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    Vatican II: 'Two Sources of Revelation'

    Jack P. Oostveen

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    In his opening address Pope John XXIII had set the substantive rules for the Second Vatican Council itself as well as for its interpretation, which is not only a kind of continuity with, but more explicit in unity with and in accordance to the Doctrine as taught by the Fathers. They may "never depart from the sacred patrimony of truth received from the Fathers" and "the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously" [01]

    Pope Paul VI gave a clear description and condemnation of the hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture in his address to the Cardinals of the Curia on June 23, 1972 "... an emergency which We cannot and must not keep hidden: in the first place a false and erroneous interpretation of the Council, which would want to break with tradition, even as regards doctrine, an interpretation which goes so far that the pre-conciliar Church is rejected and one is allowed to consider a 'new' church, as it were reinvented from the inside, as regards the constitution of the Church, her dogma, custom and law" [02]

    "By their fruits you will know them" (Matt. 7, 16)


        Interventions by Pope Paul VI
        De Fontibus Revelatione
      Preparatory document, June1961
      General session, November 1962
      Mixed Commission
      Written Observations 1964
      General Session 1964

      This report can download as pdf-file.


    Two Sources of Revelation


    Interventions by Pope Paul VI

    Consequently to the Hijack the Council Commissions were imbalanced with a disproportional influence by the New Theology and the anti-Roman sentiment. Therefore Pope Paul VI had to intervene personally more than once in accordance to the substantive rules set by Pope John XXIII. This was the case of the Dogmatic Constitution Verbum Dominum, the doctrine of marriage, the subject of celibacy [03] and the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium.

    He forbade the Council to debate publicly about the subjects on contraception and celibacy by withdrawing these subjects from the Council's agenda and decided to cover these by himself. After the Council Pope Paul VI indeed covered these subject in the encyclicals Sacerdotalis Cealibatus (1967) and Humanae Vitae (1968) respectively, which got an overflow of rebellion reactions.

    In case of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium Pope Paul VI choose to issue a Nota explicativa praevia to explain how certain parts of this document has to be read.

    Bellow the intervention on the two Sources of Revelation, a subject that concerns the teaching of the Council of Trent, is highlighted. This subject can be found in the preparatory document De Fontibus Revelatione [04], especially in its first chapter, which is added as attachment. Finally the preparatory document De Fontibus Revelatione became the Dogmatic Constitution Verbum Dominum.

    De Fontibus Revelatione

    After discussing the schema on the Liturgy from October 20 to November 13 the Council Fathers started on November 14 with the schema De Fontibus Revelatione prepared by the theological commission. Firstly, as president of the Theological Commission Cardinal Ottaviani was given the floor. He warned against illegal acts, by which: "some schemas have been circulated for the purpose of being substituted for the official schema.  This does not seem to be in accordance with the provisions of canon X of canon law. [The canon invoked is canon 222]" [05] and [06]. Then directly after the opening Cardinal Liénart of Lille took the floor: "I do not like the present doctrinal decree. In all of its content, it is totally inadequate for the matter with which it must deal. ... I ask with all my strength that the schema be entirely revised" [05] followed by the Cardinals Frings' and König's "Schema non placet". The general discussions went on till November 20, with the exception of Sunday November 18. The Council seems to have been divided into two opposite groups. On Sunday November 18 a private meeting was held at Bishop Volk's residence: "the 'Mater Dei' boarding house by Bishop Volk of Mainz. There were about 18 of us: 6 German bishops (Schröffer, bishop of Eichstätt; H. Schäuffele, from Freiburg, Volk from Mainz, P.Rusch from Innsbrück, etc.); 4 French bishops (Garonne, Elchinger, Pourchet, and the auxillary of Lille); theologians from Germany, France, Belgium, Holland ..." [05].  Bishop Volk started this meeting by saying: "This is an absolutely private meeting, to examine freely among ourselves how we can get out of this impasse. ..." [05]

