Friday, May 14, 2010

More of the same plague that infects the ECUSAns

The following story was sent to us by a concerned member of the Roman Catholic Church in a comment to a post below. I take no pleasure in such stories, and I am aware we have, as Continuing Anglicans, a real solidarity with members of the Roman Catholic Church who are distressed by the battles that show an ever growing need for vigilance and prayer among all who share the catholic faith of the Creeds. The report is about a bishop who openly contradicts the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

"Christ did not die for the sins of the people": Head of German Catholic Bishops' Conference on TV

By Hilary White

FREIBURG, Germany April 21, 2009 ( - According to the chairman of the Catholic bishops' conference of Germany, the death of Jesus Christ was not a redemptive act of God to liberate human beings from the bondage of sin and open the gates of heaven. The Archbishop of Freiburg, Robert Zollitsch, known for his liberal views, publicly denied the fundamental Christian dogma of the sacrificial nature of Christ's death in a recent interview with a German television station.

Zollitsch said that Christ "did not die for the sins of the people as if God had provided a sacrificial offering, like a scapegoat."

Instead, Jesus had offered only "solidarity" with the poor and suffering. Zollitsch said "that is this great perspective, this tremendous solidarity."

The interviewer asked, "You would now no longer describe it in such a way that God gave his own son, because we humans were so sinful? You would no longer describe it like this?"

Monsignor Zollitsch responded, "No."

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch was appointed to the See of Freiburg im Breisgau in 2003 under Pope John Paul II. He is he sitting Chairman of the German Episcopal Conference, to which he was elected in 2008 and is regarded as a "liberal" in the German episcopate...

...However, Article 613 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the definitive work issued by the Church explaining the dogmas and doctrines of the Catholic religion, describes the death of Christ as "both the Paschal sacrifice that accomplishes the definitive redemption of men, through 'the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world', the sacrifice of the New Covenant, which restores man to communion with God by reconciling him to God through the 'blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins'."

The Catechism continues, "This sacrifice of Christ is unique; it completes and surpasses all other sacrifices. First, it is a gift from God the Father himself, for the Father handed his Son over to sinners in order to reconcile us with himself. At the same time it is the offering of the Son of God made man, who in freedom and love offered his life to his Father through the Holy Spirit in reparation for our disobedience."

You may read the whole story here.

The above quoted portions provide a portion of the Catechism of the Catholic Church with which we agree fully (as we do with about 95 percent of it), for it agrees with Scripture. St. Paul summed up the famous Suffering Servant passage (Isaiah 52:13-53:12) and the whole typological message of the Old Testament sacrifices, with a simple and direct summary of the Gospel itself, writing in the fifteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Church of the Corinthians:

[1] Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
[2] By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
[3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;*
[4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:*
[5] And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
[6] After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
[7] After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
[8] And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

To teach contrary to the straight forward message of the Gospel is to create a horrible vacuum in which no one can have forgiveness of sins, and in which no one can be cleansed from an evil conscience. What this says about matters related to the Anglicanorum Coetibus people is obvious, and we need not rub it in. We should all agree easily with those members of the Roman Catholic Church who are distressed, and who want to see action taken.

*Remember that the phrase "according to the scriptures" as used here and as used in the Nicene/Constantinopolitan Creed, means that the scriptures were fulfilled.


Canon Tallis said...

And this is a surprise? When on article after article of what is asserted in the New Testament concerning our Lord and the Church, some portion of the Roman Church goes missing we should be surprised at something like this.

I am sorry, but over a lifetime I have known only too many Roman clergy who have not held or taught the faith as all of us have received it from the saints. It is a big part of the Roman myth that this should not be so, but that has never made it so. Yet it remains a shame, a horror that it should be so for any Christian.

Anonymous said...

RC theology is frequently quite loosey-goosey when it comes to the doctrine of the atonement. This goes all the way back to Aquinas's speculation that the sacrifice of trhe cross was only "hypothetically" necessary (necessary only as a matter of "decency") rather than absolutely necessary, as Reformational theology insists.

