Home > Uncategorized > NEWS FLASH: The Pope is Roman Catholic!

NEWS FLASH: The Pope is Roman Catholic!

July 10th, 2007
Marketing Advertising Blog — VuManhThang.Com

Papacy I truly enjoy watching liberal ecumenists go into fits of apoplexy when Rome acts like Rome, when the Pope acts like the Pope and when it the "big news" is that the Roman Catholic Church still thinks it is the one, true church on earth and that all other Christian communities are either defective (the East) or not church at all (all us Reformation types). I am not at all bothered by the Pope’s pronouncement, actually quite pleased by such refreshing clarity and integrity in the expression of Rome’s position: open and honest. Too bad liberal Lutherans can’t be as forthcoming at times. It is troubling that there are groups about that stand for one thing, but hide their positions so as to try to deceive and mislead people.

So, big news! The Pope is a Roman Catholic! Here is the official statment from the vatican. Click through to the extended version to read it. And then, when you are finished reading the document, read the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope for a sound, Biblical and Gospel-centered refutation of these false claims.

CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH

Bold italic portions are emphases added by PTM.

RESPONSES TO SOME QUESTIONS REGARDING CERTAIN ASPECTS
OF THE DOCTRINE ON THE CHURCH

Introduction

The Second Vatican Council, with its Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, and its Decrees on Ecumenism (Unitatis redintegratio) and the Oriental Churches (Orientalium Ecclesiarum), has contributed in a decisive way to the renewal of Catholic ecclesiolgy. The Supreme Pontiffs have also contributed to this renewal by offering their own insights and orientations for praxis: Paul VI in his Encyclical Letter Ecclesiam suam (1964) and John Paul II in his Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint (1995).

The consequent duty of theologians to expound with greater clarity the diverse aspects of ecclesiology has resulted in a flowering of writing in this field. In fact it has become evident that this theme is a most fruitful one which, however, has also at times required clarification by way of precise definition and correction, for instance in the declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae (1973), the Letter addressed to the Bishops of the Catholic Church Communionis notio (1992), and the declaration Dominus Iesus (2000), all published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The vastness of the subject matter and the novelty of many of the themes involved continue to provoke theological reflection. Among the many new contributions to the field, some are not immune from erroneous interpretation which in turn give rise to confusion and doubt. A number of these interpretations have been referred to the attention of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Given the universality of Catholic doctrine on the Church, the Congregation wishes to respond to these questions by clarifying the authentic meaning of some ecclesiological expressions used by the magisterium which are open to misunderstanding in the theological debate.

RESPONSES TO THE QUESTIONS

First Question: Did the Second Vatican Council change the Catholic doctrine on the Church?

Response: The Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine, rather it developed, deepened and more fully explained it.

This was exactly what John XXIII said at the beginning of the Council[1]. Paul VI affirmed it[2] and commented in the act of promulgating the Constitution Lumen gentium: "There is no better comment to make than to say that this promulgation really changes nothing of the traditional doctrine. What Christ willed, we also will. What was, still is. What the Church has taught down through the centuries, we also teach. In simple terms that which was assumed, is now explicit; that which was uncertain, is now clarified; that which was meditated upon, discussed and sometimes argued over, is now put together in one clear formulation"[3]. The Bishops repeatedly expressed and fulfilled this intention[4].

Second Question: What is the meaning of the affirmation that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church?

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

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

It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.[9] Nevertheless, the word "subsists" can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe… in the "one" Church); and this "one" Church subsists in the Catholic Church.[10]

Third Question: Why was the expression "subsists in" adopted instead of the simple word "is"?

Response: The use of this expression, which indicates the full identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church, does not change the doctrine on the Church. Rather, it comes from and brings out more clearly the fact that there are "numerous elements of sanctification and of truth" which are found outside her structure, but which "as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, impel towards Catholic Unity"[11].

"It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church"[12].

Fourth Question: Why does the Second Vatican Council use the term "Church" in reference to the oriental Churches separated from full communion with the Catholic Church?

Response: The Council wanted to adopt the traditional use of the term. "Because these Churches, although separated, have true sacraments and above all – because of the apostolic succession – the priesthood and the Eucharist, by means of which they remain linked to us by very close bonds"[13], they merit the title of "particular or local Churches"[14], and are called sister Churches of the particular Catholic Churches[15].

"It is through the celebration of the Eucharist of the Lord in each of these Churches that the Church of God is built up and grows in stature"[16]. However, since communion with the Catholic Church, the visible head of which is the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Peter, is not some external complement to a particular Church but rather one of its internal constitutive principles, these venerable Christian communities lack something in their condition as particular churches[17].

