Friday 31 August 2012

Vatican II: Renewal not Betrayal

"We will hear the call of the world with the help of God. We will continue to offer, unwearingly to the human race today, the remedy for all its evils in response to its appeal 'Christ and His infinite goodness'. But will the world listen to our voice?"   Pope Paul VI, Sermon on the day of his Coronation, June 30th, 1963. 

Pope Paul VI
This post will be the first in a series of reflections on Vatican II. This is highly appropriate for a number of reasons: 1) this year will mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Council; 2) the truth about the Council needs to be heard; and 3) the authoritative voices of the Popes on what the Council was, is and how it is to be interpreted and applied in the life of the Church. It is painfully obvious that the crisis following the Council was a continuation of the "Modernist" crisis during the pontificates of Leo XIII and Pius X. In conversation with Freyr, we concluded that "modernist" along with a number of other terms need to be correctly defined within their original contexts for any real dialogue. "Liberal", "conservative", "traditionalist", "Neo-con Catholic" and even "Catholic" and "protestant"- all these terms must be defined. It is also equally painfully obvious that there is a strident religio-political party claiming to be "traditional" who are doing considerable damage to the Church; injuring Her through a lack of charity and undermining dogma. Rejecting the Council to move back to a private judgment pre-conciliar "church" is just as sinful as trying to fashion a post-conciliar "church". It has become quite evident, that many who claim to be "traditional" Catholics, are actually doing the devil's work (just look around on the 'net for all the gleeful scandal trolling posts), as much as those whom they denounce as "modernist". 

I am lucky enough to possess a book entitled "The teachings of Paul VI" consisting of Angelus addresses for the Year of Faith, 1968. These brief expositions on the Faith and the Council reveal the Pope's mind at the time and his authoritative interpretation of the Council: in other words, this is a seminal document on the application of the Council. Again, and again, as one reads the book from 2012 one realizes that the world and those in the Church did not listen to the Pope's voice. Moreover, this book reveals the Pope as not only a man of intense faith and strongly anti-modernist; but a pragmatic man who was well aware of the crisis that was transpiring in the Church and the world. What is more, upon reading the book, one discerns that the crisis was not the Council - it was a false interpretation and corruption of the Council

To create some semblance of order and to unpackage the Pope's various themes, this first post will merely outline the Holy Father's overview of the Council. 

There are many things that can be corrected and modified in Catholic life, many doctrines that can be studied more deeply, completed and expressed in more comprehensible terms, many rules than can be simplified and better adapted to the needs of our times. 

But there are two matters beyond argument: the truth of the Faith, authoritatively sanctioned by tradition and by the ecclesiastical magisterium, and the constitutional law of the Church. Obedience must be given to the ministry of the pastoral government  that Christ has established, and that the wisdom of the Church has developed and extended in the various members of the mystical and visible body of the Church, to guide and strengthen the many component parts that make up the People of God. 

Therefore: renewal, yes. Arbitrary change, no. History of the Church, ever living and new, yes. Historicism destructive of traditional dogma, no. Theological integration according to the teaching of the Council, yes. Theology deriving from arbitrary subjective theories, often borrowed from hostile sources, no. A Church open to ecumenical charity, to responsible dialogue, to the recognition of Christian values among our separated brethren, yes. An irenic theology that betrays the truth of the faith and adopts certain negative principles which have contributed to thew separation of so many Christians from the centre of unity of the Catholic communion, no. Religious liberty for all in civilised society, and liberty of personal adherence to religion according to the well-considered choice of the individual conscience, yes. Liberty of conscience as the criterion of religious truth, without reference to the authenticity of serious and authorized teaching, no. And so on.   (Angelus Address, April 25, 1968). 

Sunday 26 August 2012

Why do some Catholic websites goad "traditionalists" into a schismatic frenzy?

Just a thought, but reading the latest "Vatican II Moment" from a well-know Catholic blog (I won't put up any links you do the homework), begs the question: Why? Why put up these posts within this context? One knows who they attract to attack the Council... the schismatic, the angry Catholic, the confused Catholic teetering on the edge of dissidence. What is the purpose of this? 

Why should Vatican II be blamed - and Gaudium et Spes referenced - as a stimulus for a confused priest staging a Mass for Freemasons? This is not exegesis from the Council texts, but an indulgence in eisegesis. 

Yes, this is a scandal and it should be exposed, but not under the guise of an attack on the Council. For such an attack, by extension, is an undermining of the Pope and the Magisterium.

