Skip to comments.A Tale of Two Schisms
Posted on 12/23/2001 4:30:08 PM PST by ELS
|One schism is illusory, and harms no one, while the other is quite real and deadly. Guess which one the neo-Catholics condemn?|
| Dr. Thomas Woods and I are putting the finishing touches on a book defending the traditionalist position against attacks from within the neo-Catholic (a.k.a. "conservative" Catholic) current of the Church that has arisen since the Second Vatican Council. One of the points we make in the book is that neo-Catholicism is a defense of novelty rather than Catholic doctrine as such. That is why when neo-Catholics claim that traditionalists "dissent from the living Magisterium" or "reject Vatican II" they are never able to formulate their accusation in terms of Catholic doctrine.
An amusing example of this problem is Peter Vere's recent article in The Wanderer wherein this proud possessor of a freshly-minted canon law degree imperiously informs us as follows: "I conclude a diocesan bishop may declare as schismatic an author who publicly resists the Second Vatican Council "1 How exactly does one "resist" the Second Vatican Council? Did the Council generate some kind of ecclesiastical forcefield to which Catholics must submit, as if to the ministrations of a hypnotist? What teaching of Vatican II does Vere claim traditionalists are "resisting"? What does Vatican II require Catholics to believe which they had not always believed before the Council? The answer is nothing, of course. What traditionalists have prescinded from are novel practices, notions, attitudes and ecclesial policies of the post-conciliar epoch, none of which are properly the objects of Catholic faith.
For example, there is the "ecumenical venture," an ill-defined and hitherto unknown ecclesial policy in which no Catholic can be compelled to believe as if it were an article of faith. Self-appointed authorities like Vere know so little about the subject that they are unaware of Pope John Paul's own teaching that traditionalist objections to the ecumenical venture have their place in the Church, even if the Pope does not agree with those objections. As His Holiness observed in his encyclical Redemptor Hominis (1979):
There are people who in the face of the difficulties or because they consider that the first ecumenical endeavors have brought negative results would have liked to turn back. Some even express the opinion that these efforts are harmful to the cause of the Gospel, are leading to a further rupture in the Church, are causing confusion of ideas in questions of faith and morals and are ending up with a specific indifferentism. It is perhaps a good thing that the spokesmen for these opinions should express their fears.
But not according to the eminent Mr. Vere! If demagogic traditionalist-bashers like Vere would only think about it for a moment, they would realize that it is quite impossible for a Catholic to "dissent" from such things as the "ecumenical venture" in the sense of being unfaithful to binding Catholic teaching. Are traditionalists less than Catholic because they strenuously object to and refuse to participate in common prayer with pro-abortion Protestant ministers or prayer meetings with rabbis, muftis and shamans, as the Pope has done? Obviously, this kind of activity can never be imposed upon Catholics as an obligation of their religion. The Holy Ghost would not allow it.
Because they are essentially defenders of novelty, the neo-Catholics are more or less practical liberals, objectively speaking, whether or not individual members of the neo-Catholic movement subjectively understand this. Not even the neo-Catholics can genuinely deny that Saint Pius X would have blasted the innovations they have swallowed without a whimper of protest. The thing speaks for itself.
Being liberals of a kind, neo-Catholics evince the inconsistency that marks all forms of liberal thought in the socio-political realm. The socio-political liberal is inconsistent because his thinking is not axiological (based on first principles) but rather positivistic, basing its conclusions upon naked human will as expressed in the reigning Zeitgeist. The neo-Catholic is to some extent an ecclesial positivist, who inconsistently defends today precisely what he condemned yesterday - altar girls and common prayer with heretics, for example - simply because the post-conciliar Zeitgeist has allowed such innovations to exist.
One of the inconsistencies of socio-political liberalism is its tendency to demonize figures of the Right, such as Joseph McCarthy, while turning a blind eye toward, and even praising, certifiable demons of the Left, such as Mao Tse-tung, whom the liberal press lionized as an "agrarian reformer." There is an analog of this particular liberal inconsistency within the Catholic Church today. I mean the absurd disparity between the neo-Catholic approach to the so-called schism of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and the truly manifest schism of the communist-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA) in Red China.
The Putative Lefebvre Schism
On June 30, 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four bishops without a papal mandate - an offense which, under Canon 1382, carries the penalty of excommunication, subject to various excuses from culpability under Canons 1321-23. One of these excuses is that the offender acted out of necessity or to avoid grave inconvenience. Another is that the offender sincerely believed, however mistakenly, that his action was justified and he was thus not subjectively culpable for the offense. Given the current chaotic state of the Church, Lefebvre argued that his action was necessary to preserve some semblance of Catholic tradition. I do not take up that defense here, but merely note three things:
As we know, the Vatican's reaction to the Lefebvre consecrations was immediate: On July 2, 1988, only two days later, the Pope issued his motu proprio Ecclesia Dei, which declares that "Archbishop Lefebvre and the priests Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta have incurred the grave penalty of excommunication envisaged by ecclesiastical law." The motu proprio went even further than what the cited canon provides, declaring that "such disobedience - which implies in practice the rejection of the Roman primacy - constitutes a schismatic act." Yet the canonical admonition sent to Lefebvre before the consecrations had contained no indication that his action would be deemed schismatic, and the only possible penalty cited was that of latae sententiae excommunication. The result was rather like being charged with only one offense, but then convicted of two. The motu proprio also warns that "formal adherence to the schism is a grave offense against God and carries the penalty of excommunication decreed by the church's law." But the term "formal adherence" is nowhere defined. Later, however, the Vatican made it clear in particular decisions that mere attendance at an SSPX chapel in Arizona is not an act of schism, nor even recourse to an SSPX bishop for the sacrament of Confirmation at an independent chapel in Hawaii.3
The Neo-Catholics Helpfully Expand the Penalty
While the motu proprio applied the excommunication and the delict of schism by name only to Lefebvre and the four priests he consecrated, since then, true to form, neo-Catholic commentators at EWTN, The Wanderer and elsewhere have with great alacrity denounced as "schismatic" not only Lefebvre and the four bishops he consecrated, but all the priests of the Society of Saint Pius X, any member of the faithful who frequents their chapels, and anyone who defends Lefebvre's actions. The neo-Catholics have even coined the terms "Lefebvrist" and "Lefebvrism" to stigmatize "extreme traditionalists" in general.
Thus, in the case of Lefebvre we have the following: an immediate declaration of excommunication, and, going beyond what the express terms of the Church's law provide, the declaration of a schism; the unauthorized extension of those delicts by neo-Catholic organ to an entire class of Catholics who are not at all embraced in the original motu proprio; and, for good measure, the demonization of Archbishop Lefebvre and all his followers and sympathizers. Yet there is no question that those whom the neo-Catholics denounce as "Lefebvrists" - including the bishops, priests and laity actually affiliated with SSPX - possess the Catholic faith and follow the moral teaching of the Church, as even Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos admitted in the course of the recent negotiations toward "regularization" of the SSPX. Further, "Lefebvrist" priests and bishops profess their loyalty to John Paul II and pray for him at every Mass, along with the local ordinary.
In fact, the Vatican's private approach to SSPX would indicate that the "Lefebvre schism" is illusory, and is really nothing more than an internal disciplinary problem of the Church. For example, as Cardinal Cassidy admitted in a letter of March 25, 1994, the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity "is not concerned with the Society of Saint Pius X. The situation of the members of this Society is an internal matter of the Catholic Church. The Society is not another Church or Ecclesial Community in the meaning used in the Directory."
The Schism of the "Catholic Patriotic Association" of China
Fast forward to January 6, 2000. On that date the Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA) illicitly consecrated five bishops -- one more than Lefebvre - without a papal mandate. The Red Chinese regime created the CPA in 1957 to replace the Roman Catholic Church in China, which it declared illegal and drove underground, where loyal Chinese Catholics have been forced to worship ever since, following the example of their spiritual father, the great martyr Cardinal Ignatius Kung. Including the five bishops illicitly consecrated on January 6, 2000, since 1957 the CPA has illicitly consecrated one hundred bishops without a papal mandate. What is more, unlike the four SSPX bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre, the CPA bishops dare to assert territorial jurisdiction over sees from which the communists drove the legitimate bishops of the Catholic Church.
The CPA constitution requires express disavowal of allegiance to the Roman Pontiff. As the Kung Foundation points out: "The Patriotic Association's own fundamental and explicit principle is autonomy from the Pope's administrative, legislative, and judicial authority" - the very definition of schism under Canon 751. By comparison, the SSPX professes its acceptance of papal authority and has entered into papally-ordered negotiations for regularization as an apostolic administration directly under the Holy Father. (As Cardinal Hoyos told the press, Bishop Fellay said to him that "when the Pope calls we run.") And while there is no question that Archbishop Lefebvre's acts constituted disobedience to a particular papal command, disobedience in particular matters is not in itself schism, which is defined by rejection of the papal office itself: "However, not every disobedience is a schism; in order to possess this character it must include besides the transgression of the commands of superiors, denial of their Divine right to command." (Catholic Encyclopedia) But since denial of the Pope's right to command is the founding principle of the CPA, it is undeniably schismatic by definition. CPA bishops swear their allegiance not to the Pope, but to Premier Jiang and the Red Chinese regime, of which they are pawns. Thus, in 1994 the CPA bishops issued a "pastoral letter" calling upon Chinese Catholics to support China's population control policies, including forced abortion, and, as the Cardinal Kung Foundation notes, "the Patriotic bishops passionately denounced the Holy Father's canonization of the 120 Chinese martyrs on Oct. 1, 2000."
