What’s in That Latin Footnote?

Videtur etiam Ecclesiam catholicam inter illas Communiones comprehendi, quod falsum esset. Don’t get it? You’ve come to the right place. Below, in parallel columns, are the Latin original and our English translation.

No doubt, our readership has heard of the document released by the CDF on July 10: “Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church.” Even as we mentioned it here a couple of weeks ago , commentators from all over the spectrum were making their thoughts known, producing a flurry of verbiage in the secular and religious media. Some non-Catholics were offended . Some were not . One good thing about all this is that fundamental questions about the nature of the Church are making headlines. Proof positive that the world does not ignore the Church, especially when she articulates anything resembling a doctrinal or moral “hard line.”

There was more than one document released; the CDF published its own official commentary to accompany the “Responses.” Since the documents were released, Cardinal Levada and Archbishop Amato have also given interviews.

We plan on giving these documents and interviews more attention soon, but for now, let’s get to that footnote number four, the one that goes into Latin. The Latin notes are from a huge tome known as the Acts of the Synod . These are the official records of all the discussions that took place behind the documents. They are a powerful aid for the historian and the theologian alike in knowing what was going on at the council. Why the contents of the footnote were kept in Latin, even in the various official translations on the Vatican web site, is somewhat mysterious.

Whatever the CDF’s reasons for veiling the footnotes in the now all-too-mysterious language of the Church, we have decided to lift the veil, at least for the English-speaking world. The Latin is verbatim from the document on the Vatican’s web site. (The bit of English on the Latin side is there in the original.)

As the reader will tell, there is some pretty doctrinaire stuff here. The references in that footnote affirmed, “that the Catholic church alone is the true Church of Christ.” Further: “there is one sole true Church of Christ; that this is the Apostolic Roman Church; that all must seek to know Her and enter Her in order to obtain salvation….” Lastly, “the Church governed by the successors of the Apostles with the successor of Peter as its head” is called “the sole flock of God” and “the one, sole Church of God.”

Whatever amiguities exist in the various texts of the Conciliar documents, we now have an official interpretation wich clarifies Lumen Gentium Chapter 8 in a traditional way. The one true Church of Jesus Christ IS the Catholic Church, that Church under the Successor of St. Peter. Whatever contradicts that is now, as it always was , consigned to the realm of liberal theological fiction.


Here is the reference in the text:

FIRST QUESTION

Did the Second Vatican Council change the Catholic doctrine on the Church?

RESPONSE

The Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine, rather it developed, deepened and more fully explained it.

This was exactly what John XXIII said at the beginning of the Council.[1] Paul VI affirmed it[2] and commented in the act of promulgating the Constitution Lumen gentium : “There is no better comment to make than to say that this promulgation really changes nothing of the traditional doctrine. What Christ willed, we also will. What was, still is. What the Church has taught down through the centuries, we also teach. In simple terms that which was assumed, is now explicit; that which was uncertain, is now clarified; that which was meditated upon, discussed and sometimes argued over, is now put together in one clear formulation”.[3] The Bishops repeatedly expressed and fulfilled this intention.[4]


Here is footnote four:

[4] The Council wished to express the identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church. This is clear from the discussions on the decree Unitatis redintegratio . The Schema of the Decree was proposed on the floor of the Council on 23.9.1964 with a Relatio (Act Syn III/II 296-344). The Secretariat for the Unity of Christians responded on 10.11.1964 to the suggestions sent by Bishops in the months that followed (Act Syn III/VII 11-49). Herewith are quoted four texts from this Expensio modorum concerning this first response.[4] The Council wished to express the identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church. This is clear from the discussions on the decree Unitatis redintegratio . The Schema of the Decree was proposed on the floor of the Council on 23.9.1964 with a Relatio (Act Syn III/II 296-344). The Secretariat for the Unity of Christians responded on 10.11.1964 to the suggestions sent by Bishops in the months that followed (Act Syn III/VII 11-49). Herewith are quoted four texts from this Expensio modorum concerning this first response.
A) [In Nr. 1 (Prooemium) Schema Decreti: Act Syn III/II 296, 3-6]

“Pag. 5, lin. 3-6: Videtur etiam Ecclesiam catholicam inter illas Communiones comprehendi, quod falsum esset.

