6 comments

  1. “Given the text and history of Dignitatis humanae itself, it is not clear what Dignitatis humanae actually means, and, therefore, it is impossible to say what dissent looks like.”

    What would the difference be between Smith’s position here, and the position of the ‘Orthodox in Communion with Rome’ who say the same regarding, e.g., the canon of papal infallibility from Vatican I?

    1. Because that declaration concerns a matter of faith and morals that the Church taught in a Council with the intention to define. That’s far from clear with DH, which is a text in tension with itself given that it declares the prior magisterium as being unchanged.

      1. With all due respect, this seems like ignoratio elenchi. Just to clarify, in the passage cited, Smith wasn’t talking about if it is okay to dissent from DH, he was talking about whether true dissent from DH is even possible given the difficulty in interpreting it. Why couldn’t an Eastern Catholic say something similar about papal infallibility? For example, ‘given the differences in opinion in understanding the text, from Gasser to Manning to Gregory II Yusuf, it is not clear what the canon actually means, and, therefore, it is impossible to say what dissent looks like.’
        The only way I could see how your post responds to my point is by assuming a premise like: if a “declaration concerns matter of faith and morals that the Church taught in a Council with the intention to define,” then that guarantees it will be clearly understood. But I don’t think that’s true, so I’m left a little confused at your reply.

        1. There is a wide gulf between how a text is to be interpreted and a text that is incoherent on its face (and, moreover, isn’t even clear if it’s dogmatically binding). With respect to Pastor Aeternus‘s definition of Papal Infallibility, it’s hard to get much clearer that the passage was intended to bind the Church and what the conditions of infallibility are. (That’s a separate question, of course, from discussing which instances a pontiff has intended to bind the Church through an exercise of the extraordinary magisterium.)

          The single opinion of any one theologian isn’t binding, and just because two may disagree at some point doesn’t mean a teaching can either be rejected or ignored. What some of the “Orthodox in Communion…” types try to engage in is nothing more than a sleight of hand. That is not what Smith is talking about at all. He is really talking about a situation that is rather unique to the Second Vatican Council.

          The normal process for dealing with interpretive problems is through the submission of dubia. However, as is well known, the CDF failed to provide an authoritative reply to those submitted by Archbishop Lefebvre in the 1980s. If “Orthodox in Communion…” types are somehow confused on Pastor‘s definition of Papal Infallibility, they’re quite free to submit dubia — though it seems a little late in the game for that.

  2. “no doubt Weigel was also motivated to write his column by the simple fact Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the Society he founded committed the unpardonable sin of defying “The Great” Pope John Paul II with the 1988 episcopal consecrations” – this is purely speculative assessment. One can keep St JP the Great in high regard and be sympathetic to SSPX or FSSP. The question of economic liberalism (well understood) seems marginal at best in this case

    1. It is speculation, but it is speculation with support. Weigel made a career out of trying to be the authoritative interpreter and promoter of John Paul II’s legacy in English. He has on countless occasions brought up Lefebvre and the Society’s disobedience, and I don’t think that’s a charge he’s going to let go of. That is distinct from the question of liberalism generally.

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