Love is love is love is love…

“Trent has a powerful and well-placed serve, the occasional devastating smash, and volleys efficiently at the net when she gets into position. Vatican II possess only an ordinary serve, but plays a wide variety of strokes including topspin [sic], and is fast and agile around the court.”

— George Cardinal Pell, Foreword to The Council in Question, Moyra Doorly & Aidan Nichols, OP (Charlotte, NC: TAN Books, 2011)

[A]s soon as the corruption of each mischievous error begins to break forth, and to defend itself by filching certain passages of Scripture, and expounding them fraudulently and deceitfully, immediately, the opinions of the ancients in the interpretation of the Canon are to be collected, whereby the novelty, and consequently the profaneness, whatever it may be, that arises, may both without any doubt be exposed, and without any tergiversation be condemned.”

— St. Vincent of Lerins, Commonitory, #72

“38 Now it came to pass as they went, that he entered into a certain town: and a certain woman named Martha, received [Jesus] into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sitting also at the Lord’s feet, heard his word. 40 But Martha was busy about much serving. Who stood and said: ‘Lord, hast thou no care that my sister hath left me alone to serve? speak to her therefore, that she help me.’ 41 And the Lord answering, said to her: ‘Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.'”

— The Gospel according to St. Luke 10

“’Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”

— The Gospel according to St. Matthew 22:36-37

“[H]e who wrests the sacred Scripture from its true and genuine sense to the dogmas of the impious and to heresies, treats the word of God most injuriously…. It is also a shameful and base contamination of sacred Scripture, to pervert its words and sentences, which should be revered with all veneration, to profane purposes, as nefarious men do, namely, to scurrility, fable, vanity, flattery, detraction, fortune-telling, satirical libels, and the like. Such profanation of the divine word, the sacred council of Trent commands to be punished [cf. Session iv., sub. fin.].”

Catechism of the Council of Trent (trans. Rev. J. Donovan [Dublin: James Duffy, 1867]), part III, chapter III, question XXVII

“[I]n order to curb impudent clever persons, the [Tridentine] synod decrees that no one who relies on his own judgment in matters of faith and morals, which pertain to the building up of Christian doctrine, and that no one who distorts the Sacred Scripture according to his own opinions, shall dare to interpret the said Sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which is held by holy mother Church, whose duty it is to judge regarding the true sense and interpretation of holy Scriptures, or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers, even though interpretations of this kind were never intended to be brought to light. Let those who shall oppose this be reported by their ordinaries and be punished with the penalties prescribed by law….”

The Council of Trent, Session IV, second decree [trans. J. Waterworth (London: Dolman, 1848)]; cf. Dz. 786/DS 1507

“‘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.”

— Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, #9 (1896)

[We must] guard the proper way of expressing [orthodoxy], lest our careless use of words give rise, God forbid, to false opinions regarding faith in the most sublime things. St. Augustine gives a stern warning about this when he takes up the matter of the different ways of speaking that are employed by the philosophers on the one hand and that ought to be used by Christians on the other. ‘The philosophers,’ he says, ‘use words freely, and they have no fear of offending religious listeners in dealing with subjects that are difficult to understand. But we have to speak in accordance with a fixed rule, so that a lack of restraint in speech on our part may not give rise to some irreverent opinion about the things represented by the words.’ And so the rule of language which the Church has established … is to be religiously preserved, and no one may presume to change it at his own pleasure or under the pretext of new knowledge.”

— Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei, ##23-24 (3 September 1965)

“According to the almost unanimous opinion of believers and unbelievers alike, all things on earth should be related to man as their center and crown. … God, Who has fatherly concern for everyone, has willed that all men should constitute one family and treat one another in a spirit of brotherhood. … For this reason, love for God and neighbor is the first and greatest commandment. … [For] man … is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself….”

Gaudium et spes, chapter I, #12, chapter II, #24 (7 December 1965)

“[Observing all that Jesus commanded means honoring] above all the new commandment, the first and the greatest of the commandments, and the one that best identifies us as Christ’s disciples [is]: ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’.”

— Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium§161 (24 November 2013)

+ + +

There has been some discussion recently of the above topics at One Peter FiveRorate Caeli, Theological Flint, and, I’m sure, in many other venues.

In what follows I shall provide two parallel translations of highly pertinent passages from the Catechism of the Council of Trent concerning the first and greatest commandment. I shall emphasize and minimally gloss what I think are the most pertinent lines of the quotations.

The translation on the left is from The Catechism of the Council of Trent (trans. J. A. McHugh and C. J. Callan [Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1982]), while that on the right comes from Catechism of the Council of Trent (trans. Rev. J. Donovan [Dublin: James Duffy, 1867]).

All of the following is worth reading, but the punchline is in the last passage cited.

+ + +

Part III, chapter I, question I

“[T]he Decalogue is the summary and epitome of all laws…. For if carefully examined and well understood, whatever else is commanded by God will be found to depend on the Ten Commandments which were engraved on those two tables, just as these Ten Commandments, in turn, are reducible to two, the love of God and of our neighbour, on which “depend the whole law and the prophets. “[T]he Decalogue is a summary and epitome of the entire law … because on those ten precepts…, if carefully examined with a view to be rightly understood, are found to depend all other things that God has commanded; as again do those same ten commandments on these two, namely, the love of God and of our neighbor, on which ‘dependeth the whole Law and the Prophets.‘”

Part III, chapter II, question III

“The pastor should teach that the first part of the Decalogue contains our duties towards God; the second part, our duties towards our neighbor. The reason (for this order) is that the services we render our neighbor are rendered for the sake of God; for then-only do we love our neighbor as God commands when we love him for God’s sake. The Commandments which regard God are those which were inscribed on the first table of the Law.” “The parish-priest will teach [his flock] that, in the Decalogue, the precepts that regard God occupy first, and those that regard neighbor, the second place; because the services that we render our neighbor, we render him for the sake of God; for then only do we love our neighbor according to the precept of God, when we love him for God’s sake….”