    Finally, November 20, after a week of general discussions and before starting the more detailed discussions on the chapters a voting was held on the schema in general. And when the votes did not attain the two-thirds majority in favour of rejecting this schema that the council's rules required on all procedural questions, the detailed discussions continued.  However the following day, November 21, it was announced the Holy Father had decided to have the schema De Fontibus Revelatione of the theological commission recast by a new mixed commission, in order to shorten it and to make the general principles defined by Trent and Vatican I stand out better

    It has to be concluded here that Pope John XXIII did not require, suggest or ordered any substantial changes of this document. Rather, the changes would only affect the length and shape, making it more pastoral and ecumenical. Further discussion of this scheme by the Council Fathers was called off.

    The new mixed commission consisting of the Theological Commission and the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity was presided by both Cardinal Ottaviani, prefect of the Holy Office, and Cardinal Bea S.J., President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. In addition, Pope John XXIII appointed Cardinals Liénart, Frings, König, Léger, Meyer, Lefebvre, Santos, Ruffini and Browne [04]. Now the imbalanced new theologian commission became even more imbalanced, because Cardinals Bea S.J., Liénart, Frings, König, Léger, Meyer and Lefebvre were attached to Schema non placet position while only Cardinals Ottaviani, Ruffini and Browne were in favour of the schema. With this the rebellious "Spirit of the Council" gained a majority in the Mixed Commission and had only to wait for the right moment, they could rule this Commission. Finally, this made an intervention by Pope Paul VI inevitable.

    Preparatory document, June1961

    The first Chapter of the original schema De Fontibus Revelatione mentioned the two Sources of Revelation: Holy Scripture and Tradition. Especially, paragraph 6 referred to this distinction given by the Council of Trent. This distinction was a response to the reformation that interpreted the one divine revelation of the Word of God as being Sola Scriptura.

    The draft of De Fontibus Revelatione has been written by a sub-commission of experts and reworked after a discussion by the full Theological Preparatory Commission. Then after approval by the vast majority of the Theological Preparatory Commission this reworked draft was presented to the Central Preparatory Commission [07]. The voting by the members of this Central Preparatory Commission, at which only Cardinals and Bishops could vote, turned out to be 4 Placet, 63 Placet iuxta modum and 2 non placet, while 4 votes abstained. The two non placet votes came from the German Cardinals Frings and Döpfner [07]. According the protocol, because the fast majority of the Central Preparatory Commission had voted placet iuxta modum the document did not return to the Theological Preparatory Commission. In accordance to rules the document was revised by a sub-commission under supervision of 5 Cardinal members of the Central Preparation Commission [07]. In case an objective had been rejected the sub-commission was obliged to write their arguments in an accompanying letter. The critics in this draft that had led to a majority of votes for placet iuxta modum, did not really concern the distinction of the sources of Revelation between Tradition and Scripture. Even the large numbers of critics by Cardinal Bea, at which about 55 votes referred, did not concern this subject.

    Note that only 13 of the 72 voting members of the Central Preparatory Commission where members of the Curia too, most of them Prefect of one of the Congregations. And more than 80% of the voting members where diocesan Cardinals and Bishops from all over the world. It was this revised draft that after approval by Pope John XXIII was presented for discussion to the Council Fathers. So, in no way this preparatory document can be considered as a Curial document as it was so oft suggested by those, who opposed this document [08].

