In his Epistle to the Hebrews, St. Paul calls Our Lord the “high Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle” (9:11). Greater than the Israelite priests — those who “serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things” —Christ Our Lord has “obtained a better ministry, by how much also he is a mediator of a better testament which is established on better promises” (8:5-6). To St. Paul — and to all other Catholics — the Old Law was both finished and surpassed by the New Law of the Gospel. Continue reading
A much more in depth treatment of this subject is found in our “The Three Levels of Magisterial Teaching.” The discrepancy in numbering the levels (three vs. four) is explained by the fact that some theologians, apparently following Cardinal Avery Dulles (The Craft of Theology: from Symbol to System), have created a fourth category that is not in the magisterial documents which outline these different categories. Toward the end of this paper, I explain where I think they get this.
The four kinds of magisterial statement are (1) infallible dogma, (2) definitive statements on matters closely connected with revealed truth, (3) ordinary teaching on faith and morals, and (4) ordinary prudential teaching on disciplinary matters. Continue reading
This is another offering from the larger work from which I earlier excerpted “The Three Levels of Magisterial Teaching.” As I said concerning that entry, this is a work in progress, being a section of a larger study on the various levels of magisterial teaching, the assent due to each, and where Vatican II fits into these categories.
Further explanations are needed here. The larger work focuses on ecumenism, specifically, the contents of Vatican II’s Unitatis Redintegratio (UR). Also, at the end of this piece I have put my complete bibliography, for one reason mainly, viz., some of the footnotes may not be entirely useful without the missing parts of the study. Those trying to figure out a reference may find the bibliography helpful. Please keep in mind that this is an academic paper. Many of the books referenced are not works I would recommend. In fact some of them are rubbish worthy of a good, old-fashioned book burning.
I could add to the collection of quotations on the authority of Vatican II the recent statement of Cardinal Biffi: ““John XXIII yearned for a Council that would achieve the renewal of the Church not through condemnations, but using the ‘medicine of mercy.’ By abstaining from reproving error, the Council would by this very means avoid formulating definite teachings that would be binding for all. And in fact, it held consistently to this initial direction.” (See “Before the Last Conclave: What I Told the Future Pope” by Sandro Magister.)
“…the magisterium ordinarium, is liable to be somewhat indefinite in its pronouncements and, as a consequence, practically ineffective as an organ.”
– P.J. Toner, “Infallibility” in the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia Continue reading
Introduction: This is a work in progress. It is a section of a larger work on the various levels of magisterial teaching, the assent due to each, and where Vatican II fits into these categories.
According to standards presently employed by the Holy See and codified in Canon Law, there are three kinds of magisterial statement, three levels of authoritative teaching which establish the “the order of the truths to which the believer adheres.” Continue reading
Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don is the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
The full text of the Archbishop’s address, “Faith, Obedience, and Theology, Challenges to the Mission of the Church Today,” can be found here. I would like to point out some interesting highlights from this speech, which was permeated throughout with a very supernatural outlook. (I am emboldening passages I think worthy of particular attention.)
First are his Excellency’s comments on the nature of the Church, which shows that he does not distinguish falsely between what is juridical and what is spiritual:
The Church is not an association or federation or a democracy made up of the faithful. It is the mystical body of Christ with its own inner life that comes from Christ, who is its supreme and invisible head. It has its visible structure which is not to be separated from the mystical. The Council states “but the society furnished with hierarchical agencies and the mystical body of Christ are not to be considered two realities, nor are the visible assembly and the spiritual community, nor the earthly Church and the Church enriched with heavenly things. Rather they form one inter-locked reality which is comprised of a divine and a human element” [LG 8]. The Council then goes on to compare this mystical divine – human interlocking with the mystery of the incarnation itself [cfr LG 8]. It is, as the Council further confirms, the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church referring thus to its uniqueness, its singular vocation, its universal nature and its missionary dimension.
Recently, I witnessed a very animated discussion between a Scripture scholar and a religion teacher. The subject of the disputation was Biblical inerrancy. The scholar is a highly intelligent man, but a liberal. (In fairness to him, I must say that he avoids the more ridiculous ideas of biblical scholars, such as the fantastic “Q Gospel” theory.) The religion teacher is less knowledgeable than the scholar, but is not a liberal.
To protect the identity of the scholar, I shall call him “Ray,” after the notorious Raymond Brown, whom he seems to like. To protect the identity of the religion teacher, I shall call him “Tom,” after Tomás de Torquemada, the fifteenth-century Spanish Inquisitor, who he seems to like. Continue reading