Rorate Caeli reports (based on Il Giornale) that next week the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will issue a clarification of statement in the Vatican 2 document, Lumen Gentium, that the church of Christ “subsists in” the Catholic Church. Some, including the late Cardinal Johannes Willebrands, the former President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, interpreted this in a broader sense. This came in a lecture he delivered several places in the US in 1987 (I heard him in DC). He noted that this was debated extensively at the Council–some wanted “consistit in,” some wanted “est“–and thus the choice of the phrase was quite deliberate. This helped spur the ecumenical movement, for it seemed that the Catholic Church was not simply identifying itself with the one Church of Christ, as it had in an earlier age, when Catholic participation in efforts at “Christian unity” was limited to inviting Protestants to abandon their rebellion and rejoin the Catholic Church. Such a reinterpretation of subsistit in would indeed be in keeping with an “hermeneutic of continuity” with Catholic teaching before the Council–but would it really be in keeping with the text of the documents, and the intention of the Council?
Update: Fr. Philip Powell, OP, weighs in, celebrating the news.