Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Friday, 17 August 2012

Traditionalist Heresies

While there are any number of traditionalists who are quite orthodox and who go about their business without the slightest hint of dissent, this is not always the case. There are several dangers which traditionalists can fall prey to.

The crisis of authority in the Church leads some to believe that bishops are so corrupt that they are without authority and can be ignored. The most typical expression of this error holds that while a person is loyal to the pope, they have no obligation to obey those whom the pope has appointed. This form of bottom up anarchism is especially attractive to those who have some dispute with their local ordinary. It has the advantage of allowing the person to proclaim their loyalty to the pope while denying the pope any effective means of governing or enforcing obedience in their local situation. This aberration holds to the pope's teaching authority while denying him universal jurisdiction. The more extreme form of this holds that the pope himself is a heretic, imposter, freemason or otherwise disqualified from holding office, thus denying him both teaching authority and universal jurisdiction.

Only the mass matters and that must be celebrated in Latin according to the Tridentine Rite. One of the more peculiar expressions of this came in response to Msgr. Steenson's statement:
 But as the Extrordinary Form is not integral to the Anglican patrimony, it is not properly used in our communities. The Ordinariate will remain focused on bringing Christians in the Anglican tradition into full communion with the Catholic Church.
This resulted in a flurry of blog and combox activity. Essentially this places a particular liturgy and its proper celebration above all other considerations. Enthusiasm for the Anglican Ordinariate faded quickly in some circles once it became clear that they were not going to be of much use in promoting the Tridentine Rite. It is quite appropriate for a group to be attached to a particular rite but that should never become an end in itself.  Liturgy is a means of grace for the salvation of souls.

The term "scruples" should be familiar to most Catholics. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:
 Among these is a certain rooted attachment to their own opinion which makes them unwilling to abide by the judgment of those whom they consult, even though these latter have every title to deference. In consequence, they go from one confessor to another, change their convictions with hardly a shadow of motive, and are tortured by an overshadowing dread that sin lurks in everything they do, and say, and think.
When this primacy of conscience over legitimate authority and even common sense affects an an entire group, it may descend into rigorism. For example. it is the custom in certain circles to remain silent throughout much of the Tridentine Rite. This in itself is not rigorism but shushing people who make the responses aloud is. Wearing a mantilla in church is not rigorist but confronting someone who is not wearing one most definitely would be. Rigorism is essentially scruples which have moved out into the public arena.

This is an extreme interpretation of "extra Ecclesiam nulla salus"  which denies that God can use extraordinary means to save a soul. It essentially makes God into a sort of absentee landlord who has thrown the keys to the kingdom over his shoulder and left. As Screwtape puts it 
I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans.
Their notion of what the Church really is has become far too small.


Barona said...

It was becoming painfully obvious that the integrists were falling into confusion and schims after the Council. In their mad rush to protect the Tridentine Mass and to not change "one word"; they seemed to forget that if this were so Pius V would have excommunicated himself later in life; not to mention an assortment of Popes. They also conveniently forget that his anathemas would have fallen on PIus X who really re-worked the brievary in quite a radical way...

It was pathetic - in their dismay over the post-conciliar confusion, these sad people were falling into schism. An error, the modernists did not undertake.

....... I have even read combox outrage over the height of candles on the rederos etc. These people have totally lost the meaning of the liturgy, and reduced it to theatre. They have fallen into the same trap the neo-modernist is in with the buffonery evident in so many Novus ordo Masses.

Vox Cantoris said...

When a bishop in not in accord with the Holy Father, then one looks to Peter. Who is to be a judge of whether the bishop is in error? One's informed conscience.

Episcopolatry is clearly at play here.

Freyr said...

What then are we to make of a pope who appoints heretical and corrupt bishops over us? Do you really mean to say that the pope is to be trusted in teaching the truths of the faith but is somehow impotent when it comes to proper governance of the Church? Unfortunately your right to dissent and follow your conscience bears echos of the Winnipeg Statement. For myself, in a situation where my judgement that a bishop is wrong is contrasted with the pope's judgement that the said bishop is to remain in office, it would be prudent to doubt my own assessment of the situation. Having said that, I cannot recall any instance where the bishop has required anything of me that might violate my own conscience. If such a situation arose it would be appropriate for me to make my grievance known to the bishop, and then to the Holy See if no redress were available. In any case, outright disobedience ought to be a last resort which I would only undertake in consultation with my confessor. The real difficulty here is that the occasions for disobedience multiply as the habit becomes more firmly entrenched. It is not a habit which I wish to cultivate.