New Sherwood

Dr. John Norris on the TLM

Professor Norris is the character on the left

Those of you who think of the University of Dallas as orthodox might want to read this enlightening column by Dr. John Morris, Associate Professor of Theology at that institution, published at Texas Catholic Online. Some excerpts with my comments:

“Pastorally, my concern is that the liturgical and ecclesial goals of the Second Vatican Council still be emphasized in the use of the older rite … Having the liturgy celebrated in a language that is not understood by the congregation, as if it were some type of divine unintelligible revelation, seems to me contrary to the very nature of the liturgy and should not be encouraged. In certain circumstances, when one is traveling to foreign regions, individuals may certainly participate in the celebration of the Mass even when they do not understand the language.

However, to create a community nowadays that celebrates the liturgy in a language that they do not understand would be out of sync with the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Therefore, it would seem prudent to allow a reoccurring celebration of the Tridentine rite liturgy only alongside of clear educational programs in ecclesial and liturgical Latin.

I’ve never been the sharpest knife in the drawer, but unless I’m misreading him, he seems to be saying that anyone who attends the TLM should be required to take Latin classes. Or am I missing something?

“Finally, one important reaction to the new regulations has been the concern of the Jewish community and those involved with Jewish-Christian ecumenism that the old rite contains statements about the Jews which are insulting if not outrageously anti-Semitic …

For example, in the prayers of the faithful, one reads: ‘For the conversion of the Jews. Let us pray also for the Jews that the Lord our God may take the veil from their hearts and that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us pray: Almighty and everlasting God, You do not refuse Your mercy even to the Jews; hear the prayers which we offer for the blindness of that people so that they may acknowledge the light of Your truth, which is Christ, and be delivered from their darkness.’

Our current Novus Ordo liturgy emphasizes in the light of the Second Vatican Council the everlasting covenant God has with his people Israel, who are considered by the church to belong to the people of God to this day. We no longer consider them a people blind and in darkness. ‘Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant. Almighty and eternal God, long ago you gave your promise to Abraham and his posterity. Listen to your Church as we pray that the people you first made your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.’ (I am indebted to Father Thomas Reese for these quotations.)

There is no call for their conversion to the church in order to receive God’s salvation, but for them to grow in fidelity to the covenant with they God they already share. Here we see one of the definite disadvantages of the Tridentine rite, that it reflects certain theological trends that are no longer sponsored by the magisterium, but which have been rightly consigned to the dust-bin of the church’s less-than-inspired history.

Again, prudential use of the Tridentine rite should only be encouraged within a catechesis which is fully in accord with the current magisterial teaching of the church and not sponsored by an incomplete and outdated ecclesiology.”

Well, draw your own conclusions. If God only asks that the Jews “grow in fidelity to the covenant with God they already share”, then Christ’s sacrifice was for naught and the Apostles were wasting their time. Too bad they didn’t have our enlightened understanding back then: it would have saved them a lot of trouble. Shame on the University of Dallas and Texas Catholic Online.

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July 19, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

32 Comments »

  1. WOW- thanks for the heads up. Looks like Dallas may be heading the way of Notre Dame- living on past history and reputation, while hiding a not-so-pleasanr under belly!! (There have been other indications/incidents other than this, unfortunately)

    As an aside- I have enjoyed your blogs throughout their varied manifestations. Always thought you were one of the more “soft-spoken” ones- gentle, thoughtful- yet firm. Keep up the good work!!

    Comment by J Wilson | July 19, 2007 | Reply

  2. Just someone who graduated from UD with my $.02.

    I actually took a class from John Norris and he generally keeps that stuff out of the classroom. In any case, the Theology department has a wide range of excellent professors–Mark Lowery, Chris Malloy, Fr. Roch, etc. In all honesty, you could get through 4 years and not even know he existed.

    In any case, John Norris has basically said that he doesn’t feel all that at home at UD because it is quite orthodox and has taken a couple leaves over the past several years to teach at the Jesuit high school in Dallas.

    Jeff, please check with others before you over-generalize like this. It really does harm the church.

    Comment by scriblerus | July 19, 2007 | Reply

  3. Jeff-2 thoughts. 1. You can’t judge the whole by one prof. and 2. That being said, I heard some rumblings of problems at UD a few years ago. Never really followed up, so I don’t know how it all turned out and why.

