Grace and the Decree on Ecumenism |
Part Two of a Series on
Clarification about Graces outside the Church
In patronizing Protestant and Pagan, the conciliar church, masquerading as the Catholic Church, has foisted the errors of Unitatis Redintegratio on unsuspecting souls who think they no longer need to convert for salvation. Grace is now advanced as singular and salvific without the necessary Sanctifying grace.
"Human organizations on the other hand do not subsist as we mere humans have no capacity to convey to our own creations any quality we ourselves do not possess (except in scale, we can build machines stronger than ourselves but only because we also possess some degree, albeit lesser, of physical strength). As such the synthetic new Vatican institution (confusingly called a 'catholic church' in some of the V-2 documents) is purely man-made, and as Lumen Gentium shows it is not that which does the subsisting but only the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ."
Griff L. Ruby
Now, let us return to the slightly more interesting case of the outsider doing nevertheless a Catholic baptism, that is to say, not in the name of any heretical sect (even be they a member of one), but strictly in the name of the Church. This is more than mere Providence, and as such a possible legitimate source of sanctifying grace. This is because the person, in working the sacrament, now functions not as a member of some heretical or schismatic or pagan group, but momentarily, and solely and strictly in that one action, as a hierarchical member of the Church, lawfully carrying out a duty that the Church Law has specifically carved out as something they are permitted to do in certain specific circumstances (and I am assuming the presence of these circumstances, for the sake of this example).
Note that this does not give them any further prerogative in the Church, but most of all it strictly makes sense only in the absence of a more legitimate Catholic cleric. This is sort of like the now much forgotten concept of "in loco parentis," in which other nearby adults may, can, and at times even must, serve in the role of parents to a child when the child is away from his parents.
Most importantly, this does not make them now legitimate and ongoing members of the Church hierarchy, such that they are free to operate within the Church, and most pointedly, does not give them any right to conduct a mutual service with the Catholic cleric. If the legitimate Catholic cleric is present the other potential sacramental minister does nothing. The Catholic priest and the alien minister do not carry on some sort of "joint prayer service," even if the alien minister is willing to "do the Catholic thing." The Catholic priest acts alone, and at most any other non-Catholic ministers function, if at all, on exactly the same level as that of any other non-Catholic lay persons present.
Therefore the non-Catholic may do what "Catholic thing" they are capable of doing only in the absence of the Catholic priest. For otherwise there would be the sin (and it really is a heinous sacrilege) of communicatio in sacris, that is a mixing of the sacred and the profane, the holy with the crass, right with wrong. How did Vatican II stop that from seeming sinful to so many? Let's look again at one of the Vatican II documents I quoted in a previous article, but now with some clarifications (in [brackets], and emphasis mine) that some seem to have missed:
Moreover, some and even very many of the significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church itself, [Our Church being "built up and given life" by the warm fuzzies going on behind some other church's doors? Sounds like 'they' are the same exact thing as 'us.'] can exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church: [That is to say, in no way answerable, de jure, to the Vatican leadership] the written word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, [how can the Holy Spirit give them interior graces and all these other gifts and virtues without dwelling in them, which only occurs if they are in a state of sanctifying grace. Actual graces, no matter how prolonged, do not in themselves constitute a "life of grace."] and visible elements too. [Visible elements mean hierarchical members of the Church, which is what the Church's "visibility" by definition actually consists of. These hierarchical members of the non-Vatican-approved churches are hereby referred to as hierarchical members of the Roman Catholic Church]. All of these, which come from Christ and lead back to Christ, [they may have come forth out of Christ's Church, but they most certainly do not lead any back towards it, unless in leading souls to their own group they are thereby leading souls to Christ, thus again construing their church to be Jesus Christ's Church] belong by right to the one Church of Christ. [could it be more official than that? These separated congregations are part of the Roman Catholic Church, fully as integrated into it as any local Catholic parish ever was, and that is by right].
The brethren divided from us also use many liturgical actions of the Christian religion. [How many? Some? All? With East Orthodox, Old Catholics, and the authentic traditional Catholic orders, it would have to be "all," and with Protestants and Catholic "home aloners" it would be "some."] These most certainly can truly engender a life of grace [They have the power to convey sanctifying grace, and not merely actual graces in some providential sense] in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or Community. These liturgical actions must be regarded as capable of giving access to the community of salvation. [They are in and of themselves charged with the authority to forgive sins and do everything necessary to help souls to Heaven.]
