Pope Benedict XVI: The Church is a boat ‘on the verge of capsizing’

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On July 15, 2017,  Pope Benedict XVI sent a message that was read aloud at the funeral of Cardinal Joachim Meisner, in which he said that the Church is a boat“on the verge of capsizing”.  The Pope Emeritus said that he was moved at the dubia cardinal’s ability to “live out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church, even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.”

Meisner was one of four courageous Cardinals who had written the dubia to Pope Francis, asking for clarification stemming from the confusion caused by Amoris Laetitia.  Benedict XVI lauded Meisner, suggesting that the Church needs more cardinals like him.  The Church, according to Benedict XVI,  “stands in particularly pressing need of convincing shepherds who can resist the dictatorship of the spirit of the age and who live and think the faith with determination.” Because of this “pressing need,” Meisner “found it difficult to leave his post.”

The message of Benedict was read  by Archbishop Georg Gänswein, his personal secretary and head of the papal household.

A Close Relationship Between Benedict XVI and Meisner

Meisner and Benedict XVI had a close, fraternal relationship.  In fact, reports suggest that the two men had spoken just the day before the cardinal died.

Benedict further relates: “What particularly impressed me from my last conversations with the now passed Cardinal was the relaxed cheerfulness, the inner joy and the confidence at which he had arrived.”

The Pope Emeritus concluded: “What moved me all the more was that, in this last period of his life, he learned to let go and to live out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church, even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.”

A Call to Combat the Dictatorship of Relativism

According to Benedict XVI, the Church needs more courageous and “convincing shepherds”, like Cardinal Meisner, who will resist the “dictatorship of the spirit of the age.”  The Church is in danger of sinking, and very much needs its shepherds to rise up and proclaim the full Truth of the Catholic Faith against untruths that are besieging it across all levels.

Benedict’s words bear striking similarity to his homily during the Mass offered by the world’s cardinals, just prior to the conclave of 2005 that elected him as pope.  In that homily, he called on the cardinals and bishops to resist the dictatorship of relativism:

Relativism, that is, letting oneself be ‘tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine,’ seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.

One of Four Cardinals Who Formally Submitted the Dubia to Pope Francis

Meisner, who was 83, died while still awaiting Pope Francis’ response to the five questions they raised in the dubia.  Although Pope Francis hasn’t answered the dubia, he has given his approval to interpretations of the controversial exhortation that say those living in adulterous unions may receive Holy Communion.  Meisner, together with Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Caffara, and Cardinal Brandmuller had suggested that they would issue a “formal correction of the Pope” if he doesn’t clarify ambiguous elements in Amoris Laetitia that run contrary to the Church’s teachings on morality, the Eucharist, and the Sacrament of Marriage.

Canon lawyer Kurt Martens said Pope Benedict’s message was an “amazing yet diplomatic form of support for [the] dubia Cardinals.”

In June 2017, Pope Benedict met new cardinals alongside Pope Francis. He had a brief message for them: “The Lord wins in the end.

Meisner died holding his breviary, about to offer Mass.

Pope Francis dismisses Cardinal Muller as head of CDF, replaces him with liberal Jesuit prelate

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Pope Francis has dismissed Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller as Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, exactly five years since his appointment to the Office by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2012.   Müller’s five-year term ended on July 2, 2017, following months of rumors that his time at the CDF was nearing an end, as he became increasingly vocal about his denunciations of attempts to change Church discipline and doctrine on marriage and the sacraments.

A Staunch Defender of the Faith

Muller is considered as one of the last remaining senior clergymen appointed by Benedict XVI to key positions in the Church leadership, and has been a vanguard and defender of the Catholic Faith against anti-Catholic currents that are sweeping it.

He has consistently spoken out against liberal bishops’ insistence on providing Eucharistic Communion to Catholics who are living in a state of mortal sin (divorced and remarried), and has defended the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage repeatedly: “I have said it many times, and I repeat it here again,” he said in remarks made June 21, “Jesus established clearly, and without doubt, the indissolubility of valid matrimony. This is what we must preach, declare and explain to the Catholic faithful.”

