Where is the Church?
An Extended ‘Conversation’ - with Research by Arthur Wells
The first part of the conversation is, as it were, between Pope Pius XII and the Second Vatican Council. Bishop Christopher Butler’s widely acclaimed major work “The Theology of Vatican II” was begun even before the Council closed and was presented first at Oxford as the Sarum Lectures. The then Abbot Christopher Butler OSB wrote: ‘…using a most carefully selected form of words – the Council states: “This Church, established and arranged in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by Peter’s successor and the bishops in his communion”’, Butler continues: ‘There is a deliberate preference for the phrase ‘subsists in’ instead of the simple ‘is’. Referring to the earlier teaching of Pius XII in the encyclical Mystici Corporis Butler notes that in Lumen Gentium and in other Council documents, the former Pope’s and some of his predecessors’ teachings had been modified, sometimes subtly, sometimes very directly. (For a fuller treatment of magisterium see Conscience and Authority). Vatican II intended to open the Church to a vastly different and rapidly changing world - to learn, the better to teach - and move towards a hoped for Christian Unity. Butler wrote: ‘An exclusive material identification of the Church and the Roman Catholic communion is carefully avoided.’ His credentials for making this statement are established throughout this website.
While study had been undertaken in earlier times, Vatican II is believed to be the first General Council of the Church to promulgate a Dogmatic Constitution on ecclesiology. But there had been opposition to Pope John’s conciliar project from its announcement. At the time of the announcement and since, resistance to the conciliar project has been strongest amongst officials of the Roman Curia, a handful of whom used, or mis-used, their position to continue their resistance during the progress of the Council. Subsequently it would seem that elements in the Curia are now responsible for the increasing centralization and other modifications of Council teaching. Many consider that these adverse developments - without universal approval - are a serious matter. Pope Pius XII left a valuable legacy – particularly in regard to liturgy and scripture study. In many respects his reconsideration of the Mystical Body of Christ was a helpful counterbalance for much else to the young man I then was, but the Council moved the teaching forward. A recent example of reversion from Council teaching is a return to Pope Pius’s concept in Mystici Corporis that Christ’s Church is materially identified with the Roman Catholic Church. Having referred to my own information resources, I applied to Professor Nicholas Lash, the distinguished Cambridge theologian for further guidance. It is perhaps helpful to recall that the problems multiplying in the Church in the late 20th and 21st centuries gave rise to the website in the first place. Authoritative responses in 2008 to the present research tend to confirm the basic work and the opinions quoted from the Council fathers. Therefore, although the earlier evidence is important, the contemporary contributions from Bishop De Roo and Professor Lash are placed first.
An Opinion from Professor Lash (August 2008)
You recently asked my advice about the ‘subsistit’ clause in Lumen Gentium – article no. 8 – which has such an important bearing on our understanding of the ‘Church’ post Vatican II. I believe that you will be appending aspects of your own study and understanding.
To begin, something I wrote recently in another context may help.
In the final chapter of my recently published Theology for Pilgrims, I discuss the "Responses to some questions" which the CDF issued in July 2007 (see Theology for Pilgrims, pp. 269-274). I have only recently seen a copy of the letter which Cardinal Levada sent to the Presidents of Episcopal Conferences, and the "authoritative commentary" which he attached, with the request that all bishops are to be asked to ensure that "both the document and the commentary" are "favourably received and studied".
I do not, of course, know who wrote the commentary, nor in what sense it is deemed to merit the qualifier "authoritative". It is not, I think, a very distinguished document, and in some places seems to me to muddy rather than clarify the waters. But that is not why I write. The questions "Why did the Doctrine Commission of Vatican II substitute 'subsistit in' for 'est' in article 8 of Lumen Gentium?" and "What did the Council understand 'subsistit in' to mean?" are historical questions which have been extensively explored by Catholic scholars in the decades since the Council ended. Notwithstanding fairly general consensus as to the answers, some disagreements still remain.
For example, as I mention in Theology for Pilgrims, the German Jesuit Karl Becker (who was for twenty years a consultor to the CDF) published, in 2005, a lengthy and richly documented article on the matter in Osservatore Romano. It seems reasonable to assume that an article from such a source, published in that place, finds approval in the CDF. The following year, Frank Sullivan S.J., for many years a colleague of Becker's at the Gregorian, published a rebuttal in Theological Studies, entitled "Quaestio Disputata: a Response to Karl Becker,S.J. on the meaning of subsistit in". I happen, as I indicate in my book, to find Sullivan's case persuasive, but that is neither here nor there. Sullivan's article was well titled. There is a disagreement here between two elderly and learned Catholic theologians: a "quaestio disputata".
