This is no doubt music to the ears of groups like Call To Action, FutureChurch, WomanChurch, and Dignity. It appears this would solve the problems they have with the Church at present and that, essentially, they'd have a total victory over the Church and the Magisterium (the Hierarchy of the Church). And that their letter writing campaign to lobby Cardinals for the next conclave would succeed.
However, their glee may be short-lived. Cardinal Martini didn't say, "Let's do these things" but rather "Let's talk about doing them." These leave us with the question, "What would this Council mean?"
A Third Vatican Council is, in my opinion, inevitable. I recall that when the Patriach of Constantinople, Nestorius, taught that Mary was the mother of Christ's human nature only, the conflict was submitted to Rome for clarification. When the Emperor and the Patriarch rejected the Pope's answer (given in the spirit of collegiality) they called for a Council to 'talk about doing these things'. The Council of Ephesus.
Once the Council was called, it would accept or condemn Nestorius' teaching and his followers. A Third Vatican Council, to address the hot issues of today, would do the same thing. Vatican III would have to come to one of three conclusions.
1) Nothing is done. That is the Council would do nothing but talk about them. The problem is a Council wouldn't be called unless an answer was necessary. Calling a Council of the Church is no light matter, it would mean that an answer is going to be given. Nestorius wanted an answer and felt that it would be to his liking.
2) The Council would overturn "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis" and allow women priests, remove the sin of artifical contraception and abortion, remove the sin of homosexual activity, in short, approve all of the list of demands set down by Call To Action and it's satellite organizations.
Now, whereas this is the expected outcome by Call To Action, et al, it isn't necessarily the case. In order for this outcome to occur, the Third Vatican Council would have to reject almost every other Council of the Church, from the first Council of Jerusalem (ref. Acts 15) to Vatican II.
To allow women priests, and overturn Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, the Third Vatican Council would have to reject Vatican I and Vatican II. ". . . the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when, acting in the office of shepherd and teacher of all Christians, he defines, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, possesses through the Divine assistance promised to him in the person of St. Peter, the infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals; and that such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are therefore irreformable because of their nature, but not because of the agreement of the Church." (First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ; Vatican I)
" In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra....this is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith, by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals. And therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment." (Lumen Gentium [Dogmatic Constitution on the Church], Chap 3, #25)
This would also affect their assertion that any and all theologians are to be consulted as well as the 'opinion' of the 'People of God'. So, on a number of 'hot issues', in order to change Church teaching, Vatican III would have to say that Vatican I and II (among others) were anathema, condemned as wrong. Yet, in order for Vatican III to be valid, it would have to embrace these and all other Councils. So, it's doubtful that this Council would do this since to do so would mean that this Council would be invalid as well.
Nestorius felt he was on solid ground and the Council of Ephesus would approve his teachings even though they went against the practice of the Church for centuries before.
3) The Third Vatican Council would declare the agenda of Call To Action anathema, and excommunicate (officially) anyone who adhered to it.
This is a more likely outcome. Up to this 'hypothetical' Council, the Church tried to treat dissidents with the spirit of collegiality, to try to come to a concensus as Catholics seeking the truth together. But, in rejecting the teachings of Rome and calling for a Council, they forced the Church's hand. Either the Church accepts their doctrines or it condemns them. Considering that if the Coucil accepted them they'd a) have to reject all other Councils of the Church and b) open the door for even their Council to be rejected later (by rejecting other Councils, they would say that even their Council was open to rejection whenever the mood hit them). The spirit of collegiality would have to be set aside.
The Council of Ephesus declared Mary the Theotokos, the God-bearer, the Mother of God. This directly opposed Nestorius' teaching, and made it anathema, a heresy. Those, including Nestorius, who continued to maintain that Mary was only the mother of Christ's human nature, were outside the Church. Nestorius had forced the Church's hand. Rather than submitting to the Pope's letter, correcting him in the spirit of collegiality, he forced the Church to condemn him by calling for a Council.
Now, this may not be the end of it. Call To Action's likely response to this 'rejection' would be to declare the Council invalid. That it didn't have the authority to declare this since it isn't an 'Ecumenical' Council. They would either declare, as they do with Humanae Vitae, that the orthodox 'stole' the Council somehow, OR that unless a united Church (including the Eastern Orthodox and, presumably, the 'separated' churches) held the Council, that it was invalid.
