Skip to comments."We Are Embarrassed" (Cardinal O'Malley on the SSPX)
Posted on 01/31/2009 3:13:02 PM PST by NYer
The Vatican announced this week that the Holy Father has lifted the excommunications of four bishops of the Society of St. Pius X. I was pleased with the news which shows, once again, the Holy Fathers concern for unity and reconciliation in the Church....Meanwhile, the US bishops' lead ecumenists have likewise gone public:
[The Pope's] outreach to the communities who follow these bishops is just one more manifestation of his ardent desire to bring these people (which some estimate to be as many as 1.5 million) back into the fold. We know that these are generally people who practice their faith and try to live a Christian life seriously but, unfortunately, I believe that they have been misled by their leadership.
Of course, lifting the excommunications was a first step; it does not regularize these bishops or the Society of St. Pius X, but it opens the way for a dialogue. This step was in response to a letter in which they professed their desire for full participation in the life of the Church.
It was tragic that one of the four bishops, Bishop Richard Williamson, had made outrageous statements about the Holocaust and about the September 11 attacks on the United States. It certainly raises questions as to the caliber of the leadership that the Society has. Additionally, as terrible as the comments were, it underscores the importance for the Holy Father to have increasing influence over those communities.
We are very sorry that the people in the Jewish community have been so pained and outraged by Bishop Williamsons statements. I think the Holy Fathers statements and those of Cardinal Walter Kasper, chairman of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, have been very clear to dissociate the Catholic Church from those kinds of sentiments. I was pleased that the head of the Society of St. Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, also repudiated the statements of Bishop Williamson.
It is very important for us to always remember the Holocaust so that such an atrocity could never take place again. I recall the words of the Holy Father this week: May the Shoah be for everyone an admonition against oblivion, negation and reductionism, because violence against a single human being is violence against all.
It has been very hurtful to our Jewish partners, said Father James Massa, executive director of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. Theyve been calling us for answers for what this means. The mood is very tense....
Bishop Williamsons disgraceful remarks ... indicate his contempt for those who oppose his advocacy of Holocaust denial, said Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, the American Jewish Committees U.S. director of interreligious affairs.
While we appreciate that Pope Benedict has again declared his support for the Jewish people and his rejection of Holocaust denial, he continued, we fear that the Vaticans decision to invite (Bishop) Williamson back into the Catholic Church will give legitimacy to these outrageous lies and suggest toleration of those who perpetuate them.
Doubtless, this will contribute to the deterioration of the excellent relations between Jews and the Catholic Church, the rabbi said in a statement.
The entire ordeal has created a lot of confusion, Father Massa told Catholic News Service Jan. 29.
There is a difference between the lifting of excommunication and being in full communion with the Catholic Church, he said.
Removing excommunication doesnt mean they are fully reconciled as priests and bishops of the Catholic Church, Father Massa said. Like any other Catholic, they can go to Mass and receive holy Communion, but they cannot perform the sacrament themselves as fully recognized ministers of the church....
In no way am I excusing (Bishop) Williamson, Rabbi Bradley Hirschfield, president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, said in a Jan. 26 blog.
But I am willing to entertain that however much pain his reinstatement might cause relative to this issue, he said, it may not be the only basis upon which the pope should make his decision, nor should it govern the future of church-Jewish relations, as some have already suggested/threatened it will.
Though Jewish-Catholic relations in the U.S. may be strained at the moment, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta, chairman of the USCCBs Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, said the foundation is solid and he is confident they will forge ahead with friendships intact.
We (Catholics) are embarrassed during this episode, like when a family member has said a shameful thing, Archbishop Gregory told CNS Jan. 30.
Well have to take those steps necessary to let them know we value those (Catholic-Jewish) relationships, as well as our bond, love and unity with our Jewish counterparts, he said, and that we dont in any way indent to step aside from our great tradition of friendship in this country.
The archbishop noted he was to speak at an upcoming Jewish event in his city that he already had on his calendar, and he planned to take that opportunity to assure the Jewish community he will do whatever he can to reinforce Catholic-Jewish relations.
