Newsletter of the District
Church Near the Year 2000
in the Mind of Cardinal Ratzinger
Church near the year 2000 in the mind of Cardinal Ratzinger was
the title of the lecture given by Bishop Tissier in a conference
Conference in Dublin on May 10, 1998. In it, he compared views
expressed by Cardinal Ratzinger in his recent book – ‘Salt of
the Earth’ – with traditional teaching on the 4 distinguishing
Marks of the Catholic Church. What follows is a brief summary
of the Bishop’s address.
The Catholic Church is ONE in her Faith, Worship and Government.
All its members believe the same truths, possess the same sacraments
and sacrifice and are under one visible head – the Pope – who is
the Vicar of Christ and the successor of St. Peter.
But according to Cardinal Ratzinger, who is Prefect of the Pope’s
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Church no longer
has the crystalline form it previously possessed and is now, necessarily,
diversified to suit the different cultures which exist throughout
the world. This view of the Cardinal can only mean that, having
been accommodated to suit different cultures, the Catholic Faith
has changed in different parts of the world. In other words, the
Unity or oneness of the Church has been violated.
The Cardinal further asserts that there is a hierarchy in the truths
of things, thus implying that some truths are more important than
others (which is true), that minor truths merit less attention and
that the most important need is to grasp the heart of the Faith.
This is not true, because the denial or neglect of the smallest
article of Faith can lead to the collapse of the whole structure
and the loss of the Faith. Sad to say, the Cardinal’s attitude
seems to encourage men and women to lose the Faith as it suggests
that a divided Faith is acceptable and that unity of Faith is no
longer necessary for the unity of the Church. Catholics must reject
the Cardinal’s assertion and persevere in their belief that the
Catholic Faith is indivisible.
MARK – HOLY
The Church is able to produce constantly and increasingly new Saints
in every century. It is of her very nature to do so.
his book, the Cardinal puts forward some new ideas about the sanctity
of the Church. For example, he regards Catholics who have divorced
and re-married as “poor people who cannot go to Communion like
the others”. His concern seems to be more that of a sociologist
than of a Shepherd of souls. Those he calls ‘poor people’
are living in sin; they must abandon their sinful liaisons and regain
the state of grace through the Sacrament of Penance. Then they
may go to communion ‘like the others…’ One is forced to
conclude that, in the eyes of Cardinal Ratzinger, the sanctity of
its members is no longer so important in the Church. But, if the
Church were to tolerate ‘living in sin’ she would no longer
MARK – CATHOLIC
The Church is Catholic because of the Mission entrusted to Her by
Her Founder, Our Lord Jesus Christ. He sent His Apostles to teach
all nations, “Baptising them in the Name of the Father and of
the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold! I am with you all
days even to the consummation of the world.” (Mt. xxviii, 18-20)
The Divine Mission remains and must remain until the end of time.
All peoples are called to be members of the Catholic Church in what
may be described as human diversity in a supernatural unity.
Cardinal Ratzinger has put forward other ideas in his book for he
writes that we must perhaps renounce the idea of one Church that
embraces all peoples. He says we live in a New Age where the Church
is becoming like the tiny mustard seed mentioned in the Gospel,
consisting of little groups spread around the world – a Church comprising
minorities of committed and concerned Christians. Surely this concept
of the Catholic Church is at variance with Our Lord’s commands to
His Apostles. Let us remain faithful to that command and reject
the Cardinal’s false concept. That concept is, in fact, evidence
of the ruinous state of the Conciliar Church and yet another proof
that the Christian virtue has been lost by many within that Church.
MARK – APOSTOLIC
The Church is Apostolic because it is the Church which Jesus Christ
founded on His Apostles; the Popes of these days are the successors
of St. Peter; the Bishops of these days are the successors of the
other Apostles; the Faith of today is the same as the Faith of the
the teaching power of the Church, her Magisterium, the Cardinal
writes … “our power is very thin nowadays”, thus implying
that the power of both Pope and Bishops has ebbed away to a great
extent. He goes on to say that the Bishops of the world must appeal
to their Theologians. Does this mean that Bishops can no longer
teach the Catholic Faith without consulting their Theologians?
If so, is this not contrary to Our Lord’s entrusting the office
of teaching to the Apostles and their successors, the bishops?
The Cardinal’s words to strengthen what has been described as the
Dictatorship of the Theologians, which began at Vatican II and has
not ceased to injure the Church. His calling Bishops the ‘representatives
of the faith of their Dioceses’ is very strange. It suggests
that a Bishop must now follow his flock (what if the flock should
stray into heresy?) instead of leading it and feeding it with sound
doctrine. These views of Cardinal Ratzinger are also unacceptable
and another manifestation of the failure of the Conciliar Church.
Let us reject them and remain faithful to the Catholic Faith which,
by the grace of God, has been defended successfully by Archbishop
Lefebvre and those loyal to the Church’s Tradition in Ireland and
St. John’s Bulletin, No. 54)