When I first proposed this as part of “chapter one” of a doctoral thesis on critica textus at “The Greg”, my “second reader” – a Cardinal with untold influence in the Roman Curia, a “papabile” at the time, a Scripture Scholar” in his own right (having spent decades of his life teaching Scripture in seminaries) rebelled, you know, because it went directly to and smashed down the very violent and dark heart of Luther’s rebellion, and would have brought non-Catholic Christians to their knees around the altar of Sacrifice of the Word of God Incarnate. What is desired by so many today is that we are fake-nice together in our divisions, violently sundering the souls of all.
He later confessed (not sacramentally) that he had spent six weeks daily in the Secret Archives combing through that first chapter, word by word, verifying, confirming in the Secret Archives that which I correctly hypothesized but, having no personal access to the vaults in question, could not check on myself. That work of his – he ironically being an enemy to what I was writing – is invaluable, a treasure, for the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. That an ultra-competent enemy confirms the veracity of what he himself hates acts as an incentive to continue. This cardinal, now deceased many years, was a biblical scholar in his own right, one of the most brilliant minds in the history of the Church, just not on the right side of the Living Truth of Christ our God.
But I cannot follow up on going further with this chapter, such as in getting my own hands on the volumes and documents in question, even though he’s now dead, because of the present state of the Roman Curia. Sad, that. Since his death, many bishops have helped me in my requests for alternate routes of investigation as aided by the Secretariat of State and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The responses from “State” and the Secretary Archbishop of “Doctrine” were, um… jaded ambiguity obviously written for possible publication in future. Vomitable evasion. Running scared, are we?
This cardinal at the time had the right to let me go though all the archives on my own, with no supervision (and that should tell you something). I had requested some months to do just this. I knew what to look for (by description) and era, and knew that I would need access to special archives of influential cardinals of the the 20th Century (three in particular) but did not receive that delegation. Instead, this cardinal had ordered the Prefect to do a search for what I required, having him quickly put the “failed” results of a two-minute search into discoverable format, though, as he later “confessed”, only as a ruse to get me to stop so that the truth of the matter might not become known. This hard copy letter, I’m sure with archived copies, was very carefully construed. And he admitted that face-value misrepresentation (a lie) to my face, way after that, while I was on my way to teach, far away from the Holy See.
If I had the time, the place, a venue, the freedom to write, I would push out a more popular version able to be read at least by the highly degreed who at the same time are highly faithful. The truth is hated so much by the unfaithful that – even if academically capable – they would about die reading the truth of how things really are, the battle between Satan and God, hell doing it’s best to stomp on Holy Mother Church being that intense. The scandal of evil is sometimes too much even for the truly very evil. It is like reading about their own judgement.
I am getting older. At least let me share some rules deciphering that treasure map above. Anyone taking up this up with access to the Secret Archives, the deceased cardinals’ archives, to archives in the Secretariat of State and Holy Office, to the private archives of the Holy Father (throughout the past, say, 140 years) might benefit in their efforts to be honest and discerning about nay-sayer comments if they are able to figure out the rules for discernment of that treasure map. I wish I had the time and space and freedom to write about such things, but if not, here we are:
Firstly, my own pedantic translations of the decrees of the 4th session of Trent, not breaking up the sentences, but letting the flow of thought be manifested as it is in Latin. Let the words swirl about in your heart and soul and mind just as Our Lady “threw about” the words of her Son in her own heart, as the Holy Gospels repeat often. Take in the relationship of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Church. It is glorious. This is THE STATEMENT of the Counter-Reformation that Sixtus V will later take up in such a way that the gift of infallibility will shine forth.
Sacrosancta – The first, dogmatic decree of the Council of Trent.
“The Most Sacred Ecumenical and General Tridentine Synod, convened legitimately in the Holy Spirit, with the three Legates of the Apostolic See presiding over it, is itself proposing for perpetuity in plain sight, so that, having cast down errors, the very purity of the Gospels may be conserved within the Church… [The purity itself of the Gospel…] which, before promised through the prophets in the holy Scriptures, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, first promulgated with His own mouth, and then commanded to be preached by His Apostles to every creature, as the fountain of all, both saving truth, and moral discipline; and seeing clearly that this truth and discipline are contained in the written books, and the unwritten Traditions which, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ himself, or from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Spirit dictating, have come down onto us, transmitted almost as if by hand… [The Synod] following the examples of the orthodox Fathers, receives and venerates with an equal affection of piety, and reverence, all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament — seeing that one God is the author of both — as also the said Traditions, as well those appertaining to faith as to morals, as having been dictated, either by Christ’s own word of mouth, or by the Holy Spirit, and preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession. [At this point, the list of books is provided.] If anyone, however, will not receive as sacred and canonical these same integral books with all of their parts, [Box (A) – original languages] as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and [Box (B) – the mere translation] as are had in the Old Latin Vulgate edition, and will hold in contempt the aforementioned Traditions knowingly and with considered judgment: let him be anathema.”
Insuper – The second, disciplinary decree of the Council of Trent.
The words in bold italics are Box (C). Only this first sentence is especially important, since the rest of the decree speaks of the how to go about publishing a less than perfect edition of the Vulgate until such time as the normative edition is approved, Box (D).
