Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Council Fathers, call your editors: Gaudium et spes needs redacting

Dr. John Lamont relates a Catholic theology professor's observation that Gaudium et spes (24), in a passage alluding to Matthew 22:35-39 about the "first and greatest commandment," reads: "Quapropter dilectio Dei et proximi primum et maximum mandatum est" (or "For love of God and of neighbour is the first and greatest commandment").

This, of course, is a small but significant error that ought to have been caught, and should be corrected.

The Holy See, the CDF, and all of us owe a debt of gratitude to this anonymous Catholic theology professor for calling this little error to our attention, do we not?


8 comments:








Paul Borealis

said...

In my opinion, in the english translation anyways, remove the words **and neighbor**, and it makes more sense. Is it the same or similar with the latin?

http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_lt.html


===

"24. God, Who has fatherly concern for everyone, has willed that all men should constitute one family and treat one another in a spirit of brotherhood. For having been created in the image of God, Who "from one man has created the whole human race and made them live all over the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26), all men are called to one and the same goal, namely God Himself.

For this reason, love for God **and neighbor** is the first and greatest commandment. Sacred Scripture, however, teaches us that the love of God cannot be separated from love of neighbor: "If there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.... Love therefore is the fulfillment of the Law" (Rom. 13:9-10; cf. 1 John 4:20). To men growing daily more dependent on one another, and to a world becoming more unified every day, this truth proves to be of paramount importance. [my emphasis **...**]"

http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_en.html

==

[With changes, words removed...]

"24. God, Who has fatherly concern for everyone, has willed that all men should constitute one family [...] all men are called to one and the same goal, namely God Himself.

For this reason, love for God is the first and greatest commandment. Sacred Scripture, however, teaches us that the love of God cannot be separated from love of neighbor: "If there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.... Love therefore is the fulfillment of the Law" (Rom. 13:9-10; cf. 1 John 4:20). To men growing daily more dependent on one another, and to a world becoming more unified every day, this truth proves to be of paramount importance."






totustuusmaria

said...

I'm not entirely sure this is an error, but rather a quick-hand summation.

The first and greatest commandment upon which all the law and prophets hangs is the commandment of charity, which is first the love of God above all things and also the love of neighbor on account of God. These two are logically distinct in relation to each other, but together constitute a single commandment of charity.

If it is an error, it is one than has been repeated by John Paul II (Dominicae Cenae), Benedict XVI (Message for Lent, 2009), and Pope Francis (Angelus, 26 Oct 2014). In this last address, the Pope explains that, though two commandments, they form one whole because Jesus placed "these two commandments together — love for God and love for neighbour — revealing that they are in fact inseparable and complementary, two sides of the same coin. You cannot love God without loving your neighbour and you cannot love your neighbour without loving God." Benedict XVI explains the same thing in Deus Caritas Est: "Jesus united into a single precept this commandment of love for God and the commandment of love for neighbour"

There is a theological reason why these two commandments should be seen as one. The first and greatest commandment is the commandment of charity, according to the words of Benedict XVI (Angelus, 4 Nov 2012) where he speaks of "the greatest commandment," as "the commandment of love, which is two-fold: love of God and love of neighbour." This same language is invoked by the Catechism in CCC 2055 where it calls this a "twofold yet single commandment of love."

But charity has one object and one act, as St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us: "the aspect under which our neighbor is to be loved, is God, since what we ought to love in our neighbor is that he may be in God. Hence it is clear that it is specifically the same act whereby we love God, and whereby we love our neighbor. Consequently the habit of charity extends not only to the love of God, but also to the love of our neighbor" (Summa). Charity to God and neighbor is the end of all the other laws: "charity is the end, that is the perfection, of the precept, that is of all the precepts, of which their fulfillment is love of God and neighbor," and therefore "To these precepts of love of God and neighbor all other precepts and counsels are ordered as to their end...they are rightly done when they are referred to the love of God and neighbor on account of God" (Contra retrahentes, cap. 6).





totustuusmaria

said...

So St. Thomas could rightly say that the first of the two contains the second: "in this [first commandment] is contained the love of neighbor according to that which is said in I john 4:21" (Super Mt., cap. 22 l. 4 ). St. Augustine goes further, saying that the first commandment includes the second, and the second presupposes the first: "not without reason does Scripture put one for both; sometimes the love of God; as in that, "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God;" [Rom 8:28] and sometimes the love of our neighbour; as in that, "All the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." [Gal 5:14] And that because if a man love his neighbour, it follows therefrom that he loves God also; for it is the selfsame affection by which we love God, and by which we love our neighbour, save that we love God for Himself, but ourselves and our neighbour for God's sake" (de Trin., viii. 7). Theophylus apparently concurs, writing: "these two commandments are harmonious one with the other, and mutually contain the other."

It seems to me that both form a single "law of charity", a single love of God, either directly (which is charity in its primary sense) or by love of neighbor on account of God. But both God and neighbor are loved in charity as by a single act. Because of this, they both together constitute the great commandment of charity upon which the law and the prophets depend, although the first of the two contains a priority between the two insofar as it speaks of charity more essentially. Though there is within them a distinction of priority, there is not of end or act, and so they can be counted as a single commandment.

To call the "first and greatest commandment" love of God and neighbor need mean nothing more than that charity includes God as its final end and requires also the love of neighbor as part of the act of loving God.





Anonymous

said...

It is confusion that bred serious consequences, since it caused social action to be easily confused topically with religion.

The apologist Frank Sheed decades ago noted a “boredom with religion which is spreading like a blight over the Christian world" and attributed it in part to a suspicion that "many priests are devoting themselves to Civil Rights (a cause admirable in itself) simply because they are bored with God — a continuance, perhaps, of their seminary boredom with theology seen as a series of obstacles to be hurdled on their way to ordination, of no practical importance for souls… Too often Jesus is simply an item in the syllabus, to be discussed when the syllabus reaches him, and then only till it passes on to the next topic."

Substitute any number of current hot button global issues, and it sounds like a diagnosis of the current Vatican press room.





Clement

said...

That love of God and love of neighbor mutually entail one another is besides the point.

The point is that the two are not the same thing, and whatever the reason for the way in which the writer "summarized," "condensed," or "collapsed" the second commandment into the first, it makes a hash of the biblical passage to which it alludes.

One would expect from a major document of an Ecumenical Council more respect for the words of Scripture, more clarity and precision, rather than confusion.





Codgitator (Cadgertator)

said...

My own two (or more) cents on why fiddling with the exact words of Scripture is a big no-no for Catholics, even if the error gets peddled by council and pope: https://ebougis.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/love-is-love-is-love-is-love/





Anonymous

said...

Amen, Clement. Absolutely right. Enough with the apologetics for this sort of thing. Who can look at the Church post-VII and not see an advance of the horizontal at the expense of the vertical?





mwidunn

said...

Clearly, Dr. Lamont didn't take any time to consult any sort of Biblical commentary; or, he would have recognized the peculiarly Hebraic character of Jesus' answer: Someone asks for "the greatest commandment" (sing.) -- and, Jesus gives him TWO!

No, Doctor, the Fathers of Vatican II got it right in Gaudium et Spes.

This has to be the DUMBEST argument I've heard in the post-Vatican II era, since hearing the explanation that the Mass rubrics say the Priest turns towards and faces the people only because he was ALREADY facing them in the first place!

On second thought, the arguments for translating pro multis as "for all" were also pretty dumb . . .