Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Forty Years After

Pope Benedict XVI's Christmas Message to the Curia will doubtless get many Trads further annoyed, and reassure Sedes that they are correct, after all. Sandro Magister, in his usual perceptive manner writes of this message in Chiesa, to which I refer my readers.

In a nutshell, the Pope proposes that Vatican II corrected prior Church policy in three different areas:

    a)the relationship between the Faith and "Modern Science" (or at least what passed for that notion from the 18th century to almost the present)

    b)the relationship between the Church and the "modern" secular State

    c)the relationship between the Church and other religions, especially, in the light of Nazi atrocities (bearing in mind that Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict himself, as well as the European Council Fathers had all suffered under them in a way Americans cannot really understand), the Jews

The Holy Father explains, as only a participant of the Council could (a sincere one, that is --- the Rahners and the Kung's had their own views). As Cardinal Ratzinger, His Holiness described the Council as a sort of "Counter-Syllabus" --- in reference to the Syllabus of Errors of Bl. Pius IX. This was a description that infuriated such as Archbishop Lefebvre (and myself, for what little that is worth). But loyalty to the Holy See requires that such a sincere explication as the Pope has presented be returned, not with fury, but with the same sort of sincerity.

Benedict declares that the former attitude of the Church toward the modern world, "a harsh and radical condemnation of this spirit of the modern age," was in itself flawed. As he writes, "It was becoming clear that the American Revolution had offered a model of the modern state that was different from that theorized by the radical tendencies that had emerged from the second phase of the French Revolution. Natural sciences began, in a more and more clear way, to reflect their own limits, imposed by their own method which, though achieving great things, was nevertheless not able to comprehend the totality of reality. Thus, both sides began to progressively open up to each other. In the period between the two world wars and even more after the second world war, Catholic statemen had shown that a modern lay state can exist, which nevertheless is not neutral with respect to values, but lives tapping into the great ethical fonts of Christianity."

Despite the apparently authoritative manner of Bl. Pius' Syllabus and similar teachings, "In this process of change through continuity we had to learn how to understand better than before that the Church’s decisions about contingent matters – for example, about actual forms of liberalism or liberal interpretations of the Bible – were necessarily themselves contingent because related to a reality itself changeable." So it was that "We had to learn how to recognise that in such decisions only principles express what is lasting, embedded in the background and determining the decision from within. The concrete forms these decisions take are not permanent but depend upon the historical situations. They can therefore change."

As an historical precedent, Pope Benedict offers this one, dear even to most who call themselves Traditionalists: "When Medieval Christianity, largely schooled in the Platonic tradition, came into contact with Aristotle’s ideas via Jewish and Arab philosophers in the 13th century, faith and reason almost became irreconcilable. But saint Thomas Aquinas was especially able to find a new synthesis between faith and Aristotelian philosophy. Faith could relate in a positive manner with the dominant notions of reason of the time."

His Holiness goes on to effectively critique what he sees as the erroneous interprestation of the Council, which sees it as a radical break with all that was taught before, although he does not mention that this is, regrettably, the dominant view in most Catholic institutions, to include diocesan chanceries and Roman Curia departments. Against this particular threat he writes, and --- I have no doubt --- intends to act.

There are, I think, two ways to react to this and similar pronouncements. One is simply to brand him as a modernist out to destroy Catholic Tradition, consciously or unconsciously, in a a far cleverer manner than his last few predecessors. Perhaps predictably, our friends in the SSPX tend to take this view. In his January 2006 "Letter from the District Superior [of Great Britain]," Fr. Paul Morgan opines, after acknowledging that the Tridentine Mass is likely to prosper under the new management in Rome, "Whilst we can expect something of a return to a more conservative situation under the new pope, at least compared to John Paul II's pontificate, we ought not to imagine that everything is resolved. As it was Napoleon who introduced a certain order in to the Revolution, and then carried the revolutionary principles across Europe with his victorious armies, so now is there a real danger of a more conservative pope propagating the revolutionary principles of Vatican II."

While I fully understand this view, I just as fully do not share it. The second possible response is of loyal discussion of the views advanced by the Pontiff,in precisely the terms in which he advances them. For either the views adavnced by Bl. Pius IX remain binding (as I believe) or they are contingent, as His Holiness declares. But if this last is true, then denial of them is just as contingent, and may be discussed, or even discounted, if it is found to be factually erroneous or the times require such discounting, even the Pope has said of the Syllabus of Errors. If, as then Cardinal Ratzinger replied to Archbishop Lefebvre's declaration that Vatican II contradicted the the Syllabus, that "we do not live in the times of the Syllabus," one must reply that neither do we live in the times of Vatican II. To those who neither lived under the Nazis and nor were old enough to have participated in the heady emotions unleashed by the Council,it may well be easier to "discern the signs of the times," even as Vatican II itself commanded.

Thus, it seems to me (albeit this is a personal judgement --- which kind of judgement it appears the Holy Father himself has legitimated in his Christmas Curia message)that we must evaluate the Conciliar project on the basis of the assumptions under which it was formed.

Vatican II occurred before a number of key events which shed a great deal of light on the veracity or otherwise of those assumptions. Genetic research and such things as the discovery of invertebrate fossils have demolished both the Darwinian theory of evolution and the dating system upon which it was based; the "New Physics" have not only blown Newtonian scientism to smithereens, they have indicated existence of an "information universe," redolent of the much feared "intelligent design;" the discovery of frag,emts of the Gospel of St. Mark among the Dead Sea scrolls has voided the formerly "new" Biblical criticism; the onward motion of government and society in destroying marriage, family, and all things decent in an increasingly totalitarian manner has demolished the hopes of the 20th century Catholic politicians the Pope rightly praises, as well as calling into question the supposed uniqueness of the American Revolution, a uniqueness much beloved of conservatives and liberals alike; and the continuing hatred of the vatious non-Catholic religions for the Church surely must bring doubt upon the wisdom of the post-Vatican II ecumenical project (save, of course, toward the Orthodox and certain Anglican and Lutheran conservatives).

In a word, the contingent world view upon which the Vatican II generation's assumptions were built have been broken. That World View is like a gigantic dinosaur that does not yet realize that it is dead. But what Pope Benedict XVI has done, even while espousing this world-view to a greater or lesser degree,is to legitimise debate on it. As the generations that are emotionally wedded to it die off, such debate, will, in the end, kill it. Even now, such works as Fr. Aidan Nichols' "Christendom Awake" indicate that this process is under way. Let be noted that Fr. Nichols and his ilk could hardly be called "Traditionalists."

