Byzantine thinker Gregory Palamas — said that the miracle of the Transfiguration is the eyes of the disciples becoming opened to see. Normal vision became grace-filled vision: Do you not understand that the men who are united to God. Miraculously, they see with a sense that exceeds the senses, and with a mind that exceeds mind, for the power of the spirit penetrates their human faculties, and allows them to see things which are beyond us.
God has made all things well John of Damascus left defended icons because he thought their use expresses the incarnational heart of the Gospel. May we all. C H Kathleen A. Mulhern is executive editor at Patheos. She teaches in the areas of church history and spiritual formation at Denver Seminary. John of Damascus and St. Kuzma Cosmas. Illustration from terminology Basil II. Starting 11th century. The Flower excerpts Who would have thought my shriveled heart Could have recovered greenness?
It was gone Quite underground; as flowers depart To see their mother-root, when they have blown; Where they together All the hard weather, Dead to the world, keep house unknown. And now in age I bud again, After so many deaths I live and write; I once more smell the dew and rain, And relish versing: O my only light, It cannot be That I am he On whom thy tempests fell all night. These are thy wonders, Lord of love, To make us see we are but flowers that glide: Which when we once can find and prove, Thou hast a garden for us, where to [a]bide.
Who would be more, Swelling through store, Forfeit their Paradise by their pride. Spelling and punctuation modernized. Natural philosophers and scientists Mystics and poets Monastics and theologians Famous publications Communal societies Environmental activists and stewards —Compiled by Jennifer Woodruff Tait.
Why do men then now not reck his rod? Germany: A hand-colored plate of the Copernican heliocentric system of the sun and planets in Atlas Coelestis. That older language conveys a crucial fact: in earlier centuries, science was more openly tied to philosophical, even to theological,. Christian authors before around the sixth century responded to Greek science mostly by incorporating a limited set of those ideas into their theological writings, not by making original contributions of their own.
That all began to change when John Philoponus — wrote insightful commentaries on certain works of Aristotle — BC. Christian beliefs strongly them. The legacy of Aristotle and of Greco-Roman physician Galen —c. Instead they reconceived natural objects as impersonal machines incapable of acting purposefully on their own. But these scientists also affirmed that the Creator had acted purposefully in creating nature with certain specific properties. It became a goal of science to explain nature by analogy with human technology, especially clocks.
Boyle stood at the meeting of both. Simultaneously with this new view of nature came, secondly, a new view of how to gain knowledge. In universities prior to the Scientific Revolution, knowledge in all fields was gleaned from reading ancient books and later commentaries on them. Modern universities still use similar methods in biblical studies, law, and some other disciplines in the humanities. Originally such analysis and interpretation of texts was also the basis for earning advanced degrees in medicine and natural philosophy.
This changed during the Scientific Revolution: commentary on ancient texts was out, and experiments were in. This new emphasis on observing and testing nature by hands-on experience contrasted with an alternative approach that also played an enormous role in the Scientific Revolution: the application of mathematics and pure reason. Those who stressed divine reason also stressed the transparency of nature to human reason. Those who stressed divine freedom emphasized the limits of reason in plumbing the depths of creation.
Leading scientists and philosophers lined up on both sides. Perhaps more than anyone else, Boyle and Kepler made the practice of science a religious activity in itself: they saw themselves as priests in the temple of nature with, finally, a new way to give praise to the Creator they found there. Clearly Christianity influenced conceptions of what scientific knowledge is, how we obtain it, and what to. But, surprisingly, many early modern scientists did not apply the book of Scripture directly to their explorations into the book of nature.
No one revered the Bible more than Boyle, who learned the biblical languages on his own initiative and wrote one million words on biblical and theological subjects—including a book defending the inspiration of Scripture against literary critics. But in and , he published two large books of experimental observations, one about light and the colors of objects and the other about the effects of very cold temperatures—around a quarter million words altogether. A sea change in interpretation took place when Christian astronomers cautioned the clergy to keep the Bible out of astronomy.
Scientists of this era emphasized the need for God to communicate with unlearned audiences in popular language not well suited for scientific accuracy. They make use of what is generally acknowledged, in order to weave in other things more lofty and divine. Quite the contrary—Christian theological views shaped modern science in very important ways, while science influenced how Christians read the Bible. C H Edward B. He writes articles about the history of Christianity and science and blogs regularly for BioLogos.
Richey All glory to God in the sky, And peace upon earth be restored! O Jesus, exalted on high, Appear our omnipotent Lord! Who, meanly in Bethlehem born, Didst stoop to redeem a lost race, Once more to thy creatures return, And reign in thy kingdom of grace. When thou in our flesh didst appear, All nature acknowledged thy birth; Arose the acceptable year, And heaven was opened on earth: Receiving its Lord from above, The world was united to bless.
For Spacious skies Nature can be cathedral, retreat, and dangerous challenge all in one—as this canyon reminds us. The giver of concord and love, The Prince and the author of peace.
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O wouldst thou again be made known! Again in thy Spirit descend, And set up in each of thine own A kingdom that never shall end. Thou only art able to bless, And make the glad nations obey, And bid the dire enmity cease, And bow the whole world to thy sway. Counseled by fervid preaching, hymn-filled class meetings, and crowded quarterly conferences, American Methodists not only lived in, but also saw through and beyond, nature, world, and nation.
The little hymnbook sings out with the wonder of the created world the terms in bold above , but within the expressions of awe for the world that is, we find a deep longing for the world to come.
Methodist landscape. Yet the huge irony is this: as much as their worship focused toward a heavenly creation, Methodists worshiped in an earthly one. Specifically, they worshiped in forests. In fact, they eventually sought them out. But his preachers discovered that his imperative had to be adjusted given the blistering American summer sun.
Only a fool would endure shadeless preaching in a field and expect willing listeners to follow suit. Even in notoriously cloudy Britain, Wesley reported preaching under trees or in groves about 40 times. American preachers also soon found these natural forest cathedrals a place for solitude, prayer, and devotions. And as they took Methodism into sparsely settled areas, particularly the western frontier, they found forests to be wild and full of dangers, some life-threatening. Spent some time in the woods alone with God, and found it a peculiar time of love and joy.
O delightful employment! All my soul was centered in God! Had a rough ride over hills and dales to Guests. Here brother Pigman met me, and gave an agreeable account of the work on the south branch of Potomac. I am kept in peace; and greatly pleased I am to get into the woods, where, although alone, I have blessed company, and sometimes think, Who so happy as myself? In New Jersey in June , Asbury recorded one of many instances of cathedral-like preaching in the woods: Sunday, I preached in the woods to nearly a thousand people. I was much oppressed by a cold, and felt very heavy in body and soul.
Like Jonah, I went and sat down alone. I had some gracious feelings in the sacrament—others also felt the. I felt my body quite weary in, but my spirit not of, the work of God. To reform the Continent, and spread Scripture Holiness over these Lands. All these woodland experiences eventually came together in the dramas known as camp meetings—revivals that became a Methodist signature. For 30 years previous, Methodists had already gathered large crowds outdoors and under the trees for their quarterly conferences and meetings. As years passed and the camp meeting tradition lost its grip on the entire church, late nineteenth-century Methodism reimagined and reinvented its wildernesses.
On the one hand, the Chautauqua movement made woodland cathedrals a site for extensive, national Sunday school training and programming. On the other hand, Holiness movement advocates transformed camping into a nationally orchestrated and carefully planned campaign for denominational renewal, through a fresh commitment to holiness of heart and life see CH 82 and Methodists found the world around them hard to avoid, whether as natural cathedral, devotional retreat, or wilderness challenge.
