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To call the Pope’s meeting at Assisi a betrayal of the faith is an utter absurdity

It’s about building ‘fraternity and peace’: anything wrong with that?

By on Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Pope Benedict XVI speaks at a meeting of religious leaders at St Mary's University College Chapel in Twickenham, London (Toby Melville/PA Wire)

Pope Benedict XVI speaks at a meeting of religious leaders at St Mary's University College Chapel in Twickenham, London (Toby Melville/PA Wire)

The forthcoming “meeting” (the word is chosen with probably deliberate care) of the Pope with followers of other faiths and none at Assisi has reduced many traditionalists to apoplectic fury at this supposed betrayal of the Catholic religion, according to which it is only in the Church that the fullness of faith is to be found, so everyone else, to the extent they disagree with us, is just wrong. Well, that’s what I think too, about the Church, that is. I yield to nobody in my suspicion of “interfaith dialogue”, if that means negotiating what we might accept in each other’s religions, noting that nobody in other religions (especially Islam) is prepared to accept that we have anything right at all, and that if you deny the Incarnation and the Trinity, you have denied the very basis of everything we believe, so what’s the point? The recent decision of certain “top Muslim scholars” in Egypt to suspend all dialogue with the Vatican in protest against Pope Benedict XVI’s condemnation of anti-Christian violence in that country, as I wrote at the time, was “depressing”, but only to be expected.

But why was I depressed, I ask myself, if it was so inevitable? I suppose because such “dialogue” at least implies good will: and in the world we are living in, good will is beyond the price of rubies (and sometimes as rare). If we all agreed, of course, we wouldn’t go to war with one another, would we? But actually, good will has far more to do with that than holding the same religion: Colonel Gaddafi and the opposition in Libya, so far as I am aware, hold exactly the same religious beliefs: what’s missing in spades is good will. I am vividly aware, when I look at some of the comments under my blogs, that even towards my co-religionists, and even if theologically you couldn’t slip a cigarette paper between us, good will is on occasion notably lacking, for a time at least.

The Pope doesn’t believe that he will be giving an inch towards the beliefs of those he will be meeting in Assisi: nor will he be. Look, he’s even invited atheists – that in a sense proves my contention. When our new nuncio announced that he intends to open dialogue with non-believers, did anyone really suppose that he seriously intends to consider whether they might be right about the non-existence of God? “Dialogue” is just as likely to be a means of proselytising for the faith as a negotiation between systems of belief.

As a convinced schoolboy atheist, it was only when I watched a TV debate between the atheist philosopher Professor Bernard Williams (for whom of course I was rooting) and Cardinal Heenan that it began to occur to me to that there might be something in all this stuff: I couldn’t put my finger on it, but Heenan (what a great apologist he was, how lucidly intelligent; who is there like him today?) was somehow just more convincing, more reasonable, even about original sin and the real presence, both of which I naturally thought were absurdities. Afterwards, I still thought they were untrue; but that first cold little sliver of doubt had been introduced into my certainties. It was many years before I became a Christian (13 years later), let alone a Catholic (30 years later), but that was without any doubt, for me, the beginning. We have to talk to people, for God’s sake (literally; that’s not just an expletive). Because 50 years ago Cardinal Heenan entered into dialogue with the atheist Bernard Williams I am a Catholic today.

The Vatican has this week made it absolutely clear what the parameters of the Assisi meeting will be:

“Every human being is ultimately a pilgrim in search of truth and goodness. Believers too are constantly journeying towards God: hence the possibility, indeed the necessity, of speaking and entering into dialogue with everyone, believers and unbelievers alike, without sacrificing one’s own identity or indulging in forms of syncretism. To the extent that the pilgrimage of truth is authentically lived, it opens the path to dialogue with the other, it excludes no-one and it commits everyone to be a builder of fraternity and peace. These are the elements that the Holy Father wishes to place at the centre of reflection.

“For this reason, as well as representatives of Christian communities and of the principal religious traditions, some figures from the world of culture and science will be invited to share the journey – people who, while not professing to be religious, regard themselves as seekers of the truth and are conscious of a shared responsibility for the cause of justice and peace in this world of ours.”

To assert that that is a betrayal of the Catholic faith is an absurdity hardly worth discussing. So why am I discussing it? Because, I suppose, I feel an irrational fondness (fraternity and peace?) for one or two of those who assert it (you can’t always, thank God, be entirely rational).

  • Michel Roi

    Well said! Gentle and respectful, and very logical. You might make me think of moving from the “centre” towards tradition as what you write makes great sense. I have studied the doctrine of Church/Papal infallibility and though essential, it is quite limited. Church teaching is itself very clear that the pope in his prudential decisions, governance and even, at times, teaching, can err. If one accepts current positions that contradict the previous papal consensus, then one must believe that earlier consensus was in error. And if it was in error (in many cases for a long time) why couldn’t the present position also be in error? To simply assent to everything may, ironically, mean to contradict a large part of earlier magesterial teaching.