In short, the CPA is a communist-created, communist-controlled, blatantly schismatic, pro-abortion organization founded by the devil himself, acting through Mao Tse Tung and the Red Chinese regime, now headed by "Premier" Jiang. Accordingly, in the performance of his apostolic duty, Pope Pius XII issued an encyclical denouncing the CPA as an assault on the integrity of the Catholic faith and the Mystical Body:
For by particularly subtle activity an association has been created among you to which has been attached the title of 'patriotic,' and Catholics are being forced by every means to take part in it.
Pius XII went on to condemn the CPA's illicit consecration of bishops as "criminal and sacrilegious," declaring the CPA bishops had no authority or jurisdiction whatsoever, and were subject to a latae sententiae excommunication, reserved to himself.
The Neo-Catholic Double Standard
Now, what was the reaction of the neo-Catholic establishment to news of the CPA's five illicit episcopal consecrations on January 6, 2000? According to Zenit news agency, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls "criticized Beijing's decision, expressing 'surprise' and 'disappointment,' and stating that 'this gesture will raise obstacles that certainly hinder the process' of normalization of relations between the Vatican and China." Surprise and disappointment! A hindering of the process of normalization! But no declared penalty of excommunication. No declaration of schism. Not even a statement to the faithful in China that, as Pius XII warned even before the CPA condoned forced abortion, the CPA has the aim of "making Catholics gradually embrace the tenets of atheistic materialism, by which God Himself is denied and religious principles are rejected." Indeed, that is precisely why the "underground" Catholics in China, following the example of Cardinal Kung, have endured fierce persecution rather than join the CPA.
Ironically enough, the ecclesiastical public law reflected in Canon 1381, under which Lefebvre and the four bishops were punished, originated with the pre-conciliar Holy Office's announcement in 1957 of a latae sententiae excommunication for illicit consecrations in Communist China. That is, the penalty envisioned by Canon 1381 arose to address communist interference with the Apostolic Succession.5 But far from declaring the excommunication or schism of the CPA bishops, the Vatican apparatus has assiduously courted them, to the applause of the neo-Catholic gallery. In September of 2000, some nine months after the five illicit consecrations, Cardinal ("Spirit of Assisi, come upon us all!") Etchegaray went to China to attend a conference on "Religions and Peace" - which is akin to attending a Herbalife rally on death row. During his trip Etchegaray was shuttled around by CPA bishops, while being denied access to underground bishops loyal to Rome. CWNews.com (another neo-Catholic organ) favorably reported Etchegaray's remark that "Basically it is a question of one Church, and one common faith, trying bit by bit to overcome the unhappy separation into 'underground' and 'official.'" So, the CPA, which condones abortion, rejects submission to the Pope and denounces his canonization of Chinese martyrs is part of the same Church as the loyal Catholics who have been driven underground because they refused submission to the CPA. To demonstrate this view, the Cardinal celebrated Mass in a Marian shrine the communists stole from the Catholic Church and turned over to the CPA "hierarchy."
The Cardinal wished to make it clear, however, that "none of my steps should be interpreted as an approval of the structures of the official [state-approved] church." (What would give anyone that idea?) Notice the careful hedging: the Cardinal does not approve the structures of the CPA, but as for the adherents of the CPA, Etchegaray clearly rejected the notion that they are schismatics: "The fact that I recognized the fidelity to the Pope of the Catholics of the official church [i.e., the CPA] can in no way diminish my recognition of the heroic fidelity of the silent Church." Let us see if we can make sense of this remark: The adherents of an organization whose very constitution rejects submission to the Pope and which condones forced abortion are faithful to the Pope! Ah, but the underground Catholics, you see, have heroic fidelity to the Pope because they suffer persecution - for refusing to join the faithful Catholics of the CPA. It seems we have reached a new height of post-conciliar absurdity.
Well, what about the five illicit episcopal consecrations the previous January? According to Etchegaray "This is a very serious fact that affects ecclesiology. If this is repeated, there is a risk of impeding rapprochement among Catholics." A risk of "impeding rapprochement" if it is repeated? Well, it has been repeated - a hundred times! Etchegaray added: "I had the opportunity to say it clearly to the official bishops of Beijing and Nanjing. The question of ordination of bishops is a crucial point for the Church and state; it can neither be avoided nor easily resolved, given the differences and points of view. However, history shows that reasonable solutions can be found in all political climates." So, when it comes to the illicit consecration of abortion-condoning communist puppets, "reasonable solutions can be found in all political climates." But as for Archbishop Lefebvre, it took the Vatican only 48 hours to cast him and all his supporters into outer darkness, while warning the faithful to have nothing to do with him or his Society.
Is Cardinal Etchegaray just a lone wolf in this matter? Not at all. The Kung Foundation notes that Cardinal Tomko, one of the Pope's closest advisors, has been quotes as saying that the " 'two groups in the Church in China' (the underground Roman Catholic Church and the Patriotic Association) are 'not two Churches because we are all one Church,' and that the 'true enemy' of the Church is 'not inside the Church but outside the Church.'"6 Far more telling is the Kung Foundation's Open Letter of March 28, 2000, addressed to Cardinal Sodano, Archbishop Re, Cardinal Ratzinger and other members of the Vatican apparatus, which notes that CPA priests have been trained in American seminaries, given faculties in American parishes with Vatican approval (according to Archbishop Levada and other American prelates) and are being supported by Catholic charities, while loyal seminarians and priests of the underground Church receive no support. The Vatican's answer to the Open Letter has been a resounding silence.
Here it must be noted that John Paul II has at least attempted to distance himself from the neo-Catholic establishment and the Vatican apparatus in this matter. For example, in his speech to Chinese Catholics on December 3, 1996 the Holy Father declared that "today all Chinese Catholics are called to remain loyal to the faith received and passed on, and not to yield to models of a Church which do not correspond to the will of the Lord Jesus, to the Catholic faith, or to the feelings and convictions of the great majority of Chinese Catholics. From these models would come a division capable only of causing confusion, to the detriment both of the faith itself and of the contribution which the faithful can make to their homeland as instruments of peace and social progress."
But this statement is rather mild compared to the condemnations by Pius XII long before the CPA's promotion of forced abortion. And John Paul's statement was only undermined by his utterly appalling apology to China on October 24, 2001, which praises the communist regime's "important objectives in the field of social progress" and even states that "The Catholic Church for her part regards with respect this impressive thrust and far-sighted planning. The Church has very much at heart the values and objectives which are of primary importance also to modern China: solidarity, peace, social justice, the wise management of the phenomenon of globalization, and the civil progress of all peoples." One can scarcely that this tribute to the diabolical Jiang regime came from the mouth of the Supreme Pontiff. In my view, the text is clearly a product of the Vatican Secretariat of State, which doggedly persists in its morally bankrupt Ostpolitik. The Chinese reciprocated this disgusting obsequy by almost immediately moving to crush the loyal underground Catholic diocese of Feng Xiang. According to a Zenit report on November 29, 2001, communist goons "arrested Bishop Lucas Li Jingfeng and his assistant, confined a dozen priests, closed a monastery and two convents, and sent seminarians, monks and nuns home - all in the past month. These faithful are part of an underground Catholic community that refuses to join the state-approved 'patriotic' church The 81-year-old bishop was taken with his assistant to an unknown locality. They haven't been heard from, since Nov. 4." Yet another diplomatic "triumph" for Ostpolitik.
It is only typical of neo-Catholic thinking that they would find a way to endorse the Vatican's disgraceful pandering to the CPA. Catholic World News, for example, has adopted the line that adherents of the CPA "while openly loyal to the government association, secretly pledge allegiance to the Pope."7 CWN seems to have forgotten Our Lord's teaching about the impossibility of serving two masters. Cardinal Kung spent 30 years in solitary confinement rather than uttering one word dictated to him by his communist persecutors. But it seems the neo-Catholics have come up with a new standard of Catholic fidelity - "secret loyalty" - to go along with all the other absurd novelties they have embraced.
The parallel between all of this and the duplicity of liberals in the socio-political realm is startlingly precise. Taking the case of Senator Joseph McCarthy as an example, we can recall that the same leftist demagogues who demonized him and coined the epithet "McCarthyism" were at the same time finding ways to excuse the depredations of Mao Tse Tung and Joseph Stalin.
