Mystici Corporis to back up its contention. That encyclical effectively taught the possibility of salvation for persons who have only an implicit desire to enter and to live within the Catholic Church.

In the text of the Mystici Corporis, the Sovereign Pontiff clearly and authoritatively taught the requisites for actual membership in the Church. He issued as his own teaching the Bellarminian doctrine that “Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed.” He likewise, however, spoke of the possibility of salvation for those who “are related to the Mystical Body by a certain unconscious yearning and desire (inscio quodam desiderio ac voto).” He depicted such individuals as existing in a state “in which they cannot be sure of their salvation” since “they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church.”

The Holy Office interprets these teachings of the Mystici Corporis as a condemnation of two errors. One of them, that defended explicitly by members of the St. Benedict Center group, is the doctrine that no man be saved if he has only an implicit desire or intention to enter the Church. The other is the teaching that men may be saved “equally well (aequaliter)” in any religion. For the previous condemnation of this latter error the letter refers to two pronouncements by Pope Pius IX, his allocution Singulari quadam and his encyclical Quanto conficiamur moerore.

Finally the letter brings out two points which many of the writers who have dealt with this question have passed over all too quickly. It insists that, in order to be effective for eternal salvation, any intention or desire of entering the Church, whether explicit or implicit must be animated by perfect charity. No benevolence on a merely natural plane can suffice to save man, even when that man actually intends to enter and to live within the true Church of Jesus Christ. Non-membership in the Church, even on the part of a man who wishes to become a Catholic, does not in any way dispense from the necessity of those factors which are requisite for the attainment of the Beatific Vision by intrinsic necessity, and not merely by reason of divine institution.

Furthermore, the Holy Office also insists upon the necessity of true and supernatural faith in any many who attains eternal salvation. A man may be invincibly ignorant of the Catholic Church, and still be saved by reason of an implicit desire or intention to enter and to live within that society. But, if he is saved, he achieves the Beatific Vision as one who has died with genuine supernatural faith. He must actually and explicitly accept as certain some definite truths which have been supernaturally revealed by God. He must accept explicitly and precisely as revealed truths the existence of God as the Head of the supernatural order and the fact that God rewards good and punishes evil. Our letter manifestly alludes to this necessity when it quotes, in support of its teaching on the necessity of supernatural faith in all those who are saved, the words of the Epistle to the Hebrews: “For he who comes to God must believe that God exists and is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

Now most theologians teach that the minimum explicit content of supernatural and salvific faith includes, not only the truths of God’s existence and of His action as the Rewarder of good and the Punisher of evil, but also the mysteries of the Blessed Trinity and the Incarnation. It must be noted at this point that there is no hint of any intention on the part of the Holy Office, in citing this text from the Epistle to the Hebrews, to teach that explicit belief in the mysteries of the Blessed Trinity and of the Incarnation is not required for the attainment of salvation. In the context of the letter, the Sacred Congregation quotes this verse precisely as a proof of its declaration that an implicit desire of the Church cannot produce its effect “unless a person has supernatural faith.”

Still, the teaching of the letter must be seen against the backdrop of the rest of Catholic doctrine. And it is definitely a part of the Catholic doctrine that certain basic revealed truths must be accepted and believed explicitly, even though other teachings contained in the deposit of faith may, under certain circumstances, be believed with only an implicit faith. True and supernatural faith, we must remember, is not a mere readiness to believe, but an actual belief, but an actual belief, the actual acceptance as certainly true of definite teachings which have actually been revealed supernaturally by God to man. Furthermore, this salvific and supernatural faith is an acceptance of these teachings, not as naturally ascertainable doctrines, but precisely as revealed statements, which are to be accepted on the authority of God who has revealed them to man.

The doctrinal portion of the Holy Office letter ends with the declaration that, in the light of what the document itself has taught, “it is evident that those things which are proposed in the periodical ‘From the Housetops,’ fascicle 3, as the genuine teaching of the Catholic Church are far from being such and are very harmful both to those within the Church and those without.” The issue of From the Housetops to which the letter refers contained only one article, written by Mr. Raymond Karam of the St. Benedict Center group, and entitled “Reply to a Liberal.”

The most important error contained in that article was a denial of the possibility of salvation for any man who had only an implicit desire to enter the Catholic Church. There was likewise bad teaching on the requisites for justification, as distinguished from the requisites for salvation. The first of these faults has been indicated in a previous issue of The American Ecclesiastical Review.

The Holy Office letter is by far the most complete authoritative statement on and explanation of the Church’s necessity for salvation yet issued by the Holy See. A tremendous number of documents in the past have asserted the dogma. The encyclical Mystici Corporis showed clearly that the explanation of this teaching involved a recognition of the fact that salvation is possible for men “who are related to the Mystical Body of the Redeemer by a certain unconscious yearning and desire[/i].” The encyclical Humani generis reproved those who “reduce to an empty formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation.”

It remained for the present document to state and to use the distinction between the necessity of precept and the necessity of means, to explain this latter in terms of belonging to the Church in re and in voto, and explicitly to distinguish between explicit and implicit intentions of entering the Church. Because it has done these things, and because it has joined up the teaching on the Church’s necessity with the doctrines of the necessity of faith and of charity, the Holy Office letter will stand as one of the most important authoritative doctrinal statements of modern times.

Joseph Clifford Fenton
The Catholic University of America
Washington, D.C.

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Michael Wilson



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Location: Saint Marys, Kansas

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:22 am    Post subject: Re: 1949 letter

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Drew wrote:

Michael Wilson wrote:

I wholeheartedly accept and subscribe to the 1949 letter from the Holy Office condemning Fr. Feeney and the false doctrine which he proffesed, while explaining the the true meaning of EENS.
The "Feeneyite" arguments are balderash.



Michael Wilson,

Good. Now you have to explain why there is a problem with the Prayer Meeting of Assisi. Or is it that you have no problem with Prayer Meeting?


Drew


Drew,
I really don't "have to" explain anything.
The difference between the 1949 letter and Assissi, is that the first upholds the teaching of EENS (as understood by the Magisterium of the Church) while the second recognizes the salvific value of other religions.
As it stands, both Feeneyism and Assissi are condemned by the 1949 letter. Here is the relevant quote from Msgr. Fenton:

Quote:


The Holy Office interprets these teachings of the Mystici Corporis as a condemnation of two errors. One of them, that defended explicitly by members of the St. Benedict Center group, is the doctrine that no man be saved if he has only an implicit desire or intention to enter the Church. The other is the teaching that men may be saved “equally well (aequaliter)” in any religion. For the previous condemnation of this latter error the letter refers to two pronouncements by Pope Pius IX, his allocution Singulari quadam and his encyclical Quanto conficiamur moerore.


Therefore to hold to either Assissi or to Feeneism, is to reject Mystici Corporis.
The person who has some explaining to do is yourself: Do you reject the teaching of Mystici Corporis? If you do, then you do not belong on a Catholic Forum.
_________________
MichaelW.

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