Sacred Tradition, Dogma, and Ecclesia

For quite some time I have been meditating on the infallible dogma of faith “extra Ecclesia nulla sallus” (Unam Sanctam, Cantate Domino, Nuper ad Nos, Ubi Primum, Traditi Humilitati, Mirari Vos Arbitramur, Summo Iugiter Studio, etc.), puzzled by how many have attempted to attribute personal interpretations to “Ecclesia” despite the warning given in the Vatican I Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius: “that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by Holy mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding”.

Re-reading the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium of Vatican II:

This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation…Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved…

This Sacred Council, following closely in the footsteps of the First Vatican Council, with that Council teaches and declares that Jesus Christ, the eternal Shepherd, established His holy Church…and in order that the episcopate itself might be one and undivided, He placed Blessed Peter over the other apostles, and instituted in him a permanent and visible source and foundation of unity of faith and communion…And all this teaching about the institution, the perpetuity, the meaning and reason for the sacred primacy of the Roman Pontiff and of his infallible magisterium, this Sacred Council again proposes to be firmly believed by all the faithful.

Reading the encyclical Mortalium Animos of Pius XI:

<<…some…seem to have founded…a hope that the nations…will without much difficulty come to agree as brethren in professing certain doctrines, which form as it were a common basis of the spiritual life…Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God…Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little. turn aside to naturalism and atheism>>

<<some are more easily deceived by the outward appearance of good when there is question of fostering unity among all Christians… Is it not right, it is often repeated…that all who invoke the name of Christ should abstain from mutual reproaches and at long last be united in mutual charity?..But in reality beneath these enticing words and blandishments lies hid a most grave error, by which the foundations of the Catholic faith are completely destroyed.>>

<<the Only-begotten Son of God founded His Church on earth…those who call themselves Christians can do no other than believe that a Church, and that Church one, was established by Christ…visible and apparent…agreeing in one and the same doctrine under one teaching authority and government…Christ our Lord instituted His Church as a perfect society, external of its nature and perceptible to the senses, which should carry on in the future the work of the salvation of the human race, under the leadership of one head, with an authority teaching by word of mouth, and by the ministry of the sacraments, the founts of heavenly grace>>

<<These pan-Christians who turn their minds to uniting the churches seem, indeed, to pursue the noblest of ideas in promoting charity among all Christians: nevertheless how does it happen that this charity tends to injure faith? … How so great a variety of opinions can make the way clear to effect the unity of the Church We know not… But We do know that from this it is an easy step to the neglect of religion or indifferentism and to modernism, as they call it. Those, who are unhappily infected with these errors, hold that dogmatic truth is not absolute but relative, that is, it agrees with the varying necessities of time and place and with the varying tendencies of the mind…capable of being accommodated to human life>>

<<the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it…Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Let them therefore return to their common Father, who, forgetting the insults previously heaped on the Apostolic See, will receive them in the most loving fashion…Let them hear Lactantius crying out: "The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this the house of Faith, this the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. Let none delude himself with obstinate wrangling>>

<<Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See…not with the intention and the hope that “the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” 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… >>

<<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.>>

I can almost hear the crowd’s words in the gospel of John, chapter 6: “This teaching is hard, who can accept it?”, and the Lord’s reply: “Do you want to leave me as well?”, and Peter’s reply in the name of the Twelve: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” The Lord was not afraid of “causing division” or of being considered “uncharitable” by being a witness to the truth, with no compromise. If we intend to fulfill our heavenly mandate of making disciples of all the nations, we shouldn’t either.

Mortalium Animos was promulgated in 1928 as a response specific to the First World Conference on Faith and Order which was held the prior year in Lausanne, Switzerland.

