Lumen Gentium

How would one interpret this without mvoing away from the traditional view that the Catholic Church, with the Pope as it’s visible head, is the Church of Christ and vice versa?

While Lumen Gentium of course has no binding power on the Church, is it not problematic?

[quote=Lumen Gentium, Chapter 8]This is the one Church of Christ which in the Creed is professed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic, (12*) which our Saviour, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd,(74) and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority,(75) which He erected for all ages as “the pillar and mainstay of the truth”.(76) This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him,(13) although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure*. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward catholic unity.
[/quote]

The verse you quote is in line with traditional Catholicism. The council of Florence said that even a pagan could baptize a baby, so it could be said that an element of sanctification exists outside the Catholic Church there. They have always said that the Eastern Orthodox have valid sacraments. They are outside the Church. It is simply elements of sanctification that exist outside of the Catholic Church.

[right]JMJ + OBT[/right]

It might do for you to meditate on the following verses from Acts as they’re not unrelated to the statement from LG that “many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure,” and I think they can be extended to a fair analogy concerning the relationship today between the Catholic Church and many modern non-Catholic Christian individuals and groups.

From the Acts of the Apostles

Now a Jew named Apol’los, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, well versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aq’uila heard him, they took him and expounded to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Acha’ia, the brethren encouraged him, and wrote to the disciples to receive him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully confuted the Jews in public, showing by the scriptures that the Christ was Jesus. While Apol’los was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve of them in all. (Acts 18:24-19:7 [RSV])

I don’t think it’s correct to state that LG “has no binding power on the Church,” as it is a document which was ratified by at least a 2/3 majority vote of the fathers of an Ecumenical Council and then by the reigning Pope at the time, Paul VI. Thus, it is understood to be both “binding” and free from all doctrinal and moral error, as is the case with the decrees of the Council of Trent. If I’m mistaken about this (maybe I am), please provide evidence to the contrary.

In Christ.

IC XC NIKA

I don’t have any ‘evidence’ just at the moment, but the Second Vatican Council was not a Dogmatic Council. Therefore its statements are not necessarily infallible. Infallibility comes with definitions, and Vatican 2 did not define anything.

Lumen Genitum is correct insofar as it is in keeping with previous teaching.

In my opinion, there were no heresies or errors in Vatican 2 itself, but it would perhaps have been better if they had made it a dogmatic council, and infallibly reaffirmed the traditional faith unhesitantly, as happened at previous at previous councils such as Trent.

Oh and don’t forget those anathema statements! :smiley:

“Anathema to all heretics!”
“Anathema anathema!”

[right]JMJ + OBT[/right]

Again, I don’t think that’s quite right. I’m familiar with the popular quip that the Second Vatican Council wasn’t a “dogmatic council” (drawn from the statements of Pope Paul VI, I think), but based on my reading I think this must be understood to mean that the Council was not convened to deal with dogmatic clarifications or controversies per se, whereas that was largely the case regarding the Council of Trent (which also undertook liturgical reforms, dealt with abuses regarding the discipline of celibacy, the selling of indulgences, and many other matters) and the First Vatican Council.

By virtue of the fact that it was a legitimate Ecumenical Council ratified by the Bishop of Rome, its constitutions, decrees, and declarations ipso facto enjoy the infallibility proper to the extraordinary Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

In Christ.

IC XC NIKA

Perhaps. Different people say different things.

I don’t think that’s correct. Pope Boniface VIII “infallibly” defined that subjection to the pope is necessary to salvation. The Council of Florence said that pagans, schimsatics (i.e. Orthodox), heretics, Jews etc. must be joined to the Catholic Church before death to be saved. Those are inconsistent with the Orthodox haing valid sacraments. (I believe they do). Joe

Lumen Gentium is entitled “The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church.” Joe

They have valid sacraments, but they are not in full communion with the Roman Pontiff. The church has not wavered on this.

Show me where the church said the Orthodox have valid sacraments prior to the 1800s. Joe

although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure.

This seems very consistent with the following from the CCC (in fact LG is referenced in the footnotes):

**“Outside the Church there is no salvation” **
846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? 335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:
Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it. 336 847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation. 337 848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.” 338

“Certainly there is a mentality of narrow views that isolates Vatican II and which provoked this opposition. There are many accounts of it, which give the impression that from Vatican II onward, everything has been changed, and what preceded it has no value or, at best, has value only in the light of Vatican II. …] The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council.” (Cardinal Ratzinger, Address to the Chilean Episcopal Conference, Il Sabato 1988)

Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II also said similar.

