Non-Catholics in the Body of Christ...
#1
I'm trying to reconcile two difficult statements from the Second Vatican Council. One statement comes from the Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite and the other statement comes from the Decree on Ecumenism. My question is in reference to who is to be included in the Body of Christ, and in what manner.

"The Holy Catholic Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, is made up of the faithful who are organically united in the Holy Spirit by the same faith, the same sacraments and the same government and who, combining together into various groups which are held together by a hierarchy, form separate Churches or Rites" (Orientalium Ecclesiarium, n. 2).

Here, the traditional doctrine of the Church is affirmed (if you go by the old catechisms), which is that it is the Mystical Body of Christ, and is comprised of those who share the same faith, the same sacraments,and who are united in the same government.

Now consider what's said in Unitatis Redintegratio:

"The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect. The differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church-whether in doctrine and sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church-do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ's body,(21) and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.(22)" (n. 3).

I suppose that, as in another thread, the meaning of "subsistit" bares some weight on this discussion. But my question is, in what sense can non-Catholics be considered to be in Christ's body if the Body of Christ is made up of those who profess the same faith, share the same sacraments and who are united in the same government? Are the phrases "Christ's body" (UR 3) and "Mystical Body" (OE 2) speaking of two different realities?

Are we to say that non-Catholics are in the Body of Christ, but in an imperfect way? Is this a development? Prior to the Council, Pope Pius XII had said that, "they have a certain relationship with the Mystical Body of the Redeemer" but very soon afterward said, "may they enter into Catholic unity and, joined with Us in the one, organic Body of Jesus Christ" (Mystici Corporis Christi, n. 103). Do you think Pope Pius XII would have considered "imperfect communion" to be an accurate description of non-Catholics' "certain relationship" with the Mystical Body?

I look forward to your input. God bless!
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#2
The world corpus (body) means (among other unrelated meanings) the organically united body of men or animals, also e.g. a much less united 'totum corpus reipublicae'

There is the organically united body, defined by the same sacraments, faith and government; also there is the corpus of those whom God will allow to enter the eternal Kingdom. The two bodies are not identical, nor all members of the institutional Church will be saved, neither everybody who is not member of that Church will be damned.

God knows from the eternity who will be saved and incorporates them into his invisible mystical body, which is not identical with the visible Church whith members who are dead and will not be members of the eternal Kingdom.

laszlo


(05-25-2009, 01:32 AM)SouthpawLink Wrote: I'm trying to reconcile two difficult statements from the Second Vatican Council. One statement comes from the Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite and the other statement comes from the Decree on Ecumenism. My question is in reference to who is to be included in the Body of Christ, and in what manner.

"The Holy Catholic Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, is made up of the faithful who are organically united in the Holy Spirit by the same faith, the same sacraments and the same government and who, combining together into various groups which are held together by a hierarchy, form separate Churches or Rites" (Orientalium Ecclesiarium, n. 2).

Here, the traditional doctrine of the Church is affirmed (if you go by the old catechisms), which is that it is the Mystical Body of Christ, and is comprised of those who share the same faith, the same sacraments,and who are united in the same government.

Now consider what's said in Unitatis Redintegratio:

"The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect. The differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church-whether in doctrine and sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church-do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ's body,(21) and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.(22)" (n. 3).

I suppose that, as in another thread, the meaning of "subsistit" bares some weight on this discussion. But my question is, in what sense can non-Catholics be considered to be in Christ's body if the Body of Christ is made up of those who profess the same faith, share the same sacraments and who are united in the same government? Are the phrases "Christ's body" (UR 3) and "Mystical Body" (OE 2) speaking of two different realities?

Are we to say that non-Catholics are in the Body of Christ, but in an imperfect way? Is this a development? Prior to the Council, Pope Pius XII had said that, "they have a certain relationship with the Mystical Body of the Redeemer" but very soon afterward said, "may they enter into Catholic unity and, joined with Us in the one, organic Body of Jesus Christ" (Mystici Corporis Christi, n. 103). Do you think Pope Pius XII would have considered "imperfect communion" to be an accurate description of non-Catholics' "certain relationship" with the Mystical Body?

I look forward to your input. God bless!
Reply
#3
I don't see a big problem here.

We recognize their Baptism as valid. They're "in" the family as it were.

As an analogy, let's say there is a family. Two generations ago, there was a feud. Big blowup, brothers not speaking to each other. Do they still have the same last name? Yes. Are they still family, even though estranged? Yes. Are all these grandchildren related, even though they may never meet or even know of each others' existence? Yes again. They're close enough to use the same name, but not close enough to sign checks for the family business.

