Ad Limina Apostolorum (Blog) | St. Augustine's Library
Wednesday, November 16, 2005

'Collegiality of the People of God'? 

I ran across a full-page paid advertisement in the November 11, 2005 edition of the National Catholic Reporter by 'Dignity/Washington'.

In a somewhat excessively formal statement of beliefs, the last article states the following:

We believe the Second Vatican Council reaffirmed long-held Roman Catholic belief in the collegiality of all members of the People of God: laity, clergy, together with the hierarchy (the Sensus Fidelium or "Consensus of the Faithful").

I suppose one can't argue with the statement that the members of Dignity/Washington believe this to be true, but I find the statement itself absolutely incredible: 'the collegiality of all members of the People of God'!

Of course, the term 'collegiality' is a specific reference to the episcopal college, references to which are found sprinkled throughout Lumen Gentium. By definition, however, this term includes bishops alone. Suggesting that laity clergy might be included in this college is the equivalent of suggesting that a banana might be included in the category of vegetable. But of course, the term 'collegiality' has no meaning whatsoever outside of reference to the episcopal college.

Clearly, then, this statement reflects a completely different understanding of 'collegiality' than anything in the theological tradition (despite the explicit statement that this understanding of collegiality was endorsed by the Second Vatican Council). It seems that this word has become something of a 'catch-all' term, which encapsulates all of the elements of the leftist ecclesiology - decentralization, anti-clericalism, anti-hierarchialism, etc. Perhaps by affirming the 'collegiality' of all the People of God, the signers intend to express their desire for some sort of egalitarian concord, which would exclude any sort of distinct, privileged hierarchy. But a distinct, privileged hierarchy is exactly what the theological concept of 'collegiality' was developed in order to express.

One wonders how all the members and/or signers of this 'declaration' could be so ignorant - willfully or no - of the meaning of the term they so eagerly endorse. This confirms my age-old theory, of course, that most of the 'Spirit of Vatican II' bandwagon have never bothered to consult the texts produced by that council.

# posted by Jamie : 8:39 AM


Thursday, November 10, 2005


I was sitting in the foyer of the the Grand Hyatt in Amman two years ago, sipping coffee. Horrific.

# posted by Jamie : 1:54 PM


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I just received, in the Nov. 22 edition of Origins, Bishop Alvaro Corrada's reflection on Confirmation, Sacrament of Initiation. Bishop Corrada of Tyler, Texas, a Jesuit religious, is officially moving confirmation before first Eucharist in the Diocese of Tyler.

"Confirmation strengthens a person to bear witness rather than expresses the person's determination to bear witness."

That about sums it up. This approach is clearly more reflective of the ancient tradition of the Church, her biblical witness and sacramental theology.

The customary approach, where confirmation comes after first Eucharist, always seemed more or less of a Protestant approach to me. Growing up Evangelical, there was always a time in your teenage years when you were expected to 'make it your own', and make a personal commitment to Christ. Before this, it was assumed, you had neither the ability nor the responsibility to make a faith commitment. Something of this seems to have snuck into the Catholic sacramental praxis, as some seem to imagine that 'confirmation' means 'me confirming myself in the faith', rather than the Spirit confirming me in the faith.

Read the Pentecost account in the New Testament and tell me it reflected a mature, coming-of-age of the apostles, when they were able to make a determined commitment to the Christian faith. More than Protestantism, such an approach smacks of pure Pelagianism.

# posted by Jamie : 1:48 PM


Friday, November 04, 2005

In the Wake of All Soul's Day: John Paul II 

A Pope and the Art of Dying Well

In September, the Holy See released the official account of the death and funeral of John Paul II. The first four pages clinically describe the ailments and activities of the last weeks of the Holy Father, from the first hospitalization on Feb. 1 to his final hours on April 2.

This short chronicle, while medically exact, does not do justice to the dramatic and heroic nature of those concluding months. Those of us living in Rome will always remember the Pope's urgent hospitalization and the forest of film crews clustered around the clinic. Nor will witnesses ever forget his triumphant ride through the streets of Rome as he returned to the Vatican, seemingly victorious over death itself.

This extraordinary man, who had already defied society's tendency to shun the sick by keeping up a full public schedule despite his increasingly obvious Parkinson's disease, also showed us true dignity in death. (more)

What the Postulator of John Paul II's Cause Faces

Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the postulator of Pope John Paul II's cause for beatification and canonization, admits to feeling "fear and trembling" before this responsibility.

