Newsletter of the District
art Peter and upon this Rock I shall build My Church, and the gates
of hell shall not prevail against it”
(Mt XVI, 18).
12, another document was signed by high ranked Church authorities
which should cause any informed Catholic much worries. This document
must be seen in the line of other documents and meetings that have
taken place in the last years on the subject of Papal Primacy. In
December 1996, a Symposium was held in Rome on this issue. Last
November 18, 1998, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith published in the Osservatore Romano some reflections,
by Cardinal Ratzinger and his secretary, on this theme. Now, another
step ‘forward’ has been made with the latest May document.
of this document should be understood in the light of the rules
of discernment of spirits: all that shine isn’t gold! The document’s
title is “Donum Auctoritatis - The gift of Authority” as
it deals with authority in the Church. The cause of the worries
is that this document was jointly prepared and approved by the Roman
Catholic Church and the Anglican Church, through the ‘Anglican
Roman Catholic International Commission,’ known as ARCIC for short.
is a good example of how to use well-known words but changing and
emptying them of their usual meaning. This is actually said explicitly
in the first of two notes at the end of the document, following
the list of members of the commission. Here is the note:
with ecumenical usage, the capitalized word “Tradition” here
refers to "the Gospel itself, transmitted from generation to
generation in and by the Church," while the uncapitalised word
‘tradition’ refers to "the traditionary process,"
the handing-on of the revealed truth (The Fourth World Conference
on Faith and Order, Montreal 1963, Section II, para. 39). The plural
‘traditions’ refers to the peculiar features of liturgy, theology,
canonical and ecclesial life in the various cultures and faith communities.
These uses, however, often cannot be sharply distinguished. When
'tradition' is capitalized at the beginning of a sentence, context
must determine sense. The phrase ‘apostolic Tradition’ refers to
the content of what has been transmitted from apostolic times and
continues to be the foundation of Christian life and theology.
truly ironic that in such a Vatican approved document - the product
of five years of dialogue, patient listening, study and prayer
- the definition of the very word Tradition is taken from
Protestantism: “the Gospel itself”, that is, Sola Scriptura.
For it is for the same word, in its true Catholic sense however,
that Archbishop Lefebvre was condemned in 1988! In Ecclesia
Dei Adflicta, Archbishop Lefebvre was said not to have the right
notion of Tradition, of ‘Living Tradition’. Now, we know why!
We need to ask the successors of Henry VIII to tell us the new meaning
of Tradition! Miserere mei, Deus!
14 of Donum Auctoritatis, on ‘Tradition and Authority,’ we
are also deep in Protestant teaching, echoed in the expression so
dear to modern Church authorities of ‘Living Tradition’:
Tradition is a dynamic process, communicating to each generation
what was delivered once for all to the apostolic community. Tradition
is far more than the transmission of true propositions concerning
salvation. A minimalist understanding of Tradition that would limit
it to a storehouse of doctrine and ecclesial decisions is insufficient.
The Church receives, and must hand on, all those elements that are
constitutive of ecclesial communion: baptism, confession of the
apostolic faith, celebration of the Eucharist, leadership by an
down here to only 2 sacraments constitutive of the ecclesial communion:
baptism and the celebration of the Eucharist ! Are
the other 5 Sacraments not also constitutive of the Church?
of Trent, Session 7, Can. 1: If anyone says that the sacraments
of the New Law were not all instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ,
or that there are more or less than seven, namely, baptism, confirmation,
Eucharist, penance, extreme unction, order and matrimony, or that
any one of these seven is not truly and intrinsically a sacrament,
let him be anathema.
move on to the purpose of this document: the Primacy of the Pope.
I come to the practical conclusion of many pages.
57, dealing with the issues facing Roman Catholics, the well known
principle of false democracy is applied at all level not only of
the Church but also with regards to other denominations. Collegiality
is interpreted as the right of everyone to get involved in the decision
making process: bishops, clergy, laity, and even non Catholics.
Since “above all, how will the Roman Catholic Church address
the question of universal primacy as it emerges from "the patient
and fraternal dialogue" about the exercise of the office of
the Bishop of Rome to which John Paul II has invited “church leaders
and their theologians”? That means that we should ask non-Catholic
“church leaders and their theologians” how we should understand
the Primacy. It sounds very much like asking the same “church
leaders and their theologians” how we should understand the
Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, what prayers we should remove, etc.
Doesn’t this ring a bell?