Addressing the worldwide confusion following Amoris Laetitia and various dioceses using it to open up Holy Communion to those in adulterous or homosexual relationships, the Cardinal explained, “Contrition, confession and reparation are the three necessary elements for absolution. These are the immediate conditions for receiving the Holy Eucharist, Jesus Christ, who is the same divine Person who forgives us.”

He has emphasized that Amoris Laetitia must be interpreted within the context of the Magisterial Teaching of the Church, and cannot be interpreted in a way that contradicts the teachings of previous popes.

Tensions between the cardinal and Pope Francis began when Müller added his name to a letter of protest at the 2015 Synod, which sharply criticized the lack of transparency and consultation, going so far as to hint at an agenda. “A number of Fathers feel the new process seems designed to facilitate predetermined results on important disputed questions.”

In an explosive interview with the German version of Vatican Radio last October 26, 2016, Cardinal Müller said that “for the first time in the history of the Church we have the case of two legitimate living popes.” His statement on the unique situation of having two popes calls our attention in a forceful way to Blessed Anne Catherine’s prophecy on the two popes in the end times, or the time immediately preceding the Second Coming of Jesus. In that prophecy, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich warned that a false pope would emerge in the end times, and would establish a false church:

I saw also the relationship between the two popes. . . I saw how baleful (harmful) would be the consequences of this false church. I saw it increase in size; heretics of every kind came into the city (of Rome). The local clergy grew lukewarm, and I saw a great darkness…

Dismissed Within One Minute on the Last Work Day of His Term

In an interview with the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse, the Cardinal revealed details of the meeting in which he learned of the Pope’s refusal to renew his 5-year mandate as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). The custom in the last 50 years has been to renew the prefect’s mandate at least until he reaches retirement age.

Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller said, “communicated his decision” not to renew his term “within one minute” on the last work day of his five-year-term, and did not give any reasons for it.

“This style I cannot accept,” said Müller. In dealing with employees, “the Church’s social teaching should be applied,” he added.

A Liberal Jesuit as Head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Muller’s position  at the Congregation was taken by the 73-year-old Jesuit Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, who is known for liberal views on the faith.  In his April 2009 book entitled “Jesus Christ, Salvation of All”, Ladaria has suggested that hell is empty.   Ladaria claims, in the book that salvation in Christ is possible “for all humanity”, “The hope may arise that this salvation will indeed reach everyone.” He only confirms a mere theoretical “possibility of damnation”, but “hell is something neither wanted nor created by God”.

According to Ladaria it is “inconceivable” that salvation “is only for Christians and not for those who do not know Christ”. And: “Christians and non-Christians reach this goal by virtue of the gift of the Spirit that associates us with the unique paschal ministry of Christ even if it is through diverse paths known only to God.”

Ladaria is also accused of covering up and protecting pedophile priests who have sexually-abused minors.  The Italian publication La Republicca accused Ladaria of bearing a “direct responsibility” for the abuse of Italian children.

In March 2012 Ladaria signed a document defrocking Gianni Trotta, a former priest and member of the Sons of Divine Providence, who homosexually abused minors. The matter was never made public or denounced to Italian authorities. Trotta went on becoming a coach of a junior soccer team where he continued abusing minors. In July 2016 he was sent to prison for crimes against a 12-year-old. A second trial will soon take place.

Pope Francis says ‘God cannot be God without man’

Last June 7, 2017, at his Wednesday general audience, Pope Francis controversially declared before the crowds in St. Peter’s Square:  “God cannot be God without man.”

The Pope said:

Dear brothers and sisters, we are never alone. We can be far, hostile; we can even say we are ‘without God.’ But Jesus Christ’s Gospel reveals to us that God cannot be without us: He will never be a God ‘without man’; it is He who cannot be without us, and this is a great mystery! God cannot be God without man: this is a great mystery!

Many theologians have since spoken out, citing that the phrase by itself is dangerous and could be taken in an erroneous way.

