The Impact and Interpretation of 'Subsists In' (Vatican II)
This paper is a study of the single phrase, "subsists in", found in the most important document of the Second Vatican Council, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium). Since the time of the council, more ink has been spilt over the meaning and interpretation of these two words than on any other council topic. The council Fathers, in opting for "the Church of Christ ... subsists in the Catholic Church" rather than "is the Catholic Church", intentionally left open the question of the relation of the one Church to the many Churches. Thus a development of unforeseeable dimensions was made possible in the theology of the Church.
This paper will follow a general chronological order before, during, and after the Second Vatican Council in considering the development of ecclesiology, especially with respect to our study of the two words "subsists in".
Preparation For The Second Vatican Council
The Church is treated surprisingly late in the history of dogma. The ancient creeds do bring the Church into these confessional statements: "the holy catholic Church" (Apostles' Creed), "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church" (Nicene Creed), "the communion of saints." But the Trinitarian and the Christological dogmas as well as the dogmas of grace were the first to be precisely defined. Even to this day neither the Roman Church nor the Orthodox Church nor the Churches of the Reformation have as yet established the dogma of the Church in a comprehensive way.
Although Vatican I had introduced a comprehensive schema on the Church, only chapter 2 on papal primacy together with a supplement on papal infallibility was discussed at the time and then subsequently revised, adopted, and promulgated as the constitution Pastor Aeternus. The themes left undone at Vatican I were revived for discussion in Vatican II. However, in contrast to Vatican I the second Council, in its Constitution on the Church, did not aim at a dogmatic definition of the Church nor a negative formula of what the Church is not. Rather the Council confined itself to a description of the Church.
One of the great achievements of the Second Vatican Council was the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. It was and still is the important center to which the other decrees must be referred; the other decrees must all be read in the light of the mystery of the Church.
Before establishing the concrete program of the Council, Pope John initiated an extensive set of enquires among the episcopate all over the world. From the great quantity of answers of very diversified interests, the themes were chosen which seemed to be of the greatest importance, and put before various commissions for a preliminary investigation. The commissions, composed of bishops and expert theologians, were constituted on a broader international basis than in 1870.
The Debates Of The Council
During the first session, the Council devoted six sittings to the discussion of the series of documents (assemblies 31 to 36, from the 1st to the 7th of December 1962) on the Church. The redactors of the schema clearly did not aim at writing a complete tract De Ecclesia, but at saying something on every point that seemed ripe for comment. On the whole, the Fathers were very reserved in their praise of the first draft. On one point there was general agreement. All looked on the Constitution on the Church as the center and climax of the Council. But most felt that the actual treatment did not do justice to the original intention. Many Fathers found fault with the general approach. They felt that doctrine should be presented positively and constructively, and not merely in the interests of apologetics or to formulate rules of conduct.
As regards the content, many Fathers stressed the need of new perspectives, without abandoning the most ancient and original ones. The nature of the Church as a community rather than as a society should be stressed. Cardinal Lienart regretted that the Roman Church and the mystical body of Christ were too closely identified in the text of the schema. Other Fathers of the council took up the noteworthy passage of John XXIII's opening speech in which the Pope had said that the Constitution should not be scholastic in character.
But the most striking intervention was that of Bishop de Smedt of Bruges, who attacked the general tone of the draft. He boldly expressed criticism against triumphalism, clericalism, and juridicalism within the Church. On the other side of the coin there were speakers who expressed their uneasiness at the new way of posing problems, which they felt would cause confusion and perhaps undermine both papal authority and the dogmas formulated by Trent and the First Vatican Council. There was also an underlying fear of loosing identity as Catholics by blending in with other Christians in all essential matters.
Ultimately, the schema was revised to reflect a clear and well-balanced expression of the whole truth to prevent misunderstandings and uncalled-for reactions while avoiding expressions which would irritate or offend other Christians unnecessarily.
The new draft contained only four chapters, whose titles alone were enough to reveal the new trend.
The revised draft received a much warmer welcome from the assembly than the original. The two persistent tendencies that came out in the discussion on this new draft were the intent above all on abstract principles and clear definitions; the other, more realistic, was the insistence that the sources of faith should be clearly kept in mind. The latter trend gathered momentum as time went on and finally gained the support of the vast majority of the Fathers, without too much opposition. The Fathers were very approving of the fact that the structure of the draft exhibited an ecumenical and pastoral approach, that it avoided juridical severity and made much use of biblical imagery.
The new draft still asserted that "the one and only Church of Christ is the Roman Catholic Church; but it added the significant admission that "many elements of sanctification can be found outside its total structure," and that these are "things properly belonging to the Church of Christ." This last phrase at least implied that such "elements of sanctification" as are to be found outside the Catholic Church are ecclesial in nature; and that suggests that there is at least something of church beyond the limits of the Catholic Church."
Chapter I no longer mentions "the nature of the Church militant" but refers to love, the inward supernatural reality of the Church. This was underlined by the use of the Pauline term mysterium with its Latin equivalent sacramentum, in spite of the hesitancy of some Fathers who were less used to this biblical language. More closely following the lines of the Fathers of the Church, the Church is presented as being closely linked to the supreme mystery of the Holy Trinity as the source of its life.
Also when speaking of belonging to the Church, the final text avoids the expression "members" (membra) which had been used by Mystici Corporis and the text of 1962. It speaks instead of incorporari, of being incorporated, for Catholics, or of coniunctum esse, of being linked, for non-Catholics, who are elsewhere termed fratres seiuncti, separated brethren (in other documents).
"The Mystery of the Church"
At different stages of the drafting of Lumen Gentium, various objections were raised regarding the title of Chapter I, "The Mystery of the Church". Some felt that the Church was not a mystery since it is visible. But behind such objections there was a concept of mystery of very limited value, which restricted it to the secret or the obscure. Other Fathers feared that the title might open up the way to abandoning the truth of the visible Church for the ideology of an invisible Church. But overall, the council Fathers were seeking to arrive at a more adequate view of the complex reality of the Church than was current at the time. The biblical term of "mystery" was used to indicate the true nature of the Church in all its contrasting facets so as to compensate for the rather one-sided view of the Church which had been prevalent since Trent. In contrast to the Reformers' view of the "Church of the Predestined" or the "Hidden Church" it had been necessary to stress the visibility of the Church. This first chapter represents a synthesis of the notion of mysterium which is implicit in Sacred Scripture and the writings of the Fathers of the Church.
The Constitution on the Church begins with the key words of the whole document: lumen gentium, light of the nations. The light which is Christ is also the light of the Church, and in Christ the Church is the light of the nations. Basic to the ecclesiology of the Constitution we find in Art 15: "that the sign of Christ may shine more brightly over the face of the Church." Although the document maintains a certain reserve about the expression of the Church as sacrament, the notion of the Church as the sacrament of salvation has many ties with and roots from patristic and modern ecclesiology.
Article 8 most specifically takes up the title of the whole chapter presenting the Church both as a mystery but in its sacramental structure. As part of the reality of the Church there is a necessary manifold tension which must be seen on the correct level and in proper balance. The Church is at once visible and invisible, a personal community of faith, hope and charity and yet ontological. The Church is a unity full of tension. The visible and invisible Church are not to be understood as two separate and different entities but as one complex reality composed of a divine and a human element (LG 8:1).
As an all-encompassing organ of salvation, the Church can only be one which is also holy, catholic and apostolic. The Pope and bishops are the visible expression of these characteristics, especially unity and apostolicity and thus also catholicity. The fulness of truth and sanctification are found within the Church. But where is this Church to be found? Lumen Gentium (8) puts it thus: "This Church, constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward catholic unity."