What must be determined, and the Pontiff's methodology urges us to so determine, is which approach is more appropriate to the new world in which we live --- that of the Council, or that of the Syllabus. It is my own view that, in time, the latter will emerge as the victor. But it will require the passing from the scene of those who were brutally abused by the Nazis and/or Communists, and those who felt to the bottom of their hearts that a New World dawned in the 1960s, before all these things can be evaluated calmly on their own merits. As Fr. Morgan charitably admits, "due to [Benedict XVI's]perspective of things it seems impossible for him to renounce or to reject the Council." Unhappily, it may also be neccessary for those of us who were brutalised by post-Conciliar developments also to be gathered to our ancestors before this process can be completed.

In the meantime, it is necessary for those of who do not share the world-view of the Council Fathers to show love and loyalty to our Pope, even as the Scotist school, who upheld the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception against the Thomists, showed toward Pontiffs like St. Pius V, who forbade them to call their opponents (proved at last, after several centuries to be wrong)heretical. Moreover, it is essential that we know our facts. We must know and internalise documents like Bl. Pius IX's Syllabus and Gregory XVI's "Mirari Vos" and "Singulari Nos" which so many who call themselves Traditionalists defend without ever reading. We must also keep abreats of the latest developments in science, politics, culture, and all the rest, sifting them, even as the Pope has called upon us to do. How many of us, for example, are familiar with the work of Fr. Jose O' Callaghan? For that matterm it would help to throw ourselves into the Church Fathers, and the traditional liturgies of all rites, East and West. We cannot defend Catholic Tradition if we do not really know it ourselves.

But there is more. We must avoid any arbitrary division of Catholics into "Traditional" and "Conciliar." All of us, (save those clerics and theologians who deny the basic tenets of the Faith) are Catholics. We may be ignorant, willful, deluded, or anything else you please. But anyone who can recite the four creeds, meaning every word of them in the light of St. Pius X's anti-Modernist oath, are Catholics. As such, we must both give and expect a certain amount of decency to and from our brother catholics. We must seek to convert, to reconcile, to assuage, to unify, on the basis of both Truth and Charity. This is important not merely for the Salvation of other souls, but for our own. It is notable that the salvation of individual souls, that is to say, of engineering their escape from the jaws of the Hell that lies in wait for each and every one of us, is almost completely absent from virtually all these sorts of debates.

The reason for this, I believe, can be found in the historical precedent for the changes of Vatican II cited by the Holy Father in his Christmas message --- the discarding of Patristic and Medieval neo-Platonism for Aristotelianism of various schools. I have written of this elsewhere in more detail, and doubtless will do so again. But here too, it is my belief that the two sides in that long-ago struggle also must be reevaluated in the light of what has happened in the centuries since.

But regardless of whether I am right or wrong in that, I happily reaffirm my loyalty and submission to Pope Benedict XVI, and wish him and all of us a happy and blessed 2006.


Blogger Roy F. Moore said...

We must avoid any arbitrary division of Catholics into "Traditional" and "Conciliar." All of us, (save those clerics and theologians who deny the basic tenets of the Faith) are Catholics.

To many in some of the Traditional circles I travel in, they would disagree with that statement with both passion and vehemence.

As such, we must both give and expect a certain amount of decency to and from our brother Catholics. We must seek to convert, to reconcile, to assuage, to unify, on the basis of both Truth and Charity. This is important not merely for the Salvation of other souls, but for our own. It is notable that the salvation of individual souls, that is to say, of engineering their escape from the jaws of the Hell that lies in wait for each and every one of us, is almost completely absent from virtually all these sorts of debates.

I strongly suspect, Charles, that many of these souls engaged in said debates have, tacitly, given up hope that they will ever save their souls after death. They hold that they are in a fight for survival of the Faith, and hence, must crush Her enemies, even if they dwell within the gates. If said defense means a risk of their soul's salvation, they may believe - though not say - that they do not believe they will see Heaven after death in any case, so they might as well smash the Church's enemies while they live.

Twisted, yes, but we live in twisted times in a corrupted Church. Such ages as these can scar souls and shatter hope, leaving the bitter courage of the despairing with nothing left to lose, for all is lost as far as their own immortal souls are concerned.

I can never agree with such sentiments, but I can understand those few who may hold them.


7:35 PM  
Blogger Charles A. Coulombe said...

Alas, Roy, I can understand it, too. Hence my comment that our generation may have to pass away as well. I pray not!

8:01 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I agree to some extent, but I also disagree.

It seems to me that a case can be made that as we face more and more dictatorial and anti-religious action on the part of secular government, the necessity for cooperation between Catholics and many other believers will grow in importance, as it did in the Soviet Union and does in China for example. The teachings of Vatican Two on Ecumenism and Religious Freedom, then, are particularly topical and valuable and will be increasingly so. Indeed, Catholics involved with the pro-life movement will have already experienced this to some extent.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Charles A. Coulombe said...

Dear Jeff:

This is certainly true. But we must avoid allowing political alliances to obfuscate the differences between truth and error. It has always fascinated me, for example, that the three biggest Catholic alternative voices during the Great Depression, Msgr. John Ryan, the Catholic Worker, and Fr. Charles Coughlin, despite their general agreement on first principle, ended up putting their non-Catholic allies above their common allegiances (and sometimes picking up a few of those allies' unsavoury ideas).

As regards such things as abortion, etc., I do not mind Protestant protesters singing "Amazing Grace," so long as they do not object to our praying the Rosary, as has happened in my experience.

Above all, we cannot let political ties stand in the way of evangelisation. Persecutions etc. do not last: the salvation or damnation of the individual soul does.

12:14 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

That's true, too. But I think the essential point remains and it involves more than "letting" others pray their prayers in our presence.

When Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant were together in the Gulag, they found that the could indeed pray together because there was a deep unity on some fundamental level that they possessed. Many of us find the same thing even in dinner table conversation with secularists who cannot fathom how we could take "God" or "religion" seriously. The "concentric circles" model that ecumenism presents seems better placed to express something that almost all of us know under these conditions than merely the idea--true as far as it goes--that you're either in the One, True Church or your out.

I think, moreover, that the scale and universality of the looming persecutions, the unparalleled powers of intrusiveness the State now possesses, and the mixture of religions in practically every society make for the probability that we will be facing something even worse than we did in the days of Nero and his ilk. And I think that Fr. Harrison's point (which the Pope echoes) that very few Catholics at the time really thought that it was fine for Soviets to persecute the Orthodox or Nazis to murder Dutch Evangelicals because of their religion is a very sound one and continues to be applicable.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Pseudo-Iamblichus said...

Just found your blog, I think it's great. You are a very good writer, and I will visit often.

I agree whole heartedly with your sentiments against mindless traditionalism. Having been a traditionalist, I can see your point. There has to emerge a traditionalism of depth, and not just of sloganeering.

