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“BISHOPS – VICARS AND AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST” ( Anonymous Brisbane Document Title)
Once again at Sunday Masses at St.Stephen’s Cathedral Brisbane, the congregation was treated to an audio show ( except at 10.00 am when the recorded voice refused to speak!) and on leaving, another superbly designed and printed and totally anonymous text was distributed to those leaving the Cathedral.
This third and final flyer resolves the principal intended message of the three part series: a distorted version of the meaning and significance of the College of Bishops. and of “collegiality” that “spirit of the Council” invention.

The central and most prominent image on this flyer is the cover of the Second Vatican Council’s document “Lumen Gentium”. The development of this document within the Council was a constant struggle between a well-organised group of “Modernists” intellectual heirs of the same folk condemned by Pope Saint Pius X, and struggled against by all of the Popes down to the Venerable Pope Pius XII. In a breath- taking decision to call a Council – a proposal declined by Pope Pius XI and after three years study, declined by the Venerable Pope Pius XII – Pope John XXIII, without consultation announced the Second Vatican Council.

 The Modernist spirits recognized their do or die opportunity. And Lumen Gentium became the pivotal point of their efforts. They were subtle in some ways, and, as in many other Council documents proposed formulas of words which were ambiguous and lent themselves to comforting the orthodox, whilst facilitating later more convenient “interpretations” satisfactory to the Modernists ‘wishes. Pope Paul VI was keenly petitioned by the orthodox Cardinals, but inclined to a liberal approach, comforted by a conservative reading of the text. Within days of the definitive vote on the text, one of the leading liberals mislaid a document boasting of how the text would be twisted to Modernist use. It fell into the hands of one of the orthodox Cardinals who rushed it to the Holy Father. Pope Paul VI was crushed by this revelation of cynical duplicity. He made a direct intervention in the Council proceedings and required the insertion of a Prefatory Notice at the beginning of the document correcting all the possible ambiguous interpretations. The document was then swiftly passed by the Council as amended.

But here, in Brisbane, nearly five decades later, here is what the anonymous “authority” served up to the Catholic faithful:
“This document renewed our *understanding of the whole Church, and in particular the vision of the local churches and the role of Bishops.
Lumen Gentium described every bishop as a “Vicar of Christ”. They are not simply representatives or delegates of the Pope, but through their sacramental ordination as “bishops, they become part of the universal College of Bishops and are united with the Head of that College, the Pope, who is bishop of Rome.”

Curiously enough a computer search of “Lumen Gentium” returns “Nil” results for “Vicars of Christ” and the only references to “Vicar of Christ” Is  to Saint Peter and other Roman Pontiffs in general. The Bishops are, at No. 27 referred to as “vicars and ambassadors of Christ “and that is it.

The Prefatory Note of Pope Paul VI, which procured the easy approval of Lumen Gentium by the Council made it plain from the beginning, that the word “College” had to be understood in terms of Revelation and not as an objective juridical term. It emphasised that the document in its terms clearly showed that the word “College” did not imply equality between the members and the Head  the Supreme Pontiff. It makes clear that membership of the College, according to the document, comes by virtue of episcopal consecration AND by hierarchical communion with the Head and other members. And, it emphasises that this “communion” was applied to the Church’s life according to the circumstances of the time, before it was codified as law.
This “communion””is not understood as some kind of vague disposition, but as an organic reality…requires a juridical form and is animated by charity.”For this reason the document uses the term “hierarchical communion”. The documents of recent Pontiffs relating to Bishops must be interpreted in terms of this necessary determination of powers
The document makes it clear that the College does not exist without its Head. and is “subject of supreme and full power in the universal Church”, thus the fullness of power belonging to the Roman Pontiff   is not called into question. The College always and of necessity includes its Head “because in the College he preserves unhindered his function as Christ’s Vicar and as Pastor of the Universal Church.”

“Since the Supreme Pontiff is head of the College, he alone is able to perform certain actions which are not at all within the competence of the bishops, e.g. convoking the College and directing it, approving norms for action etc. “
“..The Supreme Pontiff can always exercise his power at will, as his very office demands. Though it is always in existence, the College is not as a result permanently engaged in strictly collegial activity; the Church’s Tradition makes this clear…….it acts as a College in the strict sense only from time to time and only with the consent of its head.” And again “the norms approved by the supreme authority must always be observed.”
Finally, “without the action of the head, the bishops are not able to act as a College”.

Can you reconcile the “anonymous flyer” with what the Fathers of the Council -1,500 of the world’s Bishops – decided? No? Neither can I!
No wonder it’s ANONYMOUS.

The Archbishop of Brisbane Retires in 9 weeks.
*The herneneutic of rupture being advanced.


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