    General session, November 1962

    November 14, 1962, the General Session on De Fontibus Revelatione started. Here, in contrary to the objections by the Central Preparatory Commission, the subject of the two Sources of Revelation was precisely where the Cardinals Liénart, Frings and König began attacking this preparatory document. Note that these Cardinals were also voting members of the Central Preparatory Commission. Here, they showed a harsh opposition to the subject of two sources of Revelation. Cardinal Liénart addressed the issue as follows: "I do not like the present doctrinal decree. In all its content, it is totally inadequate for the matter with which it must deal. This refers to the idea of two sources of revelation. The schema identified two distinct sources: Scripture and tradition, which corresponded to a theme inherited from the anti-Protestant arguments against the idea of sola scriptura. This conception was criticized by some Fathers who insisted on the one and only source: the Word of God. The divine source has been omitted, the deeper, unique source, that is the Word of God. The essential source. ..." [05]. Directly thereafter Cardinal Frings stated: "... On the two sources. This manner of speaking is recent; it is not found in the Fathers or Scholastics (it is not in Saint Thomas) or in the Councils.  And from the very first lines, by these two sources, our separated brethren will be offended, a new gap will be created. ... It is not the tradition of the councils to resolve disputed questions." [05] and Cardinal König "In truth he said in the schemas proposed a judgement which up today is still disputed among the theologians and periti, and about which there is not the unanimous consent of the Tradition" [09].  These interventions were aroused by titular Archbishop Mgr. Parente by an articulate and precise summing up the opposite facts after which Cardinal Frings was persuaded to apologise for not having expressed himself clearly and corrected himself, saying: "in order of being there is one source, Revelation itself, from which arise two rivulets, Sacred Scripture and Tradition". Finally, the real problem was the method, over which there was a disagreement regarding the purpose. [09]. 

     Note, that the same Cardinals, who intervened irregularly on the first working day of the Council, were just those who set the tone by a confrontational attack on De Fontibus Revelatione on the first day of the discussion on this document. Meanwhile their theologian advisors strived to get a withdrawal of all doctrinal preparatory documents. As mentioned by Cardinal Ottaviani in his opening address they were illegally working on alternative texts to get the entire 3 years of dogmatic Preparatory Work withdrawn and replaced for their hasty produced alternatives.

    Here, the fathers Yves Congar O.P., Daniélou S.J., Karl Rahner S.J. found it extremely necessary to reject these doctrinal documents. Though the younger Joseph Ratzinger claimed that he was much more moderate on it, he still worked closely to Father Karl Rahner S.J. on a text to replace the text of De Fontibus Revelatione: "[Cardinal Joseph Frings] began to send me [the schemata] regularly in order to have my criticism and suggestions for improvement. Naturally I took exception to certain things, but I found no grounds for a radical rejection of what was being proposed. It is true that the documents bore only weak traces of the biblical and patristic renewal of the last decades, so that they gave an impression of rigidity and narrowness through their excessive dependency on scholastic theology. In other words, they reflected more the thought of scholars than that of shepherds. But I must say that they had a solid foundation and had been carefully elaborated" [10]

    Mixed Commission

    While the voting on November 20, 1962, lacked the required absolute majority to reject the De Fontibus Revelatione, the discussions would continue. However considering that this outcome "was too thin to be viable" [11] and that the character of the rejections were finally on the method only, Pope John XXIII decided to recast this schema by a Commission. This Commission, composed mostly of members of the Doctrinal Commission and the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, should shorten the text and make the general principles defined by Trent and Vatican I stand out better (November 21).

    Note, that while the text would be too much academic, scholastic and too defensive, Pope John XXIII's instruction to the mixed commission did not contain any substantial change, but looking at the method to make the general principles defined by Trent and Vatican I stand out better.

    In addition to this, on November 24, nineteen Cardinals addressed the Supreme Pontiff, showing their appreciation of this decision to clearly state doctrinal principles against arising deviations, especially in exegetical field.  These Cardinals mentioned: "(1) that divine Revelation is an external and public fact, historically ascertainable; (2) that the divine Catholic Tradition is, as well as Sacred Scripture, means of Revelation; (3) that the divine Catholic Tradition is necessary to guarantee the value itself of the Sacred Scripture, and to interpret with clarity the obscure biblical texts, in matters of faith and morals; (4) that both Sacred Scripture and divine-Catholic Tradition are remote rule of divine Revelation; the proximate rule is the living and unfailing Magisterium - ordinary and extraordinary - of the Holy Church, which sets out what is to be believed as divinely revealed truth that which is contained in the Depositum Fidei; (5) ...; (6) ..."[09].