A World Conference on Faith and Order was first proposed by the Episcopal Church in 1910 to build ecumenical consensus and Christian unity. The conference took years to plan, delayed by World War I as well as the inherent organizational challenges of such an event. Finally, in 1927, 394 delegates representing 108 churches attended the first World Conference on Faith and Order in Lausanne, Switzerland. The event launched the ecumenical Faith and Order Movement, advocated by the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches. Conferences have since been held in Europe and Canada. (link)

The First World Conference on Faith and Order was a big deal at the time, as was the Faith and Order movement which came out of it. Pope Pius XI references the Faith and Order movement with the phrase, “that complex movement” in the beginning of paragraph 7. The World Conference on Faith and Order specifically, and the Faith and Order movement in general, is the context against which Mortalium Animos must be read. The encyclical was not intended to define dogma or doctrine, but as a response to a particular event. The Catholic Church actually entered into the dialog after Vatican II (brief pause to straighten out jerked knees).

Things change. What was originally a threat to Catholic unity, or seen as a threat, has now become an opportunity to bring members of other faiths closer to the fullness of truth. It is now an evangelization tool. To give one example, the Catholic Church’s entry into the dialog is probably the single most important reason the anglican ordinariates have happened today. That is what got the Anglicans talking to the Catholics and the Orthodox Churches. Instead of accusing them of apostacy or heresy, we extend the hand of friendship and begin a dialog.


I think this would be to ignore the statements of MA. MA clearly states X is error. It does not say that “we find it a threat to our unity now so we are calling it error”. While context may change, errors do not suddenly become “smart moves”.

On the topic of Anglicans, I find it might be incorrect to just say that it was the result of everything that transpired post-Vatican II and then say that it is therefore good.

For one, we do not know how long this will last and we most certainly do not know how negative the effects might be. But more importantly, we do not know if the Anglicans would have not entered the Church even when it was in a state similar to pre-Vatican II conditions.

The Church was never against accepting anyone who wanted to return to the Catholic Church. All these Anglicans and everyone else (and even heretics) have always had an open invitation to come back to the Church.

EDIT: Question to you. From the OP

"<<the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it…Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Let them therefore return to their common Father, who, forgetting the insults previously heaped on the Apostolic See, will receive them in the most loving fashion…Let them hear Lactantius crying out: “The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this the house of Faith, this the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. Let none delude himself with obstinate wrangling>>”

Do you think a Catholic who adheres to the above today is a heretic or schismatic? Is there any teaching (I am well aware of the practices) that contradict the above?

My point is, that Mortalium Animos should be read in the context of the First World Conference on Faith and Order, that’s all. We should read it in that context because that is the context in which the Pope wrote it.

That’s all I am saying.

I am not going to be drawn into an argument about whether I think people are schismatic or heretical. I don’t use those terms, ever. I have no authority to declare anyone schismatic or heretical and so what I think, even if I had a thought on the matter, would be worth less than zero.


Pascendi Dominici Gregis:

  1. Hence it is quite impossible to maintain that they express absolute truth: for, in so far as they aresymbols, they are the images of truth, and so must be adapted to the religious sentiment in its relation to man; and asinstruments, they are the vehicles of truth, and must therefore in their turn be adapted to man in his relation to the religious sentiment. But the object of thereligious sentiment, since it embraces thatabsolute, possesses an infinite variety of aspects of which now one, now another, may present itself. In like manner, he who believes may pass through different phases. Consequently, the formulae too, which we call dogmas, must be subject to these vicissitudes, and are, therefore, liable to change. Thus the way is open to the intrinsicevolutionof dogma. An immense collection of sophisms this, that ruins and destroys all religion. Dogma is not only able, but ought to evolve and to be changed. This is strongly affirmed by the Modernists, and as clearly flows from their principles. …

… despising the holy and apostolic traditions, they embrace other vain, futile, uncertain doctrines, condemned by the Church, on which, in the height of their vanity, they think they can rest and maintain truth itself.

… 26. To finish with this whole question of faith and its shoots, it remains to be seen, Venerable Brethren, what the Modernists have to say about their development. First of all they lay down the general principle that in a living religion everything is subject to change, and must change

When I read these encyclicals, I am very conernd about the word “change” even if it is used in good faith and with good intentions. No accusations against anyone, just food for thought.

