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 Question regarding the Ordinary Magisterium and Ecumenism 
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Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 4:15 pm
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New post Question regarding the Ordinary Magisterium and Ecumenism
Howdy board!

My question is actually two parts: firstly (and this was inspired by another topic on this forum), the Holy Office seemed to open the gates so to speak regarding Ecumenism under Pius XII (1949) by allowing certain mixed congresses to be attended (as long as the approval of the Ordinary was obtained), and even common prayer such as the Pater Noster or some other approved Catholic prayer. How does such an allowance jive with the harsher (to say the least) attitude of his immediate predecessor in Mortalium Animos? Secondly, sedeoccupantist traditionalists often quote Dom Paul Nau in justification of their position vis-a-vis the Ordinary Magisterium: "...that of inward assent, not as of faith, but as of prudence, the refusal of which could not escape the mark of temerity, unless the doctrine rejected was an actual novelty or involved a manifest discordance between the pontifical affirmation and the doctrine which had hitherto been taught." (Dom P.Nau, Pope or Church?, op. cit. p.29) Is he granting that there CAN be a "manifest discordance" between acts of the Ordinary Magisterium, and if so, of what sort?


Sun Jul 23, 2006 10:53 pm
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New post Re: Question regarding the Ordinary Magisterium and Ecumenis
Matt wrote:
Howdy board!

My question is actually two parts: firstly (and this was inspired by another topic on this forum), the Holy Office seemed to open the gates so to speak regarding Ecumenism under Pius XII (1949) by allowing certain mixed congresses to be attended (as long as the approval of the Ordinary was obtained), and even common prayer such as the Pater Noster or some other approved Catholic prayer. How does such an allowance jive with the harsher (to say the least) attitude of his immediate predecessor in Mortalium Animos? Secondly, sedeoccupantist traditionalists often quote Dom Paul Nau in justification of their position vis-a-vis the Ordinary Magisterium: "...that of inward assent, not as of faith, but as of prudence, the refusal of which could not escape the mark of temerity, unless the doctrine rejected was an actual novelty or involved a manifest discordance between the pontifical affirmation and the doctrine which had hitherto been taught." (Dom P.Nau, Pope or Church?, op. cit. p.29) Is he granting that there CAN be a "manifest discordance" between acts of the Ordinary Magisterium, and if so, of what sort?


Dear Matt,

Howdy. :)

The exact nature of the prohibition of communicatio in sacris with non-Catholics is what Mr. Daly was intending to tease out in the thread hijacked by those who oppose communicatio in sacris with Catholics. :)

It is to be hoped that he can return to that subject when he gets over his present busy period.

As for Dom Paul Nau, I have just (last week) obtained the Angelus Press booklet ("Pope or Church?") containing his oft-quoted essay, which I have no reason to believe is unorthodox or unsound (unlike the Canon Berthod piece published with it). When I've had a chance to read it properly I'll come back with some further comments. But he did write an entire book on the subject, entitled (if memory serves) The Ordinary Magisterium Theologically Considered, which I have heard is very good.

I would need to see the context of that part-sentence you have quoted from Nau to comment on it. But it is certainly untrue to say that we only owe an assent based on "prudence" to the doctrine taught by the ordinary magisterium. The assent is one of moral submission to the authority of the Church imposing her teaching upon us, as well as the intellectual submission based on motives of credibility which in many cases do not quite equal infallibility, but which do include a guarantee of safety.

I don't know how your two parts make one question, unless you are suggesting that we have a right to reject the doctrine of Pius XII re. communicatio in sacris, but I know of no Catholic scholar to whom it occurred to react that way at the time, despite the fact that the prohibition which was partially lifted by Pius XII was extremely ancient - and in fact seemed to be Apostolic. The whole thing is an excellent question for discussion as it will surely clarify a number of related matters, which is why Mr. Daly was interested in putting the data before us, I suspect.

_________________
In Christ our King.


Mon Jul 24, 2006 3:15 am
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Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 4:15 pm
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I'm not even sure what an Australian saying howdy would even sound like :) . Your last point is certainly valid; I was really asking two questions. Maybe I just thought I'd receive more responses if it appeared I was asking only one; I dunno. As far as the portion regarding ecumenism, I was mostly referring to those who utilize that particular letter from the Holy Office as a precedent for what we see today, or at least, opening the door (thus not making what we currently witness in this realm not an offence against the 1st Commandment strictly speaking). On a different note, (referring to the other question) are there ANY theologians who hold that one CAN reject doctrines taught in the name of the Ordinary Magisterium?


Mon Jul 24, 2006 4:20 pm
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Hello Matt,

Here are a few excerpts from the “Instruction of the Holy Office on the Ecumenical movement”:

The Holy Office wrote:
“For she embraces with truly maternal affection all who return to her as the true Church of Christ; and hence, worthy of all. praise and encouragement are all those plans and projects which, with the consent of Ecclesiastical Authority, have been undertaken and are being carried forward, either for the proper Catholic instruction of future converts or for the more thorough training of persons already converted to the faith.”