The fact that the council defined no dogma in no way minimizes the infallibility or importance of the council. Such an interpretation almost requires you to already have a grudge against VII to hear it that way. On the contrary, such quotes merely represent the accurate distinction that VII in no way makes a break from past councils or repudiates them. It must be interpreted as having EQUAL weight with previous councils in the application of pastoral and catechetical programs. I hear in those quotes a defense against the interlopers who try to twist the council into something that supercedes all that came before it. Not so, it is a CLARIFICATION and restatement of the good news in ways that address the problems of today. In a few hundred years, the world culture will likely be very different than today. So, like Trent, VII might not speak so clearly to the deficiencies in the culture anymore. Then we’ll do it again.

Since the Council didn’t define one thing infallibly, then the only times the council is infallible is when it is reiterating already infallible teachings of the Church.

For instance the Council of Basel (Florence) decreed that Christians should not even employ or associate with Jews. Should that teaching be held as infallible? Of course not because it was a pastoral decree.

All of the decrees of Vatican II avoided defining anything infallibly. So, if some innovation offered by the Council is viewed as contrary to the Traditions of the Church it should be discarded.

I think the issue with this part of LG is that the original draft language changed from IS to what we read today: “subsists in,” in the interest of ecumenism, if my theology class was correct.

The problem with this is that it leaves room for much debate, such as the one we’re currently having. It could seem like the bishops at the council went ‘soft’. I don’t personally interpret it this way, but it certainly does leave an open question to say that the Church of Christ ‘subsists in’ the Catholic Church, rather than simply equating the two with IS.

I don’t think that this represents a departure from earlier statements, though. To say this reaffirms that the fullness of Truth is found in the Catholic Church, but acknowledges that others of various faiths can come to know the Truth–though never know it completely outside of the Catholic Church. It’s not as if the Church has a monopoly on the Truth and absolutely everything about God and His relationship with mankind found outside of it is heresy. It’s not.

Same goes for sanctification–holiness and grace are found most fully through the proper celebration of the sacraments in the Catholic Church. But this document doesn’t rule out that elements of that same sanctification can be found outside of the Catholic Church–albeit still within the ‘umbrella’ of the Church of Christ. Those who do not share in the fullness of the Truth can nonetheless come to know parts of it.

To say this emphasizes the common ground which makes ecumenism–true ecumenism which recognizes the universal search for Truth of all people–possible.

At least that’s my understanding.

[right]JMJ + OBT[/right]

Sorry, that’s an incorrect understanding of infallibility. Infallibility is a negative protection, which means that the instruments of the ordinary and extraordinary Magisterium are protected by the Holy Spirit from containing error in matters of faith and morals, not that the words of those instruments == divinely inspired statements of Truth. Only Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are believed by Catholics to enjoy positive divine inspiration, that is the belief that their precise contents are exactly what God intended to teach/communicate/reveal, no more and no less. I think you’d find the following pages to be helfpul: Summary of Categories of Belief in Professio fidei, Hierarchy of Truths and Four Levels of Teaching, General Councils.

For instance the Council of Basel (Florence) decreed that Christians should not even employ or associate with Jews. Should that teaching be held as infallible? Of course not because it was a pastoral decree.

I think we’d need to do a more careful analysis of that decree to see precisely how it fails to be protected under the umbrella of the ordinary and extraordinary Magisterium – it’s just too easy to to label something as “pastoral” or “disciplinary” when we don’t think it fits well with other Church teaching.

All of the decrees of Vatican II avoided defining anything infallibly. So, if some innovation offered by the Council is viewed as contrary to the Traditions of the Church it should be discarded.

It matters not: all of the decrees, declarations, and constitutions of the Second Vatican Council, which received a majority vote of the Council Fathers and were subsequently ratified and promulgated by Pope Paul VI, were and are instruments of the ordinary Universal Magisterium and the ordinary Papal Magisterium. So inasmuch as they treat matters of faith and morals – even while not defining something in particular – they are understood to be free from error and to require religious submission of will and intellect, albeit they must be understood in the context of the entirety of the Deposit of Faith maintained and communicated by the Church across the Centuries since she received her commission from Our Lord.

If I’m wrong on this, please somebody correct me.

In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

IC XC NIKA

You’re right, whosebob. To discard the promulgations of Vatican II because it was an ecumenical council and nothing was infallibly *defined *is to fall into the same error as dissenting theologians who preach heterodoxy in “the spirit of Vatican II.” At both ends of the spectrum you’re ignoring the fact that the Holy Spirit was at work in the Council, and, like it or not, as a faithful Catholic you are called to be obedient to the Magisterium, which spoke infallibly as a universal body at the Council.

From the CCC (para. 891):

“The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of the faithful - who confirms his brethren in the Faith - he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to Faith or morals… The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium,” above all in an ecumenical council.

I consider myself to be an orthodox Catholic, and am honestly baffled by the ease with which many “traditionalists” dismiss Vatican II as wrong/false/misguided, etc. We are to believe that the Holy Spirit was at work at this Council just as it was at every Council which came before. To say otherwise is, in my mind, far from ‘traditional’ orthodoxy.

The problem is indeed not with the Council itself, for it has arguably born good fruit (witness the Church in Latin America and Africa), but with those who have misinterpreted its message.