I disagree with your assesment of St. Thomas, however. St. Thomas was closer to neo-Platonism than you think, especially through Dionysius the Divine. (One of his first works was a commentary on the "Divine Names".) He was no more an Aristotlian as St. Gregory of Nyssa was a Platonist.

I can recommend a short book for you on this, which is a highly enjoyable read and even has cool pictures:

"Aquinas and His Role in Theology" by M.D. Chenu

10:35 AM  
Blogger Charles A. Coulombe said...

Dear Jeff:

Of course one is mot happy with Nazis executing Protestants or Jews. But my point is that, even in the mdist of perseuction, we should endeavour to convert them --- this was the case in the early Church, when the downtrodden Catholics still strove to convert others under the ban (cf. St. Justin Matryr's "Dialogue with Trypho;" if its good enough for the Fathers, it's good enough for me!).

11:42 AM  
Blogger Charles A. Coulombe said...

Dear Pseudo-Iamblichus:

Your comments on St. Thomas are actually spot on; I have often thought of writing a piece on "St. Thomas against the Thomists." But the only work anyone cites (not that many read it) is the Summa, which is the most Aristotelian of his works (and which he refused to finish, and called a thing of straw). And, as I say, few who defend the SUmma read it. I can recall an SSPX official demanding that I stop saying that the denial of the Immaculate Conception in the Summa is based on Aristotle. I made him look up the section --- and sure enough, there was the bit about the quickening from Aristotle. He quickly dropped that demand.
In any case, what I am calling for is re-examination; but for that, we have to actually read the stuff!

11:47 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Yes, convert, but how? Think of Castel Gandolfo packed full of Jews during World War Two. (Who remembers?) Were they constantly set upon by priests hectoring them about the Blood of Christ? No. They were left alone and allowed to worship in their own way in these august surroundings.

But after the War, they donated a huge cross in gratitude to the Magnificent Pacelli and quite a few of them converted without any sermons at all. As, of course, did their chief Rabbi.

Trypho and St. Justin were walking the streets together, despite the Ban. And St. Justin, may he intercede for my poor soul, spoke to Trypho (as Trypho did to him as well) in ways that many of us would recognize as--how shall I put it?--unhelpful.

I doubt you address your Jewish or Presbyterian friends this way, whatever you may say about what is good enough for you. You're a gent--a PEACH of a gent. I've read your "dialogue" with some jer-- uhhh, some fellow accusing you of dabbling in the black arts.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Charles A. Coulombe said...

Dear Jeff:

Well, of course, one fits the manner of the message to the listener. As St. Paul said, "I am all things to all men." And I have gotten rough when I thought that was what the audience (my friends) needed --- although, as you have guessed, it's not my preference. But I'll bet St. Justin knew Trypho better than I do!

9:06 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Well, of course, the point really grew out of the seeming suggestion that Justin-Trypho was to be our model. My point was that Jews during WWII were sheltered and assisted by the highest Catholic authorities and provided with facilities to practice their faith. This "humanitarianism", if you like, did much more to foster an approach to Catholicism than handing out copies of the Baltimore catechism would have. Treating people with nobility of heart and recognizing and respecting the good in the religions they practice (when there is any) may be the best apologetics possible in many circumstances.

4:30 AM  
Blogger Charles A. Coulombe said...

Dear Jeff:

Well, again, I would say that evangelisation must be carried on as circumstances require. There is no "one size fits all" approach to evangelisation simply because there is none to any human endeavour. And while I (as you guessed) rarely use the Trypho approach, I certainly support those for whom it works. And, as I say, I would be reluctant to put my own personality quirks over the semans that sanctity made upon St. Justin.

Bythe same token, of course, I would condemn anyone who said that Pius XII did not evangelise forcefully enough when hiding all those Jews. He did what he felt he must, and the result, in terms of conversions, is obvious.

What I fear is the double-edged sword that in this area, Catholics must ALWAYS be soft, or ALWAYS be hard. The prooof of the pudding, to me, is that some saints were the one, while others were the other. But for us modern Catholics, "my way, or the highway," is the motto. It shows both an ignorance of history and a lack of faith in the Holy Ghost.

It seems to me (and this is not a slap at you, but enunciating a general principle), that rather than attempting to determine whether St. Justin or Pius XII was "right," rather, we must do what they both did. Evaluate honestly our own personalities and resources, as well as the minds of those whom we are attempting to convert, and on that basis start to work --- all the while attempting to cultivate personal holiness.

We have the Bread of Life in a world that is starving, yet most of us, all the time, and all of us, most of the time (yr. humble, obt. servt. included) sit on it, presuming in some fashion that our non-Catholic brethren don't need it. Hardly what Our Lord meant about love of neighbour!

8:39 AM  
Blogger willa_cather said...

Mr. Coulombe,

I can't cover most or even some of your erudite points in this short response. Suffice it to say, notwithstanding what follows, that we are on the same "team", so to speak, with what follows.

But there seems to be a misunderstanding among traditional Catholics that Vatican II promulgated the Novus Ordo Missae; perhaps it did, but it is my understanding that the conclave ended in 1965, and the first novus ordo mass didn't occur until 1967, under Pope Paul VI? If so, wasn't the Tridentine Mass still the accepted mass during Vatican II, and the Novus Ordo an implement of Pope Paul VI (God Bless him for Humane Vitae, however)?

And if that is true, isn't Vatican II really a recapitulation, reconfirmation, and reconcilliation with the Council of Trent? Was anything really novel introduced at VII? I ask, because I have personally perused these documents in some debth, and I think the idea of VII insinuating modernism into the Church is somewhat overblown. Nothing in VII does away with the Tridentine Mass, or the other Doctrines, practices, or beliefs of the One, Holy, Apostolic, and Catholic Church.

Now the "spirt" (I like to call it the "fevor") of Vatican II, does take away from the faith. Electric guitars at mass, banjos at mass, and even swirling divishes at mass, definately distract one from communion with God.

I agree that Benedict might not be saying everything we (Trads) want to hear; but he must be saying something right: Hans Kung said: "he is very gentle, but very dangerous"!

On a more personal note, I emailed our Archbishop some years ago, asking something along the lines of: "could we please have a Latin Mass here in Santa Fe. This is a mass with prayers dating back 1,500 years; this is a mass that was celebrated by the greatest saints; this is a mass which brings one in solidarity with those saints, and all Catholics, living and dead: worshipping one mass in the same language; now, in the past, and in the future--uniting all Catholics from the time of Christ until today."

The Archbishop was very gracious, and sent a hand-signed letter, which said, basically, that there weren't any Catholic Priests in Sanata Fe who could hear a Latin Mass, and he referred me to San Ignacio in Albuquerque, which my wife and my four children attend to this day, when we can.