Across the Wilderness Right: In the 19th c. On land owned by his friend and mentor, well-known writer and ex-minister Ralph Waldo Emerson — , Thoreau built a by foot cabin. He even got arrested for refusing to pay a poll tax as a protest against slavery. Seven years later his observations became the book Walden Perhaps no book better encapsulates the way many Americans felt about nature in the nineteenth century.
Thoreau and Emerson were part of a larger movement known as Transcendentalism, which sprung from the Unitarian movement among New England Congregationalists. Romanticism famously exalted both nature and human imagination. Transcendentalists agreed. We go out daily and nightly to feed the eyes on the horizon, and require so much scope, just as we need water for our bath. Many Transcendentalists sought the divine in outdoor experiments; most rejected traditional churches and doctrines to do so. Thoreau eventually left Christianity altogether, not least because he saw Christians as supporting slavery.
In the aftermath of World War I — , Germany was devastated and her masses impoverished. The Arnolds wanted to do something to address the dire social conditions in the city. They debated whether they should stay or establish a healthier life away from the cities and invite others to join them there. With food. The scales soon tipped in favor of the move to the country. Before the war began, growing circles of young people, the Youth Movement, had begun to search for a new kind of life. These young people thought urban middle-class life held only class consciousness, cramped social relationships, and fleeting fashions; they were fed up with big cities, oppressive factories, stuffy etiquette, and dry, formal education.
Social position, wealth, modern comforts, and religiosity no longer counted for anything. In June of , Eberhard Arnold — ; his wife, Emmy — ; and their five children moved from Berlin to the German village of Sannerz. Their new temporary home: a shed behind the village inn. Their goal: to put into practice the teachings of Jesus in the spirit of the first Christians in the book of Acts. This movement resonated deeply with Eberhard and Emmy Arnold. Could they establish a life that was genuine and free in the cities? No, they decided; Christianity must be reborn in the pure air of nature.
Fortunately they soon rented a large villa across the road from their initial shed. It came with farm equipment and livestock: cows, goats, pigs, and chickens. The community grew slowly but steadily. People joined from all walks of life; there was plenty of work and youthful enthusiasm even if experience was lacking.
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Living on a shoestring, the community supported itself through publishing and donations while gradually developing its farm and garden. It also took in foster children. Physical labor was considered essential to the communal experience. It was an isolated spot with rocky soil and sharp north winds.
The buildings were dilapidated and the fields neglected. The community took up the challenge. They combined three farms, built houses, and set up workshops. The settlement became known as the Bruderhof, after Anabaptist communes of that name in the sixteenth century. The community found time to hike, dance, and sing as well as to farm, cook, garden, and publish.
Everyone had to be involved in agricultural work, regardless of their experience, education, or gifts. The group had no money to buy food and struggled to grow enough. But Eberhard Arnold also believed in the spiritual significance of cultivating the land: We love the body because it is a consecrated dwelling place of the spirit. In the way spirit and hand work through each other we see the mystery of community.
The community decided to plant windbreaking trees on the hill behind the houses. Hundreds of spruce and larch saplings were set out, along with cherry, plum, and apple trees. This helped, but everything was still in short supply. Garden vegetables ripened late because of the high altitude, and potatoes only lasted to the end of spring. Although they could grow their own wheat, it was not enough to see them through to the next harvest. At times, they ate meal after meal of wild meadow spinach. They went to England and then Paraguay, and the community found itself closer to nature than it might have wished, again and again struggling to eke out a living in primitive conditions.
Several hundred found their way to the United States in There are now close to 25 Bruderhof communities on five continents: many rural, some urban. While most support themselves through light industry, the original impulse to live close to the land remains. They try to grow most of their own food, to use sustainable farming techniques and alternative energy, to make conservation efforts on their lands, and to use natural materials in the furniture and toys they produce.
Even communities in city neighborhoods have small gardens. C H Charles E. Whenever possible the community, children, and guests worshiped outdoors to experience God in nature. Prayer, study, and worship were not to be at odds with farming. Neither was the intellectual work of the publishing house. Sometimes members read and discussed manuscripts while sorting potatoes or taking turns stirring the large jam kettle.
Simplicity did not mean abandoning technology. By contrast, he thought that in a community based on faith and love technical innovation could protect and serve the dignity of each person and the needs of the common life. John Muir — Scottish-born American naturalist, engineer, writer, and pioneer of conservation. Founder of The Sierra Club. Fellow travelers? Modern nature activism includes some writers and thinkers strongly influenced by Christian faith Matt Forster John Muir — Few American environmentalists and nature writers are as well known as John Muir; born in Scotland, he moved to Wisconsin at age His family belonged to the Disciples of Christ, and as a child, Muir memorized more than half the Old Testament and all of the New.
While studying botany at the University of Wisconsin, Muir discovered his inspiration. Now my eyes were opened to their inner beauty, all alike revealing glorious traces of the thoughts of God, and leading on and on into the infinite cosmos. Muir moved to southern Ontario during the Civil War and spent nearly a year exploring the region. After returning to the States, he was nearly blinded in an accident in That temporary loss of sight set him on a path that led him hike to Florida, spend time in Cuba, catch a boat to New York, and end up in California.
There Muir discovered untouched nature. He divided the world into two parts: the impure regions of civilization and pure creation as received directly from the hands of God. In Yosemite he found the latter and worked tirelessly to preserve it as a national park. Muir rubbed shoulders with some of the most influential people of his day. Ralph Waldo Emerson see p. Eventually in Muir cofounded the Sierra Club. Over time he published 12 books and more than articles, all exposing readers to the importance and fragility of the natural world. At left, though she no longer travels or speaks, Dillard made a rare public appearance to receive the Humanities Medal from President Obama.
It is the very communion with the Holy Spirit that enables us to love the world with the love of Christ. As she explored her small corner of creation, the problem of evil was ever present; readers have made much of her watching a water bug inject a frog with digestive enzymes, then slowly drain the creature of its innards. The success of the book—it won the Pulitzer for general nonfiction—established her as one of the most prominent American nature writers of the twentieth century.
Though she resisted the label, critics compared her with the classics—especially Henry David. The very floor we stand on is a miracle of atoms whizzing about in space. He stood in a long line of theologians in the Eastern Orthodox tradition—going back to the church fathers— intrigued by the relationship between God and creation. Sergius, the center of Russian Orthodox scholarship. In he was ordained a priest and began teaching church history at St.
In Schmemann came to St. Though an academic and administrator, Schmemann was also a pastor greatly concerned with the health of the church. Thoreau see p. Though her writing is imbued with a near mystical spirituality, in recent years Dillard has remained reticent about her personal beliefs. There they established a bird observatory and field study center. Now it has grown into an international network with bases in over two dozen countries. Yet even as A Rocha broadened, it remained decidedly local, each country a separate entity with its own projects. In Ghana a mangrove restoration project is conserving wetlands; in Switzerland researchers are surveying grasslands.
At one Anglican church in Winnipeg, Canada, children made jam and pizza with the fruits and vegetables they had learned to grow. Our security guard was given 40 pounds of potatoes, but since he had no cooking facilities in his rooming house, he donated them to the soup kitchen where he ate his meals. Gen over the earth, has encouraged the unbridled exploitation of nature by painting him as domineering and destructive by nature.
Pope Francis magnificently reverses this error. Pope Francis leaves no doubt that this encyclical is an attempt to apply the radical Christianity of his namesake to the problems of the contemporary world: I believe that Saint Francis is an example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically. More deliberately than any previous encyclical, this declaration is addressed not just to clergy, or to Catholics, or even to Christians.