“for the sake of ‘koinonia’ and a united Christian witness to
the world, Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops should find ways
of cooperating and developing relationships of mutual accountability
in their exercise of oversight’. (No.58)
meetings should be organized between Catholic bishops and Anglican
‘bishops’, “serious consideration could also be given to the
association of Anglican bishops with Roman Catholic bishops in their
ad limina visits to Rome. Wherever possible, bishops should take
the opportunity of teaching and acting together in matters of faith
and morals” (no.59)
of faith and moral? Only the Catholic Church has the true faith.
Only the Catholic Church keeps faithfully the Ten Commandments.
The Anglicans recognize only two sacraments, deny the value of good
works, the role of Our Lady, the existence of Purgatory, etc. They
accept abortion, contraception. Now, we should “take the opportunity
of teaching and acting together in matters of faith and morals”???
‘in cauda venenum – poison is in the tail,’ in the last 3 paragraphs
of the text, the Primacy given to Peter and his successors is redefined
in its nature and in its exercise. A new type of pope is in the
making here. Read on:
We envisage a primacy that will even now help to uphold the legitimate
diversity of traditions, strengthening and safeguarding them in
fidelity to the Gospel. It will encourage the churches in their
mission. This sort of primacy will already assist the Church on
earth to be the authentic catholic ‘koinonia’ in which unity does
not curtail diversity, and diversity does not endanger but enhances
unity. It will be an effective sign for all Christians as to how
this gift of God builds up that unity for which Christ prayed.
a universal primate will exercise leadership in the world and also
in both communions, addressing them in a prophetic way. He will
promote the common good in ways that are not constrained by sectional
interests, and offer a continuing and distinctive teaching ministry,
particularly in addressing difficult theological and moral issues.
A universal primacy of this style will welcome and protect theological
enquiry and other forms of the search for truth, so that their results
may enrich and strengthen both human wisdom and the Church's faith.
Such a universal primacy might gather the churches in various ways
for consultation and discussion.
Lord Jesus Christ not found a Church 1966 years ago? Has he not
given to Peter the duty to feed the sheep i.e. all the bishops?
Where has this Church been for the last 2000 years if we should
begin only now to define its primate? Has the world, the Church,
just begun? It seems so by reading the above text. “Let’s start
all over again!” Such is the profound meaning of the word:
certainly in view of such errors that Vatican I condemned infallibly,
already in 1870, the role of the Pope understood simply as a primate
of honor, a sort of president, arbiter, guaranteeing peace among
Therefore, if anyone says that blessed Peter the apostle
was not appointed by Christ the Lord as prince of all the apostles
and visible head of the whole Church militant; or that it was
a primacy of honor only and not one of true and proper jurisdiction
that he directly and immediately received from Our Lord Jesus Christ
himself: let him be anathema.
the very years of Vatican II, from November 1962 until the end of
1965, a highly respectable Italian epigraphist, Dr. Margherita Guarducci,
with the help of one of Italy’s most famous anthropologist, Dr.
Venerando Correnti, succeeded in identifying the bones of the Apostle
St Peter, which had been lying since the first century underneath
the main altar of St Peter’s basilica. All the objections against
the authenticity of the relics were answered authoritatively by
Dr. Guarducci. There were no escape. These were the bones of Peter.
Peter did come to Rome, did die in Rome, upon his tomb Constantine
did build the first Basilica in honor of the Prince of the Apost.les.
Dr. Guarducci, who died only a few years ago, brought these interesting
facts to light at the moment when ecumenism was beginning to undermine
the Rock. Sadly enough, but not surprisingly, Dr. Guarducci gradually
became persona non grata in the Vatican. She was not even
allowed at the end to visit the excavations underneath St Peter’s.
I highly recommend the reading of the wonderful book of J.E. Walsh
The Bones of St Peter (available from Our Lady of Victories
[make checks payable to St. Thomas Aquinas Book Center] for P250
– in the Philippines -, or US$10 – outside the Philippines - post
included). The author wrote this book in the early 1980s, thus
having a great abundance of material available. It strengthens one’s
faith in Rome, in Romanitas, in the Rock upon which Our Lord
Jesus Christ built His Church and which the gates of Hell will never
succeed in destroying.
it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with
this Church, on account of its preeminent authority -- that is,
the faithful everywhere -- inasmuch as the Apostolic Tradition has
been preserved continuously by those who are everywhere.
hanc enim Ecclesiam propter potentiorem principalitatem necesse
est omnem convenire ecclesiam, hoc est eos qui sunt undique fideles,
in qua semper ab his qui sunt undique, conservata est ea quae est
ab apostolis traditio.” - St Irenaeus
Fathers Soliman and Salvador pose with some of our faithful
from Iligan City, Philippines
after a Mass last July 20, 1999.