Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Notes: Saturday-Tuesday, July 17-20, 2010

D.I.C.I. article on the new President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity


D.I.C.I. commentary accompanying the article:

The statement by the new official responsible for ecumenism at Rome should be noted: “Benedict XVI does not want in any way to go backwards,” in other words, to what was taught before the Second Vatican Council—in the encyclical Mortalium animos (by Pius XI), for example. One should also remark that, according to the Swiss prelate, the pope desires a reformatio, a reform allowing the Church to “rediscover its authentic shape, as the Second Vatican Council has already effected/accomplished [réalisé(e)]”. Reading the excerpts from the latest work by Msgr. Gherardini (see our Documents) shows that such a reformatio is more than compromised because, according to the director of the review Divinitas, this council is in conflict with Tradition on at least 9 points which are not insignificant. In passing, one might also ask whether this reformatio, presented as “already effected/accomplished by Vatican II” still needs to be done. And if it has already been effected/accomplished, what are its fruits? The creation of a new Pontifical Council for the evangelization of the countries which “are experiencing the progressive secularization of society and a sort of ‘eclipse of the sense of God’” provides a significant answer to that question.

See also the first comment at that thread for an editorial by Fr. Lorans on the possible tension between the respective aims of that Pontifical Council and of the new Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.

Blog comments by me

At Mr. Schütz's blog:

Cardinal Pole
July 20, 2010 at 3:57 am

Mr. Schütz, neither of the two Conciliar/Catechism texts you adduced said that Muslims worship the same deity as Christians, or that what they adore is the God of Abraham:

“In the first place amongst these there are the Mohamedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.”

“The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, [Cf St. Gregory VII, letter XXI to Anzir (Nacir), King of Mauritania (Pl. 148, col. 450f.) ] who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God.”

Given that Latin doesn’t have articles, I would expect that things like “the one and merciful God” and “the one God” could be translated respectively as ‘a single, merciful god’, ‘a single god’ (with capital ‘g’s if you prefer). Note also those two texts’ purely subjective linking of the Muslim God to the God of Abraham–”professing to hold the faith of Abraham”, “Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself”.

So in fact it would seem that the one and only Magisterial pronouncement which supports the identity of the Lord and the Muslim God is when John Paul II. said that “[w]e believe in the same God”. But given that His late Holiness made that statement “to a rally of Muslim youth” can it even be considered Magisterial? (And I don’t ask that rhetorically–can someone tell me whether that is to be classified as a Magisterial pronouncement? Mr. Schütz says that it was an Act of the Ordinary Magisterium, but the criteria for that are that the pronouncement be on a matter of Faith–the Catholic Faith, not the faith of any other religion–or morals and in the Pope or Bishop’s teaching capacity. John Paul II.’s statement that we (Christians and Muslims) believe in the same God seems to me to fail the first criterion, and possibly the second one too.

Now of course Muslims profess much about God which is knowable by unaided reason. But they also profess much about which unaided reason can give no answer, thus exceeding the proper scope of philosophy. If you ask the hypothetical ‘virtuous pagan’ (to whom the Gospel has not been announced but who knows, loves and serves God as far as right reason dictates) how many Persons are God and he answers ‘I don’t know’, then he worships the same God as Christians. But he who answers ‘God is not personal’ or ‘only one person is God’ does not. (Furthermore, if I’m not mistaken, Muslims are also in error on some points of natural theology–a commenter at this blog recently mentioned how she said to a Muslim colleague that God is love, which he denied).

So do Christians and Muslims believe in the same God? Mr. Schütz was right to point out that it is a non sequitur to say that “Muslims profess to be monotheists and therefore the God they worship must logically be the God we worship”. But if the fact that both Christians and Muslims profess monotheism does not imply that we believe in the same God, then why would the fact that both Christians and Muslims profess ‘Abrahamism’, to coin a term, imply that we believe in the same God (given that we disagree as to the content of ‘Abrahamism’)? It seems to me that there is no logical or Magisterial reason to conclude that the respective objects of Christian and Muslim adoration are one and the same.


At Terra's blog:

Cardinal Pole said...

"since Australia has secret ballots the requirement is to attend a polling station. One can then voting informally."

That is incorrect. Section 245(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 gives the following command:

"It shall be the duty of every elector to vote at each election."

(The same Act (Section 101) also commands us to apply "forthwith" to become electors if not electors already. Also, Sections 239 and 240 prescribe the manner of voting for Senate and Lower House elections, respectively, thus ruling out the possibility that an informal vote could satisfy the obligation to vote.)

So given that the requirements imposed in the Act are, as far as I know, just, possible, and properly promulgated, the Act is a valid law and thus its commands are binding in conscience (I have no reason to think that they are purely penal) and it would therefore be a sin not to vote (properly).

To sum up:

1. Australian law commands non-electors to become electors.
2. Australian law commands electors to vote (and not merely informally).
3. A lawful command by a competent authority (which is what the preceding commands are) binds on pain of sin, so informal voting is sinful, as is obstinate non-enrolment.
(Obviously there are also exceptions.)

And of course in addition to these intrinsic reasons there are also, as Terra indicated, extrinsic reasons to vote properly--one way or another, one of the candidates is going to win whichever office is being contested, so it seems to me that we might as well do our part to make sure that the least-worst one wins.

July 20, 2010 1:17 AM
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At Coo-ees:

Cardinal Pole said...

Check out the
conference photos which Mr. Coyne has helpfully provided--can anyone spot any Roman collars (I don't want to be too droll and ask whether anyone can spot any cassocks)?

July 20, 2010 2:25 AM
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Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Jerome Emiliani, Confessor, A.D. 2010