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July 2003 No. 53

The Errors of Vatican II



Throughout Parts 1-3 of this continuing series, we have been discussing the "mentality" of the Second Vatican Council, both generally and in particular. In Part 4 we will concentrate on the doctrinal errors of Vatican II regarding 1) marriage and the status of women, and 2) members of sects, heretics, and schismatics (i.e., the so-called "separated brethren").


7) Errors Concerning Marriage and the Status of Women


The Second Vatican Council imposes a variation of the doctrine on marriage contrary to the Catholic Church's constant teaching.

In the Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes [hereafter GS-Ed.], the married state is denned as "the intimate partnership of life and love which...has been established by the creator..." (GS§48), whose proper end is procreation:

By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory (GS§48).

Note that it does not find its "reason for being" in the procreation and education of children, but its "crown." This leads one to believe that the end of the state of matrimony is mutual perfection of the spouses, that is, the secondary end becomes the first, since the true end (the procreative one), becomes secondary because it is proposed as a consequence (or "crowning glory") of the personalist value of marriage.

> In §49 of GS, Vatican II offers a definition of conjugal love that opens the way to eroticism in marriage, as against the Church's entire tradition. It reads:

Many of our contemporaries, too, have a high regard for true love between husband and wife as manifested in the worthy customs of various times and peoples. Married love is an eminently human love because it is an affection between two persons rooted in the will...; it can enrich the sentiments of the spirit and their physical expression with a unique dignity and ennoble them as the special elements and signs of the friendship proper to marriage [emphasis added]. (GS§49)

The love spoken about here, because it is "eminently human," enrich[es] the sentiments of

the spirit and their physical expression…." This can only refer to the ensemble of acts through which the spouses arrive at the conjugal act. Here, these acts, these "expressions," are justified exclusively as a corporal manifestation, that is, a sensual expression of conjugal love and, therefore, for their erotic value. On the contrary, the Church has always taught that these acts are permitted, and only within legitimate limits, solely as acts which favor the conjugal embrace, understood as a natural act committed to procreation and, therefore, allowed in relation to the first end of marriage, which is procreation, and not for satisfaction itself of conjugal love, understood  as the secondary end of marriage and limited by its primary end (Casti Connubii, dz. 2241).

> Vatican II asserts:

But God did not create man a solitary being. From the beginning "male and female he created them" (Gen. 1: 27). This partnership of man and woman constitutes the first form of communion between persons (GS§12).

This is a formally correct statement but it is incomplete and, for that reason, a source of doctrinal error. Its incompleteness is due to the fact that it doesn't quote what is written in Genesis 2:18-23 here. [Gen. 2:18-23 opens with "And the Lord God said: It is not good for a man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself." Verse 23 reads: "And Adam said: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man."-Ed] By failing to do so at this propitious moment in the text, GS creates the false impression that God created man and woman at the same time, rendering them totally equal.

On the contrary, first Genesis sums up God's work (Gen. 1:27), and then explains in detail what actually took place (Gen. 2:18ff.). And in the initial exposition, inspired by the Spirit of Truth, the hagiographer justly puts man and woman on the same plane, in order to tell us that both were made by God in His image, and thus both are equal before God: "And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them." But he then specifies that woman was created after man, from his side, in order to be his companion:

And the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself....Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs, and filled up flesh for it. And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman: and brought her to Adam.

Similar, but not equal, as St. Paul explains to us, speaking in the name of the Lord in the famous passage of I Cor. 11:3ff. (which Vatican II never quoted and today has fallen into obscurity) beginning with

[b]ut I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Vatican II's entire pastoral on marriage (GS §§47-52) is completely silent on the natural difference between the sexes established by God. From the premise of a non-Catholic idea, it advances to a natural and total equality between the spouses-considered in the abstract as "persons"-as beings who express themselves freely in the "community of [matrimonial] love," completely ignoring the teaching of St. Paul and the Church throughout the ages, according to which, as we have seen, man is the natural head over the woman and, thus, over the family. This ignores the principle of nature that a woman's fundamental vocation is as spouse and mother, of bringing children into the world and educating them in a Catholic way.