The Middle East is the heartland of Christianity

Thanks to Freyr for the above title. We too often forget that Christianity was forged in the Middle East, with vibrant Sees established during the Apostolic period. We forget that Egypt - the Copts are the indigenous peoples of Egypt (now, no longer legally Egyptian citizens) - was once a Christian nation. Lebanon too, mentioned so many times in the Sacred Scriptures: another part of the Christian heartland. This beautiful nation too, reduced to poverty, oppression, bigotry and a life of fear due to the continuous expansion of Islamism. Pope Benedict will be visiting Lebanon shortly. Please pray for him. 

Lovely Syria, now caught between an oppressive regime and Islamist rebels (this latter band of terrorists backed by the Saudis/Kuwaitis and winked at by the US et al.) will further lead to difficult times for the Christian community. Witness what "liberation" accomplished for Iraq (another Christian heartland). From a Christian community of well over 20% a mere 80 years ago, the numbers now are estimated about 1-2% and falling fast. Who would want to remain in a country where your Christian child may be abducted by Islamists and baked in an oven; or, go to church only to be met by bombs and bullets? Let us not forget that the persecution of the Christian peoples of the Middle East is the real scandal of our age. We are, perhaps, in a transitional period (somewhat like the late 1930s) where evil regimes are preparing for another holocaust against various indigenous peoples. Be warned. Remember that Islamists were very strong backers of Hitler and the SS. 

Belloc once wrote that "the Faith was Europe and Europe was the Faith". He was dead wrong. He would have been closer, far closer to the mark had he substituted the "Middle East". Yet, he would have been wrong. The Church is a supra-national body, whose only involvement with nations is to purify native culture so that the said nation may be more open to the Gospel. A future post will develop these ideas further. 

Please pray for the Christians of the Middle East. 

Thursday 23 August 2012

Rome-SSPX: Disobeying the Pope

The protestant neo-"traditionalist" Richard Williamson writes the following in his latest blog entry

"Thus conciliar Romans are driven by Vatican II as being their central notion to undo the SSPX that rejects Vatican II, and until they either succeed or change that central notion, they will continue to be driven to dissolve Archbishop Lefebvre’s SSPX. On the contrary the central drive of clergy and laity of the SSPX should be to get to Heaven, the idea being that Heaven and Hell exist, and Jesus Christ and his true Church provide the one and only sure way of getting to Heaven. This driving doctrine they know to be no fanciful invention of their own, and that is why they do not want it to be undermined or subverted or corrupted by the wretched neo-modernists of the Newchurch, driven by their false conciliar notion of God, man and life. The clash is total".

In contrast to Williamson's schismatic attitude of "conciliar Roman" and "neo-modernists of the Newchurch" as he indulges in taking upon himself the power to judge the Magisterium, I answer with the words of Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton [Episcopal Jurisdiction and the Holy See, American Ecclesiastical Review Vol. CXX, Jan-Jun. 1949]:

More than a year before the publication of Mystici corporis the Holy Father brought out the same truth in his pastoral allocution to the parish priests and Lenten preachers in Rome. In his address he taught that the Vicar of Christ on earth is the one from whom all the other pastors in the Catholic Church "receive immediately their jurisdiction and their mission" [c.f. Osservatorre Romano, Feb. 18, 1942]. ... Finally it signifies that any bishop not in union with the Holy Father has no authority over the faithful". 

Therefore, given that Williamson is (nominally) a bishop without a mission and faithful, but also a schismatic, why write about him? The answer is simple. He has the power to ordain and consecrate; he is a dangerous man to the degree that he can seduce and induce into schism, simple and uneducated Catholics. He has, it would unfortunately seem, a following in various protestant countries. This seems logical, given that simple Catholics breath the protestant individualism that surrounds them in their daily life, and then have it reinforced by Williamson's  neo-protestant ravings (along with the requisite pre-conciliar liturgical expressions). All very interesting, but besides the point. Attendance at a Tridentine Mass is not the litmus test of a Catholic. Unity with the Pope is. 