On the other hand, because of the division between Christians, the fullness of universality, which is proper to the Church governed by the Successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him, is not fully realised in history[18].

Fifth Question: Why do the texts of the Council and those of the Magisterium since the Council not use the title of "Church" with regard to those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century?

Response: According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery[19] cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called "Churches" in the proper sense[20].

The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ratified and confirmed these Responses, adopted in the Plenary Session of the Congregation, and ordered their publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 29, 2007, the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

William Cardinal Levada
Prefect

Angelo Amato, S.D.B.
Titular Archbishop of Sila
Secretary

[1] JOHN XXIII, Address of 11 October 1962: "…The Council…wishes to transmit Catholic doctrine, whole and entire, without alteration or deviation…But in the circumstances of our times it is necessary that Christian doctrine in its entirety, and with nothing taken away from it, is accepted with renewed enthusiasm, and serene and tranquil adherence… it is necessary that the very same doctrine be understood more widely and more profoundly as all those who sincerely adhere to the Christian, Catholic and Apostolic faith strongly desire …it is necessary that this certain and immutable doctrine, to which is owed the obedience of faith, be explored and expounded in the manner required by our times. The deposit of faith itself and the truths contained in our venerable doctrine are one thing, but the manner in which they are annunciated is another, provided that the same fundamental sense and meaning is maintained" : AAS 54 [1962] 791-792.

[2] Cf. PAUL VI, Address of 29 September 1963: AAS 55 [1963] 847-852.

[3] PAUL VI, Address of 21 November 1964: AAS 56 [1964] 1009-1010.

[4] The Council wished to express the identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church. This is clear from the discussions on the decree Unitatis redintegratio. The Schema of the Decree was proposed on the floor of the Council on 23.9.1964 with a Relatio (Act Syn III/II 296-344). The Secretariat for the Unity of Christians responded on 10.11.1964 to the suggestions sent by Bishops in the months that followed (Act Syn III/VII 11-49). Herewith are quoted four texts from this Expensio modorum concerning this first response.

A) [In Nr. 1 (Prooemium) Schema Decreti: Act Syn III/II 296, 3-6]

"Pag. 5, lin. 3-6: Videtur etiam Ecclesiam catholicam inter illas Communiones comprehendi, quod falsum esset.

R(espondetur): Hic tantum factum, prout ab omnibus conspicitur, describendum est. Postea clare affirmatur solam Ecclesiam catholicam esse veram Ecclesiam Christi" (Act Syn III/VII 12).

B) [In Caput I in genere: Act Syn III/II 297-301]

"4 – Expressius dicatur unam solam esse veram Ecclesiam Christi; hanc esse Catholicam Apostolicam Romanam; omnes debere inquirere, ut eam cognoscant et ingrediantur ad salutem obtinendam…

R(espondetur): In toto textu sufficienter effertur, quod postulatur. Ex altera parte non est tacendum etiam in aliis communitatibus christianis inveniri veritates revelatas et elementa ecclesialia"(Act Syn III/VII 15). Cf. also ibid pt. 5.

C) [In Caput I in genere: Act Syn III/II 296s]

"5 – Clarius dicendum esset veram Ecclesiam esse solam Ecclesiam catholicam romanam…

R(espondetur): Textus supponit doctrinam in constitutione ‘De Ecclesia’ expositam, ut pag. 5, lin. 24-25 affirmatur" (Act Syn III/VII 15). Thus the commission whose task it was to evaluate the responses to the Decree Unitatis redintegratio clearly expressed the identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church and its unicity, and understood this doctrine to be founded in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium.

D) [In Nr. 2 Schema Decreti: Act Syn III/II 297s]

"Pag. 6, lin. 1- 24: Clarius exprimatur unicitas Ecclesiae. Non sufficit inculcare, ut in textu fit, unitatem Ecclesiae.

R(espondetur): a) Ex toto textu clare apparet identificatio Ecclesiae Christi cum Ecclesia catholica, quamvis, ut oportet, efferantur elementa ecclesialia aliarum communitatum".

"Pag. 7, lin. 5: Ecclesia a successoribus Apostolorum cum Petri successore capite gubernata (cf. novum textum ad pag. 6, lin.33-34) explicite dicitur ‘unicus Dei grex’ et lin. 13 ‘una et unica Dei Ecclesia’ " (Act Syn III/VII).

The two expressions quoted are those of Unitatis redintegratio 2.5 e 3.1.

[5] Cf. SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8.1.

[6] Cf. SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 3.2; 3.4; 3.5; 4.6.

[7] SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution, Lumen gentium, 8.2.

[8] Cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae, 1.1: AAS 65 [1973] 397; Declaration Dominus Iesus, 16.3: AAS 92 [2000-II] 757-758; Notification on the Book of Leonardo Boff, OFM, "Church: Charism and Power": AAS 77 [1985] 758-759.

