Hello! Welcome to the fourth section of a debriefing on the Second Council of Vatican.
There are documents available on the Vatican website for all of this. That’s where I found the first-hand resources.
I thought I would read and write about Dignitatis humanae because of all the chaos surrounding the HHS mandate for insurance covering abortion and “birth control.”
There are pieces in this document, the Declaration on religious freedom, that are so relevant to today, it’s scary.
First, the council professes its belief that God Himself has made known to mankind the way in which men are to serve Him, and thus be saved in Christ and come to blessedness. We believe that this one true religion subsists in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus committed the duty of spread it abroad among all men.”
The way it starts, you’re kind of thinking… OK, so we’re all for religious freedom for fellow Catholics? That’s not even close to the case. Read more.
This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom … that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly.”
Yeah, that’s what I was waiting for, too.
The right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself.”
I wanted to keep this quote around… this dignity is known by reason itself. It’s one of those things that we just know, deep in our hearts, that it’s true.
In all his activity a man is bound to flow his conscience in order that he may come to God, the end and purpose of life. It follows that he is not to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his conscience. Nor, on the other hand, is he to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience, especially in matters religious.”
The social nature of man, however, itself requires that he should give external expression to his internal acts of religion.”
So, even if the majority of a place, a country, is against a religion, it is our duty to practice our religion in the public sphere.
Don’t be afraid. Don’t hide it. Share it, show it.
This document also states the Church believes religious groups have the right to establish educational, cultural, charitable and social organizations regarding religion.
The bishops went so far as to say, “Government is also to help create conditions favorable to the fostering of religious life.”
Wow, right? It doesn’t seem the the U.S. government is super stressed about fostering religious life. At all.
The declaration of this Vatican Council on the right of man to religious freedom has its foundation in the dignity of the person.”
Which is what the Church bases on its teaching on… the dignity of the person. That’s why women and men are still different, why parents have certain things they need to do, why contraception is wrong. It all relates to the dignity of the person.
Pope Paul VI wrote that no one can be forced into the Christian faith. It must be an act of free will for it to be true… which is also why we have to have a conversion of our hearts when we choose Catholicism again when we’re adults. It can’t just be something we continue to do.
My favorite part is toward the end:
The Church claims freedom for herself in her character as a spiritual authority, established by Christ the Lord, upon which there rests, by divine mandate, the duty of going out into the whole world and preaching the Gospel to every creature.”
I think I take religious freedom for granted, I know I did before the HHS Mandate about contraceptives.
The best way to describe it is to use the example of making Orthodox Jews, or those who keep the dietary laws, to buy pork. You wouldn’t dream of making them do that because they’re following their religious teaching. Yet Catholics are being forced to buy contraceptive coverage. I hope that makes sense.
Find out more about Vatican II here:
Missed the first part of this series? Find St. Peter here.
Or find all the Pope series here.
Make haste, and come to me before winter. Eubulus and Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren send thee their greeting. 22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you, Amen.” 2 Tim. 4:21
St. Linus… was not a saint when he reigned.
Welcome to the first section of a five-part series on the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).
There are documents available on the Vatican website for all of this. That’s where I found the first-hand resources.
I wanted to start with Dei Verbum because it was one of the shorter documents, and it’s one of those prennial, always relevant topics, especially if you have vocal protestant friends.
Dei Verbum, Latin for ‘Word of God,’ explains how the Catholic Church uses both Holy Scripture and tradition to practice the one true faith.
If I had to break down this document into one key point, here it is:
It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God’s most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.”
But there is SO much more in this document.
Really, this is the one document that could probably fight all Protestant arguments.
All responses to the good-looking Protestant friend’s questions are pulled directly from Dei Verbum.
Imagine you’re talking nicely with your protestant friend:
He said, “Each person should discern the word of God himself. I read it and find my own interpretation of the Bible.
Tell your friend, “For all of what has been said about the way of interpreting Scripture is subject finally to the judgment of the Church, which carries out the divine commission and ministry of guarding and interpreting the word of God.”
Your friend may say, “Jesus didn’t say that.”
