dimanche 23 octobre 2011

Is gaudium et spes an orthodox text?

Gaudium et spes, luctus et angor hominum huius temporis, pauperum praesertim et quorumvis afflictorum, gaudium sunt et spes, luctus et angor etiam Christi discipulorum, nihilque vere humanum invenitur, quod in corde eorum non resonet.

Joy and hope, mourning and anguish ...

The Church does know all of these.

... of the men of this time ...

This is what sounded so fishy to me. Joy in producing bread is a universal, anguish in dying is a universal. But must the Church absolutely share a joy in producing bread for masses less and less involved in its production and therefore less and less able to buy it? Or an anguish about dying from cancer that puts a slender hope into research on cancer, making doctors more and more rich, powerful - and in the process reckless? Should the Church not be able to stay aloof?

... especially of the poor and every kind of afflicted ...

Now, this sounds like a corrective. Not a corrective encouraging class war - indeed some of the richer have been both afflicted and impoverished by class war and some of the poor have been its victims too. Indeed, most of its victims have been poor.

... are the joy and hope, mourning and anguish also of Christ's disciples ...


... are joy and hope, mourning and anguish also of Christ's disciples ...

A very different view depending on which translation you take. Latin has no definite article, we do not absolutely for each sentence know whether to supply it or not. But the latter translation is not quite unorthodox, and it seems to be required by the following words:

... and there is nothing truly human, which does not resound in their heart.

Here it seems, the Church, like its divine master, Our Lord Jesus Christ, is not limited to the feelings of men, but is stranger to nothing human except to sin. Therefore, no "the" in previous sentence.


Ideo Concilium Vaticanum Secundum, mysterio Ecclesiae penitius investigato, iam non ad solos Ecclesiae filios omnesque Christi nomen invocantes, sed ad universos homines incunctanter sermonem convertit, omnibus exponere cupiens quomodo Ecclesiae praesentiam ac navitatem in mundo hodierno concipiat.

No hesitation about the English translation.

Therefore the Second Vatican Council, having more utmostly investigated the mystery of the Church ...

This can give a very bad countersense, as if it were the investigation of the mystery of the Church that argued the following. Not so, this only means that the previous discussion was about Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, and now the turn comes to:

... now adresses itself not only to the sons of the Church and all who invoke the name of Christ ...

Understand: as it did when writing Lumen Gentium! It is horrible to misunderstand this as referring to previous times in the history of the Church. It is only by contrast with previous document that Gaudium et Spes widens the scope.

... but without delay to all men, yearning to expose how it may conceive the presence and "navitatem" (?misprint for "activitatem"?) of the Church in the world of today.

Obviously the precision "in the world of today" may have caused some stumbling. It is in order, no doubt, to answer with punctilious courtesy the curiosity in a precise question from people wanting an admission like the Church having no more tasks in the world of today, and the answer given in the following can be resumed as "why, we see the world of today first of all as the world created fallen and redeemed, then as having these and those specific problems, but the Church as such has the same things to say as always from redemption on to consummation of times."

Mundum igitur hominum prae oculis habet seu universam familiam humanam cum universitate rerum inter quas vivit; mundum, theatrum historiae generis humani, eiusque industria, cladibus ac victoriis signatum; mundum, quem christifideles credunt ex amore Creatoris conditum et conservatum, sub peccati quidem servitute positum, sed a Christo crucifixo et resurgente, fracta potestate Maligni, liberatum, ut secundum propositum Dei transformetur et ad consummationem perveniat.

Therefore [the Council, in this particular discussion] has before its eyes the world or the universal family of mankind with the totality of things among which it lives ...

Not as if this were any kind of worthier object than God or the special and spatious family of the saints, but because writing first Lumen Gentium before Gaudium et Spes already does answer the principle "Messire le bon Dieu premier servi" (English speakers, take note, it was St Joan of Arc who said this!).

...the world as theatre of mankind's history, signed by its industriousness, its battles and its victories...

Obviously not the same world as the world for which Christ did not pray. But the world which he came to redeem. The Council was very careful to exclude a misunderstanding as if "the world" meant, as it sometimes does, worldly men, or men who do not care for their salvation or about their Creator, the world which remains to Satan as his principality after the Church is taken out of it.

...the world which faithful Christians believe to be created and conserved by the love of its Maker ...

Thus all of universe, including highest heavens! No, just earth, actually:

...which was placed under the thralldom of sin, but by Christ crucified and risen, once the power of the Evil one broken, is freed to be transformed and brought to its fulfilling according to the rede of God.

More precisely - it is not said but was understood by any orthodox bishop there present-: since Christ died on Calvary and rose from the Grave, all earth as commonly regarded, as a whole, is freed from the power of Satan, but on each square inch the freeing of the earth does depend on exorcisms of the Church. English and US Catholics, also Scanians especially near either of the two Bostons or Scanian Lund, may think here of how Iccanoe was uninhabitable until Saint Botulf (brother of a Saint Adulf, both monks) by prayer and fasting chased away the evil spirits that still clang to that corner of our globe. And French in Aquitaine do well to consider that before St Front the evil one still had such power in the temple of Ceres as to summon, on evil incantations of a Ceres priest, La Couleuvre. Irish, forget not how the evil druids had such might on your ground that St Patrick with his disciples once needed to be hid from their sight in the shape of deers, when he prayed the prayer known as his breastplate or as the Deer's Cry.

Yes, 31 of October was an evil date, when the devil roamed wide, until the Irish Church made the next day a feast of All Saints, to go to which implied not having feasted on Samhain! Do not give it back to him!

But I believe this exposition is enough to counter the widespread belief that Vatican II by this document turned the eyes of the Church, formerly set on heaven, down unto the world and to the world at its worldliest. Because this belief is based on the said misreadings of this document.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
25 of October Year of
Our Lord 2011

Quotes from Gaudium et Spes taken from here:

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