Benedict: Take Joy in the Good of our Separated Brethren
I'd like to make a couple of points:

1.  The new Ecclesiology

"One wondered if the image of the Mystical Body might be too narrow a starting point to define the many forms of belonging to the Church now found in the tangle of human history.  If we use the image of a body to describe 'belonging' we are limited only to the form of representation as 'member'.  Either one is or one is not a member, there are no other possibilities.  One can then ask if the image of the body was too restrictive, since there manifestly existed in reality intermediate degrees of belonging" (Cardinal Ratzinger, The Ecclesiology of Vatican II, 15 September 2001).

In contrast, Br. Alexis Bugnolo writes, "Nor can one's membership in the Church, spiritually, be 'partial', since what is spiritual is indivisible, and what brings about this communion is indivisible (the profession of the one truth faith, the baptismal character, charity, etc.).  This latter error of 'degrees of communion' is distinct from that of the scholastic phrase subsistit in; and admittedly it is this latter error, which reinterprets the former in an erroneous sense" (On the History and Significance of 'Subsistit in' in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium).

As regards my charge that the Church of Christ has become a federation of churches, Fr. Fernando Ocáriz (Vicar General of Opus Dei and consultant to the CDF) writes, "In other words, recognizing that those communities [the Eastern Orthodox], which are not in full communion with the Catholic Church, have the character of Churches also means necessarily that these Churches are — in an apparent paradox — portions of the one Church, that is to say, of the one Catholic Church, portions in an anomalous theological and canonical situation" (Christ's Church Subsists in the Catholic Church, taken from L'Osservatore Romano, 21 December 2005, p. 9).

What's more, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote of the "corrections" made to Pope Pius XII's teaching on the Mystical Body of Christ (op. cit).  The use of the concept "People of God" allowed Lumen Gentium to "describe the relationship of non-Catholic Christians to the Church as being 'in communion' and that of non-Christians as being 'ordered' to the Church where in both cases one relies on the idea of the People of God."  Previously, non-Catholics were "ordered" to the Church (Mystici Corporis Christ, n. 103).  They've since been promoted to being "in communion" with her.  Another factor noted by Ratzinger was that the Council integrated Protestant and Orthodox theology "into a more ample Catholic understanding."  Ratzinger calls attention to an Evangelical work titled, "The Pilgrim People of God" and goes on to write that the "Church will not be wholly herself until" the Second Coming, and notes that the phrase, People of God, "conveys the eschatological dynamic, the provisional and fragmentary nature of the Church."  This appears to contradict the teaching that the Church is one and undivided.  He also discusses the Eucharistic theology of the schismatic Russian theologians and how that's been incorporated into Church teaching.

All of this reminds me, however, of Pope Pius XII's warning, "What is expounded in the Encyclical Letters of the Roman Pontiffs concerning the nature and constitution of the Church, is deliberately and habitually neglected by some with the idea of giving force to a certain vague notion which they profess to have found in the ancient Fathers, especially the Greeks" (Humani Generis, 18.).  It isn't surprising that Cardinal Ratzinger mentions de Lubac's work on Eucharistic theology, and we should also remember that Pope Pius XII had de Lubac in mind, though without naming him, while writing this encyclical.

How can the Catholic Church be "undivided in herself and separated from any other" (J. de Groot, Summa Apologetica de Ecclesia Catholica) if she is corporately united and in "imperfect communion" with the "true particular Churches" of the Eastern schismatics?  Ask yourselves this:  Why are Protestants and Eastern Orthodox no longer required to abjure their errors before receiving Holy Communion in the Catholic Church, when Holy Communion is a sign of our unity of faith and of communion with the Roman Pontiff?


2.  The new Ecumenism

Ecumenism, in its traditional understanding, has "the aim of reconciling dissident Christians to the Catholic Church" (Holy Office, Instruction, 20 December 1949).  And again, "the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it" (Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, n. 10.).

Now, however, "'it is evident that the work of preparing and reconciling those individuals who desire full Catholic communion is of its nature distinct from ecumenical action, but there is no opposition between the two, since both proceed from the marvelous ways of God'.[50]  Therefore, the work of ecumenism does not remove the right or take away the responsibility of proclaiming in fullness the Catholic faith to other Christians, who freely wish to receive it" (CDF, Doctrinal Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization, n. 12/e).

Why is "ecumenism" now distinct -- by its nature -- from the proclaiming of the Gospel with the hope that they will convert?
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Re: Benedict: Take Joy in the Good of our Separated Brethren - by SouthpawLink - 10-23-2012, 12:30 PM



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