That is what many bishops in America will have to do to take that opportunity to let them know of our esteem, and strengthen our relations, he said. The vehicles are there. We need to use them. We need to show our Jewish friends our desire to continue to move forward.
It is important now for the Catholic hierarchy to explain theological and canonical distinctions to their Jewish partners, and assure them of the churchs commitment to Jewish-Catholic dialogue based on Vatican II, Father Massa said.
We are expressing our profound dissatisfaction with the egregiously offensive comments of Bishop Williamson, he said. It is unacceptable for a bishop who seeks to be in communion with the Catholic Church to deny the historical fact of the Shoah.
There were some surprisingly rational responses and comments in there.
And that remark, in turn, raises questions about the good treatment a regularized Society of St. Pius X might expect to receive in the Archdiocese of Boston.
“It certainly raises questions as to the caliber of the leadership that the Society has.
And that remark, in turn, raises questions about the good treatment a regularized Society of St. Pius X might expect to receive in the Archdiocese of Boston. “
Perhaps he should be just as concerned about the “caliber of the leadership” provided by pervert protecting bishops, such as Mahony, Moreno, O’Brien and all the others.
Would either of you care to post the 'teachings' of the sspx on the documents of Vatican Council II? We would all be interested in gaining a deeper understanding of what has been taught to sspx members over the past 40 years.
“And that remark, in turn, raises questions about the good treatment a regularized Society of St. Pius X might expect to receive in the Archdiocese of Boston.”
Not really. It and when the SSPX is regularized it will still have a great deal of freedom from the local bishop and will be protected by the Ecclesia Dei commission. The greatest problem the SSPXers have are themselves and their leadership.
Oh, dear. This is turning into quite a fuddle, isn’t it?
I guess nobody cares how offended I am that over 70% of the U.S. Jewish community voted for an American hating, Israel hating, Iran loving, socialist for president. Perhaps I’m less concerned about the holocaust than the coming catastrophe of a nuclear armed Iran. After Nov 4th, I must say couldn’t care less how they feel about Pope Benedict XVI.
I am not an SSPXer, so I have had no first hand knowlege of “the ‘teachings’ of the sspx on the documents of Vatican Council II”.
That said, the parishs in which I have lived for most of the last forty-five years taught me that the documents of Vatican II had:
Required Communion rails to be removed;
Required standing for Communion;
Required the priest to “face the people” during Mass;
Recommended/required that Traditional Hymns/organ music be discarded in favor of modern contemporary music with guitars, tambourines and pianos;
Required “grip and grin” sessions before and during Mass;
Recommended Communion in the hand;
Recommended that people not kneel at Mass;
Allowed liturgical dancers (or liturgical movement, whatever that is, I am afraid to ask);
and other things too numerous to mention, but you get the idea.
All of these things are BOLD FACED LIES by clerics in communion with their bishops who are in communion with Rome.
And this guy (O’Malley)has the gall to disparage the caliber of the leadership of the SSPX folks?
Very well said. I’m also not an SSPXer, but I can’t believe that the Archbishop of Boston has the chutzpah to knock them. His archdiocese has been in free fall for decades (closed churches, closed schools, dwindling vocations, etc.), so one should certainly question that “caliber of leadership” Boston’s Catholics have had, as well. He’s upset that Williamson is a member in good standing of the SSPX? Well, I’m upset that the Kennedys and other pro-abortion politicians of their ilk are members in good standing of the Archdiocese of Boston.
The whack-jobs in the SSPX need to have a bright light shone upon them so they’ll either retract their statements, or shut up completely.
That said, I wish our bishops were similarly embarrassed when their brethren go off the reservation on the far left.
Honestly! Give me a break. LOL. I think they are smarter than than that, they know nonsense when they hear it.
This goes to show how much detatchment is necessary from the utter seriousness with which we take oureselves.
They had plenty of forgiveness for chickenhawks.
