<< Q:In what sense is Vatican II different from Vatican I on this point?
A:Simple, you have a point blank contradiction. Just compare the two statements.
Really? Let's see. But first, it seems a little shallow to believe that the Church would contradict itself, as you say, so blatantly. >>
i) This is not a question of what we’re prepared to believe. This is a question of documenting what was actually said.
ii) Actually, Vatican II tries to smooth over the transition by what it says in the paragraph just before, which sounds more like Vatican I.
But that softening up exercise doesn’t change the fact that when you get to the paragraph I reproduced, you are confronted with a totally different definition of tradition.
[quote]“If anyone says that it is possible that at some time, given the advancement of knowledge, a sense may be assigned to the dogmas propounded by the Church which is different from that which the Church has understood and understands: let him be anathema.”[/quote]
[quote]“This tradition which comes from the Apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down…For as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her.”[/quote]
This tradition. What tradition? Are dogmatic constitutions considered tradition, or are they based on an understanding of tradition? I would say the latter. >>
i) Now you’re equivocating. You know as well as I that in Catholicism, not everything in ecclesiastical tradition rises to the level of Sacred Tradition, in the dogmatic sense. But, yes, Conciliar pronouncements certainly count as Sacred Tradition. Do you really deny that?
ii) And, with all due respect, I think you’re missing the point. Your disjunction would make sense on the old Tridentine view of tradition, but on the view of Vatican II, there is no bright line between tradition and the church’s understanding thereof. Tradition is an incremental, evolutionary thing.
<< The teaching of VII can be found in the writings of Augustine, so that not only does VII not deny VI, but can be shown to be ancient. >>
To invoke Augustine does nothing at all to harmonize the wording of Vatican I with the wording of Vatican II. The bishops of Vatican I were free to go down that road if they wanted to, but they didn’t.
As to the relevant background information, there are different ways of approaching that question. I quoted from more of Vatican I than you are quoting from me. Vatican I also reaffirms the two-source model of tradition, in a carryover from Trent.
By contrast, Vatican II says that sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition make up a single deposit of faith (Dei Verbum 2:10).
There is also the equivalent of legislative intent. For example, how do the periti to Vatican II understand the nature of tradition? They were, after all, official consultants to the bishops, and therefore highly qualified commentators on what Vatican II was up to. And two of the leading periti were Rahner and Ratzinger.
Just consider what I cited from Ratzinger in my recent essay on “Who speaks for Rome?”
According to him, the unanimous view of tradition prior to Vatican II, as attested by “all theological faculties in the world,” is that tradition was equatable with the faithful transmission of “fixed formulas and texts” from the past.
Ratzinger then opposes to this his own position, in a dramatic break with the past. For him, tradition is a “living process.” Note, he doesn’t say that the “interpretation” of tradition is a living process. No, tradition itself is a living process. This is a sea-change in the traditional view of tradition. Get it?
You get the same thing in Rahner, whom I quoted the second installment of my “Back to Babylon” series:
“These structures can be understood this way even if they cannot be traced back to a specific, unambiguous and historically identifiable saying of Jesus which founds them," Foundations of the Christian Faith, 331.
"...it is not basically and absolutely necessary that we would have to trace back to an explicit saying of Jesus the more concrete structures of the constitution of the (Catholic) church which the church now declares are always obligatory," ibid., 332.
"...It is ultimately unimportant whether this or that element of the church as it is being formed in apostolic times can be traced more or less directly back to the historical Jesus, or whether it is to be understood as a historical but still irreversible decision of the church which lies within the genuine possibilities of the original church," ibid., 332
Contrary to Trent, you no longer need dominical tradition—or even apostolic tradition. You no longer need to say that things like the priesthood were instituted by Christ himself—or even by the Apostles. No more one-time deposit of faith.
<< You are of course correct. There is nothing wrong with posting what is said. Yet it is not without opinion. The context in which you posted was opinionated, maybe not a full explanation, but you set the stage. Just read the title to this blog entry, are you not trying to sway ones opinion? >>
Sure, I have an agenda. It’s not a hidden agenda. It’s right out there in the open. I also quote from online documents and give the links so that every reader can check my quotes and study excerpts in the original context.
<< Does Florence really teach this? Short answer: No.
Sure, it uses some of the same words you use, yet with, for example, circumcision, the Church was not saying that all those who are circumcised are damned, but all those who are religiously circumcised, for salvations sake>>
Short answer: Yes.
Go back and read it again. “Therefore it strictly orders all who glory in the name of Christian, not to practise circumcision either before or after baptism, since whether or not they place their hope in it, it cannot possibly be observed without loss of eternal salvation.”
It doesn’t matter what your motive is: “whether or not they place their hope in it…”
Catholics need to acquire the habit of reading the fine print. The irony is that I, as a Protestant, take Rome at her word, whereas you and Armstrong and Gritter do not.
I’d add that you’re nibbling around the edges here. It isn’t just the circumcised that are said to be excluded.
<< Your reasoning seems to me to be no different then those who charge the bible with contradictions. Put two verses side by side and let the chips fall where they may. >>
Nice try, but I already addressed that comparison in my exchange with Randy Gritter.