[W]hen one is before a human and spiritual giant like John Paul II, it's enough to start trembling, above all because one notes the closeness of the grace of God that acted in this man. But also because of the responsibility before the Church, and before so many people of good will, who manifest their desire to see John Paul II beatified as soon as possible. That is why one must move, on one hand, with great expectation in the heart, with a great sense of urgency but, on the other hand, with the awareness that the process must be carried out with the greatest seriousness, observing the procedural norms, because it is not only the expression of a moment of enthusiasm, but truly involves the authority of the Church, which pronounces herself on a Servant of God.

Monsignor Oder: Perhaps almost paradoxically, or perhaps not, maybe as conclusion of what is the natural course of a Pope's life, is the photograph of the last Good Friday, with the Pope leaning on the cross, which he holds in his arms, and with his gaze turned to the Master. For me, truly this image is the synthesis of John Paul II's life, of the path that united him increasingly to the Master until he really appeared before our eyes as just one with the Christ he held in his arms. (more)

# posted by Jamie : 8:12 AM


Bring it On 

Large families are genuine testimonies of "optimism" and must be supported with appropriate social and legislative measures, says Benedict XVI.

"In the present social context, family nuclei with many children are a testimony of faith, courage and optimism, as without children there is no future!" he exclaimed, prompting applause and smiles from those present.

"I hope that more social and legislative measures will be promoted in defense and support of the largest families, which constitute a richness and hope for the whole country," Benedict XVI concluded.

The Italian Association of Large Families is holding its first congress, in Castelfusano, near Rome, attended by 2,500 people. (

I love it that Italy has an 'Italian Association of Large Families'. I love it even more that they have national congresses. My trusty google search tells me that Hungary, Portugal, Israel, and a host of other countries have these. I also found a speech Pius XII gave to the organization back in 1951, so they are apparently quite old. No American branch, though. Anyone?

# posted by Jamie : 8:06 AM


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Archbishop Miller on the 'Pruning' of Secularized Catholic Colleges 

MANASSAS, VA (November 2, 2005) - The Vatican's number two education official predicts that Pope Benedict XVI will follow a path of "evangelical pruning" of secularized Catholic colleges and universities, declaring them no longer Catholic.

Archbishop Michael Miller, secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education and former president of the University of Saint Thomas in Houston, addressed officials and faculty at the University of Notre Dame on Monday.

Miller said that his prediction was based on an examination of the new Pope's writings and approach. The Pope has argued "that it might be better for the Church not to expend its resources trying to preserve institutions if their Catholic identity has been seriously compromised," Miller said.

I think the headline dramatically overstates what Miller is actually saying, which in turn may be a dramatic overstatement of the Holy Father's intentions, but whatever the case, it seems a positive turn. From the Cardinal Newman Society via Mark Shea.

# posted by Jamie : 3:49 PM


Pope Benedict praying at the tomb of his predecessor for All Souls Day.

Photo from L'Osservatore Romano, hat tip to Rocco Palmo.

# posted by Jamie : 10:48 AM


Opus Dei = "The Guinness Extra Stout of the Catholic Church" 

So says John Allen in his new book. Hat tip, Bill Cork.

# posted by Jamie : 10:44 AM


Serving the Church, Losing the Faith? 

Amy Welborn is hosting an open discussion about the dangers of working for the Church.

I'll get started by delineating the things I think people experience in church employment that can challenge faith...And believe me, it's not that I see these things as necessarily "negative," but Our faith grows through all kinds of earthquakes and aftershocks, no matter where we are.

* Having illusions about church operations and other church employees shattered.

*Faith matters becoming identified with work, losing the fire.


My own experience, to be honest, is much the opposite. The degree of cynicism among many in society, including many Catholics, regarding the internal life of the Church, caused me to enter the field with a good deal of skepticism myself. And there is good reason for it, to be sure. But, by and large, I have found those who serve the Church to be good, decent Catholics, with a sincere desire to serve the faithful, motivated by genuine charity. This is especially true for the handful of bishops and clergy that I have come to know. Certainly they don't do it for the money.

But perhaps my own experience is unique. Maybe those who begin working for the Church with idealistic, even quixotic expectations experience a difficult blow. It's easy to forget that we are a pilgrim church, both in head and members.

# posted by Jamie : 10:11 AM


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

John Allen Interviews Cardinal Scola of Milan and Bishop Wuerl of Pittsburgh 

Scola: "The bishops, in very positive fashion, committed themselves to going forward with the liturgical reforms that followed Vatican II, despite the great arguments after the council and despite significant abuses. In what sense is this not news?"

"The synod demonstrated that the Eucharist is at the heart of the Christian people, and in itself it has a social dynamism," Scola said. "That means commitment to resolving conflicts between peoples, such as those we see in Africa, and to cosmological questions such as ecology. … Unlike pagan temples, the Christian cult does not separate the sacred and the profane. Everything is cult.