(You can answer here snidely that Jesus didn’t say not to watch porn either…)
Or you can say, if you’re a grown up, “The task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the church … This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it … guarding it scrupulously…”
Try to explain here, that the Church guards the scripture and tradition. The Church keeps it all safe because we stay against the gates of hell. We will not fall. The Catholic Church will continue, and thus, Christ’s teaching will with us.
Your nice, yet misguided, Protestant friend will say, “Of course Catholics would say Catholics are the only ones who can interpret the Bible. The Church didn’t even let you read it for yourself for a long time.”
Just respond calmly, “Easy access to Sacred Scripture should be provided for all the Christian faithful. That is why the Church from the very beginning accepted as her own that very ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament which is called the septuagint.” (which, remind me to write a learn something post on the septuagint.)
Again Protestant friend will say, “Catholics added books to the Bible.”
Refer your friend to the septuagint, the vulgate, the Council of Trent and the first copies of the Bible. Were protestants around when the Bible was first pulled together? Let me check… uh, no, they weren’t yet.
Remember to keep this conversation friendly, calm and polite. Protestants are still Christians. They just probably don’t know the kind of vast wealth the Catholic Church holds in her teaching and tradition. In fact, most Catholics don’t know about all of it, myself included.
I hope Protestants reading this are not offended. It’s not my intention. I just want to be clear on how to answer this often brought up arguments against being Catholic.
Getting back to tradition, your Protestant friend may throw around some “sola scriptura.”
Just answer, “But in order to keep the Gospel forever whole and alive within the church, the Apostles left bishops as their successors, ‘handing over’ to them ‘the authority to teach in their own place.’ This sacred tradition, therefore, and Sacred Scripture of both the Old and News Testaments are like a mirror in which the pilgrim Church on earth looks at God, from whom she has received everything, until she is brought finally to see Him as He is, face to face.”
“What does that mean?” your good-looking Protestant friend will ask.
“Therefore the Apostles, handing on what they themselves had received, warn the faithful to hold fast to the traditions which they have learned either by word of mouth or by letter and to fight in defense of the faith handed on once and for all,” respond to him. You may want to leave the “therefore” out of that quote, unless you’re a college professor.
This may spiral out of control about whether Christ really established a “one, holy, catholic and apostolic” Church on earth.
Try to stay away from that conversation unless you have wine.
Instead, stay on track about tradition and Scripture.
Tell your friend, “Consequently, it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence.”
And that… “The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures just as she venerates the body of the Lord, since, especially in the sacred liturgy, she unceasingly receives and offers to the faithful the bread of life from the table both of God’s word and Christ’s body. She has always maintained them, and continues to do so, together with sacred tradition, as the supreme rule of faith, since, as inspired by God and committed once and for all to writing, they impart the word of God himself without change, and make the voice of the Holy Spirit resound in the words of the prophets and Apostles.”
In the end, you will probably only win over a Protestant with love and a lot of prayer.
That’s the only way you’ll win anyone over. Don’t just talk like a Catholic, be a Catholic. Live out what you speak and you’ll change hearts.
It’s not about preaching to someone when you aren’t living what you say.
Finally, part of Dei Verbum is that “We now await no further new public revelation.”
It’s all done. Everything is there, in the Bible and in tradition and the teaching of the Church.
Here’s my favorite part:
“God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certainty from created reality by the light of human reasons (see Rom. :20); but teaches that it is through His revelation that those religious truths which are by their nature accessible to human reason can be known by al men with ease, with solid certitude and with no trace of error, even in this present state of the human race.”
Do you ever look out your window or stop in your tracks on a hike or look out the window of an airplane or scan the Grand Canyon or a waterfall and just know that God was there?
I get it a lot. I mean, the world is beautiful. And it’s God-made!
Just look at the colors present in the sky at sunrise or sunset. God did that.
Or the leaves in the fall or the tulips in the spring or the layers of an onion or the pattern of your cat’s hair. God did that.
God planned that.
GOD CAN BE KNOWN WITH CERTAINTY FROM CREATED REALITY.
We can know him, just by being on earth. It doesn’t take the Bible, it doesn’t take the liturgy, it doesn’t take a proselytizer. It just takes God’s creation to know him.