Today, the neo-Catholics demonize Archbishop Lefebvre and coin the term "Lefebvrism," while they tell us that CPA members and underground Catholics are both part of the same Church, and that CPA bishops and priests are "secretly" loyal to the Pope. For Catholics of the "extreme Right" in the Church there is uncompromising rigor, fierce denunciation and ostracization, while putative Catholics of the extreme Left are shown every possible indulgence and given every benefit of the doubt - even where there is no doubt. The parallel could not be more exact.
This is a tale of two schisms: the one illusory or at best technical, the other very real and very deadly to souls; the one incurred in an effort (however misguided some may think it to be) to defend Catholic Tradition, the other incurred to subject the Catholic Church to communist domination. Sad to say, we are not in the least surprised to see which schism the neo-Catholics condemn, and which they ignore. We have witnessed yet another addition to the mounting legacy of shame neo-Catholicism is heaping to itself.
An interview with Bishop Fellay in the Fall 2001 issue of The Latin Mass Magazine
During this past summer, The Latin Mass had the opportunity to speak with the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay. During a three-hour conversation, Bishop Fellay explained how the recent discussions between the Holy See and the SSPX developed, as well as his view of the details concerning their nature and substance. The following relates the heart of the conversation.
TLM: Your Excellency, what was the genesis of the conversations between the Holy See and the SSPX?
BBF: A signal was given with comments made by Msgr. Camille Perl [of the Ecclesia Dei Commission] in May 2000. He remarked in a publication that for the sake of furthering ecumenical efforts with the Orthodox, a solution needed to be found regarding the situation with the SSPX. Remember, towards the end of April Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos had been appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy. He was also made responsible for the Ecclesia Dei Commission. The naming of an active Cardinal to head this commission was a new development.
On June 1, 2000 Cardinal Hoyos sent a letter inviting the SSPX bishops to meet with him. He said, "Now that I am head of Ecclesia Dei, why don't we meet to suppress this rupture. I want you to know that my doors are open and the Pope wishes to embrace you."
At the end of June, all the bishops met during the SSPX pilgrimage to Rome. We decided to signal that if the Cardinal desired to meet, we were ready. By the way, the pilgrimage clearly revealed the hand of Divine Providence. All of Rome came to realize that Tradition was not only alive, but that it was also Catholic! The press made a point of saying that never before in the history of the Church had there been 5,000 "excommunicated" Catholics praying for the Holy Father in St. Peter's Basilica! This was pivotal in breaking the ice.
When in Rome, during the third day of the pilgrimage, our bishops received an invitation to visit Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos. When we met, the Cardinal stated, "1 am happy. The fruits are good [referring to our pilgrim- age] and hence the Holy Ghost is there." One of our bishops responded, "But Eminence, these are two religions!" I tried to bring up the subject of the Mass. The Cardinal responded, "1 am not an expert." It was clear that he did not want to discuss the matter. He agreed to receive our dubia [theological objections]. Most of the memorandum we delivered to him dealt with our dubia concerning the Mass [the ancient Mass as found in the Missal of St. Pius V]. Grant every priest the Mass, I implored.
TLM: Your Excellency, why do you consider it crucial that every Catholic priest be given the opportunity to offer the ancient Mass at will?
BBF: If this were granted, it would create a new climate in the Church and in turn would make it easier to speak of the deeper problems, such as those dealing with doctrinal matters. As a first step, this is all we ask.
TLM: What happened after you delivered the dubia?
BBF: I returned to Rome to meet with Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos in late December 2000. When I arrived he had a proposed agreement in his hand. It was a big surprise, because I thought that many issues first needed to be thoroughly discussed. For instance, I asked him during this conversation about the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP). I said, "You crushed them. How do we interpret that?" The Cardinal said that the FSSP had been preparing for its members an oath against the new Mass. The Cardinal does not understand the problem with the new Mass, so I tried to explain it to him.
Then I brought up the Roman attitude toward ecumenism. For example, I told His Eminence that in September 2000 a schismatic [Orthodox] bishop had wanted to convert. He approached the SSPX. We advised him to arrange things directly with Rome. He was put in touch with the secretary to the Pope and told him, "1 want to become a Catholic." Panic ensued. The following day, Cardinal Neves, Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, said to the schismatic bishop, "Your Excellency, it is not necessary to convert. Since the Council, things have changed! There's no need to convert anymore." The schismatic bishop then asked Cardinal Neves, "What would you think if I joined the SSPX?" And he replied, "Good heavens, don't do that! They're fossils!"
Bishop Walter Kasper then got involved and told the schismatic bishop to go to Utrecht. [A Modernist segment of the Orthodox] "With all our ecumenical contacts, I have good contacts with them. I think you should join them!"
I told Cardinal Hoyos that these events reflected attitudes that were contrary to the Faith, and that we could not accept them. I pointed out that Bishop Kasper [now a Cardinal] had stated in L 'Osservatore Romano that post-conciliar ecumenism did not have as its goal the conversion of people to Catholicism as in the days of Pius XI and Pius XII. He said that, with Vatican II, things had changed from an "ecumenism of return" to an "ecumenism of reconciled diversity."
After a period of silence, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos said, "That's ambiguous."
TLM: Why did you bring these matters to the attention of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos at that time? Some might suggest that you were deliberately putting obstacles in the path of the agreement that you said the Cardinal held in his hand.
BBF: Because I was getting the sense that this agreement was part of a political struggle that is presently going on in the Vatican as the Holy Father's health deteriorates. We do not want reconciliation under these circumstances. We desire a rapprochement on principle, with wide agreement among the Roman hierarchy, not as pawns in a Roman power play during the nadir of an ailing Pontiff.
TLM: Was there further conversation during this meeting?
BBF: Yes. Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos responded with the accusation that the SSPX regularly attacks Rome. So I told him that in a war some bullets go astray. He then said, "But we want you to fight Modernism, Liberalism and Masonry in the Church!" So then I was really puzzled. What did he mean? I again attacked liberalism. The Cardinal then said, "1 do the same." He then gave some examples of how he attacked liberalism in the Church. With these examples I realized that he meant moral liberalism. But he offered no examples of doctrinal liberalism to which he was opposed.
Overall, this meeting with Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos was very interesting. The Cardinal was very sympathetic and tried his best to smooth over everything. For him it seemed very easy. He said as I left, "When you come back to Rome we'll sign the agreement and be done with it."
TLM: Were you offered the opportunity to meet with the Holy Father?
BBF: Yes, but our meeting was short and uneventful. When the Pope left to attend the daily Angelus, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos remarked, "There are Cardinals and bishops with you and the Pope is with you. We want you to fight liberalism and modernism in the Church!"
TLM: What happened after the meeting with the Holy Father?
BBF: I met with Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos and relayed to him that all of the bishops of the SSPX agree that we are open to discussion, but that the concerns I had noted to His Eminence needed to be addressed. We do not want to return as a component of some grand design for ecclesial pluralism. I told him that a much better climate for reconciliation would be created if every priest in the world were given permission to say the traditional Mass.
TLM: Did the question of your excommunication ever enter into the discussion?
BBF: Yes. We asked for the lifting of the penalty. We said that dialogue with the Orthodox would be made much easier if this were done. I told the Cardinal that, while the question of excommunication was a non-issue for us, we would ask that it be removed because bishops make use of it to prohibit people from attending our chapels.
TLM: I sense that you remained uncomfortable with the situation after all this.
BBF: We are a sign of contradiction. Wherever we are, we are a source of division, not by our desire, but by force of circumstances. We suffer from the hatred of local bishops and priests. We did not create it; it comes to us because of what we represent. If we receive Rome's approval, this fight will come to Rome and be fought openly throughout the whole Church. We fear that after the agreement, Rome will say to us, "For the sake of peace, make a concession." Truth is not a matter of politics and concessions.
By the way, I learned not long after that Cardinal Lustiger had informed Rome that if the SSPX were reconciled and received the approval to work openly in France, 65 French bishops would enter into disobedience [Cardinal Lustiger is a Jewish convert]. He told this to Cardinal Sodano.
TLM: So you left Rome and awaited a response. When did you get it?
BBF: It was February 12,2001. Cardinal Hoyos said, "Listen, we have a problem. The problem is this permission for the Mass. The Pope agrees to say that the old Mass has never been abrogated and that it is legitimate to offer it. Cardinals Ratzinger, Medina and Sodano all agree. But their secretaries and under-secretaries do not agree. Therefore, we cannot say what you want. Instead, we will say that every priest and every group of faithful who wants the old Mass will have the ability to ask permission from a new commission that will oversee the concerns of the traditionalists." I replied, "Well, that's Ecclesia Dei II!" When the Cardinal relayed this information, I said, "That's it. They don't care about the problem."
Nonetheless, we sent one of our canon lawyers to discuss the proposed canonical structure that we were being offered. The structure being proposed is absolutely splendid. If there were no other problems, it would be perfect. One day, and I think this day will happen very soon, Rome will use a structure of this type to reform the Church.
TLM: What kind of canonical governing structure was the SSPX offered?
BBF: They offered us an Apostolic Administration, a universal diocese. This is excellent because it would preserve a part of the Church that is still sound and give it protection from those who would wish to persecute us.