    Comment by Jim Curley | July 19, 2007 | Reply

  4. +JMJ+

    I second J Wilson’s compliment, Jeff! I’d qualify it, however . . .

    When you were still writing El Camino Real, I visited only when bloggers I regularly read linked to you. For some reason I can’t really remember right now, you kind of rubbed me the wrong way. :P Then Hallowed Ground came along, and you seemed different. I was really surprised when I learned that you and “that El Camino guy” were the same person. Even though I only visited once in a while, I was sorry to find out you had retired it. Now that you’re writing the Stony Creek Digest, I stop by nearly every day (even when you are on those mysterious Blogfasts)! The only blog I enjoy more than yours is Tea at Trianon. :)

    Comment by Marissa | July 19, 2007 | Reply

  5. Scriblerus- “Jeff, please check with others before you over-generalize like this. It really does harm the church”.

    Actually as indicated in the first post- it is NOT just this post that I based the (qualified) statement on- but other, verifiable information easily available on the internet/print(good sources).

    Articles like the above are hurting the Church, not an expressed concern that UD MAY be heading the way of ND. ND also has some good professors and some great students- but that is not the GENERAL tone of ND. I would hate to see UD go the same way- we will all see in the near future which path they have taken.

    Comment by J Wilson | July 19, 2007 | Reply

  6. J Wilson: I really don’t know much at all about UD other than its reputation for orthodoxy. Certainly this Norris fellow calls UD’s commitment to orthodoxy into question. And thanks for the kind words, but you probably know by now that my edges are much rougher in real life. Writing a blog has polishing effect in my case …

    Jim: I realize that you can’t judge the whole institution by one Professor. If he were only teaching, I don’t know, mechanical engineering at UD it wouldn’t mean much. But he’s a professor of theology. I’m sure you agree that Catholic parents and prospective students need to be aware of the problem.

    Marissa: LOL. You always make me laugh. I’m sorry I rubbed you the wrong way back then. I still rub some people the wrong way. It’s hard for a sanguine-melancholic not to be liked. Anyway, I’m glad you’re reading now!

    Scriblerus: Who’s overgeneralizing? The fact that UD has this fellow in the theology department is scandalous. It should be broadcast far and wide. If enough people complain perhaps the administration will give him walking papers. I’m glad to hear that Dr. Norris keeps his heretical opinions out of the classroom, but he doesn’t keep them out of THE OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER OF THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF DALLAS where his status as a UD theology prof gives him credibility. Look, I’m sure that UD has much to recommend it, and I’m sure you received a fine education there. But I think you underestimate the ability of one bad apple to spoil the whole barrel.

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | July 19, 2007 | Reply

  7. “Jeff, please check with others before you over-generalize like this. It really does harm the church.”

    As J Wilson said, it is articles like this – written by Catholic theology profs and published in official diocesan publications – that harm the Church. The problem will not be corrected by sweeping it under the rug.

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | July 20, 2007 | Reply

  8. Jeff,

    Let me just add my name to the list of people who’ve enjoyed your various blogs.

    In any case, I just want to reiterate that whatever John Norris’ inanities, bad or heretical faculty aren’t the source of difficulties at UD. The problem has long been that the board is full of Dallas oilmen who don’t really understand Catholic education and would like to add dozens of pre-professional programs. The faculty tend to hire more folk like themselves and the alums support them.

    Here is Norris’ own take on the orthodoxy of the University of Dallas (from the student newspaper). He said this as he was taking a leave of absence from UD. Basically, he didn’t feel welcome at an orthodox Catholic school like UD. Sounds like the good apples are driving the bad apples out.

    “I honor the Jesuit approach to education and theological formation. UD in the late 1980s began to emphasize that we were a ‘real’ Catholic university, and to define ourselves…as a school where we are distinguished primarily by our fidelity to the magisterium…That is not my understanding of my own intellectual heritage as a UD alum, nor do I think it should be the defining mark of our great institution…this emphasis upon magisterial fidelity [has] a strong, stultifying influence upon the intellectual and spiritual life of the university,” he said.”

    http://media.www.udallasnews.com/media/storage/paper743/news/2005/05/04/News/Five-Professors.To.Leave.University-947170.shtml

    Comment by scriblerus | July 20, 2007 | Reply

  9. On the “disservice to the Church” comment, I just want to explain that I don’t think it does institutions trying to maintain their Catholic identity any good for people to panic and say “the sky is falling” when that ignores the rather complicated reality on the ground. It doesn’t help the many fine and good faculty members, alums and students who have to encounter John Norris and the board on a daily basis if we are going to be given up for dead by people who know little about the school. Might as well start construction on that new building for the business college.

