More Catholic Questions, Cont'd

In regards to my recent post, where I said that a Encyclopedia Britannica Online article stated that at the 2nd Vatican Council the Church dropped its “one true church” position, here is the quote and author:

The Roman Catholic Church has officially abandoned its “one true church” position. It has entered into ecumenical conversations with the Protestant churches that could lead to Christian union; the Catholic Church has expressed a readiness to make doctrinal and disciplinary concessions, but how far these may go is not yet clear. The church has even made gestures of friendliness to Islam and Judaism and does not speak of the great Oriental religions as simple paganism.

The Rev.John L. McKenzie
Professor of Theology, DePaul University, Chicago, 1970–78. Author of The World of the Judges; Dictionary of the Bible; and others.

Anyone know exactly what the good Reverend was saying here? Is his point that the Church declared its not the only hope for salvation on earth, or he is making a more far-reaching statement? From this excerpt you’d think that he was saying the Church declared its not the only one founded by Jesus and that it would start changing its dogmas to suit the tastes of protestants, but I find it hard to believe the Church would do that.

[quote=CollegeKid]In regards to my recent post, where I said that a Encyclopedia Britannica Online article stated that at the 2nd Vatican Council the Church dropped its “one true church” position, here is the quote and author:

The Roman Catholic Church has officially abandoned its “one true church” position. It has entered into ecumenical conversations with the Protestant churches that could lead to Christian union; the Catholic Church has expressed a readiness to make doctrinal and disciplinary concessions, but how far these may go is not yet clear. The church has even made gestures of friendliness to Islam and Judaism and does not speak of the great Oriental religions as simple paganism.

The Rev.John L. McKenzie
Professor of Theology, DePaul University, Chicago, 1970–78. Author of The World of the Judges; Dictionary of the Bible; and others.

Anyone know exactly what the good Reverend was saying here? Is his point that the Church declared its not the only hope for salvation on earth, or he is making a more far-reaching statement? From this excerpt you’d think that he was saying the Church declared its not the only one founded by Jesus and that it would start changing its dogmas to suit the tastes of protestants, but I find it hard to believe the Church would do that.
[/quote]

CK - Fr. McKenzie does not present an accurate understanding of the Church’s ecumenical outreach. While the Church recognizes the aspects of truth found to greater or lesser degrees in other Christian Churches (the Orthodox) and communions (Protestant congregations) and within non-Christian religions, Vatican II is too frequently misread, particularly Lumen Gentium, as having overthrown the Church’s self-understanding about it’s fullness and uniqueness vis-a-vis other religious bodies.

For a far more accurate understanding of what Lumen Gentium is saying in this regard, I suggest Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith: The Church As Communion, by (then) Cdl. Ratzinger, Ignatius Press. Our present Holy Father goes into great detail in looking at the particular passages which gave rise to such erroneous understandings as Fr. McKenzie presents. Here is a brief quote that gets to the heart of your question:

. . .The Church of Christ is not hidden behind the multitude of human constructions, intangible and unattainable; she exists in reality as a corporal Church that shows her identity in the Creed, in the sacraments, and in the apostolic succession.

With the subsistit formula, Vatican II intended - in line with the Catholic tradition - to say something the exact opposite of ‘ecclesiological relativism’: there is a Church of Jesus Christ. He himself willed her existence, and ever since Pentecost the Holy Spirit is constantly creating her, despite all human failures, and preserves her substantial identity. The institution is not an unavoidable - although theologically irrelevant or even damaging - external phenomenon; it is, in its essential core, a part of the concrete character of the Incarnation. The Lord is keeping his word: ‘The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.’ . . .The Council is trying to tell us that the Church of Jesus Christ may be encountered in this world as a concrete agent [emphasis in the original] in the Catholic Church. That can happen only once, and the view that subsistit should be multiplied fails to do justice to the particular point intended. With the term subsistit, the Council was trying to express the particular quality of the Catholic Church and the fact that this quality cannot be multiplied: the Church exists as an active agent within historical reality.