    However, the Fathers, their theologian advisors and periti of the mixed commission were divided. And so, opposing the instructions by Pope John XXIII, a discussion on the two sources, i.c. the material sufficiency of Scripture started.  Some were following Cardinal Bea S.J. with the opinion that a question about the distinction of the two sources should not be raised while others were following Cardinal Ottaviani who objected since it was a serious matter of faith at stake, de re fidei.  A third group that followed Father Karl Rahner S.J. defended the fact that other truths, excluding the canon, were implied in Sacred Scripture. 

    After a few months of discussion none of these opinions got a two-third majority.  Then on February 23, 1963 a two-third majority was formed by Cardinal Bea S.J. and Father Karl Rahner S.J. agreeing to leave this matter open, falsely arguing that the Council was not called on to resolve this problem. This argument neglected on the one hand their main task: "make the general principles defined by Trent and Vatican I stand out better". While on the other hand with regard to the opening address by Pope Blessed John XXIII, they opposed the main rule that "the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously" and "the Church should never depart from the sacred patrimony of truth received from the Fathers".

    The new neutral formula of the Revelation was adopted on February 23, 1963, by the majority of the mixed commission. It has to be said here that such happened while, during that meeting on Februari 23, Cardinal Ottaviani had to leave the meeting early, since he had to attend a function and by that Cardinal Bea assumed the first presidency. When Cardinal Ottaviani was still present, a question was put to vote. However, when Cardinal Ottaviani was absent Cardinal Bea changed the question for voting, so the agreement was to be that nothing was to be said about insufficiency, nothing in favour or against. The next meeting, February 25, Cardinal Ottaviani formally protested against the change in the question and criticised the legal validity of the vote, since, by means of the vote according to Cardinal Bea's question, the status quo had changed; the doctrine which had been taught by the ordinary Magisterium up until now, was now placed only as questio disputa, but in fact it was a matter of the foundation of faith. Cardinal Ottaviani presented a new question for voting: are there revealed truths which are not contained Sacred Scripture either explicitly nor implicitly. Cardinal Bea and all members of his Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity within the Mixed Commission rejected this vote, stating that such a question was already contained in a resolution, approved by the co-ordinating Commission. Finally this new neutral formula was send to the co-ordinating Commission, approved on March 27, 1963 and hand over to the General Secretary for further discussion in the Council [09].

    The 1963 closing Address and the Written Observations 1964

    Then, December 1963, in his closing address of the second session of the Council, Pope Paul VI alluded to the schema on Divine Revelation that he wanted the question about Revelation to be developed so as to defend the deposit of faith from all errors, abuse and doubt. He concluded: "the very sufficiency of Scripture is in no way taught by the Scripture itself" [12].  This should be a sign to the Council Fathers, who received this so-called neutral schema for making written observations and proposing amendments on January 3, 1964. Here, once again the debate about Tradition was heated. The Fathers accepted the schema while proposing amendments, which in their eyes were right and proper. Hereby, the German-language Council Fathers as well as the Scandinavian were in favour of the new schema, others manifested their perplexity, concerning the way the theme of material insufficiency of the Scripture was neutralised with the danger that the teaching on Tradition was made barely comprehensible. [09].
    Then, March 1964, the Theologian Commission started to work on the observations by the Fathers. Obviously, again, the two sources appears too be a great problem. As Ratzinger has said "The greatest difficulty remained here, too, the problem of the material sufficiency of Scripture". The Doctrinal Commission was divided. Confirming the material insufficiency of Scriptures as taught by the Council of Trent, only a minority did not want to reduce the Scripture-Tradition relationship to a quaestio disputata. Only a minority did not want to reduce the Scripture-Tradition relationship to a quaestio disputata, confirming the material insufficiency of Scriptures as taught by the Council of Trent.