No accusations taken. I enjoy the conversation. This is my food for thought and I hope those reading will at least step up to the buffet and taste…

With all due respect, and I don’t mean this as an insult, I think you are spending too much time in early 20th century encyclicals. :slight_smile:

I tried to engage a monk once on issues such as this. He was novice director at a monastery and he looked at me like I had three heads. I can’t remember his exact words but he said something very similar to, “You can spend your time on that if you want but moving from the image of God to the likeness of God is a matter of subtraction - subtraction of greed and self-love and the filth that covers the divine image.” Doctrine, dogma and the details of theology were useful to him, the foundation of his faith, but once the basic doctrines of the faith were understood, the real task of sanctification of his sould could then begin.

I am reminded of what St. Josemaria Escriva had to say in The Way Number 59:

***Here is a safe doctrine that I want you to know: one’s own mind is a bad adviser, a poor pilot to steer the soul through the storms and tempests and among the reefs of the interior life.

That is why it is the will of God that the command of the ship be entrusted to a Master who, with his light and his knowledge, can guide us to a safe harbour.**


In all the writings of the saints I have read (and I tend toward monastic writings) there are the common threads of carrying the Cross, unity with the Father in prayer and docility to the Holy Spirit. These bring peace. There is nothing better than true peace because it only comes from God and there is no better feeling in the world.

Sorry if I have rambled.

Actually, I think we (as in: the lay faithful) are spending too much time in late 20th century encyclicals and on the 20th century ecumenical council, paying little to no attention to the previous exercise of the Magisterium in hundreds of encyclicals and other Papal documents, as well as in 20 preceding ecumenical councils :slight_smile:

If the Church is - as Church Father Iraeneus writes - that place in which “the Apostles, like a rich man at a bank, deposited lavishly with her all aspects of the truth”, and if Sacred Tradition is that place in which throughout history the Church has spoken with the voice of Christ, then it is as if we were entering a marvelous library with the banners of Christ in which there are countless of volumes bearing the seal of the Fisherman. How could we limit ourselves to the last few pages of the thinnest volume in the lowest shelf, without then easily falling prey of confusion and misunderstandings?

St. Peter warned us, concerning the epistles of St. Paul, that “Therein are some things hard to understand, which those who are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction”. The same argument that applies to Sacred Scripture applies also to Sacred Tradition, for, as we know, they are both to be “received and venerated with an equal affection of piety and reverence, seing that one God is the author of both, either by Christ’s own word of mouth, or by the Holy Ghost” (Council of Trent, Fourth Session, Decree Concerning the Canonical Scriptures). And unless we become more learned in the faith, we, too, can easily distort the hard things, with harsh consequences.

St. Escriva makes a wonderful point, and I totally agree. We rely on our own mind when we do not educate ourselves on the sacred Traditions and dogmas of the faith, and let ourselves be carried by our impetus and emotions, which can easily lead us into the subtle errors of which the modern age is filled, which blur the lines between what is true and what is good. Did you notice how so many in the world who are not aware of the Catholic doctrine distort some of the recent pastoral teachings of the Holy Father? Unfortunately many others within the Catholic Church also distort the teachings of our Holy Fathers - particularly the teachings meant to deal with of modernism, aptly termed “the synthesis of all heresies”, and the teachings concerning true ecumenism.

In order to be able to safely follow the lead of the Fisherman we need to hold on and remain safely within the boat. But for that purpose we need to be very clear in stating that there is a boat, and in the boat there is one man holding the helm. And this is basically what Mortalium Animus (and Lumen Gentium) are affirming. But Lumen Gentium assumes that we already know these basic dogmas of faith, these “foundations” (excellent term!) without whom the building shatters into pieces. Sadly however, it seems to me that by focusing too much on the right here right now, we lose track of the organic development of our doctrine. For our doctrine was not developed in the twentieth century, but rather, in twenty centuries!