This is all independent of who's right and who's wrong in the original split. 

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#4
(05-25-2009, 01:32 AM)SouthpawLink Wrote: I'm trying to reconcile two difficult statements from the Second Vatican Council. One statement comes from the Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite and the other statement comes from the Decree on Ecumenism. My question is in reference to who is to be included in the Body of Christ, and in what manner.

"The Holy Catholic Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, is made up of the faithful who are organically united in the Holy Spirit by the same faith, the same sacraments and the same government and who, combining together into various groups which are held together by a hierarchy, form separate Churches or Rites" (Orientalium Ecclesiarium, n. 2).

Here, the traditional doctrine of the Church is affirmed (if you go by the old catechisms), which is that it is the Mystical Body of Christ, and is comprised of those who share the same faith, the same sacraments,and who are united in the same government.

Now consider what's said in Unitatis Redintegratio:

"The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect. The differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church-whether in doctrine and sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church-do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ's body,(21) and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.(22)" (n. 3).

I suppose that, as in another thread, the meaning of "subsistit" bares some weight on this discussion. But my question is, in what sense can non-Catholics be considered to be in Christ's body if the Body of Christ is made up of those who profess the same faith, share the same sacraments and who are united in the same government? Are the phrases "Christ's body" (UR 3) and "Mystical Body" (OE 2) speaking of two different realities?

Are we to say that non-Catholics are in the Body of Christ, but in an imperfect way? Is this a development? Prior to the Council, Pope Pius XII had said that, "they have a certain relationship with the Mystical Body of the Redeemer" but very soon afterward said, "may they enter into Catholic unity and, joined with Us in the one, organic Body of Jesus Christ" (Mystici Corporis Christi, n. 103). Do you think Pope Pius XII would have considered "imperfect communion" to be an accurate description of non-Catholics' "certain relationship" with the Mystical Body?

I look forward to your input. God bless!

"Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis" Wrote:22. Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and 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. "For in one spirit" says the Apostle, "were we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free." [17] As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith. [18] And therefore if a man refuse to hear the Church let him be considered -- so the Lord commands -- as a heathen and a publican. [19] It follows that those are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit.

23. Nor must one imagine that the Body of the Church, just because it bears the name of Christ, is made up during the days of its earthly pilgrimage only of members conspicuous for their holiness, or that it consists only of those whom God has predestined to eternal happiness. it is owing to the Savior's infinite mercy that place is allowed in His Mystical Body here below for those whom, of old, He did not exclude from the banquet. [20] For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy. Men may lose charity and divine grace through sin, thus becoming incapable of supernatural merit, and yet not be deprived of all life if they hold fast to faith and Christian hope, and if, illumined from above, they are spurred on by the interior promptings of the Holy Spirit to salutary fear and are moved to prayer and penance for their sins.

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#5
"The Catholic Church firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within Her, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics, and schismatics, cannot become participants in eternal life but will depart 'into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels' (Mt. 25:41), unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock..." (Council of Florence, Dz 714).
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#6
(05-25-2009, 04:18 PM)SoCalLocal Wrote: I don't see a big problem here.

We recognize their Baptism as valid. They're "in" the family as it were.

As an analogy, let's say there is a family. Two generations ago, there was a feud. Big blowup, brothers not speaking to each other. Do they still have the same last name? Yes. Are they still family, even though estranged? Yes. Are all these grandchildren related, even though they may never meet or even know of each others' existence? Yes again. They're close enough to use the same name, but not close enough to sign checks for the family business.

This is all independent of who's right and who's wrong in the original split.
 

I think you mean to say that non-Catholics are indeed Christians. I have no problem agreeing with you on this point. On the other hand, the question remains, are all Christians in the Body of Christ, even though the Catholic Church defines members of the Body as having "the same faith, the same sacraments, and the same government" (Orientalium Ecclesiarium, n. 2)? Clearly, non-Catholics do not have the same faith, the same sacraments, and the same government. Going by the Church's definition, can they be considered to be within the Mystical Body of Christ?
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#7
(05-27-2009, 02:14 PM)SouthpawLink Wrote:
(05-25-2009, 04:18 PM)SoCalLocal Wrote: I don't see a big problem here.

We recognize their Baptism as valid. They're "in" the family as it were.

As an analogy, let's say there is a family. Two generations ago, there was a feud. Big blowup, brothers not speaking to each other. Do they still have the same last name? Yes. Are they still family, even though estranged? Yes. Are all these grandchildren related, even though they may never meet or even know of each others' existence? Yes again. They're close enough to use the same name, but not close enough to sign checks for the family business.