    Here we have to mention Father Hermann Schauf reporting about a private meeting with Father Karl Rahner S.J. on March 12, 1964, "Before today's meeting a great disagreement with Rahner, who now wants to hear nothing about the insufficiency of Scripture. About formulation, which offers revealed things, which could not prove by Scripture, he said: what does to prove, to demonstrate mean? Who stops me from finding it in Scripture?". Father Karl Rahner S.J. stated that the axiom of material insufficiency of Scripture was impossible to prove, and therefore could be left out the conciliar declaration. [09]. Herewith, Father Karl Rahner made clear that for his concern the neutral formulation only served his opinion about the sufficiency of the Scripture.

    General Session 1964

    Certainly, there were outspoken opinions on the subject of the two Sources of Revelation, from both sides: pro and contra. Like on the one hand: "If we do not affirm the two sources, we are being unfaithful to the Council of Trent. We must speak of the 'Traditio constituva' " (Mgr. Raffaele Calabria of Benevento) while on the other hand Mgr. Hermann Volk of Mainz (Germany), one of the pupils of Father Karl Rahner S.J., stated: "Scripture does not merely contain but is in itself the word of God. We set forth Sacred Scripture in aula, not tradition" [03]
    November 10, 1964, the Theologian Commission started the examination of De Revelatione in a lively discussion pro and contra the two sources. Then, as Mgr. Anastasio Granados, Auxilery of Toledo charged on the traditio constitutiva Mgr. Luis Henrí quez of Caracas said: "If someone wants to reopen this discussion, let there first be a prior vote to see if the commission consents to it; and, in that case, the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity should be convoked, since it is a mixed commission that has charged with the finalization of the text. And the Secretariat will surely have a contrary opinion". Finally, the theological commission decided to keep silent about the dogmatic fact of Tradition as indispensable vehicle of faith alongside Scripture. Through this silence, dependent how it will be interpret, it could be understood that the Scripture is sufficient, thereby reducing the value of Tradition.

    Intervention by Pope Paul VI

    On September 24, 1965 Pope Paul VI urged through a letter by Pericles Felici, Secretary of the Council to Cardinal Ottaviani the prevention of the approval of a text on Scripture: "Most Reverend Eminence That is the will of the Holy Father that in the most appropriate place in the schema it be stated clearly and most explicitly about the constitutive nature of Tradition, as Source of Revelation. To that end the Supreme Pontiff himself has kindly indicated the following quotation from St. Augustine 'Sunt multa quae universa tenet Ecclesia, et ob hoc ab Apostolis praecepta bene credeuntur, aquam scripta non reperiantur' (De baptismo c, Donat,. V, 23, 31: PL. 43,192)" [12].

    Stimulated by this letter Cardinal Ottaviani once again tried several times to convince the members of the theological commission of the need for not silencing this doctrine of the Church. However the majority, who did not know about the letter of September 23 to Cardinal Ottaviani still refused by arguing that such is already passed by the decision of the mixed commission in February 1963.

    After these refusals, on October 18, 1965, Pope Paul VI finally sent the theological commission a number of text-proposals from which they had to choose to adopt into the final schema, so that it could be read in accordance to the Doctrine of the Church.  As a reaction on the first rumours about such letter, according to Father Yves Congar O.P. on October 13, 1965, the conservative minority was directly accused for having influenced the Pope by requests for intervention.  However it came out by Cardinal Suenens, who had spoken Pope Paul VI twice about this subject, as Father Yves Congar O.P. reported:"that the Pope is pre-occupied with this question of Scripture and Tradition" [03].

    So it went from "silencing the distinct sources by one unique source" (Liénart) via silencing one specific distinction "it is not found in the Fathers or Scholastics (it is not in Saint Thomas) or in the Councils" and "by these 'two sources', our separated brethren will be offended, a new gap will be created"(Frings) to a "Sola Scriptura"-spirit that considered: "Scripture as complete, everything is found there" [14] back to the origin two Sources of Revelation".

    With the hindsight of the Council's aftermath, in 2013 Pope Benedict XVI reported that the mixed commission had produced a text on the Scripture: "... born from a vision of the Council detached from its proper key, that of faith. And the same applies to the question of Scripture: Scripture is a book, it is historical, to be treated historically and only historically, and so on".  This text that was strongly influenced by a spirit that considers the "Scripture as complete, everything is found there; consequently there is no need for Tradition, and so the Magisterium has nothing to say" [14].