Concerning Cardinal Levada's letter of July 2007, therefore, I would wish to urge the view, firstly, that disagreements concerning historical questions cannot be resolved by administrative fiat and secondly, that it is not the business of the CDF to foreclose quaestiones disputatae amongst Catholic scholars. This is, of course, but the tip of a large iceberg: the increasing tendency for Rome to press one particular, arguably unhistorical account of how what the Council achieved and proposed is to be understood. In this particular case, I suggested to a friend that many bishops might feel the need to acquaint themselves with a wider range of the literature concerning the decision to prefer "subsistit in" to "est" than is indicated in the CDF's 2007 commentary.
Now to come more directly to your query, to which you indicate you may add further background, I have assembled the following “Notes and references”:
Subsistit in: Notes and References
My conclusions as to how the change from “est” to “subsistit in”, in art. 8 of Lumen Gentium, is to be interpreted, are in no way dependent on the Vorgrimler commentary, which I do not use. I use the three-volume commentary, edited by the Brazilian Franciscan, G. Barauna, first published in Portugese in 1965, the French edition, edited by Yves Congar, appearing in the collection Unam Sanctam, as volumes 51a, 51b and 51c: L’Eglise de Vatican II: études autour de la Constitution conciliaire sur l’Eglise.
You search for contemporary corroboration of Christopher Butler’s account of the significance of the change. I will turn to his texts in due course.
I was not in Rome myself but, during the second, third and fourth sessions of the Council, as a curate I held a (very well-attended) weekly session in which I gave an account of what the Council had been doing that week. In preparation for these sessions, I subscribed not only to the Tablet, but also to La Croix and Informations Catholiques Internationales (whose coverage was outstanding), and listened daily to the English-language bulletin on the Council from Vatican Radio. In the margin of my 1964 copy of the Vatican Press Latin text of the Constitution, I have written against “subsistit in”: “phrase chosen in place of ‘Haec Ecclesia est Ecclesia catholica” to allow room for development of understanding of ecclesial elements ‘outside’ the visibly structured society”. The key terms there, I think, are “development of understanding” and “ecclesial”. That contemporary gloss of mine is, you will notice, almost identical to Sullivan’s account in 2006 (see Theology for Pilgrims, p. 274). Sullivan was Professor of Ecclesiology at the Gregorian University from 1956 until 1992: I can think of no better “ringside seat” from which to keep an eye on the development of the text of Lumen Gentium. The question is: in substituting “subsistit in” for “est” in the second paragraph of article 8 of Lumen Gentium, did the Doctrine Commission intend simply to say “is” in a “stronger form”, as Archbishop Amato, the Secretary of the CDF, contended in 2007 (see Theology for Pilgrims, p. 272), or was it a way of carefully avoiding simple material identification of the mystical body of Christ with the Roman Catholic communion (the terminology here is BCB’s; I shall return to this)? The former view was taken, in 2007, by Archbishop Amato, and appears to have been the intention of Sebastian Tromp, Secretary of the Doctrinal Commission, proposing the change in 1963 (see TFP, p. 273). The American historian John O’Malley has argued, in an extremely important essay, that it is in the form of the conciliar texts, rather in their content, that the novelty of Vatican II’s teaching is to be found. All previous councils in the history of the Church had understood themselves to be “legislative bodies that issued ordinances regarding doctrinal formulations and public behavior” (O’Malley, Vatican II Did Anything Happen?, edited David G. Schultenover [Continuum, 2008], pp. 52-91; p. 69). Their brief texts had “a characteristic style of discourse. The style was composed of two basic elements. The first was a literary genre – the canon or its equivalent. The second was the vocabulary typical of the genre and appropriate to it. It consisted in words of threat and intimidation, words of surveillance and punishment, words of a superior speaking to inferiors, or, just as often, to an enemy. It consisted in power-words” (O’Malley, p. 70).In stark contrast, the texts of Vatican II are very lengthy. And they are written in an entirely different style from those of all previous councils (for an account of how this style-shift occurred, not without some initial resistance, see O’Malley, pp. 72-83). The new genre, in the adoption of which de Lubac and, especially, Gérard Philips, played key roles, was “a genre known and practised in many cultures from time immemorial … It is the panegyric, that is, the painting of an idealized portrait in order to excite admiration and appropriation” (O’Malley, pp. 73-74). “The council’s rejection of the style in which preparatory documents like De ecclesia and De fontibus were composed was not about esthetics … It was about something much more profound: rejection of ways of thinking, feeling and behaving of which style was the emblem and engine” (O’Malley, p. 82). Thus it is that even the Council’s two “dogmatic constitutions” are “pastoral” documents in an unprecedented sense.It is my contention that people like Tromp, in the 1960s, and Amato, in 2007, have not appreciated and taken on board the nature of this shift. It is the shift which has made me insist, for decades, that, in order to understand what Lumen Gentium has to say, in Chapter 3, about structures and institutions, that chapter has to be understood in the context of the rich and genuinely theological account of the Church in Chapters 1 and 2 (hence the importance of the fact that they are 1 and 2 – they were put first for a reason).