The only exception I have found to this is Hans Urs von Baltasar, in a marvellous book, "Mysterium Paschale."
Von Baltasar presented the full-orbed Biblical doctrine of the atonement, Penal Substitution.

Ther CCC, in its discussion of "Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was Crucified, Died, and Was Buried" dances all around, saying lots of nice things about the entire life of Christ being a sacrifice, but never explains why the cross was necessary or how it made a difference.

So like Canon Tallis, I am not surprised. As Martin Luther said in the 95 Theses, "Woe to those who say Cross, Cross, when there is no Cross."

John A. Hollister said...

Archbishop Zollitsch could be a faculty member at one of the "Institutes for Ministry" or "Institutes of Pastoral Studies" in the U.S. where traditionally Roman Catholic universities train bemused and poorly-instructed laypeople to be Directors of Christian Education and Administrators of priestless parishes by indoctrinating them with "Liberation Theology" (i.e., Marxism) and "Creation Spirituality" (i.e., Paganism), all in order to undermine the official hierarchy and magisterium by winkling the Christian faithful out of the parishes and into unofficial "small Christian communities" (i.e., house churches).

John A. Hollister+

Deacon Down Under said...

What this German bishop is saying goes way beyond anything that just about any Roman priest or bishop I have ever heard or read says.

I do however suspect that the ECUSA like liberalism, so beloved of neo-Anglicans has a much bigger footprint in the Roman Church than we think.

Those views I suspect are in the minority, so yes 'Canon Tallis' this statement is a surprise and it is regrettable that anti-RCC thinking come into this as it was clearly not present in Fr. Hart's article.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

We are told that the Papal office is there to protect the Church from heresy. If so, why do these things persist? I am glad for orthodoxy in Rome itself, especially the homilies of Fr. Cantalamessa, and would be quite glad for that city if its bishop proved to be infallible. But, even if that is so (let us grant it at the moment for argument's sake), how does that benefit the people who have to listen to the Archbishop of Freiburg, Robert Zollitsch, when he visits churches in his diocese and vomits up this garbage from the pulpit? How does it help the American parishes when some priest does the same?

The would be Tiber swimmers need to take notice: The pope will not be the pastor of your local church, nor the bishop of your diocese.

Canon Tallis said...

And what do you do when the bishop of Rome himself is a heretic or worse? And this is not a theoretical question but an acknowledgment that it has happened before and will probably happen again. And you must also remember that it is the pope who appoints such people and is responsible for their remaining in their sees. Now it must be admitted that frequently he must act upon the advice of the curia and they frequently believe that it is their duty to manipulate the pope. I remember all too well an occasion when John Paul II used a very painful wrist lock upon one of his keepers when they tried to break up a conversation he was having with a reporter. But then he wasn't seminary trained.

The papal myth is a very compelling one which far too many are tempted to believe although the Roman reality is something altogether different. I realize that I see it quite differently from many of you - personal experience and all that - but it might do us all well to realize that St Peter's is not the cathedral church of the bishop of Rome and that the historic cathedral of that city sees its bishop too infrequently.

If the position of the bishop of Rome is or was so central to the Catholic faith, why was it not clearly recognized in the writings of the New Testament, the earliest bishops and Catholic Fathers, the texts of the Creeds or of the decrees of the first four General Councils? Why was it that Gregorius Magnus had to wait for confirmation from the emperor before he could be consecrated bishop of Rome?

We are supposed to put our faith in God and not in any bishop. It is said that Newman complained that he and Pusey had put their faith in the bishops and the bishops had failed them. Pusey's reply was that he had placed his faith in the Church and the Church had not failed. And that is the case of we in the Continuum; we have placed our faith in the Church and for all the many faults and failings of our bishops and priests, the Church has not failed us.

Individually we all may disappoint at one point or another. We may individually offend but we should remember the scripture, "Put not your trust in princes nor in any child of man."

Will said...