  • Martin

    William, i’m pretty impressed with your position here although not surprised. Would I be far wrong if I suggested that your view here has been reinforced by your own experiences of reaching out to individuals who are either Atheist, Agnostic or of other faiths? I only wonder as I have had similar arguments uses against me as i have read in this blog.

    Having a stance as you do, it will of course leave you open for misunderstanding. I would argue from experience that those that are confusing the issues of 1.Meeting with a person in order to affirm them as a person and 2. Meeting with them in order to affirm their beliefs, are either not directly linked with evangelism or have a limited heart for reaching the lost. (Not that they don’t, only that there are limits that their heart refuse to go beyond).

    The Pope here has three issues that people need to get over:

    1. He has been charged by God to reach out to the lost and bring the wayward home. Who are they to challenge or countermand the orders of the Son of God (Jesus Christ), who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords to his CO that prepares the soil of people’s hearts for future growth? The argument that it won’t, denies the fundamental principle of faith, hope and love. Sometimes merely coming alongside makes all the difference. The argument that the Pope doing so will lessen the faith of others who are Catholic is laughable! The Pope is setting an example to follow not the other way around. Jesus met with anyone who would receive him, regardless of whether they agreed with him or not. The Pope is doing the same thing. Unless people meet, how do they talk!? He is not saying they are right to be as they are, he is saying follow me. The biggest act OF Christian faith.

    2. The Holy Spirit who is God, normally ensures that the Truth acts first in order to show the difference between an act of God and a mere copy of the divine original. It almost always leads to people looking at the letter of the Law rather than the hoped for result. In addition it normally means taking the lowest place. He seems to be taking this in the eyes of the people who should be on their knees praying for him to have a break through rather than criticising! There are too many Pharisees out there that need to not only give what is expected but remember Mercy and Love. Jesus always did things that shocked the religious PC brigade. If most of the Apostles couldn’t get their heads around it, should we be shocked with the current attitude?

    3. Everything he does is at the strategic level and effects far more people than if me or you refused to carry out the same action or followed it through. How does someone in his position at least challenge people who are not on the same path as him to at least do the right thing? What does everyone seem to claim they are for? Justice and Peace is a common theme. It is a common meeting place. What he is really saying is that if you are a force for Good, prove it by action. If people do that then the Pope has managed to achieve something by his leadership on behalf of Christ that no one else seems to have managed so far. I put it to you that if you want the world to get better but leave it to the world governments to sort out then you are smelling something other than incense!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve not seen your comment until now and can’t respond in detail tonight – but I look forward to doing so tomorrow – bigtime.

    In the meantime, I would like clarification on this new angle of V2 being a “doctrinal council” – this is what the dissident Mons Basil Loftus has taken to saying in his Catholic Times articles and I’m curious to know what it means.

    How, if a Council was pronouced by every single V2 pope – from John XXIII to Benedict XVI – to be a “merely pastoral Council” – how is it now “a doctrinal Council.” Specifically please explain:

    1) What IS a “doctrinal Council”
    2) Which new “doctrines” were defined at V2
    3) On what authority, do you claim V2 was a “doctrinal Council.”

    Additionally, it would help if you were to specify precisely what are the “conclusions of V2″ that you claim I should be “accepting.”

  • Rosary15

    A Request by the Queen of Heaven and Earth.
    On July 13th 1917 after showing the children a vision of Hell, Our Lady explained: “You have seen Hell~ where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them God wants to establish throughout the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart.
    “If people will do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace. The war is going to end.
    “But if they do not stop offending God, another and worse war will break out in the reign of Pius X1. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign that God gives you, that He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, hunger, persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father.
    “To forestall this, I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays.
    “If they heed My requests, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she shall spread her errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecutions of the Church; the good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated; in the end, My Immaculate Heart shall triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and a period of peace will be given to the world.
    “In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved etc….. (The Third Secret)
    “Do not tell this to anyone. To Francisco yes, you may tell it.”

    A Reply by the Vatican
    Every human being is ultimately a pilgrim in search of truth and goodness. Believers too are constantly journeying towards God: hence the possibility, indeed the necessity, of speaking and entering into dialogue with everyone, believers and unbelievers alike, without sacrificing one’s own identity or indulging in forms of syncretism. To the extent that the pilgrimage of truth is authentically lived, it opens the path to dialogue with the other, it excludes no-one and it commits everyone to be a builder of fraternity and peace. These are the elements that the Holy Father wishes to place at the centre of reflection.
    “For this reason, as well as representatives of Christian communities and of the principal religious traditions, some figures from the world of culture and science will be invited to share the journey – people who, while not professing to be religious, regard themselves as seekers of the truth and are conscious of a shared responsibility for the cause of justice and peace in this world of ours.”
    Heaven help us all

