Eodem sensu eademque sententia. To be blunt, these words (explained in the previous sections of this series) irritated - and irritate - those who see Vatican II as constituting a rupture with the past. This superb phrase makes clear that Catholic teaching is essentially unchangeable, even though the Church's understanding of her inheritance grows ever more mature. Eodem sensu eademque sententia is a red rag to any and every errant bull ... and all the more so because it appears in the Anti-Modernist oath which S Pius X, author of Pascendi Dominici gregis and hammer of the Modernists, imposed upon office-holders. But stay: I am jumping ahead of my narrative.
S Vincent of Lerins (c434) is often given the credit for this elegant and lapidary affirmation of continuity and identity within Catholic Tradition. Less often do people point out that he seems to have got it from S Paul. We had better look at S Paul's words and their context.
Given the sense of urgency with which the Man from Tarsus felt to teach the Gospel to the whole oikoumene, it is hardly surprising that he repeatedly received information that a crisis had arisen in an imperfectly formed ekklesia from which he had just moved on. So it was undoubtedly with a sense of deja vu that he sat down to dictate a letter to his Corinthian converts hoping thereby to repair the damage just reported to him by Chloe's People. He beseeches them dia tou onomatos tou Kuriou hemon Iesou Christou (notice this explicit insistence on his Apostolic Magisterium: "through the authority of the Lord's Name"), to "say [legete] the same thing"; to eschew schismata; and to be "fitted together [katertismenoi]" in (RSV) "the same mind and in the same judgement". S Vincent read this in his Latin Bible as eodem sensu eademque sententia; S Paul had written en toi autoi noi kai en tei autei gnomei*.
S Paul is urging the Corinthians to a synchronic unity. It is not be a vague pluralist unity in which different, even contradictory, statements can be judged, "deep down", to mean the same. To auto legete pantes, he insists. He requires a unity manifested in verbal identity.And, for a subsequent Christian generation, diachronic unity - 'vertically' down through the history of the Church - is going to be just as important as the 'horizontal' unity within a particular community at a particular time. So S Vincent of Lerins very properly expanded the reference of the phrase to the development of Christian doctrine generation by generation. But it never ceases to retain its Pauline synchronic reference; most recently when Paul VI aptly quoted I Corinthians 1:10 in Humanae vitae.
I hope to continue this exploration.
*Perhaps I should explain that, like Professor James Diggle, the OCT editor of Euripides, and the papyrological community, I see merit in writing my iotas adscript.