This was the tact of the Eastern Churches during the Eighth Ecumenical Council (which they don't consider an Ecumenical Council) creating the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Great Schism. Then, as now, politics played a large part in their decision to separate from the Church of Rome, the See of Peter. Then, as now, the Council forced them to either accept or reject the authority of the Church. So, a Third Vatican Council may well mean another schism. And like then, we would have, for example, the Roman Catholic Church in America (loyal to the Pope and Magisterium) and the American Catholic Church (which would follow the example of other 'national' churches in Eastern Orthodoxy and the Church of England.)
So, this call for a Vatican III may not be the cure-all envisioned by Call To Action and other dissidents. It may well mean the end for them as 'Catholic' organizations.
Pax Christi, Pat
Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially dear to Christian people. In Jesus' Mother, the first fruit of redeemed humanity, God works wonderful things, filling her with grace and preserving her from every stain of sin.
At Nazareth, Mary was called "full of grace" by the Angel: in these words were enclosed her singular destiny but also, in a more general sense, that of every man. "Fullness of grace," which for Mary is the starting point, is the goal for all men and women: in fact, as the apostle Paul says, God has created us "to be holy and immaculate in his presence" (Ephesians 1,4). Because of this, He "blessed" us before our earthly existence, and sent His Son into the world to rescue us from sin. Mary is the masterpiece of this salvific work, the "all beautiful," "all holy" creature.
2. The Immaculate reminds every human being, no matter what his conditions, that God loves him personally, that He only wants his good and follows him constantly with a plan of grace and mercy that culminated in the redeeming sacrifice of Christ.
The reality of Mary points us toward Jesus Christ, sole Mediator of salvation, and helps us to look at life as a design of love, with which we must cooperate responsibly. Mary is the model, not only of the call but also of the response. Indeed, she said "yes" to God, at the beginning and in every successive moment of her life, completely following His will, even when it was dark and difficult for her to accept.
3. The feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary takes on special meaning this year in view of the forthcoming Great Jubilee. Mary illuminates the steps of our pilgrimage toward the Holy Door, and points out that "Door," which is Christ and which she was the first to go through, to every person, inviting everyone to go through, and to be "holy and immaculate in love."
What we contemplate and celebrate in Mary today, in other words, her being "full of grace" and free of sin, is the mature fruit of the Jubilee. The icon of the Immaculate, which tradition depicts in the act of crushing Satan -- the serpent's head, seems more eloquent than ever, therefore, during this time of Advent, which is like the courtyard of entry to the Great Jubilee.
Dearly beloved, let us turn to Mary, the sign of sure hope! The Immaculate Virgin helps each of us to be converted to Jesus, to experience the healing force of His love. This is the wish I have today for all believers, inviting them to enter the Holy Year, which is imminent, with determination.
On May 17, 1966 Pope Paul VI made him the Bishop of Almeria. He was ordained and installed a month later on June 16th. Three years later the Holy Father appointed him Bishop of Malaga on November 28, 1969. Four years later he was transferred to Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela on April 12, 1983. Here he stayed for a decade until Pope John Paul II promoted him to the Archbishopric of Madrid on April 12, 1983. Two years later the Holy Father included him in his Consistory of May 25, 1985, receiving his red-hat and the titular church of the Great Mother of God. He was assigned curial membership in the Secretariat of State. During his days as archbishop he coordinated spiritual exercises for priests throughout Spain, Europe, the U.S., Mexico and even Cuba. On July 28, 1994 at the age of 78 he formally retired as Archbishop of Madrid, retiring to his home Diocese of San Sebastian where he remains today.
Besides knowing God by our natural reason, we can also know Him from SUPERNATURAL REVELATION. God has often revealed Himself to men through means beyond the ordinary course of nature. This is supernatural, or Divine Revelation, as opposed to the natural revelation of Himself that God makes in the external world, and the revelation He makes through our natural reason and conscience.
Some revealed truths are beyond the power of the human understanding; we could never, by our own abilities, have known such truths if God had not revealed them. For instance, could we by ourselves have known about the Blessed Trinity, had God not revealed it?
The public revelation of truths to men by God began with Adam and Eve and ended at the death of Saint John the Apostle. Private revelations have been made to holy persons, such as those of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary, and those of Our Lady of Lourdes to Saint Bernadette. But these private revelations are never proposed to the faithful as articles of faith. When the Church approves them, it merely states that there is nothing in them contrary to faith or morals.
Divine Revelation may be classified into pre-Christian and Christian revelation. Pre-Christian revelation may be divided into: (a) primitive revelation, made to Adam and Eve; (b) patriarchal revelation, made to the patriarchs; and (c) Mosaic revelation, made to Moses and the prophets. God spoke to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Paradise. He spoke to Abraham, to Noah, sending Noah to preach to sinful men before the Flood. He sent Moses to the Israelites when Pharaoh oppressed them. The patriarchs and prophets were called messengers of God, and often received from Him extraordinary powers, of miracles and prophecy, in order that they might be believed.