  • W Oddie

    I ididn’t say that it was a “doctrinal council” whatever that is, why don’t you read what people write instead of distorting it? I simply said that to say the council had no doctrinal authority is ridiculous. Doctrinal authority is of various kinds: Vatican II defined no new dogmas as necessary for salvation. But it was a teaching council; “doctrine” means “teaching”: it derives from from the Latin doctrina ‘teaching, learning,’ from doctor ‘teacher,’ from docere ‘teach.’ Don’t you know the difference between dogma and doctrine? The teachings of Vatican II had great authority; they have been received by and assented to by the vast majority of Catholics: they faithfully reflect the sensus fidelium. I am not of course speaking of the distortions of the council made by those whio hijacked it for their own ends. You want me to specify what you should be accepting. So for a start, I repeat my question: do you reject nostra aetate?

  • Charles Martel

    Dear Michel,
    Thank you for your message. I was a ‘conservative’ Catholic until my mid-twenties when I started reading more deeply about the liturgy, Vatican II, papal authority, etc. I was lucky to know Michael Davies, who was a major influence on me, and I highly recommend his books. The ‘traditional’ position is a somewhat nuanced one and often misunderstood within the Church. Some self-proclaimed traditionalists certainly give us a bad name, as is the case with any group, I suppose. (Bishop Williamson has not done us any favours!)
    You are right about the problem of modern positions which contradict traditional ones. When Pope John Paul II told us that altar girls were incompatible with the tradition of the church and then later allowed them, it really damaged the moral authority of the papacy. Are altar girls compatible with the tradition of the church or are they not? I think we know the answer, but if we raise the issue, we are told by ‘conservative’ Catholics, ‘I don’t like it either, but you must follow the Church of today’, which doesn’t really solve the problem, because you can find anything you want to find in the Church of today, and without having to look very hard. Lay people, priests, bishops and even cardinals are in disagreement about all sorts of things, while the Pope refrains from issuing anathemas, sacking bishops or using his supreme, universal and immediate power to restore sound doctrine and order in the Church.
    Another good example is Pope John XXIII’s Apostolic Constitution ‘Veterum Sapentia’ (1962), which restated with great persuasiveness all the classic arguments in favour of the Latin language in the liturgy of the Roman Rite, and yet within only a couple of years the new Pope allowed the Latin language to be completely jettisoned; dumped overboard without ceremony. Are we really to believe that Pope John was misguided, or that the Holy Ghost had suddenly inspired Pope Paul VI to effectively go in the exact opposite direction?
    I have never heard any useful analyses or apologiae from ‘conservative Catholics’ on all these contradictions and all this incoherence. The ‘traditionalist’ analysis may not convince everyone, but to my mind it’s the best available.

  • W Oddie

    Incidentally, let’s not have any nonsense about a narrow victory at Vatican II for the “liberals” over the “conservatives”: this document was given overwhelming consent by the council fathers (who voted 2,221 in favour of it, and 88–slightly less that 4%–against). This document has huge authority.

  • W Oddie

    Incidentally, let’s not have any nonsense about a narrow victory at Vatican II for the “liberals” over the “conservatives”: this document was given overwhelming consent by the council fathers (who voted 2,221 in favour of it, and 88–slightly less that 4%–against). This document has huge authority.

  • Anonymous

    Then please tell me precisely what IS the “doctrinal authority” of Vatican 2? I’ve never heard that claim made for Vatican 2, so please enlighten me.

    What IS the “great authority” of Vatican 2, of which you speak, since nothing any of the popes have said use that phrase either. The only reference to the status of Vatican Ii by the current pope, is that it is a “merely pastoral council” – that’s clear enough. “Pastoral” refers to the application of doctrine. All the post-concilar popes have emphasized that Vatican II was no more than a pastoral Council, the purpose of which was to make us think about how we could better present our Catholic Faith to the world. That was the theory, sold to us in pre-conciliar classrooms and pulpits. Nothing would change, we were told, except, perhaps, a few externals.

    So, please explain, what is the status of Vatican II if not merely a pastoral Council and how, if, as you agree, there are no new teachings defined, it can have “great authority.”

    Also, before I launch into my detailed response – since you are asking me about a specific document – would you tell me if you think that I am bound, in conscience, to accept Nostrae Aetate?

    I’ve stolen a few moments to post this, because I’ve got domestic stuff to attend to right now, but I will definitely reply in full to your questions asap later today, God, visitors, and all the rest, willing.

  • Anonymous

    No, numbers never interest me. Never think of them. A majority (by all statistical accounts) are in favour of contraception. The liberals interpret this as the sensus fidelium at work, whereas, in truth, it it those who adhere to the Church’s TRADITIONAL teaching on this (and everything else) who represent the sensus fidelum – those, literally, with the authentic “sense of the Faith.” So, you are entirely wrong to suggest that any document has “huge authority” just because a majority voted for it. What’s IN the document, is key to its authenticity.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve already replied to this above. You’re repeating yourself, William.