“Moreover, the same sacred, holy Synod, considering that no small utility may redound to the Church of God, if, out of all Latin editions, it is known which of the sacred books in circulation is being held to be authentic, establishes and declares that [Box (C)] this same ancient and vulgate edition, whose usage is proved along all centuries in the same Church, be, in public lectures, disputations, sermons and expositions, held as authentic, and that no one dare or presume to reject it for whatever pretext.”
An attentive reading of the two decrees of the fourth session of the Council of Trent will bear out the following distinctions. Usually, (B) is ignored by falsely equating it with both (C) and (D).
1. Of three equivocations, only number two ➁ is valid.
2. Boxes (A) and (B) are from Sacrosancta, the first decree of the fourth session of the Council of Trent. This is a dogmatic decree.
3. Boxes (C) and (D) are from Insuper, the second decree of the same session. This is a disciplinary decree which does, nevertheless, have dogmatic content.
4. (A) refers to that which God has inspired in whatever original language, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, etc. That which is inspired is canonical. However, this is not to be found all in one manuscript, but, with the passage of the centuries, spread throughout many manuscripts, one phrase here, one there.
5. (B) refers to words and phrases used in the Latin Vulgate from the beginning until the publication of the decree. The Latin, a mere translation, is not inspired, but because of constant use by the Church, has a text which is more easily known, and can act as a sieve for the original language manuscripts.
6. (C) has the same content as that found in (B).
7. (D) does not have the same content as (B) and (C). Permission is given to print the best edition possible (see “potissimum”) to date. This recognizes that the project may be continue for a long time.
8. What is in (B) is a help to discover what is in (A); it would be advantageous to make good use of (B).
9. One cannot yet be sure what is in (B), as there are many manuscripts yet to consider.
10. Translations should be made only after the textual extensions of (A) and (B) have been duly studied.
11. Translations should be made from (A), noting that a correct sense of (A) can be found in (B).
It has to be in the original language manuscripts, and those always have to have been read, but also in the same way in the very unique Vulgate mentioned here. The use was in the Latin in the commentary of the Fathers, in preaching, in the Liturgy, that is, not only Holy Mass, but in the very extensive Liturgy of the Hours, etc. The idea is that God will not abandon that which He has inspired in the words of the Word of God, and it’s use is manifested in the Latin Vulgate, words of the Word of God used in Holy Mass, in the Sacrifice of the Word of God Himself.
The Fathers of Trent knew they didn’t have THE VULGATE spoken about in the decrees, and begged for this as time went on since they were using the Vulgate to issue their dogmatic decrees. The first to attempt this was Sixtus V in 1590 (44 years later), and he failed. The second to attempt this was Saint Robert Bellarmine, who thought he had burned all copies of what Sixtus V had attempted throughout Europe, with only two remaining, locked in vaults in the Vatican and the Pontifical Biblical Institute, with myself seeing those copies in both places, hand corrected by Sixtus V himself…
People lose their faith in the face of all this because they cannot take being an abstract, impersonal, legalistic “religion of the book” who don’t even have that book 100%. But we are not that as Catholics. We are a family of faith with Scriptures issuing from inspiration, sure, but also from inside the family of living faith, which has that revelation already by way of Sacred Tradition, that is, those traditiones which are the articles of faith, if you will, but actually the very revelation of God Himself to His little flock by way of supernaturally infused faith, which is provided with supernaturally infused charity. If we are certain about 99.99% of what’s in the Scriptures, with the other remaining bits being uncertain for now so as to help us look to the earthly Holy Father of the Family of Faith, that’s O.K. Belong to the family of faith! That’s important.
Just to say, there untold numbers of conflicting original language manuscripts and even more conflicting Latin Vulgate manuscripts. Work is being done to establish both, but more on that ludicrous fiasco in future.
By the way, a most beautiful quasi definition of Sacred Tradition is at hand here in the first decree saying “almost as if by hand”, that is, but not that way, though it seems so, as the faith is univocal for all and it seems as if it is passed on as if by hand, and is certainly occasioned by things we mere humans do, but it is, in the end, the work of the Holy Spirit, who provides for us faith with charity and necessarily hope.
Post-script: I wanted to put this up yesterday, 8 April, as that is the 475 anniversary of promulgation of Session IV of the Council of Trent mentioned above, mere months after Luther died.
Also, just to say, I have listed some 28 projects for myself that are important for the life of the Church – going to the heart of problems with solutions provided – a good half dozen of which must be written out. But, I have no time, no space, no freedom to write such things. I need 24/7/365 to time and space and freedom to do this, but have it not. This weighs on me terribly. Somehow, some way…
As long time readers know, at the top of the list, with the above, is a popularizing version of the thesis on Genesis 3:15, on original sin and its transmission, on the Immaculate Conception, and therefore on the the Scriptures being one fulfilled in the other, all inspired, all truthful, all consistent, with the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, our Redeemer and, please God with our acceptance in grace, our Savior. Christ our God, the Suffering Servant, is the Key of Knowledge, the One who came to stand in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Mary’s role in this is with her Son.