As I wrote yesterday, the faithful Catholic is required to reject anything that conflicts, either explicitly or implicitly, with the doctrine of the Faith, no matter what the source may be. Furthermore, no one, not even a pope or a valid council of the Church, has the authority to bind anyone to any such conflicting propositions.
In this post, I will provide a specific example from the conciliar text that conflicts with the doctrine of the faith in such way as to lead directly to error, therefore requiring the responsible Catholic, not just to parse it and qualify it and wrench a faithful interpretation from it, but to reject it as a danger to the faithful.
The only way one can embrace this statement as an acceptable representation of the Catholic faith is to understand that it speaks exclusively of those Jews who have accepted Jesus Christ as the long-awaited messiah and have entered into the new and everlasting covenant by the waters of baptism. That’s it.
OK, those hell bent on hammering square pegs into round holes will say, you see that! It can be interpreted in continuity with tradition!
Not so fast.
Let’s take just a few steps back to remind ourselves of the purpose of every ecumenical council; namely, to teach the truths of the Catholic faith with precision and clarity. The councils of the Church are not symposia wherein bishops are charged with drafting doctrinal riddles so convoluted as to remain, even half a century later, unsolved by even the vast majority of the Church’s hierarchy.
In other words, that a faithful interpretation is narrowly possible for a given statement does not justify in any way “binding” the faithful to it.
So, back to our example: Has the deficiency of the text from Nostra Aetate 4 led directly to error?
You bet it has, and not just on the part of rank and file liberals, but as I will demonstrate momentarily, on the part of the sacred hierarchy leading all the way to the top,
First, it’s important to know that the text in question from NA 4 is footnoted to reference Ephesians 2, a passage in which St. Paul informs the gentile believers in Christ that the wall of separation that once existed between themselves and the people of the covenant, the Jews, prior to Christ, is now broken down. How? Through the Cross, as believing Jews, like St. Paul himself, are united with believing gentiles in the Blood of Jesus Christ, making both one in Himself.
What St. Paul is not suggesting in any way, shape or form is that those Jews who rejected Jesus Christ and who look upon His Cross as mere folly, either then or at any time thereafter, are somehow “one in Him.”
The very notion is laughable indeed, but it’s not very funny when one considers the degree to which the sacred hierarchy has embraced precisely this utterly untenable interpretation.
At a recent address delivered at Rome’s Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Cardinal Koch, President of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, said that Nostra Aetate is “the ‘foundation document’ and the ‘Magna Carta’ of the dialogue of the Roman Catholic Church with Judaism.”
Reflecting further on the document, he said in reference to the statement in question from NA 4:
“The concept of two parallel paths of salvation would in the least call into question or even endanger the fundamental understanding of the Second Vatican Council that Jews and Christians do not belong to two different peoples of God, but that they form one people of God.”
Know this: Cardinal Koch’s misrepresentation of Catholic doctrine, which reflects a false interpretation of Ephesians 2, is the direct fruit of the deficient text in question from NA 4. More troubling still is that all indications seem to be that even the popes since Vatican II embrace this falsehood, as evidenced by their utter failure to even hint that the Jews stand in need of baptism in order to gain access to the community of salvation.
The slippery slope greased by NA 4 leads to straight to nothing less serious than heresy, which is defined in the Code of Canon Law as “the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith” (Canon 751).
Cardinal Koch demonstrated this very clearly as he continued:
“On the one hand, from the Christian confession there can be only one path to salvation. However, on the other hand, it does not necessarily follow that the Jews are excluded from God’s salvation because they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel and the Son of God.”
Numb though you understandably may be after decades of being exposed to the diplomat-speak of the “new evangelists,” pinch yourself just hard enough to come to your Catholic senses and consider exactly what the cardinal is saying:
He is publicly proclaiming that even those who explicitly reject Jesus Christ, His Sonship and His Messiahship, are included in God’s salvation! In other words, he is saying that one can reject Christ and yet somehow still accept God.
When we consider that the words of Our Blessed Lord necessarily form the content of that which must “be believed by divine and Catholic faith,” and that Jesus very clearly said, “He who rejects me rejects Him who sent me,” we can draw no other conclusion than to say that Cardinal Koch is guilty of professing a material heresy.
This, my friends, is a crystal clear example of just how dangerous certain of the texts of Vatican II are. They lead not just simple laymen to confusion and ultimately to heresy, but even the Princes of the Church!
This is why we must, as a matter of Christian duty to the Lord who is truth incarnate, allow no fear to prevent us from holding such misleading propositions up to the purifying light of sacred Tradition, exposing them for precisely what they are, and rejecting them out of hand.
It should also be clear, therefore, why not even an angel from heaven has the authority to bind us, on any level, to such poisonous prose.