A Case Study In Modern-Day Donatism
by I Shawn McElhinney

I would not be so concerned if this were something from outside the Church. But when each one takes as his mission to criticize everything, when each one sets out to rewrite dogma and morality according to his own wishes, the Church disintegrates. When the center of unity becomes the target of the most impassioned attacks, each one feeling that he has the right to criticize the successor of Peter before the whole world on any point whatsoever, the Church herself is therefore wounded. Those who take this liberty do not fully realize what they are doing. Regardless of what pretext they may invoke, however, they are turning their backs on the gospel of Christ, and they scandalize, in the fullest sense of the word, many of their brethren.
Whether they wish to or not, they encourage the formation of small groups whose sectarian pretensions are equalled only by the poverty of their spirituality. The weakening of faith is coupled with the decomposition of the Christian community. They insult all those who hold on to what their faith requires of them as Christians. Inasmuch as it depends on them, they ruin the Church. A Church in which this form of disorder exists and where such morals are accepted is doomed. [1]
This is an examination of a recent letter from Superior General Bishop Bernard Fellay of the SSPX to Cardinal Castillo Hoyos of the Pontifical Ecclesia Dei commission. The intention is to present a case study in modern day Donatism. The letter is posted in its entirety and some clarifying commentary has been added to bring up some points worth a brief examination. Bishop Fellay’s words will be in Georgia font and in smaller bold print. All references to myself, when needed, will be indirect.
[Most Eminent Lord,
It is with my eyes fixed on the Sacred Heart, whose feast we celebrate today, that I implore, according to his own desire, of His mercy, that it might deign to impregnate the lines that follow with his light and his charity.
The Jesuit, Bishop Pierre Henrici, at the time secretary of Communio, said in a conference on the development of the Council that at Vatican II two theological traditions, that are deep down incomprehensible to one another, entered into collision.
Your letter of May 7 caused me similar sentiments of incomprehension and of disappointment.]
The attitude taken by SSPX throughout this entire negotiation has given this writer sentiments of incomprehension and disappointment. In this writer’s treatise A Prescription Against 'Traditionalism', the problematical (and erroneous) 'traditionalist' protocol was outlined. Thus far, Bishop Fellay is unfortunately acting perfectly on-script.
[We have the impression that you are trying to force us to make a choice: either we are to enter into full communion, and then we must be silent concerning the great evils that afflict the Church, that is in the absence of a golden cage, we must accept a muzzle; or we are to stay "outside". We refuse to be forced to chose between each of these alternatives. ]
What would be asked of the SSPX is that they actually develop a proper understanding of what they are critical of. The aforementioned treatise highlights dozens of grave theological errors of various so-called 'traditionalist' groups (including SSPX who was directly implicated in the work). Bishop Fellay is composing a false dichotomy here. If he thinks one is expected to sit by quietly while problems in the Church persist than he cannot be more mistaken. But at the same time, he needs to realize that Archbishop Lefebvre was theologically a very unstable individual whatever one wants to say about his personal piety. (Which for the record this writer does not question in the slightest.) The Archbishop was badly formed in overall theology. Yet in the Society, his word is taken as more authoritative than that of the pope. The SSPX can claim otherwise but their only interest is seemingly in a paper Magisterium that they interpret for themselves. Thus, they are properly styled as "Protestants of the right".
[On the one hand, we have never left the Church. ]
Luther said the same thing about himself. Again, if we trusted the Church’s judgment with Luther, the Albigensians, Photius (an ancient Lefebvrist arguably), and the Donatists (not to mention countless others) we have no reason to suddenly trust another group of dissenters such as SSPX who makes the same assertions viz. their status in the Church as schismatics of yore. Especially since the Pope himself ratified indeed that they did formally make explicit an already implicit state of schism. (A point dealt with in the treatise linked to above.) What is good for the Donatist goose is good for the Lefebvrist gander. Quid pro quo.
[On the other hand, our present situation that is, without a doubt, uncomfortable, is not the effect of any culpable action on our part, but the consequence of a disastrous situation in the Church, against which we have striven, as far as we could, to protect ourselves. ]
As did the fourth century Donatists. Their situation was the protection of the Church from those who were giving up the Sacred books or burning incense to Caesar in the days of the persecution of Diocletion. St. Opatus of Milve and St. Augustine of Hippo, not to mention a number of other notable Fathers and Saints, cut them no slack for this attitude of segregation from the Church for the sake of "internal purity" or "faith preservation". (All the while the Donatists were claiming that it was not they who left but the Church who left them.) Therefore, neither F. John Loughnan, Stephen Hand, Jack Benedict, Bill Grossklas, Peter Vere, nor this present author should cut any slack to the modern day reincarnation of this ancient schismatic group. Nor should numerous others who were once affiliated with SSPX or sympathetic to their positions or some of their criticisms. (A few of the orthodox Catholics sympathetic to the outcries of abuses and wide-scale abandonment of the faith would include Catholic writers David Armstrong, 'Matt1618', and Dr. Art Sippo - the latter two having co-authored projects with this present writer at one time or another.)
[The various decisions made by Archbishop Lefebvre were dictated by the determination to not lose the Catholic Faith and to survive in the midst of a universal rout that involves even Rome. We call this a "state of necessity".]
But in rejecting the teachings of an Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, not to mention the authentic papal Magisterium of the last 4 popes, the SSPX is NOT holding the Catholic Faith at all. The Catholic Faith is not a buffet-style faith whereby the people can choose what they want and reject what they do not want. And just because the SSPX escapes the letter of the law viz. heresy does not mean that they do not violate both dogma de facto and doctrine both de facto and de jure. (The full ordinary and extraordinary jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff is a dogma denied de facto by every group in schism from the Holy See.) Thus like Luther or Calvin, who likewise felt that the Church’s horrid condition in the late fifteenth to mid sixteenth century justified their departure from her (and of course they claim that they "did not leave" either), the SSPX uses the same excuses to justify their schism. If they are right, than the Fathers such as Opatus and Augustine were wrong in criticizing the Donatists. In this light, the Old Catholics dissent after the "novelties" of Vatican I could potentially have merit also. Likewise the exodus of the so-called "reformer" Calvin on similar grounds (the "corruption" Rome either condoned or to some degree sanctioned) becomes potentially valid as does the Jansenist’s blatant disregard for the Dogmatic Constitution Unigenitus and their criticisms of the so-called "Humanist-influenced" Council of Trent!!! These are all topics dealt with in detail in the aforementioned treatise on so-called 'traditionalism'. There is no way around this that can be sustained with any degree of consistency.
[If we desire to advance beyond the deadlock to which your letter leads, we must change rather profoundly the perspectives, the questions to be asked.
In effect, for Your Eminence:
1. We have broken communion. ]
[2. The reasons that we give to justify our actions, and in particular the episcopal consecrations, are entirely insufficient.]
Correct again.
[For since the Church is holy and the Magisterium is always assisted by the Holy Ghost, the deficiencies that we complain about either do not exist or are simply limited abuses.]
There is no guarantee of the Holy Spirit that the Magisterium would always legislate in the best possible way. The protection of the Holy Spirit only applies to doctrine, dogmatic facts, and secondary truths that are in some manner joined to doctrine and necessary for its protection and transmission. It is true that laws enjoined on the universal church cannot be in opposition to the Natural or Divine Law (this is an area in which the Magisterium is protected) but at the same time that does not mean that a certain policy is necessarily the best one to make. Bishop Fellay and the SSPX are not compelled to believe that the Pauline rite (Novus Ordo) is objectively a better liturgy than the rite of Pope St. Pius V. All that must be held is that the Pauline rite is a valid rite, that it is dogmatically free from error (when said in accordance with its rubrics), and that the Pope for better or worse has the authority to change previous Church law. (And the same is the case in reverse as well viz. the Tridentine rite.) To deny that the pope had the authority to abrogate the Apostolic Constitution Quo Primum is to directly deny the proposition that the pope can change Church laws promulgated by his predecessors. To assert this (as those who claim that Quo Primum cannot be abrogated or indeed that it has not been) is to affirm a proposition of the Gallicans condemned in a Dogmatic Constitution by Pope Alexander VIII. This would be heretical.
[Our problem comes from the fact that our vision of the Church’s history and crises is much too fixed and limited, preventing us from understanding the homogenous evolution brought about by the Council and the subsequent Magisterium, necessitated by different adaptations to today’s world. ]
Partially correct. The vision of the SSPX is indeed too limited - a point this writer dealt with both his treatise as well as other writings. The adaptations necessary to make the Church relevant to today’s world do not apply to matters of doctrine as not one single dogma or doctrine was controverted by the Second Sacrosanct Vatican Ecumenical Synod. However, certain areas in the matter of discipline and government did need attending to as did the manner in which certain doctrines of the faith were expressed. Language unfortunately DOES get antiquated and the problem of many of the manners in which doctrines were commonly conveyed were often wrapped up in the doctrines themselves and presumed to be part and parcel to unchanging "tradition". (This is a point deal with in the aforementioned treatise as well as the subsequent essays Confusing Culture With 'Tradition' and Distinctions of Outlook.)
[3. Rome has been exceedingly generous in offering us the structure that was proposed to us. ]
Let us see, lifting the excommunication and the offer of becoming only the second personal prelature in the Catholic Church - with jurisdiction supplied directly from the Roman Pontiff and answerable only to the Roman Pontiff and not the local ordinaries…this is exceedingly generous. Bishop Fellay should not look a gift-horse in the mouth...
[It would be abusive for us to ask for more, and even perhaps injurious towards the Holy See in these circumstances in which Rome took the initiative. No preliminary can be granted, and especially not the Mass, for it would cause trouble in the Church.]
Under the format of the personal prelature, the SSPX would not need the permission of the Local Ordinaries to set up chapels, perform confirmations, hear confessions, marry people, or licitly offer the Tridentine rite of Mass. (Not "the" Mass but the Tridentine rite. It almost sounds as if Bishop Fellay is denying that the Pauline rite is the Mass as well - under a different rite of celebration.) That they have not jumped on this only confirms in this writer’s mind that the lure of being their own "counter-Magisterium" is still too strong. Lucifer’s temptation to intellectual and personal pride is too powerful a grip for them still it seems — as they still desire to be as gods knowing good from evil (Gen. 3:5).
[It seems to me possible to affirm, from our point of view, that, following Popes Pius XII and Paul VI, the Church is presently in a literally apocalyptic condition. It cannot be denied that the dysfunction of the Catholic hierarchy ?Cardinal Seper said "the crisis of the Church is a crisis of bishops" ?omissions, silences, deceptions, tolerance of errors, and even of positively destructive acts even in the Curia, and unfortunately even in the Vicar of Christ. These are public facts that can be seen by ordinary men.]
As this writer and the aforementioned writers have dealt with from a whole host of angles, the grasp of Bishop Fellay and the SSPX (and their theological allies) of Catholic theology and history (both liturgical and church) is profoundly stunted. This does not mean that there are no problems in the Church of course; however the SSPX, due to misunderstandings of certain fundamentals, mix genuine problems with phantoms of their own making and cannot seem to separate the two. This makes them wholly inadequate in being prepared to deal with the problems in the Church today.
[The affirmation of the existence of these facts is not in contradiction with the Faith in the holiness of the Church, nor in the assistance of the Holy Ghost. But here we draw near to the mystery of the Church, of the joining together and coordination of the divine and human elements in the Mystical Body. In order to remain with the truth of the reality we must hold just as much to the affirmations of Faith as to the acknowledgement of the facts.]
Correct. But there is never an excuse for schism. And if the SSPX is not in schism than we can call into question the Donatists and the Novatians (not to mention numerous other historical schisms). Pope Melchiades held a synod at the Lateran palace in 313 and pronounced against the Donatists when the schism was young. Yet the Donatists were still active for about a century afterwards and the Fathers (most notably St. Opatus of Milve and St. Augustine of Hippo) were uncompromising in their condemnation of them. Here are some of the words of Saint Opatus of Milve - whose arguments influenced Saint Augustine’s handling of the Donatists:
You cannot deny that you know that in the city of Rome the Chair was first conferred on Peter, in which the prince of all the Apostles, Peter, sat ... in which Chair unity should be preserved by all, so that he should now be a schismatic and a sinner who should set up another Chair against that unique one. [2]
Of course it is almost a given that Bishop Fellay will say "but we have not set up a rival to the pope the way the Dontatists did". But he would be mistaken. You see, the Donatists did not have an anti-pope or someone claiming to be pope either. St. Opatus was referring to the bishop who acted as pope among the Donatists. He was known as Donatus the Great and was revered by his followers. Here is what the Catholic Encyclopedia said about him:
The Donatist party owed its success in great part to the ability of its leader Donatus, the successor of Majorinus. He appears to have really merited the title of "the Great" by his eloquence and force of character. His writings are lost. His influence with his party was extraordinary…In his lifetime he is said to have greatly enjoyed the adulation he received, and after death he was counted as a martyr and miracles were ascribed to him. [3]
Donatus was basically the Archbishop Lefebvre of the Donatist faction. What was the fate of the Donatists viz. the judgment of Rome??? Again the Catholic Encyclopedia is cited:
Pope Melchiades summoned fifteen Italian bishops to sit with him. From this time forward we find that in all important matters the popes issue their decretal letters from a small council of bishops, and there are traces of this custom even before this. [4]
A small note: how dare Pope Melchiades practice the "heresy" of collegiality, a concept declared by Archbishop Lefebvre to be "against tradition"!!!
The ten Donatist bishops (for we may now give the party its eventual name) were headed by a Bishop Donatus of Casae Nigrae…On the third day the unanimous sentence was pronounced by Melchiades: Caecilian was to be maintained in ecclestiastical communion. If Donatist bishops returned to the Church, in a place where there were two rival bishops, the junior was to retire and be provided with another see. The Donatists were furious. A hundred years later their successor declared that Pope Melchiades was himself a traitor, and that on this account they had not accepted his decision; though there is no trace of this having been alleged at the time. But the nineteen bishops at Rome were contrasted with the seventy bishops of the Cathaginian Council, and a fresh judgment was demanded. [5]
As the great philosopher Yogi Berra once said "it is de ja vu all over again". How dare the Fathers act so uncompromisingly towards the Donatists when the group claimed that they were not in schism. Why if declaring the pope a traitor gave the Donatists an excuse to not accept his decision, than the SSPX has merit in their refusal to accept the verdict of Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei Adflicta. However, if the Donatists were wrong in opposing the pope’s judgment, than the SSPX are wrong today. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. The two situations are virtually identical. Both involved parties which sought to "purify" themselves from the rest of the Church (as if they were somehow "more holy" or "more traditional") and both rejected the judgment of the pope as to their standing viz. communion in the Church. But there is no need to stop with the Donatists when there is so many other wonderful examples of the SSPX’s allies over the centuries. Shall we list a few of them???

