Sunday, July 14, 2013

Should the Byzantine Liturgical Calendar Be Updated?

"From time immemorial the ecclesiastical hierarchy has exercised this right in matters liturgical. It has organized and regulated divine worship, enriching it constantly with new splendor and beauty, to the glory of God and the spiritual profit of Christians. What is more, it has not been slow - keeping the substance of the Mass and sacraments carefully intact - to modify what it deemed not altogether fitting, and to add what appeared more likely to increase the honor paid to Jesus Christ and the august Trinity, and to instruct and stimulate the Christian people to greater advantage.

The sacred liturgy does, in fact, include divine as well as human elements. The former, instituted as they have been by God, cannot be changed in any way by men. But the human components admit of various modifications, as the needs of the age, circumstance and the good of souls may require, and as the ecclesiastical hierarchy, under guidance of the Holy Spirit, may have authorized....All these developments attest the abiding life of the immaculate Spouse of Jesus Christ through these many centuries. They are the sacred language she uses, as the ages run their course, to profess to her divine Spouse her own faith along with that of the nations committed to her charge, and her own unfailing love."

--Ven. Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei §§49-50

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Beyond Salvation, or, Why to Evangelize the Baptized

"It follows that the separated Churches and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church."
--Vatican II, Unitatis Redintegratio §3

As the extra ecclesiam nulla salus doctrine is currently understood, we do not despair of the salvation of the non-Catholic baptized.  We acknowledge that the Spirit works through those aspects of the Faith they share in common with the Church.  The Church has the fullness of the faith: this cannot be denied.  When other Christians break away from the Church, they deny different aspects of this fullness; however, they hold on to some parts of the Faith, some vestiges of the Church, and these are enough to bring salvation.  (I refrain from discussing those who do not baptize, who baptize invalidly, or who have too deficient an understanding of the Faith.)  Those aspects of the true Faith that those outside the Church still hold did not originate in them but in the Church: the Church is still the one channel of salvation's waters, as willed by Christ, though some have divided the stream and only drink from certain rivulets.  Though they do not receive the fullness of the Faith, what water of truth that they receive (which always has its source in the Lord and its first riverbed in the Church) is, in general, enough to grant salvation.