    Comment by scriblerus | July 20, 2007 | Reply

  10. Scriblerus, I’m glad you posted the clarifying information. The article you linked to is dated 2005. Apparently Dr. Norris left and then returned?

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | July 20, 2007 | Reply

  11. Looks like he did come back, but I think this shows that John Norris isn’t all that representative of academics at UD and feels rather marginalized, as he should be at any Catholic university.

    You are right that it doesn’t reflect well on the diocese of Dallas when they have this rubbish appearing in their diocesan newspaper. The diocese has been in trouble for some time and if they didn’t have John Norris writing for them, they’d dig somebody else up to write for them.

    Comment by scriblerus | July 20, 2007 | Reply

  12. Sanguine-Melancholic!? Jeff I think you better take that temperment test again. I have never thought of you as sanguine. Melancholic, yes, but never sanguine. Remember, you are supposed to take the test as if you were 15. Otherwise your tempermant will come out with a lot of qualities you have learned, or aquired, and not your actual tempermant.

    Comment by Therese | July 20, 2007 | Reply

  13. I’m puzzled by those (like Norris) who consider the Tridentine prayer for the Jews anti-semitic. I should think they would take their being singled out as a special sign of affection and concern that Catholics have for the recipients of the original covenant, and for the people from whom Our Lord took his own flesh. Contra Norris, the Novus Ordo, with its reference to “the fullness of redemption”, makes the same request, just in a watered-down fashion.

    Comment by William Luse | July 20, 2007 | Reply

  14. I was notified of this commentary by our alumni office. I assume that the complaint against orthodoxy here is that I am implying that Christ is not necessary for the salvation of the Jews. If that is the understanding that is being taken from my writing, it is certainly not what I hold. The point I wish to make is that the Second Vatican Council made clear that sacramental membership in the Roman Church is not necessary for salvation. Therefore, Jews do not need to convert to the Roman Catholic Church to be saved. The form of the prayer of the 1962 liturgy might readily be interpreted in this fashion. The Church’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, makes this point clear in chapter 16. “Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God.(18*) In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh.(125) On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues.(126); But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohamedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things,(127) and as Saviour wills that all men be saved.(128) Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.(19*) Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.(20*) She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.(129) Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”,(130) the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.”

    In the Vatican II’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, Nostra Aetate, no. 4, we read, “As Holy Scripture testifies, Jerusalem did not recognize the time of her visitation,(9) nor did the Jews in large number, accept the Gospel; indeed not a few opposed its spreading.(10) Nevertheless, God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their Fathers; He does not repent of the gifts He makes or of the calls He issues-such is the witness of the Apostle.(11) In company with the Prophets and the same Apostle, the Church awaits that day, known to God alone, on which all peoples will address the Lord in a single voice and “serve him shoulder to shoulder” (Soph. 3:9).(12)

    Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is thus so great, this sacred synod wants to foster and recommend that mutual understanding and respect which is the fruit, above all, of biblical and theological studies as well as of fraternal dialogues.

    True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ;(13) still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures. All should see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in the preaching of the word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ.

    Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel’s spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.

    Besides, as the Church has always held and holds now, Christ underwent His passion and death freely, because of the sins of men and out of infinite love, in order that all may reach salvation. It is, therefore, the burden of the Church’s preaching to proclaim the cross of Christ as the sign of God’s all-embracing love and as the fountain from which every grace flows.”