St. Hippolytus was not a schismatic, why no he was "preserving tradition". (It was Pope Callistus I who was the schismatic, who was selling the Faith down the river.) The Acacian schism was not the fault of the Emperors and the entire Eastern Patriarchy. (Instead, it was the popes who were the ones in schism.) As for Photius and Popes Nicholas I, Hadrian II, and John VIII, why we know it was Photius who was "preserving tradition" and the Popes who were controverting it. Likewise with the Eastern schism - it was not Constantinople who was at fault it was Rome. (Need Fr. Martin Luther and his accusation of the pope being if not "anti-christ" then at least "his apostle" be mentioned??? After all, it is not as if Fr. Luther did not have his own excuses for failing to heed the authority of the Apostolic See.)

Yes the amazing shredding cloak of the Catholic Church over the centuries…somehow she survives despite being "wrong" so many times. The aforementioned situations were far less cut and dried than the SSPX situation in 1988. Therefore, if we call into question the judgment of Pope John Paul II on the status of the SSPX being in communion with him, than we have a free hand to call into question a lot of the events of the past. Or we can be consistent and recognize that all the other groups claiming that they were not in schism did not change the objective fact that they were. We know this the same way we know that the earlier schismatics and heresarchs were wrong:  judgment against them was rendered by the Supreme Authority.

[The First Vatican Council, in the affirmation of the infallibility of the Sovereign Pontiff, explicitly gave the limits to the assistance of the Holy Ghost:
"The Holy Ghost was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of Faith, and might faithfully set it forth." (Db 1836 in The Sources of Catholic Dogma, p. 456).]
Correct. However, the SSPX in denying that the Church since Vatican II has faithfully set forth the revelation transmitted by the Apostles and the Depositum Fidei, acts by implication as their own Magisterium in judgment of the actual Magisterium of the Church. They act in other words as "Protestants of the right", a point this author highlighted throughout his treatise on 'traditionalism'.
[Obviously, we adhere with our whole heart to the paragraphs of Pastor Aeternus [Vatican I Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ; Ed.] that follow, as well as to Dei filius [Vatican I Dogmatic Constitution concerning the Catholic Faith; Ed.].]
Hopefully in claiming that they adhere to the paragraphs from ch. 4 paragraph 13 onward of Pastor Aeternus, they are not implying that they do not adhere to the previous 12 paragraphs of chapter 4 and the 3 chapters previous to it. (For basically they explicitly refer to two paragraphs and the list of solemn canons.) Presumably they do not infer this. However, if we were to treat the SSPX with the same degree of suspicion that they do the Magisterium since 1958, the assertion would have to be made that by their words they are explicitly denying that they affirm the majority of the Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus.
[But it is precisely here that we draw closest to the heart of the present mystery. For it is in this regard that can be found the novelties of the new theology, that were condemned by the Church under Pius XII, and that were introduced into Vatican II. ]
More errors that are dealt with in the aforementioned treatise and additional writings of this present author.
[How can we explain that the Council’s great names, its expert theologians, were all sanctioned under Pius XII? De Lubac, Congar, Rahner, Courtney-Murray, Dom Beaudoin (who died just before the Council), and to go back a little further Blondel, Teilhard de Chardin...]
Does Bishop Fellay actually believe that there were no politics involved in the sanctioning of certain theologians during the first half of the twentieth century??? Conger, de Lubac, and Blondel were unfairly maligned as Newman and Aquinas before them - points dealt with in the author’s treatise on so-called 'traditionalism'. Bishop Fellay is right about Teilhard de Chardin and in the opinion of this writer some of the work of Karl Rahner. As far as Courtney-Murray, Bishop Fellay’s take is much too simplistic. Yes Courtney-Murray’s thesis did not resolve the apparent conflict between the earlier papal teachings and the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae. However, Murray did seek to reconcile them and in his defense he gave much more deference to the Magisterium than Lefebvre ever did (to say nothing of the officers of the SSPX). It is unfortunate that Fr. Murray’s theory of church and state has been taken as what the position of Vatican II actually was. However, this assertion, though widely held today, is actually quite erroneous as Fr. Brian W. Harrison outlines quite well in the following two part study titled "John Courtney Murray: A Reliable Interpreter Of Dignitatis Humanae?". It can be read in two parts located here and here courtesy of the Living Tradition forum.
[They would have us believe today that these novelties are but a development in conformity with the past. They were already condemned, at least in their principles.]
Neither de Lubac, Congar, Danielou, nor Blondel were ever condemned (though they were censured by the CDF and thus under some suspicion). However, Bishop Fellay you cannot have it both ways. You cannot speak of the limits of the Holy Spirit on the Magisterium and then presume that a mere censure is thereby infallible. (Even if the censure was approved by the Pope.) Since cenures are not matters of doctrine but are instead of discipline, you are manifestly inconsistent - as is any self-styled 'traditionalist' who speaks ill of Congar, de Lubac, Danielou, or Blondel - to claim that the theologies of any of these men were condemned when they were not. In fact, Congar and de Lubac - along with Danielou and some others - were rehabilitated and rightfully so. (Since they were targets of a Curia filled with manual theologians intent on persecuting all who did not agree with their approach to theology.) Blondel died in 1949 but he worked strenuously before he died to demonstrate the compatibility of his theological methods with Magisterial teaching. The rehabilitation of Fr. de Lubac and Fr. Congar cannot be seen as anything more then the Magisterium in the Roman Pontiff recognizing that their teachings were acceptable theologically. Censures are not ipso facto condemnations. There is also the censure of a teaching as "rash" or "proximate to error" which is not a condemnation as much as a warning. If these men had been condemned in their theology they would not have been able to be rehabilitated as they were.

