- “the sacred doctrines of the faith have been defined more closely, and set forth more fully, errors have been condemned and restrained, ecclesiastical discipline has been restored and more firmly secured, the love of learning and of piety has been promoted among the clergy, colleges have been established to educate youth for the sacred warfare, and the morals of the Christian world have been renewed by the more accurate training of the faithful, and by the more frequent use of the sacraments. Moreover, there has resulted a closer communion of the members with the visible head, an increase of vigor in the whole mystical body of Christ, the multiplication of religious congregations and of other institutions of Christian piety, and such ardor in extending the kingdom of Christ throughout the world, as constantly endures, even to the sacrifice of life itself.”
- “1. If anyone shall say that the One True God, our Creator and Lord, cannot be certainly known by the natural light of human reason through created things; let him be anathema.”
- “9. Therefore…we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable. So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.”
- “18. For the nurturing and constant growth of the People of God, Christ the Lord instituted in His Church a variety of ministries, which work for the good of the whole body. For those ministers, who are endowed with sacred power, serve their brethren, so that all who are of the People of God, and therefore enjoy a true Christian dignity, working toward a common goal freely and in an orderly way, may arrive at salvation.”
- “And all this teaching about the institution, the perpetuity, the meaning and reason for the sacred primacy of the Roman Pontiff and of his infallible magisterium, this Sacred Council again proposes to be firmly believed by all the faithful.
- Continuing in that same undertaking, this Council is resolved to declare and proclaim before all men the doctrine concerning bishops, the successors of the apostles, who together with the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ the visible Head of the whole Church, govern the house of the living God.”
- “Therefore, the Sacred Council teaches that bishops by divine institution have succeeded to the place of the apostles, as shepherds of the Church, and he who hears them, hears Christ, and he who rejects them, rejects Christ and Him who sent Christ.”
- “But Episcopal consecration, together with the office of sanctifying, also confers the office of teaching and of governing, which, however, of its very nature, can be exercised only in hierarchical communion with the head and the members of the college.”
- “But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head. The pope's power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact.”
- “Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops.”
- “For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect… But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ's body,(21) and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.”
I'm not dumb. Actually, some people think I'm fairly smart. And yes, I do know the answers that theologians give that solve the riddles here. But that's just it: it's not a crossword, it's a dogmatic constitution. Why can't they just be clear. That's what conciliar documents are for. You don't need an mechanical engineering degree to ride a bike, do you? Why all the nuance?
And don't doubt it: all the council fathers were well-trained in the old school theology methods, so they knew how to write. So this writing here is intentional. Vagueness and ambiguity are the point. If you make a soft enough statement, you can spin it to anything you want.