Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cardinal Ottaviani on False Historicism

SH: Regarding those who taught that the Church must change in relation to her duties to the state and in other respects, Cardinal Ottaviani the head of the Holy Office under Pius XII in 1953 reiterated the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church:

"The first mistake of these people is precisely that of not accepting fully the "arms of truth" and the teaching which the Roman Pontiffs, in the course of this last century, and in particular the reigning Pontiff, Pius XII, by means of encyclicals, allocutions and instructions of all kinds, have given to Catholics on this subject.

To justify themselves, these people affirm that, in the body of teaching given in the Church, a distinction must be made between what is permanent and what is transitory, this latter being due to the influence of particular passing conditions.

Unfortunately, how­ever, they include in this second zone the principles laid down in the Pontifical documents, principles on which the teaching of the Church has remained con­stant, as they form part of the patrimony of Catholic doctrine.

In this matter, the pendulum theory, elaborated by certain writers in an attempt to sift the teaching set forth in Encyclical Letters at different times, cannot be applied. "The Church," it has been written, "takes account of the rhythm of the world's history after the fashion of a swinging pendulum which, desirous of keeping the proper measure, maintains its move­ment by reversing it when it judges that it has gone as far as it should.... From this point of view a whole history of the Encyclicals could be written. Thus in the field of Biblical studies, the Encyclical, Divino Afflante Spiritu, comes after the Encyclicals Spiritus Paraclitus and Providentissimus. In the field of Theology or Politics, the Encyclicals, Summi Pontificatus, Non abbiamo bisogno and Ubi Arcano Deo, come after the Encyclical, Immortale Dei."

Now if this were to be understood in the sense that the general and fundamental principles of public Ecclesiastical Law, solemnly affirmed in the Encycli­cal Letter, Immortale Dei, are merely the reflection of historic moments of the past, while the swing of the pendulum of the doctrinal Encyclicals of Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII has passed in the opposite direction to different positions, the statement would have to be qualified as completely erroneous, not only because it misrepresents the teaching of the Encyclicals themselves, but also because it is theoret­ically inadmissible. In the Encyclical Letter, Humani Generis, the reigning Pontiff teaches us that we must recognize in the Encyclicals the ordinary magisterium of the Church: "Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand assent, in that, when writing such Let­ters, the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their teaching authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say "He who heareth you heareth Me" (St. Luke 10:16); and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already belongs for other reasons to Catholic doctrine."

Because they are afraid of being accused of want­ing to return to the Middle Ages, some of our writers no longer dare to maintain the doctrinal positions that are constantly affirmed in the Encyclicals as be­longing to the life and legislation of the Church in all ages. For them is meant the warning of Pope Leo XIII who, recommending concord and unity in the combat against error, adds that "care must be taken never to connive, in anyway, at false opinions, never to withstand them less strenuously than truth allows." ---Excerpt, Duties of the Catholic State In Regard to Religion, 1953

Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (# 9), June 29, 1896: “The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium.”

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What/Where is the Roman Catholic Church?

In light of Traditional Catholic dogma/doctrine, how should the Second Vatican Council be viewed ? Is it consistent with Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and prior Magisterial teaching?

What explains the tremendous amount of "bad fruit" which has been forthcoming since the close of the Council in 1965? “By their fruits you shall know them” (Matt. 7:16)

This site explores these questions and more in an attempt to place the Second Vatican Council in proper perspective.