Part III, Chapter II, question VI — “Thou shalt not have strange Gods before Me”

“After this it should be added that [to love and worship God alone above all else] is the first and principal Commandment, not only in order, but also in its nature, dignity and excellence. God is entitled to infinitely greater love and obedience from us than any lord or king [and, implicitly, to fellow human beings].” “These matters explained, [the pastor] must add, that [to love and worship God alone above all else] is the first and greatest of all the commandments, not only in order, but also in nature, dignity, excellence; for God ought to have with us infinitely greater love and authority than are due to master, to monarch [and, implicitly, to fellow human beings].”

Part III, chapter V, question III

“Let him begin by showing that the divine precepts of the Decalogue were written on two tables, one of which, in the opinion of the holy Fathers, contained the three preceding, while the rest were given on the second table. This order of the Commandments is especially appropriate, since the very collocation points out to us their difference in nature. For whatever is commanded or prohibited in Scripture by the divine law springs from one of two principles, the love of God or of our neighbor: one or the other of these is the basis of every duty required of us. The three preceding Commandments teach us the love which we owe to God; and the other seven, the duties which we owe to our neighbor and to public society.” “[T]he parish-priest must … explain … that the divine precepts of the Decalogue were engraved on two tablets, one of which, as we have received from the holy Fathers, were comprised those three which [pertain to God], and on the other the remaining seven [which pertain to Man]. For us this description was most apposite, that their very order might distinguish the nature of the commandments; for whatever is commanded or prohibited in the sacred Scriptures by the divine Law, springs from one of two principles; for either the love of God or of our neighbor is had in view in every moral duty. Now the three preceding commandments teach the love of God; in the other seven is contained what appertains to domestic and public society.”

Part III, chapter V, question IV

“In the first three Commandments, which have been explained, God, the supreme good, is, as it were, the subject matter; in the others, it is the good of our neighbor. The former require the highest love, the latter the love next to the highest. The former have to do with our last end, the latter with those things that lead us to our end. Again, the love of God terminates in God Himself for God is to be loved above all things for His own sake; but the love of our neighbor originates in, and is to be regulated by, the love of God.” “For, in the three preceding commandments … the subject matter as it were, which they treat, is God, that is the Supreme Good; but in the others, the good of our neighbour: in the former is proposed supreme, in the latter, secondary love; the former regard the ultimate end, the latter those things that are referred to that end. Besides, the love of God terminates in God himself, for God is to be loved above all things solely for his own sake; but the love of our neighbour has its origins in the love of God, and is to be directed to it as to a certain rule….”

Part III, chapter V, question V

“Moreover, no honor, no piety, no devotion can be rendered to God sufficiently worthy of Him, since love of Him admits of infinite increase. Hence our charity should become every day more fervent towards Him, who commands us to love Him with our whole heart, our whole soul, and with all our strength. The love of our neighbor, on the contrary, has its limits, for the Lord commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves. To outstep these limits by loving our neighbor as we love God would be an enormous crime.” “Moreover, no honour, no piety, no worship is rendered to God, sufficiently worthy of him, towards whom love admits of infinite increase; … but the love with which we embrace our neighbor is circumscribed within its own proper limits, for the Lord commanded us to love our neighbour as ourselves; and if any one outstep these limits so as to give equal love to God, and his neighbour, he commits a most grievous crime….”

obi wan continuity looking for


* Here is the translation of the above passage from the Council of Trent, session 4, second decree, as provided by J. Waterworth (London: Dolman, 1848)]:

“…in order to restrain petulant spirits, It decrees, that no one, relying on his own skill, shall,–in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, –wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church,–whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures,–hath held and doth hold; or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers; even though such interpretations were never (intended) to be at any time published. Contraveners shall be made known by their Ordinaries, and be punished with the penalties by law established.”

Incidentally, reference to punishment/penalties for contravening the sense of Scripture is omitted in the latest (43rd) edition (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2010) of Denzinger-Schönborn.


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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4 Responses to Love is love is love is love…

  1. I’m surprised you didn’t also include Benedict XVI’s Deus caritas est, since the treatment of the two as one commandment is a major part of the argument of that encyclical, explicitly repeated several times.

    I just realized that I have in the past few days repeatedly been adding an extra ‘t’ to your name, despite having already known that was incorrect; sorry about that – I’m not sure how that happened.

  2. I think the One Peter Five piece addresses Deus caritas est.

    As for the extra t, you can leave your bitcoin tariff in the next comment. Heh.

    I haven’t responded to virtually any comments for a while because I’m busy but also because I prefer to absorb and ponder things before shooting back too quickly. Brief replies like this are easy to handle on the fly.

  3. drprice2 says:

    “Two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God.”

    The Council’s problem was that it was trying to build a bridge between the two Cities. I will concede good intentions, but such could not succeed from the start. Right now, it’s looking like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge on November 7, 1940.

  4. If one wants to build a bridge, it is prolly best to just build a rhetorical one – like the one Clinton spent building for eight years, the bridge to the twenty first century.

    Would it be too churlish to observe that Hilary would have made a great model if Billy Jeff * wanted to erect a gargoyle or two on that bridge?

    Why don’t republicans insist on calling him Impeached every time they refer to either him or his evil wife?

    She is, after all, the first POTUS candidate ever to be married to an impeached POTUS.

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