    Whereas, principally, any ambiguity, contradictory compromised texts or a one-sided silenced part of the Doctrine is a risk for false interpretations and therefore cannot directly come from the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of the Truth. So, any deliberately created ambiguity, contradictory compromised text-phrases or a one-sided silenced part of the Doctrine has to be considered as contradictory to a gracious and humble collaboration with the intention of the Holy Spirit.

    So, this example on the 'Doctrine of the two Sources of Revelation' is showing how far the rebellious 'Spirit of the Council' would work against the Holy Spirit if they indeed had the majority itself. Then, they would not only stack into ambiguities to delude good-willing Council Fathers.

    This example shows that:

    • A vast majority of the mixed commission as well as a vast majority of the theological commission and a vast majority of Council Fathers lacked the spirit to fulfil the primary substantive rule set by Pope John XXIII: "never depart from the sacred patrimony of truth received from the Fathers" [01]. They silenced the Truth about the Doctrine of the two Sources as given by the Council of Trent;
    • A vast majority of the mixed commission did not fulfil the task as instructed by Pope John XXIII not to change De Fontibus Revelatione substantially;
    • A vast majority of theological commission and Council Fathers did not respond well to the intention of Pope Paul VI as given in his closing address of the second session in December 1963.

    Apparently, it shows that the rebellious spirit lacked any spirit of gracious and humble collaboration with the intention of the Holy Spirit by their free will. Suggesting "that the Pope is pre-occupied with this question of Scripture and Tradition" [03] they only accepted this Doctrine forcedly because the Pope insisted that this is the Truth about the source of Revelation. And so they set back this Doctrine in the document about the Revelation. However even then, as witnessed by Father Henry de Lubac S.J., not too strong: ".. it did not seem to me strong enough (Which are the dogmas, in fact, about which the Scripture text alone, without the traditional interpretation, could give us an absolute certainty) .. That showed me how easily our bishops are being maneuvered. .." [13].

    Furthermore, as reported by [15] Father. Alberto Franzini, SJ, notes in his dissertation ad lauream in Theology at the Gregorian University "The concept of Tradition in the Constitution Dei Verbum is understood with different meanings not always clearly specified or even intelligible, thus giving rise to confusions that theological reflection, based on good textual hermeneutics, should attempt to eliminate ... Regarding the first criticism, Dei Verbum can hardly escape the accusation that a certain 'semantic sleight-of-hand' has taken place. Until the various meanings of the term 'Tradition' are clarified, it will be difficult even to agree upon the precise meanings that, at times, it may take on....".." and more specifically on number 8: " In n. 8 of Dei Verbum are seen fundamentally two concepts of Tradition which are constantly interchanged: a concept which is broader in some contexts and more restricted in others".."

    Obviously, Cardinal Bea S.J. seemed to be motivated and focused by ecumenical purposes to decline the resistance by the reformation, which is a good thing itself. But going so far as if the Doctrine of the Church is (partly) guilty on that gap between the Church and the Reformation and therefore denying or silencing a part of the doctrine seems to be an accusation against the Holy Spirit.

    This event concerning the subject of the "two Sources of Revelation" shows the full consequences of the irregular intervention on October 13, 1962, by Cardinal Liénart, the confirmation by Cardinal Frings as well as the irregular applause by a vast majority of Council Fathers, neglecting the rule "not to change a rule without Pope's approval" by the Presidium and the sanctioning by Pope John XXIII.


    De De Fontibus Revelatione (first Chapter - Changes by the Central Preparatory Commission are made in red):

    1. The Revelation of the Old and New Covenants.
    The revelation, which, in his wisdom and goodness, God deigned to bestow upon man, comes to us in the economy of the Old and New Covenants. Under the Old Covenant, in many and various ways God spoke to our fathers through the prophets (see Hb 1:1); but under the New Covenant, through his own Son and his Apostles, God spread the treasures of his wisdom and knowledge abroad to the whole human race (see Jn 14:26 and 16:14; Hb 1:2).