Minor censures though were another matter completely - and is another example of how fine distinctions are lost on the 'traditionalist' such as Bishop Bernard Fellay. It is funny that self-styled 'traditionalists' go out of their way to pontificate as to the extent of the pope’s infallibility (as if infallibility is the criterion of obedience). They narrow the infallibility of the pope down to the most minimal of degrees then presume that a censure from the Holy Office is somehow an infallible condemnation with regards to the theologians of the twentieth century whom they personally do not like. Yet there are even Catholic apologists of a 'traditionalist' bend who are in communion with Rome who would lump Congar and de Lubac in with others such as Teilhard or even Rahner: two parties who can rightfully be listed as if not Modernist then at least Modernist-sympathizing or ambiguous. Courtney-Murray, though ultimately unable to reconcile his thesis on Church-State relations (which unfortunately is often taken as the teaching of Vatican II on Religious Liberty), was not unwilling to be obedient to the Magisterium (unlike someone like Kung or Lefebvre). Nonetheless, the mere censure from the Curia is hardly as authoritative as the Roman Pontiff himself passing judgment on the objective standing of a party in the Catholic Church. If the Popes declare in a formal manner that a certain party does not have his communion, then they are in schism.

God will judge those who would rebelliously set up another Chair against the Chair of Peter and not repent of this before they die. This does not only mean going to the extent of setting up an antipope though. Indeed any group which severs the bond of sacred communion with the Roman Pontiff puts the salvation of their adherents in serious jeopardy. One of the principles of the Church throughout history is to draw the truth from error and this has included the previously condemned heresies and erroneous philosophies. Heresy is evil and evil is a perversion of the good. But every heresy has some grains of truth to it as heresy is best described as the most vile of lies: the half-truth. In opposition to a complete lie (which is not as successful in snaring unsuspecting victims), a half-truth contains truth to it mixed in with its error. As St. Vincent of Lerens in his Commonitory explained it:

For [heretics] know that the evil stench of their doctrine will hardly find acceptance with any one if it be exhaled pure and simple…They do, in fact, what nurses do when they would prepare some bitter draught for children; they smear the edge of the cup all round with honey, that the unsuspecting child, having first tasted the sweet, may have no fear of the bitter. So too do these act, who disguise poisonous herbs and noxious juices under the names of medicines, so that no one almost, when he reads the label, suspects the poison. [6]
This is why the Magisterium has historically extracted what is true from false theologies and philosophies. She does this to preserve what is true and leaves the errors by the wayside. The first step in this process is to condemn the errors themselves. (This was done with the errors of the post-Enlightenment period by the pre-Vatican II popes as well as by Vatican I.) The next step is to filter from the errors what is true. St. Thomas Aquinas did this with Aristotelian philosophy and the Arabic philosophies of Averros and Avicenna. The Magisterium both in the papal Magisterium of the Popes before Vatican II, at Vatican II, and since the Council have likewise done this with the errors of Rationalism, Antiquarianism, and Modernism. The wolves since the Council have wrapped themselves up in the "fleece" of Vatican II and have preached a Gospel that the Council in no way taught. (A point this writer and the other aforementioned authors have dealt with repeatedly.) Bishop Fellay is right that there is a lot of error masquerading as "truth" today. He however errs in ascribing these problems to what the Council taught or the tired pathetic excuse that the Council’s documents were "ambiguous". Language can always be twisted regardless of the intentions of the authors and that Vatican II had a few apparent ambiguities is hardly irregular. All Councils and Magisterial documents have them to some extent. The documents of Vatican II read just fine for the most part. There are a few spots that could be argued are ambiguous but that is common to all General Councils and the CDF can add a few clarification notes where needed to correct this situation.
[Cardinal Ratzinger himself called Gaudium et spes a counter-Syllabus. (Theologishce Prinzipienlehre, p. 398, Erich Wewel Verlag, Muchen, 1982). ]
Because it is. The Syllabus condemned certain erroneous philosophies and Gaudium Et Spes took up what was correct in the philosophies condemned and harnessed those elements in the service of the Gospel. As it was a positive integration of the elements of truth that these false philosophies contained, the Constitution Gaudium Et Spes indeed was a "counter-Syllabus" not only in this sense but also its longer more detailed characteristic being the antithesis of the brief Syllabus of Errors.

But was the approach taken by Vatican II to draw from these erroneous philosophies the seeds of truth that they contained therefore an erroneous approach??? Certainly not. This is what St. Thomas Aquinas did with Aristotle, and what St. Augustine and the earlier Fathers did with Plato. And this is what St. Paul did in his preaching at Mars Hill along with St. John’s Gospel incorporating the Greek theology of the Divine Logos in explaining Our Lord as the "Word of God". (See John 1:1 for a Scripture verse read at the end of every Tridentine Mass which affirms this.) The Church’s approach has not changed. It is only those who claim to be "preserving tradition" who have too much tunnel-vision to see the forest for the trees.

[We have therefore necessarily to make a choice.
To make these doctrines acceptable, it is not enough that they were afterwards approved by a Council that chose not to be dogmatic. ]
Infallibility of a General Council is intrinsic to its very nature and does not depend upon defining dogmas to be an effective charism. There is a distinction that the SSPX fails to make in their facile separation of dogmatic and pastoral as an excuse to controvert the authority of an Ecumenical Council like schismatics and heretics from days of yore. That separation is between dogmas credenda and doctrines tenenda. Both are infallible and require the same degree of assent. Vatican II taught several doctrines tenenda but no dogmas credenda. Doctrines tenenda do not require any particular formulas or specific language to be set forth as definitive and binding. (Or to use the oft-abused term "infallibly".) Thus by denying the Council’s teachings or refusing to assent to them is to sever oneself from the Church into a state of schism. Not all teachings of the Council would fit this criteria of definitive status; however even the lowest level teaching is still at the level of the ordinary magisterium requiring religious submission of will and intellect. To quote the Cardinal Prefect on the matter, teachings of the authentic magisterium are:
[A]ll those teachings - on faith and morals - presented as true or at least as sure, even if they have not been defined with a solemn judgment or proposed as definitive by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. Such teachings are, however, an authentic expression of the ordinary Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff or of the College of Bishops and therefore require religious submission of will and intellect. They are set forth in order to arrive at a deeper understanding of revelation, or to recall the conformity of a teaching with the truths of faith, or lastly to warn against ideas incompatible with these truths or against dangerous opinions that can lead to error.
A proposition contrary to these doctrines can be qualified as erroneous or, in the case of teachings of the prudential order, as rash or dangerous and therefore "tuto doceri non potest".[7]
At a bare minimum one can qualify the assertions of the SSPX as "erroneous", when they controvert the teachings of the Council in the various documents set forth. The Decrees were primarily (though not exclusively) promulgated to warn against ideas incompatible with the truths of the faith and against dangerous opinions which can lead to error. The Declarations of teaching from the Council (of which there were three set forth) are even higher in authority then the Decrees. These were set forth primarily to arrive at a deeper understanding of revelation (most notably Dignitatis Humanae and Nostra Aetate, which specifically set forth to develop doctrine). The Constitutions are of the highest authority and deal with fundamental aspects of the faith. Included among these fundamental documents is a Constitution on the Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), and a primarily (but not exclusively) Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes). There were also two Dogmatic Constitutions as mentioned previously. (One on the Church and one on Divine Revelation which were promulgated by the Council to finish the work of Vatican I.) This writer dealt with the two Dogmatic Constitutions — which form part of the Church’s Credo - in his treatise. They were addressed with regards to several teachings contained therein that were clearly set forth definitively (and thus infallibly) in a non-defining manner. But levels of infallibility are not what makes these documents authoritative. Instead, what makes them binding is the authority of the Pope who promulgated them with his Apostolic authority as Pastor of the Universal Church in union with the Fathers of the Sacred Council.

Authority is not contingent upon a teaching being infallible. This ironically is a version of one of the errors condemned in Bl. Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus. Error twenty-two read as follows: "The obligation by which Catholic teachers and authors are strictly bound is confined to those things only which are proposed to universal belief as dogmas of faith by the infallible judgment of the Church." The modification of the modern 'traditionalist' error stems in presuming that infallibility is the criterion of truth. This is not true at all and has never been viewed as a legitimate opinion to hold by the Magisterium.