  • Anonymous

    What the Church has always taught is that while the prayers of individual Protestants may be pleasing to God, collective prayers in apostate “churches” are not. That makes perfect theological sense. If YOU were God, and the Church YOU had gone to an awful lot of trouble to establish, outside of which there is no salvation, and some apostate priests didn’t like what you had decreed and decided to launch their own “church” would YOU hear their prayers with gladness? An individual soul, in good faith, yes. But not people who have gathered together in a formal setting, in open defiance of your will.

    Think like a theologian, William, and not like a liberal softie.

  • W Oddie

    No, there’s something wrong with the system. And: answer my questions, all of them, then i will answer yours. You always answer questions by asking others: maybe because you yourself don’t have any real answers? I want ALL my questions answered, or i will never respond to you again, ever. That’s a promise. Maybe an attractive one? But I’m not interested in your evasions any more. DO YOU REJECT NOSTRA AETATE? Have you even read it? And if so WHY DO YOU NOT ACCEPT IT? No more theology-lite Punch and Judy. I need to know if I have to take you seriously. If not, it will save a lot of time all round, yours as well as mine

  • Anonymous

    William, you don’t answer my questions because you can’t. You know perfectly well that it is patent nonsense to speak of a pastoral council as having “doctrinal authority.” That’s like saying apples are oranges. The only “doctrinal authority” that Vatican 2 has,is where it reinforces traditional Catholic doctrine. Paragraph 25, e.g. of Lumen Gentium is authoritative since it does not deviate at all from previous teaching. In paragraph 8, however, LG deviates big-time from Catholic teaching – as you have admitted – where it speaks of “the Church of Christ… subsist(ing) in the Catholic Church….” and that “….many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines…” (#8 Lumen Gentium) As you said yourself, “subsists” is an “awful word” and the reason for that is that it gives the impression that the Church of Christ isn’t really the whole story. Leads to indifference. Correction: has LED to indifference. Find me a Catholic who thinks it matters whether you are a Catholic or a Protestant, Hindu or Muslim and I’ll eat a fresh cream meringue, Lent or no Lent. It’s irrelevant whether or not the non-Christian religions have “elements” of the truth – they’re not “elements” that are going to save their souls. Later on, I’ll quote a Pope who acted, spoke and wrote like a pope and you’ll perhaps hear a penny dropping.

    Now, although you have avoided answering my question about the binding (or otherwise) nature of Nostrae Aetate, I’m going to presume (given your fixation with it and your insistence that I comment on it) that you DO, indeed, believe this document is binding on the faithful. I guess you want to be able to say “Gotcha!” But, think, William: nowhere in the document does it say that anything floated there is binding (it’s only a Declaration, remember, not any kind of binding encyclical) but you clearly, it seems to me, believe that it is a binding declaration. So let’s look at it, briefly.

    NA praises non-Christian religions, essentially on the basis that they all worship (the same) “God” – there is a claim that although they deny the divinity of Christ, they worship the “God of Abraham.” Too bad, then, that Christ said “Before Abraham was made, I am.” Can you see the problem of claiming to worship to a God of only one, or maybe (if we’re lucky ), two Persons? A document which emanates from the Vatican and which dispenses so easily with the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity,(who said: “Before Abraham was made, I am”) is not one which can ever be made binding on the Faithful. There’s a lot more detail I could give if I took apart the sections of each of the world religions (because they are all diametrically opposed to Catholic doctrine) but I don’t want to make this post too lengthy, not least because of your insulting refusal to answer my questions above, and thus I am prepared for you to either ignore, insult or dismiss this post – and I really don’t have time to keep casting pearls before swine, even very nice “swine” like you, William, and especially when they address me as a “truly silly woman.” Rather sexist, I thought. Times like this I wish I were a rabid feminist. I could complain. I know I could. You know I could. If only I had the time.

    After tracing the belief of the non-Christian religions in most positive vein, NA concludes with a denunciation of discrimination against people on grounds of race, colour, and religion and ‘condition of life’. Of course nobody should suffer discrimination in the workplace or anywhere else, on any of these grounds, so that’s OK. A rather weak conclusion, however, to a document that carries all the authority of sacked policeman.

    For me to “accept” (as you put it) NA, – a mere “Declaration” (DECLARATION ON THE RELATION OF THE CHURCH TO NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS NOSTRA AETATE PROCLAIMED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI ON OCTOBER 28, 1965) I would have to reject the encyclical (MORTALIUM ANIMOS ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI ON RELIGIOUS UNITY TO OUR VENERABLE BRETHREN THE PATRIARCHS, PRIMATES,ARCHBISHOPS, BISHOPS, AND OTHER LOCAL ORDINARIES IN PEACE AND COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE.) of Pope Pius XI on the subject of religious unity.