    2. The Initial Spreading of the New Covenant's Revelation.
    In God's plan, this revelation of the New Covenant, which greatly surpasses and completes that of the Old, was chiefly spread by preaching and received by listening, just as the Apostle said: "Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ" (Rm 10:17). For during his lifetime Christ the Lord revealed the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven to the children of Israel by word of mouth; and after his resurrection he commanded his Apostles to preach to every creature (see Mk 16:15): "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me; going, therefore, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Mt 28:18-20). It is because the Apostles preach the doctrine of Christ and indeed do so in his name that in the Scriptures they are said simply to speak "the Word of God" or "the Word of the Lord" (see Acts 4:29; 8:25; 13:46; 14:36); indeed, their own preaching is called "the Word of God" (see Acts 6:2,7; 11:1; 12:24; 13:7,48; etc.), inasmuch as it is truly God's speech being addressed to men through them, as the Apostle said to the Thessalonians: "...we thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God which is at work in you who believe" (I Th 2:13). So it is, as St. Clement of Rome testifies, that "the Apostles were established for us as preachers of the Gospel by the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was sent by God. Christ is from God and the Apostles from Christ; thus both come in proper order by the will of God. And so the Apostles, after they had received their orders and in full assurance by reason of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, being full of faith in the word of God, went out in the conviction of the Holy Spirit preaching the good news of the coming of God's Kingdom."

    3. The Transmission of the New Covenant's Revelation.
    Throughout the centuries, the ministry of the Word which Christ and the Apostles inaugurated has always been preserved in the Church. For as the Apostles handed on what they had received from Christ (see I Cor 15:3 along with 11:23) and entrusted it for safekeeping to their successors (see I Tm 6:20; II Tm 1:14), so Bishops, who succeed to the place of the Apostles in the Church, have always by their preaching handed on that doctrine and authoritatively interpreted it. Some of the Apostles or apostolic men, under divine inspiration, also put the revelation into writing; but the living preaching of the Apostles was neither annulled nor diminished by these writings; it was rather strengthened, preserved more securely, and authoritatively explained [was strengthened and recommended].

    4. The Twofold Source of Revelation.
    Instructed by the commands and examples of Christ and of the Apostles, therefore, Holy Mother Church has always believed and believes still that the complete revelation is not contained in Scripture alone but in Scripture and in Tradition as in a twofold source, although in different ways. Besides containing what was revealed, the books of the Old and New Testaments were also written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so that they have God as their author. 3 But truly divine Tradition, preserved in the Church by a continuous succession, contains all the matters of faith and morals which the Apostles received either from the mouth of Christ or from the suggestions of the Holy Spirit and which they transmitted ["outside Holy Scripture"] as it were by hand to the Church so that in it they might be handed on further by the Church's preaching. Therefore, the things which divine Tradition contains by itself [ratione sui] are drawn not from books, but from the Church's living preaching, from the faith of believers, and from the Church's practice. [As for things belonging to the past, many are known from various written, although not inspired, documents.]

    5. The Relationship between the Two Sources.
    Let no one, therefore, dare to consider Tradition to be of inferior worth or refuse it his faith. For although Holy Scripture, since it is inspired, provides a divine instrument for expressing and illustrating the truths of faith, still its meaning can be clearly and fully [not underlined in PTC] understood or even presented only by means of the apostolic Tradition. Indeed, Tradition and it alone is the way in which some revealed truths, particularly those concerned with the inspiration, canonicity and integrity of each and every sacred book, are clarified and become known to the Church.