According to the Bible, these three vital relationships have been broken, both outwardly and within us. This rupture is sin. This allows us to. Such critics are ignorant of the crucial way in which early Western science grew from Christian—indeed from Franciscan—roots. He calls all people—those of the wealthy world in particular—to question their habits of consumption and to begin to live more simply and less wastefully. He argues that we need to use the gifts of creation in an attitude of thankfulness and joy.
To those Christians serious about the practice of their faith, he calls for a Christian understanding of the. It is in the Eucharist that all that has been created finds its greatest exaltation. My wife, Mary Ruth, and I have been teaching and writing on these issues for over 40 years. The encyclical grows from the same deep roots evangelicals have in common with true Catholicism. But whether Catholic or Protestant, the Gospel is empty if not lived out. This article is adapted from an article originally published in The Regent World, vol.
Francis and the Song of Brotherhood ; C. Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism ; Jane Bobko et al. The Celts feature in Esther de Waal, ed. Hart, and Mark Noll, eds. Read about Methodists and others worshiping outdoors in Russell E. Read these relevant past issues of Christian History online. Some are still available for purchase. Many of the Christian writings mentioned in this issue, especially those published before , can be found at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, or at other standard online collections of texts like Project Gutenberg and Internet History Sourcebooks.
The Franciscans do not have a centralized website. Five hundred years ago, an obscure German monk published 95 theses for debate and unwittingly set off a revolution that continues to shape the church and the world to this very day. Christian History Institute presents a new three-part documentary on the Reformation. Leading scholars from a broad range of perspectives tell the dramatic story of the Reformation, analyze its effects, and address vital questions about unity, truth, and the future of the church.
Three hours total. Not only as event, but as abidingly relevant. It is brilliantly done and brilliantly produced. This is a great resource for teaching this material at Christian schools. The balance of this series is brilliant. John H. Many more issues are available, including reprints of some previously out-of-print issues. Check the website for the most current list of available back issues. Many more back issues, including brand new reprints, can be found on www.
Organize your legacy copies of Christian History magazine with these sturdy slipcases. They will protect the issues for years to come. Each slipcase is beautifully embossed with the CH logo and holds issues. One of our best sellers, these discs work with both MAC and Windows. Items are also available on the order form inserted in this issue.
Monks and mystics, poets and artists, hermits and activists, scientists and saints--many Christians have felt the call to live in harmony wi See More. David Meconi, S. Box , Ft. Collins, CO 1 www. It was nice to Christian History probably saved my life My guess is the back issues in my trunk absorbed most of the impact. Moore 16 Cows and pigs, not leprechauns 37 Fellow travelers? Garry J. Chris R. Armstrong Contributing Editor Dr.
Subscriptions are available on a donation basis by calling Advisory Editors, CH Dr. Glen Scorgie Dr. Christian history: What does the Bible have to say about how we treat the land? It assumes that human existence is bound Let me google that for you Above: A modern farmer surveys his crops with iPad in hand. CH: Why do you think some modern Christians avoid these issues of judgment? In most Western cultures, there is a point at which some people—a minority—have mounted Christian History Farm scenes— R. Barry Tait CH: Some people have said that the root cause of this a critique of massive changes in the economy that are dismantling a viable rural life.
CH: How have you yourself been involved in modern movements to care for creation? When asked why he had no books with him during his hermitage in the Egyptian Christian History St. Cascading Glory But what does the book of nature teach? After full days of ministry—tending lepers on the verge of death or take a letter Hildegard dictates Scivias to the monk Volmar. Giovanni Bellini, St Francis in the Desert, c. Nature Is Divinized Many Christian nature mystics have found something even greater than fellow worshipers when they look at nature. Christian History St.
Christian History Scale model of anatomy theater built at Padua in , showing disection taking place—WikimediA scalpel, please This modern model shows 16th-c. They read English and German philosophy and Romantic poetry—especially William Wordsworth — , whose works became the rage in the United States from the s on, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge — Modern nature activism includes some writers and thinkers strongly influenced by Christian faith Matt Forster John Muir — Few American environmentalists and nature writers are as well known as John Muir; born in Scotland, he moved to Wisconsin at age Muir moved to southern Ontario during the Civil War and spent nearly a year exploring the region another old eternal rock John Muir campaigned to preserve the creation he had first learned to value in a college botany class.
This series features over 25 experts, including Dr. Sandra Rev. The great majority however remain bewildered and confused. Bred in an atmosphere which led them to accept with trust whatever came to them from their clergy, they tend to find excuses for all they do not understand. Like Paul VI , some admit that 'the smoke of Satan has entered into the Church'; they however refuse to look for the source of the fire.
Now, whatever the causes of the present situation may be, it is certain that prominent among them must be the changes that have occurred within the Church itself. These are clearly identified as those affecting the Liturgy and especially the Mass , and the teachings or, as they are called, the 'new directions' that have resulted from the Second Vatican Council and the 'Post-conciliar' Popes.
The present book will attempt to discuss in some depth the nature of these changes and their implications. Before doing so however, certain principles have to be understood that relate to the fundamental nature of the Church, her authority to 'teach', and the manner in which she does so. Those who still believe in the possibility that God in His Mercy gave us a Revelation, will have no difficulty in accepting these concepts.
Others who cannot, or will not accept such a premise, must, if they wish to understand what is happening to this Church, at least concede the existence of this premise, for if there is no Revelation, there is no Church. With this in mind we shall initiate our text with a study of the nature of the Church's teaching function. From there we will proceed to consider the sources of the Church's teaching and the manner in which they are conveyed to the faithful. It will be in the light of these basic facts that we then proceed to examine Vatican II, with its 'new directions', and the liturgical changes that followed in rapid sequence.
It is hoped that as a result of this approach, even those who do not agree with the author's stance will come to see what even Louis Bouyer has called 'The Decomposition of Catholicism' is all about. To paraphrase the Abbe Gueranger , the reader should clearly understand that I am in no way trying to propagate any personal views of my own. I am only attempting to state the traditional Church's teaching as it has always been in saecula saeculorum , and to show wherein the New Church has departed from this.
If the reader does not happen to like what the Church has always taught, that is too bad. He will however, never understand the present situation unless he recognises that, as Louis Evely 1 has said: 'The present crisis of the Church consists in its division between two irreconcilable groups: the 'old ones', who cannot or will not admit liturgical, disciplinary, and conceptual changes; and the 'young ones' who are repelled by the old ceremonies, beliefs, and practices.
It is impossible to speak to both groups at once. Every priest today finds that his parish is really two parishes. What awakens faith, or at least stirs interest among young people, scandalizes their elders to the point that they lose what little faith they have left. And to lead older people from the traditional faith to one which is more personal requires so much time, so much patience and so many precautions that the young people have not the patience to listen to, let alone read anything about it they read so little of anything, for that matter '.
The reader is further assured that in the exposition of the teachings of the traditional Church, wherever direct quotation is not given, the statements have been checked and approved by competent authority. Louis Evely is one of the most popular authors in the Post-conciliar Church, and according to Father Greeley's survey, one of the most frequently read authors by the modern clergy. A former priest, he is now laicized. Vatican 2 can be described as a turning point in the history of the Catholic Church. Prior to this event the Church considered herself a 'perfect society' in no need of change.
Existing both now and in eternity, she called herself 'the Church of all times'. After the Council, she described herself as 'dynamic' and progressive'; a 'new Church', a 'Church of our times', claimed to be adapting herself and Christ's message to the conditions of the modern world. But she sent out a mixed message. In the face of drastic modernization , she also claimed that 'nothing essential was changed' and that 'she was only returning to primitive practice'. While many accepted these assertions without thought, others found them self-contradictory. The net result was a confusion of loyalties which the subsequent twenty-five years has done little to alleviate.