Two points stand out clearly especially if we compare this final draft with the draft of 1963 and the vote of the Fathers. The true and unique Church of Christ exists as a concrete fact of history. As such, it must be recognizable and definable in spite of all the character of mystery which attaches to it. The concrete form of existence of this Church founded by Christ is the Catholic Church.
"a) It is no longer said that it "is" the "Roman" Church. This means that the Roman Church, as a local Church, is only part of the whole Church, though its bishop is head of all the bishops of the Catholic Church. The Pope is designated as "successor of Peter", not as Romanus Pontifex as in 1963. This was done at the urging of the Oriental bishops, and was intended to give full expression to Catholicity by describing it as a fullness in which the sum total and unity of the local Churches are displayed. By "local Churches" are understood those Churches which are united with the successor of Peter. b) No absolute, exclusive judgment of identity is uttered, such as, for instance, that the Church of Christ "is" the Catholic Church. This does not create obscurity about the recognition of the Church of Christ. It merely takes into account the concrete reality that "outside its (the Catholic Church's) structure many elements of sanctification and truth are to be found". It is to be noted that "truth" was added only in the course of the debate. Hence the one true Church of Christ exists. It is recognizable, and visible in its own way (see above). But "ecclesiality" does not simply coincide with the Catholic Church, because ecclesial elements of sanctification and truth can be found outside it. This brings up the question of the "ecclesiality" of the Churches and communities apart from the Catholic, which involves on the one hand their quality of mediators of salvation, and on the other hand, the necessity of the Catholic Church for salvation. These problems are not fully discussed here. Only a brief indication is given of how this "ecclesiality" outside the one Church of Christ is to be understood. It is constituted by the existence of the true benefits of Christ's foundation which have been preserved in spite of separation, in various degrees, as is explained in the Decree on Ecumenism: the word of revelation and the sacraments, and also the office, the priesthood. This means that "ecclesiality" outside the Catholic Church is realized through participation in the one foundation of Christ. That the Churches and communities outside the Catholic Church are truly "Churches" is also to be explained by the notion of (the unity of sign and of what is signified)."
The Council, by opting for simply "subsists in", intentionally left open the question of the relation of the one Church to the many Churches. Thus a development of unforeseeable dimensions was thus once more made possible.
Interpretation Of "Subsists In"
Intimately connected with the renewal of the Catholic Church is the unfolding of the catholicity of the Church which serves to promote the goal of union. This development requires the broadening of freedom as far as possible to the diverse forms of Roman Catholic spiritual life, theological development, etc. But also this goal of union points to the necessity of recognizing "the riches of Christ and virtuous works" in the lives of the separated brethren (UR 4). As long as the Roman Church regards herself exclusively as the Catholic Church, she can acknowledge elements of truth and sanctification in other Churches only what she recognizes as elements of the Roman Church still present in them. But more and more, spiritual realities in other Churches are recognized that were not developed in the Roman. It is recognized increasingly that catholicity, which is created by God, is greater than that which is realized in one individual Church, even in the Roman Church. Because of splits in the Church, the Roman Church "finds it more difficult to express in actual life her full catholicity in all its aspects" (UR 4).
But the Council Fathers maintain that the unity of the Church is a reality in the Roman Church and that union must be achieved by bringing about full communion of the non-Roman Christians with the Roman Catholic Church. The goal of ecumenism is that "all Christians will be gathered, in a common celebration of the Eucharist, into that unity of the one and only Church.... This unity, we believe, dwells in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose" (UR 4).
The Goal of Union
The goal of union can be seen in various ways, depending upon the degree of renewal on all sides and the extent of the development of catholicity regarded as necessary. This important goal will also depend on whether the renewal and the Catholic outreach toward others is considered to be already realized in the Council or only a task begun by the Council but still to be accomplished in the future.
A) The more it is considered that the Roman Church has already renewed herself and developed her catholicity, the more the union will be understood as a return of the other Churches to take from her own wealth and give to them what they lack. Many Council Fathers voted for the decree under this interpretation. But the danger here is the conviction that the renewed invitation to return in the Decree on Ecumenism is all that is necessary. The inevitable disappointment will only more deeply renew the import of separation.
B) But the more Roman Catholics see Vatican Council II as a beginning of renewal and Catholic development, the more they will seek change on both sides as a mutual turning to each other in reconciliation and reciprocal giving and receiving rather than a type of submission or returning. This attitude will enhance mutual growth and intellectual discovery by drawing closer to each other and by working together.
C) Still other Roman Catholics feel that changes and correction, not simply reinterpretation, of dogmatic understanding and the centralized order of the Church are possible. This view seems to open the way most freely and immediately for fellowship among separated Churches in mutual giving and receiving toward full unity.
But the Decree on Ecumenism indicates above all the second (B) direction without excluding entirely the first (A) one described above. The last conception (C) has the least support, but it is not fully clear from the document what the difference is between ecumenism and the work of gaining converts (UR 4).
Francis A. Sullivan
The following overview of the article, "The Significance of the Vatican II Declaration that the Church of Christ 'Subsists in' the Roman Catholic Church", by Francis A. Sullivan, S.J. gives us a good glimpse of a theological interpretation of "subsists in" after the Council.
The relatio on the second paragraph of LG 8 is as follows: "Ecclesia est unica, et his in terris adest in Ecclesia Catholica, licet extra eam inveniantur elementa ecclesialia" ("There is but one Church, and on this earth it is present in the Catholic Church, although ecclesial elements are found outside of it"). From this Francis Sullivan feels that the commentators, who have interpreted the word "subsistit" in a philosophical notion of "subsistentia", are off target. Sullivan feels that terms used in conciliar documents are meant to be taken in the ordinary sense that the word has in common usage.
UR 4 tells us: "We believe that the unity with which Christ from the beginning endowed his Church is something it cannot lose; it subsists in the Catholic Church, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time." Thus unity is always to be found intact in the Catholic Church. "Nevertheless, our separated brethren, whether considered as individuals or as Communities and Churches, are not blessed with that unity which Jesus Christ wished to bestow on all those who through Him were born again into one body. ... For it is only through Christ's Catholic Church, which is "the all-embracing means of salvation," that they can benefit fully from the means of salvation.
"To say that it (the Church of Christ) subsists in the Catholic Church means that it is in the Catholic Church that it is to be found still existing with all its essential properties: its oneness, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity. This does not mean, of course, that they are found there in a state of eschatological perfection. But, while imperfectly achieved, these are properties that the Church of Christ can never really lack. To say that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church then means that it continues to exist there with all those gifts that it can never lose."
"The means of grace have to be well to achieve their full effect, and the possession of a fullness of means is no guarantee of how well they will be used."
Francis Sullivan points out that "the Council used the same word, with the qualifier "ex parte," "partially," or "incompletely," when it said that certain Catholic traditions and institutions "subsist" in the Anglican Communion."
But the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in the Notificatio regarding Leonardo Boff's book, Church Charism and Power wrote: Boff "derives a thesis which is exactly the contrary to the authentic meaning of the council text, for he affirms: "In fact it (sc. the sole church of Christ) may also be present in other Christian churches" (p. 75). But the council had chosen the word subsistit - subsists - exactly in order to make clear that one sole "subsistence" of the true church exists, whereas outside her visible structure only elementa ecclesia - elements of church - exist; these - being elements of the same church - tend and conduct toward the Catholic Church (LG 8). The decree on ecumenism expresses the same doctrine (UR 3-4), and it was restated precisely in the declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae." This seems to indicate as Sullivan points out that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church in so exclusive a way that outside of her limits there can be found only elements of Church.
