American Reader on Mystical Body – Deliberate Mistake In October Newsletter


Dear Editor,  

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.

Comment:

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…  

27 responses

  1. I must share my thoughts, LOL!

    I am really quite relieved about that mistake. I’ve always liked the image of the Church as Mystical Body of Christ, so I was quite taken aback at that chapter from the Mary Martinez book.

    I am also grateful for the correction.

  2. Editor

    Happily, it’s not often you make mistakes of this kind. The secret is in correcting them as soon as possible, which you have done. I don’t think there’s a single one of us in this time of utter confusion who hasn’t made some kind of erroneous statement and then had to practice the virtue of humility through a public correction/retraction.

    You’ve done the correct and Catholic thing, so now we move on. You have my permission to strike Mary Ball Martinez off the Christmas card list. There’s something about her name that rings a bell with me, and not for the right reasons.

    • Athanasius,

      I’d be curious to know what that ringing bell is, since I had never heard of this woman before the October newsletter arrived, and the excerpt from her book struck me as a bit strange.

  3. Editor,

    Let the carpers and harpies say what they will, you did the right and Catholic thing, as Athanasius said. As for your singing, we might be in the same boat. Our choir director told me the other day that I should sing tenor. Tenor eleven miles away….

  4. N O T I C E . . .

    I’ve just had new of the death of Tommy Price, the Northern Ireland Representative of the Fatima Center. He passed away at 2.30pm this afternoon, so please pray for the repose of his soul. May he rest in peace.

  5. “Then I realise that my voice is worse than my problem… “ LOL!

    I’m glad you made that mistake! I didn’t want to believe it about Mystical Body or Pius XII.

    I know he allowed the dialogue Masses and introduced the vigil Masses, probably too trusting of modernists around him, but apart from that, I think he was a great pope.

    Good to put the mistake right – I agree with the others on that.

  6. I agree, it was right to correct that mistake.

    I took a look at her book, though, on the link, and it does seem to have a lot of interesting stuff in there. It’s always a shame when one mistake spoils a work.

      • Worry not, folks, I won’t be using that book again. It was given to me some years ago by a kind reader in England (who obviously meant well) and has remained unread on my bookshelf ever since, until that fateful day… (sob!)

        I must find a tactful means of “recycling” it, although I’m not known for my devotion to saving the earth (even though it’s the only planet with chocolate!) Because, the old saying applies: “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”…

        Thank you all for your sympathetic response to my gaffe – which, although I say it myself, is nothing like as bad as this guy’s mistake…

        • Imho, that’s ontologically and theologically incorrect. This is Genesis 2:

          [23] And Adam said: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.

          In Genesis 3:

          [2] And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat: [3] But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die.

          When God created Eve, she had the same gifts as Adam – immortality, integrity, freedom from concupiscence, and infused knowledge. (I know I’m forgetting one, and I just KNOW you’ll find it!) Anyway, sbe had infused knowledge, therefore she knew how to talk.

          Oh well. You’re allowed two mistakes a year. 😉

          • Margaret,

            The cartoon is just a joke. I wasn’t making any theological or ontological point! Didn’t even THINK of Adam & Eve! Just a bit of fun, that’s all.

      • I agree, except that ‘mistake’ is putting it far too mildly. We cannot have it both ways. If we exclude that the author was in some way malevolent, and I have no reason to suppose that she was, then one can only conclude that she was incompetent to a surprising degree.

        I remember my own shock on discovering that on a certain question of Church history, and one hardly secondary to the Church of our times, I had allowed myself to be led astray by the writings of the late Michael Davies. (Some of you may recall a post of mine on this subject on an earlier thread.) This was because Davies’s writings had brought me much solace in my younger years when I felt I was being cut to pieces by the cruel winds of crisis. What happened in this instance was that I bought into something uncritically just because it was said by an author whom I liked and admired, and who generally sounded right. But sounding right is not the same thing as being right. Thank God that in my case my mistake was confined to using Davies’s affirmations in apologetical arguments with friends and colleagues.

        Theology as it has been practised in the Catholic Church for most of her history is both a serious and complex business. Leaving aside the issue of academic credentials debated recently on another thread, unless one has toiled honestly and extensively in this vineyard, not least as far as the history of the subject is concerned, it is better to leave well alone. A little knowledge is indeed a dangerous thing.

        As I, for a time, took solace in the writings of Michael Davis, there are people out there who will, often uncritically, take solace in the Newsletter. If for no other reason than it will sound right to their ears. That is why we who blog here — all of us — have a duty not only to stick to the facts, but to make sure that the facts are such. To do otherwise is to risk not only our personal credibility, but worsening the current crisis.

        • Prognosticum,

          You are right to highlight my incompetence in this matter. I take full responsibility for that, be assured. I have learned quite a lot from this, not least that I must not assume something is “kosher” by virtue of the impressive credentials of the person who sends me the material in the first place. Not seeking to blame that person, but merely underlining what you rightly assert, that we must always, without exception, make sure that everything we publish is factual. Ironically, there was another report omitted from the October edition precisely because I could not ascertain the truth of the matter beyond doubt. We do, indeed, take pride in our reputation to be wholly reliable, something which has been noted even by our natural enemies. I will ensure that this incompetence of mine is featured prominently in the December edition, along with an assurance that it will not be repeated.

          As for Michael Davies’ writings which you raised on another thread – I’m pretty sure that his writings which you considered suspicious, were vindicated to your satisfaction, at that time.

      • A Catholic co-worker of mine (now deceased) told me that bad books were to be burned. They were not to be given away or thrown out.

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