    Since the Council there has been a concerted attempt on the part of Jews and Christians to reach mutual understanding and respect. One major aspect of this understanding is the necessity for Christians to recognize the anti-Semitic elements in their own history and practice, including the liturgy. For example, in John Paul II’s “Notes on the correct way to present the Jews and Judaism in preaching and catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church”, I, no. 8, he wrote: “The urgency and importance of precise, objective and rigorously accurate teaching on Judaism for our faithful follows too from the danger of anti-Semitism which is always ready to reappear under different guises. The question is not merely to uproot from among the faithful the remains of anti-Semitism still to be found here and there, but much rather to arouse in them, through educational work, an exact knowledge of the wholly unique “bond”. (Nostra Aetate, 4) which joins us as a Church to the Jews and to Judaism. In this way, they would learn to appreciate and love the latter, who have been chosen by God to prepare the coming of Christ and have preserved everything that was progressively revealed and given in the course of that preparation, notwithstanding their difficulty in recognising in Him their Messiah.”

    It is in this light that the prayers of the Tridentine rite were reformed and changed in the Novus Ordo, and it is in this light that the Church must still teach her children, even when celebrating in the older rite.

    One can find a whole range of materials on Jewish Catholic relations at the Vatican website, Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews, http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/sub-index/index_relations-jews.htm

    It is important to remember that in this dialogue, the Church still maintains that salvation comes from Christ and Christ alone, and it is encountered in his Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, which subsists in the Roman Catholic Church. See for example, the previous notes, I, no. 7, which makes this point clear: “7. “In virtue of her divine mission, the Church” which is to be “the all-embracing means of salvation” in which alone “the fulness of the means of salvation can be obtained” (Unit. Red. 3); “must of her nature proclaim Jesus Christ to the world” (cf. Guidelines and Suggestions, I). Indeed we believe that is is through him that we go to the Father (cf. Jn. 14:6) “and this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent” (Jn 17:33).

    Jesus affirms (ibid. 10:16) that “there shall be one flock and one shepherd”. Church and Judaism cannot then be seen as two parallel ways of salvation and the Church must witness to Christ as the Redeemer for all, “while maintaining the strictest respect for religious liberty in line with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council (Declaration Dignitatis Humanae)” (Guidelines and Suggestions, I).”

    In the post-conciliar period, the Church does face a complicated theological conundrum, how to explain how Christ and the Church are absolutely necessary for salvation, and yet how God’s loving grace in Christ saves those outside the sacramental institution of the Church. Much ink has been spilt in the ensuing years trying to understand this mystery of God’s love.

    The claim in the comments that what I wrote was a heretical opinion seems to be an exaggeration based upon a misunderstanding of what I was saying. It did not dawn upon me that saying that Jews did not need to convert to be saved would lead people to hold then that I was saying that Christ and the Church are not necessary for salvation.

    It would seem, however, as members of the same body, that a private inquiry to my easily accessible e-mail address at the University would have been a first step rather than a public forum which then castigates me as a heretic and asks for my dismissal.

    Yours in Christ,
    John Norris, jnorris@udallas.edu

    Comment by John Norris | July 21, 2007 | Reply

  15. UD professor states: “I was notified of this commentary by our alumni office” and further “a public forum which then castigates me as a heretic”?

    Yet he says: “that Jews did not need to convert to be saved” And maintians that position throughout the posting!

    Yes, there are nuances to the Orthodox Catholic position- but MOST Saints indicate that any EXTRAORIDINARY means of salvation are RARE! I am sure people with more time on their hands could address point-by-point the inanity of the above “Apologia”

    Sorry Scriblerus, if the UD Administration directed the professor to this site to rebut the origianl posting- this lame defense indicates that UD MAY be institutionally gone the way of Notre Dame. (Please note the MAY). And I do NOT say this with anything but sorrow!! I hear they have a great Latin Program that my High Schooler is/was interested in!

    Comment by J Wilson | July 21, 2007 | Reply

  16. This DIRECT quote from UD professor says it all: “Jews do not need to convert to the Roman Catholic Church to be saved.” Tell that to Peter and Paul!

    Yes there may be RARE instances of invincible ignorance, but would any person really want to rely on such an “out”, given the eternal consequences?

    It appears that such “squishy” theology would convert NO one, (as indeed it has not converted many of the Post-VII Era- I am talking NET conversions). As a convert from “Paganism”, I am glad people prayed for conversions!! I sure as Heck did not face the wrath of close family members to convert to the Professor’s “brand” of Catholicism!

