How Big is the Church of Christ?


#1

The Council of Florence defined one holy Catholic apostolic church as the Catholic church from which heretics and schismatics were excluded.

Pope Pius the 12th said that the Catholic Church IS the Church of Christ and vice-versa.

Yet Benedict XVI has said that the Church of Christ is " a larger entity than the Roman Catholic Church" and that that is why Vatican 2 said that the Church of Christ “subsists in” the Catholic church rather than “IS” the Catholic Church.

Which magisterium should I trust more? The current one? Or the magisterium prior to VC2 which taught that the Church of Christ IS the Catholic Church and that schismatic bodies are not part of the Church of Christ/Catholic Church?

Love,
Jaypeeto3


#2

zenit.org/english/archive/0010/ZE001008.html#item3

Above is the link to the article which contains Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)'s comments on this matter by the way…


#3

Here is the exact wording of Ratzinger from that zenith article:

He explained that Vatican II did not use Pius XII’s expression, according to which “the Roman Catholic Church is the only Church of Jesus Christ.”

[size=3]Instead, it preferred the expression “The Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church ruled by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him,” because, he said, it wished to affirm “that the being of the Church as such is a larger identity than the Roman Catholic Church.” But this does not mean that it is so in a partial or lesser way, the cardinal added. [/size]

You said:

[size=3]Yet Benedict XVI has said that the Church of Christ is " a larger entity than the Roman Catholic Church" and that that is why Vatican 2 said that the Church of Christ “subsists in” the Catholic church rather than “IS” the Catholic Church.[/size]

An identity is not an entity. You have misinterpreted what Ratzinger said. The Churche’s teaching has not changed.


#4

Sorry for the goof, I was quoting from memory.
That’s why I provided the link.
Still, friend, his thought is the same.
To say that the Church of Christ is a larger IDENTITY than the Catholic church is still saying that the Church of Christ is bigger than the Roman Catholic Church, which contradicts the pre-Vatican II magisterium. So my question still remains, which magisterium should I accept on this topic? The current magisterium? How do I know that this teaching won’t change AGAIN in the future?? Oy vay… :confused:


#5

Grace and Peace be with you all,

I don’t mean to butt in so pardon me but it appears to me that what our Holy Father might be suggesting is that the ‘Roman’ Catholic Church is not the ‘whole’ Catholic Church. What I think he is articulating is that our Orthodox Brothers and Sisters appear to have a very valid expression of our Catholic Church eventhough they have largely been separated from Rome since 1054 AD.

Peace, Love and Blessings.


#6

Remember that anybody who is baptized with the Trinitarian formula is a Catholic, whether they know it or not. :wink:


#7

[quote=Jaypeeto3]The Council of Florence defined one holy Catholic apostolic church as the Catholic church from which heretics and schismatics were excluded.

Pope Pius the 12th said that the Catholic Church IS the Church of Christ and vice-versa.

Yet Benedict XVI has said that the Church of Christ is " a larger entity than the Roman Catholic Church" and that that is why Vatican 2 said that the Church of Christ “subsists in” the Catholic church rather than “IS” the Catholic Church.

Which magisterium should I trust more? The current one? Or the magisterium prior to VC2 which taught that the Church of Christ IS the Catholic Church and that schismatic bodies are not part of the Church of Christ/Catholic Church?

Love,
Jaypeeto3
[/quote]

All this, of course, is very ambiguous since “Catholic” means universal. Now, did they indend to restrict the meaning of the “Catholic” church to only those who are under the authority of the hierarchy of the church of Rome? If so, then I understand your question, and the “infallible” magisterium is not “immutable” and if not “immutable,” then not “infallible.”

Blessings,
Bene


#8

Pius the 12th was referring to the Catholic church in communion with the see of Rome (all the ecumenical outreaches had not begun during his papal reign).


#9

Perhaps the comments from the previous pope would help to shed some light on this.