But LG 8 does not say "only elements" but "many" (plura) elements exist outside the Church. The Relatio says: "The elements which are mentioned concern not only individuals but their communities as well; in this fact precisely is located the foundation of the ecumenical movement. Papal documents regularly speak of separated Eastern 'Churches.' For Protestants recent Pontiffs have used the term 'Christian communities.'"
UR 3c states: "These (liturgical actions of the Christian religion) most certainly can truly engender a life of grace in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or Community. These liturgical actions must be regarded as capable of giving access to the community of salvation."
The Commission at Vatican II wrote: "Whenever valid means of salvation are being used, which, as social actions, characterize those communities as such, it is certain that the Holy Spirit is using those communities as means of salvation."
UR 3 also attributes a salvific role not just to the sacraments that might be found in non-Catholic communities, but to these Churches and communities as such.
In Chapter III of the Decree on Ecumenism, the "Eastern Churches", while not in full communion with Rome, are certainly recognized as "particular Churches" in a theological and not merely conventional sense of the term.
Referring to the "ecclesial communities" the Relatio explains:
It must not be overlooked that the communities that have their origin in the separation that took place in the West are not merely a sum or collection of individual Christians, but they are constituted by social ecclesiastical elements which they have preserved from our common patrimony, and which confer on them a truly ecclesial character. In these communities the one sole Church of Christ is present, although imperfectly, in a way that is somewhat like its presence in particular Churches, and by means of their ecclesiastical elements the Church of Christ is in some way operative in them.
UR 15a indicates that the one Church of God embraces the particular Churches of both East and West, even though at present they are not in full communion with one another.
Sullivan states: "I do not know how one could take the term 'Church of God' here to refer exclusively to the Catholic Church. And if that is impossible, then it must mean that there is one Church of God that embraces the particular Churches of both East and West, even though at present they are not in full communion with one another".
The Declaration Mysterium Ecclesia states "we cannot imagine that Christ's Church is nothing more than a collection (divided, but still possessing a certain unity) of Churches and ecclesial communities."
But the Church of Christ "is a real communion, realized at various degrees of density of fullness, of bodies, all of which, though some more fully than others, have a truly ecclesial character." Francis Sullivan feels that such a view "is consistent with our belief that we belong to that Church in which alone the one true Church of Christ subsists with all those properties and structural elements that are gifts of Christ to his Church, and which, by his enduring grace, it can never lose."
In a very real sense, offensive speech or terminology had been elevated to a much more important priority (perhaps even a principle?!) especially when one considers the language used in Pope Pius XI's encyclical 'Mortalium Animos' (1928). Besides a perhaps greater sensitivity to other Christians and the very possible bad fruits caused by irritating or offensive presentation of certain Church teachings, a further, very plausible explanation of this great concern not to annoy non-Catholics could be found in the relatively recent development of the mass media and the great speed of disbursement of news. In the time of Pius XI, ecclesial documents did not circulate much beyond a few ecclesial magazines months after the initial writing of the document. Imagine the scorn Mortalium Animos would receive if this document was written today by John Paul II!
Most of the documents of the Catholic Church regarding her self image and theology, such as Humanae Generis, defined the Church in juridical and philosophical terms rather than in terms of Sacred Scripture. Besides the effect of rapid dispersion of news, this shift of theological method is also caused by a less defensive attitude of many Catholics and Council Fathers. Thus there was less worry about unfolding the deep and vast mystery of the Church which would open the theological discussion to the consideration of non-Catholics and non-Catholic Churches as being part of the Church properly defined. In the past, using more exclusively philosophy to define the Church was like nailing jelly to the wall. But the danger and reasonable worry is how far does one afford legitimacy to other Churches without loosing the claims of one true Church? If there is very little specificity of Catholic identity, all religions are about the same and thus there is no need for ecumenism. Also in this case there is no real need of allegiance to one Church and thus no reason for the existence of the Catholic Church.
If Christians of different denominations pray together, such as the Our Father, does this lead de-facto to intercommunion and loss of identity? Certainly there are risks involved in doctrinal and theological decisions in this fascinating area of ecclesiology. But there is also the risk of closing in on one self as a group, maintaining a strong sense of identity and fear of outsiders.
This latter tendency is a common unhealthy element of cults. And yet cults and their memberships today are growing very rapidly as the 1986 document on New Religious Movements points out. Thus there can be the real temptation to pull back to some of the sectarian tendencies present in the Church prior to Vatican Council II. And yet if the Church does not reach out to the multitudes that feel alienated and not attracted to the Church, will she be fulfilling or at least going forward in her call to be ever more Catholic?
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Note A: '... theology of the Church.'
"The most important document to emerge from the Council - the dogmatic constitution on the Church (De Ecclesia) - is, as have been the bulk of the discussions, essentially theological. None the less the changes in Catholic thought and attitudes which it and the rest of the Council's work imply have far-reaching political implications. It is impossible to divorce the theology of the renewal of the Church from its political repercussions, which, in brief, are bringing about a new system of authority within Catholicism, a new relevance in what the Church teaches to the total political situation in which Catholics live, and a new alliance in the world with other Christian bodies, in broad if necessarily guarded sympathy with the forces of liberal humanism", George Bull, Vatican Politics At the Second Vatican Council (Oxford University Press, N.Y., 1966), pp. 1-2.
Note B: '... in a comprehensive way.'
C.f., Herbert Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II (Herder & Herder, N.Y., 1968), vol. 1, p. 65.
Concerning knowledge of the nature of the Church, Pope Paul said that Pope Pius XII's 1943 encyclical on the Mystical Body of Christ "has in part answered the Church's longing to express her nature in a full doctrinal form, but has also served to spur her to give herself a more exhaustive definition."
"It should not come as a surprise that, after 20 centuries in which both the Catholic Church and the other Christian bodies distinguished by the name of Church have seen great geographical and historical development, there should still be need to enunciate a more precise definition of the true, profound and complete nature of the Church which Christ founded and the Apostles began to build."
"The Church is a mystery; she is a reality imbued with the Divine Presence and, for that reason, she is ever susceptible of new and deeper investigation..." Floyd Anderson, ed., Council Daybook - Vatican II (Session 1, Oct. 11 to Dec. 8, 1962, Session 2, Sept. 29 to Dec 4, 1963) (National Catholic Welfare Conference (Pub.), Washington, D.C., 1965), p. 142. Also cf. ibid., p. 243.
Note C: '... the themes were chosen'
"After Pope John XXIII had announced the convocation of the Second Vatican Council, a Preparatory Theological Commission was formed in 1960, with Cardinal Ottaviani, Prefect of the Holy Office, at its head, and Father Sebvastian Tromp, chief collaborator in the writing of Mystici Corporis, as its secretary. From the texts produced by this commission, one can safely judge that the expectation of its members, carefully picked by the Holy Office, was that the bishops gathered at the Council would in no case depart from the official teaching of the Popes. It seems clear that they saw the role of the Council as turning into conciliar doctrine what was already papal teaching", Francis A. Sullivan, "The Significance of the Vatican II Declaration that the Church of Christ "Subsists in" the Roman Catholic Church," in Rene Latourelle, ed., Vatican II: Assessment and Perspectives Twenty-five Years After (1962-1987), Vol. 2, p. 273.
Note D: '... basis than in 1870.'
