I am writing to correct two substantial inaccuracies in the excerpt from Mary Ball Martinez’ book, The Undermining of the Catholic Church, published under the heading: Aliens Invade the Church, that was included in your October newsletter, p.14. First, the Fathers at Vatican I could not have rejected a description of the Church as “the mystical Body of Christ,” since Vatican I’s Dogmatic Constitution DE ECCLESIA CHRISTI contains the following as Chapter 1: “Ecclesiam esse corpus Christi mysticum” (that is, “the Church is the mystical Body of Christ”). It also contains the following as Chapter 3: “Ecclesiam esse societatem veram, perfectam, spiritualem et supernaturalem (that is, “the Church is a true, perfect and supernatural spiritual society”).
In other words, the Fathers were careful to include and elaborate upon both classical descriptions of the Church in this Constitution.
Second, the implication that a description of the Church as “the mystical Body of Christ” is a doctrinal error, and one which is responsible for the Vatican II revolution, is false. The Bull Unam Sanctam of Boniface VIII declared: “There is only one Catholic Church, and that one apostolic … Thus the spouse proclaims in the Canticle, ‘One is my dove: my perfect one is but one. She is the only one of her mother, the chosen one of her that bore her.’ Now this chosen one represents the one Mystical Body whose Head is Christ, and Christ’s head is God.” Furthermore, as Father John Hardon points out, St. Thomas himself “clarified the difference between the natural body of Christ and His Mystical Body of which we are the members. As a result the terminology entered the stream of theological thought, to reach its highest point of development in the Mystici Corporis Christi of Pope Pius XII.”
In addition to those inaccuracies, to imply as Martinez does, using apparently unsubstantiated quotes from Cardinal Dulles and Father Rotondi, that Mystici Corporis was the beginning and foundation of the Vatican II revolution, is to be ignorant of Church history. One only need study, for example, the various documents of Pope St. Pius X, especially Pascendi Dominici Gregis, to know that the Modernist revolution was already well underway during his pontificate. In fact, one could go even further back, to Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors of 1864, to realize that the struggle to overturn the Church has a long history, extending much further into the past than 1943. John Lopez, Ohio, USA.
They say we learn from our mistakes. That’s why I’m making as many as possible. I’ll soon be a genius!
In all honesty, it was a bit depressing to receive John’s letter, which will be published, in full, in our December edition. I always sing when I get downhearted like this. Then I realise that my voice is worse than my problem…
Share your thoughts – if you must…