[The seal of a vote does not transform an error into infallible truth.]
At a General Council, the promulgation of a document by the Pope and the Bishops acting in union with him is sufficient to guarantee the protection of doctrinal or moral error. That does not mean that the documents are verbally inspired of course, only that they are protected from teaching doctrinal or moral error by the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28).

Bishop Fellay has again confused truth with infallibility. A truth does not have to be infallible to be true. Nor does it have to be infallible to command obedience. But as we have already dealt with this common 'traditionalist' (and liberal/modernist) error, there is no need to rehash it at this point.

[In fact we have only to read Msgr. Felici’s response to the Council on the question of its own infallibility (Notification of November 16, 1964, DH 4350-4351).]
Msgr. Felici said nothing about the Council teaching non-infallibly. The Appendix note that Bishop Fellay refers to merely stated that there were no dogmatic definitions. Dogmatic definitions are infallible certainly but infallibility is not contingent upon a matter being dogmatically defined. (Nor must a teaching be defined to be infallibly set forth.) Here is the referred to note in full for a better examination:
A query has been made as to what is the theological qualification to be attached to the teaching put forward in the schema The Church, on which a vote is to be taken.
The doctrinal commission has replied to this query in appraising the modi proposed to the third chapter of the schema The Church:
As is self-evident, the conciliar text is to be interpreted in accordance with the general rules, which are known to all. On this occasion the doctrinal commission referred to its Declaration of 6 March, 1964, which we reproduce here:
Taking into account conciliar practice and the pastoral purpose of the present council, the sacred synod defined as binding on the Church only those matters of faith and morals, which it has expressly put forward as such.
Whatever else it proposes as the teaching of the supreme magisterium of the Church is to be acknowledged and accepted by each and every member of the faithful according to the mind of the Council which is clear from the subject matter and its formulation, following the norms of theological interpretation.
The following explanatory note prefixed to the modi of chapter three of the schema The Church is given to the Fathers, and it is according to the mind and sense of this note that the teaching contained in chapter three is to be explained and understood.[8]
In other words, any teaching pertaining to faith or morals that is set forth expressly in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium as binding is binding. This does not mean that there is any necessary formula to indicate that it is set forth of course. For practical purposes a simple "this synod teaches" or a similar expression is adequate to convey the intention of the synod to hand on binding teaching if it is a matter of faith or morals. Anything else proposed was to be accepted in accordance with the mind of the Council as made clear by the subject matter and its manner of formulation. The "norms of theological interpretation" would clarify that there are different levels of teaching in the three different documents promulgated. (In order of authority would be the two Dogmatic Constitutions followed by the two regular Constitutions. Following these would be the three Declarations of teaching. Following these would be the nine Decrees.) The documents of the Council have differing levels of teaching within them and thus, different theological qualifications. This writer goes over the situation to some extent in his treatise outlining a number of teachings in both Dogmatic Constitutions that are set forth definitively. This is ascertainable by virtue of the language used in their formulation, and the documents in question (Dogmatic Constitutions: by their very nature dealing with issues of faith and morals). This does not mean that only Lumen Gentium and Dei Verbum contain definitive teachings of course, only that those teachings are the most obvious - by virtue of the form of teaching used — to have been set forth infallibly. (Their incorporation into the Catechism of the Catholic Church as doctrine only underscores this assertion.)

However, the predominant approach to the Vatican II Council was to reaffirm previous teachings in more modern idioms for greater understanding. There was also the expressed intention of developing doctrine in a few areas (the Constitution Gaudium Et Spes and the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae to name a couple that come to mind) as well as settling some theological controversies. The latter was dealt with primarily in the two Dogmatic Constitutions. The Church is infallible with regards to theological conclusions and there were several theological controversies that Vatican II took a distinct position on which were later incorporated into the Catechism of the Catholic Church as doctrine. These doctrines though undefined would be infallibly rendered.

It is nuances such as these that theological amateurs do not properly comprehend. And beyond a shadow of doubt, the theological formulation of Bishop Fellay and others within the SSPX is deficient in proper understanding on these matters. That unfortunately is not a franchise that they own the exclusive rights to since even Tridentine Catholics make mistakes in these areas. So do many so-called "conservatives". (And the errors of the liberal dissenters on this score are legion.) Because of this, we have a Magisterium to guide us and divine assistance is not lacking simply because a certain teaching is not set forth in a recognizably definitive manner. This is why religious submission of mind and will to the teachings of the ordinary magisterium pertaining to matters of faith and morals is required. True "Traditionalists" do not seek to skirt this obligation or explain away its necessity with arguments borrowed from heretics and schismatics.

[Furthermore, the problem of the Council is not primarily one of individual interpretations. It comes as well from its lack of precision in the use of terms, and its willful ambiguities (as one of the Council’s experts said), that make several differing interpretations possible. ]
Rubbish. The texts themselves reference numerous previous magisterial documents, particularly documents from the two previous General Councils and the papal magisterium of Pope Pius XII, word for word in decisive points. This makes it clear that whatever interpretation is given to certain terms that if it runs contrary to previous magisterial teachings properly understood (highlighting in bold another common 'traditionalist' error here), then the interpretation is a faulty one. This author has no problems at all in seeing Vatican II as perfectly in line with the previous teachings of the Magisterium, both ordinary and extraordinary, and likewise all developments taught in the documents as authentic developments of doctrine. But then to realize this involves studying the teachings of the Council with the proper presuppositions. The first and most elementary presupposition is a sixteen hundred plus year old principle that does not change: the principle that a General Council cannot teach error doctrinally or morally at any level when the teachings are enjoined on the universal church. Thus, to claim that error is even possible is to make the promises of Our Lord on the gates of hell not prevailing over the Church a dead letter.

Just as Scripture having God as its Author cannot contain any errors (and does not properly understood), a General Council has as its soul the guidance of the Holy Spirit with regards to what is finally promulgated as binding. And all sixteen documents of the Second Sacrosanct Vatican Ecumenical Synod bear the ratification of the Sovereign Pontiff. Therefore, they are free from doctrinal or moral error and to assert otherwise is to go against the unanimous consensus of the Church on the protection of the Holy Spirit of the doctrinal and moral teachings of a General Council. (An assertion that would be gravely erroneous if not proximate to heresy by the norms of theological interpretation.)

[It also comes from certain interpretations given by the Holy See itself. If one were to follow the Holy See’s own directions, one would end up with Assisi, in the synagogue or the sacred forests of Togo (Pope John Paul II, Audience of August 22, 1986: "Seeing Assisi in the light of the Council").]
The degrees of outright lies and misunderstandings of the SSPX in these areas have been dealt with by the aforementioned authors. What Pope John Paul II did at Assisi is no different than what St. Paul did at Mars Hill using the works of pagan poets to preach the Gospel to the pagan Greeks. St. Paul was evangelizing and preaching the Gospel to everyone he could becoming "all things to all so that I might save some". This is what the Pope and the Catholic Church in the post-Council period are doing (even if in practice it does not always come out as well as it could).
[How does one explain in the light of the Catholic Faith this key phrase of John Paul II’s theology, that clarifies many passages that would otherwise have been incomprehensible: "man is the path of the Church" (in the light of which this passage from Gaudium et spes §22 can be understood: "For, by his incarnation, he, the Son of God, has in a certain way united himself with each man" Cf. Flannery, Vatican Council II, p. 953; Ed.) ]
First, the Austin Flannery edition of Vatican II does not list Gaudium Et Spes §22 on page 953 but instead on page 923. Second, this writer dealt with the latter statement in the aforementioned treatise responding directly to the SSPX’s objection. (It is not a problematical explanation in the slightest since the Constitution itself gives a straightforward answer to the Bishop’s question.) As to the former, context is important and Bishop Fellay is not providing it but instead he is proof-texting. The Pope’s statement in his encyclical The Redeemerof Man  dealt with the Church’s interaction with man and how the salvation of man is the purpose of the Church’s existence. Hence, since the Church’s purpose is to sanctify and save mankind through the merits of Christ (which she communicates through the mass, the sacraments and other helps), the path of the Church is man in the sense of uniting man with his Redeemer. The SSPX in their ever-suspicious quasi-Jansenist outlook cannot seem to take even five minutes to think reasonably on these matters before shrieking about perceived "errors". To this author, it demonstrates in technicolour the theological and intellectual bankruptcy of their movement.
"In the Holy Ghost each person and each people have become, by the cross and the resurrection of Christ, children of God, participating in the divine nature, and heirs of everlasting life" (John Paul II, Message to the peoples of Asia, February 21, 1981, DOC 1894, March 15, 1981, 281).]
What was the context of this statement??? It really gets tiring to read all this text snipping. Stephen Hand accurately refers to this approach by Bishop Fellay as the "Hermeneutics of Suspicion". Without seeing the surrounding context it is not possible to make an accurate observation one way or the other. What you have is in essence someone (Bishop Fellay) who knows that something is wrong in the Church but his solution is to look at small snippets of magisterial documents absent proper context. In doing this he looks for those which read either ambiguously or can be read in a heterodox manner. (Absent context one can manufacture these snippets into infinity, both with the post and pre VC II magisterium.) Since context is lacking there is no way to know what the subject matter of the Pope’s speech back on March 15, 1981 was. But then Bishop Fellay knows this and probably wants it that way so that he can use the opportunity to play the "ambiguity" card so common to those who only read the documents of the Magisterium to prooftext them - be they Orthodox polemicists, Protestant polemicists or "Protestants of the right" such as those who style themselves as 'traditionalists' who play the role of their own magisterium.

