11 August 2016

Nostra aetate; its authority; Judaism; good news

In December 2015, the Vatican's Commission for Religious Relations with Jews released a document The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable (which described itself as "not a Magisterial document or doctrinal teaching"). It combines some sadly unbiblical and unpatristic sillinesses of its own with an honest and accurate account of the actual contents of Nostra aetate

"The Conciliar text is not infrequently over-interpreted, and things read into it which it does not in fact contain. An important example of over-interpretation would be the following: that the covenant which God made with his people Israel perdures and is never invalidated. Although this statement is true, it cannot be explicitly read into Nostra aetate".

The objectionable and absurd clause "Although this statement is true", when you think about it, makes the frank admission which follows it all the more significant. This Commision thus concedes, against its own (mistaken) opinion, the mendacious character of many claims often made about the contents of the Conciliar document. One thinks not least about the implied 'over-interpretation' of Nostra aetate by the CBCEW in its thoroughly disgraceful attack last year upon Pope Benedict's Prayer for the Jews (and, by implication, upon the entire trajectory of the last pontificate, and upon that splendid, incomparable, confessor pontiff himself, kindly Father of the Ordinariates ... eis polla ete Despota).

But now Archbishop Pozzo, an official within the CDF, is reported to have made an even more interesting statement about Nostra aetate.
"The Secretary for the Unity of Christians said on 18 November 1964 in the Council Hall about Nostra aetate 'As to the character of the declaration, the Secretariate does not want to write a dogmatic declaration on non-Christian religions, but, rather, practical and pastoral norms'. Nostra aetate does not have any dogmatic authority and thus one cannot demand from anyone to recognise this declaration as dogmatic. This declaration can only be understood in the light of tradition and of the continuous Magisterium. For example, there exists today, unfortunately, the view - contrary to the Catholic Faith - that there is a salvific path independent of Christ and His Church. That [he apparently means "The unfortunate existence today of such an unCatholic view"] has also been officially confirmed last of all by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith itself in its declaration Dominus Iesus. Therefore any interpretation of Nostra aetate which goes into this direction is fully unfounded and has to be rejected". 

Things get better and better! Why do some people just continuously panic during this (admittedly occasionally weird) pontificate? Why do we hear so little about the good news?

20 comments:

mark wauck said...

Pozzo's clarifications are, indeed, very welcome--a signal, perhaps, of a more realistic assessment of Vatican II and its fruits in the future. It's true, of course, that Pozzo's words were more for the benefit of anyone in SSPX who might be listening than for (extra?)ordinary Catholics. Will SSPX be reassured? Perhaps. But then again they may next seek clarification on where the Church stands re the recent words of His Holiness Benedict XVI (aka?) at the 65th anniversary of his ordination, where he offered heartfelt wishes that he and those of like mind might 'insert ourselves into the “thanks” of the Lord, and thus truly receive the newness of life and contribute to the “transubstantiation” of the world so that it might not be a place of death, but of life: a world in which love has conquered death.' By way of explanation of this concept, Benedict states: 'The cross, suffering, all that is wrong with the world: he [Christ] transformed all this into “thanks” and therefore into a “blessing”. Hence he fundamentally transubstantiated life and the world, and he has given us and gives us each day the bread of true life, which transcends this world thanks to the strength of His love.' Is it true, Fellay might ask, that Christ transformed all that is wrong into the world into thanks, and in this way transubstantiated life and the world? Are we being asked to sign on to this? Transfiguring life we understand, as a metaphor, but ... So there might yet be a way to go on the road to "full communion."

Woody said...

More good news is this rather awkwardly translated piece from Msgr Antonio Livi: http://eponymousflower.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/msgr-antonio-livi-this-pope-lets-public.html

Fred Martinez said...

Pozzo's statement is the first time any Vatican official since Vatican II has said that N.A.,Gaudium et Spes, Dignitatis Humanae Personae do not "demand submission."

As Sire's "Phoenix from the Ashes" says that "question was one which Paul VI and the official Church did not want to hear raised."

The Church it appears has "imposed" those non-infallible teachings in a way that made them guidelines over or least as equal to infallible teachings according to Shire.

Shire's book is fairly balanced overall if I don't agree with him on every point.

My point is maybe Pope Francis is a hard blessing.

Francis' A.L. has clearly shown to many non-radical traditionalists orthodox Catholics (like myself) in the greatest number since Vatican II including many intelligent ones in Catholic media that popes and councils can go wrong and must be resisted if they are opposed to infallible Church teaching.

This growing knowledge could be the beginning of a Church reform of the Cluny type before the Medieval era that lead the great Catholic revival.

John L said...

Thank you for this. I wrote a piece on the covenant between God and the Jewish people here which may be of interest: http://www.onepeterfive.com/catholic-church-conversion-jews/.

Mick Jagger gathers no Mosque said...

I consider this good news - that Mons Lefebvre signed all of the documents of Vatican Two which means that all of them - each one of them - can be reconciled with Tradition and I know that to be true for the traditionalists I know consider Mons Lefebvre to be the apotheosis of Tradition.

Fred Martinez said...

Clarification:

I'm a orthodox Catholic blogger who attends the new Mass. The comment made it sound like I was a traditionalist of the non radical type.

I love the Latin Mass.My mother said attending it was like being in heaven.

I know many orthodox Catholics like myself (who attend the new Mass for the most part) and Orthodox Catholic media types are open to reform since the Pope Francis papacy.