John Paul Meenan, professor of theology at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, a Catholic college in Eastern Ontario, told LifeSiteNews (which broke the story) that the phrase “God cannot be God without man” is open to misinterpretation and is very problematic. Professor Meenan said it is not true that ‘God cannot be God without man’ in a universal sense.

Meenan was concerned about the statement because it could be taken to support a modernist heresy known as “process theology” which posits “God perfects himself by creation or grows with creation.”

Another credentialed Catholic lay theologian known to LifeSiteNews but wishing to remain anonymous explained:

Because of The Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, it is true that God remains eternally joined to mankind through the human nature of Jesus Christ, Second of the Three Divine Persons of The Most Blessed Trinity. Nonetheless, God has absolutely no actual need of mankind, our relationship with God being entirely dependent on that gratuitous superabundance of the infinite Divine Love of The Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Saint Irenaeus of Lyons (c.130-c.208), a bishop, martyr, and Father of the Church, wrote in his famous work Against the Heresies:

In the beginning it was not because he had need of man that God fashioned Adam but so as to have someone on whom to set his blessings. For, not only before Adam but even before creation, the Word glorified the Father while dwelling in him and was glorified by the Father.

Saint Irenaeus added:

When people stand in the light, it is not they who illumine the light and cause it to shine but who are illumined and made to shine by it. Far from contributing anything at all to it, they benefit from the light and are lit up by it. This is how it is in serving God: our service contributes nothing to God for God has no need of man’s service; but to those who serve and follow him God gives life, incorruptibility and eternal glory.

Since his assumption to the papacy, Pope Francis has caused much consternation and confusion amongst faithful Catholics, with controversial statements.  He previously said that most Catholic marriages are null, and that some co-habitations are a “real marriage”.

In another controversial statement, he has likewise questioned the existence of hell, suggesting that everyone goes to heaven.  In the controversial papal encyclical Amoris Laetitia (297), Pope Francis wrote: “No one can be condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!”

 

Pope Benedict XVI: “The Lord Wins in the End”

In a most unusual message to five newly-minted Cardinals, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had a few short, yet powerfully-relevant words: “The Lord wins in the end.”

The pope emeritus received the new cardinals along with Pope Francis, in the presence of media cameras, which are rare for the retired pontiff. Benedict XVI received each of the new cardinals and spoke to them in their own native tongue. After speaking with each of the cardinals, he left them with highly-relevant words, taken within the context of today’s crisis within the Church: “The Lord wins in the end. Thank you all.”

These six short words have rich meaning in today’s context, and we can glean from them these important points:

  1. First, it is an acknowledgement that the Church – and the Faith – is in the midst of a major, important struggle.  Although the Church has always been beset by crises and challenges, today’s crisis far outweighs many of the past crisis.  We see today bishops publicly sparring with fellow bishops, cardinals against cardinals.  We see the papal encyclical Amoris Laetitia splitting the Church. Some bishops conferences have interpreted Amoris Laetitia in a heretodox manner, opening up access to the Holy Eucharist to people living in sin (divorced and remarried), redefining the Catholic understanding of hell and eternal punishment (“No one can be condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the gospel”), and many other issues.  On the other side, we have loyal bishops conferences and cardinals who have remained true to the perpetual Magisterium of the Church.  Five cardinals have even publicly asked the Pope for clarification amid the doubts raised by Amoris. The Church is in the midst of a creeping schism that threatens to grow wider and wider.
  2. Second, Benedict XVI’s words give us the impression that the Lord doesn’t seem to be winning, at least at this point in time.  Highly-liberal, radical bishops and cardinals have rapidly taken over key positions in Church leaderships. Faithful cardinals who are loyal  to the traditional teaching of the Church have been slowly eased out. Many of the key leaders in the Pope Benedict XVI era have been pushed out of key roles, such as Cardinal Raymund Burke, and now reportedly even Cardinal Muller, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.
  3. The last point is that Benedict XVI gives us words of hope amid the dark clouds that we face in the Church. He is telling faithful clergy and lay faithful – do not worry, God is in control, He will always win in the end.