Then, we have the Bible and the liturgy and our friends to get to know him better. Oh, thank you God.
There is more in Dei Verbum about the Gospels and the relationship between the two testaments of the Bible.
It’s en easy to read document, you should check it out.
God bless, always.
Vatican II Series:
Introductory Post on Church Councils
I’m really excited to begin a new “learn something” series on Vatican II.
Today’s post will break down how and when the church meets and what church leaders do at the meetings.
It’s also a little bit of history of the meetings.
In the future, I’ll break down other councils, but Vatican II is a hot topic now and important to cover.
The Catholic Church has held 21 ecumenical councils since the beginning.
To decide things.
The first council, held in AD 325, was held after a discord in the church regarding the heresy of Arius.
This council decided the 20 Canons that we have now and the Nicene Creed.
Since then the church leaders have meet at random intervals whenever needed.
For a great list of the councils and what was decided, check out New Advent’s list.
(That’s a great resource for everything.)
The Council of Trent is probably the most familiar, besides Vatican II.
Opened in 1545, the Council defined several issues that Protestant groups were debating.
A direct result of this council was the creation of the roman Catechism, issued in 1566 under Pope Pius V.
Trent wasn’t followed by another council for 300 years, until Pope John XXI called for Vatican II.
It’s important to note that these councils aren’t changing Catholic doctrine.
It can’t change.
Instead, these councils cement what we already know to be true and ensure that we are all following our traditions.
It’s like corporate memory.
Nothing new comes from these meetings. Revisions yes. That’s why Vatican II is often misunderstood.
I think it’s important to read the documents and study what our church leaders are trying to teach us.
Come back every Wednesday in October for a post about Vatican II.
I can’t wait to dive into the documents!
I could easily write a 5 ways post on how I think women and girls shouldn’t dress.
That’s so easy. And it’s been done.
This post is not about that.
We can always call others out.
Here’s how I try dress modestly.
Believe me, it doesn’t always work.
1. I wear scarves.
There are so many cute yet low cut shirts. Ugh.
It drives me crazy. If I find a shirt that I really love but it’s low cut, I buy it with intentions of wearing it with a scarf. I typically wear a tank top underneath, too.
2. I wear clothes that fit well but aren’t tight.
Bootcut khakis? You bet.
Shirts are a big issue for me because I have a larger chest than the average chest size for my size.
So, blouses often have that “gap.” You know what I’m talking about. Those buttons that are stretching because of your endowment.
Instead, I make simple t-shirts (like the kind you find at Target at 2 for $15 not band t-shirts) more dressy with sweaters and pretty scarves or jewelry.
3. I wear skirts that I am comfortable in.
A short skirt just isn’t comfortable to move in. I don’t like the thought that at any moment something might be… showing.
You can’t cross your legs, you can’t go upstairs in front of someone else.
I like to look good but still be comfortable.
I work in an office with mostly guys. But it’s not just the guys. It’s that I don’t want to distract myself from work to pull at my skirt.
4. I wear pants that cover… my backside.
I can’t imagine wearing low cut pants. Just try to sit down and having to pull your shirt down to cover… anything showing.
No thanks. I’ll pass that experience.
Plus, I get really cold if that part of my body is exposed.
Along with this… I wear underwear that’s appropriate for what I’m wearing. A pencil skirt might need boy shorts while a looser skirt made with more fabric, it might not matter what kind you wear.
Just because I’m modest doesn’t mean I wear white cotton undies all the time… there are plenty of options in this area that are cute and comfortable.
Wear what makes you comfortable.
5. I wear minimal jewelry and neutral tone make up.
Jewelry is great, but it can be distracting. When I’m talking, I want someone to hear what I’m saying, not look at all my beaded jewelry.
And the make up, I just like to look natural. It goes with everything, it’s a simple process to put it all on.
I like to keep in simple.
In the end, just know that it’s not about hiding anything. It’s about protecting yourself.
And it’s about being comfortable in your skin and where you work and live.
I’m modest even when I’m home alone. It’s just more comfortable to sit on the couch and not have a skirt ride up or pants ride down.
I hope that gives you some ideas.
If you haven’t already, head over to the Feminine Genius to read about the year in skirts. So brilliant.