The point is this: why aren't Priests trained in the Latin Rite anymore, if it is still the Official Rite, which I believe still is, notwithstanding Paul VI's "experiment" (or so I call it, actually St. Padre Pio celebrated the novus ordo with great solemnity)?

Mr. Coulombe, you also touch upon another interest of mine: the evolution vs. creationist debate! I am adamently not a "new earth creationist", however, I am a great admirerer of Intelligent Design (Pope Benedict XVI himself said recently that the world is an "intelligent project"). I think Darwinian Evolution is completely absurd. I studied human evolution as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, under Prof. Wolpoff (still recognized in his field), and I came away thinking: "this is a bunch of bunk!" They throw a bunch of fossils at us, and say, "here is your evidence for evolution!" Oh, come on! I held Lucy, I held australopithicine man, etc. etc. Bones! Human or ape appearing bones! And they want me to believe that we were created through chance, random, mutations!! Show me evidence! As an attorney, I like evidence. Don't demand that I believe something because everyone (or almost everyone) does, because they believe they must believe it to be "enlightened", "liberal", "educated", etc.

I have been in an on-going debate with my deistic (anti-christian) dad on this point. He says: the National Geographic believes it, and so do all of the great scientist of our age. He also refers to Dawkins. Well, Dawkins is a Zoologist, and even told the author of the excellent book, "Darwin on Trial", Philip Johnson (Harvard and Univ. or Chic. eductated, and was a professor at Univ. of Berkely School of Law for over thirty years), "I can't debate you about biology because I don't understand molecular biology".

Well, biology is what makes or breaks darwinian evolution. I'll close with this recommendation: to truly understand the absurdity of evolution, read "Darwin's Black Box" by Michael Behe, who is both a micro-biologist and a Catholic.

10:40 PM  
Blogger willa_cather said...

Just a quick follow-up to the above:


led to the Novus Ordo Mass, and that may be true, but actually this document was much less dramatic in its content than it became by implementation. N. 54: “In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue.” That word, “may”, is extremely important. Again at N. 55: “The dogmatic principles which were laid down by the Council of Trent remaining intact (40), communion under both kinds may be granted when the bishops think fit, not only to clerics and religious, but also to the laity, in cases to be determined by the Apostolic See..” These lines, of course, were originally written in Latin. Every word has meaning, and “may” is not the same thing as “shall”. Since Sacrosantum Concilium was the only VII document pertaining to the liturgy, one can safely say that VII did nothing to encourage the vast liturgical abuses we see today. Moreover, Sacrosantum did not abolish the old rite, but encouraged another rite to exist side-by-side with the old. Even before the council there existed various rites. As then Cardinal Ratzinger said, when extolling Ecclesia Dei: “Before the Council there existed side by side with the Roman rite, the Ambrosian rite, the Mozarabic rite of Toledo, the rite of Braga, the Carthusian rite, the Carmelite rite, and best known of all, the Dominican rite, and perhaps still other rites of which I am not aware. No one was ever scandalised that the Dominicans, often present in our parishes, did not celebrate like diocesan priests but had their own rite. We did not have any doubt that their rite was as Catholic as the Roman rite, and we were proud of the richness inherent in these various traditions.”

Pope John Paul II encouraged the Latin Mass, in fact the 1988 document Ecclesia Dei called for bishops to generously allow the Latin Mass. Some think Pope Benedict XVI will further encourage it, and it is no secret that highly displeased with the current state of the liturgy:

"‘....many await a deeper reform and a true renewal of prayers, texts, and books. They ask that they be better adapted to the language of the people and their mentality...' I wonder: what is the mentality of the people? Are we thinking here about a superficial mentality, created and homogenized by the communication media, or are we thinking about the simple of heart, whose eyes of faith see that which remains hidden to the...wise and understanding (cf. Mt. 1 1:25)? Following the first line of thought, one quickly arrives at the banalization of the liturgy. We have some sad examples of this in the West; the East should not follow this erroneous path" (L'Osservatore Romano, January 10, 1996).

And has called for greater expansion of the Latin Mass:

And celebrates the Traditional mass:

He has other places extolled the Latin Mass, and I hope we’ll see a broader acceptance under his Pontificate.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Mr. Coulombe:

Will you accept it as a compliment if I say that you excel at that Great Art of the Post-Vatican-Two Eccelesiastical Age, DIALOGUE?

It seems to me that our Holy Father is another good example and that most of us, Traditionalists or not, are not.


4:39 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Willa Cather:

Just yesterday I was reading in Ratzinger's "Feast of Faith." I noticed a footnote in which he said that those who go off on their own to celebrate the old liturgy are just like those who make it up as they go, they are using "homemade liturgies." That's his phrase.

Ratzinger criticizes them for separating the liturgy from the mind of the Church as it exists today and repeats that this is part of the essence of what the liturgy IS by nature.

I think Pope Ratzinger's views on the old liturgy are--as usual for him--rather complicated. He tends not be a pure partisan that anyone can easily make use of or pigeonhole.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Charles A. Coulombe said...

Dear Jeff:

No, the Pope is not easy to pigeonhole, which is why his stuff has to be read and thought over. But he is clear, which makes him rather a relief, even when I disagree!

7:40 PM  
Blogger willa_cather said...


Those who "go off on their own" become, in essence, schismatics. I empathize with Trads who succomb to SPX; but I ask a very frank question: is this what God wants? Does God want this division? Many are under the impression that the Latin Mass was, at some point, excluded from the Roman Church, but, in fact, it has been performed--in almost the exact form we see it today--for five hundred years (and, with modifications, for another thousand years before that).

But to return to your post: yes I agree with the current Pope that those "who go off on THEIR OWN" (emphasis mine) to celebrate even seemingly traditional rites, are schismatics. Christ said: "upon this Rock I will build my church." He also told the apostles to go out and forgive sins. Christ didn't create a series of Churches. He didn't create "liberal" or "conservative' Churches; He didn't create Tridentine or Novus Ordo "churches"; He founded a Church. Through good or bad (we're in "bad" right now) we have to be true to this Church, otherwise we are Schismatics...

9:20 PM  
Blogger Charles A. Coulombe said...

I would, however, be careful about rash judgment regarding who is a schismatic. My own Carinal routinely disregards Roman decrees --- he is a "titularist," giving lip service to the Papacy, but making a career out of flaunting clear directives.

At the same time, we cannot necessarily dismiss those who disobey this or that Papal commandment as schismatics --- history is rife with examples of such who were later vindicated; St. Thomas himself declares that we must correct supriors --- and mentions Popes, if they go astray.

All of which sounds nice theoretically, of course, but can be VERY messy in direct application. Correction of lawful superiors can seem to be very close to Protestantism.