I turn next to the Alberigo History of Vatican II. In his essay on “The Ecumenical Commitment of the Catholic Church” (Volume III, pp. 257-345), Claude Soetens says “As was true of other schemas, such as those on the liturgy and on bishops and the government of dioceses, the way in which the schema on unity was developed depended to a great extent on the theology of the Church and therefore on choices yet to be made in the future consitution on the Church … [already] it could be regarded as real progress that the unity of the Church was described no longer as an abstract concept but as a mystery and that the division was no longer looked at from a purely juridical point of view. If, on the other hand, the final decree promulgated on November 21, 1964, would, because of last-minute papal amendments, fall somewhat short from the viewpoint of this new perspective, on the other hand, it would more successfully integrate the ecclesiological gains of Lumen Gentium, which was adopted the same day” (p. 259; for other material in that volume relevant to what we may call the shift from Mystici Corporis to Lumen Gentium, see pp. 49, 109, 110, 301).
In Volume IV, the essay “Toward an Ecclesiology of Communion” (pp. 1-93) is by Joseph Komonchak. The revision of Chapter 1 of Lumen Gentium had been completed by the end of November 1963, even though the vote on it did not take place until the beginning of the third session of the Council the following year. In article 8 “an important change was introduced: where the previous version had said that the Church of Christ ‘is’ (est) the Catholic Church, the revised text said that it ‘subsists in’ (subsistit in) the Catholic Church, a change made, the Doctrinal Commission’s report explained, ‘so that the expression might better accord with the affirmation of ecclesial elements that are present elsewhere” (p. 42; the stress, I think, is Komonchak’s; with Sullivan, I would stress “ecclesial”: cf. TFP, p. 274). The report of the Commission, according to a note, is to be found volume III/1 of the Acta of the Council, pp. 176-77, “where as synonyms for ‘subsistit in’ appear such verbs as ‘invenitur’ [is found]. ‘adest et manifestatur’ [is present and is manifest]”. The Commission could hardly have gone to greater lengths to distinguish “subsistit in” from “est”!
Incidentally, recent discussion on what it is for a community of Christians to be a “church” in “the proper sense” (including my own “Churches, proper and otherwise”, The Tablet, 21 July 2007, p.13-4) would have done well to take account of what Cardinal Heenan, Vice-President of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, said, on 7 October 1964, in his “relatio” to the Council on the second part of Chapter 3 of the Decree on Ecumenism: “The title of this chapter has been changed at the request of many Fathers of the Council. The separated Christians in the West are not just groups of individual Christians but communities each with its own tradition and character as a Church. But some groups of Christians resolutely refuse to call themselves Churches. That is why in the new title we use the expression ‘Churches and Ecclesiastical Communities”. We have done this in order to include all who can properly be called Christians. But we had no intention of touching the question of what is necessary for a Christian Community to fulfil the theological definition of a Church” (English Bishops at the Council. The Third Session of Vatican II, edited by Derek Worlock, London: Burns and Oates, 1965).
I now turn to Christopher Butler. My guess is that your reference to his account of the change being “clear as a bell” is probably to the Sarum Lectures. “The last major official pronouncement on ecclesiology before Vatican II was Pius XII’s encyclical Mystici Corporis”, in which “the Church as the mystical body of Christ is simply and materially identified with the Roman Catholic communion” (The Theology of Vatican II, p. 61). That is the background to his comment on article 8 of Lumen Gentium: “There is a deliberate preference of the phrase ‘subsists in’ instead of the simple ‘is’. We have here the measure of the constitution’s advance upon Mystici Corporis … An exclusive material identification of the Church and the Roman Catholic communion is carefully avoided” (p.70).