> Vatican II opened the way to the preliminary dogmas of feminism, that particularly perverse contemporary sub-culture which, in the name of false equality, exalts false liberty and homosexuality and destroys marriage and family.

These overtures to feminism are evident in the Second Vatican Council documents. It is evident in the implicit recognition of the contention that in our day, "...women claim parity with men in fact as well as of rights, where they have not already obtained it;..." (GS§9).  It is in the implicit recognition that women's life choices be accepted as expressions of alleged "basic personal rights."

It is regrettable that those basic personal rights are not yet being respected everywhere, as is the case with women who are denied the chance freely to choose a husband, or a state of life, or to have access to the same educational and cultural benefits as are available to men. (GS§29)

A further overture to feminism is also present under the heading, "Recognition of Everyone's Right to Culture and Its Implementation" in GS.

[I]t is, therefore, one of the duties most appropriate to our times, above all for Christians, to work untiringly for fundamental decisions to be taken in economic and political affairs, on the national as well as the international level, which will ensure the recognition and implementation everywhere of the right of every man to human and civil culture in harmony with the dignity of the human person, without distinction of race, sex, nation, religion, or social circumstances. (GS§60)

A subtle undermining of motherhood is found under the heading, "Fostering Marriage and the Family: A Duty for All." The slight shift of emphasis is dangerous and is especially manifest when considering what has happened to the esteem for generous motherhood over the last 40 years. In many way, genuine motherhood has been outright abandoned.

The family is, in a sense, a school for human enrichment. But if it is to achieve the full flowering of its life and mission, the married couple must practice an affectionate sharing of thoughts and common deliberation as well as eager cooperation as parents in the children's upbringing. The active presence of the father is very important for their training: the mother, too, has a central role in the home, for the children, especially the younger children, depend upon her considerably; this role must be safeguarded without, however, underrating women's legitimate social advancement. (GS§52)

As a final exhibit to prove our point, we quote from Vatican II's "Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People," Apostolicam Actuositatem (Nov. 18, 1965):

The lay apostolate, in all its many aspects, is exercised both in the Church and in the world. In either case different fields of apostolic action are open to the laity. We propose to mention here the chief among them: Church communities, the family, the young, the social environment, national and international spheres. Since in our days women are taking an increasingly active share in the whole life of society, it is very important that their participation in the various sectors of the Church's apostolate should likewise develop (AA §9).

Note the wider participation of women in society is not the necessity of a religious character, but by virtue of the simple fact that "women are taking an increasingly active share in the whole life of society." The more active participation is provoked, to a great extent, by the false "dogmas" that we have just related, and carried out under their signature, a participation that was condemned by Pius XI as "a grave disorder to eliminate at all cost" in his encyclical, Quadragesima Anno, because it takes "mothers of families" away from their proper duties (AAS23 [1931] 200).


8) Errors Concerning Members of Sects, Heretics, and Schismatics (i.e., the So-called "Separated Brethren")

> In Unitatis Redintegratio §3, the Second Vatican Council promotes a historically baseless and pernicious thesis:

In this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church-for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame. (UR§3)

In other words, men became heretics and schismatics through the fault of "men on both sides."

> This paragraph in UR continues:

However, one cannot charge with the sin of separation those who at present are born into these communities and in them brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers. (UR§3)

The statement is theologically erroneous since the "sin of separation" remains to the present because the schismatic and/or heretic who "grows up" in the doctrines of his sect, once becoming an adult, gives these doctrines his conscious intellectual and willful belief. Thus he progresses from the state of a material heretic and schismatic to being a. formal heretic and schismatic, and, through a positive personal act, refuses to submit himself to Christ's revealed doctrine and to the authority He instituted.