For myself, my biggest worry about the SSPX is that a) they have established marriage tribunals of their own; and b)the advice to stay at home if you can't find a Tridentine Mass is very troubling.

If they are schismatic, of course, they must be treated with respect, just like we do with the Eastern Orthodox (as you know, Pope John Paul II gave at least four churches to them), and we may attend their Masses in line with Canon 844. On the other hand, if their priests are simply Catholic clerics with censures, then Canon 1335 (I think --- it's one of the 1330s, anyway) applies, and one can get the Sacraments from them.

Murky stuff? You bet! So what is required of us is to refrain from rash judgement and labelling, and to perform the spiritual and corporal works of mercy where we are. During the Great Schism, when the world beheld the spectacle of three men all claiming to be Pope, Ss. Vincent Ferrer and Colette backed one of the anti-Popes. They are Saints, I am not, and I know that if thier judgement in CHurch poiltics could be wrong, so can mine.

At their best, the extreme emotions that the current situation generate are at least signs of zeal. But of zeal is bitter, it does not help our Salvation --- quite the contrary!

1:18 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I note the plea for charity toward the Pius Xers on the basis of an ecumenical approach like that toward the Orthodox and find that it has much to commend it. But I think there are some notable differences as well. Those differences make it difficult, too, not to have to engage with the issue of schism and come to some decision about it.

The same reasons that cloud the question of schism with regard to the Society also make the question more urgent for those, like myself, who love the Traditional Mass, find traditional dogmatic approaches more appealing than modern ones, etc. I must answer for myself what attitude I should take toward Pius Xers because if I took an entirely benign one, I might join up with them! Similarly, if someone says they are thinking of adhering in practice, I have to know what to say to them, if anything. Is there a danger of the loss of eternal salvation? How one answers the question about schism will determine the answer.

What makes the question confusing, it seems to me, is that most schismatics don't CLAIM to be subject to the jurisdiction of the Pope. The Pius Xers DO so claim and claim to recognize it.

Could a schismatic organization CLAIM to recognize the Pope, but not actually recognize him in practice? Or is open rejection a necessary part of schism? I think those who claim the Pius Xers are not in schism have to answer this question: If it IS possible to go into schism without a formal rejection of Papal authority, what would such a schism look like? How would it differ from that of the Pius Xers?

These folks simply don't live in the juridical structure of the Church in any way that I can apprehend. They don't follow its laws, they operate--juridically speaking--in a completely autonomous way. Do they in fact pay ANY attention at all to any decrees from the Vatican? Do they follow ANY new requirements? Okay, okay, everything is suspended apparently due to the state of "emergency", I guess.

It seems to me manifestly obvious that they are living in schism, albeit the scandals of the present Church may mitigate their guilt to some degree. And they are certainly closer to us than the Orthodox; closer than some who maintain the formal bonds of communion but teach manifest error in forms of infinite variety.

But I would still say to anyone who wanted to adhere to their group, "It is absolutely necessary for your salvation that you be subject to the jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff." Charity, indeed, it seems to me requires such a reminder.

5:37 PM  
Blogger willa_cather said...

I've prayed in the past that SSPX will someday rejoin the Roman Catholic fold. I think I understand some of their frustration, and I will continue to pray for reunification. I can only imagine the graces SSPX could bring to all faithful in the Roman Church if this occurred...

5:47 PM  
Blogger Roy F. Moore said...

Could a schismatic organization CLAIM to recognize the Pope, but not actually recognize him in practice? Or is open rejection a necessary part of schism? I think those who claim the Pius Xers are not in schism have to answer this question: If it IS possible to go into schism without a formal rejection of Papal authority, what would such a schism look like? How would it differ from that of the Pius Xers?

Unless I am dead wrong, a necessary part of schism IS open rejection of the Papacy. That is why we hold the Eastern Orthodox to be schismatic to this day. Since the SSPX do NOT reject the Papacy, they cannot be legitimately called schismatic.

Therefore, I must disagree with Willa and agree with Cardinal Hoyos that the SSPX are part of the Church, only in a state of - to quote His Eminence - "irregular communion".

In any case, this is getting off the main subject of Charles' article, which has to do with converting our non-Catholic neighbors in whatever circumstances we find ourselves working together with them.

7:42 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Mr. Moore:

Perhaps it is getting off the original subject, but it's not unconnected. Conversations have a logic of their own and my comment was a response to Mr. Coulombe's own comment about charity and accusations of schism.

In any case, I can't agree with your notion. It seems to me that--at least in theory--you could "recognize" the Pope in some formal way and yet set up your own Church, ordain your own bishops and refuse to do anything he said. I don't believe such a formal acknowledgement is sufficient for communion to be maintained. If you run your own show and are not part of the hierarchical structure of the Church, then it seems to me you are in schism. Lip service to jurisdiction surely can't be enough; jurisdiction is the structural realization of an acknowledgement of authority. I think an "emergency" of forty years is an impossibility.

Please note that for those who treat St. Pius Xers as if they are the WORST bad guys imaginable and fawn on every heresy and quasi-heresy, I have different words. I think the Pope is right to try and draw Msgr. Fellay closer and though I doubt that this venture will succeed on the corporate level for obvious reasons, I believe it will bear much fruit over time. I go to Church with many people involved with the Society and some of them are truly noble souls. And of course, anyone looking for a beautiful soul among the Feeneyites could hardly do better than to fix his gaze on Charles Coulombe.

8:01 PM  
Blogger CS said...

I'm not saying anything about the SSPX either way, but part of 'recognizing the papacy' is accepting, and acting UNDER, its jurisdiction. It's not just a matter of formal adherence, it is a also a matter of practical obedience.

You can very easily have a rogue parish, individual, or organization that gets placed under an excommunication, all the while professing adherence/loyalty to the Pontiff.

In the end, it's a matter of formal AND material (including canonical) submission, not just a profession of faith or mere words.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Charles A. Coulombe said...

Dear All:

(Thanks Jeff, for your kind comment, although I must say that my soul's beauty is quite effectively concealed from me!). It did strike me that all that has been said in the most recent posts about the SSPX describe the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as well. I'm not being snide, sarcastic, or amusing, either.

The sad fact is that most dioceses in this country (and many others) operate in precisely the the manner described. How can one save his soul in the SSPX? Through the same means that he would in his own diocese, I presume.

That having been said, the "Ourselves Alone" notion that many of friends in the SSPX have is disturbing, to be sure. But as one who must reseach and investigate the doing of his Cardinal on a regular basis, I can say that they are at least as obedient to Rome as he is.

One of the readers of this blog pointed out to me offlibne that the SSPX marriage tribunals, which I find so worrisome, have not even been mentioned publicly by Rome as a problem --- which, frankly, they are for me.