    I am a borderline “traditionalist”- I occasionally attended TLM- and enjoy it- and keep in regular contact with FSSP Priests- but normally attend the “Ordinary” form of the Latin right. But if this professor is all that is left of the best of the “orthodox” Catholic Colleges, per his posts and his defenders- the TLM may be the only long term hope!

    Mr. Culbreath- I originally posted just to thank you for your work. I usually do NOT post comments. Please keep up the great work!

    Comment by J Wilson | July 21, 2007 | Reply

  17. “lame defense”?

    Um, J. Wilson, these are documents of the Catholic Church that John Norris is quoting from.

    Moreover, it seems like in your world John Norris is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. He’s a heretic and UD is going to the dogs and, even if he comes here to maintain his orthodoxy, he’s still condemned. Shouldn’t it be a good sign when a university cares about when the orthodoxy of its faculty members is questioned? Having spent a good amount of time in the ivory tower, I know how easy it is for lots of academics to brush off the comments of “amateurs” on blogs. It is an encouraging sign that John Norris took the time to respond at length

    Comment by scriblerus | July 21, 2007 | Reply

  18. Yes, they are documents of the Church that he quoted- It is the context and the texture in which he uses them that should cause concern, even from us “amateurs”. As the tired cliché state: “even the Devil can quote Scripture.”

    If one would re-read the original article and the defense posted- it is clear what the overall tenor of the proposition forwarded by the Professor: The Pre-Vatican II Church was using “incomplete and outdated ecclesiology” and Her theology was so flawed that it “ha[s] been rightly consigned to the dust-bin of the church’s less-than-inspired history. Oh really? May St. Thomas pray for us.

    And it is ironic that a “wise sage” from an Ivory tower posted above that the article was “rubbish”- Scriblerus.

    As to the issue of UD itself- please re-read carefully the caveats in my postings above. I said UD MAY be going the way of ND. It would seem prudent to question the direction UD may be headed given the content of the article posted here, and the fact the administration itself notified the professor of the article. Further there has been other information available lately about UD. If you are as concerned about UD and its Orthodoxy as those you have been engaging here- then realize we are NOT the problem- we also want UD to be a “Good School”- and maybe it is. But it is Professors like this you should be engaging vociferously, not those who think the article is “rubish”.

    As stated above- it is with Sorrow that this article and its defense was read.

    Comment by J Wilson | July 22, 2007 | Reply

  19. Therese: Not sanguine at all? Really? Have you never heard me sing Guy Clark’s “Homegrown Tomatoes” after having a few drinks? I’ll have to remedy that situation! Anyway, you’re right, LeXuan reminded me that I’m an M-S, not an S-M. She also made me take the test again. I’m still a melancholic, but with fairly strong S and C numbers. Thanks for dropping in!

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | July 22, 2007 | Reply

  20. Professor Norris, thank you for taking the time to respond. I’m glad that you believe Christ is necessary for the salvation of the Jews. It is unfortunate that you don’t think Jews ought to believe the same, or that the Church earnestly desires their conversion. You wrote:

    “The point I wish to make is that the Second Vatican Council made clear that sacramental membership in the Roman Church is not necessary for salvation. Therefore, Jews do not need to convert to the Roman Catholic Church to be saved.”

    The intellectual gymnastics required NOT to interpret the above as heresy is more than I’m capable of exercising. Perhaps you can nuance this a bit and explain, for example, how your opinions are not akin to to those condemned by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors:

    15. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true. — Allocution “Maxima quidem,” June 9, 1862; Damnatio “Multiplices inter,” June 10, 1851.

    16. Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation. — Encyclical “Qui pluribus,” Nov. 9, 1846.

    17. Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ. — Encyclical “Quanto conficiamur,” Aug. 10, 1863, etc.

    Here’s the Catechism of St. Pius X on salvation outside the Church:

    27 Q: Can one be saved outside the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church?

    A: No, no one can be saved outside the Catholic, Apostolic Roman Church, just as no one could be saved from the flood outside the Ark of Noah, which was a figure of the Church.

    28 Q: How, then, were the Patriarchs of old, the Prophets, and the other just men of the Old Testament, saved?

    A: The just of the Old Testament were saved in virtue of the faith they had in Christ to come, by means of which they spiritually belonged to the Church.