> Further, from §3 of UR we read the statement:

For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Without doubt, 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. (UR§3)

Also, from §4 of the same Vatican II document:

Nevertheless, the divisions among Christians prevent the Church from realizing the fullness of catholicity proper to her in those of her sons who, though joined to her by baptism, are yet separated from full communion with her. Furthermore, the Church finds it more difficult to express in actual life her full catholicity in all its aspects. (UR§4)

Both statements contradict the Church's universal tradition, reaffirmed by Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis:

Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. (Mystici Corporis, §22)


This statement is valid for all public heretics and schismatics, even if they are of good faith [i.e., material heretics and schismatics-Ed.]. Nevertheless, the latter differ from formal heretics and schismatics because of their willingness to profess the true faith in the true Church (votum Ecclesiae). By means of this willingness, they are "ordained" through a "certain unconscious desire for the Mystical Body of the Redeemer." And while they find themselves outside this Body's visible entity, they can belong to it in an invisible way, thereby attaining justification and salvation. Nevertheless, they remain "deprived of many gifts and...heavenly aids." This is why, like his predecessors, Pope Pius XII invites them "to favor interior movements of grace and to remove themselves from their present state, in which they cannot be sure of their salvation"; "That they therefore come back into Catholic unity" (AAS 35 [1943] 242-243; dz. 2290).

In this regard, it is also necessary to recognize the falsehood of yet another sentence from §3 of UR:

But even in spite of them [i.e., the obstacles to the success of the ecumenical movement-.Ed.]it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in baptism are incorporated into Christ17 they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.

This sentence introduces the idea that, by virtue of just being baptized, non-Catholics are to be counted among the members of the Catholic Church without any belief in the true Faith and without being obedient to legitimate pastors. This statement results from the manipulation of a passage from the Council of Florence (1429), referenced in a footnote Number 17 [see boldfaced footnote no. 17 in excerpt immediately above-Ed.] in Unitatis Redintegratio. The passage is excerpted from the famous pro Armenis decree that re-established unity with the Armenian Church. But that decree showcased the seven Sacraments as Catholics must understand them, that is, as all seven, without making any reference to the baptism of heretics nor giving it any heterodox meaning: "The first of all of the sacraments is Baptism, the door to spiritual life: thanks to it, we become members of Christ and part of the Body of the Church" (Dz- 696). Here, those who are "incorporated" into Christ and the Church are the Catholics and not heretics and schismatics.

> In Vatican II's Lumen Gentium (§8) there is a description of the false ideas of what constitutes the "separated brethren" patrimony:

This is the sole Church of Christ in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Savior, after his resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care (Jn. 21:7), commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it (cf. Mt.28:18ff.), and which he raised up for all ages as "the pillar and mainstay of the truth" (I Tim. 3:15). This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines. Since these are gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, they are forces impelling towards Catholic unity. (LG§8)

In UR §3, this thinking marches on to its obvious and logical conclusions:

Moreover, some, even very many, of the most significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church itself, can exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church: the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements. All of these, which come from Christ and lead back to him, belong by right to the one Church of Christ.

The brethren divided from us also carry out many liturgical actions of the Christian religion. In ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or community, these liturgical actions most certainly can truly engender a life of grace, and, one must say, can aptly give access to the communion of salvation.

It follows that the separated Churches and communities as such, though we believe they suffer from the defects already mentioned, 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 Catholic Church. (UR§3)

Based on the above, however, it is impossible to understand how "the life of grace" and the three theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity) could have been conserved in heretical and schismatic communities-rebels against the authority of the one legitimate Church of Christ-since here they are referred to as "communities," that is, foreign organisms opposed to the one Church of Christ, and not as individuals. Moreover, one would like to know what possibilities for "sanctification" and what "truths" are contained in the doctrines and manner of life of the heretical and schismatic communities who oppose the Roman Pontiff and all that is Catholic. Even the idea of "sanctification" is denied in many of these "communities" and some even defend a completely subjective idea of truth, including revealed truth.

> In its § 15, the document Lumen Gentium speaks about non-Catholic Christians-that is, formal heretics and schismatics, or at least material ones-who are joined to the Catholic Church.