The Sarum Lectures were delivered in Oxford in 1966 and published in 1967. Already in 1965, however, he had contributed an essay on “Les Chrétiens non catholiques et l’Eglise” (L’Eglise de Vatican II, volume 2, pp. 651-668). There the contrast between Lumen Gentium and Mystici Corporis is sharply drawn, and he gives his beloved quotation from Evdokimov: “We know where the Church is; it is not for us to judge and say where the Church is not” (see pp. 662-663).
In the third volume of L’Eglise de Vatican II, J. N. D. Kelly contributed “Une opinion anglicane sur la constitution” (pp. 1295-1304). He deplored the fact that En dépit de l’esprit sincèrement oecuménique qui l’anime, elle affirme tout au long, avec la plus totale certitude, et sans l’ombre d’une question, que la véritable Eglise du Christ, au sens plein et véritable du terme est en fait [subsistit in] l’Eglise catholique romaine (p. 1297). This complaint provoked the editors (Barauna and Congar) to add a note: Nous aimerions attirer l’attention de l’auteur et des lecteurs sur l’essai de Ch. Butler, Les chrétiens non catholiques et l’Eglise, publié dans le présent ouvrage (tome II, pp. 651-668). Cette étude montre que la Constitution Lumen Gentium et le Décret De Oecumenismo de Vatican II marquent une évolution doctrinale de l’enseignement catholique sur ce point, par rapport à ce que déclarait Pie XII dans son encyclique Mystici Corporis (p. 1298).
It is a rare privilege to have a current authoritative confirmation of the work of later scholars from a Father at the heart of the Council. A Council Father was a bishop or the head of a religious order. As distinct from having a ringside view, they were in the ring, as it were. Abbot Christopher Butler was in an even more central position as a member of the fifty-man Central Doctrinal Commission. After the 2002 symposium and before he returned to Canada, we asked Bishop De Roo’s advice as to a focus for the website we were contemplating. He suggested for guidance that any future website masthead might use Butler’s ringing phrase in the Council about truth as focus. We are privileged in 2008 to have Bishop De Roo write of nearly 50 years ago:
As a Council Father present for all four sessions and participating personally in these debates, I support completely the opinion of the Scholars and\or Council Fathers mentioned, who endorse the view expressed by Evdokimov, to the effect that we know where the Church is but are not competent to judge and should hesitate to claim that we know where it is not.
I and many other Council Fathers perceived "subsistit in" as more correct than the exclusive "est", and a development or step forward after Pius XII and Mystici Corporis. We touch here the very foundation of ecumenism. This is a complex issue which is best left open. A future ecumenical council might deepen, clarify or even modify our understanding. I do not believe it is sound theology for us to try to put the mystery into boxes with labels attached. A humble approach is more appropriate and also closer to the mentality of the Eastern Churches who are more comfortable with paradox held in creative tension.
Further Background, by Arthur Wells
Those among us who were, pre-conciliar, ‘cradle Catholics’ were inevitably born into varied social strata and received different levels of Catholic teaching. Through parents and grandparents, much of my experience through their backgrounds can easily be traced quite vividly back to 1900 and this may become relevant elsewhere in the website. Younger people and some converts are tempted to see it as a golden age. My exact contemporary: George Basil Hume (A Benedictine and a highly respected Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster) and others of vintage ‘23 would have had very different backgrounds and also inevitably produce slightly different accounts from mine of the catechesis and the concept of the Church which they had received. Even my best school friend Michael, (shot down and killed with his crew in 1944 navigating their “Lancaster” home after a raid) had a more sophisticated start than I. But most of our vintage would have learned the same highly disciplined, but rigid essential elements almost certainly based on the 1921 edition of the Catholic Truth Society ‘Penny Catechism’ (Now by my side). We were all born in the long shadow of the Great War and had Benedict XV not died at the early age of 67, he would have been ‘our first pope’. I suspect that the young Georg and Joseph Ratzinger’s family status and income were not dissimilar to that of mine. Having ‘spanned’ almost from Benedict XV to Benedict XVI, the temptation to digress into comparisons between pontiffs and other people must be resisted.