Peace is not brought forth by giving each other hugs. Peace requires above all else the proclamation of the truth. Which is why Our Lord affirmed without hesitation: “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Mt 10:34). Indeed the truth is sharper than a two-edged sword which pierces between soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12), and it becomes a sign of contradiction for the rise and the fall of many (Lk 2:35), one that does not bring approval but rather persecution (Mt 5:11, Jn 15:20). The peace of the Lord is unlike the peace of the world (Jn 14:27) because it is not the absence of conflict but the presence of an inner peace in the face of outer storm; it is the willingness to be raised up on the cross to draw all men, and the firmness to cry for mercy on those who do not know what they are doing while hanging on that cross.

The moment that our preaching and evangelization becomes something that tastes like cotton candy and feels like a comfy bed…the moment we start rejoicing because there are so many around us in this wonderful, wide path that leads to this very wide gate…that’s the moment we should realize we may have missed something…and this our saints all knew very well.

Consider the prologue of s. Teresa of Avila’s “Way of Perfection” (which I quote confidently, being the only part that I’ve read so far of this work): in it there is a deep sorrow piercing the saint’s soul, a sorrow for “the harm and havoc” that was being caused by what she termed “a great evil”, and for “all the souls that were being lost there”, which actually moved her - but it was the Lord who moved her - to begin her work within and towards Holy Church. A deep sorrow that does not minimally touch the peace of Christ residing in the depths of her soul. She could, of course, have easily found the kind of peace that ceases to worry trusting on some kind of wishful hope and heart-warming optimism, but instead she chose the peace of the cross, knowing that there were people outside of the true, life-giving religion, whose very salvation was at stake.

I am nobody to discern or even grasp the least of the motions of the Holy Spirit, of course, and I can tell that there is a lot happening right now, in this unhappy age we live in, but I do know that this is exactly the time to cling to the faith of our fathers and to follow Paul’s wise advice to “stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thes 2:15), and to “not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings” given that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb 13:8-9), and if Christ the Bridegroom, then the Church Bride too :slight_smile:

When we do read it in context, it still follows that MA draws conclusions about the activities of the conference on its own.

What I found a hard to accept with what you wrote before is that by remembering that MA must be read in context, it also means that the propositions contained in it are null today. I do think that is not a correct view. MA makes statements regarding activities that also happened to be part of the conference at the time. The statements and reasoning it gives transcends the particular conference.

Even looking at Mortalium Animos more broadly, it is addressing groups that state the unity of Christ’s Church has failed, and that the Church now consists of various separated branches which are to be reconciled and united by compromise of their differences. They sought to establish a visible communion based on the lowest common denominator or compromises in doctrine.

A Catholic could not be a member of such an organization since its stated goals are in and of themselves contrary to the faith on two main points–that the Church is no longer one (which is not the same as saying that all the baptized lack unity amongst themselves) and that the unity of the Church can be re-achieved through compromise in the deposit of faith. A Catholic cannot work toward those false ends.

Vatican II’s decree on ecumenism and John Paul II’s encyclical Ut Unum Sint explicitly reject both of these false ends as well (and it is one reason the Catholic Church is pretty much the only Christian “denomination” that has chosen not to be a member of the World Council of Churches). Participation in a conference with non-Catholics can be permitted by the Church when such participation does not imply assent to the above propositions and where the goal of union is understood by the Catholic participants as true unity in the entire deposit of faith and in hierarchy of government in the Catholic Church.

Participation in such conferences has been permitted (with oversight and by authorized persons) since there has been the separation of the baptized from the Church–ie for centuries and centuries. It has just been done on a greater scale since Vatican II made it a priority.

Very interesting post! I did not know that the Church was not an official member of the WCC. Since I knew the Church participated in it by sending personnel, I always assumed it was.

I guess what has caused the confusion is that most lay persons take the permission upon themselves and also extend it to almost everyone in the diocese. That does lead to the same fruits that MA warns against and also leads some to think that ecumenism today is trying to do the exact opposite of MA.