At any rate, prayer is needed more than polemics in this area. If one is truly convinced that the SSPX are outside the Church, he must treat them like the Orthodox; if not, than like my own Archdiocese!

11:29 AM  
Blogger Hristoroquen said...

I concur with the general theme laid out herein, difficult though it may be. Obedience and humility call us even in these trying times. This does not mean stand silent before error. Nay, I would say it requires us to testify to the truth, but with grace and gentility. I think Charles has struck that balance. The truth is beautiful, and we must fearlessly expound that beauty.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I think Mahony's disobedience, however deeply rooted, is incidental in nature. When he's seventy-five (pass quickly, o years!), he'll submit his resignation. He goes on his ad limina visits. He follows the basic structures of canon law. He accepts and proclaims (if minimally and grudgingly) papal documents that are issued. He gets away with what he can get away with and much of what he gets away with is very serious doctrinally. But in the end, he IS is communion with Rome and he is NOT self-perpetuating. Mahony's reign will end and, if the Pope wanted to, he could appoint the head of the Society of Christ the King to take his place. The Pope has no say in who "succeeds" Bishop Williamson, if one can speak of succession there. Williamson and Fellay will perpetuate themselves as they see fit.

Schism is not the same as mere disobedience. And it IS a matter of structures and externals, not of the heart, as heresy is.

I believe in treating the SSPX with a great deal of courtesy and understanding. But not when they attack anything they don't like that comes out of Rome or condemn those who are obedient, like the Campos Catholics--or especially when they recruit ("come ALL the way to the True Tradition!"), then I think they need a response a la St. Justin, not quiescent sweetness.

And it's worth pointing out that their characterizations of Catholics who don't follow their lead ("neo-Catholics"), etc., are not always the height of courtesy and charity. Yet when I see them attacked by "liberals" as if trying to be a Catholic after the fashion of the nineteenth century is the only thing anyone can condemn, I defend them. And I point out precisely those similarities to Orthodoxy that you do.

2:44 PM  
Blogger willa_cather said...

above you will find an interesting article from last Sunday about Latin Mass-goers in New Mexico (which only has one Latin Mass service in communion with Rome).

6:15 PM  
Blogger Charles A. Coulombe said...

I must make some comment about His Eminence of Los Angeles' lack of obedience. He routinely disregards major decrees (his rationale vis-a-vis Redemptionis Sacramentum was that it does not apply to this Archdiocese, because it is intended to suppress liturgical abuses, and there none here!). His creatures (in the classical sense) occupy the sees of Orange, Monterey,Stockton, and now --- San Francisco. The damage he has done here is indeed self-sustaining, as any orthodox prelate appointed to replace him in 2011 will find out.

Now, to be sure, the name-calling against so-called "Neo-Catholics," etc., is extremely distateful. So is all such characterisation, whether it comes from "Conservatives" or "Traditionalists."

I suppose, of course, that my own circumstances colour my judgement. Fellay has no authority over me, and Mahony does.

12:04 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I understand your frustration with Mahoney. But I cannot believe that you and I mean the same thing by "self-sustaining." I have no doubt that the damage he has done will be long-lasting.

But I don't think it can be any more long-lasting than the damage that Kenneth Untener did in the much smaller diocese of Saginaw. It can't be much worse than the damage done to the diocese of Phoenix under several prelates. But Bishop Carlson ("I'm going to be my own vocations director") and Bishop Olmstead are in fact working successfully to reverse the trend and clean things up without adopting a "take no prisoners", Chur-like method. It takes time, but the improvement is already obvious to those who live there. Mahony's influence is limited by the fact that his tenure is limited.

This is very different from Fellay's organization, which will simply choose its own successors and doesn't seem to follow ANY disciplinary or doctrinal instructions from the Pope, as far as I can tell, but is completely autonomous and just does at it sees fit in EVERY case. It's not just a matter of the liturgy--when they open a Church, ordain priests, discipline priests, etc., etc., are they following ANY of the procedures set down in canon law? I don't think so. Mahony is a very disobedient and obstreperous prelate in communion with the Pope, who chooses to treat him leniently. Fellay's just doing his own thing. With Mahony, it's a matter of lots of details wrong. With Fellay, it's the whole THING that's wrong, though he may get many details right.

I don't really, myself, mind slugging it out with Pius Xers. I can do the sweet and polite number or the flying fisticuffs number and not get my feelings hurt either way. I don't really mind being called a "neo-Catholic" or a "dupe of the Vatican Two church" just as long as those dishing it out can take it, too. I find them in general to be very thin-skinned, though.

In any case: Your Blog, Mr. Coulombe. You're new at it, but you'll likely soon find blowhards like me a bit wearying. Thanks for your generosity and civility and I'll leave you or any of your other readers the last word. God Bless.

2:57 PM  
Blogger willa_cather said...

"I was a man of arms, and then a corded friar, trusting, so girt, to make amends; and certainly my hope would have come full, but for the High Priest--may ill befall him!--who set me back in my first sins and how and wherefore I would have you hear from me. While I was the form of the flesh and bones my mother gace me, my deeds were not those of the lion, but the fox. I knew all wiles and covert ways, and plied the art of them so well that to the ends of the earth their sound went forth."

Inferno, CANTO XXVII (quote of Pope Bonifice VIII, who speaks as a flame from hell)

5:30 PM  
Blogger Charles A. Coulombe said...

Dear Jeff:

Oh, c'mon! I CAN'T hate blowhards! That would be self-loathing, which is unhealthy!

11:18 PM  
Blogger Éstiel said...

The discussion here is on a level far more erudite and advanced than any to which I've been heretofore exposed. I will add too that it's far more civil as well. I am in a state of combined admiration and appreciation. I would not even think of attempting to participate, but I would feel almost remiss if I didn't voice a thought that continually recurred while reading this conversation:
It seems to me that our new Pope is surprising literally everyone--not just those on both ends of the so-called liberal vs conservative continuum, but even those who are anywhere between. (Take, for example, his observation: "There is no such thing as a 'Tridentine' Mass.)

Frankly, I find this situation comforting. It tells me that he is in no one's pocket--except, perhaps, please God, the Holy Spirit's. I find myself experiencing somthing 'new' to me (I converted to Christianity in 1984 and to the Church some six months later): This must be the kind of silent solace that Catholics used to feel long ago, the kind of treasure that one doesn't even know one has until it's taken away, the conviction so deep it's unnecessary to voice it that the head of the Church is indeed the Vicar of Christ.

And Charles, your even-handedness seems to me to mirror the Holy Father's own. Your admonition that all should educate themselves on pertinent documents before discussing them is the mark of a true conservative.