From the book: Crossing the Threshold of Hope, by his Holiness John Paul 2

Under the chapter:
Is only Rome right?

The question is asked:
But the Church? The Catholic Church, in particular? Today many people seem to rebel against the claim that salvation can be found only in the Church. Many Christians-and even some Catholics-ask themselves: Why, among all the Christian Churches, should the Catholic Church alone possess and teach the fullness of the Gospel?

Our Holy Father, JPII responds:
Here, before all else, we need to explain the Christian doctrine of salvation and of the mediation of salvation, which always originates in God. “For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, / Christ Jesus, himself human” (1 Tm 2:5). “There is no salvation through any other name” (Acts 4:12).

It is therefore a revealed truth that there is salvation only and exclusively in Christ. The Church, inasmuch as it is the Body of Christ, is simply an instrument of this salvation.

This life, which is life from God and in God, is the actualization of salvation. Man is saved in the Church by being brought into the Mystery of the Divine Trinity, into the mystery of the intimate life of God.

This cannot be understood by looking exclusively at the visible aspect of the Church. The Church is a living body.

Thus, the Council is far from proclaiming any kind of ecclesiocentrism. Its teaching is Christocentric in all of its aspects, and therefore it is profoundly rooted in the Mystery of the Trinity.

Thus, Christ is the true active subject of humanity’s salvation. The Church is as well, inasmuch as it acts on behalf of Christ and in Christ.
men cannot be saved who do not want to enter or remain in the Church, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded by God through Christ as a necessity" (Lumen Gentium 14).

People are saved through the Church, they are saved in the Church, but they always are saved by the grace of Christ. Besides formal membership in the Church, the sphere of salvation can also include other forms of relation to the Church. Paul VI expressed this same teaching in his first encyclical, Ecclesiam Suam, when he spoke of the various circles of the dialogue of salvation (cf. Ecclesiam Suam 101-117), which are the same as those indicated by the Council as the spheres of membership in and of relation to the Church. This is the authentic meaning of the well-known statement “Outside the Church there is no salvation.”

It would be difficult to deny that this doctrine is extremely open. It cannot be accused of an ecclesiological exclusivism. Those who rebel against claims allegedly made by the Catholic Church probably do not have an adequate understanding of this teaching.

Although the Catholic Church knows that it has received the fullness of the means of salvation, it rejoices when other Christian communities join her in preaching the Gospel. This is the proper context for understanding the Council’s teaching that the Church of Christ “subsists” in the Catholic Church (cf. Lumen Gentium 8; Unitatis Redintegratio 4).


#10

**Although the Catholic Church knows that it has received the fullness of the means of salvation, it rejoices when other Christian communities join her in preaching the Gospel. **

But this is (part) of the point - what “gospel” are the other Christian communities preaching? Many of them preach

a) baptism is not necessary
b) there are NOT seven sacraments
c) the Eucharist is only a symbol
d) you CANNOT EVER lose your salvation no matter what
e) Apostolic Succession is a false teaching
f) Christ did NOT establish a visible church
g) The Bishop of Rome is NOT the visible head of the church
h) Good works are NOT necessary for salvation
etc., etc.

In other words, they are preaching a DIFFERENT gospel than the one handed down by the apostles, which by the command of the Holy Spirit, we are to regard as ANATHEMA.
Now, of course, individual members of these bodies may be in “invincible ignorance” and thus, IF the grace of God is operative in them, they as invincibly ignorant individuals may be saved DESPITE (not because of) their membership in false churches. But in no way can these false, heretical, schismatic bodies, as SUCH, be considered part of the Church of Christ. So how much rejoicing is really called for??

Jaypeeto3


#11

[quote=Jaypeeto3] But in no way can these false, heretical, schismatic bodies, as SUCH, be considered part of the Church of Christ. So how much rejoicing is really called for??

Jaypeeto3
[/quote]

They are not in fact members, but are still related to the Church of Christ, eventhough imperfectly.
The Apostles Creed is a pretty good summation of those parts of the Gospel that we do share. Those are no small points to gloss over.