It follows that the separated Churches and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, [What respects? Pastor's oily haircut or his too-shiny polyester double-knit leisure suit?] have been by no means [that is to say, in no way whatsoever and to absolutely no extent] deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. [So they possess fully all the same prerogatives as the Catholic Church.] For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation [There it is; they do what Pope Eugene IV stated that only the Church does] which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church [with the very fullness of grace and truth (no room for error here, the truth possessed by these "outsiders" is as absolute, full, and infallible as is that of the Church), and yet obviously Divinely entrusted to these "separated" communities]. - Unitatis Redintegratio
That is what the V-2 "fathers" fully intended when they added that "subsists in" phrase. As applied in this subsequent document, it attempts to impart the fullness of authentic Roman Catholic authority to every Protestant and East Orthodox and other vaguely "Christian" sect there is out there. This done, it is therefore no longer "communicatio in sacris" to organize any and all manner of joint prayer services, joint ecclesial actions, and joint ecclesiastical declarations, with their errors put on equal footing with truth. After all, they all belong to the same "church" now; they all possess the very fullness of Grace and Truth.
And let's look a little more at this issue of "truth." One of my correspondents wrote "Yes as in truth exists elsewhere, I don't think anyone disputes that. Yet the question is, who has the fullness of truth, and what institution by its very being possesses all that truth?" However, I do dispute that. Passing factual correctness on some things, or even a lot of things, is not truth. The Church being the source of truth does not merely mean that its "passing factual correctness" just somehow happens to encompass everything it teaches instead of most or half or some little bit, but rather is a reference to the infallibility of the pope and the Church to teach all things without error. Anything which is not that kind of truth requires all statements to be weighed and then they can either be believed or not, point by point.
And this has a rather interesting impact on yet another point in all of this: The Lumen Gentium document, immediately after the "subsists in" phrase describes the separated groups as being "forces impelling toward catholic unity" Picture a soul in such a heretical group. Some things he believes are true, others are false. The true things may well tug him in a Catholic-ward direction, but the false things equally and oppositely tug him away from the Church. Thus these two "tugs" cancel each other out and the unfortunate soul remains exactly where he is. There is no "impelling" there at all, and so history documents. For were there any real impelling towards Catholic unity Luther and all those who followed him would have returned to the Church within a natural human lifetime. History bears out that they didn't. And no way would the Eastern Orthodox have been so content to remain separated for nearly a thousand years, and even now perfectly content to remain so for the next thousand years.
Let us see just what such an "impelling" would look like were it to exist, for history does indeed provide us with an example. Recall the First Great Western Schism, when there were apparently three popes. Because each side truly was a part of the Church all embraced the fullness of Truth and truly and lawfully provided sanctification as befits the Church. One thing they each knew was that the Church was not meant to be some sort of confederation of three or more separate bodies but one single monolithic body, the One Mystical Body of Christ.
Interestingly enough, it was this exact selfsame "impelling" that occasioned much of the animosity between the three factions. While each agreed that there must be one Church, each side would add to that "But MY pope must be that unity!" "Nope, MINE!" "You're both wrong; MINE!" and so it would come to blows. And this was a terrible spiritual agony to Catholics of all three factions. But with the 20-20 hindsight of history we all know the final denouement of that schism, namely that all three got together, overcame that animosity, forgave all the harsh words spoken in all directions by even saints, saw to the resignation or ousting of each of their claimants, recognized cardinals from all three, and all together jointly elected the one new pope who thus ended that schism.
Only the fullness of truth can impel one towards the unity of the Church, anything short of that experiences no such impelling. Now who today is impelled towards Catholic unity? The Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, and all others discussed in the V-2 documents remain as disinterested in becoming Catholics as ever. But one does see this very much at work in the traditional Catholics. Even a sizeable chunk of the animosity of Catholic towards Catholic of a different faction stems from this selfsame impelling which existed between the factions of the Church way back then and which is mentioned in the V-2 document. Traditional Catholics all know we need to be united under one shepherd, "But" each one adds, "it needs to be under the auspices of OUR group." And once again, this separation within the Church is spiritual agony for all of us.
This is just yet one more piece of evidence that only we traditional Catholics can be or are the recipients of the jurisdiction and capacity to convey the fullness of grace and truth and sanctification which Lumen Gentium so cavalierly threw to the four winds. For we remain the only ones truly "impelled" towards Catholic unity, for we alone possess the fullness and source of infallible truth.