This author in his treatise outlined about forty such examples of 'traditionalists' making these kinds of text-snipping criticisms. In every case when the document can be retrieved and the sitz im leben ascertained, there can be shown to be an error on the part of the 'traditionalist' or the statement in context has an obvious orthodox understanding to it. These examples by Bishop Fellay would almost certainly not prove to be exceptions to the rule.

[A Magisterium that contradicts the teaching of the past (for example, between today’s ecumenism and Mortalium animos) is a Magisterium that contradicts itself ]
There is no contradiction whatsoever in doctrine. The Magisterium before issuing guidelines for proper ecumenical protocol had to make a prudential judgment against allowing Catholics to take part in the ecumenical movement. Vatican II in the Decree Unitatis Redintegratio reaffirmed the doctrinal import of the encyclical Mortalium Animos. Proper ecumenical outreach cannot permit indifferentism or the approach of the Pan-Christians mentioned by Pope Pius XI in Mortalium Animos of sacrificing truths of the faith for the sake of unity. Or to quote Unitatis Redintegratio:
"The way and method in which the Catholic faith is expressed should never become an obstacle to dialogue with our brethren. It is, of course, essential that the doctrine should be clearly presented in its entirety. 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.
AT THE SAME TIME, the Catholic faith must be explained more profoundly and precisely, IN SUCH A WAY AND IN SUCH TERMS AS OUR SEPARATED BRETHREN CAN ALSO REALLY UNDERSTAND." [9]
No contradiction of the teaching of the past is present in any doctrinal sense. The policies have changed but that is hardly an irregular occurrence historically. Before Nicaea appropriated and defined the term homoousian in an orthodox manner it was a condemned heretical proposition. The same is the case with ecumenism as the Catholic Church defined it at Vatican II. Pope Pius XI dealt with ecumenism as the Pan Christians defined the term. Vatican II defined the term in a completely different context and set out principles to govern the movement accordingly. (Which in countless cases were ignored.) The differences are clear for those who take five minutes to study the manner with any degree of objectivity. Just because most ecumenists practice the kind of ecumenism that Pope Pius XI condemned is not the fault of Vatican II, which reaffirmed the condemnations of Pope Pius XI and referred to them as "foreign to the spirit of ecumenism". See the quote above for the context or the treatise of the author which examines larger sections of Unitatis Redintegratio. There are no doctrinal contradictions on ecumenism whatsoever between Mortalium Animos and Unitatis Redintegratio. This writer covers this subject in detail in his treatise and also in the essay Distinctions of Outlook.
[(See the Joint Declaration on Justification and the preceding note from Cardinal Cassidy, where is to be found the condemnation and the praise of the term "sister churches") - here lies the painful problem.]
The term "sister churches" does not apply to any ecclesial group that does not have valid succession of the episcopate and valid sacraments. In short, only the Orthodox churches and other Apostolic churches are churches properly so-called. No Protestant group meets this criteria at all. And while Trent was certainly infallible in her pronouncements viz Justification that does not mean that the positions she condemned are necessarily those that modern day Lutherans hold. (Or even that they were the positions held by the Lutherans in the sixteenth century.)
[This crisis in the Magisterium constitutes a problem that it is practically impossible to resolve practically.]
No it does not. The near-impossibility is the problem of the SSPX and other likeminded self-styled 'traditionalists' who remind this writer of the admonishment of Ven. Cardinal John Henry Newman in his Discourses to Mixed Congregations towards the lack of faith that is part and parcel to the Protestant religions:
[I]n spite of so much that is good in them, in spite of their sense of duty, their tenderness of conscience on many points, their benevolence, their uprightness, their generosity, they are under the dominion (I must say it) of a proud fiend; they have this stout spirit within them, they determine to be their own masters in matters of thought, about which they know so little; they consider their own reason better than any one's else; they will not admit that any one comes from God who contradicts their own view of truth. What! is none their equal in wisdom anywhere? Is there none other whose word is to be taken on religion? Is there none to wrest from them their ultimate appeal to themselves? Have they in no possible way the occasion or opportunity of faith? Is it a virtue, which, in consequence of their transcendent sagacity, their prerogative of omniscience, they must give up hope of exercising? [10]
This writer would be interested in Bishop Fellay telling him how what 'traditionalists' do is ANY different in principle then what Protestants habitually do. (Unlike most Protestants a true "Traditionalist" would know better.)
[How are we supposed to have the discernment necessary to distinguish between that which truly belongs to the Magisterium and that which only gives the appearance of doing so?]
If the document is issued by the Pope or by a Vatican Congregation duly approved by the Pope (especially the CDF), it is expressly magisterial. If a document is in Denzinger than it is expressly Magisterial. However, the danger of proof-texting Denzinger the way they prooftext Vatican II and the encyclicals/speeches of Pope John Paul II (and the way Protestants proof-text the Bible) seems to prove too tempting to resist for most dissident self-styled 'traditionalists'.
[Moreover, the nightmare concerns also the Curia and the residential bishops. Here are two very recent examples, taken from a thousand.
Was Bishop Tauran faithful to the Catholic Faith when he declared in the Philippines on June 4, 2001:
"It would be erroneous to consider the faithful believer of another religion as someone to be converted. He is rather someone to be understood, leaving to God the role of enlightening his conscience. Different religions ought not to enter into competition with one another, but should rather be like brothers and sisters who walk hand in hand to construct the channels of brotherhood, building up a good world in which it is possible to live and to work."?]
Yet the nightmares of the Curia in the 1950’s viz. how de Lubac and Congar were treated does not faze the Bishop any it seems. According to an article in Zenit earlier in the year:
Cardinal Yves Congar's intellectual and spiritual stature, as one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century, has been enhanced with the publication of his memoirs of the difficult years, when he was subjected to sanctions by his superiors.
Cardinal Congar (1904-1995) was one of the great theologians of the Second Vatican Council and a pioneer in fields such as ecumenism and the theology of the laity. John Paul II made him a cardinal in 1994, for his long and faithful service to the Church.
Entitled "Journal d'un theologien," published by the French Dominicans' Cerf, the book covers Father Congar's writings from 1946-1956, in which he reveals the restrictive measures and increasing isolation to which he was subjected, by order of the Holy Office, on behalf of his religious superiors.
Father Congar's journal includes a detailed listing of the ecclesiastical sanctions he was bound to obey, without ever having had the possibility of knowing the specific accusations against him. [11]
Yet THIS approach taken by the Curia does not bother Bishop Fellay and his allies??? The article also noted that "Father Congar reacted to the measures with anxiety and, at times, anger, although he always obeyed". This is much more then can be said about Archbishop Lefebvre, who rebelled against the Vatican from 1976 until the day he died. Yet Congar and other who obeyed the censures they were assessed with (such as de Lubac, and Blondel) are vilified by self-styled 'traditionalists' while disobedient rebels such as Fr. Feeney and Archbishop Lefebvre are praised for their refusal to obey the sanctions put upon them. The word "hypocrisy" comes to mind to put it frankly.

With regards to conversions, this is another area with more complexities then a "trad" can generally handle. To start with, it is not possible for any individual to convert another individual. Conversion is the sole action of the Holy Spirit. The most any individual can do is present the truth to another person in a charitable manner and in language and concepts that they can readily understand. How can one aid in enlightening the conscience of a person using terms or principles that are antiquated or which run counter to the person’s understanding of the meaning of terms??? Are we preaching to them a Faith or a culture???

As long as self-styled 'traditionalists' insist on pushing a culture rather than the Catholic Faith, their attempts will for the most part be fruitless. As for the comments of Bishop Tauran, his statements can have both an orthodox and a heterodox interpretation. Without seeing the text of the speech and knowing the target audience he was addressing, it would not be possible for the reader to know what the Bishop meant. It would appear heterodox at first glance but this author’s treatise is filled with debunking supposed "errors" and "contrary condemned statements" set forth by self-styled 'traditionalists'. Let us take a closer look at a few of the underlying factors here with the text of the comment from the Zenit News Agency on June 6, 2001:

Manila (Fides) - The role of religion is to promote and respect and understanding in our societies: religions should never be misused to instigate hatred or violence. This statement was made by Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Holy See Secretary for Relations with States, on June 4, at a meeting with religious leaders in Manila at the Catholic Nunciature. The papal representative was in the Philippines to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the Holy See.
The Archbishop recalled that the present Pope has been dedicating enormous energy and time for the past 23 years as head of the Catholic Church, to tear down walls that have separated people of different religions. "Pope John Paul II has done this in his fervent desire to restore unity within Christianity and to establish significant relations with non-Christian believers," the Archbishop said. He said that besides promoting harmony among peoples, religion also plays an important role in the promotion of justice. "These two elements, harmony among peoples and justice within society, clearly defined by the Pope, are principles which guide our relations with all religions", Archbishop Tauran explained. A believer of a different religion to our own is a person to be understood, "leaving to God the role of illuminating the conscience." Religions should not be in competition with each other, they should be like "brothers and sisters walking hand in hand to build channels of fraternity and a peaceful world in which to live and to work, Archbishop Tauran said. [12]
Did Bishop Fellay know that this was said in the context of a conflict between the Philippine government and Islamic secessionist groups??? If not then he should have before citing the passage. This is why it is necessary to take into account the sitz im leben of a situation and not simply resort to proof-texting.