The priest in this single-parish small south Georgia city has been destroyed by his addiction to the adrenaline rush of politics. He is no longer even capable of pastoring. Understanding that has enabled me to forgive him for the cruelty he's inflicted on traditional Catholics--although I must add that this forgiveness has done nothing to mitigate my own (and others') longing and very real need for a priest!
I have so often longed for the noon Masses in the dark city churches of New Orleans (the site of my conversion), where an old and utterly apolitical priest would emerge from the recesses to say Mass for a few drunks and a handful of faithful who knelt in the dark, and where one could literally feel the palpable Presence of Christ in the very air.
Thank God that our personal salvation does not depend on right politics. Cardinal George made a comment a few years ago (on the eruption of the pedophilia scandal) that the Catholic Church will indeed survive, albeit perhaps much smaller than it used to be. Neither the endurance nor the "power" of the Church comes from numbers.

4:55 AM  
Blogger SVKcon said...

I agree with this article... Division between Traditional and Conciliar catholics is absurd, because without tradition, there is no catholicism. ;)

But today Crise in Church /relativism of many catholics, bishops, and cardinals/ maybe derived from nugatory destroying of many traditional views...

We have to pray for our Pope Benedict XVI.

1:20 PM  
Blogger willa_cather said...

I think "division" between trads and "protestantized" catholics is good, to a point. If trads completely caved-in, and opened novus-loving mass-goers with open arms, and said, "I accept that a mass is beautiful even with swirling dirvishes, miriachis, guitar rock, etc." then we would be throwing the mass into the garbage. That is NOT charity! I think trads should be divided, as long as they are loyal to Rome. I think they should stand-up, and shout out loud that the novus ordo is an experiment gone amuck. Someone like St. Padre Pio could say the novus missae with great solemnity, but he is the exception, not the rule. As long as we have guitar rock-star priests, who even make protestants blush at their services, that I think some well-intentioned catholics should be more than happy to be "divided" from their liberal, worldy priests, and even bishops, while still remaining loyal to rome...

10:49 PM  
Blogger willa_cather said...

...on the other hand, I believe the novus ordo missae is a valid mass (as opposed to, say SSPX), but it is divinding catholics between themselves, and also from the east. Now Roman catholics are more protestantized, while the east holds to its centuries old traditions. I hope Benedict will lift the hold against priests who wish to say the Latin Mass (they must get their bishops approval, which is more often than not denied); however unity is necessary in this difficult time, while maintaining a peaceful attitude of disagreement; one can disagree with the way a priest or diocese conducts masses, while still maintaing loyalty to Rome. One can disagree with abortion while still remaining a loyal, patriotic american (perhaps more so); one can say that abortion is "the law of the land", but not part of God's law. Sometimes it takes a change of hearts to enact great changes. I believe with Mr. Coulombe that VII, and, in my own opionion, the novus ordo missae, was a product of a chuch and chuchmen riding the waves of optimism following the horrors of WWI and WWII. This was before Roe v. Wade (although abortion was legal in many state), it was before our full entanglements in vietnam and later the gulf, and it was before immorality had become the norm for society ("fair is foul and foul is fair" in the words of Shakespear). I do think an element of "division" is necesarry for those catholics who hold to traditional values and those who do not. But we should not say NON SERVIAM as satan did to God; we should not follow the example of SSPX and, say--for comparison sake--move to Cuba because we disagree with some policies here in the US. Instead, we should work from within, changing hearts and minds, rather than walking off and forming our own church. But the novus ordo missae is a novelty thirty five years old, whereas the tridentine mass formed five hundred years of saints, so if catholics want to return to the latter rite they should be "widely and generously" allowed to do so, and hopefully, under Benedict, not have to ask special permission to do so:

2:46 PM  
Blogger willa_cather said...

oh, man, I said I wasn't going to respond, yet again! preaching to myself! but, I think I need to say one more thing since I may have been a bit harsh towards SSPX. Well, without SSPX we probably wouldn't have had Ecclesia Dei, in fact, we probably wouldn't have the great traditional revival we see in a few--select few--Catholic diocese. But, I really do think SSPX should come back to the fold. Recently, I see SSPX is telling local bishops and the bishop or rome that they have to give up the novus ordo missae, otherwise, "screw you" (not their words, but mine.) Well, why not concede that the NOM is a rite like any of the dozens that exist? I'm sure Rome would welcome back SSPX, and not require them to say the NOM. But Rome does require obedience; I think the work of SSPX is done: you've preserved the most beautiful of the dozen or so rites; I myself subscribe to this rite, and I have you to thank. But come home, my friends, come home....

9:52 PM  
Blogger Gaufridus said...

Greetings all,

I am a Catholic who adheres to Catholic tradition (i.e., the Catholic tradition of nearly 1,960 years, give or take) and who celebrates the traditional Latin Mass almost exclusively. Moreover, of those sites where the TLM is available to my family and me, all of them, until recently, have been chapels of the Society of Saint Pius X.

I was baptised as a very young child, was not raised Catholic ("Novus Ordo", "Traditional", or what have you), and returned to the Faith of our fathers as an adult. Embracing the Faith was a deliberate decision on my part, after many years of research, analysis, reflection... and, indeed, prayer.

I enjoy perusing the internet in search of Catholic sites that hold to Tradition and was happy to have come across this one. After having read the comments made by some of those who've already posted, I have the following observations to make:

"I believe in treating the SSPX with a great deal of courtesy and understanding. But not when they attack anything they don't like that comes out of Rome or condemn those who are obedient, like the Campos Catholics--or especially when they recruit ("come ALL the way to the True Tradition!"), then I think they need a response a la St. Justin, not quiescent sweetness."

In my opinion, the Society offers the most balanced and internally consistent position WRT adhering to Catholic Tradition in light of the fact that so much of the "mainstream" Catholic Church (I dont intend offence by use of that term, but need one for the sake of argument) appears to have abandoned Catholic Tradition in preference for the innovations permitted by the Second Vatican Council.

There are extreme opinions in both the Traditional and mainstream circles within the Church. Indeed, the Society sometimes gives the impression that the saying is not "Extra Ecclesiam nula salus" but "Extra Societam nula salus". That is not the position of the Society, but I can certainly see how it might be construed in that manner.

The fact is, the Society does not "attack anything they dont like" etc. The Faith is not a matter of personal preference: it is a matter of objective reality. All one must do is compare the Church before V2 and after and realise that something is not right. It might be simply a problem of the documents of V2 not having been interpreted in light of Catholic Tradition, but the authourity of the Church has not weighed in to correct such abuses as "clown masses", female "priests", ecumenical celebrations -- on equal terms -- with heretics and schismatics, and so on.

Indeed, when the Pope kisses the Koran, what is one to think of the state of the Faith?