In the end, I told Cardinal Hoyos that we could not sign the agreement. If Rome was unwilling to recognize openly what it knows to be the right of every priest (namely, to offer the traditional Mass), then we have no reason to trust men who permit and encourage such a deception to continue.
I repeated my discomfort that after all the assurances offered to the FSSP, they had still been forced to accept what most of them did not want [Protocol 1411]. The Cardinal then said that they had never been offered the protection that was being offered now to the SSPX. He said, "They are against the new Mass! The SSPX priests are in favor of the old Mass." What am I to think of such reasoning?
TLM: So you left Rome with the discussions in this state. What happened next?
BBF: We were told that the Pope would speak in favor of the old Mass, but said he would do it at the time when he would erect the SSPX as an Apostolic Administration.
On March 29,2001 I communicated with Cardinal Hoyos. I said that we would never arrive at a solution if we don't first settle the preambles (foundational questions). Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos informed Michael Davies (President of Una Voce International) in a letter that permission to offer the old Mass would be granted only to those who have nothing to do with people who question the authority and legitimacy of the new Mass. Therefore, the only condition for people who say the traditional Mass is that they have nothing to do with us! This is a contradiction. Something is wrong.
I also told him that when he speaks with the SSPX he carefully avoids the word "schismatic." But when he writes bishops he says that we are in schism. Finally, I told him, you say that the FSSP had been chastened because of its position with regard to the new Mass. But our position is much more severe. So what will happen to us? How can we trust so many contradictions?
Some weeks later, we heard that there had been a plenary session of the major dicasteries [offices of the Roman Curia]. Two or three cardinals stood strongly against us. The majority, indeed the great majority, was in favor of reaching an agreement with the SSPX. The same majority refused, however, to consider recognizing every priest's right to offer the traditional Mass. Why? Because there would be too much opposition in the Church. Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos told us, "Listen, you cannot speak against the new Mass. We are proceeding with the beatification of Pope Paul VI [who promulgated the new Mass]. You cannot speak against the new Mass."
On Apri1 13, 2001 we were informed that the Pope could not grant the preambles because of the opposition within the Curia. Cardinal Hoyos said to me that the SSPX's requested recognition of the equal status of the traditional Mass with the new was impossible. Such recognition would place the new Mass in jeopardy. Furthermore, he said that we could not continue attacking the Council. He admitted to me that some of the language of the Council was ambiguous, but that under the present Pontiff a greater precision was being achieved.
TLM: How did you respond?
BBF: I told him that his response put us in a dilemma. We are told: "Come in and shut up, or you are outside." You tell us that we will come to an agreement on the Council when we have a broader view of the Church and her history. What's that? So, if we follow Vatican II we end up in the synagogue, and in the forests of Togo and Assisi, and we don't want to go there. How is it that all the experts of Vatican II had all been condemned under Pius XII: Congar, de Lubac, Courtney Murray, etc.? These are the major thinkers of the Council.
TLM: Do you continue to converse with Cardinal Castrillon?
BBF: I have always viewed our desired rapprochement as another part of the war, not as an attempt for a peace treaty. Something has changed in Rome; the attitude has changed. The most probable explanation can be summarized in one word: ecumenism. The SSPX jeopardizes the grand scale of the ecumenism they seek. It seems that some of the Orthodox have said, "As long as you fail to solve the problem of Tradition, we stay back."
Others in Rome are desperate. They see the disaster in the Church and they look at us as a possible counterforce. But at the same time, they don't understand or they don't want to understand the depth of the crisis. To put ourselves now under them with such an agreement as they propose would hurt us. That's why we repeatedly insist that we touch the doctrinal problems. We want to address the roots of our present estrangement. We're not interested in a practical solution that is nothing more than a political game. Rome recognizes in their discussions with us that there is a problem. However, they do not want to touch Vatican II. Until we can break the taboo on discussing the new Mass and Vatican II, any talk of a rapprochement is premature.
The French bishops who threatened their own schism during our discussions well understand the problem. Last year during the meeting of their Episcopal Conference, the Bishop of Poitiers stood up and said that he had a serious problem in his diocese and he knew that he wasn't alone. He said he had twelve priests who wanted to say the traditional Mass and that he was losing control of them. The only way to deal with them, he said, was to isolate them from one another and watch them carefully. He told his brother bishops that unless something was done soon, the problem would be everywhere.
This is happening everywhere among the young priests. They question the fruits of Vatican II. They have this Catholic instinct. They now look for guidance. We must strengthen them and assist them.
TLM: So, Excellency, where do we go from here?
BBF: Where we have always gone: prayer and penance. Our Lord and Our Lady will intervene. All things will be revealed.
TLM: Thank you, Your Excellency.
No one here is among the Catholics who go around saying that abortion is not a sin, or argues against the church's moral teachings. I can really see no place for this strictly internal church dispute on a general interest public forum.
That is why I placed it in the Culture/Society category and not one of the News categories. There are many philosophical threads that might fit your criteria for not being appropriate "on a general interest public forum", but they have precipitated some lively discussions. That is the spirit in which I posted this thread.
The group including EWTN and The Wanderer, are considered by most not involved in this dispute to be among the most 'conservative' Catholics, using ordinary definitions. Clearly the 'traditionalists' are the other group. As I said, I am not up to speed on most of this argument, and am not prepared to discuss it intelligently. I was basically giving a heads-up to non-Catholic Freepers, and those who are Catholic, but less informed than I am as to what this was about, without using overly tendentious terminology. If you consider that I failed in this, my apologies.
I hope you will agree with me that, in general, when someone tries to summarize an eight page article in a few sentences and says that they aren't really up to speed on the topic, that it is actually a disservice to those whom they mean to help.
One of the main points made by Mr. Ferrara is that those who are endeavoring to destroy the Church from within are using the exact same techniques that the political left uses to destroy Western civilization.
However, I've developed a better way of putting this - you are either plain old "Catholic", in that you ascribe to all of the teachings of the Catholic Church, or YOU ARE NOT CATHOLIC. The Church is not a political party, where her position on such issues such as abortion, homosexuality, women priests, contraception, etc., depends upon who the pope is at a given time. The Holy Bible and 2000 years of Sacred Tradition have essentially nailed down the Church's position on every issue imaginable, and WILL NOT BE CHANGED. Very irritating to me, especially regarding these arrogant liberal American (so-called) Catholics, who think that a few protests, mass media exposure, etc., will change the Church's mind.
To counterbalance the article here, I recommend Catholics check out these resources:
General / Miscellaneous
ULTRATRADITIONALISTS (website by "Matt1618")
On Liberal and Ultraconservative "Catholicism" (Luke Wadel)
A Prescription Against Traditionalism (I. Shawn McElhinney)
Apologetics Papers and Critiques of False "Traditionalism" (I. Shawn McElhinney)
The "Remnant" (Mattite) Sect (I. Shawn McElhinney)
Confusing Culture With 'Tradition' (I. Shawn McElhinney)
THE SYLLABUS OF ERRORS (I. Shawn McElhinney)
Was Pope John Paul II Ritually Anointed by a Hindu in India? (James Akin)
Catholic Encyclopedia: OLD CATHOLICS
Old Catholics: False Bishops, False Churches (Anthony Cekada)
Schismatic Traditionalists (Matt C. Abbott)
An Open Letter to Confused Traditionalists (F. John Loughnan)
Traditionalists and the Epistemology of Protestantism: Private Judgment (Stephen Hand)
Traditionalists, Tradition, and Private Judgment (Stephen Hand)
Detection and Overthrow of the Traditionalist Catholics Falsely So-Called (I. Shawn McElhinney, Dr. Art Sippo, and "Matt1618")
ORTHODOXY AND TRADITIONALISM (Gerard V. Bradley)
Christian Unity and the Role of Authority: The Infallibility of the Church and the Pope (I. Shawn McElhinney)
What Went Wrong With Vatican II? (Ralph McInerny)
Vatican II and its Authority (I. Shawn McElhinney)
Making the True Vatican II Our Own (John Saward)
Formal Debate: Was Vatican II an Infallible Council? (Adam Kolasinski vs. Art Sippo)
Was Vatican Council II Voided by Pope Pius II's "Execrabilis"? (F. John Loughnan)
Traditional Catholic Reflections & Reports © (Stephen Hand)
The Pete Vere Homepage (orthodox traditionalist canonist)
Apologetics Papers and Critiques of False "Traditionalism" (I. Shawn McElhinney)
Agenda (William Grossklas; contra-SSPX website)
F. John Loughnan's Page
The Catholic Liturgical Library
Traditional Latin Mass
Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi Web Site
Catholic Insight (Mario Derksen)
THE PRIESTLY FRATERNITY OF SAINT PETER
Latin Mass Magazine
The Wanderer Newspaper
JAMES LIKOUDIS' PAGE
A Bill of Rights for Orthodox Catholics (Mark J. Kelly)
Registry of Papally-Approved Traditional (Tridentine) Masses
Latin Mass (Novus Ordo) Directory for the USA
And to the Latin Mass (Tim Padgett; Time, June 7, 1999)
"How My Parish Fought Off an Invasion" (Edward C. Petty)
A New "Way" for the Church (Opus Dei) (Antonio Gaspari)
''Changes in Mass for Greater Apostolate'' (Pope Paul VI audience)
''The Mass is the Same'' (Pope Paul VI audience)
In Defense of the Novus Ordo Mass ("Matt 1618")
A Short Primer on the Mass (I. Shawn McElhinney)
The Red Herring of Communion in the Hand (I. Shawn McElhinney and "Matt1618")
A Micro Look at the Pauline Mass (I. Shawn McElhinney)
THE PAULINE LITURGY: A TRUE RESTORATION (I. Shawn McElhinney)
THE ALTAR AND THE DIRECTION OF LITURGICAL PRAYER (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger)
THE MASS OF VATICAN II (Joseph Fessio, S.J.)