    Compare the conclusion (reproduced below) from Pope Pius XI’s encyclical ,with the “Please don’t discriminate” plea which brought NA to its shaky conclusion:

    MORTALIUM ANIMOS…

    12. Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See, set up in the City which Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles, consecrated by their blood; to that See, We repeat, which is “the root and womb whence the Church of God springs,”[27] not with the intention and the hope that “the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth”[28] will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government. Would that it were Our happy lot to do that which so many of Our predecessors could not, to embrace with fatherly affection those children, whose unhappy separation from Us We now bewail. Would that God our Savior, “Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,”[29] would hear us when We humbly beg that He would deign to recall all who stray to the unity of the Church! In this most important undertaking We ask and wish that others should ask the prayers of Blessed Mary the Virgin, Mother of divine grace, victorious over all heresies and Help of Christians, that She may implore for Us the speedy coming of the much hoped-for day, when all men shall hear the voice of Her divine Son, and shall be “careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”[30]
    13. You, Venerable Brethren, understand how much this question is in Our mind, and We desire that Our children should also know, not only those who belong to the Catholic community, but also those who are separated from Us: if these latter humbly beg light from heaven, there is no doubt but that they will recognize the one true Church of Jesus Christ and will, at last, enter it, being united with us in perfect charity. While awaiting this event, and as a pledge of Our paternal good will, We impart most lovingly to you, Venerable Brethren, and to your clergy and people, the apostolic benediction. Given at Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on the 6th day of January, on the Feast of the Epiphany of Jesus Christ, our Lord, in the year 1928, and the sixth year of Our Pontificate.
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_19280106_mortalium-animos_en.html

    I hope that I’ve answered your questions, William, and that you will do me the courtesy of a proper response. That is to say, if you accept the truth of my post, you may disappear without trace, but if you continue to favour the modernist declaration NA, please explain clearly why. It’s not good enough to say “dialogue” is better than the kind of statements found in Pius XI’s encyclical because there is no real dialogue – it’s all one-way and every time there is the slightest perceived insult to any of the non-Christian religions, they scream and kick and kick and scream and say they won’t come out to play anymore. It’s a one way street leading to a dead end.

    By the way, to answer your previous questions, yes, I have, indeed, read all the Vatican 2 documents and post-concilar documents, to the point where the front covers binding them together are either in tatters or have fallen off.

    And to answer your questions about Bishop Williamson, below are some links to blog posts we had at Catholic Truth. My views about Bishop Williamson are very clear.
    http://www.catholictruthscotland.com/blog/2009/01/bishop-williamson-sspx-under-renewed-attack/
    http://www.catholictruthscotland.com/blog/2009/02/catholic-press-attack-popes-sspx-decision/ (this one features two Catholic Herald articles but they are no longer on the internet.)
    http://www.catholictruthscotland.com/blog/2009/11/thought-crime-bishop-to-go-on-trial/

    There’s loads more where those links came from but I think that should suffice for your purpose of proving that I am totally on the side of free speech when it comes to politics and history. I’m opposed, entirely, to bishops who are heretics and who deny the faith but I really don’t care too much what their views are on anything else.

    I also take issue with the claim that the Catholic Church has always been anti-Semitic. Baloney. One fact – a theological fact – is that our sins are the reason why Christ took human flesh and died on the cross. Another fact – an historical fact – is that it was the Jews of that time who brought Christ to trial, and executed him, befriending their natural enemies the Romans in order to achieve their aim. “They plotted to kill Him” was written by a Jew about his fellow Jews. It is futile to deny the facts of history (not to say dreadfully dishonest.) We can blame the Germans for the second world war without being accused of being anti-German so what’s the problem? Any old excuse to attack the Church, that’s the problem. And it is tragic to see alleged Catholics perpetuating the myth. If someone is idiotic enough to discriminate against Jews for something that happened two thousand years ago, that is one thing. To blame the Church and alleging that she is institutionally anti-Semitic is an insult too far.

  • Michel Roi

    Thank you as well Charles. I have one or two of Davies’ books and plan to give them a good read. As well, I have copy of Christopher Ferrera’s book The Great Facade which I am reading now.

    After many years in the centre I find the answers typically given to nagging and uncomfortable questions unsatisfactory. There is a difference between the development of Church teaching (which we should expect) and the contradiction of past teaching. When contradictions seem to be present, this should be addressed and explained. Was the past teaching in error? What other teachings might also then be erroneous? What is the theological note of the present teaching? etc.

    There is an exagerated understanding of what calls for our assent among many conservatives. Prudential decisions and governance of popes, bishops and councils are not part of the infallible magisterium. They can certainly be in error. The handling of the abuse crisis and encouragement of Marcel Maciel come to mind.

  • AgingPapist

    For once, I agree with Dr. Oddie. However, I would like to see Pope Benedict also debate others at Assisi. Just as bishop Sheen in the U.S. would have done had he been alive today, or as the late Cardinal Heenan did.

