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 Contents - Nov 2010AD2000 November 2010 - Buy a copy now
Homily: Feast of All Saints: Benedict XVI's homily - Pope Benedict XVI
Canonisation: St Mary of the Cross MacKillop: let the truth be told - Peter Westmore
News: The Church Around the World
Homosexuality: Courage and EnCourage Chicago Conference: holiness the key - Marie Mason
Gendercide: how abortion targets baby girls - Peter Kavanagh
Liturgy: Catholic funerals: Bishop Elliott explains Melbourne's guidelines - Bishop Peter J. Eliott
Vocations: Priestly and religious vocations upsurge in the US - Tim Drake
Saints: Blessed John Henry Newman: why he is worthy of canonisation - Frank Mobbs
Ukrainian Catholics: Ukraine's University of the Catacombs - Andrew Kania
Letters: Catholic funerals - George Simpson
Letters: Benedict XVI in the UK - Arnold Jago
Letters: Future Church - Tom King
Letters: Vatican II: infallibility - John Young
Letters: Infallibility criteria - James Bogle
Letters: Definitive or not? - Fr Brian Harrison OS, STD
Letters: Declarations - Frank Mobbs
Letters: Abortion - Moya and Leo Morrissey
Letters: Elephants in the room - Frank Bellet
Books: Damien of Molokai: the Leper Saint, by Robert Louis Stevenson - Michael E. Daniel (reviewer)
Books: HIS NAME IS MERCY, by Fr Ken Barker MGL - Archbishop Denis Hart (reviewer)
Books: BLESSED JOHN  HENRY NEWMAN: A Richly Illustrated Portrait, by K.D. and D. Fso - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
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Reflection: The woman in another place [Luke 4:38-39; Acts 12:12-17) - Babette Francis

According to John Young "the Second Vatican Council taught infallibly that people have a right, within due limits, to the private and public practice of their religion, even when their beliefs are erroneous."

Let us attend to the text of the Declaration on Religious Freedom ( Dignitatis Humanae). It reads: "This Vatican Synod declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom." Is this a definition of doctrine? If it is, it is infallible teaching.

But why think it a definition? The only evidence is the word "declares" (Latin declarat). So are we to understand that whenever the Council "declares" something it is defining a doctrine? We shall see that the Council documents use "declares" and "declaration" a number of times without signifying that they are defining a doctrine.

For example, there are declarations on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions and on Christian Education. Are they infallible because they contain "declaration" in their titles? Attached to the Constitution on the Liturgy is a Declaration on Revision of the Calendar. Is this trifling matter being taught Infallibly? The Constitution (art. 4) also "declares" all [liturgical] rites to be of equal dignity.

If Mr Young is right, Vatican II was defining doctrines all over the place. It is a pity no one else has ever noticed them.

Two more historical points. The Fathers of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), who adopted Pope Innocent III's proposal to persecute severely heretics and Jews, would not have recognised Vatican II's teaching as that of the Catholic Church, as I have already pointed out (August AD2000). If Vatican II were infallible, so was Lateran IV.

St Thomas More must have been notably deficient in his understanding of Church teaching when he sentenced heretics to death by burning. What a shame he might have to be removed from the list of saints for denying the infallible teaching of Vatican II, as expounded by Mr Young.

Gosford NSW 2250

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 23 No 10 (November 2010), p. 14

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