The times we live in are unprecedented.  As Cardinal Muller said, it is the first time in history that we have two legitimate popes living. 

Archbishop Ganswein, papal secretary to both Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, has called the situation of two popes a “wake up call”.  During an interview, Ganswein was referred to an old prophecy that has recently gained traction in some clerical discussions: The “Prophesy of the Popes.” Also known as the “Prophesy of Malachy,” the prediction is attributed to Saint Philipp Neri – according to which, Pope Francis may be considered to be the last pope. Ganswein said:

Indeed, when looking at the prophecy, and considering how there was always a sound reference to popes mentioned in its history – that gives me the shivers,” Archbishop Gänswein admitted. Although Catholics aren’t required to accept the prophecy, “speaking from historical experience, one has to say: Yes, it is a wake-up call.

We cannot help but recall here as well Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich’s prophecy of the two popes, wherein there would be a false pope in the end times who will lead the Church into error:

I saw also the relationship between the two popes. . . I saw how baleful (harmful) would be the consequences of this false church. I saw it increase in size; heretics of every kind came into the city (of Rome). The local clergy grew lukewarm, and I saw a great darkness…

The Lord wins in the end! May the words of Benedict XVI inspire us to carry on the fight to proclaim the Truth and the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

 

Is Pope Francis Promoting a A New Kind of Cross?

Is Pope Francis looking to promote a “new kind” of Cross – one that does NOT include Jesus Christ?  On numerous occasions, the Pope has used, received as a gift, and even kissed crosses whose design does not include Jesus, and which bear startling resemblance to occult symbolism. In this article, we review three of these important instances where the Pope was publicly seen with the “new” crosses.

A “Snake” Cross in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

BRAZIL-POPE-WYD-CARDINALS-BISHOPSDuring his visit to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for World Youth Day on July 27, 2013, Pope Francis was seen holding a most unusual cross during a meeting with cardinals and bishops.

The Pope was likewise seen kissing the unusual cross (with what seems like a serpent’s head) during the same meeting. The original photo can still be found in Getty Images.

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A Communist Cross in Bolivia

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On July 8, 2015, Pope Francis received – and subsequently kept – a “Communist crucifix” as a gift from Bolivian President Evo Morales (left).  The cross was presented by President Morales to Pope Francis upon his arrival in Bolivia during his South American tour.

According to reports, Morales told Francis that the “Communist crucifix” was modeled on a design created by the Rev. Luis Espinal, a politically active priest killed in Bolivia in 1980. The Pope stopped and prayed at the site of the shooting of Rev. Espinal.

One of Espinal’s friends and fellow Jesuits, the Rev. Xavier Albo, said Espinal’s intent was for the church to be in dialogue with Marxism, and said Espinal had altered his crucifix to incorporate the Communists’ most potent symbol: the hammer and sickle. Espinal was one of the foremost proponents of Liberation Theology – a Marxist-leaning theology movement born in South America that was condemned by both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II.

In an interview with the press on his way back to Rome after the trip, the Pope defended the “Communist cross” and praised Espinal:

Espinal was an enthusiast of this Marxist analysis of the reality, but also of theology using Marxism. From this, he came up with this work. Also the poetry of Espinal was of this kind of protest. But, it was his life, it was his thought. He was a special man, with so much human geniality, who fought in good faith, no? Making a hermeneutic like this, I understand this work. For me it wasn’t an offense, but I had to do this hermeneutic, and I say it to you so that there aren’t any wrong opinions.

Feast of Corpus Christi

IMG_0927.jpgOn June 18, 2017, during the Feast of Corpus Christi, Pope Francis held another different version of the Cross without the image of Jesus Christ.  Photo above shows the Pope holding the unusual Cross.

Many Catholic commentators, including priests such as Fr. Kevin Cusick, expressed serious concerns about the “new cross” that the Pope publicly carried. See below the Twitter reaction of Fr. Cusick.