The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but who do not however profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved the unity or communion under the successor of Peter. For there are many who hold sacred scripture in honor as a rule of faith and of life, who have a sincere religious zeal, who lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and the Savior, who are sealed by baptism which unites them to Christ, and who indeed recognize and receive other sacraments in their own Churches or ecclesiastical communities. Many of them possess the episcopate, celebrate the holy Eucharist and cultivate devotion to the Virgin Mother of God. There is furthermore a sharing in prayer and spiritual benefits; for these Christians are indeed in some real way joined to us in the Holy Spirit for, by his gifts and graces, his sanctifying power is also active in them and he has strengthened some of them even to the shedding of their blood. And so the Spirit stirs up desires and actions in all of Christ's disciples in order that all may be peaceably united, as Christ ordained, in one flock under one shepherd.... (UR§15)

This is false doctrine. The "separated brethren" are separated precisely because they rebel against the teaching of the Church and thereby resist the Holy Spirit. They therefore cannot be "united" to the Catholic Church as separated communities that live in rebellion. Nor can any of these heretics and schismatics, who have not professed the truth faith, a faith they even fought, have the title "martyr" conferred upon them. Murdered Protestant missionaries cannot be considered martyrs since they were not witnesses to the true Faith.

By God's grace a formal heretic can be converted and die for the true Faith, but then he dies a Catholic. In an invisible way, through votum Ecclesiae, the material heretic belongs to the Catholic Church. Therefore, if he is martyred, he also dies a Catholic and not a heretic and schismatic. That, however, as Pope Pius IX said, is "God's secret." But §15 of LG is not referring to heretics and schismatics in this way. On the contrary, it clearly enough states that non-Catholics, as such, have been assisted by the Spirit of Truth to the extent that a certain number among them have shed their blood, that is, undergone martyrdom for their faith. This amounts to saying that they have been martyred for their errors.

This text lends itself to the worst interpretation by alluding to "martyrs" who are not specified as to their faith-which, in any case, is a. false faith-to also refer to obstinate heretics, tenacious corruptors of souls, justly condemned in the past by the Church.

> A new pastoral task is entrusted to the Church, expressed especially in Gaudium et Spes§3:

In wonder at their own discoveries and their own might men are today troubled by questions about current trends in the world, about their place and their role in the universe, about the meaning of individual and collective endeavor, and finally about the destiny of nature and men....The Council will clarify these problems in the light of the Gospel and will furnish mankind with the saving resources which the Church has received from its founder under the promptings of the Holy Spirit. It is man himself who must be saved: it is mankind that must be renewed. It is man, therefore, who is the key to this discussion, man considered whole and entire, with body and soul, heart and conscience, mind and will.

This is the reason why this Sacred Synod, in proclaiming the noble destiny of man and affirming an element of the divine in him, offers to cooperate unreservedly with mankind in fostering a sense of brotherhood to correspond to this destiny of theirs….(US§3)

This order is addressed to Catholics and, reinforced by other Vatican II documents, asks them to collaborate with heretics and schismatics in order to elaborate on commonly held translations of Holy Scripture (Sacrosanctum Concilium, Part III, Sec. A. "General Norms").

In the name of "common patrimony of the Gospel," Catholics are told in the document

Apostolicam Actuositatem to collaborate with "other Christians" and "non-Christians" in the work of Catholic apostolate.

The common patrimony of the Gospel and the common duty resulting from it of bearing a Christian witness make it desirable, and often imperative, that Catholics cooperate with other Christians, either in activities or in societies; this collaboration is carried on by individuals and by ecclesial communities, and at the national or international level.

Not seldom also do human values common to all mankind require of Christians working for apostolic ends that they collaborate with those who do not profess Christianity by acknowledge these values.

Through this dynamic, yet prudent, cooperation, which is of great importance in temporal activities, the laity bears witness to Christ the Savior of the world, and to the unity of the human family. (AA §27)

In the following three excerpts from Unitatis Redintegratio the same ideas are espoused:

  • This sacred Council firmly hopes that the initiatives of the sons of the Catholic Church, joined with those of the separated brethren, will go forward, without obstructing the ways of divine Providence, and without prejudging the future inspirations of the Holy Spirit. Further, this Council declares that it realizes that the holy objective-the reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ-transcends human powers and gifts....(UR §24)

  • On  the  other hand,  Catholics  must gladly acknowledge and esteem the truly Christian endowments of our common heritage which are to be found among our separated brethren. It is right and salutary to recognize the riches of Christ and virtuous works in the lives of others who are bearing witness to Christ, sometimes even to the shedding of their blood. For God is always wonderful in his works and worthy of all praise. (UR§4)
  • This change of heart and holiness of life, along with  public  and  private  prayer for the  unity  of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the who ecumenical movement, and merits the name, "spiritual ecumenism."