“Since the above-mentioned "union" is a matter which pertains primarily to the authority and office of the Church, it should be attended to with special care by the Bishops, whom "the Holy Ghost hath placed to rule the Church of God."[2] They should, therefore, not only diligently and effectively watch over this entire activity, but also prudently promote and direct it, for the purpose of both helping those who seek the truth and the true Church, and protecting the faithful against the dangers which may easily flow from the activity of this "Movement."“

“For this purpose they shall designate well-qualified priests who, according to the doctrine and norms prescribed by the Holy See, for example by the Encyclicals "<Satis cognitum>,"[3] "<Mortalium animos>,"[4] and "<Mystici Corporis Christi>,"[5] shall pay close attention to everything which concerns the "Movement" and report thereon to the Bishops in the manner and at the time which they shall prescribe.”

“They shall also be on guard lest, on the false pretext that more attention should be paid to the points on which we agree than to those on which we differ, a dangerous indifferentism be encouraged, especially among persons whose training in theology is not deep and whose practice of their faith is not very strong. For care must be taken lest, in the so-called "irenic" spirit of today, through comparative study and the vain desire for a progressively closer mutual approach among the various professions of faith, Catholic doctrine-either in its; dogmas or in the truths which are connected with them-be so conformed or in a way adapted to the doctrines of dissident sects, that the purity of Catholic doctrine be impaired, or its genuine and certain meaning be obscured.”

“Also they must restrain that dangerous manner of speaking which generates false opinions and fallacious hopes incapable of realization; for example, to the effect that the teachings of the Encyclicals of the Roman Pontiffs on the return of dissidents to the Church, on the constitution of the Church, on the Mystical Body of Christ, should not be given too much importance seeing that they are not all matters of faith, or, what is worse, that in matters of dogma even the Catholic Church has not yet attained the fullness of Christ, but can still be perfected from outside.”

“Therefore the <whole> and <entire> Catholic doctrine is to be presented and explained: by no means is it permitted to pass over in silence or to veil in ambiguous terms the Catholic truth regarding the nature and way of justification, the constitution of the Church, the primacy of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, and the only true union by the return of the dissidents to the one true Church of Christ.”


From these few quotes I’ve gathered, we at least see the following:

1.) The ultimate goal of ecumenism is the return of those in error to the Catholic faith.

2.) Delegated priests are to submit to the norms of the Holy See found in such encyclicals as, “Satis cognitum”, “Mortalium animus”, and “Mystici Coporis Christi”.

3.) Catholic doctrine is not to be presented in an unclear and ambiguous fashion so as to water down Catholic truth.

I agree that the “Instruction” presented an opening to the ecumenical movement that had not existed before. Though I venture to say that the Novus Ordo crowd would not be to pleased with the emphasis placed upon a return to the Catholic faith, and the need to present Catholic doctrine unsullied. (not to mention the concept of using “Mortalium animus” as a “norm”...the quintessential encyclical that disturbs modernists to no end)

I’d like to make a small point here if I may. The disciplinary laws of the Church are not static regulations meant to bind future generations of Catholics despite the wishes of the Magisterium, or a drastic change in circumstances. This seems to me to be one of the essential dynamics of a living authority, the assessing of a particular situation, then responding to it. This appears to be the intent of the “Instruction” here:

The Holy Office wrote:
“Now in many parts of the world, as a result of various external events and changes of views on the part of people, but especially in consequence of the common prayers of-the faithful through the grace of the Holy Spirit, there has grown constantly in the minds of many persons separated from the Catholic Church the desire for a return to unity on the part of all who believe in the Lord Christ. To the children of the Church this is surely a cause of true and holy joy in the Lord, and at the same time an invitation to help all those who sincerely seek the truth, by earnest prayer to God imploring for them the grace of light and strength.


A change in circumstances dictates a modification of the law.

I write all of this to say; the living authority of the Church may address a situation differently then that of a previous era’s Magisterium, without compromising Catholic truth. You mentioned Dom Paul Nau...(whose writings I believe the "sedeoccupantists" use in a rather selective manner)...he has a statement that goes to this very topic:

Dom Paul Nau wrote:
“Outside of solemn judgments, the authority of the various expressions of pontifical teaching comprises various degrees and shades of difference; but all of these are authentically integrated in that continuous and ever-living tradition whose content cannot be subject to error without challenging both the promises of Christ and the whole background of the institution of the Church. ("Pope or Church" Angelus Press pg.37)


Now, was the “Instruction” a stepping stone to the conciliar conception of ecumenism? I don’t know. Perhaps. It may not have been prudent to permit this allowance given the general atmosphere of the Church at the time, and the rapidly growing influence of the modernists upon the hierarchy. I prefer to ask the question this way....did the “Instruction” set a precedent for Assisi? For the “Joint Declaration” of faith? For the squashing of Concordats? For the deliberate suppression of missionary activity? Did the “Instruction” set precedent for the conciliar heresy of indifferentism? To all of these, I say absolutely not.

In Christ,
Bill


Wed Jul 26, 2006 2:08 am
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