This does not surprise me very much, if someone such as Avery Cardinal Dulles can write this:

Who, then, can be saved? Catholics can be saved if they believe the Word of God as taught by the Church and if they obey the commandments. Other Christians can be saved if they submit their lives to Christ and join the community where they think he wills to be found. Jews can be saved if they look forward in hope to the Messiah and try to ascertain whether God’s promise has been fulfilled. Adherents of other religions can be saved if, with the help of grace, they sincerely seek God and strive to do his will. Even atheists can be saved if they worship God under some other name and place their lives at the service of truth and justice. God’s saving grace, channeled through Christ the one Mediator, leaves no one unassisted. But that same grace brings obligations to all who receive it. They must not receive the grace of God in vain. Much will be demanded of those to whom much is given. (quoted by Gene Edward Veith here)

Rome has been infected somewhat with universalism for quite a while, and this German bishop seems to take it further because while universalists at least usually admit the need for an atonement, this guy is denying that it was ever needed. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Bp Avery Dulles wrote (and Will apparently disagrees)

"God’s saving grace, channeled through Christ the one Mediator, leaves no one unassisted."

Sorry to disappoint you, Will, but I can and do support Cardinal Dulles entire statement. I would quibble about some synergistic overtones in the various "if" clauses. But the potential universalism in this carefully nuanced statement is quite Biblical. Note that
salvation is only through Christ, the one Mediator, not through moralism or good works. Considerable Patristic support can be adduced for this position.

The notion that only those who consciously know Christ and explicitly confess Him, while typical of most self-styled Evangelicals, is rooted in Arminianism, not in genuine Reformed theology. See Hermann Bavinck's startling discussion "The Wideness of His Mercy," in his Dogmatics.

No-one is more vociferous than I in asserting the theological necessity of separation from Rome. But for me, the issue is their semi-Pelagian synergism, not what appears to be "universalism."
And I do give high marks to B16's "Dominus Iesus" (or was it JPII?) That document cleared up some false teaching to the effect that one relgion is as good as another and all will ultimately be saved. To sum up: salvation is in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone. But that does not restrict salvation to Christians.

Will said...

Fr. Wells,

I guess we will have agree to disagree; I will keep company with Hooker, who wrote:

"Wherefore all sin is remitted in the only faith of Christ's passion, and no man without belief therefore justified;...Faith alone maketh Christ's satisfaction ours, howbeit that faith alone which after sin maketh us by conversion his." (from Laws, Book VI, "Of Satisfaction.")

I see both the synergism and any universalism, wherever it may be, of Rome as problems.

Canon Tallis said...

While I believe that Father Wells is entirely right in his interpretation of Cardinal Dulles's words, I had to read them twice just be sure. Why? Because the tone did not seem to place the Christ in His saving grace and mercy at the center of all things. I think what Will has missed and all of us occasionally forget is that some are so blinded by ignorance or prejudice that the fullness of the Gospel has a very hard time in breaking through. But all of creation is preparation for Christ's saving mystery and it is necessary for men, by His grace, to go as far as they were able.

As Anglicans we are constantly reminded that God's saving love is not limited to Anglicans, Romans, the Orthodox but to the whole of His creation. But we do have to respond, as we can only by His grace, to that love and seek Him who said "Ask and it shall be given; knock and it shall be opened; seek and it shall be found." If you read the prayer book carefully I think you will find that its version of the Church stretches beyond the bounds of Anglicanism to "all those who call themselves Christians" in praying that we "may be led into the way of truth and hold the faith in unity of spirit. . . ." What I believe that we here want most especially is actually be "in the way of truth" which we find in a full acceptance of Holy Scripture as interpreted by "the earliest bishops and Catholic fathers."

Veriword: essess
Veriword: drosit

Anonymous said...

Will, that's a great quote from Hooker, but it does not speak to the problem under discussion. Hooker was dealing with the Reformation issue of faith vs works, imputed vs infused rightousness, NOT the possibility of saving faith in those who have not yet been convinced of the truthfulness of the Christian religion.

