Little catechism of the Second Vatican Council (Part 5)

Little catechism of the Second Vatican Council (Part 5)

by Fr. Pierre-Marie, O.P.

Dominican in Avrillé

From Le Sel de la terre 93, Summer 2015

(continued,number 5)

The Four Constitutions

Section II

Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum - on the sources of Revelation

What are the principle errors contained this constitution?

This Constitution makes an important step toward Protestant theology in refusing to distinguish clearly the two sources of Revelation.  It speaks of a progress of Tradition and utilizes the expression “living Tradition”, in the manner of the Modernists.

How does DV alter the doctrine of the two sources of Revelation?

DV leaves aside the doctrine of the councils of Trent and Vatican I on the “two sources” of Revelation (Tradition and Holy Scripture), for making Tradition and the Magisterium converge into Scripture alone: “sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture […] in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. […They] form one sacred deposit of the word of God” (§ 9 and 10).

Note in the passage the expression “in a certain way (quodammodo)”: things are left in flux without daring to affirm the error frankly.  We will find elsewhere this manner of speaking.

It is an important step toward reconciling with the Protestant heresy that denies Tradition as the source of Revelation.

How does DV speak of a progress of Tradition?

According to the infallible doctrine of the Catholic Church, Revelation terminated with the death of the last Apostle1: There is thus no objective progress of the deposit of the faith (by new truths that would be revealed); at the most, there is a subjective progress (a more precise definition of truths contained in the deposit of the faith).

Without making this major distinction, DV admits a progress of Tradition: “Now what was handed on by the Apostles […] develop[s] [proficit] in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. […] 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.” (§ 8).

How did DV introduce the Modernist notion of living Tradition?

In paragraph 12, DV says that Holy Scripture should be read taking into account “living tradition of the whole Church“.

This is also an ambiguous expression which could ultimately receive an orthodox interpretation (the immutable Tradition received from the Apostles also continues today to be transmitted by the current, living Magisterium of the Church), but which evidently, in context, favors the Modernist idea of a Tradition that is living because it is the expression of the sense of the faith of the people of God, and thus susceptible to evolution.

It is this latter meaning that will be used after the Council: In the name of living Tradition, the Conciliar Church will try to excommunicate Msgr. Lefebvre2  and to justify the ‘hermeneutic of renewal in continuity’ (the claim that post-conciliar Church is in continuity with the Church before the Council, because there is a continuity of the living subject, even if there is discontinuity on the doctrinal plane3).

Are there other errors in DV?

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Vatican II, Le Sel de la terre 55 (pp. 26-38) indicated as contestable points:

* A false notion of Revelation described as a dialogue of salvation and a conversation with God (DV 2), not as a deposit of supernatural truths;

* A new approach to the faith (DV 5) considered as a total abandonment of the person to God is reconciled with the faith-trust of the Protestants or the faith-sentiment of the Modernists;

* The protestantization of the Holy Church and in particular the abandonment of the traditional notion of inerrancy of the Scriptures for the benefit of a truth relative to salvation (DV 11).4

It could also be added that DV encourages ecumenical translations of the Bible,5 which is an unheard-of novelty in the Church.

(To be continued)

Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274): Feast: March 7

Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)


Feast: March 7

Thomas the Apostle challenged the story that the Lord was risen, and his unbelief brought forth a glowing testimony of the reality of the Resurrection.

Twelve centuries later, his namesake, Thomas of Aquino, questioned—without doubting—the great truths of faith, and demonstrated for all time the rela­tionship of faith and reason.  As the first Thomas found by experiment (“Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side”) that the Man who stood in the midst of them was none other than Jesus Christ, so Thomas, the Angelic Doctor, proved for all time that there is no quarrel between reason and revelation.

Thomas, son of the count of Aquino, was first trained at the Benedictine abbey of Montecassino, and here, even in childhood, his great mind was wrestling with theological problems.  His passion for truth is expressed in his constant question, “Master, tell me—what is God?”

Better to train the boy’s mind, his father sent him at an early age to the University of Naples.  Here he studied under Peter of Ireland and, undisturbed by the noise and wickedness of the great university city, proceeded rapidly on his quest for God.

Meeting the Dominicans, he was strongly attracted by their apostolic life and petitioned to be received as one of them.  While recognizing the gifts of the young student, the friars refused him admittance to the Order until he was eighteen.  Acting deliberately, without a backward glance at the power and wealth he was leaving, Thomas, at eighteen, joyfully put on the habit of the new Order.

Like many a gifted young man, Thomas was bitterly opposed by his family when he attempted to become a religious.  Both threats and persuasion failing, he was kidnapped by his brothers and locked in a tower for more than a year.  His sisters were sent in to influence him, and he proceeded to convert them to his own way of thinking.  A woman was sent in to tempt him; he drove her from the room with a burning brand from the fire; afterwards, angels came to gird him with the cincture of perpetual chastity.  The captivity having failed to break the determination, his brothers relaxed their guard, and Thomas, with the help of his sisters, escaped from the tower and hurried back to his convent.

Given the finest education that his time could offer, Thomas studied first in Cologne (Germany), and later at Paris, under Master Albert the Great.  This outstanding Dominican teacher and saint became his lifelong friend and loyal defender.  They taught together at Cologne and became a mutual influence for good in one of the most beautiful friendships in Dominican history.

For the rest of his life, Thomas was to teach and preach with scarcely a day of rest.  He traveled continually, which makes all the more remarkable the amount of writing he did.  Death found him in a familiar place – on the road – where he was bound for the Council of Lyons in obedience to the pope’s command.  He died at the Cistercian abbey of Fossanova, in a borrowed bed – obscurity hardly fitting the intellectual light of the Order, but perfectly suited to the humble friar that Thomas had always been.

Overheard in a colloquy with the Master he served so well, with heart and mind and pen, Thomas was heard to ask as his reward, “Thyself, O Lord, none but Thyself!”

From the book, Saint Dominic’s family,

By sister Mary-Jean Dorcy O.P.

Dominican sister of the Holy Cross

Dubuque (Iowa), The Priory Press, 1964

Also see the article Saint Thomas Aquinas in today’s combat for the faith  on this website