. . . But enter now the villains! Firstly a glamorous Baroness previously engaged to be married to the Captain, who schemes to get Julie Andrews out of the way, back to the Convent (but didn't you know, "The path of true love never did run smooth"?). Secondly, villain of villains, a - a - a NAZI! (Original sin? - never heard of it! Isn't all sin Nazi sin?) . . . .
Shiny white wedding dress (of course), wedding bells all over the place and a lovely ceremony (of course), to be spoiled only by the brutal re-appearance of the nasty Nazi - the Captain must report for duty to the Third Reich!
The family tries to sneak away. The nasty Nazi spots them, so now they all break out into singing Edelweiss. The nasty Nazi is foiled when the family escape to the convent (where else?), but drama rolls as the nasty Nazis close in on the convent. (But didn't you know, "Life is not just a bed of roses"?) The Captain is heroic (of course), but the dastardly villains are only foiled for good when their car is incapacitated by the nuns turned into mechanics (of course), and the last shots show the "family" climbing a mountain path to get out of the Third Reich, amidst hills which are once more - go on, don't tell me you couldn't guess! -- "alive with the sound of music". How truly heart -warming. . . .
As for cleanness, many films may be worse than the Sound of Music, but stop and think - are youth, physical attractiveness and being in love the essence of marriage? Can you imagine this Julie Andrews staying with the Captain if "the romance went out of their marriage"? Would she not divorce him and grab his children from him to be her toys? Such romance is not actually pornographic but it is virtually so, in other words all the elements of pornography are there, just waiting to break out. One remembers the media sensation when a few years later Julie Andrews appeared topless in another film. That was no sensation, just a natural development for one rolling canine female.
As for being a family film, by glorifying that romance which is essentially self-centred, The Sound of Music puts selfishness in the place of selflessness between husband and wife, and by putting friendliness and fun in the place of authority and rules, it invites disorder between parents and children. This is a new model family which in short order will be no family at all, its liberated members flying off in all different directions. . .
You have a point there, ALPA. It’s not only Jews, just about everybody seems to feel entitled to react with outrage if the Pope or a Catholic leader says something they don’t like. Hey, it’s not THEIR religion. Imagine if the same amount of press coverage were given to the anti-Catholic jokes, smears on sacred Catholic beliefs, and nasty comments against the Holy Father, and even Mary and Jesus, on a daily basis. We could hardly have room for anything else in the news. Imagine if Catholics freaked out every time someone made a comment that did not concur with their view of history or reality. It’s so commonplace and socially acceptable, in the news, in literature, in pop music, that only the most egregious insults get a response, and then usually only from The Catholic League, an independent organization, not a bishop or Vatican official. The bishops jumping on Pelosi and Biden for their unique interpretations of Catholic theology was a very rare exception, but there’s enough of that garbage happening it could be a daily occurrence.
He obviously does not realize that the “Sound of Music” is a TRUE story!
Actually, he does note that is based on a true story early in the letter. I posted only a portion of his comments, as the letter is rather long. You can read it by clicking on the link.
It would be interesting to read the original book by the real-life governess, Maria von Trapp, to see just how far Hollywood departed from reality in the film starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. However, we need not know the original to see what Hollywood has done!
In fact, the Bishop might have made a much stronger case by noting how the film did depart from reality&mdas. I haven't read Family on Wheels, but have read Maria (the prequel) a few years back, and that, along with the Bishop's comments, was enough to make me dig around on the net and find the information that I tried to link to in post 18 www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2005/winter/von-trapps.html .
As it stands, the film is good when compared with what passes for entertainment now days, but the Bishop does seem to have valid points in that history is altered for the sake of promoting an agenda, and the more one is aware of the history, the more the agenda is apparent. The Catholic children's author Hilda van Stockum, who was a friend of the Von Trapps, walked out of the Sound of Music because of the way it had altered things (I have this from one of Mrs. van Stockum’s granddaughters). In fairness, I ought to add, that, while friends, Mrs. van Stockum found Mrs. Von Trapp to be rather cantankerous (the link also notes the trait) and apparently found Julie Andrews to be the thing hardest to stomach.