As any credible Scripture scholar can tell you, when there is a question as to the meaning of a certain passage, recourse must be had to parallel passages that could help in clarifying the interpretation of the passage in question. The same principle applies to ascertaining the interpretation of a given passage. On May 27, 2001 (ten days before the passage that Bishop Fellay cited), Bishop Tauran was in Moscow, Russia presiding at a concelebrated Mass. Here is the Zenit news story on the theme of his homily, which helps shed some light on this issue:

Moscow (Fides) - A vigorous call for Christian unity was voiced to Catholics in Moscow by Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Holy See secretary for relations with states, appointed Papal Envoy for celebrations in the Russian capital to mark the tenth anniversary of the re-organisation of the Church of Latin Rite in Russia. In his homily during Mass which he presided on Sunday May 27 in the Church of the Immaculate Conception concelebrating with about twenty bishops, including Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, Apostolic Administrator for northern European Russia and a number of priests, Archbishop Tauran said: "The history of the Church through the centuries is fundamentally a story of witness to Christ in every language and every nation, the story of a Church "walking amidst the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God". And you, dear people of this land  - he added - know the cost of witness and sufferings borne for Christ, like the apostles".
The Church, Mgr. Tauran said "must dialogue with the world" and "the source of this dialogue with the world and with the Russian society of today is God’s conversation with mankind. WE MUST LEARN TO "SPEAK" CHRIST IN EVERY LANGUAGE, IN EVERY CULTURE AND LAND, including Russia, so that every person will come to know that they are loved by God who calls them to enter his Kingdom. This is the one piece of Good News that people long to hear". Dialogue, he continued, "is certainly never proselytism or propaganda. Jesus never forced himself on anyone and his disciples, in turn, must be discreet and show respect for others." But at the same time, "it would be lack of respect not to share with others what we have discovered, not to answer their questions about our faith, about life, the future". On behalf of the Pope he thanked Catholics in Russia "for your commitment to keep and nourish the Catholic faith". "But here in Moscow - he added - we cannot forget that our Catholic community lives side by side with the Russian Orthodox Church, in which most Christians in Russia have their spiritual roots. Christians united render more credible to the message Jesus entrusted to us: a message of reconciliation with self, with others, with God. Together we are called to be signs of God for the world.
As one of the Holy Father’s co-workers - I am aware of his longing for unity among Christians and also of the special esteem he has for the faithful of the Orthodox Church. No difficulty, misunderstanding, or event of the past or present should prevent us from regarding each other with trust and sincerity as true brothers and sisters. We are not competitors, we must not see others ONLY as persons to be converted. We are all pilgrims and, as God watches over us, we try to love as Christ loved. To succeed there must be mutual attention, delicacy and respect. We must love as Christ loved, learning to be reconciled with one another so that together we may open the door of the Church to all who come knocking." Present at the Mass were representatives of the Orthodox Patriarchate and of the city’s Lutheran, Jewish and Muslim communities. [12]
Bishop Tauran is the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Holy See. This is not the same as the Secretary of State (that would be Cardinal Sodano) but the same degree of diplomacy is required. In seeking to provide a reasonable investigation into this matter, it becomes quite clear that Bishop Tauran, far from dissuading evangelization instead actively promotes it. But we are not talking about proseltyzing or propaganda here. We are not talking about seeking to convert people in the sense of playing down the warts of Church history or misrepresenting the positions of other people in the process. No, authentic evangelization means LISTENING to people. Do not tell your Lutheran or Buddhist neighbour what he 'believes'. LISTEN TO HIM. Ask questions. In the process answer any question he has about your faith. Bishop Tauran is right that the role of illuminating the conscience belongs to God alone. Those who think that they actually can convert anyone are only fooling themselves. The best they can do is explain the faith to others in a charitable manner and in ways that their brethren can understand it. Of course most stock 'traditionalist' explanations are loaded with buzzwords and create a climate of polarization. Like it or not our brethren of other faiths do not define many of the key theological terms the way we do. Therefore, we have to accommodate our discourse to them in ways that they can understand it. This does NOT mean sacrificing the truth but instead doing as the Apostle exhorted in 1 Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 9:
19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. [13]
This is Catholic ecumenism properly conducted in a nutshell!!! And it is clearly in accordance with the professed position of Bishop Tauran. His statement in this light can be considered to be vindicated from Bishop Fellay’s presumption of unorthodoxy.
[Did Cardinal Kasper express the Catholic Faith, and was he faithful to Saint John, to Saint Paul, and to Our Lord Himself, when he declared in New York:
"The old theory of substitution is no longer relevant since the Second Vatican Council. For we, today’s christians, the alliance with the Jewish people is a living heritage…There cannot be a simple coexistence between two testaments. Jews and christians, by their respective specific identities, are intimately bound to one another. The Church believes that Judaism, that is to say the faithful response of the Jewish people to God’s irrevocable covenant, has the effect of saving them, for God is faithful to his promises"?]
St. Paul answers this in Romans 2-3. There is one covenant of those who are children of Abraham by promise. Judaism (like Catholicism) is not a faith that is merely expressed externally but is internal primarily. Hence St. Paul noted of "circumcision of the heart" in Romans and "for he is not a Jew who is a Jew interiorly" (Rom. 2:25ff). Our Lord likewise spoke of those who were Jews exteriorly but interiorly were "whitewashed tombs". He frequently had recourse to lessons about non-Jews or those who were seen as outcasts by the Jews who were righteous. (The Good Samaritan, the Centurion, and the Publican come to mind.) These lessons are just as important for the dead 'traditionalism' that on the outside shows piety and life but on the inside houses the seeds of destructive dissent and schism ala Luther and Calvin.

So in essence Cardinal Kasper’s words (like Bishop Tauran’s) can have an orthodox sense. We have to learn to live together not merely co-exist in isolation from one another. An orthodox sense of the passage would claim that in the absence of explicit Christian faith, following the dictates of prevenient grace and adhering to the Torah may be a road to salvation for the Jews. By no means can it be presumed so of course. Only through love is salvation possible to anybody. After all, love is the fulfilling of the Law. This is where the most important of the theological virtues comes into play. Charity "is a supernatural virtue, infused into our soul by God, by which we love God above all for His own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God" (Pope St. Pius X Catechism: Answer to Q 42 on Charity). While the exact wording of his statement may seem problematical, it would help to look at the fuller context of the passage to understand better the mind of Cardinal Kasper. Here is a link to the speech:


If one reads carefully at the above link, they will see the cardinal say:

Besides the already mentioned main problem raised by Dominus Iesus, there are other questions that I cannot deal with in this paper, since they would need a much more thorough discussion. These questions have already been object of our dialogue and should be on the agenda also in the future. In this context, I can only mention them, without claiming to solve them. Neither has Dominus Iesus the intention to enter these issues: they are beyond its intra-theological and intra-catholic intention.
One of these questions is how to relate the covenant with the Jewish people, which according to St. Paul is unbroken and not revoked but still in vigour, with what we Christians call the New covenant. As you know, the old theory of substitution is gone since II Vatican Council. For us Christians today the covenant with the Jewish people is a living heritage, a living reality. There cannot be a mere coexistence between the two covenants. Jews and Christians, by their respective specific identities, are intimately related to each others. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE NOW TO ENTER THE COMPLEX PROBLEM OF HOW THIS INTIMATE RELATEDNESS SHOULD OR COULD BE DEFINED. SUCH QUESTION TOUCHES THE MYSTERY OF JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN EXISTENCE AS WELL, AND SHOULD BE DISCUSSED IN OUR FURTHER DIALOGUE.
The only thing I wish to say is that the Document Dominus Iesus does not state that everybody needs to become a Catholic in order to be saved by God.
On the contrary, it declares that God’s grace, which is the grace of Jesus Christ according to our faith, is available to all. Therefore, the Church believes that Judaism, i.e. the faithful response of the Jewish people to God’s irrevocable covenant, is salvific for them, because God is faithful to his promises. [14]
Could he have stated this better??? Certainly but since the statement was not intended to be a detailed exposition on these themes, Bishop Fellay in presuming to find a complete doctrinal presentation of a complex topic in a scant few lines absent proper context is of course not going to find it. But then that seems to be the idea with "trads" such as him. The authors treatise contains over forty such snippets from various Magisterial documents torn from context to create so-called "doctrinal contradictions". This method of fabricating errors is very disingenuous since we could do this with anyone’s writings. The true Traditionalist does not presume the good faith (or lack of it) among fellow Catholics on such flimsy evidences. If Cardinal Kasper explicitly claims that the subjects that Bishop Fellay highlights are too complex to deal with in the speech then why quote that speech as reflecting the fullness of the Cardinal’s thought???
[However, the first of these is a close collaborator of the Pope, and the second a prince of the Church, recently honored by receiving the purple Cardinal’s biretta, becoming an elector of the future Vicar of Christ. It is impossible to be in communion with them. They no longer have the Faith.]
As has already been noted, anything can be "proven" when texts are removed from context. It is akin to a passage from the old Question Box series (pre-Vatican II) which stated with regards to the Syllabus of Errors (an area that the SSPX has expressed problems with properly understanding) an important - and often overlooked principle. In short, "the syllabus is merely an index of false doctrines condemned by Popes Gregory XVI and Pius IX in various Apostolic letters, Briefs, and Encyclicals. No one can understand the meaning of [the Syllabus’] condemned propositions, unless he reads the original context carefully" (The Question Box pg. 356 c. 1961). This writer’s treatise demonstrates the sloppy hermeneutic of the 'traditionalist' both with pre and post Vatican II magisterial documents. Another essay that will soon be released by this present writer will examine the Syllabus of Errors in greater detail taking into account proper context.
[We could quote dozens and dozens of statements of bishops that are equally shocking. ]
Absent context this would not be surprising.
[What are we to do when the guardians of the Faith fail? Are we to follow them blindly? Do they not merit the same descriptions that Saint Catherine of Sienna used for certain prince of the Church of her time?]
The same St. Catherine of Siena who admonished a prince of the Church against judging or acting contrary to the Pope:
He is insane who rises or acts contrary to this Vicar who holds the keys of the blood of Christ crucified. Even if he was a demon incarnate, I should not raise my head against him, but always grovel and ask for the blood out of mercy. And don’t pay attention to what the demon proposes to you and you propose under the color of virtue, that is to say to want to do justice against evil pastors regarding their fault. Don’t trust the demon: don’t try to do justice about what does not concern you. God wants neither you nor anyone else to set themselves up as a righter of the wrongs of His ministers. He reserves judgment to Himself, and He reserves it to His Vicar; and if the Vicar does not do justice, we should wait for the punishment and correction on the part of the sovereign judge, God Eternal. [15]
No one should accuse another of heresy (or even schism) haphazardly. The irony is that the SSPX goes through a maze of convoluted rationale to explain why they are not schismatic (and if they are not than neither were the Donatists or the Old Catholics). Then they expect a single snipped quote absent its context to be adequate to pass sentence on the orthodoxy of Bishop Tauran, Cardinal Kasper, or others in the Church. This is profoundly hypocritical. At the very least they owe Bishop Tauran and Cardinal Kasper the same degree of latitude on the subject of their orthodoxy as they claim viz. their state of legitimacy in the Church. At least Bishop Tauran and Cardinal Kasper do not have an Apostolic Letter of the Roman Pontiff pronouncing on their objective status in the Church the way the SSPX does. But then if we give everyone the degree of latitude that the SSPX is demanding, we would have no schismatics at all. We would arguably have no heretics either at least not subjectively. And at the same time we would gut the very concept of Church authority and be little better than the Reformed Protestants who profess allegiance to the Church "except when she departs from the Gospel". The latter being a standard decided upon by the individual Reformed or a certain Reformed denomination of course as SSPX considers themselves to be a "Magisterium" de facto. The historical parallels are eerie and outlined in this writer’s treatise. They are not to be taken lightly by anyone who professes a filial devotion to the Church.
[Such declarations do not place us in the good graces of the Holy See. However, we have much more serious concerns. Thousands and millions of Catholic faithful are losing the Faith and damning themselves on account of Rome’s failures, this is our concern. ]
It was also the concern of the Donatists. And the Montanists. And many other groups including some that were sympathetic to the so-called "reformation" originally (such as Erasmus).
["Quicumque vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est, ut teneat catholicam fidem: nisi quisque integram inviolatamque servaverit, absque dubio in aeternum peribit. - Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic Faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity." (Athanasian Creed, Ds 75; The Sources of Catholic Dogma, p. 15).]
This author is sure that the Arians of the fourth century argued against the Athanasian Creed with the same sorts of arguments that the 'traditionalists' do the developments of doctrine at Vatican II (on religious liberty, ecumenism, and on matrimony most notably). Like Nicaea, these can on the surface appear contrary to previous explicit teachings. It is no secret that the dogmatic teachings of Nicaea were not explicitly expressed before the Council at all in the sense that they were defined. Yet the SSPX cites the Athanasian Creed, which incorporates these doctrines and claims that they were "necessary for salvation". In reality, if the SSPX were around in the fourth century they would have sided with the Arians on the homoousian (and probably referred to the condemnation of homoousian in the mid third century Sabellian controversies as a "contrary condemned statement"). In Africa they would have sided with the Donatists who refused to be in communion with those they claimed were "tainted". To paraphrase Ven. John H. Newman: "to be deep in history is to cease to be a 'traditionalist'".
[A distinction must be made between Rome and Rome. This is what we strive to do.]
This kind of appeal to a written document is what the Anglicans do with the first 4 General Councils as an excuse to reject the subsequent Council of Trent. This is what Sola Scriptura sorts do with the Bible to accomplish the same purpose. It is distressing that Bishop Fellay cannot see these obvious historical parallels.
[Pius XII’s words, while yet Secretary of State for Pius IX, ring loud in our ears: ]
The Bishop presumably means Pius XI here and not Pius IX.
["Suppose, my dear friend, that communism is only the most visible of the organs of subversion against the Church and against the Tradition of divine Revelation. Then, we are going to see the invasion of everything that is spiritual: philosophy, science, law, teaching, the arts, the press, literature, the theater and religion. I am obsessed by the Virgin’s words, that she entrusted to the little Lucia of Fatima. Our Heavenly Mother’s standing up against the danger that threatens the Church is a divine warning against the suicide that an alteration of the Faith would mean to its liturgy, its theology and its soul…]
The Faith has not been altered. Liturgy, according to Pope Pius XII itself, is subject ultimately to the Apostolic See and history bears this out. As for theology, the Church has never accepted any one theology as THE theology of the Church. (Though Thomism has been praised explicitly by every pope since Bl. Pope Pius IX and does have a de facto primacy of sorts.) But notice that Bishop Fellay resorts to a correspondence of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli and considers it to carry more weight than the pronouncements of the Successor of Peter.
[I hear around me those fascinated with novelties who would like to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the Church’s universal flame, reject its vestments, and make it regret its historical past. Well, my dear friend, it is my conviction that the Church of Peter must assume its past, or it will dig its tomb.]
Then when those who look to the past of the Church of Peter in areas that self-styled 'traditionalists' do not like, they are branded indiscriminately as "antiquarians". The so-called 'traditionalist' has recourse to the Synod of Pistoia or some single line or so from a papal encyclical and considers it all applicable when it favours their arguments. (Or when it can be twisted to accommodate them.) Meanwhile, they ignore or play down the parts of history or the teachings of the popes and councils, which in context mitigate heavily against their absolutist positions on matters non-doctrinal.
[…the day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. It will be tempted to believe that man has become God, that His Son is only a symbol, a philosophy as so many others, and in the Churches Catholics will seek in vain for the red lamp where God wait for them." (Mgr. Roche and P. Saint Germain; Pie XII devant l’histoire, pp. 52 & 53).]
This is undoubtedly happening right now. (The part about the civilized world that is.) The Church though does not in any way, shape, matter, or form teach this though the world in its so-called "wisdom" has elevated itself to the pedestal of the Light Bearer. Bishop Fellay is right to be concerned about this but his remedy is flawed. It is akin to the pattern of the Orthodox of hiding the head in the sand and refusing to boldly go forth and confront these errors by extracting from them what truth they contain.
[Paul VI said, in effect, to his friend Jean Guitton, that there is in the Church a type of thinking that is non-Catholic, and that although it is possible that it may become prevalent, it will never be the Catholic Church (Jean Guitton, Paul VI secret).]
And the pope was right. The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes it perfectly clear that the dissidents did not infiltrate the realm of Catholic doctrine. In a situation somewhat similar to transubstantiation, the Church’s "accidents" to some extent changed but her "substance" remains unaltered.
[Faced with this catastrophe, how are the faithful supposed to react? Is it permissible for them to react? We follow quite simply the counsel given by Saint Vincent of Lérins in his Commonitorium (N3):
What will the Catholic Christian do if some part of the Church happens to separate itself from the communion of the universal Faith? What other position could he hold than to prefer the body as a whole, which is healthy, to the gangrenous and putrid member. And if some new contagion were to try to poison not only a small part of the Church, but the entire Church at the same time? Then still, his great concerns will be to attach himself to antiquity, which, quite obviously cannot be seduced by any lying novelty."]
This is a classic exposition on the Anglican "appeal to antiquity" in all of its glory. It seems to this writer that Bishop Fellay needs to read the second chapter of the Commonitory about the necessity of subjecting the Scriptures to the authentic Catholic Tradition for a proper interpretation. This principle applies to magisterial documents and the Magisterium of the Church as their authentic interpreter. Anything less is a shade of error akin to the authority errors of Protestantism, errors that permeate the 'traditionalist' movement.
[These are the questions that are to be considered if we are to try and find a solution. We are but a clear sign the terrible tragedy that the Church is presently suffering, perhaps the most terrible of all until now, for it is not just one dogma, but all dogmas that are attacked, and this from the pontifical universities themselves down to the desks of elementary schools.
The liturgical problem is rather similar. The furthermore, the faithful are obliged to take it upon themselves to find an appropriate liturgy. They can no longer simply go to the parish. This is a fact that does not just affect traditional Catholics.]
There are a lot of misperceptions about the state of the liturgy before the revised rite of Mass was promulgated. This writer deals with some of them in his treatise. There are also others not covered in the treatise that were dealt with in greater detail in a subsequent work co-authored with Catholic writers 'Matt1618' and Dr. Art Sippo. It can be accessed here.
[Hence the great transformation in the Catholic world, at least in the old world. Parish life has fallen apart. The growth of ecclesial movements is due in large part to the fact that the faithful no longer find in their parishes the nourishment of which they are in need to live the life of Faith and of grace. The New Mass is not without responsibility in this phenomenon.]
Nor is the Tridentine liturgy. There is no "New Mass"; this very euphemism indicates a lack of knowledge of liturgical history.
[We cannot sweep this gigantic problem under the carpet. We desire to work without our whole heart and our whole soul for the restoration of the Church. However, we cannot simply pretend that all is well, and that these are but questions of detail. ]
No but Bishop Fellay can on the part of the SSPX accept a huge chunk of the blame for the arrogance that they have demonstrated throughout this entire process. They have helped neuter any effective resistance to the post-council problems by attacking the Magisterium. They have lied about the teachings of the Council and subsequent popes. They have flagrantly misrepresent the teachings of the popes before the Council. They have never ceased to cozy up to groups that were even more radical than they are who deny the validity of the revised Roman Rite and the revised sacramental norms. Does a more exhaustive list of SSPX problems need to be compiled??? There is no faith in the 'traditionalist' paradigm as faith requires an ingredient that lacks in those who set themselves up as their own de facto Magisterium. To again quote Ven. John H. Newman on the matter of faith:
Either say that faith is not necessary now at all, or take it to be what the Apostles meant by it, BUT DO NOT SAY THAT YOU HAVE IT, AND THEN SHOW ME SOMETHING QUITE DIFFERENT, WHICH YOU HAVE PUT IN THE PLACE OF IT. In the Apostles' days the peculiarity of faith was submission to a living authority; this is what made it so distinctive; this is what made it an act of submission at all; this is what destroyed private judgment in matters of religion. If you will not look out for a living authority, and will bargain for private judgment, then say at once that you have not Apostolic faith. And in fact you have it not; the bulk of this nation has it not; confess you have it not; and then confess that this is the reason why you are not Catholics. You are not Catholics because you have not faith. [16]
[We are ready to explain our Faith to Rome, but we cannot call that which is evil good, nor that which is good evil.]
You already call schism good by and schism is evil.
[May Your Eminence deign to excuse the length of this letter, and the generality of certain statements that ought to have been much better back up. We are entirely willing to continue this work, if Rome desires it…]
Does "we" include theologically unstable hotheads as Bishop Richard Williamson???
[We desire to remain Catholic, we desire to conserve our entire Faith, without abandoning anything. ]
Except the teachings of a General Council and the subsequent papal Magisterium both in doctrine and also in the areas of discipline and government. The Catholic faith is an all or nothing proposition, not a buffet table of pick-and-choose based on personal preferences.
[This is the cause of our combat, of our sufferings, and of the opposition that we meet with. We are convinced that we cause no evil to the Church by doing this, even if appearances speak against us.]
Yet though you present appearances of Bishop Tauran and Cardinal Kasper as "heterodox" and refuse to give the context of their statements or presume (as you ask of Rome) that they mean no evil despite "appearances speaking against them"??? Why oh Bishop Fellay should the Vatican presume that you mean well when you are willing to denounce Bishop Tauran and Cardinal Kasper on such meager evidences???
[May Your Eminence kindly accept the expression of our devout and religious affection in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, +Bernard Fellay]
May you Bishop Fellay and the group that you lead repent in sackcloth and ashes as Ninevah did upon the preaching of Jonah (Jonah 3:5-10). May you recognize that there are nuances to theology that you overlook that provide a solution to your questions viz. the doctrinal content of Vatican II and the post-Council papal Magisterium. May you recognize that wide scale dissent from the Pauline liturgy and the wide scale rubrics abuse are no more of a "refutation" of the revised liturgy than the liberal dissent of Humane Vitae is a cogent argument against its teachings. (Or the wide-scale schism in the seventeenth-eighteenth centuries was a "refutation" of the Council of Trent.) May your desires for union lead you and the Society to say along with St. Jerome (writing during the depth of the Arian fourth century crisis) who eloquently stated in a letter to Pope Damasus I:
I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your Blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is the rock on which the church is built! This is the house where alone the Paschal Lamb can be rightly eaten. This is the Ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails… He that gathers not with you scatters; he that is not of Christ is of Antichrist. [17]
Until you and the Society can stand up and make such a Profession of Faith, you will remain cut off from the bond of communion with the Catholic Church. Rome has offered you her communion under certain conditions and is willing to grant you a tremendous degree of legal autonomy in the process. To refuse this is only to cement in the mind of faithful Catholics that you indeed have no interest in rejoining the Catholic Church. And until that happens you do not the work of God for you cannot have Him for your Father if you refuse the Church as your Mother. Quid pro quo.
In the face of the evidence and contrary to all justice they attribute to that most faithful Shepherd of the Church ideas, which are not ideas of reform, but which are even destructive of the teaching and discipline of the Church. There are many things that can be corrected and modified in Catholic life, many doctrines that can be studied more deeply, completed and expressed in more comprehensible terms, many rules that can be simplified and better adapted to the needs of our times. But there are two matters beyond argument; the truth of the Faith, authoritatively sanctioned by Tradition, and by the ecclesiastical magisterium, and the Constitutional law of the Church. Obedience must be given to the ministry of pastoral government, that Christ established, and that the wisdom of the Church has developed and extended in the various members of the mystical and visible body of the Church, to guide and strengthen the many component parts that make up the People of God. Therefore: renewal, yes. Arbitrary change, no. History of the Church, ever living and new, yes. Historicism destructive of traditional dogma, no. Theological integration according to the teaching of the council, yes. Theology deriving from arbitrary subjective theories often borrowed from hostile sources, no. A church open to ecumenical charity, to responsible dialogue, to the recognition of Christian values among our separated brethren, yes. An irenic theology that betrays the truth of the faith, and adopts certain negative principles which have contributed to the separation of so many Christians from the centre of unity of the Catholic communion, no. Religious liberty for all in civilized society, and liberty of personal adherence to religion according to the well- considered choice of the individual conscience, yes. Liberty of conscience as the criterion of religious truth, without reference to the authenticity of serious and authorized teaching, no. And so on. [Pope Paul VI (circa 1968)]
Dedicated to Saints Augustine of Hippo and Opatus of Milve