It is a recognized custom for Catholics to meet for frequent recourse to that prayer for the unity of the Church which the Savior himself on the eve of his death so fervently appealed to his Father: "That they may all be one" Qn. 17:20).

In certain circumstances, such as in prayer services "for unity" and during ecumenical gatherings, it is allowable, indeed desirable that Catholics should join in prayer with their separated brethren—(UR §8)

All of this is totally new pastoral teaching because it is exactly the opposite of what the Apostles ordered regarding the proper attitude regarding willful heretics: "A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid: knowing that he, that is such an one, is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned by his own judgment" (Tit. 3:10,11), and "If any man come to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him, God speed you. For he that saith unto him, God speed you, communicateth with his wicked works" (II Jn. 1: 10,11).

It is evident that the false ecumenism promoted by the Second Vatican Council is the basis of the new pastoral teaching. Common "patrimony" and "values" do not exist and cannot exist with heretics and schismatics. Protestants do not recognize Tradition as a source of dogma nor the truth of Faith according to which it is incumbent on the Magisterium of the Church assisted by the Holy Spirit to define "the meaning and interpretation of the Scriptures" (Dz. 786). Moreover, the approach of heretics and schismatics to Scripture is to deform it since they believe in individual free interpretation, to which they dare submit the meaning of one or another revealed truth.

Martin Luther, their primary leader, destroyed doctrine and morality. He denied the authority of the Pope, of Tradition, of the Priesthood. He changed Scripture, denatured the very idea of the Church, reduced the number of Sacraments from seven to two, and these two were bastardized. He denied transubstantiation and the propitiatory meaning of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Purgatory, and the perpetual virginity of Mary. He derided the principle of sanctity, virginity, and chastity. He allowed divorce. He denied free will and the meritorious value of good works. He fomented hatred among Christians and incited them to revolt against the principle of authority. The Anglicans have maintained the Episcopate. However, it is as if they had not done so because their consecrations and ordinations are null and void. Pope Leo XIII declared this in a dogmatic judgment in 1896 (Dz. 1963). They are null because of the lack of form and intention. They are a sect that submits to political power, a "civil religion" with a Christian fagade. The presence of "priestesses" has spread among today's Protestants. This is a form of neo-paganism resulting from the penetration of feminism among heretics which they would also like to see installed in the Catholic Church.

> Vatican II uses the title "Church" ambiguously. In UR §3, the ambiguous term "Churches or communities," or, again "separated Churches and communities," referring to non-Catholic denominations. Also in LG §15 we read, "their own Churches or communities."

Such terminology describing heretical and schismatic sects as "Churches" qualifies as an obvious theological error since only the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ. No communities separated from this Church, founded by Christ on Peter, can pretend to be-either individually or in union with other separated communities-the one Catholic Church that Jesus Christ instituted. Nor can they allege to be a member or part of it since they are visibly separated from Catholic unity. And this same condition pertains to the Eastern schismatics, as was reaffirmed by all of the Roman Pontiffs from Pius IX to Pius XII, thus countering the pretensions of non-Catholic ecumenism.

> In Vatican II’s UR §11, there is the following exhortation addressed to Catholic theologians. We quote part of it here; the rest is quoted in our next point.

Furthermore, in ecumenical dialogue, Catholic theologians, standing fast by the teaching of the Church yet searching together with separated brethren into the divine mysteries, should do so with love for the truth, with charity, and with humility. When comparing doctrine with one another, they should remember that in Catholic doctrine there exists an order or "hierarchy" of truths, since they vary in their relation to the foundation of the Christian faith.... (UR §11)

This contains the erroneous idea, expressly condemned by Pius XI in Mortalium Animos (DZ 2199), that there are revealed truths and dogmas that are more or less important to accept, and that by reason of God's authority we are bound to accept, with the same obligation, all of the truths contained in Divine Revelation, because "it is repugnant to reason that, even in one thing, one not believe God who speaks" (Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum).

