By Bishop Fellay
On August 6th the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith published a declaration “on
the unicity and salvific universality of Jesus Christ
and the Church”. This declaration provoked violent
reactions in modernist circles as well as outside
the Church, in most of the communities concerned with
The document forcefully restates
and imposes numerous points of traditional Catholic
doctrine on the matter. At the same time the truths
of faith are strongly tempered by other propositions
originating from Vatican II. (The great principles
of Nostra Aetate, Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes
are here recalled.) The new principles of the last
council regarding the relations of the Catholic Church
with the other Christian and non-Christian religions
are presented as if they were perfectly integrated
with the Catholic faith.
What some have said of Vatican
II can be said of Dominus Jesus: “Two theological
traditions which fundamentally cannot understand each
other have collided” (Mgr Henrici, ‘The maturation
of the Council’ Communio). “The real problem
is so unusual to Catholicism that it is easy to understand
the instinctive blindness which enables one to elude
it: the will to remain faithful to two councils which
differ so decidedly from each other is simply impossible.”
This contradiction is obvious
in the text, especially when it speaks of the unicity
of the Catholic Church. The identity of the Church
of Christ and the Catholic Church is affirmed when
it speaks of historic continuity between the Church
founded by Our Lord and today’s Catholic Church. (N.
16) But at the same time this is denied by the ‘subsistit
in’ (N16-17). Last spring Cardinal Ratzinger himself
declared that there is no continuity between the ‘is’
(affirming this identity) and the ‘subsistit in’
(which allows to place other ‘true’! churches along
side the one true Church cf. N 17).
In the same text he affirms
on the one hand that the ‘subsistit’ is the
foundation of ecumenism and on the other that this
same ‘subsistit’ is in contradiction with the
‘is’ of tradition: “Since sin is a contradiction,
we cannot in the final analysis, fully logically solve
this difference between subsistit and is.
In the paradox of the difference between the singularity
and realization of the Church on the one hand and
on the other the existence of an ecclesial reality
outside the unique subject, is reflected the contradictory
character of human sin, the contradiction of division.”
It is not therefore difficult
to conclude that ecumenism, founded on a contradiction
with the traditional doctrine by the avowal of its
promoters, will itself be in the same way contrary
to traditional doctrine.
With Dominus Jesus
we find ourselves confronted with the tragic confirmation
that an inexpressible cloud darkens the Vatican, since
never in the past has contradiction been taught, much
less one which is recognized as such.
The document, despite the praiseworthy
aim of condemning abuses, will be useless to solve
the doctrinal crisis which it wants to fight, since
the true doctrine is only half stated which is a distortion.
Menzingen October 29 2000 Feast of Christ the King.