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Christian girl arrested in Pakistan for blasphemy

A Christian girl has been arrested in Pakistan after angry neighbours surrounded the home where she lives, demanding that the police arrest her for blasphemy. The full story can be read here

As I recently posted, there still is a small window of opportunity for dialogue between Christians and Muslims, but the window of opportunity is closing rapidly. A major factor in the window closing at such a pace is not so much from the Islamist side, as from the secularist, lapsed "Christian" side. A recent example in Toronto is the strange quasi-fascist role played by authorities during the Al-Quds march. See here for details. Again, when a citizen is threatened by law authorities for "violating" a given ideology' accused of being "insensitive" - we are tip-toeing towards a fascist State. Meanwhile, protesters carry aloft flags of a terrorist organization.  

On an international scale, the reaction to the conviction and jailing of anti-Christian bigots, "Pussy Riot" drew a huge clamor from secular media and celebrity hangers-on. Yet, there is no outcry over the little girl from Pakistan who has been whisked away by Police for allegedly "blaspheming" Islam. 

Ultimately the problem is not Islam, it is us. Just consider Al-Quds and Pussy Riot. When a civilization is unable to identify and excise cancer from its body it is on a suicide watch. 

Monday 20 August 2012

Disobeying a Bishop

Perhaps I have led a sheltered life but I seem to have escaped the ravages of the various persecutions that afflict the Church. I continue to blithely go my own way after communion and nary a person has stepped in to enforce my behavior. Usually I walk to the back of the church and stand while others in the congregation kneel, sit or stand. Most seem to regard this as a private moment and no one intrudes upon another to correct their posture. When I receive communion I stand in line and when it is my turn I bow and step forward to receive on the tongue. I have even observed a gentleman going down on one knee in front of me just before receiving communion. I no case have I ever observed any effort to coerce members of the congregation in any way whatsoever.

During the H1N1 scare I received communion in the hand and refrained from shaking hands during the sign of peace. I continue to restrict my greeting to an upraised hand or a bow of the head and am pleased to observe more restraint lately amongst the congregation in general. While my own preferences are communion on the tongue and restraint during the sign of peace, I do not regard shaking hands or receiving communion in the hand as inherently sinful. Neither do I regard any particular posture after communion as inherently sinful. To be honest, my own behavior has more to do with my dislike of crowds and being hemmed in than anything else.

What then are we to do when confronted with people for whom these things are matters of serious import? There are people who regard communion in the hand as a sinful practice and bishops who attempt to enforce uniformity of posture after communion. During the H1N1 scare some jurisdictions attempted to restrict communion on the tongue which was regarded as unlawful by some.

However distasteful it may be in some circles the fact of the matter is that communion in the hand has been authorized by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship since 1970 in Canada. Any attempt to change this needs to be directed to this congregation.  Under normal circumstances the traditional practice is never excluded. Is the bishop permitted to change this in response to a public heath advisory? I do not know and I am quite content to leave the matter to the canon lawyers. Even assuming a bishop acted unlawfully in restricting the mode of communion, he was not asking people to do something that was inherently sinful.

In some dioceses an attempt was made to unify the posture of the congregation after communion. Whether this was lawful or not is quite beyond the scope of either my expertise or this blog. The armchair canon lawyers can deal with this elsewhere.  Let us assume for the sake of argument that the bishop acted unlawfully. The question is whether either standing, sitting or kneeling is inherently sinful after communion? If none of these is sinful then even though the bishop may have acted unlawfully, he was not asking anyone to do something that was sinful.

In both these situations, the question of scruples comes into play. While neither of these things is sinful, there may be some people for whom they pose a particular problem because of an acute sense of sin or a scrupulous conscience. What then are we to do?
As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not for disputes over opinions. One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who abstains., and let not him who abstains pass judgement on him who eats; for God has welcomed him.  Rom 14:1-3
In any case, questions of scruples should be handled in the confessional, not in arguments at the back of the church or in the pew. Confrontations over these things in the context of  mass is entirely inappropriate.

Is a person ever justified in disobeying his bishop? In my own opinion, I would have to say yes but only in those situations where the bishop required something sinful. I do not wish to split hairs so I will use a fairly blatant example. In July of this year Msgr. William J. Lynn of Philadelphia was convicted of covering up sexual abuses by priests under his supervision. His defense was that he was following the instructions of his bishop. The judgement of the court and my own opinion is that he should have disobeyed his bishop.

Communion in the Hand: Excerpts from the Relevant Documents
The following conclusion is worth noting:
The authority of the Church to permit what in other centuries was freely done and which "by itself" is not contrary to the faith is not in question. If abuses are widespread they are contrary to the mind of the Church as expressed in the Roman documents, and contrary to the devotion expressed in the early Church when Communion was also received in the hand. Withdrawing this permission in our time on account of the abuses is certainly something Rome could do.