ARE WE BALKANIZING CATHOLIC WORSHIP? (Helen Hull Hitchcock)
VANDALIZING CHURCHES (James Hitchcock)
Review of Coomaraswamy's The Problems With the New Mass (William G. Most)
Liturgical Abuses: The Church Speaks
Cardinal Ratzinger on the Collapse of the Catholic Liturgy (Paul Likoudis)
Historical Considerations on Communion on the Hand (Fr. Paul McDonald)
Rethinking Communion in the Hand (Jude A. Huntz)
Introduction to the Lefebvrist Schism (James Akin)
Decree of Excommunication on Marcel Lefebvre
The Protocol of Agreement of the Vatican and Archbishop Lefebvre
Archbishop Lefebvre and the Declaration on Religious Liberty (William G. Most)
Ecclesia Dei (Pope John Paul II on the schismatic Society of St. Pius X)
Agenda (William Grossklas; anti-SSPX website)
A Canonical History of the Lefebvrite Schism (Peter J. Vere)
My Journey Out of the Lefebvre Schism: All Tradition Leads to Rome (Pete Vere)
A Case Study In Modern-Day Donatism (I. Shawn McElhinney)
SSPX Still in Schism (Vatican Pronouncement: 24 August 1996)
Is the Society of St. Pius X in Schism? A Recent Response from Rome (F. John Loughnan)
Status of Society of St. Pius X Masses (Pontifical Commission on Ecclesia Dei)
Status of SSPX (Pontifical Commission on Ecclesia Dei)
The Flat Earth Society and SSPX-Type "Traditionalists" (F. John Loughnan)
Overview of SSPX
Society of St. Pius X Gets Sick (Thomas W. Case)
Schism, Obedience, & SSPX (John Beaumont & John Walsh)
Marcel Lefebvre: Signatory to Dignitatis Humanae (Brian Harrison)
Archbishop Lefebvre and Canons 1323 & 1324 (Peter John Vere)
MY REASONS FOR WITHDRAWING SUPPORT FROM THE SOCIETY OF ST. PIUS X (F. John Loughnan)
Lefebvrism: Jansenism Revisited? (Anthony Fisher) + SSPX Type Traditionalists (F. John Loughnan)
Do-it Yourself Popes: The Wacky World of Sedevacantists (Michael Petek)
A One-Step Refutation of Sedevacantism (I. Shawn McElhinney)
Main Index & Search | Church | Papacy | Saints | Tradition | Purgatory | Justification | Sacramentalism | Mary | Penance | Eucharist | Development | Trinity | Creation | Misc. Theology | Book & Search Links | Eastern Orthodoxy | Ecumenism | Catholic Documents & General/Apologetic Websites
Compiled by Dave Armstrong. Thorough URL Revision: 4 March 2001. Updated: 14 December 2001.
I was strongly tempted to use that term, but thought that this could easily lead to confusion with our Orthodox church brethren, which is why I didn't use it. On your other point, which basically is that the church is 'One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic', to coin a phrase, I agree, but knew that the author would consider this tendentious, which is why I did not say it. I think that you and I are coming from the same place.
Well said. I wish I had your knowledge in this area, next time I will flag you, who are much better equipped than I to handle this problem.
First, I need to make the distinctions that Steven Hand makes at wwwTCRNews. He uses the term Cardinal Ratzinger uses for schismatic Traditionalists, i.e., "Integrists."
Since he states it well, I'll just recopy parts of it it here:
"Note on "Integrism / Integrists": There are degrees of Integrism, and not all are culpable...since many have no intention of challenging the authority of the Pope and the living magisterium or the Second Vatican Council, but only desire access to the Tridentine rite of Mass. Nothing we say here should serve as any indictment of these. The Integrist's, however, who (exclusively) concern us ...are the extreme, often schismatic, traditionalists who ...violate Catholic dogmatic teachings and then set themselves against the Holy Father, the Second Vatican Council and living magisterium, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, etc., in the interests of their private judgment which the Council of Trent condemned as heretical."
I love the Latin Mass and would attend it exclusively if it wasn't so far away from here. I think within several generations the Novus Ordo mass will quietly disappear, and a General Indult will restore the Tridentine Mass to its proper place. That being said I'm very worried about current developments among many conservatice Catholics.
There is only anger, discord, bitterness, and eventually loss of salvation at the end of the path schismatic traditionalists are taking, because the natural conclusion is that the Pope is either a heretic, or not a Pope at all, which is the sedevacantist position, and the Novus Ordo is invalid/illicit, in which case the Church since Vatican II has fallen into apostacy.
The question must be posed: If the schismatic Traditionalists/ Chris Ferrara, Atila Sinke Guimarães, Dr. Marian Horvat, Michael J. Matt, and John Vennari group are right in their interpretations of Vatican II, the current Magisterium, and the words, actions, and prudential judgements of Pope John Paul II, then...
...that means that Pope John Paul II, Mother Angelica, Bishop Bruskiwiecs, Archbishop Chaput, Fr. Fessio, Fr. Baker, Fr. Stravinskas, Fr Groeschel, Fr JOHN HARDON, and all other conservative orthodox Catholics are WRONG!!!
I CANNOT believe that the judgment and interpretations of these nasty schismatic Traditionalists (not to include the Traditionalists in the Church who accept the Indult of Pope JPII) and their interpretation of current events and the writings and actions of Pope John Paul II are CORRECT and that Mother Angelica, Bishop Bruskiwiecs, Archbishop Chaput, Fr. Fessio, Fr. Baker, Fr. Stravinskas, Fr Groeschel, Fr JOHN HARDON, and all other conservative orthodox Catholics are DECEIVED!!!
This is a very dangerous development. There is a real WAR brewing between Traditionalist Catholics and orthodox, conservative Roman Catholics over the real nature of the authority of Vatican II and the post-conciliar Magisterium and the orthodoxy of Pope John Paul II and his prudential judgment.
For the faithful Remnant, this battle will be littered with more mortally deadly landmines than the previous battles over liberals versus conservatives, because otherwise loyal Catholics would never fall for the sinister lies of the liberals, but they may very well be deceived by the more subtle and seductive distortions of the schismatic Traditionalists.
I think EVERYONE needs to be forewarned that a major battle is brewing in the Church and we all need to be prepared to discern the truth on these issues. I urge everyone to read those links I posted above on Traditionalists and the errors of the schismatics.
In these debates, start with the most obvious question, to separate the schismatic from the merely Traditional minded Catholic:
Is the new mass valid In other words, is Christ Truly Present?
You will get two answers.
1)Yes, it is valid.
2)No it is not valid.
If they answer yes, they may insist that in many if not most new masses, it is valid but not licit. They are probably correct. But at least they admit it is a valid mass and valid consecration.
If they answer no, they are schismatic. These will actually be a smaller minority. Most traditionalists sit on the fence of the validity question, unwilling to step into open schism on the issue.
For those that admit the new mass is valid but refuse to attend it none the less, a simple question:
"You believe Christ is truly present at the new mass, right? Then why do you refuse to attend it? If Christ's infinite presence is there, who are we to quibble over the accidentals, the discipline, the liturgy by which He came present to us? Is Christ your Lord, or just a mascot you bring forward with the old liturgy? If He is truly present, then its "good enough" for Him. Why isn't it good enough for you? If Christ is still present, then all the other points of debate are moot in comparison.
One of the points we make in the book is that neo-Catholicism is a defense of novelty rather than Catholic doctrine as such.Once upon a time the Orthodox considered defense of the filoque to be a defense of novelty, rather than a defense of Catholic doctrine as such.
So many fail to follow the Church because they think it is making a change contrary to the Traditional faith. So many have proven so wrong.
Dr. Thomas Woods and I are putting the finishing touches on a book defending the traditionalist position against attacks from within the neo-Catholic (a.k.a. "conservative" Catholic)Yep, that must be me. This whole article seems chock full of insulting and sarcastic language. Read through it and not the number of times it speaks with sarcasm or insult, when the logic of its argument might have been left on its own, for better or for worse.
Because they are essentially defenders of novelty, the neo-Catholics are more or less practical liberals, objectively speaking, whether or not individual members of the neo-Catholic movement subjectively understand this.
