1 August 2010

Apostolicae curae: text

What does Apostolicae curae say about its own status within the Magisterium? Here there is a curious textual anomaly. Different printed versions say different things. One has the Bull referring to the subject with which it deals as "idem caput disciplinae". Another omits "disciplinae" ("This matter [of discipline]"). The question is of considerable significance. Nobody doubts that there are doctrinal matters involved in this business; but a disciplinary decision, while it has its own area in which it does bind, is not binding in the same sort of way as a doctrinal decision.

I once made an attempt to get to the bottom of this question. I received this reply: "The word is actually included in the version published in Acta Sanctae Sedis 29 (1896-7), which is the official version of the text. There is therefore no need to view the original document signed by the two cardinals. However, in the collected edition of the Acta Leonis XIII the word is omitted; this edition seems to be unofficial, being published by the Societas Sancti Augustini, Desclee de Brouwer, Bruges, vol. 6, 1900". My informant, a Roman Catholic theologian of some distinction and reknown, commented "I can only guess that someone was afraid the word might lead people to think the decision might be changed". Indeed. It is amusing to imagine the look on Cardinal Vaughan's face, in the midst of the triumphant rejoicings in Archbishop's House Westminster after he had secured the issue of Apostolicae curae, when he suddenly realised the subversive potential of the one word "disciplinae". In a funny sort of way, the fact that "someone" took whatever trouble had to be taken to get the text changed in a subsequent unofficial publication of the Bull is a witness to the importance "someone" attached to the matter. If it makes no difference, why bother?

As for expressions like "forever in the future valid and in force", an article in the Heythrop Journal (27, 1986, 178-180), on the genuineness of the tomb of S James at Compostella, raises some interesting questions.

Nitpicking? I profoundly disagree. Whenever anyone says to me "You're splitting hairs", I know that he knows that I know that he has lost the argument!

To be continued.

9 comments:

Little Black Sambo said...

Gideon, are you reading this?

Gideon Ertner said...

Yes... why?

If there is anything you can reach me at gideon_@hotmail.com.

Gideon Ertner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Little Black Sambo said...

I was referring to your previous comment. Your view of Card. Vaughan's part in this is very different from Fr Hunwicke's. (I am only stirring, really.)

Saint Justin said...

Fr Hunwicke,

Might you be able to offer your translation of the response to Saepius Officio? Alas, I was born too late and my Latin is lacking...

http://anglicanhistory.org/england/lacey/diary/app3.html

Justin

Gideon Ertner said...

Dunno - it may be true that Cardinal Vaughan thought that way, I really have no way of knowing (and I'm not sure Fr. Hunwicke has either).

My point was merely that I'm pretty sure the great Pope didn't. From what I know of him (e.g. his dealings with the Eastern churches) he seems to have had a rather magnanimous spirit.

Joshua said...

Pardon me for asking, but is there not a slightly self-serving quality about the tale that nasty Cardinal Vaughan and sundry sneaky Italians duped the Holy Father into making an unfortunate ruling about Anglican orders (albeit one that rather confirmed opinions and decisions ever since certain events in the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Elizabeth I)?

It reminds me of the way propagators of odd and questionable Marian apparitions protest that the Holy Father really approves of their favoured pilgrimage site, or would if he could, but is hostage to cruel and malicious bishops and Cardinals...

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

Merry del Val wasn't a sundry sneaky Italian. I like Italians.

David said...

Merry Del Val wasn't an Igtalian at all.