    Give the pope his due, he knows his business. He can stand up to non-believers of every description with the best of them.

  • AgingPapist

    “open-ness” is not capitulation. It is indispensable to any effort to find common ground. Benedict XVI know that all too well.

  • AgingPapist

    Even I who believe the only teachings necessary for salvation were established BEFORE the end of the first millenium, accept the “teachings” of Vatican II , and very much regret the great threat to the principles of collegiality. By those groups who want to return to 16th century Ultramontanism , the hallmark of right-wing heretics who profess to be Catholics. They’re nothing but stool pigeons for the SSPX, Opus Dei, and other groups anxious to live in the past and take us back to it.

  • AgingPapist

    The only way to world peace is to fulfill Our Lady’s peace plan, given at Fatima.
    ———————————————————————————————————————

    Speaking of nonsense.

  • AgingPapist

    “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No-one comes to the Father, except through Me.”

    A beautiful quote. Most bible scholars do not believe Jesus ever said anything of the sort.

    By the way,no post 11th century “ecumenical” council speaks authoritatively. The body of bishops who also are inspired by the Holy Spirit, but who are not of the Roman communion, have yet to give their assent to any teachings after the 7th council. Until such time, there is nothing which constitutes an article of faith to be believed by any Catholic. The popes of Rome have been foisted upon their own petard by perpetuating down through centuries hoaxes as serious, if not more serious than the Donation of Constantine ever was.

  • AgingPapist

    Liberal neo-protestants are the ‘theological experts’ who today tell us what we must think and how we must view what happens at Rome and elsewhere.This, people, is where we are now and we are fools if we do not reaslise it and reckon with it.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————–
    In a way you’re right. Welcome to the Second Great Reformation. Now in full force.

  • AgingPapist

    Thank God for the 18th century Enlightenment and Rationalism too, or the snake handling presbyters would still be rattling their beads and sprinkling holy water over everyone who dared to question them.

    Fear not, the Truth is out there . The clergy with endless mumbo jumbo haven’t found it and neither have any of us.

  • AgingPapist

    Benedict will be left with no choice but to cast the SSPX into outer darkness. The end is near for them.

  • AgingPapist

    I’m glad that the Pope will not be praying in union with other faiths at this event, as I believe that’s where most people felt the previous pontiff had over-stepped the mark.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————–
    Jesus prayed with sinners including prostitutes. Not to mention entering the temple to pray filled with hypocrites, the Pharisees and members of the Sanhedrin. If it is good enough for Him, it’s good enough for the Vicar of St. Peter.

  • AgingPapist

    But, of course, it would be wrong for the Successor of Peter to be seen to pray in common with those who might be worshipping false gods or following paths that lead away from the truth.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————-
    Wrong for whom? This pope as we’re taught cannot lead the Church into error. Benedict himself isn’t going to be led by anyone anywhere in Assisi. He’s smarter than any of them and is firmly grounded in his own knowledge and faith. A pedophile protector perhaps, but a heretic and as stupid as so many traditionalist Catholics seem to be, he’s not.

  • AgingPapist

    Louisa, “Betrayed the faith”? How totally absurd for a true believing Catholic. Shame on you!!!

    You might be better off simply joining the other heretics in SSPX and await your anathema from Pope Benedict along with the rest of them.

    Just wait until it finally dawns on the SSPX, the Pope is NOT going to abolish the Novus Ordo. Change it to be sure someday, but with the Anglican Ordinariate now launched and new missal to be put into use this Advent, the NO is going to be with us.

  • AgingPapist

    That’s the mission of the Church. Not “go and dialogue for world peace.”
    ——————————————————————————————————————————
    Best you put aside the Penny Catechism and the Catholic coloring books the sisters gave you and familiarize yourself thoroughly with the Sermon on the Mount and other parts of Holy Scripture.

  • AgingPapist

    Don’t forget even St.Thomas Aquinas was not afraid to confront the Muslims. For that, poor Thomas, I guess his canonization didn’t take!!

  • AgingPapist

    What the Church has always taught is that while the prayers of individual Protestants may be pleasing to God, collective prayers in apostate “churches” are not
    ——————————————————————————–
    Apart from being an absurdity, it simply is not a teaching of the Roman Church. No pope or anyone else for that matter has ever claimed to know the mind of God in ascertaining which prayers are acceptable to Him and which aren’t.

  • AgingPapist

    Anthony, that is pure humbug.

  • AgingPapist

    Well if the Prince would out himself as the Unitarian he seems to be, & affirm truths also within Paganism, Druidry & other of our more indigenous spiritual heritage
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————–
    and added to that the Prince is supposedly a secret Greek Orthodox with icons in his homes. A Greek Orthodox, Anglican, Unitarian, Rationalist, and a man of the Enlightenment?? Hmmmm, sounds as if he’s like every other member of the CofE I’ve ever known. He’ll be the perfect “governor” of the Established Church.

