Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Disagreements Between Cardinal Koch and Cardinal

Edit: There was a minor translation change in the statement by +Koch at his astonishment at the fixation about the SSPX after 50 years of dialog, rather than implying that he was thinking it would stall the talks.  Thanks to P-Hall.

What binding level t the texts of the 2nd Vatican Council have?  A decisive question.  How the media plays the Cardinals against each other::  "Divide et impera?"  by Armin Schwibach

Rome (  The discussion of the forthcoming unification with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (FSSPX) driven some strange blood, which are in view of the interpretation of the texts of the 2nd Vatican Council.  So it happened in the last days that the media has played two Curial Cardinals who have expertise in the matter, against each other: a completely far fetched situation of a published opinion without foundation.

The play began after the President for the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity,  Kurt Cardinal Koch,  had held a lecture with the title "Building on 'Nostra Aetate -- 50 Years of Christian-Jewish Dialog" at the Papal University of St. Thomas (Angelicum) in the "John Paul II" center.   All questions in the concluding press conference resolved themselves  then, however, on the FSSPX and the negotiations in the Congregation for the Doctrine and the Faith:  it was a question of
the long expected 'feria quarta', on the meeting of the Congregation over the document presented by the FSSPX and being informed about the possible coming unification.

Cardinal Koch explained to the media concerned with this only that the discussions were in process and he could not say what they concerned till Pope Benedict's decision.   At the same time the Cardinal announced his surprise at this that over fifty years of dialog with Judaism would be fixated in such a way  by the Society of St. Pius X.

Journalists constructed from this statement the opposite.  It was loudly announced  that Cardinal Koch himself as the first according to the full committee of the Congregation of the Doctrine and the Faith had expressed himself about the unification with the Society, which wasn't the truth, because:  Koch had refused for that reason to  comment.

Cardinal Koch further explained that the Second Vatican Council and all its texts are binding for a Catholic, from which the journalists determined that it was a "mandatory obligation". In the sense of Pope Benedict XVI's called for Hermaneutic of Continuity with Tradition, Koch underlined, it is important to stress that it is the Magisterium which determines the authentic interpretations with respect to Catholic doctrine and answers all subsequent open questions. With his address to the Roman Curia on the 22nd of December 2005, Pope Benedict XVI presented a "key for the interpretation of the Conciliar texts offered: "Reform in Continuity" against the "Hermeneutics of Rupture".

The presentation of the book "Le chiavi di Benedetto XVI per interpretare il Vaticano II"  (The keys of Benedict XVI for the interpretation of the Second Vatican Council)" took place on the 22nd of May in Rome.   The work was written by Walter Cardinal Brandmuller together with Curial Bishop Agostinoo Marchetto and the Italian theologian and liturgist, Msgr. Nicola Bux.  At the presentation of the book, +Brandmuller touched on the various levels of binding of the Council texts.  There is a big difference between a Constitution and a simple Declaration, as well as those on Christian Education, the Mass Media or even "Nostra Aetate".  Those "controversial documents" for the FSSPX as even over religious freedom and the relationship to the other religions have no binding doctrinal content, said Brandmuller, as is the case with the Dogmatic Constitutions.  For that reason they may be discussed.  Oddly  both of the controversial texts, namely, "Nostra Aetate" and "Dignitatis Humanae", according to the estimation of Canon Lawyer Klaus Morsdorf would have no doctrinal content.  That doesn't mean, however, said the Cardinal, that one need not take them seriously:  they are expressions of the living Magisterium, without binding the entire Church.

Brandmuller's address was taken up by the media immediately represented as the opposite to the words of Cardinal Koch.  This then did not correspond to reality.  As to the question if he was in contradiction with Cardinal Koch's comments, +Brandmuller explained that this couldn't have possibly been the case.  It is completely correct, when Koch says, that a Catholic has to accept the decrees of a General Council.  That doesn't preclude, "that the Decrees have various levels of binding".  Also there is a "Free space for theological discussion abut the correct understanding of the Conciliar texts":  "Where then is the disagreement?"

This begs the question: is the reason that these differences which are as obscure as the Antipodes be a wedge driven between two Cardinals, these two who could or will be the spearheads of Benedict XVI's work of reform and  give significant contributions for the reflection over the Vatican Council right in the wings of the upcoming "Year of Faith?  "Divide et impera" appears to be the motto. Cui bono?

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