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“A New Form of the Cross Will be Introduced”

Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI had never deviated from the traditional design of the Cross, which has as its center the person of Jesus Christ.  This historically unique situation – of a living Pope seemingly introducing unusual, different interpretations of the Cross – reminds us of a prophecy given to Maria Divine Mercy, an Irish seer who has received numerous messages and prophecies from the Holy Trinity since 2010.  Click on this article for a more comprehensive and critical analysis of Maria Divine Mercy –  The Book of Truth: A Critical Review.

One of those prophecies included a prediction that “a new form of the cross will be introduced”.

In a message given on April 30, 2013 to Maria Divine Mercy, Jesus warned about the upcoming “new form of the cross” that was to be introduced by the False Prophet:

The letter is being written now to beckon all those in the service of the Catholic Church. Soon, all of My sacred servants will be informed of the changes, which they will be told are for the good of the Church.

The new rules, which will see amendments made to prayers during the Holy Mass, will seem innocent. To many, they won’t notice the significance, but it will relate to the Holy Eucharist and My Presence within It. The word ‘commemorate’ will be used and all churches will soon be stripped bare of their treasures. The taking of treasures, including gold Tabernacles – which will be replaced by those made of wood and stone – will be one of the signs that they are being gathered for the New World Religion.

Churches will be changed within their walls and this will involve the desecration of altars. The Monstrance,  holding the Holy Eucharist, will begin to disappear and the days when My Holy Host is exposed will come to an end.

Cast scorn upon My Word now, and you will weep tears when these acts are brought before you. Soon, not long afterwards, the garments worn by My sacred servants, will be altered and a new form of the Cross will be introduced. The new atrocity will not be based on the simple cross. Instead it will feature, discreetly, the head of the beast.

I ask you to gather My holy Crosses now and keep them in your homes, along with Holy Water. I urge all of you to hold onto the Truth of what I have told you. Then I want you to trust in Me completely. Never believe that I Am leaving you at the mercy of the evil one. I will remain close to you at all times. I will pour special blessings on the heads of My beloved, loyal sacred servants to keep them entwined with My Sacred Heart.

Vatican doctrine chief: Amoris Laetitia cannot be interpreted in a way that refutes previous teachings of popes

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, said that Amoris Laetitia cannot be interpreted in a way that contradicts magisterial teachings of previous popes and councils.

In his December 1, 2016 interview with the domradio.de, the radio station of the Diocese of Cologne, Germany, the Vatican’s doctrine chief said:

The binding declarations of the popes, of the Councils of Trent and of the Second Vatican Council and of the Congregation for the Faith on the essential characteristics of marriage and on the precondition for a fruitful reception of the Sacraments in the state of justifying [i.e., sanctifying] grace may not be pushed aside by anyone under the pretext that marriage is, after all, merely an ideal which only can be reached by a very small number of people.

Regarding Communion for “remarried” divorced Catholics, Muller cites a 1994 letter by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, which denied the possibility for bishops to permit Communion for the couples in question. The letter  by Cardinal Ratzinger was a response to a 1993 Pastoral Letter of three progressive German bishops (one of them being the then-Bishop Walter Kasper) who were then already pushing for Communion for the “divorced and remarried.”

The indissolubility of marriage must be “the unshaken foundation of teaching and of every pastoral accompaniment,” Müller emphasizes.

Cardinal Müller likewise said:

The Holy Father, at the same time, wishes to help all people whose marriages and families are in a crisis to find a path in accordance with the ever-merciful will of God. We can always assume that the just and merciful God always wants our salvation in whatever need we find ourselves. But it does not stand in the power of the Magisterium to correct God’s Revelation or to make the imitation of Christ comfortable.

As a follow-up question, the interviewer asked Muller: “Would the bishops’ conferences thus then be asked to help? Francis himself, after all, writes in Amoris Laetitia that not all questions need to be clarified in Rome….”