Human reason tells us that Truth - assuming such a thing exists - cannot change. Catholics hold, by definition, that Jesus Christ is God, that He established a 'visible' Church which He promised would continue until the end of time, and that this Church is the Catholic Church They further hold - or should - that this Church preserves intact and teaches the truths and practices Christ revealed to it It is a matter of faith that only within this Church is to be found, the fullness of Christ's teaching, the Apostolic Succession, and the Sacraments or visible 'means of grace' He established.
Throughout history there have been many who denied that the Catholic Church was the entity that Christ established - denied it on the grounds that she had added false doctrines invented by men; that she had distorted the original message which amounts to the same thing , or that she failed to retain intact the original deposit.
If she is guilty of such, she by definition departs from 'unity' with the original body - the 'One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Putting it differently, if we would call ourselves Catholic we must be sure that we are in the Church which Christ founded, and that this Church has faithfully retained the original 'deposit of faith' given over to it by Christ and the Apostles. No one disputes the fact that after Vatican 2 , the Catholic Church was different.
The fundamental question is whether the changes introduced were mere 'window dressing', or whether they involved fundamental points of doctrine and practice. If the latter is the case, one would be forced to conclude that the post-Conciliar Church 5 is no longer the same as its pre- Vatican 2 Counterpart. The problem can be posed on many levels - that of doctrine: whether she has retained intact the Revelation which Christ and the Apostles entrusted to her as a 'precious pearl'; whether or not her liturgy is valid in the same sense that it has always been considered such; whether or not her new Canon laws are consistent with those by which she governed herself throughout the ages; whether or not she has retained intact the Apostolic succession, and whether or not those who have sat in the chair of Peter since Vatican 2 speak with Peter's voice authority.
In general, it can be stated that traditional Catholics claim it is not, while those who would accept and justify the changes introduced by Vatican 2 and the post-Conciliar 'popes' strongly argue that it is. This leads us to a series of secondary questions: did Christ intend that His Church should continuously adapt itself to changing circumstances? Are there certain areas where adaptation is legitimate, and others where it becomes a distortion of the original message?
Are the changes introduced since Vatican 2 significant or are they just a matter of minor details? Do the Popes as Vicars of Christ on earth have the authority to make these changes? Is it possible that the Catholic Church, over the course of centuries, has deviated from the patterns established by her Founder to such a degree that it was incumbent upon her present leaders to bring her back to some original state of purity?
This book will attempt to answer these questions. Immediately we have a problem. Who is to speak for the Church?. People who claim the title of Catholic no longer constitute an intellectually coherent group of individuals. Catholics today can be roughly divided into 'traditional' and 'post-Conciliar' Catholics - though even here the lines are far from strict. And post-Conciliar or 'Novus Ordo' Catholics conform to a spectrum that ranges from 'conservative' to 'liberal' while traditional Catholics vary in how the view the recent 'popes'.
The problem is that each of these groups claim to represent the 'true' Church and quote the documents of the Church in defense of their particular view. In an attempt to sort out the issues we shall quote only unequivocal sources of information. However there is this caveat: the pre-Conciliar sources are invariably unambiguous and to the point.
The post-Conciliar documents are verbose, ambiguous, and can be quoted on both sides of any issue. Given this situation, selection is unavoidable. We shall attempt to be as just as possible. The Catholic faith can be described as an interconnected series of 'facts', which taken in conjunction with one another, form a consistent body of teachings and practice. It is as hard to isolate any one aspect of 'the Faith' from the total content, as it is to determine where a spider's web originates. Yet one has to start somewhere: and so it is that we initiate this study with what is called the 'Magisterium' or the 'teaching authority' of the Church.
For those who are unfamiliar with this concept, let it be stated at once that this 'teaching authority' follows as a logical consequence of Christ's establishing a 'visible' Church. In doing this, He established a hierarchical institution and intended that this entity - the 'Mystical Body of Christ' - be an extension of His presence on earth Eph. V, As such this Church, by her very nature, has the function and obligation of preserving intact and delivering to us the Message teachings and inculcated practices of Christ.
Those entrusted with this function of 'feeding His sheep Hence He also said: 'He that heareth you heareth me' Luke X, It further follows that, as the Apostle Paul put it: 'Even if an angel from heaven should teach you a gospel besides that which you have received, let him be anathema I, Before embarking on a study of the Magisterium we should pause for a moment lest the present confusion within the Catholic Church tempt us to an attitude of despair. The present confusions have their purpose, even though we with our limited outlook cannot always understand.
As St. Paul explains: 'To them that love God all things work together unto good' Rom. Augustine adds 'etiam peccata , even sins. Angels and saints can take only joy from the divine wisdom which rules the world so wonderfully 1. Holy Mother Church , like the loving mother she is, has provided us with the necessary guidelines on how to think and behave in the present circumstances. These are provided for us in what is called her teaching Magisterium. The present essay is dedicated to an understanding of the nature and purpose of the Authentic Magisterium of the Catholic Church 2.
With regard to this Christ told us that 'He who believed in Him would know the truth which gives true liberty John VIII, but he who did not would be condemned' Matt. XXIII, Now he communicated these truths to his Apostles and sent them forth to teach in His name, telling them that 'just as my Father sent me, so also I send you X, 40 and Luke X, And so we see that the Apostles were given the charge of continuing Christ's mission as infallible Master.
Moreover Christ demanded an absolute obedience to this teaching function - for he who does not believe will be condemned. Of course, He also specified that it must be His teaching and not some other person's teaching - not even the teaching of an angel from heaven if it departed from His teaching. He further promised that 'the Spirit of Truth would always be with them,' provided they accepted this Spirit, and again, He left them free to reject this Spirit or accept some other spirit if they so willed - but then of course they would no longer be participating in His charisms and would loose their infallibility.
As He said, 'therefore go ye into all nation and teach them to safeguard all that I have taught you. And I will be with you till the end of the world' Matt. XII, Perhaps the most important error abroad today relates to the teaching authority of the Church; specifically to the idea that the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church is not infallible. Lest there be doubt about this, let us listen to Pope Leo XIII : 'Wherefore, as appears from what has been said, Christ instituted in the Church a living authoritative and permanent Magisterium, which by His own power He strengthened, by the Spirit of truth He taught, and by miracles confirmed.
He willed and ordered, under the gravest penalties, that its teachings should be received as if they were His own. As often therefore, as it is declared on the authority of this teaching that this or that is contained in the deposit of divine revelation, it must be believed by everyone as true. If it could in any way be false, an evident contradiction follows: for then God Himself would be the author of error in man.
The Fathers of the Vatican Council I laid down nothing new, but followed divine revelation and the acknowledged and invariable teaching of the Church as to the very nature of faith, when they decreed as follows: 'All those things are to be believed by divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the written or unwritten word of God, and which are proposed by the Church as divinely revealed, either by a solemn definition or in the exercise of the ordinary and universal Magisterium. Because the Magisterium provides us with the only solid objective criteria by which we may judge what is true and false, it is important that we examine its nature in greater detail.
This teaching, being Christ's, is infallible This Magisterium or 'teaching authority of the Church', exists in two different modes. Such truths are de fide divina et Catholica which means that every Catholic must believe them with divine and Catholic Faith. Included under the category of solemn are 'symbols or professions of the faith', such as the Apostles' Creed, the Tridentine or Pianine Profession and the Oath against Modernism required by Pius X since and no longer required by the post-Conciliar Church 6.
Finally included in this category are 'theological censures' or those statements that qualify and condemn propositions as heretical 7. It is termed 'ORDINARY AND UNIVERSAL' when it manifests itself as those truths which are expressed through the daily continuous preaching of the Church and refers to the universal practices of the Church connected with faith and morals as manifested in the 'unanimous consent of the Fathers, the decisions of the Roman Congregations concerning faith and morals, in the consensus of the faithful, in the universal custom or practice associated with dogma which certainly includes the Roman liturgy or traditional Mass , and in the various historical documents in which the faith is declared.