In great number they they are open to resisting popes and councils which try to override infallible Church teaching with dubious teachings such as found in Francis' A.L. and possibly now to the Vatican II non-infallible documents mentioned above was my point.

I hope all orthodox Catholics trad and non-trad will join in this fight and reform.

Sadie Vacantist said...

I suspect Donald Trump is responsible for the change of tone starting to emerge ...

The most comical episode of this 'weird papacy' (sic) was F1 declaring during one of those in-flight press conferences that the Donald, now on to his 3rd underwear model, didn't sound like much of a Christian because of his proposal to build a garden wall at the bottom of his country's garden.

Meanwhile, the perennially entertaining Pat Buchanan has likened the Republican nominee to the Emperor Constantine.

We need to start laughing again.

Jacobi said...

Nostra Aetate is one of the several Vat II documents which contain error. The New Testament is the confirmation of the Old Testament. That is clear and but is not the error I refer to.

That error is with regard to Islam “They adore the one God” They do not. They adore a pagan God thought up by their founder. True, the document goes on to say that Islam is a heresy, but it should not have let that earlier falsehood go by. It goes on to say that Islam is a heresy which denies the Triune God and in particular the Divinity of Christ

But to refer to the 13 centuries of appalling war and cruelty and suffering which aggressive Islam has and is forcing on us still as “ not a few quarrels and hostilities” my not be a doctrinal matter as such but it is a bit insulting.

I agree Father that Nostra Aetate does not have any dogmatic authority, but but then none of the Vat 11 documents do, although they may incidently contain some such

Disciple said...

Since technically the last part of your third paragraph was about the Conference, punctuation aside, my first run-in with your closing Greek (as I only later found it to be) had me wondering if "despot of the chickens" was an appropriate description, whether for its head or its members. But now, if I am correct(ed), let me concur: ad multos annos, magister.

Prayerful said...

Some Conciliar and post Conciliar documents are models of clarity if they have double-meaning, because they can have far more than two meanings. There seems to be no worry about writing confusing and contradictory texts. There can be certain topics which are not binary, yes/no issues, but there are no excuses for sentences which one clause is contradicted by the next clause. Thank you again Fr. I'll pray for clearer Church documents.

Prayerful said...

Conciliar documents are models of clarity if they have a doublemeaning, as some efforts have one sentence clause contradicted by the next. Why can they not write clear texts in these troubled post Conciliar times? Thanks Father for the post.

Jacobi said...

Father,

May I also say something regarding Jewry. The link between Catholicism and Judaism is close. Christ and the Apostles were Jews. St Gregory the Great went to some lengths to correct the anti-Jewishness which had already, wrongly emerged in the earlier centuries, but this resumed again later.

There is no place in Catholicism for anti-Jewishness and we must each of us in our personal way, see to that.

Jacobi said...

Father,

May I also say something regarding Jewry. The link between Catholicism and Judaism is close. Christ and the Apostles were Jews. St Gregory the Great went to some lengths to correct the anti-Jewishness which had already, wrongly emerged in the earlier centuries, but this resumed again later.

There is no place in Catholicism for anti-Jewishness and we must each of us in our personal way, see to that.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Dear Jacobi

If you are trying to tell me that I should subscribe to the new dogma that the Jews are the only race to whom the Gospel is not allowed to not be taken, then my reply is negative. If what you are suggesting is not that, then perhaps you could try to persuade some elements in Judaism to stop making this demand and to give up their bullying tactics. If all elements in Judaism admitted that I am entitled to promote my faith to any and every human being, just as I admit their right to share theirs, I can see no problems.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

delete the second not!

Jacobi said...

Father,

Not at all. Jews are heretics because they deny the Divinity of Christ, and should be told so. Catholicism is the culmination and completion of the Jewish Old Testament some of the writings of which which go back for centuries before AD.

Therefore, Catholicism is a Judeo /Christian religion.

“whom God in His inexpressible mercy concluded the Ancient Covenant “.

We must, it seems to me, always hold them in a special regard.

As for their bullying tactics well we Catholics are quite used to that are we not?

IloveJesus said...

I think the reason we hear so little about any good news is that it's drowned out by all the bad news. Pope Francis continuously says off-the-cuff things that the vast liberal Catholic media machine (including many people in the pews) take as support for their errant agendas (recognition of homosexuality as a blessing, divorce and remarriage are OK, etc.) The effect is frightening as we watch things moving in a completely wrong direction for the Church in the pews.
A theologian who affirms the idea that there is no salvation outside our Catholic Church established by the Saviour Jesus is a tiny step back in the right direction. But how many people hear anything about it. Everyone seems to know what Pope Francis says. It seems to be what they want him to say, and it fits their awful agendas. That is why there is so little celebration of such 'good news'.

mwidunn said...

The Head of the Secretariat at the time would have been Augustine Card. Bea.

Presumably, his speech is contained in the Acta Synodalia, which (as far as I know) is not available on-line.

A great, GREAT contribution to the Church would be for someone or some organization with the resources to translate the Council's Acta into one or more modern languages.

mwidunn said...

Eureka! Part of the Council's Acta has indeed been scanned and uploaded to The Internet Archive. Please, see:

https://archive.org/details/@mhazell

God bless "MHazell" -- who you are -- for having done this! Hopefully, more to come.

mwidunn said...

Eureka! Part of the Council's Acta has indeed been scanned and uploaded to The Internet Archive. Please, see:

https://archive.org/details/@mhazell

God bless "MHazell" -- who you are -- for having done this! Hopefully, more to come.