Another instance of Hollywood making what passes for a decent movie that actually tilts social mores left is Yours, Mine, and Ours—which I really liked in the original form until I read the book upon which it is based, Who Gets the Last Drumstick? Thanks to this evening, I suspect that I will read Family on Wheels and never want to see the Sound of Music again.
While we can debate how Hollywood portrays historical events (given that movies don’t run in real time, and in The Sound of Music’s case the vista of the Alps is much better than the reality of leaving by train, as film is a visual medium), I think the most offensive part of the Bishop’s letter is his trite dismissal of the Nazi reigime as merely “nasty.” But given his denial of the Holocaust we shouldn’t expect anything less, I guess.
Anyone who gets their history from film or television deserves to get an F on their exam. After seeing a fact-based film, for example, the first thing I do when I get home is to do more research to fill in the gaps.
I couldn’t watch a film on TV with my dad that featured railroading—he worked for the Southern Pacific for 30 years, and would point out the flaws in every scene.
Regardless of what they may have said, I would think a Catholic should take far greater offense at what some other "separated brethren" may have been taught about the Immaculate Conception and the role of the Papacy, let alone the sacramental validity of the Roman Canon, than at anyone who might criticize some aspect of some document of Vatican II.
But that's just me. Perhaps you sing hymns related to teachings from Inter Mirifica at the Masses you attend?
From what I understand, the Bishop does not deny the holocaust per se, but holds two positions contrary to the historically orthodox position (1) that the six million figure normally used for Jewish deaths is unduly high (I have seen one post stating that he holds that this is off by a full order of magnitude) and (2) that gas chambers were not the method used for execution, at least for the Jews. However, short of seeing the unedited footage of the original interview, the only way Bishop Williamson has to demonstrate his views are more moderate than they are portrayed is to speak again on the issue—but if they deviate at all from historical orthodoxy, they will be misconstrued in the same way.
No serious follower of Archbishop Lefebvre would deny the existence of the death camps, as the Archbishop's own father, a strong monarchist, died in one in 1944 after having been sent there for his work for the French resistance. (Discoverable by reading the first paragraph after the two paragraph summary of the Archbishop's bio on wikipedia). Of course, while this is a somewhat relevant fact, I think I've seen it pointed out once in perhaps 500 posts I've seen on the topic. That Bishop Williamson believes that at least hundreds of thousands of Jews died in concentration camps is something that most posters on various forums (and reporters) seem to miss.
Most of the changes from history were made in the Broadway musical, starring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel, which naturally had fewer outdoor scenes.
Having lived through the same experience, I can truly empathize with your comments. At no time, however, do I ever recall a pastor teaching this from the pulpit. They simply implemented the changes, some more rapidly than others, over the span of several decades. Like most catholics, I never questioned it until I arrived in this forum and someone challenged me to read the documents of VCII. What you and I have experienced is an interpretation of those documents. They were written to address the needs of catholics worldwide - not just in the US.
None of this has anything to do with the SSPX whose founder chose to dissent with the Council and the authority of the pope. That is the crux of the problem. One might rightly be appreciative to the sspx for retaining the TLM but not their dissent.
That said, the parishs in which I have lived for most of the last forty-five years taught me that the documents of Vatican II had: Outlawed Latin;
Having lived through the same experience, I can truly empathize with your comments. At no time, however, do I ever recall a pastor teaching this from the pulpit.
I have, though perhaps in not so many words.
Some U.S. dioceses did in fact outlaw latin, beginning with Baltimore in ‘64 or ‘65. (There was a period for phasing out, but it was fairly quick.)
You asked me the question and I answered you.
Not all teaching comes from the pulpit.
Those of us who value Tradition and the Latin Mass owe the SSPX folks big time.
There are members of SSPX that have been for years saying that Pope John Paul II was the Anti-Christ, along with Pope Benedict. These are a few radical elements in the SSPX group. But the schism has hurt the society.