It is termed 'Pontifical' if the source is the Pope, and 'universal' if it derives from the Bishops in union with him 9 Such truths, as Vatican I teaches, are also de fide divina et Catholica. It is termed 'living' because, being true, it exists and exerts its influence, not only in the past, but in the present and future. As Vatican I explains, it is infallible: 'All those things are to be believed with divine and Catholic faith, which are contained in the word of God, written or handed down, [i.
This statement is important because there are many theologians who proclaim that the teachings of the Ordinary Magisterium are not binding. Some attempt to mitigate the authority of the ordinary magisterium by claiming that it can at times contain error Others claim on their own authority that 'only those doctrines in the ordinary and universal Magisterium that have been taught everywhere and always are covered by the guarantee of infallibility Still others attack this teaching by limiting the contents of the Ordinary Magisterium - removing from it anything not couched in absolutist or solemn terminology.
Finally there are those who claim that the magisterium can change - that it can teach differently today than in the past because doctrine and truth evolve. Before dealing with these secondary errors, it is necessary to understand why the Magisterium is infallible. Consider the Jews in Egypt. They had saved the land from famine, but had subsequently been enslaved. How cruel and unjust the God of Abraham must have appeared to them. But would they have followed Moses into the wilderness in any other circumstance? One may be permitted to doubt it. As a general rule, doctrine comes from the bishops to the faithful, and it is not for the faithful, who are subjects in the order of Faith, to pass judgment on their superiors.
But every Christian by virtue of this title to the name Christian, has not only the necessary knowledge of the essentials of the treasure of Revelation, but also the duty of safeguarding them. The principle is the same, whether it is a matter of belief or conduct, that is of dogma or morals.
For He is the foundation, He is the substance, He is the teaching, He is the teacher, He is the end, He is the reward. A doctrinal censure is 'a qualification or restriction which indicates that a proposition is opposed, in some way, to faith or morals'. It is de fide that the Church is infallible when she specifies that a doctrine is heretical; it is certain that the Church is infallible when she states that a doctrine approaches heresy or that a doctrine errs.
To the extent that they restate the infallible teachings of the Church, the pronouncements of the Encyclical letters are themselves infallible. Moreover, while explaining and developing such infallible teachings, or while using them as a sure criterion in the condemnation of errors, or even while striving to solve the social, economic and political problems of the day in the light of these infallible teachings, the popes enjoy the special assistance of the Holy Spirit.
Other classifications can be found, but the essential principles remain the same. Melchior Cano or Canus , one of the principal theologians of the Council of Trent, taught that there are ten theological 'loci' or places where the 'teaching imparted by Christ and the Apostles could be found. According to him the first seven belong to the realm of theology, while the last three relate to the other sciences. The pseud-Council of Pistoia never received this and was never recognized as a Council. It will therefore be the eventual task of the magisterium to evaluate the objections made to the Declaration and then to explain how it is compatible with previous teaching, or to admit that it is not compatible and proceed to correct it' Archbishop Lefebvre and Religious Liberty , TAN: III.
Suffice it to say - the matter will be discussed in detail later - that not only this Declaration, but also Michael Davies's opinion are contrary to innumerable Magisterial statements of the traditional Church. For proof that the post-Conciliar Church considers Vatican II to be magisterial, see footnote 58 below.
This is essentially the position of Archbishop Lefebvre. As noted in Chapter I, the Church, by God's will, is a hierarchical institution. At its ' head ' is the Pope, the vicar of Christ, the ' rock ' on which the Church is founded. He is endowed with all the unique authority of Jesus Christ ' who is the shepherd and bishop of our souls ' 1 Pet. As Dom Grea has said, ' the pope is with Jesus Christ - a single hierarchical person - above the episcopate, one and the same head of the episcopate, one and the same head, one and the same doctor, pontiff and legislator of the universal Church.
Christ proclaims Himself through His Vicar, He speaks through him, acts and governs through him. This conception is made clear by Pope St. Leo's third sermon on the anniversary of his own election where he paraphrases the words of Christ: ' I make known to thee thy excellence, for thou art Peter: that is, as I am the invulnerable rock, the cornerstone, who make both one, I the foundation beside which there can be laid no other; so thou too art a rock, in my strength made hard, and I share with thee the powers which are proper to me.
And upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it Peter's Chair at Antioch , Feb. The pope is also a private person an ordinary human being and a private theologian doctor. It is however, only when he functions as ' a single hierarchical person ' with Christ that he is endowed with infallibility or partakes of the Church's, i. It is only then that Christ's Scriptural statement ' he who hears you, hears me ' applies. And it follows logically that his authority is extended through those bishops who ' are in union with him ' in governing the flock.
The bishops have no independent authority apart from him for the simple reason that he has no independent authority apart from Christ. Thus it is that he is called the ' Bishop of bishops ', and that he ' confirms ' them in their doctrine - not the other way around. Thus it is that no statement of an Ecumenical Council has any authority until it receives his approbation. The pope then has an almost limitless authority. He can however loose this authority in a variety of ways.
He can lose it when he dies physical death , if he loses his reason madness , if he separates himself from the Church schism , or when he loses his faith heresy and therefore spiritual death. At such a point the pope is no longer pope because it is the very nature of this bishop's function and ministry to be the Vicar of Christ and nothing else The pope's authority is almost unlimited - however, it is not absolute.
He has full powers within his charge, but his powers are limited by his charge. In order fully to understand this doctrinal point, let us once again recall the nature of this charge. The ecclesiastical hierarchy was instituted by God to teach, that is to say, to transmit the deposit of the faith. At the head of this teaching Church Christ appointed a Vicar to whom He gave full powers to ' feed the faithful and the shepherds ' John Consequently, it is within the bounds of this function, the transmission of the deposit of the faith, that the Pope has ' full powers '.
He has these precisely to enable him to transmit the deposit of the faith - in its entirety - ' in the same meaning and the same sense ' Denzinger Hence it follows that the Pope can and must make all his determinations entirely within the bounds of orthodoxy, and this is true whether they concern the reformation of the Liturgy, of Canon Law, or to use the phraseology of earlier Councils, the reformation of the clergy ' in its head or in its members.
As The Catholic Encyclopedia states: ' the scope of this infallibility is to preserve the deposit of faith revealed to man by Christ and His Apostles. A Pope who presumed to abrogate the smallest iota of dogma, or even attempted to change the meaning of the Church's constant teaching, would step outside the bounds of orthodoxy and outside the limits of his function of preserving the deposit of the faith. He would in doing so, teach a new doctrine and a ' new gospel ', and as such would be subject to the anathema pronounced by St.
Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians It is then clear that the infallibility of the Magisterium or ' teaching authority of the Church ' derives from the Pope functioning as one hierarchical person with Christ. Thus the source of this infallibility is Christ, and indeed, it could be not be otherwise. For the Church to claim infallibility on any other grounds would be absurd. And just as there is only one source, so also there is only one Magisterium.
When the Pope uses his infallibility - be it by solemn proclamation or within the bounds of the ordinary magisterium, he partakes, not of some personal, but of Christ's infallibility. As the official text puts it, ' when he speaks ex cathedra The term 'episcopate' refers to the body of bishops.
Strictly speaking one cannot speak of a 'bad pope'. Being the instrument of Christ, a pope as such is necessarily 'good'. Such adjectives as applied to popes relate to the state of their soul and not to their function. A sinner, just like anyone else, the pope, even when he functions as Christ's minister, can be, as a human being, in a state of grace or one of mortal sin. It is a teaching of elementary theology that the state of a minister's soul has no influence or effect on his ministry, because this effect comes totally and exclusively from Christ who is its source.
