AD2000 - a journal of religious opinionAD Books
Ask a Question
View Cart
Search AD2000: author: full text:  
AD2000 - a journal of religious opinion
Find a Book:

AD2000 Home
Article Index
About AD2000
Contact Us
Email Updates


Add Me
Remove Me

Subscriber Access:

Enter the Internet Access Key from your mailing label here for full access!


Timeless truths?

Bookmark and Share

 Contents - Aug 2008AD2000 August 2008 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Humanae Vitae still a sign of contradiction - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
News: The Church Around the World
Priesthood: St Louis: another US vocations success story - AD2000 Report
Benedict XVI reaffirms Humanae Vitae on its 40th anniversary - Pope Benedict XVI
Holy Land: Middle East Christians face a precarious future - Robin Harris
Census shows a strong Church in Singapore - AD2000 Report
Foundations of Faith: How much history do the Scriptures contain? - Frank Mobbs
The tragic dilemmas of China's one-child policy - Babette Francis
Interview: Denise Mountenay on post-abortive women: from silence to lawsuits - Luke McCormack
Education: Progress continues with the new Wagga Wagga independent schools - Barbara Chigwidden
Letters: Climate change - Peter Finlayson
Letters: Infallible? - John Young
Letters: Timeless truths? - John Frey
Letters: Tradition - Anthony Bono
Letters: Lebanon - Richard Stokes
Letters: Body and soul - Elsie Cunningham
Letters: Human rights - Maureen Federico
DVD Review: APOCALYPSE? NO! Why global warming is not a crisis, by Christopher Monckton - Peter Finlayson (reviewer)
Books: MYSTERY OF CREATION by Paul Haffner - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: QUESTION TIME by Fr John Flader - Fr Anthony Robbie (reviewer)
Books: Books available from AD2000 Books
Reflection: World Youth Day: bringing a message of hope to the secular culture - Fr Dennis Byrnes

On our way homeward to God, Mother Church nourishes us by her sacraments and guides us by her teachings which provide doctrinal content for Christian living. There are doctrines that are timeless, but some teachings' relevance seems to vanish in course of time.

As an example, Pius XII identified the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church in his encyclicals Mystici Corporis Christi (1943) and Humani Generis (1950) reflecting the traditional teaching of the Church:

* 'If we would define and describe this true Church of Christ - which is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church - we shall find nothing more noble, more sublime or more divine than the expression 'The Mystical Body of Christ'' (Mystici Corporis Christi, 13).

* 'Some say they are not bound by the doctrine explained in our encyclical letter a few years ago, and based on the Sources of Revelation, which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing' (Humani Generis, 27).

Now time, a little over 10 years, brought a change. Pius XII stated that the Church of Christ is the Roman Catholic Church. This ontological definition meant that both have a common boundary.

Lumen Gentium introduced the subsistence formula, an essential element for ecumenical dialogue. Accordingly the Church of Christ now 'subsists' in the Catholic Church, i.e., has her concrete form of existing in the Catholic Church.

Identity of the latter has now shifted from its ontological basis and is now dependent on the affirmation that Christ's Church is 'concretely present' in the Catholic Church, as the latter embodies historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ.

Although fully present only in the Catholic Church, nevertheless at the same time, beyond the boundary of the Catholic Church, Christ's Church is also present and operative in churches and ecclesial communities lacking full communion with the Catholic Church. Thus, as Fr Aidan Nichols observes, Christ's Church is not exhaustively coterminous with the Catholic body.

The above leads to the question of what truth-value an encyclical has which claims to be based on sources of Revelation? Is its teaching timeless or is it subject to an ever-changing time in which we all change, and with us our ideas and 'truths'?

Keiraville, NSW

Bookmark and Share

Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 21 No 7 (August 2008), p. 15

Page design and automation by
Umbria Associates Pty Ltd © 2001-2004