Christian revelation contains the truths revealed to us by Jesus Christ, either directly or through His Apostles. Our Lord commanded His Apostles to teach all these truths to the end of time. "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations." We should believe in Divine Revelation because God, Who is its Author, cannot deceive nor be deceived.
No reasonable man can believe in any truth until he is sure it is revealed by God. We know that God is the Author of Revelation because He ha sproved it by external acts, especially by miracles and prophecies. The writers who made Divine Revelation known worked under direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Who is, therefore its Author.
Miracles are extraordinary works perceptible to the senses, that cannot be accomplished by the mere powers of nature. They are brought about by the action of a higher power. The coming to life of a dead man is a miracle. So is the instantaneous cure of a man blind or paralytic from birth. Our Lord and the Apostles worked many miracles.
Some extraordinary works never before heard of or known but invented are not miracles. They are mere discoveries of previously unknown processes or combinations. An example is the radio. And so were the first telegraph, telephone, wireless, phonograph, etc. Today it's the computer. All of these are very wonderful. Even today people in general do not understand them fully. But they are not miracles, because they are produced by the forces of nature as harnessed through the ingenuity of man.
Prophecies are predictions of future events that could not have been known by natural means. For the confirmation of the faith, or for the benefit of men, God raised up prophets. Generally speaking, the gift of prophecy is a sure sign that the possessor is a messenger of God.
The prophets told about the coming of the Messiah. Their prophecies were fulfilled when Christ came on earth. The major prophets were Isaias, Jeremias, Ezechiel, and Daniel. They are distinguished from the twelve minor prophets, because of the greater volume of their prophecies. Forecasting the weather correctly is not prophecy. It is the result of a scientific knowledge of natural facts.
Divine Revelation has come down to us through Holy Scripture, written down under divine inspiration, and through Tradition, handed down orally from Apostolic times. From Adam and Eve, at different times, God inspired men to write down His revelations. These passed from generation to generation as sacred books. For pre-Christian revelation, there were forty-five of these sacred books, composing the Old Testament. They were jealously guarded by the Israelites, the Chosen People, whom God Himself had chosen to keep His truths intact for the instruction of future generations.
Finally our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, come to earth to reveal Divine truths to men. After His death, His Apostles and disciples wrote about Him and His teachings. There are twenty-seven of these books, composing the New Testament. With the forty-five books of the Old Testament they were scattered in different parts of the world, until the Church gathered them together into one Book, Holy Scripture, or the Bible.
The great Deposit of Faith which Jesus Christ entrusted to the Church is made up of two parts: Holy Scripture and Divine Tradition, this latter being composed of the truths passed down by word of mouth, and not written down till after the death of Christ's Apostles and disciples, principally by the Fathers of the Church. Divine Revelation was completed at the death of the last of the Apostles. Since that time no new revelation has been made for the instruction of the whole of mankind. Whenever the Church decides a point of faith, it does so according to Scripture or Tradition. It simply finds out what has been revealed from the beginning.
Death of Pope Calixtus II, 162nd successor of Peter. Born in Burgundy, he was elected on February 8, 1119. During his five year pontificate an agreement was reached at the Diet of Worms over the quarrel of investiture when the Pope was recognized as having the right to nominate bishops. He convened the 9th Ecumenical Council or Lateran I in which decrees were issued against simony and the lay investiture issue settled with a ratification of what had transpired at Worms. He also proclaimed the Second Crusade.
Birth of Felice Peretti in Grottammare outside of Ancona, Italy. He would go on to become a Franciscan, an inquisitor in Venice, a cardinal and eventually the 227th successor of Peter as Pope Sixtus V on May 1, 1585. His papacy would last until August 27, 1590 and during his pontificate Sixtus would take in hand the reform of the Church with great severity as well as completing work on the dome of St. Peter's.
Pope Paul III opens the 19th Ecumenical Council, better known as the Council of Trent in the northern mountains of Italy. It was a landmark counter-reform conference that would last eight years and through five pontiffs in which Protestantism was strongly condemned and measures passed to preserve the true faith.
Death of Saint Jane Frances Chantal, wife, mother and religious founder. After her husband died she was left with her seven children to raise. When they reached adulthood she chose to found the Congregation of the Visitation for young girls and widows which spread throughout France. She was a close friend and pupil of Saint Francis de Sales and she died at Moulins, France on this date after returning from a Parisian visit with Queen Anne. She was canonized in 1767 by Pope Clement XIII.