We agree, I believe, that salvation is "by grace though faith." Genuinely Biblical theology puts the acent on grace. Arminianism puts it on faith. Arminianism, therefore, makes "faith" into a very explicit "decision for Christ" with full knowledge of Him. The problem is that this makes salvation very exclusive, with the majority of the human race sent to hell. I seem to remember a text about faith as a grain of mustard seed.....

What I am saying (along with Cardinal Dulles and a strong patristic tradition) is that people who do not enjoy the fullness of God's revelation
may nonetheless respond positively to the small degree of revelation meted out to them. Because God is, after all, gracious, that "mustard seed" faith is also God's gift and is enough to constitute them as righteous. Remember, "many shall come from the east and the west." Slso remember, when "all the nations" are gathered at the Great Assizes, some will say, "When did we see thee" but still be welcomed into the heavenly kingdom.

Will said...

I am well aware of the context in which Hooker was writing, but he still said,

"Wherefore all sin is remitted in the only faith of Christ's passion, and no man without belief therefore justified..."

As I said, we will have to agree to disagree.

Cherub said...

Fr Hart, the statement by the heretic bishop means nothing re Anglicanorum coetibus. You quite rightly quote the Catechism to show that the bishop concerned is denying a fundamental truth of the Gospel. But note well, the Catechism is authorised by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church - rather more reliable than Anglican Synods don't you think?

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:

The "mustard seed" norm will be sorted out during the particular judgement of those to whom it applies.

However, at that time, the standard for those of us who claim to be the servants of Christ, may be its corollary:

"From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded."

I believe that the dry run for this judgement is called the "examination of conscience", or, to use a more secular term, introspection.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

But note well, the Catechism is authorised by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church - rather more reliable than Anglican Synods don't you think?

Reliable for what? And, what Anglican synods? It seems that the magisterium has no useful influence to defend truth, no matter how much authority it may have in theory, or even infallibility in theory.

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:

Father Hart wrote:

"It seems that the magisterium has no useful influence to defend truth..."

Really? Let's take a look at the RC progressives. Why do they resist leaving the Roman Catholic Church and joining a progressive denomination, where they would fit in so much better? My hunch is that they know such a move would be disastrous for them, for at least two reasons:

One, it would separate them from that which they in vain covet to posses one day, namely, the magisterium;

Two, they probably realize that such a move would consign them to obscurity (and the consequent loss of political power, which is their ticket to the world);

You overstate your case, Father Hart. The magisterium has its defenders in the conservative and traditionalist clergy and laity, who are by no means in the minority. Here, its "useful influence to defend truth" is a pearl of great price. And even the progressives inadvertently pay homage to its value, by refusing to leave. A lot of energy spent on a target of "no useful influence", wouldn't you say?

P.S. Allow me to add that you, more than occasionally, implicitly and explicitly, and in spite of all your huffing and puffing about this or that in the RC Church, squarely side with this "no useful influence" magisterium. I close my case.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

In this matter I side with the magisterium, and I note that it has not enough influence to prevent or silence heresy. Is this because the authority in the RCC lacks the will, or lacks the power? What restrains them?

Please consider why I chose the word "influence" instead of the word "authority." Even people who regard the RC magisterium as infallible (which I do not) want to know why.

George said...

What amazes me is no action is taken against this Bishop for his remarks that we know of. This is as bad as ECUSA. I would have hoped the Mag. would enforce RCCC. If the RCCC is suppose to be unifying document in the Roman church as well as the Pope why is nothing done? I agree with Fr. Hart (hopefully i am not misunderstanding his statements) those who think of taking advantage of the AC should take caution. Many interested in the AC are doing so the get away from what the ECUSA has gone through. However, this suggests that RCCC and Pope aren't going to protect you.

Anonymous said...

"What amazes me is no action is taken against this Bishop for his remarks that we know of. This is as bad as ECUSA."