Thus it is that whenever a pope is functioning in his office of pope, it is Christ who speaks, who acts, and who governs through him. There is never any justification for a member of the believing Church to disobey a valid pope when it is Christ who speaks, acts and governs through him. And just as one cannot speak of a 'bad pope', so also one cannot speak of a 'heretical Pope', of one who is only 'materially' pope, or of one who is only 'juridically' a pope.
Assuming a valid election, assuming that the individual is a member of the 'believing Church', either a man is, or he is not, a pope. He can never be 'half a pope'. When does a Pope use his infallibility, or to use the technical phrase, speak ex cathedra? In Holy Scripture 'cathedra' is synonymous with the authority of a 'master' or 'teacher' Ps. Once again the teaching of the Church is manifest and clear. He teaches ex cathedra 'when serving in the capacity of pastor and Doctor shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, in virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine with regard to faith and morals that must be held by the whole Church.
It is not his teaching as a private or particular Doctor that is in question. The Pope is not required to use any specific formulas to accomplish this. All that is required is that he clearly manifest his intention to compel the entire Church to accept his teaching as belonging to the deposit of the faith. It is obvious that by the very nature of his function as the Vicar of Christ, this authority has always been with Peter and his valid successors. Why was it then necessary that this doctrine be defined in an extraordinary manner at the time of Vatican I? The answer to this question is highly instructive.
The Church does not ordinarily define a doctrine 'in an extraordinary manner' unless it comes under dispute or is denied by a significant number of the faithful as the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Nor does a doctrine so defined become more true than it was before. The Church 'has the duty to proceed opportunely in defining points of faith with solemn rites and decrees, when there is a need to declare them to resist more effectively the errors and the assaults of heretics or to impress upon the minds of the faithful clearer and more profound explanations of points of sacred doctrine Not because the Church has defined and sanctioned truths by solemn decree of the Church at different times, and even in times near to us, are they [truths not so defined] therefore not equally certain and not equally to be believed.
For has not God revealed them all? In the decades prior to Vatican I, the popes repeatedly condemned liberal Catholicism and parallel efforts aimed at bringing the Church's thinking into line with the modern world - Pope Pius IX summarized these censures in his Syllabus of Errors. Those who came under such strictures attempted to defend themselves by claiming that their attitudes had never been formerly condemned by the teaching magisterium and that such documents only represented the private opinion of the Pontiffs.
Such a claim placed the infallibility of the Pope in doubt. During Vatican I furious debates were waged on the subject. The liberals were perfectly aware of the fact that if they voted for the definition of infallibility they would condemn themselves, but that if they voted against it, they would be denying a doctrine of the Church. Every conceivable objection capable of preventing, or of at least postponing the definition, was put forth and strongly supported by those who labeled themselves as 'inopportunists' 1.
One orthodox bishop, Anthony Claret - later canonized - was so distressed by these attempts that he died of a heart attack during the Conciliar debate. The cases of Popes Liberius, Honorius I , Paschal II , Sixtus V and others were brought forth in an attempt to influence the Fathers against defining something the liberals claimed was both unnecessary and insane.
Needless to say, they were supported in this by the secular press, by world leaders, and even by governments. It is of interest to note that the Freemasons held a simultaneous 'anti-Council' in Naples which proclaimed several principles as essential to the dignity of man - principles which later were incorporated into the documents of Vatican II 2. Listen to the comments of Cardinal Manning: 'The campaign against the Council failed, of course.
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It failed because the Pope did not weaken. He met error with condemnation and replied to the demands to modify or adapt Catholic truth to the spirit of the age by resisting it with the firmness and clarity of Trent - and despite the prophecies of her enemies that the declaration of Papal Infallibility would mark the death blow to the Church, she emerged stronger and more vigorous than ever.
This of course evoked the full fury of the City of Man. The hatred of the world for the Church was made manifest, and at the same time manifested the divine nature of the Catholic Church; for the hatred of the world was designated by Christ Himself as one of the marks of His Mystical body which must not only teach Christ crucified, but will live out the mystery of His crucifixion and resurrection until He comes again in Glory Had Christ been prepared to enter into dialogue with his enemies, had he been prepared to adapt, to make concessions, then He would have escaped crucifixion - but of what value would the Incarnation have been?
Pope Pius IX followed the example of Christ whose Vicar he was and, as the highest point attracted the storm, so the chief violence fell upon the head of the Vicar of Christ One does not have to be an expert in theological matters to know that, if the Conciliar fathers had found themselves incapable of unequivocally refuting every one of the objections of the inopportunists, and of showing in a peremptory manner that, throughout the preceding nineteen centuries not one Pope - even among those whose lives had been scandalous in the extreme - had ever erred in his function as Pope, in his teaching function as the universal Pastor and Doctor, the Church could never have solemnly promulgated this dogma.
Indeed, if the issues and facts had not been made absolutely clear, the adversaries of infallibility and the enemies of the Church would certainly have published abroad all the supposedly false teachings of the previous popes and used this as a means of making the Church appear ridiculous. When the final vote came, the adversaries of this dogma, foreseeing how things would go, left Rome in order to avoid personally participating in this decision. They however, not wishing to be ejected from the Church, declared in advance that they accepted the decision - a decision that ultimately depended, not on the Council, but on the Pope promulgating the Council's teaching 5.
Unable to any longer deny this principle, the liberals in the Church rapidly shifted tactics. But be careful!
Today we hear the same cry from those who would defend the post-Conciliar changes. Because the infallible nature of the Ordinary Magisterium is currently so much in dispute, the following pertinent quotations are appended:. Pius IX , Tuas libenter. Leo XIII reiterated the teaching of Vatican I to the effect that 'the sense of the sacred dogmas is to be faithfully kept which Holy Mother Church has once declared, and is not to be departed from under the specious pretext of a more profound understanding.
For there is the one and the same Author and Master of all the truths that Christian teaching comprises : the only begotten son who is in the bosom of the Father. That they are adapted to all ages and nations is plainly deduced from the words which Christ addressed to His Apostles: ' Go therefore teach ye all nations: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world'. Wherefore the same Vatican Council says: 'By the divine and Catholic faith those are to be believed which are contained in the word of God either written or handed down, and are proposed by the Church whether in solemn decision or by the ordinary universal magisterium, to be believed as having been divinely revealed.
Let them return; indeed nothing is nearer to Our heart; let all those who are wandering far from the sheepfold of Christ return; but let it not be any other road than that which Christ has pointed out The history of all past ages is witness that the Apostolic See, to which not only the office of teaching but also the supreme government of the whole Church was committed, has constantly adhered to the same doctrine in the same sense and in the same mind In this all must acquiesce who wish to avoid the censure of our predecessor Pius VI, who proclaimed the 18th proposition of the Synod of Pistoia 'to be injurious to the Church and to the Spirit of God which governs her, in as much as it subjects to scrutiny the discipline established and approved by the Church, as if the Church could establish a useless discipline or one which would be too honerous for Christian liberty to bear.
By matters of faith and morals is meant the whole revelation of the truths of faith; or the whole way of salvation through faith; or the whole supernatural order, with all that is essential to the sanctification and salvation of man through Jesus Christ. The Pope is infallible, not only in the whole matter of revealed truths; he is also indirectly infallible in all truths which, though not revealed, are so intimately connected with revealed truths, that the deposit of faith and morals cannot be guarded, explained, and defended without an infallible discernment of such not revealed truths.