[9] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint, 11.3: AAS 87 [1995-II] 928.

[10] Cf. SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8.2.

[11] SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8.2.

[12] SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 3.4.

[13] SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 15.3; cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Letter Communionis notio, 17.2: AAS, 85 [1993-II] 848.

[14] SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 14.1.

[15] Cf. SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 14.1; JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint, 56 f: AAS 87 [1995-II] 954 ff.

[16] SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 15.1.

[17] Cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Letter Communionis notio, 17.3: AAS 85 [1993-II] 849.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Cf. SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 22.3.

[20] Cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Declaration Dominus Iesus, 17.2: AAS 92 [2000-II] 758.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Paul W
    July 10th, 2007 at 22:23 | #1

    I wonder…even though Ratzy was in charge of the JDDJ process unfortunately agreed to by 95% of Lutheranism through the LWF…do you think there’s a repudiation of the agreement looming, or at the very least, a public clarification? I know the LCMS, WELS, and ILC saw through the veneer, but is it possible that Ratzy will announce that the edicts of Trent really do apply?

  2. July 11th, 2007 at 01:36 | #2

    Have you noticed that for the RCC it is the Apostolic Succession (AS)factor that define’s Church?
    I have alway known and been taught in catechism as kid that it is the AS that makes a Sacrament valid. In fact the AS makes a church the Church. Hence , as far as they are concerned all the Supper celebrations of both Anglican and Lutherans are bogus and their pastors are bogus too.
    So yes, this is deeply confirming, not comforting but confirming.
    Lito

  3. July 11th, 2007 at 06:23 | #3

    And to think, we were all told Benedict was the first Lutheran Pope!

  4. Rev. Al Bergstrazer
    July 11th, 2007 at 09:58 | #4

    It looks like one helpful tool in apologetics against unionism and synchretism is to be on the mailing list for Papal rescripts (in this case an Apostolic ‘motu proprio’). I think I may laminate the answer to question five and hand it out every time someone says “but Pastor don’t we all (Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians) believe the same thing?”
    Its doubtful that the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification will be repudiated, in as much as Rome gave up nothing, admitting to little more than a similarity in termimology.
    What we must realize that this is not only a doctrinal statement it is also a political statement. What is significant is Benedict’s use of the term ‘interior reconciliation’ the Pope is seeking more than a dialogue, but to chart a middle ground between the Tridentine Mass and the Novum Ordo in order to unify his church. To his credit he understands what most protestants, evangelicals and Lutherans do not; that the worst thing you can do is change your doctrine, because doctrine is what brings unity within a church.
    Vatican II did indeed change 1000 years worth of doctrine, and that change brought what Pope Paul the Sixth described as ‘interior upheaval.’ In retrospect the Vatican is seeing that the changes in the Mass brought bewilderment and chaos. (I recenlty heard one Catholic layman describe going from the old Mass to the New as going from ‘strong medicine’ to a ‘sugar coated placebo.’) Vatican II rightly or wrongly became a banner for revolution within the church. The academic argument for the rescript is that the documents of Vatican II themselves are not the cause of the upheaval and discord, but rather the interpretation of them. Benedict’s intent is to interpret Vatican II in continutity with the past.
    However this will not satisfy the SSPX, as they have called for the Pope to publicly state that the Latin Mass has not been aborgated. This would be an admission that the New Mass was not strong enough to superceed the old. They’ve also asked that the so called “phoney excomunication” be recinded.
    The lesson for us to learn from afar is that to teach one thing as true for a millenia and then turn about and teach a contrary thing as also true will lead to no less than chaos. If council, conference or convention says “A” and another council, conference or convention says “B” the human reaction will inevitably be “why listen to any of them I’ll do as I please.”
    Unity of a church begins with a common confession that is practiced publicly in the Divine service. And that common confession is that we are united in Christ through Christ’s cross; as he prayed for us, “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one; I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’ John 17:22-23

  5. wmcwirla
    July 11th, 2007 at 11:25 | #5

    It’s like the old canard: Is the Pope Catholic?
    This one sure is!
    I really appreciate knowing that we are “ecclesial communities” (whatever that is) and that the Orthodox are “defective churches.” To think, we were once considered “sister churches” by the Roman ecumenists.
    It’s almost axiomatic that when justification is not the central doctrine, then Christ is not the central figure and the Church takes center stage. Once again, the Bride takes over from the Groom.