Allen: This synod marks the third time you've served as relator. What differences did you notice?

We are rapidly losing what might be called a usable common language. Latin has not been conserved as a universal language for all in the synod. For a long time, Italian was it, but at least in the groups I worked with that's no longer the case. It's not understood by everyone around the table. It's not a major hurdle, but it does make things more difficult. …

I also found the free discussions in the evening very healthy, very open. There's a forum now for everybody to be engaged in the discussion. If it's a little repetitious, well, so are a lot of conversations in which I take part.


# posted by Jamie : 2:20 PM


Fr. Richard Neuhaus on the Twin Cities 

Yes, I know, I was there for only a couple of days, and you might think I let myself be too impressed by people eager to sell a visitor on the good things happening in the Twin Cities. I don't think so. For starters, in a lot of places I visit people don't even try to put a good face on things. The comments of clergy and lay people reflect discouragement, ranging from malaise to disaster. In the Twin Cities, among both evangelicals and Catholics, there was a contagious sense of excitement about Christian renewal and mission. (more)

This pretty much encapsulates my own response to Minneapolis, MN. Lots of exciting new apostolates, a great deal of enthusiasm and piety among the youth. A surprising extent of involvement in Eucharistic Adoration, Scripture study and catechetics. I met one young man in his early twenties who, along with two or three friends, began a successful campaign to put a complimentary copy of the Catechism in the hands of every adult convert in the Archdiocese. Of his own accord. Astounding.

At the same time, of course, there are the varying degrees of nuttiness. I posted last year my own experience in a suburban St. Paul parish (I can't find the post now), where the rear wall beside the sanctuary doubled as a coffee bar, which offered coffee and donuts up to five minutes before mass began. But these things will always be with us, especially with the particular generation to which this parish catered. Better things hearken.

Fr. Neuhaus' observations on the Archbishop, I think, are fair, although I do not know the man well. That he has allowed so many flowers to bloom under his watch is a good token.

# posted by Jamie : 11:04 AM


Matatics a Sedevacantist? 

Reports are swirling that Gerry Matatics, the well-known apologist for the Catholic Faith, has now rejected it.

Some nut-cracker monastery in New York has published an email, said to be from Matatics, which formally endorses the sedevacantist position, not to mention calling the Holy Father a heretic.

Peter Vere has verified, in a phone call to Matatics, that the email is authentic. Robert Sungenis has published an immediate response and refutation of Matatics on his website.

For those unfamiliar with Matatics, he is a convert from PCA Presbyterianism who took up the apologetics cause. He has selflessly and forcefully defended the faith, and put forward biblical defenses of Catholic teachings, in the form of books, pamphlets, and most famously, public debates. In fact, several debates between Matatics and fundamentalists (including this on-line one with James White), gave me a significant shove towards my own conversion. Matatics never failed to demolish any opponent he came up against. His occasional anti-Jewish tirades encouraged other apologists (such as Karl Keating) to distance themselves from him. His rigid position on extra ecclesiam led him increasingly toward a suspicion of the present Magisterium, resulting, it seems, in his own eventual apostasy. Please pray for him as you read this post.

Hat tips Bill Cork and Mark Shea.

# posted by Jamie : 9:19 AM


Archbishop Levada on Vatican Radio 

On his appointment, the Dallas Charter and Norms, and the Synod:
Basically that's what he told me when he told me I was going to be his successor. I gasped. I told him that I was not the person for the position. He told me yes, I was. (more)

# posted by Jamie : 7:19 AM


Under the Patronage of
St. Augustine of Hippo

Contact me:

Ad Limina Apostolorum: An ecclesiastical term meaning a pilgrimage to the sepulchres of St. Peter and St. Paul at Rome, i.e., to the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles and to the Basilica of St. Paul "outside the walls".

"Augustine of Hippo Refuting Heretic"
(illuminated manuscript,
13th century)

"Jamie . . .
I could kill you in three seconds.
-Bishop Sheridan

Books Recently Read or Currently Reading

John Milbank's Theology & Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason (next in stack)

Colson Whitehead's Zone One (reading)

Michael Wyschogrod's Body of Faith: God and the People Israel (reading)

J. B. Schneewind's Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy (reading)

Paul Hacker's Ego in Faith: Martin Luther and the Origins of Anthopocentric Religion (finished: 3 stars)

Edward Peter's Modern Guide to Indulgences: Rediscovering this Often-Ministerpreted Teaching (finished: 1 star)

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