Absolutely right. This example, which is far, far from unique, proves that the so-called "magisterium" is largely a myth if not a hoax. Those soi disant orthodox or traditional Anglicans now paddling across the fetid waters of the Tiber are likely to find that "the last state is worst than the first." But then.......

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:

Father Hart asked the following with respect to the exercise of the magisterium:

"What restrains them?"

This is the question that, in my view, is very relevant today. If the fullness of the magisterium was exercised within, say, the liturgical year, we the faithful would get the concentrated dose of the right medicine we need.

I think that when it comes to our country, the situation is mixed. On the bright side, the younger clergy are conservative, friendly to tradition, and not reluctant to preach on the hard subjects. The statistics, and the anecdotal evidence one encounters bear this out. On the other side, of course, we have the progressives.

When it comes to the Vatican, we seem to be in the twilight years of the post Vatican Two period. This is the tail end of an era of the soft pastoral approach, dialogue with the world, and the avoidance of defrockings or excommunications (and any resulting media uproars).

I think it is safe to predict that the next pope will have no personal experience of the Vatican Two council, but will have the experience of its aftermath. My bet is that he will not be reluctant to use the fullness of the medicinal cabinet that is at his disposal. If I'm wrong, then our situation may become similar to that of the first few centuries of our Faith - many we'll be eaten alive, so to speak, and an initially much smaller Church will continue.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The argument that the current pope has made about Vatican II is that it is not that council that unleashed the errors of the age, but its popular misrepresentation. At this point, I agree with that analysis.

However, even though I cannot agree with the theory of the papacy itself, I am disappointed that this pope, of all men, allows so much to go on as before. I expected more of a broom sweeping clean.

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:

Father Hart:

The embrace of the fake spirit of this Council is what caused so much damage. The reinterpretation of this council within the fullness tradition is what is urgently needed now. It is beginning to happen, but at a slow pace.

Ralph M. McInerny argues along these lines, in his excellent and concise book "What went wrong with Vatican II".

With hindsight, what strikes me about some of the documents of this council is a certain whiff of ambiguity, or a good hearted and liberal allowance for various exceptions. Over the past four decades we've witnessed how exploitable and nuanceable such well meaning allowances can be.

Lesson learned - write with mathematical precision, spell out any assumptions, conditions, and requirements. Don't allow room for private interpretation. Precision is an aid to logic, and logic is a great antidote to mendacity. From the nuancers deliver us!

Colin Chattan said...

"The argument that the current pope has made about Vatican II is that it is not that council that unleashed the errors of the age, but its popular misrepresentation. At this point, I agree with that analysis." The problem is, Fr. Hart, how do you actually get from the Second Vatican Council to the widespread chaos and havoc that have followed in its wake (and not just in the Roman communion but in Anglicanism, Lutheranism, and even Presbyterianism)? I personally don't see how, in this case, you can separate the smoke from the gun. And while I hate to say it, because what I have read about John XXIII and Paul VI suggests that they were good, even holy, men in their own personal lives, nevertheless, on Harry Truman's magisterial (so to speak) principle that "The buck stops here," their papacies were, surely, almost unmitigated disasters. Their apologists strive mightily to distance them from Vatican II's chaos, but the effort never fails to remind me of Peter Sellers' character in "The Party" who contrived to vanish every time he created a fiasco in one part of the house only to reappear shortly after in another room far removed. The argument has to be at least considered that the papacy in the latter half of the twentieth century was a source, not of order and spiritual vigour and growth, but of instability and spiritual and moral breakdown. I remember Malcolm Muggeridge, who crossed the Tiber before he died, commenting somewhere to the effect that one of the most astonishing, jaw-dropping developments in modern history had to be the Roman Church, just at the point where established Protestantism was starting to collapse, where Rome could have had all the marbles roll into its lap, jumping into the same cesspool in consequence of Vatican II! No doubt John XXIII and Paul VI meant well - but we all know where the road of good intentions leads. By their fruits shall ye know them.