I’ve got your continuity right here, baby…

I had posted some of the following earlier in a different venue, but upon reviewing it, and adding some other quotations, I felt my mind literally reeling at how far (down) the Catholic discourse has come in only one and a half, maybe two, generations.

The Church’s demographic cataclysm decline (cf. 1, cf. 2) is precipitated upon matched only by the ecumaniacal vapidity of the past decades of the prelature. I literally cannot imagine a major Catholic prelate in our day expressing the truths broached by Pope Pius XII (below), much less doing so in such a direct and un-am-big-u-ous fashion.

As my friend reminds me, though, one laughs or one weeps. So, once again, I’m due for both–in that order.

As for this post, I admit that it would speak better of me to wait and produce a polished, sustained essay, but it’s easier to fisk the following quotations as I see fit. What else are blogs for, right?

Deliver us, O Lord, from stone-peddling preachers, and restore unto us fully vertebrate shepherds. Amen.  


“The goal of full unity may seem distant, he said, yet it remains the aim which should direct our every step along the way.”

Pope Francis, to the pseudo-bishop Welby

I recently drew attention to USC’s typically insightful critique of the latest ecumanical gambit along the East-West front. ‘Twas mush ado about nodding, I tell you. Let me, however, add on to this topic by noting how John Pail II’s widely praised metaphor of the “two lungs” (cf. Ut unum sint §54) is, like so much in post-conciliar Churchdom, popular precisely because it is a poetic bromide. You know things have gotten bad when even Wikipedia gets it more right than our leading prelates do, to wit:

“What has been called another version of the branch theory was discussed by some Roman Catholic theologians, such as Robert F. Taft and Michael Fahey, in the era of the Vatican II Council, held that the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church are ‘Sister Churches’ or ‘two lungs’ of the Body. Both the churches in question reject these ideas. The Eastern Orthodox Church rejects the opinion as being incompatible with the Orthodox faith, due to its belief that the “two lung” branch theory presents “a territorialist concept” and that “the Church is not composed of parts of a body, two lungs, but of a single body”. The Catholic Church denies outright that the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church are “sister Churches”, and applies the term “sister Churches” only to the relations between the particular Churches, such as the sees of Constantinople and Rome. The metaphor of “Christianity” or “Christendom” (not “the Church”) breathing with “two lungs” was first used by the Russian poet and philosopher Vyacheslav Ivanovich Ivanov, drawing inspiration from the worldview of Russian intellectual Vladimir Solovyov. Pope John Paul II applied the metaphor to “the Church”, which for him was not some amalgam of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church, but the Catholic Church itself, thus indicating that it must avail itself of the traditions of both Eastern Christianity and Latin Christianity.”

That last part gives away the game, since the entire point of believing in ONE, Holy, CATHOLIC, and Apostolic Church is that the Church always has enjoyed, AND STILL DOES ENJOY, the riches of both Eastern and Western orthodoxy-in-unity.

But let us continue down the hallway of Truly Coherent Catholic Tradition.

“The first mark of the true Church is described in the Nicene Creed, and consists in unity: My dove is one, my beautiful one is one. So vast a multitude, scattered far and wide, is called one for the reasons mentioned by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians: One Lord, one faith, one baptism. … It is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers that this visible head is necessary to establish and preserve unity in the Church. This St. Jerome clearly perceived and as clearly expressed when, in his work against Jovinian, he wrote: ‘One is elected that, by the appointment of a head, all occasion of schism may be removed.’ … A visible Church requires a visible head; therefore the Saviour appointed Peter head and pastor of all the faithful, when He committed to his care the feeding of all His sheep, in such ample terms that He willed the very same power of ruling and governing the entire Church to descend to Peter’s successors.”

The Roman Catechism, to all the faithful

Likewise, in the land of authentically discernible Catholicism, though a few centuries later:

“14. That the Church is a body is frequently asserted in the Sacred Scriptures. “Christ,” says the Apostle, “is the Head of the Body of the Church.” If the Church is a body, it must be an unbroken unity, according to those words of Paul: “Though many we are one body in Christ.” But it is not enough that the Body of the Church should be an unbroken unity; it must also be something definite and perceptible to the senses as Our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Satis Cognitum asserts: “the Church is visible because she is a body.” Hence they err in a matter of divine truth, who imagine the Church to be invisible, intangible, a something merely “pneumatological” as they say, by which many Christian communities, though they differ from each other in their profession of faith, are untied by an invisible bond.

“22. Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. … It follows that those who are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit. …

“41. They, therefore, walk in the path of dangerous error who believe that they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to His Vicar on earth. They have taken away the visible head, broken the visible bonds of unity and left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer so obscured and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation can neither see it nor find it.”

— Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi (1943)

On second thought, there might be a few prelates–despite the efforts of the ecumenical sappers , lodged even in the bishopric of Rome–who are up to the challenge of actually looking and sounding Catholic. Oremus. 

About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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2 Responses to I’ve got your continuity right here, baby…

  1. Tony Jokin says:

    I just read two articles pertaining to this subject of ecumenism



    It seems that the Vatican II and post Vatican II documents either agree with your view through silence. Is the “two lungs” reference of St. John Paul II contained in these teachings documents or some joint declaration or speech given at some ecumenical gathering?

    Also, my impression from all of this is that the whole “prudential U-turn” in ecumenism compared to the position of Mortalium Animos was just dumb. There is no way one can clearly uphold the idea that the Catholic Church is the one True Church and then continue to even think that any of the separated Christians will want to have anything to do with the Catholic Church.

    Every ecumenical initiative has occurred since Vatican II because the truth has been kept under wraps.

    So that Catholic.com article is kind of missing the point. In order to engage in ecumenical activity (in the real world), one must end up giving the impression of denying the doctrinal content of pre-Vatican II with respect to ecumenism. Therefore this is not merely disciplinary change in practice. In fact it cannot be something like that.

    My experience in talking (“dialogue”) with a Protestant friend is that I constantly have to avoid getting in to the topic of “Church” because we always end up having to end in a debate or simply agree to ignore the difference anyway. I doubt this is any different when you engage at any level unless the other Person is thinking of returning to the Catholic Church already. At that point, we have the pre-Vatican II practice of returning to Rome anyway.

    So the whole ecumenism deal seems like it is practically impossible for a good Catholic to do.

  2. Tony. The two lungs statement can be found in Ut Unum Snit

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