  • AgingPapist

    Anglicans comeing from the C of E should never have been allowed to be made Monsignori etc etc.
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    I agree, it was an insult. The pope should have consecrated them bishops instead.

  • AgingPapist

    Before you know it the Pope will be recommending the messages of peace, harmony, good will and intellectualism that is at the heart of two new Atheist Bibles.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————–
    Atheist bibles? What rubbish!! Sounds as if you’ve learned the faith from trite sayings in Chinese fortune cookies,or a bubble gum wrapper.

  • AgingPapist

    Protestantism, on the other hand, ignores the magisterium and tradition of the Church and elevates the individual believer into his own Pope.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    and the “royal priesthood” of which St. Peter speaks elevates all validly baptized into the Presbyterate of the Laity, both in a ministerial and in a sacramental sense. True, we are, in a way, popes because we have all received the Holy Spirit.

    Fortunately, modern scholarship is stripping away the charlatanry passed off as “truth” by supposed inerrant pontiffs down through the centuries. Now the Church, has to catch up with the 18th century, face facts, and revise her teachings to make them appear as unbroken from time immemorial. That is going to take some doing.

  • AgingPapist

    The history of the Church IS one of contradicting earlier “magesterial teaching”. You just discovering that Michael?

  • AgingPapist

    When Pope John Paul II told us that altar girls were incompatible with the tradition of the church and then later allowed them, it really damaged the moral authority of the papacy.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————–
    That’s a good one Charles. If altar girls “damaged the moral authority of the papacy”? Can you imagine what protecting buggering priests and bishops throughout his reign and into this current reign will do for the two pope’s “moral authority”?

  • AgingPapist

    Hear, hear!

  • In Our Times

    He couldn’t really be termed a Unitarian really though, could he? (He’d have to crack open the Tarot cards as well, or don some sort of pagan robe or other…) I’m not keen on the CofE either I’m afraid. Our local (rural) church attempts to inject fear & superstition into the children; steering them clear away from the ‘dangerous’ Harry Potter et al… Ridiculous indeed. (If she wishes to be Christened in adulthood however, she’ll have my full Blessing… Some of the posts on this site are almost screaming examples of exactly why indoctrination of children is viewed with such suspicion these days…)

  • In Our Times

    How do you know he’s smarter than everyone else?

  • Michel Roi

    Yes Aging Papist, this is the issue that bothers me. In fact, it has made me less than enthusiastic about the coming beatification of JP II.

    I have an honour’s degree in theology (and psychology) and so am aware of earlier changes in church teaching that never reached the level of dogma, etc. It is not the fact that such changes can occur but the “how” and”why” aspect of such change that bothers me. Are we all to pretend that nothing has happened (“Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia”)? Or can we not question whether doctrine to which only one day previous we were obliged to give assent, should even change? Do we simply defer to our spiritual betters, even though by changing the teaching in question they are admitting they were wrong once and therefore could be wrong now? Does being a “good Catholic” mean resembling a functionary in the Communist Party and simply accepting every new line the “Central Committee” promolgates as if it were not new? So much for “faith and reason”! What is the expression English speaking Catholics use; “pay, pray and obey”? Maybe the Council didn’t change the Church so much after all.

  • In Our Times

    Indeed it is.

  • In Our Times

    “Can you imagine what protecting buggering priests and bishops throughout his reign and into this current reign will do for the two pope’s “moral authority”?”

    Aging Papist, you are now my second favourite person on here.

  • Colin Saxton

    There is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved – Read acts 4:12 in all Christian bibles. Being a hindu/muslim/protestant/catholic…or whatever you want to call yourself will not save you! Those who believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, that he died for our sins and was raised by God our true Holy Father in heaven on the third day – Jesus Christ who conquered death and now sits at the right hand of God upon His throne. Those who believe that Jesus Christ has paid for their sins and believes in their heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is saved…Those who believe that are part of the true church (The people of God not a building or denomination).

    Those who do not believe in the above Gospel are not part of the church. Those who say that you can be saved by any other way or spreading a false Gospel (which is a *cursed* gospel as stated in Gods word – Galatians 1:6-10)

    Stop talking about your denominations and start doing to your neighbour as you would have him/her do to you! Loving Jesus Christ which is the only way to Love God and in doing so love your neigbour because without loving your neigbour you don’t truly love Jesus Christ and you fail before the throne of God!

    As the angels sang to the shepherds in Luke 2:10-14 – Peace and good will to all men through the salvation of God, Jesus Christ. Amen

  • Profideboostore

    Mortalium Animos has been superseded in all matters in which the Vatican II, DV decreed differently, because an Ecumenical Council is a higher authority than an odd-one-out encyclical of a single pope. OK?