[1] Fr. Henri de Lubac, SJ: From a speech titled "Crisis in the Church" (May 29, 1969)

(While Fr. De Lubac was censured by the Holy Office at one point, at no time were any of his theses actually condemned to the knowledge of this writer. Despite the injustice of his treatment, he did not cease to render obedience towards his superiors. This is something that dissidents such as Bishop Fellay, the SSPX, Remnant, and others of a similar mould can and should learn from.)

[2] St. Optatus of Mileve: The Schism of Donatists, 2:2-3 (c.A.D. 367), in GCC, 55*

[3] The Catholic Encyclopedia: From the article "Donatists" authored by Dom. John Chapman (c. 1913)

[4] The Catholic Encyclopedia: From the article "Donatists" authored by Dom. John Chapman (c. 1913)

[5] The Catholic Encyclopedia: From the article "Donatists" authored by Dom. John Chapman (c. 1913)

[6] St. Vincent of Lerins:  Commonitory, Ch. 24 (c. A.D. 434)

[7] Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone: "CDF Commentary on the Professio Fidei" (c. 1998)

[8] Vatican II: Dogmatic Constitution "Lumen Gentium" - Explanatory Note (November 21, 1964)

[9] Vatican II: Decree "Unitatis Redintegratio" §11 (November 21, 1964)

[10] Ven. Cardinal John Henry Newman: From his sermon "Faith and Private Judgment" from the Discourses to Mixed Congregations series  (c. 1849)

[11] Zenit News Agency: excerpt from the article "Theologian Yves Congar´s Heroic Silence" (March 25, 2001)

[12] International Fides Service - June 15th 2001 - No 4252, NE 336

[13] 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

[14] Cardinal Kasper: ILC Meeting, New York, 1 — 4 May 2001 "Exchange of Information" Session Dominus Iesus

[15] St. Catherine of Siena: Letter to Barnabas, Viscount Lord of Milan Letters, Vol. I. Letter No. 28

[16] Ven. Cardinal John Henry Newman: From his sermon "Faith and Private Judgment" from the Discourses to Mixed Congregations series  (c. 1849)

[17] St. Jerome: To Pope Damasus, Epistle 15:1-2 (A.D. 375), in NPNF2, VI:18*


Other Notes:

All citations from the Church Fathers indicated with a * were taken from Joe Gallegos’ web-site Corunum Apologetics Web-site which specializes in Patristic Studies: http://www.cin.org/users/jgallegos/contents.htm

The citations from the Catholic Encyclopedia article "Dontatists" were obtained at the following link: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05121a.htm

The citation from St. Vincent of Lerens can be located at the following link: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/

The citation from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone's "CDF Doctrinal Commentary on the Professio Fidei" was obtained at the following link: http://www.memorare.com/liturgy/ratz.html

The citation from the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution "Lumen Gentium" was obtained at the following link: http://www.rc.net/rcchurch/vatican2/lumen.gen

The citation from the Second Vatican Council's Decree "Unitatis Redintegratio" was obtained at the following link:

The citations from Ven. Cardinal John Henry Newman’s sermon "Faith and Private Judgment" were obtained at the following link: http://www.newmanreader.org/works/discourses/discourse10.html

The citation from Zenit was obtained at the following link: http://zenit.org/english/archive/0103/ZE010325.htm#3894

The first citation from International Fides Service was obtained at the following link: http://www.fides.org/English/2001/e20010615c.html

The second citation from International Fides Service was obtained at the following link: http://www.fides.org/English/2001/e20010601c.html

The passage from 1 Corinthians 9 was obtained from the following link: http://bible.gospelcom.net/bible?passage=1COR+9&language=english&version=KJV&showfn=off&showxref=off

The quote from Cardinal Kasper was obtained at the following link: http://www.chretiens-et-juifs.org/Documents_Dialogue/IJCLC_KASPER_Dominus_Iesus.htm


©2001, "A Case Study in Modern Day Donatism", written by I. Shawn McElhinney. This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author.

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