R(espondetur): Hic tantum factum, prout ab omnibus conspicitur, describendum est. Postea clare affirmatur solam Ecclesiam catholicam esse veram Ecclesiam Christi” (Act Syn III/VII 12).

A) [In Nr. 1 (Prooemium) Schema Decreti: Act Syn III/II 296, 3-6]

“Page 5, lines 3-6: It also appears that the Catholic church is found among those Communions, which would be false.”

The reply is made: Here only the fact, as it is viewed by all, is to be described. Afterwards it is clearly affirmed that the Catholic church alone is the true Church of Christ. (Act Syn III/VII 12).

B) [In Caput I in genere: Act Syn III/II 297-301]

“4 – Expressius dicatur unam solam esse veram Ecclesiam Christi; hanc esse Catholicam Apostolicam Romanam; omnes debere inquirere, ut eam cognoscant et ingrediantur ad salutem obtinendam…

R(espondetur): In toto textu sufficienter effertur, quod postulatur. Ex altera parte non est tacendum etiam in aliis communitatibus christianis inveniri veritates revelatas et elementa ecclesialia”(Act Syn III/VII 15). Cf. also ibid pt. 5.

B) [In Caput I in genere: Act Syn III/II 297-301]

“4 – Let it be said more expressly that there is one sole true Church of Christ; that this is the Apostolic Roman Church; that all must seek to know Her and enter Her in order to obtain salvation…

The reply is made: In the entire text what is demanded is adequately proclaimed. On the other hand it must also not be passed by in silence that in other Christian communities revealed truths and ecclesial elements are found” (Act Syn III/VII 15). Cf. also ibid pt. 5.

C) [In Caput I in genere: Act Syn III/II 296s]

“5 – Clarius dicendum esset veram Ecclesiam esse solam Ecclesiam catholicam romanam…

R(espondetur): Textus supponit doctrinam in constitutione ‘De Ecclesia’ expositam, ut pag. 5, lin. 24-25 affirmatur”(Act Syn III/VII 15). Thus the commission whose task it was to evaluate the responses to the Decree Unitatis redintegratio clearly expressed the identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church and its unicity, and understood this doctrine to be founded in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium .

C) [In Caput I in genere: Act Syn III/II 296s]

“5 – It should be said more clearly that the Roman Catholic Church alone is the true Church…

The reply is made: The text presupposes the doctrine set out in the constitution ‘De Ecclesia’ [= Concerning the Church], as is affirmed on page 5, lines 24 – 25.” (Act Syn III/VII 15). Thus the commission whose task it was to evaluate the responses to the Decree Unitatis redintegratio clearly expressed the identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church and its unicity, and understood this doctrine to be founded in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium .

D) [In Nr. 2 Schema Decreti: Act Syn III/II 297s]

“Pag. 6, lin. 1- 24: Clarius exprimatur unicitas Ecclesiae. Non sufficit inculcare, ut in textu fit, unitatem Ecclesiae.

R(espondetur): a) Ex toto textu clare apparet identificatio Ecclesiae Christi cum Ecclesia catholica, quamvis, ut oportet, efferantur elementa ecclesialia aliarum communitatum”.

“Pag. 7, lin. 5: Ecclesia a successoribus Apostolorum cum Petri successore capite gubernata (cf. novum textum ad pag. 6, lin.33-34) explicite dicitur ‘unicus Dei grex’ et lin. 13 ‘una et unica Dei Ecclesia’ ” (Act Syn III/VII).
The two expressions quoted are those of Unitatis rredintegratio 2.5 e 3.1.

D) [In Nr. 2 Schema Decreti: Act Syn III/II 297s]

“Page 6, lines 1 – 24: Let the unique nature of the Church be expressed more clearly. It is not enough to insist upon the unity of the Church, as is done in the text.

The reply is made: a) The identification of the Church of Christ with the catholic Church is clearly apparent from the entire text, although the ecclesial elements of other communities are declared, as should be done.”

Page 7, line 5: The Church governed by the successors of the Apostles with the successor of Peter as its head (compare the new text on page 6, lines 33 – 34) is explicitly described as ‘the sole flock of God’ and on line 13 as ‘the one, sole Church of God'”. (Act Syn III/VII).
The two expressions quoted are those of Unitatis redintegratio 2.5 e 3.1.


Indeed, “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215 . )