The two world wars affected my family greatly – like millions of others. For my part, detained by H M King George VI’s commission in India until Partition in Summer 1947, I did not finish exploring Benedictine life in its many forms until 1949. Then many fresh decisions had to be taken and my inherited faith was important. Sorely tested as the faith frequently was, the Second Vatican Council came as a relief. This relief turned into hope as the Council developed and the Church began to feel real and an intellectual adherence was reinforced by the prospect of reform into reasonable patterns, but with a new emphasis on Scripture.
“Our Man at The Council”, Abbot Christopher Butler OSB, grew to be a public figure and began writing for The Tablet and often, on behalf of the English and Welsh hierarchy, gave general press conferences when the Council had started moving ahead. People both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the Church began paying attention to him. He wrote privately of “this miraculous Council”. Sadly, it is only too easy to detail what began going wrong. The story is available widely, but needs continuous re-telling because after 40 years the Council itself is fading from memory.
Symposium: Abbot Butler and The Council
In consequence, and after a substantial interval of decades, another part of the conversation took place, as it were, in the Symposium Abbot Butler and the Council. Held in 2002 in Heythrop College, London University, the symposium papers were given by distinguished scholars, but most particularly by two fathers of the Council who had attended all four sessions. That was a grace for the capacity attendance. The purpose of the Symposium (as it is of this website) was to set out as straightforwardly as possible, what were the teachings of the Council on particular subjects, and something of Butler’s part in them.
It was no part of that Symposium, nor of this website when launched four years ago in the papacy of Pope John Paul II to discuss the then Cardinal Ratzinger’s document ”Dominus Iesus” (2000). The English title was On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church and the document unhappily raised queries about the status of many churches outside the Roman communion. Even then it seemed a deviation from mainstream Council teaching. It caused consternation in much of the Catholic community and hurt to our ecumenical partners.
A development of “Dominus Iesus”
The concern aroused by “Dominus Iesus” was intensified by the new prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Cardinal Levada (See Prof. Lash above). The Cardinal’s document (Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church ) gave added emphasis to that of his predecessor, but with Cardinal Ratzinger now Pope, no small dilemma loomed for informed members of the Church. How could a small, albeit important, part of the institutional Church overturn a key phrase in the Document on the Church (the subsistit clause, Lumen Gentium Art.8)? Professor Lash has queried this in depth and detail. My enquiry to him had continued:
“Subsistit in”: The basis of Christian Unity and Inter-religious dialogue
It is only slightly simplistic – if at all - to assert that the subsistit clause is the basis of practically all ecumenism (see section on Christian Unity), but the document on Other Religions and Cardinal Koenig’s responsibility for Non-Believers were in some way dependent on The Document on the Church and were important and had universal significance. Having lived in India during and after the Japanese war, my experience was varied. I subsequently spent decades working at grass roots in the Christian unity field, relieved that this common-sense aspect of Vatican II formally recognized the (always obvious) goodness in others. Therefore, worried by retrogressions coming from Rome, I began assembling evidence to query the changes to Council teaching.
Other Evidence in favour of Butler’s view of “subsistit”
The first task was to begin with Butler’s written work and with other Council fathers or theologians writing at the time of the Council or shortly after. I had then written to Professor Lash as follows: "As we know, Butler is clear as a bell on subsistit and further he was writing with the ink hardly dry on Lumen Gentium art 8. Searching ‘Storia’ (The five-volume History of Vatican II – Eds. Alberigo and Komonchak) for the Council developments as recorded by their large international team of scholars is a vast task for an individual. In any case, that record, while no doubt accurate, is not fully contemporary. Xavier Rynne is contemporary, but while generally considered reliable, is in no way ‘definitive’. His Vol. 2 (pp55-75) records the debate. His record is generally supportive, but mentions no Lumen Gentium articles. Something more contemporary with Butler would be helpful. I don't have access to Vorgrimler, which would be near enough contemporary and also was written largely by people who were there. (Authors included Fr Karl Rahner, SJ and Fr. Joseph Ratzinger) We would like to fit something in to the website re-launch next November (2008) to counter the emerging Roman/Levada view. I have enough material to make a good questioning case, but it would be interesting to find that Fr. Ratzinger had at least not objected - as a then member of the Vorgrimler editorial board – to what I firmly believe to be a correct understanding that subsistit in is not est. Hastings (A Concise Guide to the Documents of the Second Vatican Council) helps considerably, but Hastings was not there. He is very helpful in vol. I pp 38-41. But, from various sources, including correspondence and speaking with Hastings about a year before he died, I know he had had contacts with Butler. Bishop Butler may have been Hasting’s source which might weaken Hasting’s witness, but on p 32 Hastings sets out the development of the principal drafts of De Ecclesia. They fit exactly with his and Butler's and your (Prof. Lash’s) conclusions. I am troubled by the thought of who exactly is dissenting from Vatican II. The question “Who is in step?” would probably pass over many people's heads, but for myself, I cannot avoid the conclusion that some of the Roman Curia are getting increasingly out of step. Also, if I may presume to conclude this letter, do your conclusions depend in any way on the Vorgrimler commentary?