It speaks rather strongly about the merit of the authors position that he cant make his case with straight logic.
While the motu proprio applied the excommunication and the delict of schism by name only to Lefebvre and the four priests he consecrated, since then, true to form, neo-Catholic commentators at EWTN, The Wanderer and elsewhere have with great alacrity denounced as "schismatic" not only Lefebvre and the four bishops he consecrated, but all the priests of the Society of Saint Pius X, any member of the faithful who frequents their chapels, and anyone who defends Lefebvre's actions. The neo-Catholics have even coined the terms "Lefebvrist" and "Lefebvrism" to stigmatize "extreme traditionalists" in general.I dont generally speak on who is schismatic and who is not. In my view that is the Popes decision, not mine. I would note, however, that Martin Luther was excommunicated. Most of his followers were not. Yet, one suspects, Mr. Ferrara would admit they are schismatic. Even those who dont know enough about theology to hold any heretical positions are schismatic. One does not have to be excommunicated to be schismatic.
One of the main points made by Mr. Ferrara is that those who are endeavoring to destroy the Church from within are using the exact same techniques that the political left uses to destroy Western civilization.Are you suggesting that the neo conservatives, as Mr. Ferrara refers to us, are endeavoring to destroy the Church from within? Given that this whole article is about neo conservatives, I have trouble seeing whom else you mean. Knowing you, at least to an extent, I have a hard time believing that this is what you meant. If it is, though, can you demonstrate how it is that Mr. Ferraras targets, of which I am certainly one, are destroying the Church?
In response to all of the posts, I like the intelligent comments so far. I'm glad that the Catholic bashers haven't showed up yet. I was born after Vatican II, and I've yet to go to a Tridentine Mass. I think I would like it, since I love the sound of plainchant, and I've taken 2 years of Latin in high school and college. I don't know about you, but it seems like the "traditionalists" who are labeling everyone else "neo-Catholics" are more belligerent than the "neos" are towards them.
This may not be processed until after Christmas!
I purposely did not directly address the issues raised in the article or in the SSPX bishop's interview. I just want to strongly warn average Catholics to not wade lightly into this schismatic traditionalist quagmire. I have lost close friends to this sinister and seductive set of errors (again, the schismatic traditionalists errors, not the traditionalists who simply prefer the Tridentine mass while accepting the validity of the new mass.)
Once in the tar pit, it is very hard to get back out. I almost fell in myself, and I'm currently trying to extricate 2 others at present.
There you will find a list of threads that folks have "bumped" to the *Catholic_list, and you can choose which ones to view and/or follow.
Apologetics with ATTITUDE!
With respect to the article itself, I definitely see a need for continued vigilance and reform within the Church itself but I'm not convinced that infighting among the two most orthodox divisions within the Church is the most productive path. There are plenty of infidels out there to turn towards righteousness before we start splitting hairs.
Published: 12-23-01 Author: Stephen Hand
Posted on 12/23/01 10:17 AM Eastern by Notwithstanding
The law of contradiction, as you can readily see, is not held in high regard in such circles; it's either ignored or rejected altogether in such incongruous alliances, born of financial necessity. Maybe combined they can get a small crowd to buy their basement papers (The Remnant has no overhead, produced in mom's cellar). Such is the possibly fading hope. (It would, by the way, be nice to have some financial disclosure from these papers to see what they have done with the widow's mite over the years. But don't hold your breath...)
The Integrists as we have noted before operate by begging more questions than one can shake a stick at. They blame the Pope for all of the consequences of the failure to obey the Pope and then conclude the Pope must therefore be a heretic.
Farewell to logic.
Then they say that anyone who obeys the Holy Father and the Magisterium is a mere "conservative," which conservatism, they insist, represents only one strand of theological opinion. That, of course, is a whopper. Consult any catechism or Encyclical produced at any time in history and one will find that he who obeys the Holy Father and the living magisterium is simply a Catholic. One who does not is not (unless one is invincibly ignorant of the fact).
But since the Integrists do not obey the Holy Father and the living Magisterium this is maxima problematic for them. So they represent themselves as traditionalists who have no need of the living magisterium, of a mediated and interpreted tradition (even if tradition is the second stream of revelation which only the Church may interpret, as Luther and the Easterns were told!) since they have the dusty texts of yester-year which they can hire Michael Matt or Michael Davies or Christopher Ferrara to interpret for them! See how easy it is?
Of course that is simply not Catholicism. That is Luthers private judgment transposed into a Catholic context which is not Catholicism at all. It is similar to the errors of the Greeks in the 11th century or the Jansenists in Pascals day, both of whom usurped the papal / magisterial exclusive prerogative---bestowed by Our Lord Himself----to judge what is and what is not the substance of the Churchs tradition. So what we end up with in any of these cases is a group of zealots donning magisterial robes in their own minds. Alas for them, the Church only knows those who are faithful to a living magisterium and those who are not.
What makes matters easy for them, relative to beguiling the innocent-minded who have no interest in Catholic dogmatics, is that we live in a time of open rebellion against the teachings of the magisterium, not only by these Integrists, but by Neo-modernists who also ignore the teachings of the living magisterium and also speak of themselves as a true remnant (or collection of base communities).
So the Integrists ignore the multitudes of responsible priests who obey the magisterium and selectively comb the liberal papers for pictures of outrages and abuses which have neither papal approval or support. But since the latter, like the former, do not obey the Pope, if the Pope acts against them they wear it as a badge of ideological martyrdom.
On that last point let me illustrate what a friend related to me not too long ago. A priest friend was having lunch with some students in theology and older people. One of the elders in the group said, Father, why doesnt the Pope excommunicate Hans Kung? Before the priest could answer, one of the students said, Whos Hans Kung?. The priests face morphed from surprise to delight. Then he said, You know, I always trusted that the Vatican knew what it was doing when it picked its fights selectively in our day, but your question proves the wisdom of the Church. Had the Church gone further than quietly stripping him of his license to teach as a Catholic theologian and excommunicated Hans Kung, he would have rallied a world hostile to the Church against her; especially in our day of instant communication. As it is, few young people today have ever heard of him or even read his ponderous writings.
Meanwhile, 6 million (!) people this month (Dec 2001) showed up to honor our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico and the Holy Father preaches Jesus Christ to more multitudes than a rock star could hope to gather, time and time again.
Its enough to make Integrists and Neo-modernists pass the bottle!
(1)What a mess of squirming things hide under a Rock! TFP stands for Tradition, Family and Property, a monarchist sect founded by a Brazilian which has split into aggressive factions today.
(2)The schismatic Society of St. Pius X founded by the late Marcel Lefebvre.
(3)Sedevacantists believe the Pope is a heretic and therefore not a Pope. They are sometimes explicit about this (as with the Society of St. Pius V) or implicit and doubletalking, like the signers of the schismatic manifesto, We Resist the Pope to the Face. Either way they are identical in methodology.
Note: other bad news this year for Integrists: Their favorite archbishop and critic of the vatican, Archbishop Milingo, became a Moonie and married for a time; Sr. Lucy, the last surviving of the three children at Fatima, explicitly repudiated Fr. Gruner's conspiracy theories regarding the Third Secret; just as during the Jubilee all the dire predictions of the SSPX and Michael Matt regarding syncretism at Mt. Sinai AND Assisi (Oct 99) came to nothing of the sort. Their latest prediction, about the next Pope being a liberal who might as well put the Vatican up for sale, reflects their confusions regarding substance and accidents in Church tradition and their absence of trust in the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit; not to mention its corollary, the Church's indefectibility, per the divine promises of our Lord Jesus Christ.
VIVA JOHANNES PAULUS II!
I believe that this is what I, in my poor way, and Proud2bRC in his informed way have been saying. There is no way that a non-Catholic, should they care about this, can affect this in any way, and it is, at the very best, a distasteful public washing of our linen.
Kind of a contradictory statement there, I think. You believe it's scandalous and weakens the witness of Catholics in general (here) -- that certainly sounds like you're questioning whether or not its appropriate. That said, I found the article rather insightful and useful as a synopsis of the current flap between Catholics who feel more affinity for the Tridentine rite rather than the Novus Ordo. Although I think the author is a bit harsh in his assessment of the Vatican's part in all of this. He seems to insinuate almost nefarious motives, which I object to.
I think this sums up the schismatics position quite well.
I think that you misunderstand the issues here. There are those on both sides who have more affinity for the Tridentine rite, or the Latin Mass, which is a seperate controversy. The disagreement is between those who accept the authority of the Pope and the Holy See, and those who do not. It seems more appropriate to refer to the second group as 'Protestants', since they 'protest' the Pope's authority.
Apologetics with ATTITUDE!
brought to you by
The Few, The PROUD, The Church Militant.