Those of us who are "Traditionalists" (and I really dont like the label, but what else is there?) recognise the Pope and pray for him at every Mass. But, true Catholic obedience does not mean blind, mindless submission in every single matter.

I give you an analogy: that of the family. The father is the head of the family. He has the authourity to lead his family in any manner he desires, so long as it does not go against the Faith.

Let us say that a father commands one of his sons to do murder. Should the son obey? My opinion is "no". Does that mean that the father ceases being that son's father? Again, "no". He remains the father of his family, but he is not to be obeyed in a matter that is obviously sinful.

Likewise, no Pope -- the spiritual father of all Christians -- cannot compel one to sin or otherwise abandon the Faith. He cannot compel obedience to an anti-Catholic doctrine. It simply defies logic. For instance, if the Pope wishes to pray with Pagans, or Jews, or Muslims, or the so-called "Orthodox", or the Protestants, or whomever else besides Christians, then that is his business.

Now, by the grace of God, the Pope has not promulgated an obviously anti-Christian doctrine. The documents from V2 can certainly be read with a Traditional interpretation. But that's just the problem: the matter of interpretation has become so obviously diverse and contradictory to the Faith that it is difficult to reconcile some actions by those in the Catholic hierarchy with Catholic Tradition. In my opinion, such a situation almost compels that the Pope step in with his infallible authourity (which no Christian may presume to contradict) and rectify the situation.

That has not happened. So, "Traditionalists" go where they can find Tradition. It's really that simple.

"I believe the novus ordo missae is a valid mass (as opposed to, say SSPX), but it is divinding catholics between themselves, and also from the east. Now Roman catholics [sic] are more protestantized, while the east holds to its centuries old traditions."

I have had lengthy discussions with my priest (of the SSPX) on the matter of the N.O. Mass. I dont wish to drop names, but he is rather highly-placed within the Society here in the U.S. (I dont know if that will add or detract from the credibility of my statements, but there it is.)

I had to deploy to Iraq last year and worried that I would not be able to receive the Traditional Sacraments, so I asked him directly, "May I attend the N.O. Mass? What should I do?"

He admitted to me that the N.O. Mass is not in and of itself illicit or invalid and that I may attend it and try to take what good from it there was. He also elabourated on the problem with the N.O. Mass, in that much of the language of the N.O. is ambiguous, etc. and explained to me that, because of the way Catholic priests are educated since V2, they may or may not believe in the doctrine of the Transubstantiation.

That means that they might not believe in the Real Presence. In which case, they would not in fact be celebrating a Mass, but something else.

That would be -- to a Catholic -- at a minumum, a near occasion of sin if not a sacrilege.

Is it worth the risk to one's immortal soul? Not to me. I recognise that that is my opinion. I resent the fact that I have to rely on my own opinion and not on that of any Catholic priest.

Anyhow, while in Iraq, I went to a N.O. Mass. It was appalling. There was a drum set, guitar, modern music, female choir, lay Eucharistic ministers, and a general atmosphere of irreverance. If I'd've wanted to attend a God-damned Protestant hootenany, I would've waited to see the Protestant service. I wanted to celebrated a Catholic Mass. What I attended appeared to me to be anything but Catholic.

I agree with the statement that the N.O. Mass is dividing Catholic between ourselves. The thing I think one has to ask oneself is, "Why is/was the N.O. Mass necessary?" In my (fallible) opinion, it was and is not. Again, the Catholic Church throve for nearly 2,000 years because of its ruthless and uncompromising adherence to Tradition. Today, the Church is in a state of chaos.

I think it is also important to recall that V2 had, as one of its purposes, to make the Faith less offensive to Protestants and Jews. Why that should be a consideration to a Catholic is beyond my limited intelligence, education, and experience to fathom.

Also, WRT being divided from the East... That is their problem, not ours. The Pope is the Head of the Church: of all Christians everywhere.

If the so-called "Orthodox" prefer schism, then they will bear the responsibility for their decision. The Pope shouldnt -- in my opinion -- bend over backwards to the point of watering down the Faith, just to bring the Schismatics back into the fold as it were.

I'd also keep in mind that the "centuries old traditions" that the Schismatics maintain include the outright rejection of the Pope's authority. I understand that the Eastern Rite Catholics do not fall under that characterisation.

I think it would be a good idea if the Pope would consecrate Russia specifically, in accordance with Our Lady's wishes as manifested during the apparitions at Fatima. I understand that that is my opinion and that an official opinion exists that the Pope -- by consecrating the world -- satisfied the Fatima requirements. I think that objective reality speaks otherwise.

"Well, without SSPX we probably wouldn't have had Ecclesia Dei"

This is absolutely true. However, there is a prevailing, popular opinion that the disagreement that the SSPX has with most of the rest of the Church is not merely the liberation of the "Mass of All Ages", but with the doctrinal ambiguities and other problems that have resulted from the Second Vatican Council.

But, I really do think SSPX should come back to the fold.

The SSPX never left the fold, unless by "leaving" you mean that the Society has refused to adopt Modernism.

Here's what I think the fundamental difference is between "Traditionalists" and all other Catholics: When it boils down to it, Traditionalists will choose obedience to Tradition over obedience to the Pope... unless the Pope were to speak infallibly, which he has not done.

Well, that's enough for now. Again, I dont mean to give offence to anyone. I dont like the labels because they are divisive. I prefer to call myself simply a "Catholic": not a "Traditionalist" or a "Conservative" or a "Liberal" or a "Modernist" or what have you. I prefer to follow the Faith of our fathers and I will do so wherever it may be found. I recognise (and resent) the fact that that means I have to exercise a degree of "judgement" that is unprecedented to Catholic, but I dont know what else to do given the circumstances.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum,


10:09 AM  
Blogger willa_cather said...

I would like to ammend my view of SSPX somewhat. Not only do I think they are the reason for JPII'
s letter Ecclesia Dei, but I think they are the principal reason that the Latin Mass has continued to exist. Most of the Indults are a result of there being a SSPX Chapel in the same city. Think about this; it is very telling! I also, I have to admit, agree with their assessment of VII, and I believe they should recieve regular communion and be allowed to dissent from certain VII documents. Thank you, my brothers at SSPX! You have preserved tradition, and are much closer to my heart than my own Bishop, who prefers to spend time with his boyfriend then before the Blessed Sacrament!

3:57 PM  
Blogger Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

This message is now accessible on short url:

9:33 AM  
Blogger Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

St Justin was persecuted, but Trypho was a collaborator. One fact about Jews in those times which explains much of anti-Jewish vehemence in some later Christian writings.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

as for reading Aquinas, how many have read and reflected on objection two here:

(online summa, I P, q 110, a 1)

1:00 PM  

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