DECREE ON ECUMENISM
UNITATIS REDINTEGRATIO
Chapter 1
3.The children who are born into these (separated) Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect.

The differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church-whether in doctrine and sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church-do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body,(21) and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.(22)

It follows that the separated Churches(23) and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.


#12

I think that Redemptoris Missio sheds some further light on this decree:

Redemptoris Missio: **
***Salvation in Christ Is Offered to All
*10. The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all. But it is clear that today, as in the past, many people do not have an opportunity to come to know or accept the gospel revelation or to enter the Church. The social and cultural conditions in which they live do not permit this, and frequently they have been brought up in other religious traditions. For such people salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his Sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit. It enables each person to attain salvation through his or her free cooperation….

For this reason the Council, after affirming the centrality of the Paschal Mystery, went on to declare that “this applies not only to Christians but to all people of good will in whose hearts grace is secretly at work. Since Christ died for everyone, and since the ultimate calling of each of us comes from God and is therefore a universal one, we are obliged to hold that the Holy Spirit offers everyone the possibility of sharing in this Paschal Mystery in a manner known to God.”(19)


#13

I see the quotes above, and thank you for posting them.
That still doesn’t change the fact that the pre-Vatican II magisterium taught that those bodies not in communion with Rome were not part of the Church of Christ which is the Roman Catholic Church (one and the same thing).
The new magisterial teaching is that some of them (esp the Eastern Orthodox bodies) ARE part of the Church of Christ and that the Church of Christ is NOT the Catholic Church but rather the Church of Christ SUBSISTS IN the Catholic church.

So which magisterium is correct? The pre-Vatican II magisterium, which did not hold the open minded view found in the above quotes, … or the new magisterium which does?

How can the magisterium legitimately reverse itself?
How do we know that a future magisterium won’t change it’s views on this issue yet again?? What, therefore, is Truth??

Jaypeeto3


#14

I don’t think Pope Benedict contradicted past popes, I think he was just re-iterating a point that has been made before in talking about the Body of Christ and Outside the Church There is no Salvation: heretics or schismatics or those who refuse to enter the Church when prompted to by the Holy Spirit are definitely not part of the Church, but those who never receive the benefit of hearing the truth of the Church or being able to accept it but respond as best they can to the grace afforded them belong to the soul of the Church, the Holy Spirit. They **can ** be saved; I’m not saying they definitely will be saved as only God knows their ultimate fate. Obviously its not their own faiths, in respect to their doctrines that contradict Catholicism, that save them. It is Christ through the Catholic Church (Church Suffering in Purgatory or Church Triumphant in Heaven) that saves them after death, as there is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one Church.


#15

CollegeKid,
I agree with 95% of what you are saying, esp about salvation of those who do not know “through no fault of their own” AND who are responding (very important) to Divine Grace. I have no problem with that at all. THAT IS the teaching of the Catholic Church. But in Dominus Iesus now-Pope Benedict XVI made it a point to say that the Eastern Orthodox BODIES, CHURCHES, merely because they have valid apostolic succession and valid Eucharists, are as CHURCHES part of the Church of Christ.
That IS new, and that IS a reversal of the historic magisterium which has always held that schismatic BODIES , schismatic CHURCHES are not part of the Catholic church and hence not part of the Church of Christ because the Catholic Church IS the Church of Christ. The new view contradicts this by saying that the Church of Christ is not one and the same as the Roman Catholic Church but RATHER that the Church of Christ SUBSISTS IN the Catholic Church but also includes the other, non-Roman Catholic bodies such as , as Dominus Iesus calls them, the “true particular churches” of the Eastern Orthodox schismatics.
Love,
Jaypeeto3


#16

[quote=Jaypeeto3]I see the quotes above, and thank you for posting them.
That still doesn’t change the fact that the pre-Vatican II magisterium taught that those bodies not in communion with Rome were not part of the Church of Christ which is the Roman Catholic Church (one and the same thing).
The new magisterial teaching is that some of them (esp the Eastern Orthodox bodies) ARE part of the Church of Christ and that the Church of Christ is NOT the Catholic Church but rather the Church of Christ SUBSISTS IN the Catholic church.