[/quote]

[right]JMJ + OBT[/right]

Here is something from New Advent’s summary page for the Ecumenical Councils:

XVII. COUNCIL OF BASLE/FERRARA/FLORENCE
Years: 1431-1439
Summary: The Council of Basle met first in that town, Eugene IV being pope, and Sigismund Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Its object was the religious pacification of Bohemia. Quarrels with the pope having arisen, the council was transferred first to Ferrara (1438), then to Florence (1439), where a short-lived union with the Greek Church was effected, the Greeks accepting the council’s definition of controverted points. The Council of Basle is only ecumenical till the end of the twenty-fifth session, and of its decrees Eugene IV approved only such as dealt with the extirpation of heresy, the peace of Christendom, and the reform of the Church, and which at the same time did not derogate from the rights of the Holy See.
Further Reading: www.newadvent.org/cathen/06111a.htm

[emphasis mine]

Based on the page to which you linked, the Council of Basle’s Decree on Jews and neophytes was made in the Council’s 19th session. So an interesting question is, was the Decree in question approved by Eugene IV or not? If not, then this becomes a rather simple matter – consider the following from the article on General Councils in the 1913 C.E.:

Confirmation of the conciliar decrees is the third factor in the pope’s necessary co-operation with the council. The council does not represent the teaching Church till the visible head of the Church has given his approval, for, unapproved, it is but a headless, soulless, impersonal body, unable to give its decisions the binding force of laws for the whole Church, or the finality of judicial sentences With the papal approval, on the contrary, the council’s pronouncements represent the fullest effort of the teaching and ruling Church, a judicium plenissimum beyond which no power can go.

If that Decree was approved by Eugene IV, only then do we need to get a bit more nitty-gritty about if and how it fails to belong properly to the authentic ordinary Magisterium (for clearly it’s not an instrument of the extraordinary Magisterium).

In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

IC XC NIKA

I think we have a confusion between something being authoritative and something being infallible. Many times Vatican II represented traditional Catholic teachings in clear and concise formulations. At other times there were ambiguities and innovations that need to be harmonized with Scripture and Tradition.

Just because something is promulgated in an ecumenical council doesn’t mean it is absolutely free from error, as the example I gave from the Council of Florence shows (and there are many other examples to be found from other councils).

Here are the closing remarks from Pope Paul VI at the end of Vatican II:

“Today we are concluding the Second Vatican Council. …] But one thing must be noted here, namely, that the teaching authority of the Church, even though not wishing to issue extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements, has made thoroughly known its authoritative teaching on a number of questions which today weigh upon man’s conscience and activity, descending, so to speak, into a dialogue with him, but ever preserving its own authority and force;** it has spoken with the accommodating friendly voice of pastoral charity**; its desire has been to be heard and understood by everyone; it has not merely concentrated on intellectual understanding but has also sought to express itself in simple, up-to-date, conversational style, derived from actual experience and a cordial approach which make it more vital, attractive and persuasive; it has spoken to modern man as he is.” (Address during the last general meeting of the Second Vatican Council, December 7, 1965)

Even Pope Paul VI reiterated the pastoral quality of Vatican II by stating that it expressly avoided dogmatic pronouncements.

I am not quoting ankle-biting arch-traditionalists here, but popes.

Session 19 was still a part of the Council, whether Pope Eugene IV specifically approved of the decree on Jews and neophytes, I do not know, I will have to research that one.

I think we have a confusion between something being authoritative and something being infallible. Many times Vatican II represented traditional Catholic teachings in clear and concise formulations. At other times there were ambiguities and innovations that need to be harmonized with Scripture and Tradition.

Just because something is promulgated in an ecumenical council doesn’t mean it is absolutely free from error, as the example I gave from the Council of Basel/Florence seems to show (and I could probably dig up other examples from other councils). In order for something to be infallible it needs to be defined as such.

Here are the closing remarks from Pope Paul VI at the end of Vatican II:

“Today we are concluding the Second Vatican Council. …] But one thing must be noted here, namely, that the teaching authority of the Church, even though not wishing to issue extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements, has made thoroughly known its authoritative teaching on a number of questions which today weigh upon man’s conscience and activity, descending, so to speak, into a dialogue with him, but ever preserving its own authority and force; it has spoken with the accommodating friendly voice of pastoral charity; its desire has been to be heard and understood by everyone; it has not merely concentrated on intellectual understanding but has also sought to express itself in simple, up-to-date, conversational style, derived from actual experience and a cordial approach which make it more vital, attractive and persuasive; it has spoken to modern man as he is.” (Address during the last general meeting of the Second Vatican Council, December 7, 1965)

Even Pope Paul VI reiterated the pastoral quality of Vatican II by stating that it expressly avoided dogmatic pronouncements.

I am not quoting ankle-biting arch-traditionalists here, but popes.

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