Friday 17 August 2012

Russia is defending Christianity

The secular media has exploded with half-truths, distortions and out and out lies regarding the conviction brought against a Russian theatrical group named "Pussy Riot". Contrary to media lies, this organization is not a "musical" group, but a theatrical one. Contrary to media lies, the appearance in the Cathedral was highly inflammatory, blasphemous and a direct attack on Orthodoxy.

Patriarch Kirill and Archbishop Jozef Michalik of Poland
at the ancient Wawel Castle in Krakow  
The objective reality is, that this group of individuals profaned a cathedral that had been previously profaned by the communists. These "performers"  blasphemed the Mother of God and used vulgar and insulting language towards Patriarch Kirill. A criminal act was committed that needed appropriate counter actions. Thus the arrests and convictions.

The Russian Orthodox Church has also expressed grave concern over secularization in western Europe, and the need to collaborate with the Catholic Church.  Today, the Patriarch is in Poland signing a landmark pact with the Polish bishops on reconciliation. Meanwhile, western Europe, caught in a non-believers fever, regards churches as mere buildings that are museums or theaters. In Russia - paradoxically - after decades of vicious persecution, the Russian Orthodox Church is recovering her footing, and she will resist (unlike the Catholic Church in Canada, for example) secular attacks against her. and Christianity. The Orthodox Church in Russia believes not only in words but in action. Churches in Russia, as regarded by Orthodoxy are not mere buildings, but holy places. Holy places desecrated need some form of reparation. Further, the State, in the interests of the common good, needs to take consideration of the undermining of the common good by gravely insulting acts towards religion. We are not here talking about the nonsense that this was a protest against Mr. Putin. One can protest against Putin without attacking Christianity. 

A sound analysis of the actual facts can be found at the Russian based interfax press agency.

Update: an excellent overview of Orthodoxy's combat against atheism and secularism can be read here. 

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.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Dissident US nuns falling into schism?

Reports in the press, including the BBC seem to confirm that the recent review of the activities of the Leadership Conference of Religious Women (LCRW) by the Roman authorities, rather than bringing the  nuns into humble obedience, seems to have goaded these angry women in a hardening of their position; even to threats of "reconsidering" their position. Could this mean an open break? Possibly.

The situation is truly sad. This dissidence has been going on for decades. Bishops, unfortunately, must take much of the responsibility for the present situation. The local Ordinary, though not the religious order's superior, does have a wide avenue of action given him by canon law. Religious orders operate within a diocese at the local bishop's permission. Bishop's have the right to investigate and to take corrective measures, up to, and suppressing the religious community's activities within the diocese.

A local Toronto example, would be the continued activity of the Sisters of Notre Dame, which have a number of dissenters (e.g. Sister Caroline Dawson, a speaker and supporter of Catholic Network for Women's Equality (CNWE). Though the Archdiocese is aware of her activity and her community's connection with the CNWE, nothing has been done. In fact, I attempted - unsuccessfully it would seem - to contact my Local Ordinary, Thomas Cardinal Collins, but with no results; except for a evasive note from a layman (presumably drawing a good salary out of the widow's mite).

Such inactivity on the part of the local Ordinary only emboldens and strengthens the push of dissidence, until a breaking point is reached. At such a time, the Roman Authorities (as in the US) may intervene - with great difficulty - due to, in large part, the failure of the local bishop and hierarchy to deal with the problem.

Sunday 12 August 2012

London 2012 Closing Ceremony: Absolute rubbish

The 2012 London Olympics Closing Ceremony are in the progress - and it is a shameful and tragic display of British cultural decline. The "celebration" of so-called British pop culture is akin to the ancient Romans staging  antics from the northern barbarians and claiming it as their own, and their culture. Thankfully, H.M. the Queen decided not to attend

Firstly, the vast majority of the acts are not of the British culture. Culture derives from cultus. It was not cultivated by the British nation by any stretch of the imagination. Nor was it "popular" in the sense of populus or deriving from the people.  This pop "culture" did not, and does not derive from the British nation organically, but, is an imposed near universal form of commercialism - the exact opposite of a truly popular culture. 