The commission 'De doctrina fidei et morum', whose duty it was to deal with problems of a doctrinal nature, was headed by Cardinal Ottaviani. During the two years before the beginning of the Council, this sub-commission worked out a relatively comprehensive draft on the subject of the Church in 11 or 12 chapters, though without any very clear intrinsic structure. The chapters had the following headings: 1) The nature of the Church militant. 2) The members of the Church and the necessity of the Church for salvation. 3) The episcopate as the highest grade of the sacrament of orders; the priesthood. 4) Residential bishops. 5) The states of evangelical perfection. 6) The laity. 7) The teaching office (magisterium) of the Church. 8) Authority and obedience in the Church. 9) Relationships between Church and State and religious tolerance. 10) The necessity of proclaiming the Gospel to all peoples and in the whole world. 11) Ecumenism (cf. Herbert Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II (Herder & Herder, N.Y., 1968), vol. 1, p. 106).
During the three years of this preparation for the council, seventy-three schemata were prepared and reviewed by the preparatory commissions. This was more than all the schemata of the previous twenty Ecumenical Councils put together. The Second Vatican Council, as Augustin Cardinal Bea stated (The Catholic Messenger, January 28, 1965), was the most extensive and best prepared Ecumenical Council in the history of the Church (cf. Aram Bernard, Preparatory Reports - The Second Vatican Council (The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1965), pp. 22-23).
Note E: '... scholastic in character.'
"The salient point of this council is not, therefore, a discussion of one article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Church which has repeatedly been taught by the Fathers and by ancient and modern theologians, and which is presumed to be well known and familiar to all.
For this a council was not necessary. But from the renewed, serene and tranquil adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still shines forth in the acts of the Council of Trent and First Vatican Council, the Christian, Catholic and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciences in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought", from Pope John's opening speech, Floyd Anderson, ed., Council Daybook - Vatican II (Session 1, Oct. 11 to Dec. 8, 1962, Session 2, Sept. 29 to Dec 4, 1963) (National Catholic Welfare Conference (Pub.), Washington, D.C., 1965), p. 27. See also ibid., p. 243.
This approach and frame of salvation history in the Constitution on the Church represents a significant change from the schema on the Church in the First Vatican Council. It goes beyond the encyclical Mystici Corporis of Pius XII (1943). The concepts and lines of thought are now determined far more strongly by the Bible. Consequently, the Constitution on the Church is not directed to a timeless definition of the Church and her characteristics; instead, it concentrates on the understanding of the Church as the onward-moving, saving, all-inclusive activity of the triune God, cf. Edmund Schlink, After The Council (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1968), p. 68.
Note F: '... juridicalism within the Church.'
The council Fathers "had thrown out the schema on the Sources of Revelation, and they went home determined (or so one hoped) to destroy forever the image of a Church dominated by the Trinity of devils that Bishop de Smedt of Bruges openly named as clericalism, juridicalism, and triumphalism. This was one of the Council's classic speeches and will be remembered far longer than many words in most of the decrees", Bernard C. Pawley, ed., The Second Vatican Council (Studies by eight Anglican Observers) (Oxford University Press, London, 1967), p. 114. See also Floyd Anderson, ed., Council Daybook - Vatican II (Session 1, Oct. 11 to Dec. 8, 1962, Session 2, Sept. 29 to Dec 4, 1963) (National Catholic Welfare Conference (Pub.), Washington, D.C., 1965), p. 275.
Note G: '... offend Christians unnecessarily.'
"...every effort to avoid expressions, judgments and actions which do not represent the condition of our separated brethren with truth and fairness and so make mutual relations with them more difficult... In ecumenical work, Catholics must assuredly be concerned for their separated brethren, praying for them, keeping them informed about the Church, making the first approaches toward them", UR 4. "This manner of acting will avoid every appearance of syncretism and false exclusiveness...", AG 22.
In the centuries past after Trent, the communications or rather controversies between the Catholic and Protestants proved rather unfruitful. Yves Congar notes five common defects:
"(1) Concerned with achieving immediate results, this controversial literature adopted a tactical rather than a strategic plan of operation. It failed to produce works of lasting value."
"(2) It attempted to prove its points by deductive argument from biblical and patristic texts, without attention to the real situation out of which those texts had emerged and to the changing intellectual environment. Subsequent developments have shown the importance of resources other than authoritative proof-texts and syllogistic reasoning."
"(3) Issues were atomized, and no real effort was made to understand the mentality that made the positions of the other side seem coherent and even obvious to their adherents."
"(4) Neither party to the debate showed any capacity or willingness to recognize that its own positions might be subject to revision. Self-criticism was not seen as a virtue."
"(5) As a result of all the foregoing faults, the controversies had the net effect of hardening the oppositions and locking each side into its own limited perspective. Congar quotes in this connection the saying, 'It is a great misfortune to have learned one's catechism against someone else' ", Avery Dulles, The Catholicity of the Church (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1985), pp. 148-149.
"Two elements oriented the opinion of the Church to take a less narrow view. One was the interpretation of the principle, 'Outside the Church there is no salvation'; the other was a re-assessment of the doctrine of membership of and ordination towards the Church, which meant in fact a new stage in the whole self-understanding of the Church."
"The principle, first formulated by Origen and St. Cyprian, 'Outside the Church there is no salvation', must be viewed against the background of the universal salvific will of God, of which the Council and the Constitution speak fairly frequently and clearly (cf. Articles 2 and 3; 13; 16; "On the Church's Missionary Activity", Chapter I, Article 7). These two truths must be brought into harmony. In the course of history, two extreme interpretations of "Outside the Church there is no salvation" had to be guarded against, rigorism and indifferentism", Herbert Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II (Herder & Herder, N.Y., 1968), vol. 1, p. 169.
Note H: '... to reveal the new trend.'
The text was distributed to the Fathers in two fascicles of 47 and 31 pages, of which the contents were:
Fascicle 1: I) The mystery of the Church. II) The hierarchical constitution of the Church and the episcopate in particular.
Fascicle 2: III) The people of God and the laity in particular. IV) The call to holiness in the Church (cf. Herbert Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II (Herder & Herder, N.Y., 1968), vol. 1, p. 110.).
Note I: '... limits of the Catholic Church."'
Bishop Primeau of New Hampshire expressed his wish that the council should define the relationship between the Catholic Church and other Christian communities. This question - so important for ecumenism - came down to asking what the ecclesial reality was of those communities that were non-Catholic. "The Council would make a giant step forward if it acknowledged the Protestant claim to be 'Churches'.", Xavier Rynne, The Second Session (The Debates and Decrees of Vatican Council II, Sept. 29 to Dec. 4, 1963) (Faber and Faber, London, 1964), pp. 59-60 (Also see Floyd Anderson, ed., Council Daybook - Vatican II (Session 1, Oct. 11 to Dec. 8, 1962, Session 2, Sept. 29 to Dec 4, 1963) (National Catholic Welfare Conference (Pub.), Washington, D.C., 1965), p. 157; Giovanni Caprile, a cura di, Il Concilio Vaticano II (Cronache del Concilio Vaticano II edite da "La Civilta' Cattolica") (Secondo Periodo (1963-1964), Vol. III; Edizione "La Civilta' Cattolica", Roma, 1966), p. 36).
"Bishop Joseph Marling, C.PP.S., of Jefferson City, Mo., complained that the schema fails to reflect the proper ecumenical spirit. No mention is make of our separated brethren even as imperfect members of the Mystical Body of Christ, he said", Floyd Anderson, ed., Council Daybook - Vatican II (Session 1, Oct. 11 to Dec. 8, 1962, Session 2, Sept. 29 to Dec 4, 1963) (National Catholic Welfare Conference (Pub.), Washington, D.C., 1965), p. 163.