  6. Mark in Spokane
    July 11th, 2007 at 16:40 | #6

    First, the path to true ecumenical dialogue is honesty and doctrinal clarity. We can’t grow closer to each other in Christ so long as we are playing wordgames with each other, or as long as we don’t acknowledge the core issues that divide us. So, with that in mind, as Pastor McCain noted in his post, we should all welcome the recent clarification by the Vatican regarding the Catholic Church’s view of other Christian denominations.
    Second, I don’t think that the Vatican’s pronouncement is as negative towards Protestantism as many have protrayed it. The pronouncement speaks of Protestant religious bodies as “wounded” and as less than what Christ intended for His Church. While Protestants disagree with this diagnosis, it does not by itself mean that Protestants do not possess significant elements of Christian truth and real, if incomplete, channels of divine grace (such as the Bible, the sacrament of baptism, prayer, etc.).
    McCain: It’s just the same old Papist/Romanist dung, no news here.

  7. Jeff Anderson
    July 12th, 2007 at 09:25 | #7

    Always interesting…I wonder, will the “father” of the Church equivocate under pressure from Christian circles as he did under pressure from Islamic circles? Or will he even get pressure from Christian circles?
    I told my Church History students this past year that we might have a chance to observe a truly tridentine pope, and that many of us might finally come to understand why we are protestant.

  8. wmcwirla
    July 12th, 2007 at 13:06 | #8

    Now that’s a great question. He seems more than willing to buckle to the Muslims. I understand that the Jewish folks aren’t too happy about his blessing the use of the Latin rite, since the Good Friday liturgy in Latin prays for the conversion of the Jewish people.
    Let the political games begin.

  9. Another Kerner
    July 14th, 2007 at 13:08 | #9

    Well, this Lutheran is almost always elated when the Pope acts like the Pope he is: and when he pronounces Romanist doctrine so clearly and succinctly.
    All the easier for some folks to recognize him for what he is…… and to start calling him by his *real* name.

  10. Holger Sonntag
    July 14th, 2007 at 13:24 | #10

    Unfortunately, the “clarifications” on ecclesiology — what’s new? — got a bit more extra-Catholic attention than the “clarification” on a more wide-spread use of the Latin mass.
    Maybe that’s because the latter text has so far been officially published only in Latin. Yet if we take the time and break out our trusty Latin dictionary and read the text of the Motu Proprio from that lucky day (7/7/07), Summorum pontificum (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/motu_proprio/documents/hf_ben-xvi_motu-proprio_20070707_summorum-pontificum_lt.html), we notice that this is not so much about some romanticizing, anti-Lutheran restoration of the Tridentine mass per se, but about shoring-up the Catholic base for missionary outreach.
    After all, Benedict draws the line not only back to Pius X (Trent), but all the way back to Gregory the Great — a time, in other words, when the work of evangelizing Europe had barely begun. Benedict writes, in my own words, that Gregory was concerned about preserving Christian theology and culture in a way that would shape the peoples to be evangelized in a profound way; accordingly, the Latin liturgy played an important part in shaping Europe spiritually and culturally.
    This is, then, the connection to Benedict’s main theme since the beginning of his pontificate that also seems to have guided him in choosing his “official” name (after Benedict of Nursia, the founder of Western monasticism): how can a de-Christianized West be won back for Christianity?
    To be sure, many objections come to Lutheran minds, as they should! Yet what I frankly find intriguing is the “long-term,” “in-depth” approach to mission and evangelism that, because it is long-term and in-depth, by necessity includes the liturgy as a unifying and defining force and not as some hyped-up evangelism “tool.” Maybe there is something we can learn from the bishop of Rome here.
    It’s a different question whether the plan of the pope will work. In other words, will the permission to use the Latin rite (explicitly only for extraordinary circumstances — the Vatican order remains the primary form) bring the Catholic church together so that it might be the unified force from of old (has it ever really been unified in doctrine is yet another question)? Will the formula “one law of believing shaping one law of prayer (only in two forms)” really work? Will it not, rather, cement certain rifts in the Catholic church? In American Lutheran terms, kind of like one congregation having a contemporary and a traditional service — will the de facto two congregations not evolve apart further than if you had one “blended service”? Interesting question…

  11. Joel
    August 8th, 2007 at 10:56 | #11

    Lito – FYI Anglicans have apostolic succession, they have maintained it ever since Henry VIII decided he wanted a new church. In fact the whole ELCA-PECUSA “full communion” includes having an AS Episcopal bishop present at the ordination of ELCA bishops.

  12. August 9th, 2007 at 10:15 | #12

    Understood bro. However, Mother Church considers the Anglican succession as still bogus, they claim exclusive Petrine succession. After all they said that his chair is found in them.;-) They got relics to prove it you know ;-)
    BTW, are you do one doing a blog on middle earth? Send me the URL if you are
    LPC

Comments are closed.