When answering this pertinent question, the German Cardinal first explains that bishops’ conferences “are merely working groups with certain competences” and, thus, are not of “Divine Law.” He continues:

Only in fidelity to the teaching of the Apostles, to the whole of the revealed Faith, can the bishops of a conference speak, for example, about the pastoral application of Amoris Laetitia. Otherwise, the Church would disintegrate into national churches and, in the end, would atomize. The Sacrament of Marriage, however, is in Korea just as valid as it is in Germany.

When asked whether the individual bishop may make his own independent decision as a response to Amoris Laetitia, Muller responded that  “Nor can the individual bishops do whatever they want according to their own private taste. They are servants, not masters of the Faith.”

Muller emphasized that marriage is not an “ideal” to which we aspire to, but rather a Sacrament founded by God Himself:

Marriage is in truth not a wishful image produced by ourselves, but, rather, a Sacrament, that is to say a reality founded by God Himself. It is an expression of the Mercy of the Creator and of the Redeemer. God does not put excessive demands upon us so that he then can show His Mercy toward us in the face of our own failure. With the help of Grace, we are able to fulfill the Commandments – among them the Sixth Commandment – and thus find peace of heart in a life in accordance with God’s will. ∎

by Paul Michaels, Veritas

Vatican reportedly working on “Ecumenical Rite of Mass” for joint worship with Protestants

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Pope Francis meets with Rev. Jens-Martin Kruse at Rome’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Nov. 15 2016

Italian journalist and Vatican expert Marco Tosatti has reported that Pope Francis has formed a top-secret commission tasked with implementing a new kind of “mass” that is acceptable to Catholics, Lutherans and Anglicans.

The commission consists of representatives from all three denominations, all bound to secrecy.

The journalist, who is well known in Italy for his accurate reporting of all things happening in the Vatican, has said that while this news is merely a “rumor” at this point, his “sources are usually good.”

According to his sources, the commission is finding little difficulty in finding common ground in the “liturgy of the word”.  Tosatti reports: “After the confession of sins, asking for forgiveness, and reciting the Gloria, there would be the readings and the Gospel.”

He also said that the commission is allegedly studying the problem of the Creed. Protestant churches prefer to pray the Apostles’ Creed, although they do recognize the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church alternates between them. So not even this point should be a major problem.

The presentation of the gifts likewise does not present a major  obstacle to the project.

According to Tosatti, the central issue lies in the Eucharist, since the  Catholic understanding of the Eucharist is profoundly different from that of the Lutherans or of other Protestant denominations. Catholics believe in Transubstantiation and the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, while Protestants believe that it is merely a memorial.

But how can a common liturgy be celebrated that clearly differs in the wording right at the most important point of the event?

Tosatti reports that a possible “solution” being proposed is that the words of Consecration be replaced by silence.  It would mean that after the Sanctus, at the moment in which normally during the Mass the priest would say the words: “Father, you are holy indeed…” the different celebrants would keep silent, everyone mentally repeating “his own” formula.

The silence is broken in the congregation with the recitation of the Our Father. It is still not clear how the lines for Communion would be formed.

In light of this well-founded rumor, we should take heed of the remarks of Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, a close collaborator of Pope Francis and currently the President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. The Vatican cardinal has suggested that we stop thinking of sacraments so rigidly as only either valid or invalid. For the sake of ecumenism, he opined that we should start looking into sacraments perhaps having “imperfect” or “partial” validity. Below are his exact words, as published in his exclusive interview with Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register:

We say, everything is valid; nothing is valid. Maybe we have to reflect on this concept of validity or invalidity. The Second Vatican Council said there is a true communion [between Catholics and Protestants] even if it is not yet definitive or full. You see, they made a concept not so decisive, either all or nothing. There’s a communion that is already good, but some elements are missing. But, if you say some things are missing and that therefore there is nothing, you err. There are pieces missing, but there is already a communion, but it is not full communion. The same thing can be said, or something similar, of the validity or invalidity of ordination. I said let’s think about it. It’s a hypothesis. Maybe there is something, or maybe there’s nothing — a study, a reflection. ∎

by John Supplers, Veritas Vincit