I once had a very good friend of mine who attempted to start a conference of his own with non-Catholic Christians so that we can attempt to convert the non-Christians in the Parish together to “Jesus”. Luckily it did not bear much fruit and died away but I recall it having the approval of the parish priest.


1822 Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.

1825 Christ died out of love for us, while we were still "enemies."100 The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.101

103 Charity is superior to all the virtues. It is the first of the theological virtues: "So faith, hope, charity abide, these three. But the greatest of these is charity."104

1827 The practice of all the virtues is animated and inspired by charity, which “binds everything together in perfect harmony”;105 it is the form of the virtues; it articulates and orders them among themselves; it is the source and the goal of their Christian practice. Charity upholds and purifies our human ability to love, and raises it to the supernatural perfection of divine love.

1828 The practice of the moral life animated by charity gives to the Christian the spiritual freedom of the children of God. He no longer stands before God as a slave, in servile fear, or as a mercenary looking for wages, but as a son responding to the love of him who “first loved us”:106

If we turn away from evil out of fear of punishment, we are in the position of slaves. If we pursue the enticement of wages, . . . we resemble mercenaries. Finally if we obey for the sake of the good itself and out of love for him who commands . . . we are in the position of children.107
1829 The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion: Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest.108

I’m not posting this to downplay the importance of truth. Knowing and speaking the truth is important. But charity is the source of peace and everything else for that matter. Truth without charity can easily be a tool of evil. It can be used for proselytizing, beating others over the head, or even to justify immoral behavior (for instance attempting to force others to follow the truth).

Speaking the truth in itself is Charity.

In my opinion, what we have today I feel is a fear of speaking the truth out of what appears to be a misguided understanding of charity. It is no different from one who does not speak the truth out of offending another or sensibilities that society has built up to protect their evil ways from any criticism. In fact, this very notion of what it means to “speak in charity” refers to a social construct.

When society itself built these constructs to protect their actions from criticism, do you think it is fruitful for one to adhere to that social construct or some other basis?

Would you consider St. John the Baptist who spoke the truth to Herod as being uncharitable? Many today and in his day would. Would you consider Jesus who spoke the truth to the Pharisees uncharitable? Many today and in his day would. Would you consider Jesus speaking the truth to the gentile woman and comparing her to a dog uncharitable? Many today and yesterday would.

So while I definitely agree with you that one must speak the truth in charity, I feel that when one mentions this fact it is often to request an unusual degree of “charity” where one refrains from speaking the truth. That to me seems contrary to the gospel basis of what it means to speak in charity.

If we are to look at the words of St. Paul to speak and correct in charity, we must assume that his own actions where he spoke in what we may consider “uncharitable” are actually charitable. It should be considered our social conditioning and social pressure that is our duty to overcome in order to speak the truth.

My point has been totally missed. I’m sorry I didn’t express myself correctly.

For me, peace and joy will never be found in encyclicals, history or doctrine. I think St. Therese of Avila would agree with me.

I hope you all find what you are looking for.


To each his own I guess.

To me, peace and joy is found in doctrine because it essentially tells me about our Lord and his creation. I can be at peace because it is through doctrine that I know what Christ has promised for those who love him. It is also through doctrine that I know how to love Christ. Therefore doctrine is essential for me to have peace and joy.

Since doctrine is tied to history and encyclicals, they are of much value to me as well.

The other natural peace and joy for me is nothing special. It is no different for me than from the joy and peace I feel with having earthly forms of security.

I admit I do not know why you think St. Therese of Avila thinks otherwise but I find it hard to believe it as being the case.

It is grievous to a Carmelite that St. Teresa’s work is being used as a pawn to further one’s misguided understanding of Church teaching. The Chapter you are referring to begins “Of the reason which moved me to found this convent in such strict observance.” In her day, parlors of convents were gathering places for worldly conversations. She participated in these discussions, which enabled her to know of the harm being done by the Lutherans, as she stated in this chapter.

