Sunday, September 06, 2020

More from Archbishop Viganò on Vatican II

Fallen Failsafes and a Revolutionary Modern Priesthood by Clare McGrath-Merkle

Regensburg Forum
Yelle penned an important monograph on the history of the theological debates surrounding the core error underlying Bérulle’s spiritual theology of priesthood: the notion of the holiness of Christ, in which Christ’s human nature is considered to have been made holy by the grace of union with the Word—a mistaken understanding of the communication of idioms. In line with Chalcedon, the properties of Christ’s human nature remained unimpaired, since the hypostatic union changed nothing. If His human nature had been made holy by the grace of union, it would have necessarily changed. Christ, rather, needed habitual grace for His human nature to be raised to the supernatural order.

This error in the understanding of the humanity of Christ (a central meditation for Bérulle’s Oratorians) served as the basis for the holiness and sacerdotal power of Bérulle’s priest. Just as the grace of union made Christ holy and a mediator of religion for Bérulle, so, too, the priest, through the grace of union with Christ, was made mediator of redemption and capable of sacrifice. In this schema, the priest became a mediator in the order of being, a distinction reserved to Christ alone.

Decades after Yelle’s critique, Jacques Maritain best explicated this error and the ongoing influence of some of Bérulle’s key philosophical ideals in his article on the French School, only translated into English in 1997, in a collection of his works. In it, Maritain questioned how it was possible that a great number of churchmen still remained under the French School’s influence despite holding different doctrinal positions. Maritain wrote that the spirituality of French School priests “must consist above all in losing their own subsistence in order to live solely in the Person of Christ, who never ceases to draw them into the unity of the divine Person” (427).

Maritain insisted that Bérulle was seriously mistaken in taking the step from affirming the perfection to which a priest is called, to affirming a perfection of his state of life, making the priest the source of all sanctity in the Church. He quoted Dupuy’s important work on Bérulle and the priesthood, “He [the priest] cannot be defined as a superchristian. For he is not just that. But it is urgent that he be at least that” (190). Dupuy continued, “The priest is united to Christ more than as an instrument, he is conjoined to Him, he is not only in His hand, he is in a sense His hand itself; he is a member of Christ” (195). The basis of the superiority of Bérulle’s sacerdotal state was, as Maritain noted, “the sacerdotal anointing emanates from that of Jesus, who (and this is the thesis dearest to Bérulle) is a priest because of and as a direct consequence of the hypostatic union…” (Maritain, 428).

Maritain believed churchmen were more or less formed by this school in seminary, and were unable to perceive the effects of a vague theology that had escaped rigorous intellectual systemization and therefore any kind of critical review. The result, he noted, was the production of an ideology rather than a theology that continued in his day to have an immense influence.

Vestiges of this vague theology continue today. Impossible to treat fully in this article-length discussion, we can at least explore a few of its major errors.

An essay worth pondering; are there any connections with current Latin opinons regarding the presbyterate and the presbyter acting in persona Christi?


The Third Encyclical

John LaFarge, S.J. and The Unity of the Human Race

Eastern Christian Books: Stolen Churches? Borrowed Bridges?

Eastern Christian Books: Stolen Churches? Borrowed Bridges? Palgrave Macmillan: Stolen Churches or Bridges to Orthodoxy?: Volume 1: Historical and Theological Perspectives on the Orthodox and Eastern-Catholic Dialogue, eds.Vladimir Latinovic and Anastacia Wooden

Limiting Papal Infallibility to Save It

Latin apologists for the papacy and papal infallibility may think it warranted in the text of Vatican I, but is it?
Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the christian faith, to the glory of God our saviour, for the exaltation of the catholic religion and for the salvation of the christian people, with the approval of the sacred council,

we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable.

So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.

The Latin text

The Catholic Thing: Infallibility: The Unopened Gift by Russell Shaw

Shaw summarizes one view:

Despite the hopes and fears at the moment, however, only rarely has papal infallibility been specifically invoked in modern times. In 1854 Pius IX made it clear he spoke infallibly in defining the dogma of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. Pius XII did the same in 1950 in defining the dogma of her bodily assumption. Otherwise, like an unopened gift, papal infallibility has remained on the shelf.

Shaw examines whether infallibility applies to the ordinary magisterium of a bishop, but what about the ordinary magisterium of the Roman pope? It's a bait-and-switch. (In his 1995 article for OSV, Shaw repeats much the same material, but does not talk about the papal ordinary magisterium there either.)

Lumen Gentium 25:  

This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.

Latin traditionalist takes on infallibility in relation to papal authority: 

SSPX: Clear ideas on the pope's infallible magisterium

The Infallibility of the Ordinary and Extraordinary Magisterium by  Robert J. Siscoe 


My thoughts:

There is a sort of scholastic analysis present in the writings like this, with the claim there must be a certain form[ula] to make this intention manifest but is there any instance when the bishop of Rome doesn't think he is teaching the Church Universal? (Even when those outside his patriarchate are not paying attention?) Hence this formula is what makes something "ex cathedra" while any other pronouncement which is just an affirmation of what is Tradition is infallible, being an act of the infallible ordinary magisterium (of the pope, in this case). I don't think the Orthodox would disagree with some version of this infallibility of any bishop who affirms something that is of Tradition.

It does not seem to me that a certain formula is necessary to make it ex cathedra -- again, when does the bishop of Rome not intend for his teaching to be applicable to the Church Universal? What has the thought ever crossed his mind that what he says about faith and morals applies only to Roman Catholics of the patriarchate of Rome, and not to Catholics of other ecclesial jursidictions? Does this regular or ordinary intention alone not sufficient to make a teaching of the pope of Rome on faith or morals ex cathedra

So if Pope Francis (or his representative) says something about capital punishment being "inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person" and changes the Catechism of the Catholic Church to reflect this, how is that not meant to be an ex cathedra pronouncement?

Latin apologists who disagree with this teaching of Pope Francis (or any other touching upon faith or morals that contradicts Tradition) have no choice to say that it is not "infallible" because it is lacking the proper form and is therefore not ex cathedra. But I don't see how this claim about form is warranted by the decree of Vatican I. Maybe the pope or one of his ecumenical councils can finesse the Roman teaching on papal infallibility in this way to save it, but would that sort of "development of doctrine" be regarded as anything than institution-saving by non-Latins?


Related: essay on infallibility at Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

The Logical Consequences of Hart's Universalism?

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Daniel Galadza, Introduction to Liturgical Mystagogy