Thursday, October 13, 2011

WHAT RECOURSE DO THE LAY FAITHFUL HAVE WHEN PRIESTS AND BISHOPS BECOME DICTATORS AND VANDALS?

Ouch! But that's the question Marc asks in a comment on the post below this one. Here is one answer:


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The only recourse the laity have if a priest does anything contrary to the faith, morals and discipline (canon law) of the Church is to the bishop.

If the bishop is failing in this regard, the laity have recourse to the Metropolitan of the region of dioceses (in Savannah's case it would be the Archbishop of Atlanta). Or they would have recourse to the Papal Nuncio and ultimately they would have recourse to the Holy Father the pope. Once it goes to the pope and there is either no action or action contrary to what the laity had hoped for, they have no recourse other than (my Dave Letterman's top ten):

1. Obey quietly and patiently
2. Disengage from parish life, but Holy Mass is still an obligation and being faithful to the Church and her Magisterium is still required as are the other precepts of the Church including financial support!
3. leaving the Catholic Church and starting one's own perfect Church, that's been tried and failed at many times over.
4. Becoming a private religious person and worshiping like the hippies but in a 21st century way
5. Become an atheist
6. join another religion
7. become an agnostic
8. become a '60's revolutionary
9. wait for this generation of priests and bishops to die off
10. make comments on blogs!

Other suggestions?

Finally, if you really want clerical dictatorships, try the pre-Vatican II Church--there was to be no questioning of authority whatsoever. Of course this went hand-in-hand with the prevailing culture of the time where authority figures were placed on a pedestal whether in the religious or secular sense of authority.

So I would venture to guess if one belonged to an exclusively EF parish, that dictatorship would reign supreme and there would be no discussion of lay leadership, consultation, ministries, lectors, and the like, let alone altar girls. Now one would say that the EF doesn't allow that so case closed. And one would be right. But in the OF one would say these are allowed and so case closed on those who want to impose an EF dictatorship on the OF experience.

30 comments:

Templar said...

Hierarchy and Obedience work when the Priests and Bishops are Faithful. The "boogey man" of "pray pay and obey" doesn't frighten me any more than the idea of being in the Military and being obliged to follow a Chain of Command. If the Diocese of Savannah had an EF parish within an hour of my house I can say with 100% certainty I would be there. I question the Hierarchy of the OF establishment precisely because they have proven themselves to be unfaithful on a number of issues, most importantly with a) The Spirit of V2 BS; and b) their absolute refusal to fix it.

You commented the other day in a post on EF vs OF Mass that the OF Parishes would always out number the EF parishes. I think you're wrong. Might be true for our life times, but eventually it will be false simply because the EF parishes have the full truth, and continue to grow, while the OF parishes continue to struggle with their own identities and regain some sense of who they were and meanwhile continue to loss faithful. They see it, recognize it, even identify the problems but steadfastly refuse to fix them.

"To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of Mankind."

Pope Leo XIII

Joseph Johnson said...

True enough, the OF does presently allow things, such as EMHC's and altar girls which the EF does not.

This goes back to the whole point of most of my comments on this blog--that the OF hopefully will be influenced by the EF so that it becomes more like and in continuity with the EF (and more like it was when the OF first started and a lot of these things had not yet come about).

As you know, we used to have the Novus Ordo (OF) without EMHC's, altar girls and Communion in the hand. Further hopeful influences would be ad orientem and Communion kneeling (except for the physically disabled--which even the EF did and does allow).

Anytime rules change in a nondemocratic institution (like the Church) some people will complain if they don't like the new rules. I haven't liked a lot of things as they've been since the 1980's but I am encouraged by such things as the new translation and Summorum Pontificum.

For the most part during the recent past, I've kept my dissatisfactions to myself unless I was asked or if it was in a private conversation. Commenting on a blog such as this one has been an outlet to release and explain my dissatisfactions with the recent past (and still current practice which began in the recent past).

Anonymous said...

The author of that article is delusional and hopes we are, too. What a crock. No wonder he likes the poor folks at the OWSN demonstrations, would that his parish had such a concentration of willing idiots, he could take over the Church!!!


rcg

Frajm said...

But what if people on the "right" like Marc staged such a thing? Not to implicate Marc, but they already have in the St. Pius X society that the Vatican has been working with for so many years after Archbishop Marcel Lefebre was excommunicated and the bishops he ordained.

