Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How does an infallible Magisterium cause such quandaries for itself?

I intend to get back to David Waltz vs. Peter Lampe, Lord willing, I really I do, but I ran across this opportunity to provoke the kind of cognitive dissonance that only “The Catholic Champion” could deny without a thought, with just a wave of his mighty hand.

Da Champ” has decided to comment on my recent blogpost, Vatican II vs Trent on “Holy Orders”. I had posted this from Kilmartin:
In Trent’s Decree on Holy Orders, Canon 6 states that there is in the Church “a hierarchy instituted by divine ordination, which consists of bishops, presbyters and ministers.” While this teaching conforms to the idea of existence of such offices from the beginning of the Church, it does not harmonize with the historical facts. The Second Vatican Council’s Lumen Gentium [28] offers a more realistic view based on a more secure historical consciousness and exegesis of Scripture. Here we read “Thus the divinely instituted ecclesiastical ministry is exercised in different degrees by those who even from ancient times (ab antiquo) have been called bishops, priests, and deacons.” Hence in no way does Vatican II affirm that the priesthood was instituted at the Last Supper in the sense understood by Trent (pg 378).
Da poor Champ, he doesn’t like Kilmartin. He says:
Unfortunately the Church hierarchy has been rather lax in formally condemning individual theologians who have dissenting opinions, who then publish them all over the internet to be consumed by those seeking information on a particular theological subject. … Further down in the article Kilmartin also attacks the scholastic definition given by the Church at Trent concerning Transubstantiation.
Lord willing, I’ll get to that, too, Champ. Meanwhile, in discussing this work yesterday with Raymond, it came up that Vatican II had caused all kinds of problems for understanding Vatican I. I was recalling a work I had read some time ago: Michael J. Buckley, S.J., “Papal Primacy and the Episcopate: towards a relational understanding,” New York: Crossroad Herder, © 1998, from the “Ut Unum Sint” series. I’m wondering if Buckley is one of Da Champ’s favorites? Ratzinger certainly likes him. From the Acknowledgements:
As this book goes to press, its author should pause over the gratitude he owes to others, a debt he would gladly pay:

To Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for his gracious invitation to participate in the symposium sponsored by the Congregation on the “primacy of the successor of Peter”;

To Archbishop Tarcissio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for his unfailing kindness and facilitation of the symposium in innumerable details;

To my colleagues in the department of theology at Boston College for their discussion of an earlier draft of the monograph that is now this small book;

To Joseph Komonochak, Peter Hunnermann, and Clifford Kossel, S.J., for their review of the several drafts of the document and their suggestions for its betterment.

To the members of the doctoral seminar at Boston College on primacy and episcopate for the analysis, interpretation, and arguments that occupied many hours of the Wednesday afternoons of the fall of 1996;

To Francis A. Sullivan, S.J., and Michael Himes for their insightful and collaborative direction of this doctrinal seminar that provided the context in which this book was written;

And above all, to my two generous research assistants, Joseph Curran and Brian Hughes, for their hours of scholarly digging in libraries together with their unflagging, competent help in the completion of this work.
I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “what, pray tell, is the fruit of this love-fest?”

Certainly you recognize some of the names. Ratzinger, Sullivan, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Yes, we’re all one big happy family.

Here’s what Buckley has said, what Ratzinger asked for, was improved upon by the colleagues at Boston College, and completed with the generous, unflagging, competent help of the research assistants.
The development from Pastor aeternus to Lumen Gentium, from speaking of the bishops as the episcopate to speaking of the bishops as “a college...or a college of bishops” (collegium ... seu corpus episcoporum), is far more considerable than a simple semantic shift. “Episcopate” is somewhat more abstract than “college of bishops,” and it fails to express the dynamic relationship of the bishops among themselves… (pg 77).
Just wait until you’ve got to take into account a millennium’s-worth of Orthodox (and Oriental) bishops who have been slighted.
By no means is that the only problem which the college of bishops initially poses. Lumen Gentium, no. 22, did not include in its description of the Episcopal college the local churches of which the bishops were shepherds and representatives. If one fails to place this section within the context of Lumen Gentium no. 23, one would have an understanding of the college of bishops without the simultaneous and explicit recognition of the communion of churches, indeed, without mention of local churches at all. The perspective would remain that of a universalist ecclesiology, and the college of bishops would read as if it were primarily a governing board of the whole Church (80).
Then there are the vital relationship between the bishop and the local church within which he is to represent the leadership and the sanctifying presence of Christ (81) … and the Apostolic Tradition which insists that the bishop is to be chosen by all of the people and that this selection is to be approved by the assembled [local] bishops and elders (86). Buckley writes, in summary:
Two questions arise in this context. Whether the present settlement actually detracts from the full vigor of the episcopate and whether papal restoration of ancient legislation on the selection of bishops and their stability within their sees could contribute significantly to the strengthening of the episcopate and the local churches today. Could the apostolic See further effectively its responsibilities simply by restoring what has been taken [or, what the papacy has usurped for itself] over the centuries? This would be to retrieve in a very different way that papal leadership whose bent was the strength and freedom of the local church. Neither problem is an easy one to resolve, but both merit serious study and each touches upon both components of this essay (94).
So, Champ, it appears that not only has the divinely instituted hierarchy “been rather lax in formally condemning individual theologians who have dissenting opinions,” in “stopping those modernists who recreate history to deny the definitive teachings of the Catholic Church,” of squelching those with “modernist opinions who contradict her at every turn.” It appears as if they are inviting them to write these things.

But Champ, I’ll make this easy for you. I’ll give you an exit, one that preserves the integrity of both hierarchy and theologians: blame it on the research assistants.

8 comments:

John Bugay said...

By the way, Matthew Bellisario, we have a question for you that you've never answered. Please answer it before you are able to comment on this blog:

Matthew Bellisario, do you agree with Dr. Sungenis or with the Pope on Galatians 2?

From this blog post.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Bugay said...

I understand the second link is broken in my comment above. Try this one.

John Bugay said...

Hi Tuad: ...this would seem like a reasonable question for either the non-Catholic or the Catholic to ask, yes?

That's why we have a "Blueprint for Anarchy" category here!

You have to wonder, though, why, after say, 15 centuries of papacy, they're still trying to figure out this sort of thing.

Brigitte said...

Recently, I had something like this with Bryan Cross. It turns out that there are "weak" readings and "strong" readings of statements. It seems to me that thus contradictions are made to wash.

Just simply, it should be admitted that humans and councils err.

John Bugay said...

Just simply, it should be admitted that humans and councils err.

Some of us are more than happy to admit this. Others, because of proud boasts in the past, cannot afford to admit this.

Rebecca said...

John Bugay wrote, “do you agree with Dr. Sungenis or with the Pope on Galatians 2?”

Greetings in the LORD!

You didn’t ask me, but I think Saint Augustine got this one right. I think Pope Benedict is wrong on this.

With love in Christ,
Pete Holter

Dozie said...

"I think Pope Benedict is wrong on this".

If we could reconcile between Rebecca and Peter, I would say to she or he that she or he has been duped by a heretic standing outside the gate looking in, and desiring nothing for the Catholic than the mess of Protestantism he stepped into and does not know what to do with it. Rebecca-Peter is doing nothing but supplying a self-avowed enemy of the Church with another rash reason to attack the Church. A true Catholic would be far more hesitant to judge the pope than trigger-happy Rebecca-Peter.