Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Church we are in


Writing in 1935, in the interval between the First Vatican Council and the Second, Dom Anscar Vonier wrote in the Foreword to his book The Spirit and the Bride:
I have noticed with a feeling of pain how several recent books by Catholic writers of fame make a distinction that is a surrender to Protestant feeling between an ideal Church and the real Church. Being themselves very orthodox Catholics the writers in question abound, of course, in their encomiums of the beauty of the Church conceived ideally. But after that they seem to gloat on the Church's human infirmities, piling it on and letting the Protestant have it his own way with his century-old fault-finding. Different, indeed, was the mentality of the Vatican Council [ie the First] which considered the Church in her actuality to be a testimonium irrefragibile, a "witness that cannot be gainsaid", of her divine mission: The Church, through herself, on account of her admirable extension (propagationem), her exceeding sanctity (eximiam sanctitatem), her inexhaustible stability, is a great and everlasting motive of credibility and a witness to her divine mission that cannot be gainsaid (Vatican I, sess, III, cap. 3,7).
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