The Pope could not discharge his office as Teacher of all nations, unless he were able with infallible certainty to proscribe and condemn doctrine s, logical, scientific, physical, metaphysical, or political, of any kind which are at variance with the Word of God and imperil the integrity and purity of the faith, or the salvation of souls. Whenever the Holy Father, as Chief Pastor and Teacher of all Christians, proceeds, in briefs, encyclical letters, consistorial allocutions, and other Apostolic letters, to declare certain truths, or anything that is conducive to the preservation of faith and morals, or to reprobate perverse doctrine s, and condemn certain errors, such declarations of truth and condemnations of errors are infallible, or ex Cathedra acts of the Pope emphasis mine.
All acts ex Cathedra are binding in conscience and call for our firm interior assent, both of the intellect and the will, even though they do not express an anathema on those who disagree. It would even be heresy to say that any such definition of truths or condemnations of perverse doctrine s are inopportune.
In the same manner, we must not think that what is proposed in the encyclicals does not require in itself our assent because the Popes did not exercise their supreme magisterial powers in them. Our Lord's words 'he who listens to you listens to Me' also applies to whatever is taught by the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church'. And also all legislative or judicial acts, so far as they are inseparably connected with his doctrinal authority; as for instance, all judgments, sentences, and decisions, which contain the motives of such acts as derived from faith and morals.
Under this will come the laws of discipline, canonization of the saints, approbation of Religious Orders, of devotions, and the like; all of which intrinsically contain the truths and principles of faith, morals and piety. The definition, then, does not limit the infallibility of the Pontiff to his supreme acts ex cathedra in faith and morals, but extends his infallibility to all acts in the fullest exercise of his supreme magisterium or doctrinal authority. At this point we can come to certain conclusions: 1 Christ instituted a hierarchical Church which was His own Mystical body, and as such the prolongation of His presence in the world.
The Magisterium is a 'divinely appointed authority to teach When such occurs, the hierarchy functions to explain and define, but not to innovate. He explains, he defines, but he makes no innovation' 9. To that body of revealed truth nothing has been, or ever will be added' 10 12 There is no need for the Pope to use special formulas or attach anathema to his ex cathedra teachings. The Magisterium is also called 'living', not because it 'evolves' in the manner that modern man erroneously ascribes to all things, but because it exists today as a viable entity within what the theologians call the 'visible' Church.
It is 'living' because it is vivified by the Holy Ghost. As Cardinal Manning explains: 'this office of the Holy Ghost consists in the following operations: first, in the original illumination and revelation In giving assent to the teaching authority of the Church we should recognize the fact that we are giving assent, not to a series of 'dry' doctrine s decided upon by mere men, but rather to Christ Himself.
Moreover, in so far as the Church and Christ are one, this obligation of giving assent also extends to certain matters intimately related to the faith such as the Sacraments instituted by Christ and the ecclesiastical laws by which she governs herself. Catherine of Sienna says, 'the Church is no other than Christ Himself, and it is she who gives us the Sacraments, and the Sacraments give us life. The Catholic Church is not a congregation of people agreeing together, it is not a School of Philosophy or a Mutual Improvement Society.
It is rather the Living Voice of God and Christ's revelation to all people, through all time. It teaches only what its divine Master taught. It is in God's name that the Church makes the awesome demand she does on the faith of men - a demand that cannot be merely waived aside as being incompatible with the so-called rights of private judgment. It will be argued that the Church has been far from pure in her worldly actions. This is to misunderstand her nature.
She is by definition a 'perfect society', the divinely instituted Mystical Body of Christ. The human failings of individual Catholics - or groups of Catholics - in no way alters the Church's essentially divine character. She certainly contains sinners within her bosom, for she, like Christ, is in the world for the sake of sinners. Those who would reject the teachings of her divine Master because of her human failings, are similar to the Pharisees who rejected Christ because he ate with publicans.
Despite such defects, the fundamental nature and purpose of the Church cannot change. She has never asked the world to follow other than the doctrine of Christ. The ultimate end is to lead all men to eternal life' Man is free to examine the reasonableness and validity of the Church's claims; he is also free to accept or reject them. If he chooses the latter, which is in essence to refuse the authority of God's Revelation, he is forced, if he is rational, to seek some other basis and authority for his actions and beliefs.
And this brings us to the below explained topic. It is never inopportune to declare the truth. Cardinal Newman - was one of the leaders of this faction. Approaches , Ayrshire , Scotland , No. Muller, C. Familiar Explanation of Catholic doctrine , Benzinger: N. The infallibility of Council teachings is dependent upon the Pope's approbation. An important consequence of the declaration on infallibility at Vatican I was that the Syllabus of Errors of Pius IX was clearly declared to fall within the realm of the Ordinary Magisterium.
Prior to this many attempts were made to examine the sources of the condemned errors in order to show that they were not 'worded' in such a way as to make them binding. It also protected the list of errors - Lamentabili - associated with Pope St. Pius X's Pascendi. Here again the modernists tried the same tactics, forcing Pius X to declare them to be binding in his Moto Proprio ' Praestantia Scripturae ' 18, Nov.
Despite this, anyone who cannot give his assent to this Oath, once required of every prelate at every step in his journey towards the priesthood or episcopacy, places himself outside the true Church. New York : D,J. Sadlier, , pp. Wilmers, S. This manner in which the Church sees itself is a far cry from the teaching of Vatican II and the post-Conciliar 'popes'.
With a great and moving effort, it is seeking to define itself, to understand what it truly is In the last analysis, man must in religious matters, rely upon some authority. Either this derives from some objective 'teaching authority' that is independent of himself, or else it derives from an 'inner feeling' that can be characterized as 'private judgment' 1. Clearly, the prevailing basis for religious beliefs in the modern world - be they Protestant or 'modernist-Catholic' - is private judgment, which is to say that paramount authority resides in that which at any moment commends itself to the individual or group most strongly 2.
According to Vatican II, man's dignity is such that in religious matters, he is to be guided by his own judgment 3. Such a principle by its very nature represents a revolt against the Church and Christ , for it proclaims that what the Church teaches is not morally obligatory. Vatican II seems to have forgotten that man's freedom resides, not in his being at liberty to believe anything he wants, but in his ability to accept or refuse what God teaches; that his dignity resides, not in acting like gods, but in his conforming himself to divine principles. Private Judgment always starts out by accepting some of the teachings of the established faith and rejecting others - it is only a matter of time before the 'new' suffers in turn from the same principle.
Within Luther 's own lifetime dozens of other Protestant sects were formed, and one might add that within the post-Conciliar church the same thing has happened. That this is less obvious is because this Church blandly accepts the most divergent views - other than traditional orthodoxy - as legitimate.
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Thomas Aquinas said, 'the way of a heretic is to restrict belief in certain aspects of Christ's doctrine selected and fashioned at pleasure' Summa II-II, 1. Obviously, this 'picking and choosing' is nothing other than the free reign of private judgment. And as sects give rise to other sects, it soon happens that all truth and falsehood in religion becomes a matter of private opinion and one doctrine becomes as good as another.
Again, it is only a matter of time before all doctrinal issues become irrelevant who can ever agree about them anyway? What follows is that morality loses its objective character, and being based on 'social contract', can alter in accord with prevailing social needs 4. Man, not God, becomes the center of the universe and the criteria for truth; doing good to others becomes his highest aspiration, and 'progress' his social goal.
The idea of 'sin' is limited to what 'hurts' our neighbor or the 'state'. What need is there for God, for truth, for doctrines, for authority, for the Church and for all the 'claptrap' of the ages that has held man back from his worldly 'destiny'? All that is asked of modern man is that he be 'sincere', and that he not disturb his neighbor excessively. If in this milieu he manages to retain any religious sense at all, it is considered a 'private matter'. Man's 'dignity', which traditionally was due to the fact that he was 'made in the image of God', is now said to derive from his independence of God.