What you have is an erroneous interpretation of the Vatican II documents. Nowhere is it indicated that the Catholic Church is willing to make doctrinal concessions. You can judge for yourself in the Vatican II Decree on Ecumenism (UNITATIS REDINTEGRATIO).

Here’s a teaser from Unitatis Redintegratio…

…in the beginnings of this one and only Church of God there arose certain rifts,(19) which the Apostle strongly condemned.(20) But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions made their appearance and quite large communities came to be separated from full communion with the Catholic Church-for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame. The children who are born into these 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.

Nothing is so foreign to the spirit of ecumenism as a false irenicism, in which the purity of Catholic doctrine suffers loss and its genuine and certain meaning is clouded…

God Bless,
RyanL

[quote=CollegeKid]In regards to my recent post, where I said that a Encyclopedia Britannica Online article stated that at the 2nd Vatican Council the Church dropped its “one true church” position, here is the quote and author:

The Roman Catholic Church has officially abandoned its “one true church” position. It has entered into ecumenical conversations with the Protestant churches that could lead to Christian union; the Catholic Church has expressed a readiness to make doctrinal and disciplinary concessions, but how far these may go is not yet clear. The church has even made gestures of friendliness to Islam and Judaism and does not speak of the great Oriental religions as simple paganism.

The Rev.John L. McKenzie
Professor of Theology, DePaul University, Chicago, 1970–78. Author of The World of the Judges; Dictionary of the Bible; and others.

Anyone know exactly what the good Reverend was saying here? Is his point that the Church declared its not the only hope for salvation on earth, or he is making a more far-reaching statement? From this excerpt you’d think that he was saying the Church declared its not the only one founded by Jesus and that it would start changing its dogmas to suit the tastes of protestants, but I find it hard to believe the Church would do that.
[/quote]

I think he is talking about heresy that he is spreading. The Church has changed nothing. I do not see the Church ever changing its teachings to suit any other beliefs.

I would take it with a pinch of salt what I read in the Encyclopedia Britannica !

The Roman Catholic Church has officially abandoned its “one true church” position.

Hmmm…Paul VI must have missed that “official” memo, even though he is the one who presided over Vatican II. http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon6.gif

Consider the Words of the pope who presided over Vatican II, from a homily after the close of Vatican II:

First, your Church must be first of all Catholic. That is, it must be entirely founded upon the identical, essential, constitutional patrimony of the self-same teaching of Christ, as professed by the authentic and authoritative tradition of the one true Church. This condition is fundamental and indisputable… It will require from your culture that it should not refuse, but rather eagerly desire, to draw, from the patrimony of the patristic, exegetical, and theological tradition of the Catholic Church (*Homily of Paul VI, *Kampala (Uganda), 31 July 1969)

According to *Dominus Iesus, *approved and promulgated by John Paul II:

With the expression subsistit in, the Second Vatican Council sought to harmonize two doctrinal statements: on the one hand, that the Church of Christ, despite the divisions which exist among Christians, continues to exist fully only in the Catholic Church, and on the other hand, that “outside of her structure, many elements can be found of sanctification and truth”,55 that is, in those Churches and ecclesial communities which are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church.56

[footnotes:]
55) Ibid.; cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint, 13. Cf. also Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 15 and the Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 3.

(56) The interpretation of those who would derive from the formula subsistit in the thesis that the one Church of Christ could subsist also in non***-***Catholic Churches and ecclesial communities is therefore contrary to the authentic meaning of Lumen gentium. “The Council instead chose the word subsistit precisely to clarify that there exists only one ‘subsistence’ of the true Church, while outside her visible structure there only exist elementa Ecclesiae, which — being elements of that same Church — tend and lead toward the Catholic Church” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Notification on the Book “Church: Charism and Power” by Father Leonardo Boff: AAS 77 [1985], 756-762).

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