One of my correspondents mentioned that "The Angelic Doctor at length dealt with people who were in error, and took those kernels of truth that exist inside the errors, expounded on those kernels, and demonstrated the beauty of the Catholic faith with them. Christendom was built by men who took the things of this world and consecrated them to Christ, giving them a new purpose, and using them to draw people to the Catholic Church."
Apparently this is meant to suggest a different interpretation of "impelling" towards the fullness of truth as supposedly given by a person's "partial truth" (occasional passing factual correctness). But notice that this only works in the presence of the Catholic expositor who can take the time to go through all correct and incorrect things a person believes, building on the correct ones and discouraging the incorrect ones, until errors are eradicated and the soul in question is capable of being received into the Church. Of course the presence of a different expositor would equally be enabled to build on the person's errors to bring them further and further away from the truth.
This is of course a legitimate method of evangelism, as would be a more radical insistence that one throw out everything one knows and start from scratch, but Vatican II was not about the Church somehow switching from using one approach to the other (both have always coexisted side by side from the beginning), but about telling those with only passing factual correctness to be content with that, "Your passing factual correctness is all you need; be happy where you are." Everything V-2 says about "dialog" is about specifically avoiding any evangelization during any of this "ecumenical activity" (dialog) which is specifically distinguished therein from attempts to bring anyone into the Church, thus: "However, it is evident that, when individuals wish for full Catholic communion, their preparation and reconciliation is an undertaking which of its nature is distinct from ecumenical action." - UNITATIS REDINTEGRATIO Paragraph 4
So there it is, by dialog one is directed to confirm the heretic in his error. Such a thing was never thus described by any Magisterial document of the Church throughout Her nearly 2,000 year history.
Nevertheless, I owe this correspondent gratitude, not only for forcing me to think about the grace issue discussed in the first part of this article, but also for tracking down something I had never come across, namely a technical theological definition of "subsists." In preparing my book and several previous articles all I had to work with was the standard dictionary definition of the word which maps it directly to "exists" as though they both mean the same thing. Obviously in most normal contexts they do indeed mean the same thing, but in technical theological discussions, "subsists" is meant to imply a special mode of existence, namely one which is not dependant upon anyone or anything else. My existence is relative; were God somehow able to forget me I would altogether cease to exist. But the Church exists eternally and cannot be deprived of any of sustenance, as though it needed any.
Human organizations on the other hand do not subsist as we mere humans have no capacity to convey to our own creations any quality we ourselves do not possess (except in scale, we can build machines stronger than ourselves but only because we also possess some degree, albeit lesser, of physical strength). As such the synthetic new Vatican institution (confusingly called a "catholic church" in some of the V-2 documents) is purely man-made, and as Lumen Gentium shows it is not that which does the subsisting but only the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ.
Because of this new knowledge (I am learning, too), I was morally forced to correct some of my previous documents and will have to correct something in my book as well. In particular, taking "subsistence" as mere "existence" I assumed that the relationship was symmetrical between the Church and the new institution thus created, with each "subsisting" in each other. Well, they do most certainly both "exist" within (and also without) each other, but obviously in the face of this new knowledge I must expect that only the actual Mystical Body of Christ is doing any of the "subsisting," and so indeed we find stated in the document.
This is theological progress, and any further important theological information that can be brought to bear upon my thesis is most certainly of interest and value to me, and as already seen here, can and will result in further development and refinement of my thesis, and for that I am eternally grateful to those who have provided me with important information and even objections, for it is in the trial by fire of such objections that my theory gains strength and stature.
And so indeed we find stated in the document, thus:
"This [the real and authentic Mystical Body of Christ, the real and authentic Catholic Church] is the sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Savior, after his resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it, and which he raised up for all ages as "the pillar and mainstay of the truth." This Church [the Mystical Body of Christ], constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church [which latter, whatever it is, is only passively subsisted in by the former]." - Lumen Gentium Para. 8
In my third part, I will finish off some additional questions raised regarding the subsistance issue that have been raised by my correspondents (and others) and point the reader to the chosen earthen vessel of God's gift of sanctifying grace today in Part Three - Grace and the Subsistent Superchurch.
Griff's book is available from iUniverse.com Books for $26.95 or can be read on-line at www.the-pope.com We at The Daily Catholic strongly urge you to share it with all you can for that could be the gentle shove that moves your friends back to where the True Faith resides forever, rooted in the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church as Christ intended and promised.