I find many Catholics on Free Republic, at least, who are quite antagonistic towards their brethren who prefer the Tridentine rite. And in my personal experience IRL, I've come across several priests who nearly sneer in reference to the Tridentine rite. One priest in particular, when he found out I had begun attending a Tridentine rite Mass regularly that was slightly farther away from home than my home parish, chided me that the Tridentine rite was allowed for only those Catholics who lived before Vatican II, and that us "youngins" should be going to Novus Ordo. Like it was some cute charitable act of kindess by the Church to allow the Tridentine rite for old fogies. This was also the same priest who, when I went in for confession, surprised him by walking around the curtain to do a face-to-face confession (which I prefer, as it keeps me more accountable) -- he was flipping through a copy of MacWorld with his Book of Prayers closed and on the coffee table next to him. He didn't ask me for an act of contrition, and his absolution consisted of "God forgives you. Go in peace."
Source: Crisis Magazine
Author: Peter Kreeft
Posted on 9/10/01 4:03 PM Eastern by proud2bRC
To win any war, the three most necessary things to know are (1) that you are at war, (2) who your enemy is, and (3) what weapons or strategies can defeat him. You cannot win a war (1) if you simply sew peace banners on a battlefield, (2) if you fight civil wars against your allies, or (3) if you use the wrong weapons.
Here is a three point checklist for the culture wars. I assume you would not be reading a magazine called Crisis if you thought all was well. If you dont know that our entire civilization is in crisis, I hope you had a nice vacation on the moon.
Many minds do seem moonstruck, however, blissfully unaware of the crisisespecially the intellectuals, who are supposed to be the most on top of current events. I was dumbfounded to read a cover article in Time devoted to the question: Why is everything getting better? Why is life so good today? Why does everybody feel so satisfied about the quality of life? Time never questioned the assumption, it just wondered why the music on the Titanic sounded so nice.
It turned out, on reading the article, that every single aspect of life that was mentioned, every single reason for life getting better, was economic. People are richer. End of discussion.
Perhaps Time is just Playboy with clothes on. For one kind of playboy, the world is one great big whorehouse. For another kind, its one great big piggy bank. For both, things are getting better and better.
There is a scientific refutation of the Pig Philosophy: the statistical fact that suicide, the most in-your-face index of unhappiness, is directly proportionate to wealth. The richer you are, the richer your family is, and the richer your country is, the more likely it is that you will find life so good that you will choose to blow your brains apart.
Suicide among pre-adults has increased 5000% since the happy days of the 50s. If suicide, especially among the coming generation, is not an index of crisis, nothing is.
Night is falling. What Chuck Colson has labeled a new Dark Ages is looming. And its Brave New World proved to be only a Cowardly Old Dream. We can see this now, at the end of the century of genocide that was christened the Christian century at its birth.
Weve had prophets who warned us: Kierkegaard, 150 years ago, in The Present Age; and Spengler, 100 years ago, in The Decline of the West; and Aldous Huxley, seventy years ago, in Brave New World; and C. S. Lewis, forty years ago, in The Abolition of Man; and above all our popes: Leo XIII and Pius IX and Pius X and above all John Paul the Great, the greatest man in the world, the greatest man of the worst century. He had even more chutzpah than Ronald Reagan, who dared to call Them the evil empire: He called Us the culture of death. Thats our culture, and his, including Italy, with the lowest birth rate in the world, and Poland, which now wants to share in the rest of the Wests abortion holocaust.
If the God of life does not respond to this culture of death with judgment, God is not God. If God does not honor the blood of the hundreds of millions of innocent victims then the God of the Bible, the God of Israel, the God of orphans and widows, the Defender of the defenseless, is a man-made myth, a fairy tale.
But is not God forgiving?
He is, but the unrepentant refuse forgiveness. How can forgiveness be received by a moral relativist who denies that there is anything to forgive except a lack of self-esteem, nothing to judge but judgmentalism? How can a Pharisee or a pop psychologist be saved?
But is not God compassionate?
He is not compassionate to Moloch and Baal and Ashtaroth, and to Caananites who do their work, who cause their children to walk through the fire. Perhaps your God isthe God of your dreams, the God of your religious preferencebut not the God revealed in the Bible.
But is not the God of the Bible revealed most fully and finally in the New Testament rather than the Old? In sweet and gentle Jesus rather than wrathful and warlike Jehovah?
The opposition is heretical: the old Gnostic-Manichaean-Marcionite heresy, as immortal as the demons who inspired it. For I and the Father are one. The opposition between nice Jesus and nasty Jehovah denies the very essence of Christianity: Christs identity as the Son of God. Lets remember our theology and our biology: like Father, like Son.
But is not God a lover rather than a warrior?
No, God is a lover who is a warrior. The question fails to understand what love is, what the love that God is, is. Love is at war with hate, betrayal, selfishness, and all loves enemies. Love fights. Ask any parent. Yuppie-love, like puppy-love, may be merely compassion (the fashionable word today), but father-love and mother-love are war.
In fact, every page of the Bible bristles with spears, from Genesis 3 through Revelation 20. The road from Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained is soaked in blood. At the very center of the story is a cross, a symbol of conflict if there ever was one. The theme of spiritual warfare is never absent in scripture, and never absent in the life and writings of a single saint. But it is never present in the religious education of any of my Catholic students at Boston College. Whenever I speak of it, they are stunned and silent, as if they have suddenly entered another world. They have. They have gone past the warm fuzzies, the fur coats of psychology-disguised-as-religion, into a world where they meet Christ the King, not Christ the Kitten.
Welcome back from the moon, kids.
Where is the culture of death coming from? Here. America is the center of the culture of death. America is the worlds one and only cultural superpower.
If I havent shocked you yet, I will now. Do you know what Muslims call us? They call us The Great Satan. And do you know what I call them? I call them right.
But America has the most just, and moral, and wise, and biblical historical and constitutional foundation in all the world. America is one of the most religious countries in the world. The Church is big and rich and free in America.
Yes. Just like ancient Israel. And if God still loves his Church in America, he will soon make it small and poor and persecuted, as he did to ancient Israel, so that he can keep it alive. If he loves us, he will prune us, and we will bleed, and the blood of the martyrs will be the seed of the Church again, and a second spring will comebut not without blood. It never happens without blood, sacrifice, and suffering. The continuation of Christs workif it is really Christs work and not a comfortable counterfeitcan never happen without the Cross.
I dont mean merely that Western civilization will die. Thats a piece of trivia. I mean eternal souls will die. Billions of Ramons and Vladamirs and Janes and Tiffanies will go to Hell. Thats whats at stake in this war: not just whether America will become a banana republic, or whether well forget Shakespeare, or even whether some nuclear terrorist will incinerate half of humanity, but whether our children and our childrens children will see God forever. Thats whats at stake in Hollywood versus America. Thats why we must wake up and smell the rotting souls. Knowing we are at war is the first requirement for winning it.
The next thing we must do to win a war is to know our enemy.
Who is our enemy?
Not Protestants. For almost half a millennium, many of us thought our enemies were Protestant heretics, and addressed that problem by consigning their bodies to battlefields and their souls to Hell. (Echoes of this strategy can still be heard in Northern Ireland.) Gradually, the light dawned: Protestants are not our enemies, they are our separated brethren. They will fight with us.
Not Jews. For almost two millennia many of us thought that, and did such Christless things to our fathers in the faith that we made it almost impossible for the Jews to see their Godthe true Godin us.
Not Muslims, who are often more loyal to their half-Christ than we are to our whole Christ, who often live more godly lives following their fallible scriptures and their fallible prophet than we do following our infallible scriptures and our infallible prophet.
The same is true of the Mormons and the Jehovahs Witnesses and the Quakers.
Our enemies are not the liberals. For one thing, the term is almost meaninglessly flexible. For another, its a political term, not a religious one. Whatever is good or bad about political liberalism, its neither the cause nor the cure of our present spiritual decay. Spiritual wars are not decided by whether welfare checks increase or decrease.
Our enemies are not anti-Catholic bigots who want to crucify us. They are the ones were trying to save. They are our patients, not our disease. Our word for them is Christs: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. We say this of the Chinese communist totalitarians who imprison and persecute Catholics, and to the Sudanese Muslim terrorists who enslave and murder Catholics. They are not our enemies, they are our patients. We are Christs nurses. The patients think the nurses are their enemies, but the nurses know better.
Our enemies are not even the media of the culture of death, not even Ted Turner or Larry Flynt or Howard Stern or Disney or Time-Warner. They too are victims, patients, though on a rampage against the hospital, poisoning other patients. But the poisoners are our patients too. So are homosexual activists, feminist witches, and abortionists. We go into gutters and pick up the spiritually dying and kiss those who spit at us, if we are cells in our Lords Body. If we do not physically go into gutters, we go into spiritual gutters, for we go where the need is.
Our enemies are not heretics within the Church, cafeteria Catholics, Kennedy Catholics, I Did It My Way Catholics. They are also our patients, though they are Quislings. They are the victims of our enemy, not our enemy.
Our enemies are not theologians in so-called Catholic theology departments who have sold their souls for thirty pieces of scholarship and prefer the plaudits of their peers to the praise of God. They are also our patients.
Our enemy is not even the few really bad priests and bishops, candidates for Christs Millstone of the Month Award, the modern Pharisees. They too are victims, in need of healing.