What is overlooked by those who do not know her, is that these* parlor discussions* caused a serious rupture to her intimacy and holy recollection with Our Lord in prayer. When she discerned the harm being done to her spirit, she withdrew from them and returned to the silence and quiet of prayer and began to receive the Lord’s favors once again. THIS is the very reason she determined to found her convent in “STRICT” observance, knowing the harm that these unhealthy distractions had caused her soul from partaking in these conversations.

How is this discussion here any different from the harm being done by Lutherans of her day? At the very root was a failure in understanding and submission to Church teaching, as is being done repeatedly in these forums with the EENS dogma. Promoters of strict interpretations believe they are doing God a big favor in disseminating their truth, as they see it, coupled with myriads of source citations to substantiate their belief. The Church’s letter in the matter of Fr. Feeney made it clear that we must understand these documents “as the Church herself understands them.”

For St. Teresa, private interpretations of doctrine were always looked upon as an evil. In her dying breath, she stated three times, “I am a daughter of the Church.” She lived her life adhering to every truth the Church taught, and obedience to those who were her superiors, even when they were in the wrong about a matter. Rather than attempt to sway folks to your interpretations, R_C, I suggest you abandon this folly and read the hundreds of posts that refute your misunderstanding. :slight_smile:

One of the foundational doctrines of Christianity is the Trinity. God is a community of love by nature, even before creating human beings. By nature, God is a loving relationship. God tells us he is love. 3 divine persons, loving one another. We are called to enter into this life of love. This is life itself.

He does not need our understanding of him to be love. We desire to understand God and should strive to become closer to him, but to be loved by him, we do not need to understand him. In fact the tradition of the Church presents us with saints who urge us to let go of the intellectual knowledge of God, seeing it as an impediment to true faith, a stumbling block to knowing and loving him. The grasping at God with the intellect becomes a source of pride, anxiety, etc…

Christianity is not a religion of the book. We have the fullest expression of truth in the Catholic Church, but the source of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (peace etc…) is a person, not doctrines or books. And that’s not to downplay the importance of learning what the Church teaches, thinking about it and speaking about it -in love-. That’s all very important, but it’s not the source of our life in God. God, through his Son, expresses himself to us. Jesus is God’s word to us, and he is a person, not a book. He is the truth, but our access to his truth, as well as access to all other gifts, is in knowing him personally… through the Church, through prayer, through the Scriptures.
What “knowing” consists of could be the topic of another thread, but it is not an intellectual exercise, it is an intimacy.
Coming to know God in this way is above all other considerations such as knowing the truth. All other things fade away, as St Paul tells us:

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Since everything you have said so far is an appeal to doctrine and everything any of us can say on this issue is a matter of doctrine, I see not how one can argue that doctrine is not what brings peace and joy. If anything, it only proves that one does receive peace and joy comes from doctrine. This is what God’s word is so effective even in its written form for it informs us ignorant folk.

It values absolutely zero to say one knows Christ is they do not know his doctrine. We cannot know Jesus if we do not know doctrine. What we know is a misguided view of Jesus which may range from any of the heresies of the past to what may occur in future.

But suffice it to say the following. One is called first and foremost to love God. One cannot love what they do not know. According to who? According to reason and St. Thomas Aquinas. :slight_smile:

So I respectfully disagree with your post.

There has always been an understanding of EENS in the Church. EENS is not something that people tried to understand in the last century. This same understanding has also been at odds with Fr. Feeny’s view.

In the condemnation of Fr. Feeny, one does not therefore gain any new insight. One merely receives confirmation of what one has already believed (given that they were Orthodox in their faith).

The understanding that R_C has presented here has never been contradicted by any official Church teaching. Those who claim it has been contradicted are those who claim a certain interpretation of what the Church has taught starting with Vatican II.

But R_C is then justified to demonstrate why this interpretation is in error by quoting the doctors and popes of the Church prior to Vatican II. It is a Church axiom that understanding of doctrine cannot evolve to contradict its previously understood sense.

If R_C demonstrates what he claims as indeed being the previously understood sense, then he simultaneously demonstrates how those who try to contradict that using incompatible interpretations of current teachings are in error.

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