Jaypeeto3
[/quote]

The Church today, post Vatican II continues to teach that those bodies not in communion with Rome are not in the Church of CHrist. They may be related to it. They may have elements of sanctification. But they are not physical members of it.

The words “is” and “subsists” are not interchangeable. During the Vatican II sessions, the word susbists initially was the word “is” in the first drafts. the council explicitly changed the word to subsists.

So while the Orthodox are indeed a Church because they have valid orders, they, nonetheless are not completely incorporated into the Church of Christ. They are very very close. But still remain outside of her.

Nowhere does the Church affirm that the Eastern Orthodox are the Church of Christ.
They are proper Churches, lacking little for complete unity, but are outside of the visible body of the Church of Christ.

The Church never reversed herself. But it did develop the idea of the salvific sphere of the Church to include those related to the Church who derive elements of sanctification from her.


#17

Dan-Man, thanks for your comments.
You unfortunately are not in agreement with Joseph Ratzinger on this. He holds that the Orthodox are true, particular Churches and part of the Church of Christ (because the Church of Christ becomes present and operative in them because they have a valid Eucharist). Read Dominus Iesus carefully. What he holds is that they are not in full communion with the Catholic Church.
But he does not equate the Catholic Church and the Church of Christ as one and the same thing. The pre-Vatican II magisterium most certainly DID. That is what I mean by the teaching has been reversed. Read Dominus Iesus on line at www.vatican.va and also read the link at the top of the page to the Zenit story.
God bless,
Jaypeeto3


#18

Jay,

I disagree. I have read Dominus Iesus several times, so i don’t think I’m mising anything. However, i’m open to looking at this again.

Perhaps you can post the specific lines from DI and compare it to Pius XII (I assume you are referring to Mystici Corporis Christi) and show where this is at variance with Lumen Gentium and Unitatis Redintegratio.

Florence and the other older ecumnical councils weren’t specifically clarifying the theology of the Church. Vatican II specifically deals with the nature of the Church, so we cannot simply compare the Lateran councils to Vatican II without understanding the context in which each issue was addressing.
They were addresing different issues. The Caput Firmitir was dealing specifically with salvation outside of the Church. Lumen Gentium is dealing more specifically with the nature of the Church itself. So the two are not contradictory. They address different issues.


#19

They address different issues

I see your point of view, but still, until now the Magisterium has never, ever taught that schismatic churches are part of the church of Christ, as CHURCHES.

You see, more often than not, the schismatic bodies also teach Heresy in addition to being schismatic. The Orthodox Churches teach heresy about Original Sin and about the Papacy, for example. Heresy cuts a person off from the Church completely, unlike other sins ((except for the invincibly ignorant who have the Holy Ghost and grace working within them )).

So unless we are going to argue that all schismatics who have a valid Eucharist are part of the Church of Christ, and that would include the SSPXers and the S-V churches too, then we can’t say that schismatic Churches are part of the Church of Christ. It makes no sense.
God bless,
Jaypeeto4 (aka Jaypeeto3)


#20

What specific heresy do the Orthodox teach about Original sin?
I have never seen their teachings specifically condemned and anathametized. Can you cite this please.

So unless we are going to argue that all schismatics who have a valid Eucharist are part of the Church of Christ, and that would include the SSPXers and the S-V churches too, then we can’t say that schismatic Churches are part of the Church of Christ.

I am not arguing that the Orthodox, SSPX Church, old Catholics, S-V Churches are part of the Chruch of Christ. And again, I don’t think the Church ever said that they are.

As I said in my previous post, can you please cite these specifically, and how they are contradictory.


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