The "Spice Girls": a corporate invention that does
not derive from the British peoples
Another aspect for consideration was the selection of "artists". This cheap imitation of a bread and circuses fiasco included the sociological phenomena of endorsing and promoting "artists" who not a few decades ago would have brought the British feelings of shame and embarrassment.  As I write, an individual named "Fatboy Slim" is "performing". A total embarrassment to British culture. He was then followed by an assortment of  tarts getting out of taxis. Unbelievable... what a national tragedy. Other acts followed - including an insulting mock-up of Christian nuns. 

Even more tragic was the fact that real British culture and artistry does exists. I ask you to consider the angelic voice of Scottish soprano Shuna Scott Shendall. One can only imagine the reaction to this closing ceremony by the Russians, who, at the nearly equally pathetic closing ceremony in Vancouver in 2010, informed the world that at Sochi, they intend to showcase the superiority of Russian culture (e.g. the genius of Tschiakovsky, the Ballet Russe, and perhaps more contemporary Russian brilliance such as Prokoviev, Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Kabalevsky et al.). In answer to the Russian challenge, could the British only muster eccentric "singers", a video of a totally self-destructive dead man making strange noises, and off-key crooners? Evidently, the organizers did know of (or more likely distain) the real native genius of Vaughan Williams, Tavener etc. Oh yes, a brief nod may be  thrown toward the masters - e.g. so-called newspaper cuttings, a few odd musical measures -  but what of it?
British genius : Sir Edward Elgar
the musical embodiment of the nation

Ironically, this closing ceremony does answer the question raised by the hymn, "Jerusalem" sung at the Opening Ceremony. Yes, the "dark satanic mills" are real, they do exist. Most frightfully, they are a state of mind existing in contemporary Britain. Artificial, contrived, illusionary... In fact, the aging Roger Daltrey  admitted in an earlier interview that The Who's "performance" will be in fact all pre-recorded. In essence, a sham. 

Forgive them Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton,  Spenser, Marvell and Dunstable, Purcell, Handel, et al., they know not what they do. 

Thursday 9 August 2012

Episcopi Vagantes

Anyone who can do a little research on episcopi vagantes or wandering bishops will eventually run into an entire variety of bishops who have somehow managed to be consecrated by a Roman Catholic bishop. There is usually great debate about such consecrations and whether they are valid, licit or even whether it matters apart from union with the Catholic Church. They range from the SSPX bishops who have refrained from further consecrations to date and maintained some control to groups and lineages which are totally out of control. It is not uncommon for bishops in the extreme end of this to have cathedrals in a spare room of their house and congregations consisting of a variety of clerics which outnumber laypeople. Infighting and mutual excommunications are common amongst these fringe groups.

A short list of Roman Catholic bishops which have performed episcopal consecrations without papal approval would include the following:

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer
Bishop Alfredo José Isaac Cecilio Francesco Mendez-Gonzalez, C.S.C.
Bishop Mario Cornejo-Radavero
Bishop Carlos Duarte Costa
Archbishop Ngo Dinh Thuc Pierre Martin
Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo

This list does not include episcopal consecrations which derive from the Old Catholic See of Utrecht,  which have produced their own flock of vagi. You begin to see the difficulty. Episcopal consecrations outside of the unity of the Catholic Church are far more common than you might think. Fortunately there are only two bishops that need concern me... one is my local bishop and the other is the Bishop of Rome.

No post on episcopi vagantes would be complete without a picture of Pope Michael of Kansas. I have no idea about the details of his ordination and consecration but a picture is worth a thousand words.

Outline of Episcopi Vagantes
A very interesting website containing details of many episcopi vagantes and their lineages.

Wednesday 8 August 2012

The vulgarization of women at the 2012 Olympics

A rather tame photo of two scantily clad
US beach volleyball players 
Trying to catch some good quality Olympic sports is getting harder and harder. Invariably - rather then showing discus or javelin or some other real sport, the networks are showing match after match of ubiquitous women's beach volleyball. That this activity involves athleticism is obvious - but, it is not a real sport. 
US champion, Holly Mangold at the London Games

What it is, is a pretext to show off women's bodies to the lustful desires of men. How else might one explain the use of bikinis in a sport that involves constant diving into sand etc.? 

Beauteous Zhou Lulu (weightlifting)  - eventual Gold medal
winner - offering the fans a parting feminine salute!
In fact, when one woman's team opted for wearing sensible leggings, protests were registered by angry "fans" demanding to see the women prance and preen in skimpy outfits. Women's liberation? Hardly. When this becomes old hat, what will be next - nude women's volleyball? Not impossible; remember, much of the ancient games were conducted starkers.