    29 Q: But if a man through no fault of his own is outside the Church, can he be saved?

    A: If he is outside the Church through no fault of his, that is, if he is in good faith, and if he has received Baptism, or at least has the implicit desire of Baptism; and if, moreover, he sincerely seeks the truth and does God’s will as best he can such a man is indeed separated from the body of the Church, but is united to the soul of the Church and consequently is on the way of salvation.

    And the Council of Trent:

    If any one saith, that baptism is free, that is, not necessary unto salvation; let him be anathema. Seventh Session CANON V

    Or, if you prefer, the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude …”

    Even in this much less restrictive formulation, clearly the sacrament of baptism is, at absolute minimum, necessary for those Jews who have some knowledge of the Gospel, and who have had the possibility of asking for baptism. As Judaism is the only modern religion founded on an explicit rejection of Christ the Messiah, I think it is fair to assume that a significant number of Jews will qualify.

    Rightly interpreted, nothing you have quoted in Lumen Gentium or Nostra Aetate contradicts the teachings of the Catholic Church through the centuries. You might be interested in learning what the Association of Hebrew Catholics has to say about the topic:

    The theological assertion that Jews live in a separate saving covenant may be swiftly demolished. Jesus, during His entire public ministry, evangelized only Jews.

    “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Mt 10:5)

    “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Mt 15:24)

    At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit’s miracle highlighting the universality of the Catholic Church was an evangelization of Jews.

    “Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.” (Acts 2:5)

    “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them É be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus of Nazareth É there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:8f)

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1226, states:

    “The apostles and their collaborators offer Baptism to anyone who believed in Jesus: Jews, the God-fearing, pagans.”

    Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (Jn 3:5) He was speaking to Nicodemus, a devout Jew and member of the Sanhedrin. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1257, says,

    “The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are ‘reborn of water and the Spirit.’”

    It adds, at 1260,

    “Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.”

    Vatican II’s Ad Gentes, the Decree of the Missionary Activity of the Church, begins,

    “Divinely sent to the nations of the world to be unto them a universal sacrament of salvation, the Church, driven by the inner necessity of her own catholicity, and obeying the mandate of her Founder (cf. Mark 16:16), strives ever to proclaim the Gospel to all men.”

    All men.

    Pope Paul VI’s apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, December 8, 1975, 14, says:

    “We wish to confirm once more that the task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church É Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity.”

    The Church exists to evangelize. St. Paul told us, Preaching the Gospel is not a reason for me to boast; it is a necessity laid on me: woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16)

    Dr. Norris, you seem not only to promote the heresy of indifferentism with respect to the Jews, but also the “theology of rupture” so frequently condemned by our Holy Father. Such opinions have no place in the pages of diocesan newspapers or the classrooms of Catholic universities. God speed and thanks again for responding.

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | July 22, 2007 | Reply

  21. A question for you, Dr. Norris: To what extent, if any, are your opinions on this subject shared by other faculty members at UD? Thanks in advance.

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | July 22, 2007 | Reply

  22. Two points:
    1. Despite what our own private practice may be, as Christians we are not called to do the bare minimum, but to fulfill God’s will perfectly. And this is true for all people, even though they may be somewhat ignorant of God’s will. And so if God’s will is that all be united to Him through Christ in His Church, then we should not shy away from telling others this, which is the Good News.

    2. Our current Novus Ordo liturgy emphasizes in the light of the Second Vatican Council the everlasting covenant God has with his people Israel, who are considered by the church to belong to the people of God to this day. We no longer consider them a people blind and in darkness. ‘Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant. Almighty and eternal God, long ago you gave your promise to Abraham and his posterity. Listen to your Church as we pray that the people you first made your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.’ (I am indebted to Father Thomas Reese for these quotations.)

    It seems to me that the problem with this misinterpretation of the prayer is that it identifies the covenant with the Mosaic covenant (the Old Covenant, which has been replaced by the New), instead of the Abrahamic covenant (which is fulfilled in Christ). I’m not up to the nuances, and others have written on this point, but if the Jews are saved in light of the Abrahamic covenant, it is in virtue of a participation in the grace of Christ. Not because they are fulfilling the letter of Mosaic law, apart from grace. Etc.