Note J: '... separated brethren (in other documents).'
"This term is also used of the relationship of catechumens to the Church. Like the second form of 1964, the definitive text adds in Article 16 a further term, ordinari, being ordained towards, for non-Christian. ... Behind all this was the notion of many levels of belonging to the Church, as was explained at length in light of the basic idea of the Church as the "signum salutis universale". - Once Article 15 had termed the communities of the separated brethren "Churches" or "ecclesiastical fellowships", and stressed the quality of sign in their confession of faith, sacraments and offices (which draft II of 1964 did more strongly than draft I of that year), Article 14 could restrict the doctrine of the votum to catechumens. In another form, however, and at another level, it is still applied to non-Catholics in Article 15", Herbert Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II (Herder & Herder, N.Y., 1968), vol. 1, pp. 174-174.
Note K: '... the Fathers of the Church.'
"The statement of the schema on the Church in Vatican I and in the encyclical of Pius XII (Mistici Corporis) on the Church are shaped by the concepts "mystical body of Christ" and "society." The latter concept had received its impress in the sense of a complete, supernatural, and spiritual society as a result of the post-Tridentine debate with Protestant state Churches as well as with modern theories concerning the state. By way of contrast, the Constitution on the Church of Vatican II in a striking way pushes the concept of a society into the background and stresses biblical concepts and images. These are referred to in great variety as flock (sheepfold), vineyard (cultivation, field, olive tree), God's edifice (house, temple, city), the bride of Christ, mother of the faithful (Art. 6). These biblical concepts and images are merely strung together more than they are exegetically developed and made systematically fruitful. The concepts "body of Christ" (Art 7) and "people of God" (especially chap. 2), however, are developed thoroughly. While the concept of "society" is not lacking entirely (cf. Art. 8), it does not play a dominant role. It is noteworthy that the two basic ecclesiological concepts of "body of Christ" and "people of God" are used side by side in the constitution, not indeed without reference to each other but without allowing the one to dissolve in the other or treating the one merely as clarification of the other. In placing these different concepts and images together the mystery of the Church is proclaimed", Edmund Schlink, After The Council (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1968), pp. 69-70.
"One of the most important speeches on this theme, delivered by Cardinal Lercaro on Thursday, set the tone of the debate, and was confidently believed by many observers to reflect the views of Pope Paul himself. ... After a few preliminary remarks praising the work of the Theological Commission, he listed three corrections which ought to be made to eliminate any possible misunderstanding over words constantly recurring such as "Church," "society," "Mystical Body," which seems to be used in different senses. The text said that the Church as a visible society and the Church as the Mystical Body were identical (text: non duae res sunt, sed una tantum). Cardinal Ruffini had said on Tuesday that the visible Church and Mystical Body could not be distinguished (nullatenus distinguuntur) and were "coextensive." Cardinal Lercaro held that this was true in one sense, but not in another. "Church and Mystical Body are two distinct aspects which coincide perfectly in the essential order and according to the constitutive norm of the Divine Founder, but not in the same fully verifiable identical way in the existential or historical order. In the latter order the two aspects are not coextensive but reflect certain tensions and will reflect them till the end of time, when the true identity between Church and Mystical Body will be revealed" ", Xavier Rynne, The Second Session (The Debates and Decrees of Vatican Council II, Sept. 29 to Dec. 4, 1963) (Faber and Faber, London, 1964), pp. 61-62.
His second correction related to membership in the Church (cf. ibid., pp. 63-64, Giovanni Caprile, a cura di, Il Concilio Vaticano II (Cronache del Concilio Vaticano II edite da "La Civilta' Cattolica") (Secondo Periodo (1963-1964), Vol. III; Edizione "La Civilta' Cattolica", Roma, 1966), pp. 105-106).
Note L: '... which attaches to it.'
Referring to LG 8, Cardinal Wojtyla comments: "We see how under the influence of this mystery, with which is closely linked the idea that all men are called to be saved, Vatican II weighs every word it utters, speaking not only of 'belonging to the Catholic unity of the People of God' but also of being 'associated with it'. This careful choice of words derives from the special sense of responsibility which goes with the belief that 'the pilgrim Church is necessary to salvation'. The Council professes and teaches that belief 'on the basis of Holy Scripture and tradition' ", Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, Sources of Renewal (Harper & Row, S.F., 1980), p. 125.
Note M: '... Interpretation of "Subsists In"'
Howard Root, an Anglican Professor of Theology at the University of Southampton comments: "Some have made much of this use of the phrase 'subsists in', in place of a simple equation of the Church of God with the Church of Rome. It may be behind the remark (attributed to Professor Hans Kung) that the most important achievement of the Council was an allowance of some distinction between the Church of God and the visible Roman Catholic Church. I think it would be rash to make too much of the use of a single word. What we find unacceptable as scriptural exegesis can be just as dangerous in the exegesis of conciliar documents. At the same time there must have been some reason for using this word, and we are none the sorrier if it is patient of more than one interpretation", Bernard C. Pawley, ed., The Second Vatican Council (Studies by eight Anglican Observers) (Oxford University Press, London, 1967), p. 148.
Note N: '... the goal of union.'
Many scholars see the two terms. Catholic and ecumenical as mutually complimentary opposites. "Yves Congar, for instance, holds that 'Catholicity is the taking of the many into an already existing oneness', whereas ecumenism is the introduction of unity into as existing diversity", Avery Dulles, S.J., The Catholicity of the Church; Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1985; p. 172.
Note O: '... still present in them.'
It is natural for Catholics or any human beings to grasp for security regarding salvation and thus about the one true Church. But natural human tendency can be overdone. "The continuity of life promised to the Church cannot be objectified into an automatically sustained piece of existence. It can only be grasped in faith as the Church walks into the danger zones of its earthly life, and can be discovered as strength and comfort on the way. This is what is expressed in the Reformed confessions", G. C. Berkouwer, The Second Vatican Council and the New Catholicism (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1965), p. 210.
"Do the characteristics of Catholicism bring about imbalances, so that the Catholic Church stands in need on correctives from outside itself? The Church can certainly profit from external criticism, whether from friendly or from hostile sources. I would maintain, however, that Catholic comprehensiveness is so great that it includes the necessary principles for the self-reformation of the Church", Avery Dulles, The Catholicity of the Church (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1985), p. 158.
Note P: '... not developed in the Roman.'
Yves Congar points out an important attitude (so prevalent in the past) that must be rejected: "In no way does the "conversion" of our separated brethren involve an impoverishment or a repudiation of such riches as they already possess. Negations alone must be denied, and this precisely in order that all the positive values of Christianity may be affirmed. For the same reasons, we Catholics cannot regard it as a matter for rejoicing when we see our Protestant or Orthodox brethren weakening in their faith, becoming victims of religious indifference or doctrinal discord. To wish for these things to happen, or to take pleasure in them, would imply that we view them solely from the standpoint of the system rather than that of the life. Certainly we do not wish to see Protestantism go on for ever: because we believe it to be a false system we would wish rather to see its end. We are most emphatically desirous that our Protestant brethren should be reunited to us and in this way, as we say, become "converts." But we cannot directly wish that their faith, however impoverished it may be, should become still further impoverished and weakened, for such impoverishment and weakening is an evil in itself, and it is never lawful for us to will what is evil in itself. Whatsoever there is of genuine Christianity among Protestants belongs by right to the Church, and any loss of supernatural life is, to that extent, a loss to the Church", M. J. Congar, Divided Christendom (Geoffrey Bles: The Centenary Press, London, 1939), p. 239.
