Fides quaerens intellectum…

1) If it’s not obvious, I want to clarify that most of my blogging is all part of that fides quaerens intellectum thing. 

2) My problem is that the oneness of the Church seems eviscerated by a lot of ecumenical discourse, and while “Church” is a term that admits of analogical meanings, oneness is not. The existence of multiple Catholic rites–i.e. distinct Churches within the Catholic Church–is not problematic. Separation from communion with the Roman See is the problem. The One True Church includes within itself multiple Churches, but does not admit of any substantial plurality, since all those Churches are ONE by virtue of their communion with Rome. Just as the ONE God is a communion of plural persons, so the ONE Church is a communion of plural Churches. 

So, to recall a key passage from Praeclara gratulationis publicae: 

“We advise the reconciliation and union with the Church of Rome [implying that there is no union as things stand]; and [by union] We mean a perfect and complete union, such as could not subsist in any way if nothing else was brought about but a certain kind of agreement in the Tenets of Belief and an intercourse of Fraternal love [i.e. union can only subsist in something more than common doctrinal pledges and signs of fraternity, the latter which do not in any way comprise true union]. The True Union between Christians is that which Jesus Christ, the Author of the Church, instituted and desired, and which consists in [!] a Unity of Faith and Unity of Government.”

The Eastern Churches are indeed Churches, albeit schismatic Churches, which is Leo’s point. They have amputated themselves, so how the Church can breathe with an amputated lung, is left unexplained. Protestants are in an even more perilous place as prodigal sons. Of course LG didn’t come from nowhere, but I’m grappling with its many strands, not dogmatizing. I’m trying to resolve important tensions without resorting to the usual memory-hole tactics that so often grease the wheels of a zombified aggiornamento.

3) I agree that JPII had the Eastern Churches in mind, but a very common acceptation of the “two lungs” metaphor is meant to include the schismatic Eastern Churches. The thing I liked about Leo XIII’s quotation in my previous post, is how it showed that the idea of drawing upon the light of the East was not a new idea with JPII. On my way into the Church, I seriously grappled with becoming Eastern Orthodox, so I really do treasure the light of the East. I think I should re-read Orientale Lumen.


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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3 Responses to Fides quaerens intellectum…

  1. The Churches you mentioned are not only schismatic, they are heretical; and even the question of Apostolic Succession is in the balance because they are not true Bishops in a Catholic sense if their consecrations were not approved by a Pope.

  2. Tony Jokin says:

    Maybe I am very stringent but this is my concern.

    Every faith outside of the Catholic faith has interesting elements that are true (which are already in the Catholic Church) and point one in the right direction. So it is not just the Eastern Orthodox that a person will find interesting. They may find Protestantism, or even something like Islam interesting because it has some elements of truth in it.

    But does that mean we should heap any praise upon those religions though?

    Because it seems to me that one would be correct in saying that the devil mixes truth with lies. But surely, no one would argue that therefore we should look positively at the devil?

    So shouldn’t we feel negativity toward the Protestant faith or the Orthodox faith? It seems correct to view it as a way for the devil to slowly lure people in to error by mixing truths with a little (and yet disastrous) lies. In the Orthodox case, look at their whole 3-divorces-3-marriages concept which is slowly putting pressure on the Catholic Church on this issue. Or the Protestant decline in to approving divorce and contraception (and many more in some sub groups).

    I just feel that we should look at these faiths negatively (though not necessarily at the adhering persons)

  3. Tony and MJ:

    I agree that there has been a flood of rose-colored squinting in the past half-century. Any impression that it is a positive good for members of any religious body to remain where they are, outside the Catholic Church, is a diabolical detente.

    This is why I will never tire of recalling Leo XIII’s counsel in Satis cognitum, previously cited:

    “The Church … has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavour than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the faith. Hence she regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own. … ‘There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole cycle of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, infect the real and simple faith taught by our Lord and handed down by Apostolic tradition’ (Auctor Tract. de Fide Orthodoxa contra Arianos).

    “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. …

    “Wherefore, from the very earliest times the fathers and doctors of the Church have been accustomed to follow and, with one accord to defend this rule. Origen writes: ‘As often as the heretics allege the possession of the canonical scriptures, to which all Christians give unanimous assent, they seem to say: “Behold the word of truth is in the houses.” But we should believe them not and abandon not the primary and ecclesiastical tradition. We should believe not otherwise than has been handed down by the tradition of the Church of God’ (Vetus Interpretatio Commentariorum in Matt. n. 46).”

    – Pope Leo XIII, Satis cognitum (1896), which, perhaps not so curiously, never cited in the Vatican II documents (though I may be wrong about that)

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