    Comment by T. Chan | July 23, 2007 | Reply

  23. So this is where Jeff ended up! I had no idea. Welcome back, if it’s not too late.

    Ok, first off, let’s clear one thing up. I live in Dallas. A couple of weeks ago, I was in a local Catholic bookstore. The owner was having a discussion with a customer. It was rather loud. He was trying to find a book to refute something he’d read in the Texas Catholic. When he mentioned that it was from the Texas Catholic, a rather lighter air entered the room. “Well, if it came from the Texas Catholic, that explains a lot.” “We all know what the Texas Catholic is good for,” said one woman passing by. Without missing a beat, I said, “it’s very good fuel for starting a fire in the fire place.”

    The Texas Catholic, print and electronic, is almost completely worthless. THere are a few orthodox things that end up there, but generally it’s trash. I wrote an editorial once, several years ago. It was rejected simply because it went against the editors personal opinions.

    You also can’t assume that it’s really a newspaper/newsletter that reflects the feelings of the bishop. The paper itself has been left utterly without management from the bishop for perhaps a decade. One rather unorthodox deacon runs the show there, and he happens to be the spokesman as well. He once wrote an editorial in favor of free condoms for young people. It was enough, I understand, to initiate a canon law suit against Bishop Grahmannn that was never field. The canon lawyers didn’t think that it could be settled before the Bishops manditory retirement.

    No offence, but you guys don’t understand what this article really represents. It’s no reflection on UD at all. It’s not even really a reflection of the views of one professor there. In reality, it’s a very stark reflection of just how screwed-up the diocese of Dallas is.

    And to a certain extent, it reflects how the orthodox people in this area feel about the Texas Catholic. “If they printed it in the Texas Catholic, burn it and don’t look back.” Nobody that’s really orthodox in this area actually reads it.

    More’s the pity that our new bishop hasn’t done anything about it.

    Comment by Mark Windsor | July 24, 2007 | Reply

  24. Another UD grad here….
    For every “orthodox” Catholic university, there is at least one not-so orthodox professor. And I mean every one. I’ve had friends who went to Steubenville who heard some kooky stuff. My sister went to Ave Maria, and she heard some kooky stuff. So while “Ex Corde Ecclesiae” is our goal, there are still professors at universities that are holdovers from previous regimes- Gonzaga is one that I’ve heard a lot about- that won’t be in compliance. And if they have tenure…
    Bottom line: will the student meet other Catholic students? Will these other good Catholic students help each other and challenge professors and administrators and campus-ministry types who are heterodox? Then good, that is a great start.
    In the meantime, lots of people have been dumping on UD- to its financial detriment- and overlooking similar problems at other campuses. The power of suggestion and the power of rumor is greater than we think.

    Comment by Benedicamus | July 26, 2007 | Reply

  25. Good to see you again, Mark. I appreciate your comments and insights about the Diocese of Dallas, but you lost me here:

    “No offence, but you guys don’t understand what this article really represents. It’s no reflection on UD at all. It’s not even really a reflection of the views of one professor there.”

    I’m not sure I’m understanding you. For a Catholic university to hire a theology professor with Dr. Norris’ views is highly problematic, to say the least. Of course it reflects badly on UD. It reflects badly on the administration’s commitment to Catholic truth. It gives a respectable voice to error and heresy, if not in the classroom itself, then within the general milieu of Catholic academia. That’s a bad thing, a scandalous thing. Maybe orthodox professors are hard to come by – I can appreciate the challenge here – but the Faith is not something that can be legitimately compromised.

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | July 26, 2007 | Reply

  26. “Bottom line: will the student meet other Catholic students? Will these other good Catholic students help each other and challenge professors and administrators and campus-ministry types who are heterodox? Then good, that is a great start.”

    I agree, that’s a good start. But then it isn’t really an orthodox environment, is it?

    There’s more to the bottom line: will the faith of these students be derailed or undermined by the heresies espoused under the guise of Catholicism? Heresies can be very seductive and attractive, especially when they seem not to be opposed by those in authority. Context is everything here.

    “In the meantime, lots of people have been dumping on UD- to its financial detriment- and overlooking similar problems at other campuses. The power of suggestion and the power of rumor is greater than we think.”