Note Q: '... in all its aspects" (UR 4).'
Matters of faith can divide the Church. But even so, the Second Vatican Council has given a great emphasis on the Church's missionary thrust: "...the young Churches, which are rooted in Christ and built on the foundations of the apostles, take over all the riches of the nations which have been given to Christ as an inheritance (cf. Ps 2:8)", AG 22. See also UR 13-24.
"Despite the profundity of its tradition and its constant affirmation that it is the solution to all our problems, the Orthodox Church has not succeeded in convincing the rest of us that we must return to its fold. Nor has the Catholic Church, despite its wealth of arguments, succeeded in convincing others of its papal dogma. Despite their learning and the vitality of their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, the Protestants have not convinced others that they are the Reformed Church. Nor has the Anglican Communion, despite its concern to unite Reformed and traditional Catholicism, effectively been the bridge Church which it claims to be. We are still in a position of being face to face or side by side, though to some degree we are also together and even incorporated", Yves Congar, Diversity and Communion; The Chaucer Press, Bungay, Suffolk, 1984; p. 161.
Note R: '... something she can never lose" (UR 4).'
The division in Christianity "openly contradicts the will of Christ" (UR 1). Even Canon law (755) specifically states that "by the will of Christ, the Church is bound to promote... the restoration of unity between all Christians" (UR 2; Jn 17:21).
"Even if one could point out some hitches, we would have to say that the Catholic Church has ceased to see and above all to commend union purely in terms of 'return' or conversion to itself. It has learnt something; it has become converted to ecumenism.... Just as in the fifteenth century the experience of internal schism helped to make the Latin Church more receptive to its sister in Constantinople, so now the experience of our differences makes us more open to the legitimacy of pluralisms in unity", Yves Congar, Diversity and Communion; The Chaucer Press, Bungay, Suffolk, 1984; pp. 161-162.
Note S: '... in the Anglican Communion."'
Francis Sullivan states: "The problem is that Bermejo builds his thesis on the dropping of the word est - which does mean abandoning the exclusive identification of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church - but he never seriously examines the question as to what the Council meant by its alternative assertion: that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church. He does not consider the implications of the Council's statement that the unity that Christ gave to his Church cannot be lost and that it subsists in the Catholic Church. If the unity of the Church is essentially its unity in faith, then the Church can never lack the effective means to promote and safeguard such unity, and this ultimately involves its capacity to settle questions about faith definitively and with a divine guarantee of truth in its ultimate decisions" , Francis A. Sullivan, "The Significance of the Vatican II Declaration that the Church of Christ "Subsists in" the Roman Catholic Church," in Rene Latourelle, ed., Vatican II: Assessment and Perspectives Twenty-five Years After (1962-1987), Vol. 2, pp. 279-280.
Note T: '... only elements of Church.'
From LG 8, Ghirlanda concludes that it is "not enough to define the Church solely as a spiritual communion ... The Church is thus the communion, both spiritual and institutional..." Gianfranco Ghirlanda, "Universal Church, Particular Church, and Local Church at the Second Vatican Council and in the New Code of Canon Law," in Rene Latourelle, ed., Vatican II: Assessment and Perspectives Twenty-five Years After (1962-1987), Vol. 2, p. 236
"Although the Orthodox Churches and the Protestant communities do not live in this communion, they are to varying degrees in spiritual communion with the Catholic Church, in proportion to their varying degrees of communion of life, faith, sacraments, and charity, and to the varying degrees to which they manifest the fundamental charismatic and institutional structure of the Church - in which its hierarchical structure should also be included", ibid., p. 239.
"Hierarchical communion (hierarchica communio) constitutes ecclesiastical or catholic communion and, in general, the full realization of the Church as communion", ibid., p. 239.
"The concept of the Church as hierarchical communion would appear to unite the oldest Catholic Tradition, which sees the Church as communion between particular Churches within the one universal Church inasmuch as they have Rome as their center, with classical Catholic ecclesiology, according to which the Church tends to be defined more on the basis of its well-organized hierarchical structure", ibid., p. 245.
"The bond of communion in the life of the Church is not confined to the invisible and spiritual sphere, but requires a juridical form, although this must be animated by charity", ibid. p. 253.
"Thus a Christian community assembled around an illegitimate bishop cannot be considered a particular Church", ibid. p. 255.
"It is the Holy Spirit, given by the Father through the Son, who communicates the charity of the triune God to the Church, and makes the communion between faithful, pastors, particular Churches, and local Churches necessarily hierarchical, so that 'the universal Church is seen to be 'a people brought into unity from the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.' ", ibid. pp. 255-256.
Note U: '... document on New Religious Movements points out.'
Before the Second Vatican Council there seemed to be more vocations perhaps in part due to the greater social and prestigious advantages which thus attracted a certain percentage of young vocations due to certain non virtuous premises or at least immature motives. Thirty to forty years ago, to become a priest meant for many the opportunity to rise out of anonymity and become part of the elite. Now it seems that many groups who have attempted to keep or revive this triumphalistic or elitist attitude have often attracted more vocations. Some of these groups became more hardened in this seeming subtle form of pride and end up outside the Church as Lefebvre's group and numerous other smaller groups have done. But others have become more ecclesial and properly ecumenically minded in the true spirit of the council.
Note V: '... prior to Vatican Council II.'
In his opening address of the Council Pope John alluded to this tendency: "In the daily exercise of our pastoral office, we sometimes have to listen, much to our regret, to voices of persons who, though burning with zeal, are not endowed with too much sense of discretion or measure. In these modern times they can see nothing but prevarication and ruin. They say that our era, in comparison with past eras, is getting worse and they behave as though they had learned nothing from history, which is, none the less, the teacher of life. They behave as though at the time of former councils everything was a full triumph for the Christian idea and life and for proper religious liberty."
"We feel we must disagree with those prophets of gloom, who are always forecasting disaster, as though the end of the world was at hand."
"In the present order of things, Divine Providence is leading us to a new order of human relations which, by men's own efforts and even beyond their very expectations, are directed toward the fulfillment of God's superior and inscrutable designs. And everything, even human differences, leads to the greater good of the Church", Floyd Anderson, ed., Council Daybook - Vatican II (Session 1, Oct. 11 to Dec. 8, 1962, Session 2, Sept. 29 to Dec 4, 1963) (National Catholic Welfare Conference (Pub.), Washington, D.C., 1965), p. 26.
The Vatican document, “Sects or New Religious Movements: Pastoral Challenge" (L'Osservatore Romano, N. 20, 19 May 1986, (1.2) p. 5) states: "In some cases the phenomenon appears within the mainline Churches themselves (sectarian attitudes). In other cases it occurs outside the Churches (independent or free Churches; messianic or prophetic movements), or against the Churches (sects, cults), often establishing for themselves Church-like patterns. However, not all are religious in their real content or ultimate purpose". In the Vatican document, 'Sects or New Religious Movements: Pastoral Challenge" (L'Osservatore Romano, N. 20, 19 May 1986, (1.2) p. 5)
Note W: '... to be ever more Catholic?'
Many members of communities in the mainline Churches today feel comfortable in their static traditions but often do not reach out to others in a way that the others would feel attracted and more comfortable. This is a fundamental reason for the Church's loss of vast numbers of Catholics world wide to various sects according to the Vatican document on "New Religious Movements".