The above-cited excerpt from UR leads to the absurd conclusion that in "ecumenical dialogue," "doctrinal truths" can be discussed with heretics which in this alleged "hierarchy" occupy a less important position. This is the opening for the false principle contained in the conclusion of § 11 of Unitatis Redintegratio which is the next error of Vatican II we cite.

> Vatican II establishes the principle that, in discussing the Church's doctrines by way of comparing them with those of the "separated brethren," account must be taken that there is a "hierarchy of truths," as was noted above in the first part of UR§11. The conclusion?-

...Thus the way will be opened whereby this kind of "fraternal rivalry" will incite all to a deeper realization and a clearer expression of the unfathomable riches of Christ. (UR§11)

This is an unheard-of principle, bordering on heresy, because it entrusts the task of inciting a "deeper realization and a clearer expression of the unfathomable riches of Christ," to theological study done with heretics as if it is not the role of the infallible Magisterium to faithfully transmit and define revealed truth! It would be as if Catholic truth could go hand in hand with the errors of members of sects and schismatics, and even allow a "fraternal rivalry" to make us know better Our Lord's unfathomable riches! Here, UR§11 treasonously quotes Ephesians 3:8 to support its fallacy. What does St. Paul actually say?

To me, the least of all the saints, is given the grace, to preach among the Gentiles, the unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8).

Note that the Gentiles, the heathen, do not preach to St. Paul! The Epistle to St. Timothy reiterates the same principle:

Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables (II Tim. 4:2-3).

There is nothing to be said for "dialogue" with heretics and schismatics in order to learn something from them, which St. Paul and St. John (and all the Popes) specifically forbid.

> Vatican II weakened the dogma of the Council of Trent that only the Catholic Church can "judge the true meaning and interpretation of Holy Scripture" (DZ. 786). The weakening of this dogma occurs in UR§21:

A love and reverence-almost a cult-of Holy Scripture leads our brethren to a constant and diligent study of the sacred text. For the Gospel "is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and then to the Greek" (Rom. 1:16).

While invoking the Holy Spirit, they seek in these very scriptures God as he speaks to them in Christ, the one whom the prophets foretold, the Word of God made flesh for us. In the scriptures they contemplate the life of Christ, as well as the teachings and the actions of the Divine Master for the salvation of men, in particular the mysteries of his death and resurrection.

But when Christians separated from us affirm the divine authority of the sacred books, they think differently from us-different ones in different ways-about the relationship between the scriptures and the Church. For in the Church, according to Catholic belief, its authentic teaching office has a special place in expounding and preaching the written Word of God.

The operative paragraph is the third one above. The Catholic Church has only a "special place in expounding and preaching the written Word of God"? But the Magisterium denotes more than this. It is supernaturally founded and assisted. It is the only judge of the true meaning and of the interpretation of Holy Scripture.

> There is an essentially erroneous conception of Protestants' use of Scripture in Unitatis Redintegratio §23:

And if in moral matters there are many Christians who do not always understand the Gospel in the same way as Catholics, and do not admit the same solutions for the more difficult problems of modern society, they nevertheless want to cling to Christ's word as the source of Christian virtue and to obey the command of the Apostle: "Whatever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Col. 3:17). Hence, the ecumenical dialogue could start with the moral application of the Gospel. (UR §23)

This statement is erroneous because Protestants "cling to Christ's word" not as Catholics do, that is, as the Catholic Church teaches, but according to the false principle of free interpretation which allows "freely proclaiming anything that seems true [to them]," formally condemned as heretical in 1520 by Pope Leo X, in the Bull, Exurge Domine, which outlaws Luther's heresies (Dz- 769).



Translated by Suzanne M. Rini and rewritten by Fr. Kenneth Novak with inclusion of full Vatican II texts. All quotes from Vatican Council II and post-Conciliar documents are taken from Vatican Council 11: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents, Harry J. Costello and Rev. Austin Flannery, O.P. (Costello Publishing Co., Inc., 1975). All Scripture references are from the Douay-Rheims Bible (TAN Books and Publishers).



Courtesy of the Angelus Press, Kansas City, MO 64109
translated from the Italian
Fr. Du Chalard
Via Madonna degli Angeli, 14
Italia 00049 Velletri (Roma)

July 2003 Volume XXVI, Number 7

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