Many of us who were keenly moved by the hopes of Vatican II and have kept in touch with the Council’s implementation, or lack of it, became increasingly alarmed at relatively early signs of regression beginning in the pontificate of Paul VI, who seems in many ways a great, ,but tragic- even contradictory - figure.. Examples are  the lack of Collegiality. This Council teaching on the governance of the Church is at once a return to early practice and in a sense confirms the universality of the Church.  The near disappearance, in the Extraordinary Synod of 1985, of “The People of God” – another key concept of the Council. So much of the force of the Council derives from these and other important concepts that the views of just three important fathers are noted:
“……..the Constitution sees the Church, in her earthly pilgrimage, first and foremost as the spiritual fellowship of her baptised members, and only secondarily, and as it were consequentially, as a hierarchized communion.” (B C Butler in De Ecclesia, DLT, 1964, p.9 NB the date! Recall Butler’s membership of the Council’s Theological Commission)
“..... that seed of life deriving from the council which is most fruitful in pastoral consequences...... : is the rediscovery of the people of God as a whole, as a single reality; and then by way of consequence, the co-responsibility thus implied for every member of the church.”
(J-L Suenens in Co-responsibility in the Church, Burns & Oates, 1968, p.30)
Commenting on the most important aspects of the Council for him. A father, himself papabile at a later conclave, wrote that Vatican II stressed that we were no longer a European, a Latin, Church, but that “…it established the Church’s universality“(p.6), “...the Council’s support for ecumenism.” (p.7)... “.... the Council’s emphasis on the importance of the lay apostolate. “(p.10) (F. König, Open to God, Open to the World, Continuuum, 2005)
Almost 25 years ago, my bishop gave me generous time to talk to him about the make up of the Church, of lack of progress after the Council and also, most particularly, about the governance of the Church by all the bishops – albeit always with the pope. Effectively we agreed, but the concept of collegiality is in deep-freeze, so that essentials await implementation and “subsistit” is under threat of re-interpretation. Shortly, there will be no-one left to remember... Butler protested about the neglect of collegiality, as indirectly did Fr., now Cardinal Dulles. Perhaps it was as a result of subsistit that Butler made his own the now well-known insight of Evdokimov: “I know where the Church is but do not presume to know or judge where it is not” Attempts by some circles in the Roman Curia to re-interpret this key concept of subsistit, drew from a distinguished Dominican scholar this urgent comment “This disservice to the truth, this denial of the crucial change of course….. must be resisted to the finish.” (Ministry and Authority in the Catholic Church, Edmund Hill OP, 1988, Geoffrey Chapman). (For the broader discussion, see Vatican II in Depth)
Translation (by Michael L S Wells)
In the third volume of f L'Eglise de Vatican II, J. N. D. Kelly contributed "An Anglican opinion on the constitution" (pp. 1295-1304). He deplored the fact that "Despite its sincerely ecumenical spirit, it asserts throughout with the most total certainty and without the shadow of a question, that the true Church of Christ, in the full and true meaning of the term is in fact [subsistit in] the Roman Catholic church" (p. 1297). This complaint provoked the editors (Barauna and Congar) to add a note: "We would like to draw the attention of the author and the readers to the essay, Non-Catholic Christians and the Church by Ch. Butler, published in the present work (tome II, pp. 651-668). This study demonstrates that the Lumen Gentium Constitution and the De Oecumenismo Decree of Vatican II mark an evolution of the doctrine of Catholic teaching on this point with respect to what Pius XII declared in his Mystici Corporis" encyclical (p. 1298).
(Researcher’s note: Canon J.N.D. Kelly was a distinguished Anglican scholar, ecumenist and writer, but apart from a visit to Rome with the Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Michael Ramsey) to meet Pope Paul VI in 1966, it is difficult to see how he could offer the opinion quoted.)