And his mother said to the servants, Do whatever he tells you. John 2:5
Mary always tells her children to follow the words of Christ. Even when Jesus told Mary – what is that to me and you it is not my hour, she still says “Do whatever he tells you”.
What is the voice of Christ today? According to Tradition in the Scriptures, in the teaching office of the Church, in the Liturgy, in the sense of the faithful and in the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit.
The CMRI would have us hold a Sedevacantist position which is an utterly bankrupt position theologically. Christ established a visible Church which would continue till the end of time. The universal and peace acceptance of a pope completely refutes their position and existence. Yet, that is not what this article is about.
This article is about a point by point response to their claims on Vatican II. It was an ecumenical council we owe it religious submission even in non-definite teaching. It is the voice of Christ for us today.
CMRI claim: “First, the Vatican II decree declares that the Revelation contained in Tradition is evolving in Dei Verbum #8:” Yet it is the teaching of the Church that “I sincerely accept the doctrine of Faith in the same sense and always with the same meaning as it has been handed down to us from the Apostles through the officially approved Fathers. And therefore, I wholly reject the heretical notion of the evolution of dogmas, according to which doctrines pass from one sense to another sense alien to that which the Church held from the start. I likewise condemn every erroneous notion to the effect that, instead of the divine deposit of Faith entrusted by Christ to His Spouse, the Church, and to be faithfully guarded by her, one may substitute a philosophic system or a creation of the human mind gradually refined by men’s striving and capable of eventual perfection by indefinite progress” (Pope St. Pius X, Oath Against Modernism, 1910).
My Response: This claim lacks substance and nuance. It can be rather easy to square this one with tradition. I question if CMRI even attempted to understand it.
If we read the entire paragraph of Dei Verbum #8 instead of only part of it as quoted on the CMRI website we see some rather strong language. (See the bottom of the post for the quote)
First it affirms using Jude 1:3 that the faith was handed once and for all to the Church! Thus, when it speaks of development it is speaking of changing the once and for all part or is it more subtle than that? – Its more subtle. All #8 is saying is what Jesus himself says. “When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, he will lead you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own authority, but he will speak of what he hears and will tell you of things to come.” John 16:13 The Apostles themselves clearly lacked something even after the resurrection and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Apostles did not lack revelation that was given, but its implementation and understanding required unfolding in their minds by the Holy Spirit.
If you disagree with this – Then what happen at the council of Jerusalem in Acts? Were the apostles and leaders debating just for fun or because they did not know what do to about Jewish law even though they had received Christ and the Holy Spirit? Everything was there but not clear for them. Even after the death of the Apostles (the mark of the last public revelation) the Church has constantly needed council – ecumenical ones to define and elaborate teaching. Is this because the church changes its doctrine? No. But they do develop. Read Oath Against Modernism again, it is condemning evolution (change in species or kind to another) in dogma, not development (branching out and natural growth and depth of the same thing) of insight and understanding. Hence, Nicaea said little about the Holy Spirit (not to offend some groups) but Constantinople could add to the creed a whole bunch about the Holy Spirit. Do we claim that the Apostles would have used the word hypostasis, yet we claim they believed the same thing.
That is all Dei Verbum is saying. There is a “growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down.” This is not a evolution or change but a quite contemplation to deepen our grasp of the same faith already given. For example, for 16th century Catholics you did not have to believe Mary was immaculately conceived or assumed into heaven. Why – they were part of the apostolic faith once handed down but not yet fully brought forth into dogma. Today it would be a departure from faith to deny those things. Is this evolution that is condemned in the oath against modernism or development which Dei Verbum Speaks of. It is development.
“8. And so the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved by an unending succession of preachers until the end of time. Therefore the Apostles, handing on what they themselves had received, warn the faithful to hold fast to the traditions which they have learned either by word of mouth or by letter (see 2 Thess. 2:15), and to fight in defense of the faith handed on once and for all (see Jude 1:3) Now what was handed on by the Apostles includes everything which contributes toward the holiness of life and increase in faith of the peoples of God; and so the Church, in her teaching, life and worship, perpetuates and hands on to all generations all that she herself is, all that she believes.
This tradition which comes from the Apostles develop in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts (see Luke, 2:19, 51) through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through Episcopal succession the sure gift of truth. For as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her.
The words of the holy fathers witness to the presence of this living tradition, whose wealth is poured into the practice and life of the believing and praying Church. Through the same tradition the Church’s full canon of the sacred books is known, and the sacred writings themselves are more profoundly understood and unceasingly made active in her; and thus God, who spoke of old, uninterruptedly converses with the bride of His beloved Son; and the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel resounds in the Church, and through her, in the world, leads unto all truth those who believe and makes the word of Christ dwell abundantly in them (see Col. 3:16).
Claim CMRI: Dei Verbum #12 “It is the task of exegetes to work, according to these rules, towards a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture in order that their research may help the Church to form a firmer judgment.”
The above is actually a mutilation of a phrase from the encyclical, Providentissimus Deus of Pope Leo XIII, in which this true Holy Father carefully distinguishes between passages in Scripture which are undefined, and those which are defined. The Vatican II decree omits this distinction; rather, it speaks of Scripture in general, and, therefore, teaches differently than does Pope Leo XIII — c.f. the quotation given in the right-hand column.
My Response: The lack of mention of those sections which already have definition is not a big deal. The word Scripture is something all encompassing for the Word of God – written form. There is a smart math teacher – she knows a lot about math already. She claims to study math and then says she learnt more about it. Is that an error according to the CMRI claim? Yes, but that is false because for all encompassing words like math or scripture to say that you can learn more about it in general does not therefore exclude the possibility that some parts are already known. CMRI is making a mountain out of mere verbiage on this one.
CMRI Claim: Dei Verbum #21 “The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures as she venerated the Body of the Lord, insofar as she never ceases, particularly in the sacred liturgy, to partake of the bread of life and to offer it to the faithful from the one table of the Word of God and the Body of Christ.”
Lastly, the Vatican II decree paves the way for the many heretical, multi-denominational versions of the Scriptures, as we now see flooding the religious book stores:
My Response: Do you really think Vatican II caused all the different biblical translations to be produced? I think those groups would have formed on their own accord. There are millions of non-Catholics who are into multi-denominational stuff, – Vatican II did not cause that in fact it was trying to respond to that.
CMRI Claim: Dei Verbum #22 “If it should happen that, when the opportunity presents itself and the authorities of the Church agree, these translations (of the Scriptures] are made in a joint effort with the separated brethren, they may be used by all Christians.”
Yet, “All versions of the Holy Bible, in any vernacular language, made by non-Catholics, are prohibited; and especially those published by the Bible societies, which have been more than once condemned by the Roman Pontiffs, because in them the wise laws of the Church concerning the publication of the sacred Books are entirely disregarded” (Pope Leo XIII, On the Prohibition and Censorship of Books).
My Response: Communion on the hand for 1000 yrs – supported by 100 popes pretty much all saints. Then all of a sudden the practice changed. How is this possible? Can a pope in the year 1000 go against the teaching of a popes before him?? No – if it is a matter of divine revelations – Yes if it is a matter of church discipline.
Christ never came down and told us himself to the Apostles or in Scripture what Pope Leo XIII said about bible translations. Another Pope could undo that merely church discipline. (Its not different than how some of the ecumenical councils had cannons on beards and their requirement but that is no longer followed)
Just because a pope wrote something does not make it dogma – there are just ordinary teaching too, and sometimes just merely discipline stuff.