Marc said...

Templar has pretty much said it all with his first post. No one wants to leave the Church: I know I certainly do not! No one should consider himself more knowledgeable than the Church in regard to faith and morals: I know I certainly do not!

I love the Church and that is why I raised this question in my comment to the previous post.

This reminds me of a cartoon I once saw but cannot find. It was a Vatican official talking to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. The Vatican official says, "We just want you to accept the Second Vatican Council!" Abp. Lefebvre says in reply, "We just want you to accept the other 20 Councils!"

Of course, that is somewhat disingenuous because I'm certain that within 40 years of Trent that was still the buzz and people weren't clamoring for a discussion of Ephesus! But, it is a valid point nonetheless (and humorously made)!

Paul said...

Father, hypothetically of course, if a layperson were to physically assault a priest, would that trigger latae sententiae excommunication? If so, would the lifting of that penalty be reserved to the Holy See?

I ask mostly tongue in cheek, but to be honest, when I see some of the goings on in our churches, it makes me tremble. How can these men be priests and have no fear of either the Church or of God? I wonder what their reaction would be if the lay faithful decided to reclaim their heritage?

Marc said...

(Posted my last comment before I saw Father's comment)

Father, I really don't consider myself to be on the "right" and, although I empathize with the SSPX, I have never attended one of their chapels. In my last post I said that I love the Church and that is why I take the time to read about her history and teachings.

I do think that there is a place within the Church for people who receive greater spiritual benefit by remaining more closely attuned to the pre-Vatican II traditions and Liturgies. That place is unfortunately difficult to find these days.

I do not think that within my lifetime every member of the Church will come to share my love for the "old style" Catholicism. That is a love that developed with much research and reading, which took time most people do not have.

There is a place for both schools within the Church, though. But, always within the barque of Peter, always!

Maybe there will be an ordinariate or a personal prelature for the SSPX...

Frajm said...

Paul, I think we need to be clear on what these priests are doing. If they are liberally allowing what the GIRM and canon law allows, then we have little room to be overly critical or aggressive toward them.
If however, they are using pizza and beer or some other equivalent for the Mass, then sure, be as aggressively annoyed and vocal as Christian charity allows.
What examples would you give of "radicalism" in OF parishes today, not from the '60's or 70's or even 80's?
We all know that music today is a point of contention and that there is a lot of mediocrity with it; but there was some of that too in the EF experience prior to Vatican II were the Low Mass on Sunday was the norm, but allowed for four English hymns which normally hymns that were more appropriate for Marian devotions and not for the Sacred Liturgy, not to mention musical incompetence.

Frajm said...

Marc, I think SSXP may become an "ordinariate" or personal prelature, but I wonder how many in Macon or Atlanta would want that verses the EF parish they already have.

Certainly the number of people who attend the EF Mass here at St. Joseph does not qualify for parish or mission status.

Marc said...

That's an interesting question, Father. Those who support the FSSP are unlikely to leave their FSSP parish to follow the SSPX. Since there are both in Atlanta, it is difficult to say how successful a regularize SSPX parish would be in that archdiocese. Although, if they were regularized, I think more people would go. If they were regularized and within an hour of Macon, we know that Templar would go... so that's one person!

Joking aside, in places like Macon and the Savannah Diocese where there is no EF parish, I wonder how much of an uphill battle a presumably regularized SSPX parish would have. I think they would do okay because all the South Georgia traditionalists would drive to that parish. People drive from all over the state and even other states to go to the FSSP parish in Atlanta from what I can tell. You really cannot underestimate how far people are willing to drive for the Tridentine Mass.

We see this with our EF Mass at St. Joseph's. Many attendees come long distances to assist. I think it might be nearly 50/50 in terms of St. Joseph parishioners vs. commuters.

Father Shelton said...