Who, then, is our enemy?
There are two answers. All the saints and popes throughout the Churchs history have given the same two answers, for these answers come from the Word of God on paper in the New Testament and the Word of God in flesh in Jesus Christ.
Yet they are not well known. In fact, the first answer is almost never mentioned today. Not once in my life have I ever heard a homily on it, or a lecture by a Catholic theologian.
Our enemies are demons. Fallen angels. Evil spirits.
So says Jesus Christ: Do not fear those who can kill the body and then has no more power over you. I will tell you whom to fear. Fear him who has power to destroy both body and soul in Hell.
So says St. Peter, the first pope: The Devil, like a roaring lion, is going through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Resist him, steadfast in the faith.
So says St. Paul: We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers of wickedness in high places.
So said Pope Leo the XIII, who received a vision of the 20th century that history has proved terrifyingly true. He saw Satan, at the beginning of time, allowed one century in which to do his worst work, and he chose the 20th. This pope with the name and heart of a lion was so overcome by the terror of this vision that he fell into a trance. When he awoke, he composed a prayer for the whole Church to use to get it through the 20th century. The prayer was widely known and prayed after every Massuntil the 60s: exactly when the Church was struck with that incomparably swift disaster that we have not yet named (but which future historians will), the disaster that has destroyed a third of our priests, two-thirds of our nuns, and nine-tenths of our childrens theological knowledge; the disaster that has turned the faith of our fathers into the doubts of our dissenters, the wine of the Gospel into the water of psychobabble.
The restoration of the Church, and thus the world, might well begin with the restoration of the Lions prayer and the Lions vision, because this is the vision of all the popes and all the saints and our Lord himself: the vision of a real Hell, a real Satan, and real spiritual warfare.
I said there were two enemies. The second is even more terrifying than the first. There is one nightmare even more terrible than being chased and caught and tortured by the Devil. That is the nightmare of becoming a devil. The horror outside your soul is terrible enough; how can you bear to face the horror inside your soul?
What is the horror inside your soul? Sin. All sin is the Devils work, though he usually uses the flesh and the world as his instruments. Sin means inviting the Devil in. And we do it. Thats the only reason why he can do his awful work; God wont let him do it without our free consent. And thats why the Church is weak and the world is dying: because we are not saints.
And thus we have our third Necessary Thing: the weapon that will win the war and defeat our enemy.
All it takes is saints.
Can you imagine what twelve more Mother Teresas would do for the world? Can you imagine what would happen if just twelve readers of this article offered Christ 100% of their hearts and held back nothing, absolutely nothing?
No, you cant imagine it, any more than anyone could imagine how twelve nice Jewish boys could conquer the Roman Empire. You cant imagine it, but you can do it. You can become a saint. Absolutely no one and nothing can stop you. It is your free choice. Here is one of the truest and most terrifying sentences I have ever read (from William Laws Serious Call): If you will look into your own heart in complete honesty, you must admit that there is one and only one reason why you are not a saint: you do not wholly want to be.
That insight is terrifying because it is an indictment. But it is also thrillingly hopeful because it is an offer, an open door. Each of us can become a saint. We really can.
What holds us back? Fear of paying the price.
What is the price? The answer is simple. T.S. Eliot defines the Christian life as: A condition of complete simplicity/Costing not less than/Everything. The price is everything: 100%. A worse martyrdom than the quick noose or stake: the martyrdom of dying daily, dying to all your desires and plans, including your plans about how to become a saint. A blank check to God. Complete submission, islam, fiatMarys thing. Look what that simple Mary-thing did 2000 years ago: It brought God down and saved the world.
It was meant to continue.
If we do that Mary-thingand only if we do thatthen all our apostolates will work: our missioning and catechizing and fathering and mothering and teaching and studying and nursing and businessing and priesting and bishopingeverything.
A bishop asked one of the priests of his diocese for recommendations on ways to increase vocations. The priest replied: The best way to attract men in this diocese to the priesthood, Your Excellency, would be your canonization.
Why not yours?
Vol. 16 - No.6 - June 1998
Peter Kreeft is a professor of philosophy at Boston College.
No, actually I understand the issues quite well. When I reverted to Catholicism, a particularly devoted Catholic friend of mine had, at that point, wandered dangerously close to the point of schism, thanks to borderline-sedevacantist associations. Although he wouldn't come right out and say it, I could tell that he was barely remaining in faithful obedience to the Magisterium.
That said, unless I'm mis-reading this article, the author unequivocally states that he is faithful to the Pope. What he questions is a perceived bias within the Church so-called orthodox leadership (both beneath the Pope and within the laity) in its denunciation of Traditionalist Catholics, while generally ignoring or downplaying what he believes is one example of a real, dangerous, and legitimate schism of the Church, namely the CPA. (And actually, I think he's spot on in that asseessment, at least -- there should be cries of outrage for the atrocity of that disgusting abomination that purports to be Catholicism, under the name of the CPA). I disagree with him about his perceived victim status as a Tridentine-rite loving Catholic -- although I think the reason is not some concerted effort handed down from Vatican heirarchy, rather its peculiar to American Catholic bishops in general. It's no secret that orthodoxy is at a premium in many seminaries today.
The author supports the WE RESIST YOU [Pope JPII] TO THE FACE manifesto. This manifesto isn't exactly a decaration of fidelity to the Pope.
By comparison, the SSPX professes its acceptance of papal authority and has entered into papally-ordered negotiations for regularization as an apostolic administration directly under the Holy Father. (As Cardinal Hoyos told the press, Bishop Fellay said to him that "when the Pope calls we run.")
Well, I would agree with that statement up to a certain point. I mean, liturgical rules allow for a certain leeway on many different aspects of the Sacraments. But certainly there are a great many ways that being different can and does invalidate Sacraments, and thereby negates any "authenticity." Especially in America, Catholics sadly have to be on guard for liturgical abuse. And generally speaking, priests who disregard or hold little regard for anything but the "bare minimum" as pertains to their priestly duties, can generally be counted on to hold unorthodox views (either privately or publicly) regarding the faith. And although this is a problem that our Church has faced since Christ's time (Judas was an apostle, after all), it's still our duty to be aware so that souls are not misled.
Having talked to them at length, in my experience, writing/ saying you are faithful and actually being/living your faithfulness are two different things.
Read the schismatic web sites such as The Remnant, Catholic Family News, SSPX, SSPV, to get a feel for the kind and degree of "loyalty" out there, and compare it to faithful Indult Latin Mass sites such as Una Voce, Latin Mass Magazine, the FSSP, and the COALITION IN SUPPORT OF ECCLESIA DEI
I realize it is a difficult distinction to make, and as patent stated above, we should not be in the business of judging others as being in schism. But if you compare the "flavor" of the two sets of links here, I think you'll see what I mean.
He must be one of them "Liberation Theologists!"
They are only good to consider if one thinks that the circumstances are analagous. Does the SSPX believe that they were forced into schism by a totalitarian regime over which the Church had no authority?
There is only anger, discord, bitterness, and eventually loss of salvation at the end of the path schismatic traditionalists [Chris Ferrara, Atila Sinke Guimarães, Dr. Marian Horvat, Michael J. Matt, and John Vennari] are taking, because the natural conclusion is that the Pope is either a heretic, or not a Pope at all, which is the sedevacantist position, and the Novus Ordo is invalid/illicit, in which case the Church since Vatican II has fallen into apostacy.
Fron The Remnant's Position Statement:
"Within the Church, however, there are those who take this traditional Catholic counterrevolution too far--declaring that, since Vatican II helped to bring on all of this chaos and denial of Faith, then the popes who called the Council must not be legitimate popes. Many Catholics, who feel this way, believe that there is no legitimate pope presently in Rome, and that Pope John Paul is an impostor. The Remnant has decried this erroneous conclusion, insisting that the Churchs legitimate (though progressivist) pope is most certainly Pope John Paul II."
A little farther down:
"Catholics cannot leave the Church, nor are they free to lambaste and deny the Pope at will for things like his "Altar Girl Permission" or the "Assisi Ecumenical Affair" or the convening of the Second Vatican Council. Catholic lay people must guard against this attitude, which is commonly referred to as "sede vacantism." Nevertheless, Catholics must wake up to the fact that the Church is in a state of unprecedented revolution and turmoil at present, and that, since the Council, she has undergone a near total spiritual breakdown."
And it restates its defense of JPII as the current Pope:
"The Remnant is part of the "Loyal Opposition"-- it defends Pope John Paul as the legitimate Successor of St. Peter, and it also defends his strong stand on moral issues in the face of the Modern world. At the same time, The Remnant has publicly disagreed with Pope John Paul over his positions on such questions as ecumenism, granting the "altar girls" permission, consorting with the United Nations, and his unqualified and complete support of the Second Vatican Council and all of its unfortunate results.
Yes, I do wish that Mr. Ferrara had edited out the sarcasm and insults. I do not agree with his characterization of whom I consider to be other orthodox Catholics.
I'll get back to you later on the schism point.