In reality, man has been so seduced by the serpent - 'Ye shall be as Gods' - that he has proclaimed himself his own God. As Paul VI said on the occasion of the moon landing, 'honor to man He lives by his own morality and only accepts the truths that he himself has established. It used to be said of the Protestants that 'every man was his own Pope'. A satanic inversion has occurred and man cries out, as did once the Angel of Light - Non Serviam - I will not serve any master other than myself 5.
Of course, all this occurs in stages. What is remarkable is the similarity of pattern seen in all ' reformation movements '. What starts out as the denial of one or two revealed truths or of truths derived from revelation , progressively ends up in the denial of them all 6. Similar also are the various subterfuges by which this is achieved. Almost all reformers declare that they are 'inspired by the Holy Spirit' and who can argue with the Holy Spirit?
All claim to be returning to 'primitive Christianity', which is nothing other than Christianity as they think it should have been all along. All, or almost all, claim that the are adapting the Faith to the needs of modern man, which is nothing else than an appeal to the pride and arrogance of their followers and an attempt to make Christianity conform to their personal needs 7. All quote Scripture, but selectively and out of context, and never those parts that disagree with their innovative ideas - thus it follows that they reject the traditional interpretation given to the sacred writings by the Church Fathers and the Saints.
All mix truth with error, for error has no attractive power on its own. All attack the established rites, for they know that the lex orandi the manner of prayer reflects the lex credendi the manner of believing ; once the latter is changed, the former becomes an embarrassment to them 8. All use the traditional terms of religion: love, truth, justice and faith, but attach to them a different meaning.
And what are all these subterfuges but means of introducing their own private and personal judgments on religious matters into the public domain? Finally, none of the reformers fully agree with each other except in their rejection of the 'fullness' of the established Catholic faith, for error is 'legion' and truth is one.
As one mediaeval writer put it, 'they are vultures that never meet together except to feast upon a corpse' 9. The traditional Church has of course always eschewed the use of 'private judgment' in religious matters. From a traditional point of view, man should seek to 'think correctly' rather than to 'think for himself'. What kind of mathematician would a person be who computed for himself and considered the correct answer to be a matter of 'feeling' arising from his subconscious? The Jewish fathers considered private judgment the greatest form of idolatry because it made oneself rather than God the source of truth.
As has been pointed out above, man's 'liberty' lies, not in his freedom to decide for himself just what is true and false, but in his freedom to accept or reject the truth that Christ and the Church teach and offer. It is a saying of common wisdom that no man should be his own advocate or physician, lest his emotions interfere with his judgment If we are careful to obtain authoritative advise and direction in the management of our physical and economic well-being, it becomes absurd for us to relegate the health of our soul to the 'whims' of our emotions.
As Socrates said, 'Being deceived by ourselves is the most dreadful of all things, for when he who deceives us never departs from us even for a moment, but is always present, is it not a most fearful thing? As soon as we make ourselves rather than God speaking through the Church, the criterion of truth, we end up by making man qua man the center of the universe and all truth becomes both subjective and relative.
This is why Pope Saint Pius X said 'we must use every means and bend every effort to bring about the total disappearance of that enormous and detestable wickedness so characteristic of our time - the substitution of man for God' E Supremo Apostolatu. There is of course an area in which legitimate use can, and indeed must, be made of what is sometimes - though erroneously - called Private Judgment. In that case what are being made are not judgments in the Protestant sense, which are mere opinions, but rather objectively certain judgments which are nevertheless reasonable.
As Father Hickey states in his Summa Philosophiae Scholasticae , 'the intellect is 'per se' infallible, although 'per accidens' it can err. Orestes Brownson states, 'private judgment in the Protestant sense is only when the matters judged lie out of the range of reason, and when its principle is not the common reason of mankind, nor a Catholic or public authority, but the fancy, the caprice, the prejudice or the idiosyncrasy of the individual forming it. Such for example is the judgment a man makes use of in seeking the truth, and which makes him aware that in matters where he lacks full understanding, it is appropriate to use a guide.
Again, there is the use of judgment in the application of principles to a given situation conscience as the Catholic understands it , or in areas where the Church has never specifically spoken and where it allows for differences of legitimate 'theological opinion'. In all these situations there is a criterion of certainty beyond the individual and evidence is adducible which ought to convince the reason of every man, and which when adduced, does convince every man of ordinary understanding. Having stated the distinction between mere opinion and the proper individual use of judgment we can further add that such judgment can never rationally be used to abrogate principles or deny revealed truths.
These same distinctions make it clear how false it is to accuse Traditional Catholics who adhere to the teachings and practices of the Church of All Times , and who reject innovations that go against the deposit of the faith, of using private judgment in a Protestant sense. To label them as 'Rebels' or 'Protestants' because they refuse to change their beliefs is either an abuse of language or pure hypocrisy. Private judgment i n the Protestant sense is inimical to the spiritual life not only because it denies the authority of Revelation, but because it also denies intellection.
God gave us an intellect by means of which we can know truth from falsehood and right from wrong. Reason is normally the 'handmaid' of the intellect, which means its function is that of ratiocination or discoursing from premises to conclusions. Truth does not depend on reason, but rather truth becomes explicit with the help of Reason. We do not say something is true because it is logical, but rather that it is logical because it is true. Reason must then feed on some sustenance, and this it gets from above or from below; above from intellection and Revelation; below from feelings and sense perceptions.
Modern man, while occasionally using his higher 'cognitive' faculties, in the practical order refuses to grant their existence. More precisely, being Nominalist , he refuses to accept any premises from above and limits the function of reason to dealing with what comes from below, from his feelings or sense perceptions.
In this schema Reason is placed at the apex of man's faculties Rationalism. Given these truncated principles, it follows that all truth is based on feelings and sense perceptions and hence is relative Modern man lives on 'Opinions divorced from knowledge', which in Plato's words 'are ugly things. While mechanists and evolutionists deny free-will altogether, pseudo-theologians obliterated it in the name of a false concept of grace. What else is 'justification by faith', but the denial of 'good works', those acts we 'willfully' perform.
Surely grace builds on nature and will abandon us in proportion to our refusal to cooperate with it. Those who see the futility of resolving religious issues on the basis of their or someone else's personal and subjective opinions, and who seek objective and external sources for the Truth, must inevitably turn to the various 'churches' for a solution. Of all the various 'ecclesiastical communities' that hold out the possibility of finding objective truth, only one has consistently rejected 'private judgment' as a source. Only one proclaims that God Himself through Christ and the Apostles has revealed the truth, and only one claims and can demonstrate that it has retained this 'deposit' intact from Apostolic times down to the present.
To quote St. Alphonsus Liguori: 'To reject the divine teaching of the Catholic Church is to reject the very basis of reason and revelation, for neither the principles of the one nor those of the other have any longer any solid support to rest on; they can be interpreted by everyone as he pleases; every one can deny all truths whatsoever he chooses to deny. I therefore repeat: If the divine teaching authority of the Church, and the obedience to it are rejected, every error will be endorsed and must be tolerated.
Atheists and those that deny the existence of any 'religious issue' also exercise private judgment - either their own or by submitting to the private judgment of others. Ultimately the only authority for private judgment is what an individual or group 'feels' is true. Some claim their beliefs are based on reason, but if reason were a sufficient guide to religious truth, and if all men reasoned alike, all would believe the same 'truths'. The Church teaches that we are not allowed to believe anything against reason, but at the same time offers to us many mysteries or truths which, even though they cannot be proved by reason, are in themselves reasonable.
Such truths are said to be 'beyond reason' in the sense that they derive from Revelation.