"3.1 Almost all the responses (from the Regional and National Episcopal Conferences world wide, October, 1985) appeal for a rethinking (at least in many local situations) of the traditional "parish community system"; a search for community patterns which will be more fraternal, more "to the measure of man", more adapted to people's life situation; more "basic ecclesial communities": caring communities of lively faith, love (warmth, acceptance, understanding, reconciliation, fellowship), and hope; celebrating communities; praying communities; missionary communities: outgoing and witnessing; communities open to the supporting people who have special problems: the divorced and "remarried", the marginalized.” ('Sects or New Religious Movements: Pastoral Challenge', L'Osservatore Romano, N. 20, May 19, 1986, p. 5.)
(Click on the photo of Joseph Dwight to go to his other websites.)
 Lesser important or secondary notes and quoted references can be found in the appendix. See Note A in the appendix.
 See Note B in the appendix.
 See Note C in the appendix.
 See Note D in the appendix.
 As the Second Vatican Council opened on October 13, 1962, the Cuban crisis was developing. In Rome, these tensions penetrated deeply into the life of the Church; positions were emerging that were to polarize the debates to come as well as the election of conciliar commission members.
"The liturgy was the first subject to be considered. The scheme on the sources of revelation was next on the agenda. After a week of lively debate on the sources of revelation, a vote was taken on November 21, to decide whether or not to eject the schema as a basis of discussion. The total rejection of the schema was voted for by 1368 Fathers and the continuation of the debate by 822. Father Yves Congar, O.P., called this event (La Documentation Catholique, November 1, 1964) the definitive end of the Counter-Reformation, because by a majority vote, the Council fathers decided to reject, on that day, a document on the sources of revelation which was too little ecumenical and still too much inspired by an anti-Protestant Catholicism. To reject the schema, however, a majority of 1460 was required; and since the negative vote was 92 short of this number, the debate was due to continue. At this point Pope John ended the debate and set up a special mixed Commission composed of members of the Theological Commission and the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity. They were to rewrite the schema under the joint headship of Cardinal Ottaviani and Cardinal Bea. This marked the beginning of the reorganization and reintegration of the Preparatory Commissions' schemata", Aram Bernard, Preparatory Reports - The Second Vatican Council (The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1965), pp. 23-24.
 Pope John, during his address at the solemn opening (October 11, 1962) of the Second Vatican Council, pointed out to the council Fathers: "The Church has always opposed these errors. Frequently she has condemned them with the greatest severity. Nowadays, however, the spouse of Christ prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity. She considers that she meets the needs of the present day by demonstrating the validity of her teaching rather than by condemnations" Floyd Anderson, ed., Council Daybook - Vatican II (Session 1, Oct. 11 to Dec. 8, 1962, Session 2, Sept. 29 to Dec 4, 1963) (National Catholic Welfare Conference (Pub.), Washington, D.C., 1965), p. 27 (also cf. Herbert Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II (Herder & Herder, N.Y., 1968), vol. 1 , p. 108).
 "The work (the first draft) showed little awareness of modern problems, it was said, and offered little more than weary repetitions of well-known utterances from the First Vatican Council. The ecumenical perspective was lacking. It was weighted on the side of Church authority and Church privileges and was very light on the duties and calling of the Church in our times. Its concern was for the juridical and clerical aspects of the Church, while it showed little feeling for the humility and servanthood of the Church. Generally, it betrayed what was called an `introverted ecclesiology.' It conveyed the image of a Church concerned with itself instead of directing its sights outward to the world and to the separated brethren", G. C. Berkouwer, The Second Vatican Council and the New Catholicism (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1965), pp. 178-179.
 "Yesterday, said Bishop Elchinger, the Church was considered above all as an institution, today it is experienced as a community. Yesterday it was the Pope who was mainly in view, today the Pope is thought of as united to the bishops. Yesterday the bishop alone was considered, today all the bishops together. Yesterday theology stressed the importance of the hierarchy, today it is discovering the people of God. Yesterday it was chiefly concerned with what divided, today it voices all that unites. Yesterday the theology of the Church was mainly preoccupied with the inward life of the Church, today it sees the Church as orientated to the outside world", Herbert Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II (Herder & Herder, N.Y., 1968), vol. 1, p. 108.
 The following statements in the schema De Ecclesis were presented by the preparatory commission to the Council in its opening session of 1962: "The Roman Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ ... and only the one that is Roman Catholic has the right to be called Church", Francis A. Sullivan, The Significance of the Vatican II Declaration that the Church of Christ "Subsists in" the Roman Catholic Church, in Rene Latourelle, ed., Vatican II: Assessment and Perspectives Twenty-five Years After (1962-1987), Vol. 2, p. 273.
"The Church that Christ willed is (authentically) found in the Catholic Church, but the Church as Body of Christ is not strictly coextensive with the Catholic Church. See Congar, Concile, p. 160: "There is no strict - that is, exclusive - identity between the Church as Body of Christ and the Catholic Church. At bottom Vatican II acknowledges that non-Catholic Christians are members of the Mystical Body and not simply ordinate ad, 'ordered to,' it", Giuseppe Alberigo, ed., The Reception of Vatican II (Catholic University of America Press, Washington DC, 1987), p. 139^n. 7.
 See Note E in the appendix.
 "The manifold Catholic attack against triumphalism goes hand in glove with a desire to sustain the spirituality of the Church. This is one of the essential elements of the new ecclesiological way of thinking apparent at the council. It wanted no new dogma, no new definition of the Church that would clarify everything. Rather, with the hierarchy in mind in a most existential sense, it was a summons to complete and utter humility. The Church was being told to remember that it followed the Lord who came not to be served but to serve” (Mk 10:45), G. C. Berkouwer, The Second Vatican Council and the New Catholicism (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1965), p. 184.
 See Note F in the appendix.
 One bishop even went so far as to speak of a whole spectrum of heresies (Bishop Musto), cf. Herbert Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II (Herder & Herder, N.Y., 1968), vol. 1, p. 109.
 "This anxious reserve has many causes. ... One important cause of anxiety is the memory of the history of divisions in the Church, a series of events with traumatic effects on the subsequent relationship of the Churches involved. ... A second cause lies in the images of the other Churchs, images created through the conflicts involved in the separation for the purpose of justifying the separate status of one's own Church by emphasizing the differences as clearly as possible and for the purpose of repelling the attacks of the other Church. ... Undertaking a study of the present reality of the other Churches leads to a further cause of anxiety, namely, an experience of their strangeness, and this is increasingly true the more one is rooted in the piety and the dogmatic, liturgical, and legal structure of one's own Church. ... There is the further fear of causing confusion among one's own people if one dispenses with the current images of other Churches and becomes too deeply involved in uncovering what they have in common", Edmund Schlink, After The Council (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1968), pp. 214-215.
 "The substance of the ancient doctrine of the Deposit of Faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character", from Pope John's opening speech, Floyd Anderson, ed., Council Daybook - Vatican II (Session 1, Oct. 11 to Dec. 8, 1962, Session 2, Sept. 29 to Dec 4, 1963) (National Catholic Welfare Conference (Pub.), Washington, D.C., 1965), p. 27. Also see Giovanni Caprile, a cura di, Il Concilio Vaticano II (Cronache del Concilio Vaticano II edite da "La Civilta' Cattolica") (Secondo Periodo (1963-1964), Vol. III; Edizione "La Civilta' Cattolica", Roma, 1966), pp. 29-30 and p. 40.
See Note G in the appendix.
 See Note H in the appendix.
 Floyd Anderson, ed., Council Daybook - Vatican II (Session 1, Oct. 11 to Dec. 8, 1962, Session 2, Sept. 29 to Dec 4, 1963) (National Catholic Welfare Conference (Pub.), Washington, D.C., 1965), p. 151, 37th General Congress (Sept. 30, 1963).