In terms of history, the Tridentine Rite did cause trouble in India. When the Portuguese arrived after the English, they were able to bring the Saint Thomas Christians in communion with the Roman Catholic Church.
These Saint Thomas Christians of Kerelya province in India had 7 Churches established one of Jesus' original twelve apostles.
Since the time of Christ (or rather the time that the Apostle Thomas the doubter converted them), these people said Mass in the vernacular of the people. They did have a Mar Thomas (Syrian Bishop) sent to them around the 4th or 5th Centuries after one of the early Church Councils.
Enforcing the Tridentine Rite (the rite used by SSPX) caused schism with these Christians of India in around the year 1500. I believe two of the original 7 churches broke away with Rome and are still part of the Syro-Malobar Church (spelling/accuracy?).
To base your religion just on the Tridentine Rite is wrong. To base your religion on precepts and beliefs that prevent liberal, bad influences in the church is good.
There is both good and bad in SSPX just as there is both good and bad in the Vatican II movement. Vatican II has allowed errors to enter the Church, which is why SSPX is popular.
SSPX has good, solid seminaries. I assure you will not hear rock 'n roll, rap music, and other nonsense in the SSPX seminaries which has been going on in American seminaries since the 1960s.
There are things Rome can learn from SSPX. And there are probably things that SSPX can pick up from Rome and other traditional elements of the Church.
One example of good done by SSPX is that vestments that were going to be discarded by Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York was picked up by the tiny SSPX community in Saint Marys, Kansas. Many of the vestments were handstiched by nuns pre-Vatican II and are beautiful vestments.
Jumping to the conclusion that the Archdiocese of Boston will be unfair to this group is not wrong in my opinion.
The English Bishop who made such terrible comments about the Holocaust is the one who has given SSPX the black eye -- not the Archdiocese of Boston.
In Atlanta, the SSPX church was advertising that it was a Catholic Church. During the time of the schism, they were just the SSPX and outside the Catholic Church, so that was false advertising with the Phone Company. Even though I had family members in St Marys, Kansas, I complained to the Phone Company about this advertising.
It could advertise as a former Catholic Church group that performs the Tridentine Rite for Mass...
At that time, the Archdiocese of Atlanta had established a Tridentine rite only Parish -- Saint Francis de Sales.
The SSPX Church actually rented space in a hotel for its Sunday Services and it went by the name of Saint Michaels...
Adding the phrase based on a true story is more accurate.
There are some chilling tales about Nazi Germany, but it is not like it was in the movie... The movie changes the timeline to fit a movie versus what happened in the true story. The book would explain that better than I can.
The Von Trapp family did not have to escape from Germany, as shown in the film. They basically just immigrated to America, but had trouble getting permission to permanently stay in America.
Maria Von Trapp wrote a book about her experience.
Story of the Trapp Family Singers [Hardcover]
By Maria Augusta Von Trapp
ISBN-10 : 0397000189
ISBN-13 : 9780397000180
Publisher : Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
There is also a paperback version of the book published in 1957.
Agreed. But neither of you answered my question. Did you ever read the documents from Second Vatican Council?
You hadn’t asked me. I’ve read all 16 multiple times,and incorporated lumen gentium, sacrosanctum concilium, and dei verbum into courses multiple times. pardon caps—am holding baby.
That isn’t the question you asked me.
But now that you are asking, I read these documents when they became more readily available (in the mid-’70s).
I was hotter than a firecracker when I found out what they REALLY said.
Then why spend almost 20 paragraphs beating up strawmen under the false headline "I disagree"?
“I guess nobody cares how offended I am that over 70% of the U.S. Jewish community voted for an American hating, Israel hating, Iran loving, socialist for president. Perhaps Im less concerned about the holocaust than the coming catastrophe of a nuclear armed Iran. After Nov 4th, I must say couldnt care less how they feel about Pope Benedict XVI.”
