Benedict: Take Joy in the Good of our Separated Brethren
The pre-conciliar Pontiffs on the true notion of "communion":

"Wherefore, since outside the Catholic Church there is nothing undefiled, the Apostle declaring that 'all that is not of faith is sin,' we are in no way likened with those who are divided from the unity of the Body of Christ; we are joined in no communion" (Pope St. Leo the Great, Serm. CXXIX).

"Whoever thus gives proper attention and reflection to the situation which surrounds the various religious societies, divided amongst themselves and separated from the Catholic Church - which, without interruption, from the time of Christ the Lord and of His Apostles, by means of her legitimate sacred Shepherds, has always exercised, and exercises still, the divine power conferred upon Her by the Lord - it will be easy to convince [them] that in none of these societies, and not even in all of them taken together, can in some way be seen the one and Catholic Church which Christ the Lord built, constituted, and willed to exist.  Neither will it ever be able to be said that they are members and part of that Church as long as they remain visibly separated from Catholic unity" (Pope Pius IX, Iam Vos Omnes).

"The Church of Christ, protected not only by the Roman Pontiff, but by the unity of communion as well as of the profession of the same faith is one flock under the one highest shepherd.  This is the doctrine of Catholic truth from which no one can deviate and keep his faith and salvation" (First Vatican Council, Sess. IV, ch. 3: Denz. 1827).

"But as even the rudiments of Catholic faith declare, no one can be considered a bishop who is not linked in communion of faith and love with Peter, upon whom is built the Church of Christ" (Etsi Multa, n. 24).

"We must consequently investigate not how the Church may possibly be one, but how He, who founded it, willed that it should be one.  But when we consider what was actually done we find that Jesus Christ did not, in point of fact, institute a Church to embrace several communities similar in nature, but in themselves distinct, and lacking those bonds which render the Church unique and indivisible . . . The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. ... When the Divine founder decreed that the Church should be one in faith, in government, and in communion, He chose Peter and his successors as the principle and centre, as it were, of this unity" (Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, nn. 4, 9, 15).

"Hence they err in a matter of divine truth, who imagine the Church to be invisible, intangible, as something merely 'pneumatological' as they say, by which many Christian communities, though they differ from each other in their profession of faith, are united by an invisible bond. ... 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" (Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi, nn. 14, 22).

The Catholic Church has no unity of faith with heretical sects, nor does she have unity of government with schismatic societies, so what basis is there for partial communion between these groups?


Dominus Iesus teaches that the Eastern schismatic sect is "united" to the Catholic Church imperfectly ("not existing in perfect communion"), and it's heavily implied that their status as "true particular Churches" means that they are part of the "single Church of Christ;" indeed, it "is present and operative in" them (n. 17).  Similarly, Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion teaches that the Eastern schismatic churches have a "wounded existence as true particular Churches" of "the universal Church" (n. 17).
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Re: Benedict: Take Joy in the Good of our Separated Brethren - by SouthpawLink - 10-21-2012, 09:23 PM



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