    Well, I don’t fault anyone for supporting the university of their choice. But those who give to these institutions need to know what they are supporting. Full disclosure would seem to be important here. Those who support UD are undoubtedly supporting some very good things, and UD (with the help of alumni) does a fine job of getting the word out. I may send a son or daughter to UD myself someday. But do UD supporters know the rest of the story?

    I think they should. They are putting Dr. John Norris in the classroom, paying his salary, and giving him a public platform in the Diocese of Dallas. That’s pretty serious. I think Catholic parents would want to know about that before choosing UD for their children.

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | July 26, 2007 | Reply

  27. Back when I was in college, I heard the term “cheese-eating grin” but never understood it. It would’ve been helpful to have had this picture as illustration. :-)

    Comment by TSO | July 28, 2007 | Reply

  28. You’re reading into the man’s statement. He said that it would be prudent to allow the Tridentine rite only alongside clear educational programs in Latin. He says nothing about requiring people to learn Latin in order to attend the mass. The question that you should be asking is not whether the Church should require people to learn it in order to attend, but whether it would be responsible, let alone desirable, for the Tridentine mass to be regularly celebrated in Churches where people who do not already know Latin will not be able to do so. Most people who do not know Latin will not want to attend the Mass in Latin on a regular basis without learning enough of the language to understand it (which does not require a high level of skill). Perhaps some folks will, but most won’t. Celebrating the Mass in Latin regularly without offering to teach people to understand it creates an artificial and unnecessary obstacle for ordinary people. Why on earth should it be anything but orthodox to say so?

    Comment by Anonymous | July 31, 2007 | Reply

  29. Dominus Iesus says this: “for those who are not formally and visibly members of the Church, salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit; it has a relationship with the Church, which, according to the plan of the Father, has her origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

    I see no reason why I should conclude that no Jewish person could fit that description. Therefore I will not describe “the Jews” as ‘blind’ and having a ‘veil over their hearts.’ I cannot say the same of all Roman Catholics.

    Comment by Anonymous | July 31, 2007 | Reply

  30. So much for 2 Corinthians, then. But what did St. Paul know about such things?

    peace,

    Comment by Zach Frey | August 1, 2007 | Reply

  31. Dear Anonymous,

    Perhaps I was reading too much into his statement. However, Dr. Norris responded here, and he did not correct my interpretation.

    I’m in favor of people learning Latin. However, knowledge of Latin is absolutely not a prerequisite for understanding and appreciating the TLM. On the contrary, Latin frees the worshiper from slavishly following the text of the liturgy, word for word, and allows him to meditate on the acts themselves.

    Most Catholics today, accustomed to an entertainment model of liturgy, may well prefer the vernacular and that is precisely why Latin is so desperately needed. The message of Latin in our times is this: the Mass is not about you. God knows Latin. That’s the important thing. You can easily learn the form and structure of the Mass without any knowledge of Latin whatsoever. You can much more easily pray the Mass without being compelled to follow every word of the text. I find that I cannot pray well at the Novus Ordo: there is too much going on, too many demands on my attention. Concentration is impossible. Furthermore, Latin is the guardian of these holy prayers – prayers that are so often profaned in the translation, and so easily manipulated in the vernacular.

    Offering the TLM “only alongside clear educational programs in Latin”, whatever its merits might be, is to propose a ridiculous obstacle to the celebration of the Extraordinary Form. It is certainly opposed to both the letter and spirit of Summorum Pontificum, as Dr. Norris must know very well, and any attempt to impose this requirement would be illegal.

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | August 1, 2007 | Reply

  32. If God only asks that the Jews “grow in fidelity to the covenant with God they already share”, then Christ’s sacrifice was for naught and the Apostles were wasting their time.

    Since the “fullness of redemption” (part of the prayer in question for the Jews for which the Church prays) is in Christ, the Jews growing in fidelity to the covenant with God they already share” would in proportion to their fidelity recognize (implicitly at first and then perhaps explicitly) the source and summit of that covenant which is in Christ.

    How could Christ have been “wasting his time” when his sacrifice was in fulfillment of the Law which he claimed to not be there to destroy but instead to fulfill???

    You are right about the Latin requirement idea though -however nice in theory practically speaking it is not necessary. (The use of a good Latin and English side by side missal would be helpful though.)

    Comment by I. Shawn McElhinney | August 7, 2007 | Reply


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