What's wrong with good, ole' fashioned tar and feathers? Torches and pitchforks make a better show, but can be hard to come by outside farming communities.
But seriously, Catholics who love Tradition and traditions tend to be wimps, pretending to be docile when they're really just cowards. The first Christian millennium witnessed riots in the streets over practical and doctrinal matters during ecumenical councils, and the second gave us laymen locking cardinals inside the Vatican and armed revolt protecting the liturgy of Milan.
The pope is doing his part to promote ad orientem worship, kneeling for Communion, the traditional form of the Roman Mass, the truth about sexuality and commerce, etc., but where is his army of laymen demanding his reforms be carried out, and on the double!?
It's time to "man up", for Pete's sake.
I'm just glad our U.S. Founding Fathers didn't sit around waiting for England to respect their God-given rights. They were manly men and tough women who knew what had to be done without someone having to hold their hand.
The pope is leading the way in the face of enormous opposition within and without the Church. What are you going to do about?

SouthronCatholic said...

I'd love to have an SSPX/FSSP parish in Macon. Then I wouldn't have to drive to Atlanta.

I've only been to 2 EF Masses so far and already I despise the OF. I'll not go anymore unless it's the only option. EMHC's, Altar girls, having everyone trying to sing instead of leaving it to the choir, all these things are distracting and take away from the Mass as a Sacrifice. I feel like I should be in someone's living room for the OF.

Also, with almost everyone receiving in the hand and self Communicating, how am I supposed to seriously believe in the Real Presence when it's treated like snack time? IMHO... HANDS OFF! For Consecrated hands only!

Templar said...

With each passing day, month and year the stand of Archbishop Lefebrve and the SSPX has been proven to have been in the RIGHT. And by right I mean not conservative, but correct. In all their existence the SSPX has done precisely 1 thing wrong, which was the Ordination of 4 Bishops without Papal approval. That one wrong has been erased with the lifting of the Excommunications, and if one wants to, a strong case can be made that the Ordinations were also right based on the threat to the Deposit of the Faith that the assault on Traditional Catholicism represents.

No one in any position of authority, with even a modicum of honesty can accuse the SSPX of any wrong doing. Precisely what have they done? Defend the Faith as it was handed on to them? That is what Bishops are charged to do. That is their PRIME Mission. The Bishops who knowingly violated the direction of V2 are Heretics which remain completely unpunished and uncorrected to this day. The Bishops who meekly obeyed and did not question the changes which flew in the face of the Faith as it had been handed down to them were cowards at worst, or pawns at best. The SSPX, initially ALONE, stood against the Heresy of those who CLAIMED to be honoring V2 but were clearly working in direct contravention of it.

I think it likely that the SSPX will be granted an ordinariate, but I wish it were otherwise. I want to see the SSPX incorporated into the regular Dioceses so that they can exert influence on the Diocese and get them back on the right path, but that is not likely to happen precisely because the Pope knows the miserly and bitter way in which his Bishops would treat the SSPX (as they have with the FSSP), but through it all, and against all the obstacles and road blocks both the FSSP and SSPX continue to GROW and the OF establishment continues to hemmorage.

In other words, the Titanic is sinking and the OF establishment is rearranging the deck chairs.

Henry said...

Fr. M: Only the first two and last two of your ten suggestions are tenable for a faithful Catholic in response to liturgy that is not adequately faithful and reverent. Your suggesting #3 through #8 might seem offensive were it not meant humorously.

However, you missed a common recourse on the part of faithful Catholics who believe that support of irreverent liturgy is not a virtue -- looking for a more faithful and reverent parish. Even if it means a bit of a drive.

Incidentally, clerical dictatorships are great if and only if (as we mathematicians say) the pastor is unexceptionable. In both pre-Vatican II parishes and in post-Vatican II traditional parishes, I've never seen any liturgical deviation by a priest that one might reasonably complain about. And in my present "ordinary" parish where all decisions apparently are made by the pastor alone, the result is a sense of peace, spiritual and temporal, that is seldom seen in parishes where democracy (or anarchy) is the order. For instance, we have communion in only one form except on particular occasions, and there may be people who disagree, but I've never heard anyone mention it.

Paul said...

Father, you asked, "What examples would you give of "radicalism" in OF parishes today, not from the '60's or 70's or even 80's?"

With my own eyes and ears:

1. A priest publicly discussing the content of a sacramental confession, including the name of the person having made it.

2. A deacon denying in a homily that hell exists.

3. A priest publicly ridiculing the Holy Father.

4. A priest telling a divorced man that an annulment was not necessary to remarry.

5. A priest ad libbing the words of consecration.

Please understand that I am not claiming to be perfect or even a good man. I'm not even that bright--just ask my wife! I do however consent to and believe all that the Holy Catholic Church teaches. If I didn't I'd go somewhere else.