This is all independent of who's right and who's wrong in the original split.
 

I think you mean to say that non-Catholics are indeed Christians. I have no problem agreeing with you on this point. On the other hand, the question remains, are all Christians in the Body of Christ, even though the Catholic Church defines members of the Body as having "the same faith, the same sacraments, and the same government" (Orientalium Ecclesiarium, n. 2)? Clearly, non-Catholics do not have the same faith, the same sacraments, and the same government. Going by the Church's definition, can they be considered to be within the Mystical Body of Christ?

They can't. Mystici corporis clearly states the traditional Catholic teaching on this matter (the Church as a body) and  it was written to defend this truth against the error of the  "invisible Church" that some theologians were proposing.
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#8
(05-27-2009, 04:45 PM)lamentabili sane Wrote:
(05-27-2009, 02:14 PM)SouthpawLink Wrote:
(05-25-2009, 04:18 PM)SoCalLocal Wrote: I don't see a big problem here.

We recognize their Baptism as valid. They're "in" the family as it were.

As an analogy, let's say there is a family. Two generations ago, there was a feud. Big blowup, brothers not speaking to each other. Do they still have the same last name? Yes. Are they still family, even though estranged? Yes. Are all these grandchildren related, even though they may never meet or even know of each others' existence? Yes again. They're close enough to use the same name, but not close enough to sign checks for the family business.

This is all independent of who's right and who's wrong in the original split.
 

I think you mean to say that non-Catholics are indeed Christians. I have no problem agreeing with you on this point. On the other hand, the question remains, are all Christians in the Body of Christ, even though the Catholic Church defines members of the Body as having "the same faith, the same sacraments, and the same government" (Orientalium Ecclesiarium, n. 2)? Clearly, non-Catholics do not have the same faith, the same sacraments, and the same government. Going by the Church's definition, can they be considered to be within the Mystical Body of Christ?

They can't. Mystici corporis clearly states the traditional Catholic teaching on this matter (the Church as a body) and  it was written to defend this truth against the error of the  "invisible Church" that some theologians were proposing.

Okay. So how would you square the traditional definition (the Church is all the baptized who profess the same faith, share the same sacraments, and are united under one government) with the statement by Unitatis Redintegratio:

"The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect. The differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church-whether in doctrine and sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church-do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ's body,(21) and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.(22)" (n. 3).

There seems to be a dichotomy between the phrases "Christ's body" and "Mystical Body of Christ." Do you see what I mean?
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#9
Yes those who have been justified and baptized are part of the Body of Christ. Once they accept false doctrines they become separated. VII just seems to leave that part out.
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#10
(05-28-2009, 01:49 PM)SouthpawLink Wrote:
(05-27-2009, 04:45 PM)lamentabili sane Wrote:
(05-27-2009, 02:14 PM)SouthpawLink Wrote:
(05-25-2009, 04:18 PM)SoCalLocal Wrote: I don't see a big problem here.

We recognize their Baptism as valid. They're "in" the family as it were.

As an analogy, let's say there is a family. Two generations ago, there was a feud. Big blowup, brothers not speaking to each other. Do they still have the same last name? Yes. Are they still family, even though estranged? Yes. Are all these grandchildren related, even though they may never meet or even know of each others' existence? Yes again. They're close enough to use the same name, but not close enough to sign checks for the family business.

This is all independent of who's right and who's wrong in the original split.
 

I think you mean to say that non-Catholics are indeed Christians. I have no problem agreeing with you on this point. On the other hand, the question remains, are all Christians in the Body of Christ, even though the Catholic Church defines members of the Body as having "the same faith, the same sacraments, and the same government" (Orientalium Ecclesiarium, n. 2)? Clearly, non-Catholics do not have the same faith, the same sacraments, and the same government. Going by the Church's definition, can they be considered to be within the Mystical Body of Christ?

They can't. Mystici corporis clearly states the traditional Catholic teaching on this matter (the Church as a body) and  it was written to defend this truth against the error of the  "invisible Church" that some theologians were proposing.

Okay. So how would you square the traditional definition (the Church is all the baptized who profess the same faith, share the same sacraments, and are united under one government) with the statement by Unitatis Redintegratio:

"The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect. The differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church-whether in doctrine and sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church-do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ's body,(21) and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.(22)" (n. 3).

There seems to be a dichotomy between the phrases "Christ's body" and "Mystical Body of Christ." Do you see what I mean?

I don't square it. This is a perfect example of why Vatican II must be rejected. This idea of "imperfect communion" is a novelty; nowhere to be found in tradition, the teaching of the Popes, Fathers nor theologians.
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