    6. The Relationship of Each Source to the Magisterium.
    In order that the two sources of revelation might harmoniously and more effectively work together for the salvation of man, the provident Lord handed them over, as a single deposit of faith to be kept safe and defended and authoritatively interpreted, not to individual believers, however learned, but to the Church's living Magisterium alone. It is the responsibility of the Church's Magisterium, as the proximate and universal norm for believing, not only to pass judgement, having made use of the means which divine providence offers, in matters directly or indirectly concerning faith and morals, on the meaning and interpretation both of the Holy Scriptures and also of the documents and monuments in which the Tradition has in the course of time been recorded and manifested, but also to illustrate and to explain those things which are obscurely and implicitly contained in each source.


    01 "Gaudet Mater Ecclesia, Opening address of the Second Vatican Council (October 11th)", Pope John XXIII (1962);
    [because the Vatican website does not provide an English translation of this Opening Address, the translation by http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/ teach/v2open.htm has been used here and verified by the Dutch translation ];

    02 "Die 23 mensis iunii a. 1972: Eminentissimis Sacri Collegii Cardinalium Patribus, Summo Pontifici die Eius nominali felicia ac fausta ominantibus", [http://www.vatican.va/archive/aas/documents/AAS-64-1972-ocr.pdf];

    03 "My Journal of the Council", Yves Congar O.P. (2012, English translation); Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minesotta, ISBN 978-0-8146-8029-2;

    04 "Draft of a dogmatic constitution on the sources of revelation", Translation © Joseph A. Komonchak 2012 [https://jakomonchak.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/de-fontibus-1-5.pdf];

    05 "Henri de Lubac S.J., Vatican Council Notebooks -volume one", Henri de Lubac (2015); Ignatius Press, ISBN 978-1-58617-305-0;

    06 "Konzilstagebuch Sebastian Tromp SJ, Band 2/1 (1962-1963)", Alexandra von Teufenfach (2011); Verlag Traugott Bautz GmbH, ISBN 978-3-88309-625-4;

    07 "Konzilstagebuch Sebastian Tromp SJ', Band 1/1 (1960-1962)", Alexandra von Teufenfach (2006); Editrice Pontificia Universita Gregoriana, ISBN 88-7839-057-7;

    08 "Acta et Documenta Concilio Oecumenio Vatican II, Series II (Praeparatoria) Volumen II, Acta Pontificiae Commissionis Centralis Praeparatoriae Concilii Oecumenici Vatican II, Pars I, Sessio Prima: 12-20 Iunii 1961 & Sessio Secunda: 7-17 Novembris 1961 (Sub Secreto)", Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, MCMLXV ;

    09 "Vatican II, A pastoral Council - Hermeneutics of Council Teaching", Serafino M Lanzetta (2016); Gracewing & Latin Mass Society, ISBN 978-085244-888-5;

    10 "Theological highlights of Vatican II", Joseph Ratzinger (1966), Paulist Press, ISBN 978-0-8091-4610-9;

    11 "Benedict XVI, last testament in his own words with Peter Seewald", Peter Seewald (2016); Bloomsburry Publishing, ISBN 978-1-4729-4467;

    12 "Joseph Ratzinger, Zur Lehre des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils", Erster Teilband, (Joseph Ratzinger. Gesammelte Schriften 7/1), re-edited by Mgr. Gerard Ludwig Müller und der 'Institut Papst Benedikt XVI' (2012), Preface by Pope Benedict XVI; Regensburg, ISBN 978-3-451-34124-3, Herder Verlag, Freiburg [full English text of the preface: Pope pens rare article on his inside view of Vatican II, 
    [http://en.radiovaticana.va/storico/2012/10/10/ pope_pens_rare_article_on_his_inside_view_of_vatican_ii/en1-628708];

    13 "Henri de Lubac S.J., Vatican Council Notebooks -volume two", Henri de Lubac (2015); Ignatius Press, ISBN 978-1-58617-305-0;

    14 "Address of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to the Roman Clergy - February 14", Pope Benedict XVI (2013),

    15 "In the Murky Waters of Vatican II", 3rd Ed. (1999), Volume 1 of the Collection 'Eli, Eli, Lamma Sabacthani?', Atila Sinke Guimarães, ISBN-13:978-0-9726516-7-7;