 Francis A. Sullivan, "The Significance of the Vatican II Declaration that the Church of Christ "Subsists in" the Roman Catholic Church," in Rene Latourelle, ed., Vatican II: Assessment and Perspectives Twenty-five Years After (1962-1987), Vol. 2, pp. 273-274.
See Note I in the appendix.
 See Note J in the appendix.
 See Note K in the appendix.
 The notion of the Church as sacrament had been called for by a group of about one hundred and thirty Fathers, rejected by only three and finally adopted unanimously (cf. Herbert Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II (Herder & Herder, N.Y., 1968), vol. 1, p. 139).
 There is really no definition of sacrament in the Constitution and no explanation of how exactly the term is to be applied to the Church as one would find in catechisms (cf. ibid.).
 There is a deliberate effort to go beyond the notion of Cardinal Bellarmine, for whom the Church was "as visible and tangible as the union of the Roman people or the kingdom of France or the republic of Venice", ibid., p. 146.
 "An earlier draft (that of 1963) read, 'Haec igitur Ecclesia, vere omnium Mater et Magistra, in hoc mundo ut societas constituta et ordinata, est Ecclesia Catholica, a Romano Pontifice et Episcopis in eius communione directa'. This formulation is much narrower, since the 'est' excluded the other 'Churches' from the concept of the Church and forbade the application of the term to them even in an analogical sense. Thirteen Fathers still demanded the retention of the 'est' even at the beginning of the third and decisive session. Nineteen pleaded for the formula, 'Subsistit integro modo in Ecclesia catholica' and twenty-five others wanted 'Jure divino subsistit'. But the Theological Commisssion decided in favor of the simple 'subsistit in', thereby deliberately leaving open the question of the relation of the one Church to the many Churches", ibid., p. 150, ^n 29).
 See Note L in the appendix.
 Cf. Herbert Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II (Herder & Herder, N.Y., 1968), vol. 1, p. 150.
 Herbert Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II (Herder & Herder, N.Y., 1968), vol. 1, pp. 150-151.
 "In the interval between the session of 1963 and that of 1964, a very considerable revision was made of the schema de Ecclesia, and it was while the Theological Commission was preparing the revised text that the question was raised within the commission itself as to the consistency of maintaining on the one hand that the Church of Christ was simply identified with the Catholic Church, and then admitting that there were "ecclesial elements" outside of it. The solution arrived at was to change the text from saying that the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church to saying that it subsists in it. The official explanation given to explain this change to the bishops was "so that the expression might better agree with the affirmation about the ecclesial elements which are found elsewhere." Unfortunately for the commentators, no further elucidation was offered as to the precise sense in which the word "subsists" was intended to be taken"; Francis A. Sullivan, "The Significance of the Vatican II Declaration that the Church of Christ "Subsists in" the Roman Catholic Church," in Rene Latourelle, ed., Vatican II: Assessment and Perspectives Twenty-five Years After (1962-1987), Vol. 2, p. 274.
 See Note M in the appendix.
 See Note N in the appendix.
 See Note O in the appendix.
 See Note P in the appendix.
 It is precisely here we find the motive for the missionary thrust of the Church (AG 19). Regarding the limitations of the Church's actual catholicity, one sees "the urgency of ecumenism and the inner connection between ecumenism and catholicity. For the credibility of the Church, especially in its claim to be Catholic, it is crucial to mitigate or overcome the hostility and division among Christian groups", Avery Dulles, S.J., The Catholicity of the Church; Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1985; p. 171.
See Note Q in the appendix.
 See Note R in the appendix.
 But do other Churchs want this 'wealth'??? Are they drawn toward this wealth or repelled away?
 Edmund Schlink, After The Council (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1968), p. 114.
 Francis A. Sullivan, "The Significance of the Vatican II Declaration that the Church of Christ "Subsists in" the Roman Catholic Church," in Rene Latourelle, ed., Vatican II: Assessment and Perspectives Twenty-five Years After (1962-1987), Vol. 2, p. 275.
 Subsisto in a Latin lexicon means "to stand still, to stay, to continue, to remain."
 UR 3e.
 We have already seen the Council express its hope that the unity of the Church will continue to increase until the end of time. Lumen Gentium 48c describes the Church in this world as endowed with a holiness that, while real, is still imperfect. Unitatis Redintegratio 4, 10 admits that the divided state of Christianity hinders the Church from achieving the fullness of its catholicity.
 Francis A. Sullivan, "The Significance of the Vatican II Declaration that the Church of Christ "Subsists in" the Roman Catholic Church," in Rene Latourelle, ed., Vatican II: Assessment and Perspectives Twenty-five Years After (1962-1987), Vol. 2, p. 278.
 Ibid., p. 279.
It should be noted though that Sullivan did refute the thesis of Basque Jesuit Luis Bermejo. See Note S in the appendix.
 It is interesting to note that the form of "subsist" used here is a noun ("subsistence"), whereas in Lumen Gentium 8 "subsists" is used in the form of a verb ("subsists in"). The use of the noun would seem to indicate a greater degree of exclusivity especially with the modifiers "one sole" ("subsistence").
 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Statement of Notification", Origins, vol. 14 (1985), pp. 685-686.
 Gianfranco Ghirlanda, S.J. also interprets the Church of Christ in a rather exclusive way in his article: 'Universal Church, Particular Church, and Local Church at the Second Vatican Council and in the New Code of Canon Law'. See Note T in the appendix.
 Francis A. Sullivan, "The Significance of the Vatican II Declaration that the Church of Christ "Subsists in" the Roman Catholic Church," in Rene Latourelle, ed., Vatican II: Assessment and Perspectives Twenty-five Years After (1962-1987), Vol. 2, p. 281.
 Ibid., p. 282 (also UR 3d).
 "The distinction is based on what may be called a principle of "eucharistic ecclesiology," that is, there is not the full reality of Church where there is not less full reality of the Eucharist", ibid., 282.
 "By the celebration of the Eucharist of the Lord in each of these Churches the Church of God is built up" (UR 15a).
 Francis A. Sullivan, "The Significance of the Vatican II Declaration that the Church of Christ "Subsists in" the Roman Catholic Church," in Rene Latourelle, ed., Vatican II: Assessment and Perspectives Twenty-five Years After (1962-1987), Vol. 2, p. 283.
 Cf. ibid., p. 283.
 Ibid., p. 283.
 Ibid., p. 283-284.
 Also in the past before Vatican Council II, Church documents followed more closely in line with the image of the Church as equated with the society. This conception of the Church was very strong beginning in the time of Constantine despite frequent tension and fissure between the Church and society. But now the emphasis is on the sacramental character or facet of this mystery, the Church, rather than on possible points of identity between the Church and society.
 Cf. Lincoln Bouscaren, "Cooperation with Non-Catholics," Theological Studies 3 (1942), pp. 475-512.
Also cf. Francis J. Connell, "Dangers to the Faith," American Ecclesiastical Review 111 (1944), pp. 306-308; "Suffrages for a Deceased Non-Catholic", ibid. 113 (1945), pp 220-21; "Interfaith Problems," ibid. 116 (1947), pp. 141-43; "When a Mixed Marriage Is Held in Church", ibid. 121 (1949), pp. 223-24.
 See Note U in the appendix.
 See Note V in the appendix.
 Cf. Sects or New Religious Movements: Pastoral Challenge, L'Osservatore Romano, N. 20, 19 May 1986, (1.2) p. 5.
 See Note W in the appendix.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The Impact and Interpretation of 'Subsists In' (Vatican II)