To add to the above mentioned voyeurs favourite sport, we can include the grotesque spectacle of women's weight-lifting (as exemplified by the balletic Holly Mangold or the lovely Zhou Lulu), wrestling and boxing. All traditional men's sports that taxed the athlete to the limit; with resultant injuries and long-term body damage (not to mention brain damage in boxing). No matter: women wish - so the feminists would tell us - to be liberated. 
The elegance and grace of women's boxing

Thursday 2 August 2012

Rome-SSPX: Williamson hardens schismatic attitude

The sad case of Richard Williamson continues unabated. His two most recent Kyrie Eleison comments identify two main difficulties with this man's future status. 1) his growing schismatic attitude towards the Church; and 2) his open attacks on his Superior Bishop Fellay. As to this second point, Fellay will have to sort that one out himself. 

However, with regards to the first point - and this is far more serious, as Williamson has the power to create a schismatic sect, the following should be considered. Take, for example, the schismatic attitude of another SSPX bishop, Tissier de Mallarias: 

“What remains of the magisterium in the Church? It is a matter of faith that Our Lord endowed His Church with a living and perpetual Magisterium, that is to say a papal and episcopal voice which, in every era and at the present time, is the echo of divine revelation and the relay of tradition. Well, this magisterium, at least as regards the truths denied by the conciliar hierarchy, lies in Mgr Lefebvre in whom it can be found in a certain manner. He is the veritable echo of tradition, the faithful witness, the good shepherd whom simple sheep have been able to identify from the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Yes, the Church still has a living and perpetual magisterium and Mgr Lefebvre is its saviour. The indefectibility of the Church can be seen in the inflexibility of the Archbishop. Fideliter, 1989 (No. 72, p10)

Williamson, builds on this fine point of schism by recently writing: 

"The Doctrinal Discussions of 2009 to 2011 were set up to examine the doctrinal clash between the Romans’ Conciliar subjectivism and the SSPX’s Catholic objectivism. They showed, of course, that the clash is profound and irreconcilable, not between Conciliar truth and Catholic truth, but between Conciliar error and Catholic truth, in effect between the religion of man and the religion of God".

"May Catholics who wish to keep the Faith attend a Tridentine Mass celebrated by a priest who is part of the Conciliar Church, for instance by his belonging to the Institute of Christ the King or to the Fraternity of St Peter? The answer has to be that, as a rule, a Catholic may not attend such a Mass, even if it is a Tridentine Mass, and even if it is worthily celebrated. What can be the justification for such a seemingly strict rule"? The basic reason is that the Catholic Faith is more important than the Mass. 

So, Williamson has decided a priori of the Pope who has and who does not have the Catholic Faith! The "magisterium" now belongs to Williamson. He has become that indefectible voice; the living and perpetual magisterium lives through him...  

The Inquisition, Whiny Catholics and Me

This post was going to start off with a discussion of why the Dominicans were agents of the Inquisition and the Franciscans weren't. Well, after a little research I realized that, although the Dominicans were the leading mendicant order involved, the Franciscans were also there. My fondly held image of the Dominican inquisitors chasing various Franciscans was possibly derived more from Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose than any close reading of history. I still maintain that the Dominicans prosecuted the Inquisition with far more zeal than the Franciscans were capable of. Nevertheless, this somewhat romanticized image tells more about my own character than anything else. By temperament I am far closer to the Franciscans than I ever will be to the Dominicans.

While surfing about this morning I ran into a post by The Idler which set me thinking about Catholics and suffering. He says that maybe all of this suffering of the Church is precisely because we are the Body of Christ.  If you think about it, the Church as the Body of Christ might just be on its way to its own Calvary.  We are, and we have for centuries, experiencing the sufferings of Christ in a mystical sense - "If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you" (John 15:18). My own meditations on this led me to the suffering of Christians in Syria and the Middle East where many are forced to flee for their lives. Compared to this much of the so called persecution we experience in North America is a trifling thing. Perhaps we should give thanks that we still have homes to return to and churches where we can worship.

What does all this have to do with me? While I am willing to clearly state the Church's teaching to those I encounter in my life, I have no desire to participate in any inquisition. Let the heresy hunters do what they will, I shall wander the countryside gathering stones for my own San Damiano. As for persecution, I shall try to remember the sufferings of Christ and approach any trials sent my way with as much joy as this old curmudgeon can manage.

Fighting a Losing Battle?