You are generalizing. There are more Jews in the world than just those in America. There is all of Israel, and believe me, they know better than anyone how precarious their situation is over there surrounded by the Arab countries that want them exterminated. Who do you think will be the first affected by the coming catastrophe of a nuclear armed Iran. That’s right, Israel. It would be their second holocaust. So, because there are a bunch of leftist Jews in this country whose ideology trumps their loyalties to Israel and their religious roots, that does not abrogate the threat to Israel’s very existence. Israeli Jews are not disemodied American leftist Jews. And what the SSPX’er jerk Bishop said about the Jews was unconscionable and impossible to justify by any Catholic.
1. The Pope ex-ex-communicated a bishop. No Catholic is justifying the Bishop’s comments. It allows the bishop (necessarily a sinner) access to the sacraments (including reconciliation). He may need them more than most.
2. I haven’t heard outrage from any Jewish community over the election of Obama.
3. Those Jewish leaders feigning offense at Pope Benedict and being silent about the Obama administration should be ignored.
4. The MSM never misses an opportunity to throw dirt at the Vatican, they could very well have manufactured this “outrage.”
When the Mass was standardized after the Council of Trent, all Rites that at that time had been celebrated for more than 200 years were able to continue. So, if the Catholic Churches in India had had their own Rite, they would have been able to continue using it.
Look, do you support the Holy Father's project to unexcommunicate the four bishops and reunite with the SSPX, or do you dissent from it like Hans Kung?
Archbishop O’Malley has every right and, indeed, a duty to question the caliber of leadership of the SSPX because the Society has spent the last 40 years rejecting the legitimacy and teachings of an ecumenical council. While modernists have clearly mischaracterized the Second Vatican Council and used it as an excuse to advance their own agenda in the Church, that does NOT excuse the SSPX from its own sins. The fact that Bishop Williamson denies the reality of the Holocaust, which is a historical fact, means that he’s either ignorant (which I doubt) or anti-Semitic. Either way, I would question the theological competence as well as the integrity of someone who refuses to believe the truth.
Twenty paragraphs are necessary to give some insight into what the Archdiocese of Boston and other Dioceses/Archdioceses face with healing the wounds.
Patience, humility and time are needed to get SSPX and the Roman Catholic Church working better together again.
One small example is that SSPX wants Archbishop Lefebre canonized a saint (or would like to promote the effort).
The problem with that is that it was a very willful act of disobiedence on this person's part that caused the schism...
It is just a complex issue...
He is exactly right on the Sound of Music: it is a sugary story of happy airheaded frivolity trumping Catholic virtues of faith and fortitude. It is inoffensive now after we have Disney Film rolling teenager softporn stories by the dozen, but at the root of it is cheap self-centered romanticism pioneered by movies like the Sound of Music.
Gotta love those solidly conservative Catholic states like Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey! ;-)
Please, tend your own garden before you start casting aspersions.
There’s been considerable outrage lately about so called liberal catholics voting for democrats. Nancy Pelosi was taken to task by numerous bishops for her idiocy.
I usually tell people if they can be a pro-choice catholic, I can be a meat eating vegetarian.
I’m not casting aspersions on any one. I’m just defending Pope Benedict from the onslaught of idiocy in the media and other liberal circles.
Maria von Trapp was in the movie as an extra...
But the folks who went to India may have not had a clear understanding of all the rules of the Tridentine Rite.
It was a Papal delegation or a Vatican delegation with Apostolic Annunico. Probably just some Portuguese priests trying to re-unite Catholics who have not been in contact almost since the first century.
Think of the communication problems we have in the 20th and 21st centuries, and we have all sorts of technology to aid us.
For communication in those times, it took months for news of things to reach one end of Europe to the other.
Let alone correct news going from India to Portugal to the Vatican.
Council of Trent took place in 1563.
The arrival of the Portuguese was in 1498 -- a few years after Columbus discovered America -- the West Indies, other parts of America -- on his four voyages of discovery.
A good (and much more accurate link) on the Saint Thomas Christians and the contact with the West in 1498 is the following:
This is an article by:
CNEWA -- A Papal Agency for Humanitarian and Pastoral support.
This article explains the "POLITICS" of what happened...