  • Profideboostore

    To use the same words “it is patent nonsense to speak of a pastoral council as having ‘doctrinal authority’ “, without understanding the concepts of “pastoral council” and “doctrinal authority”. The pastoral council doesn’t mean that the Council’s decrees do not bind the Catholic conscience, nor the “doctrinal authority” refers only to the strictly defined doctrine, because a doctrine can be proposed infallibly by an Ordinary Magisterium without being solemnly defined; and even other doctrines are binding the Catholic conscience as the Nota Praevia has made it clear. A Catholic commits mortal sin even if he reject the non-infallibly proposed doctrine. This is a traditional moral doctrine, not the modernistic one, but the morality is the last thing the “traditionalists” are interested in or bothered about (except condoms if these are used to make a bandage around a lacerated finger water tight – in which case the condom is sinful because it constitutes contraception).

    Besides, the stories about the “pastoral” Council are not in the Cuncil’s decrees. On the contrary, the council has promulgated two explicitly dogmatic constitutions: LG and DV, and even the sole document that is explicitly referred to as “pastoral”, i.e. GS, contains a substantial body of moral and social doctrine.

    Furthermore, all the other docoments contain a substantial body of doctrine in their intrductory paragraphs, but if somebody is determined to reject them without reading there is nothing we can do about it.

    The trouble with the Editor CT is that he parrots the stories which he learned from others, without ever bothering to study the Vatican II documents, as I have proved it to him earlier in matters of relation of the Chruch with other Christian bodies.

  • Profideboostore

    The only “doctrinal authority” that Vatican 2 has,is where it reinforces traditional Catholic doctrine.

    Never in the tradition of the Church has an assertion been made that an individual who claims to be Catholic can judge whether or not an ecumenical council has or has not a doctrinal authority. Your claim is yet another example of DIY theology.

    Paragraph 25, e.g. of Lumen Gentium is authoritative since it does not deviate at all from previous teaching.

    While this is true, it is not true only for the paragraph 25 but for everything else and you is no authority to decide what does or what does not deviate at all from previous teaching.

    Incidentally, the same no. 25 says:

    “the faithful must agree with the judgement of their Bishop on faith and morals which he delivers in the name of Christ; they must give it their adherence with religious allegiance of the mind..”

    “The offering of this RELIGIOUS ALLEGIANCE OF THE MIND AND WILL is singularly owed to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even if he is not speaking ex cathedra;

    it must be offered in such a way, that his supreme magisterium receives RESPECTFUL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. The result should be a SINCERE ADHERENCE to the judgements he has delivered.

    The note attached to the conciliar documents puts it this way: After referring to those things that the Council is “only defining as binding”, it goes on: “All the other statements that it proposes are the teachings of the supreme magisterium. They must therefore be WELCOME AND ACCEPTED by each and everyone of the Christ faithful in the way in which the sacred Council intended.”

    So, if the LG 25 is “authoritative” , you should “agree with the judgement of your Bishop, you should offer the “RELIGIOUS ALLEGIANCE OF THE MIND AND WILL” to the Pope “even if he is not speaking ex cathedra”; and it should consist in “RESPECTFUL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT” OF AND IN THE “SINCERE ADHERENCE to the judgements he has delivered”; and according to his note you should “WELCOME AND ACCEPT(ED)” statements that it (i.e. Vatican II) proposes” as “the teachings of the supreme magisterium.”

    A failure to do it would be yet another evidence that the Hell does exists, and is awaiting you unless you repent in the meantime, and offer restitution to all those whom you have misled with your kind of “theology”.

  • Profideboostore

    “Go into the whole world, baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost” – Correct, but not “go and baptize by force”. However valid the sacramental sign might be, for the Baptism to be validly received it has to be received with consent. On the other hand it is our obligation to spread the Gospel and baptize. So, what you are proposing ?

  • Profideboostore

    Think like a theologian, Editor CT, not like SSPX theological diletantes. The present generation of Protestants are as much gulity for their error as it is the merit of the the present generation of Catholics that they are Catholics. Surely, if God listens the prayers of “An individual soul, in good faith”, then He listens a group of individual souls in good faith too, particularly if they mutually support one and constitute “the two or three gathered in my (Christ’s) name”. Why shouldn’t he listen the whole religious community thus united in His name, particularly because their ministers also validly baptize their children and thus open to them the gate to other sacraments, notably a valid sacrament of Matrimony.

  • Profideboostore

    Rather than the “two popes have placed Catholicism on the same level as any old pagan religion – and for that, what a terrible judgment they face”, they have done great steps in preaching the Gospel to all nations, and the terrible judgment awaits those who do support them in all possible ways..

  • Profideboostore

    There are no “false religions”; only those which are defective or in some point false. But there is lot of good in them which must be supported as everything that is good has to be supported.

    God will bless Assisi III as he did I and II. All are the work of evangelization with which the Church is charged.

    The evengelization must not be confused with persuading people to “join the club” at the cost of their conscience. A Pagan is better off remaining an honest Pagan than becoming a Catholic as a victim of cheating.