Being a convert to the faith, I love the Church like an adopted son loves the Mother that rescued him from the streets. It hurts me deeply and angers me greatly to see anyone, clergy or laity, insult or harm my Mother.

Paul

Frajm said...

It's one thing to have preferences for particular styles of Mass or even parishes and I do support Catholics who desire a parish that nourishes their faith and driving miles past their "territorial" parish to find it. However when preferences move to despising the Holy Mass that is validly and licitly celebrated, then we've entered the twilight zone of Catholicism and are becoming too reactionary. If one loses one faith because others don't have faith, then don't blame that on anyone else but one's self. If one loses one's faith because of EM's and Communion in the Hand, then one shouldn't blame that on anyone but one's own poor faith and poor faith formation. If one prefers Latin to English and thus despises the English Mass, one has really said one wants to be pope and make all the decisions that the pope and bishops and a right to make. In other words, Catholicism's unity is undermined when we separate ourselves from the Holy Father and his lawful decisions and decrees and break communion with the College of Bishop who are in union with the Holy Father.

Ave Verum said...

Personally, I'm living #s 9) and 10), and have been for a long, long time. Marc says it for all: "No one wants to leave the Church: I know I certainly do not!"
But, blind obedience to wrong-headed thinking/behaving is actually the definition of a cult. I have NO desire to belong to a cult. Having said that, I do NOT believe that liturgy preferences, important though they are to spiritual growth, dictate clerical OR lay absolutist thinking; more likely, intellectual and/or spiritual deficits do. The human condition is not that simplistic. Most of us, particularly those who care enough to blog here, are totally in love with their Catholic faith, and recognize that obedience to ex-cathedral dogma is absolutely required. But we are not idiots or spiritually bereft. Blind obedience to confused (let alone errant!) bishops & priests is not required of us lay-folk, thanks be to God! If it is, I'm probably in deep doo-doo..

Frajm said...

Paul your list of woes would be very serious in my mind to and the bishop should be made aware of them and expect it to be corrected and an apology offered for teaching anything contrary to Church teaching. #1 incurs automatic excommunication reserved to the Holy Father alone to lift!

Anonymous said...

Fram, we have loads of options if we have the nerve to take them. First of all, however, I must resolve myself to not let a clown or heretic stand between me and communion with my Lord. My actions from that point forward identify themselves. I can find like minded people to exchange thoughts and seek the Church. Far short of StPX actions prayer and Catholic influenced groups can stand in contrast and as alternatives to local parish and diocesan problems. This highlights itself to the right folks.

And finally you can leave the parish and find a better place. That is not cheap but it is cheaper than repairing the damage done to your children by a priest that yearns for power in this world.

rcg

Marc said...

Ave Verum alludes to this, but it bears serious discussion. This is not just about which form of the Mass one personally prefers. The undercurrent is the theological bases of the Mass and the Catholic life, including every Sacrament and the life of piety. To limit this discussion to which form of the Mass one happens to prefer is to misunderstand the goal of the so-called Traditional Movement.

In other words, there is more to Catholic Traditionalism than the "mere externals" of the Holy Mass. This is why the FSSP and the SSPX are so important to the Church.

Father McDonald has done a great thing by learning and celebrating the Tridentine Mass at St. Joseph and I have told him several times how much I appreciate that labor of love and the sacrifice he has made to celebrate that Mass for us. I would not be having this discussion had he not introduced the Ancient Rite as I would not have known it existed and wouldn't have researched the history and theology of the Traditional Mass!

But again, there is more to Catholic Traditionalism than simply attending the Tridentine Mass. In many ways, that is even more difficult to regain because an entire generation failed to properly preserve the tradition as it was given to them. Now, we have to attempt to regain the tradition based on the living memory of those who experienced it. That is what the FSSP and SSPX are attempting to do. That is good for the entire Church, not just Traditionalists.

@SouthronCatholic: While I appreciate your sentiments about the OF of the Mass, keep in mind that Christ is still present and it is still the same Sacrifice as the Tridentine Mass. Just because others may offend our Lord by being irreverent does not mean that he does not wish to offer His great Sacrifice in that form of the Mass. Is the EF inherently better in many ways than the OF? Of course. Does that mean we should despise the OF? Absolutely not! It means we should examine our participation when we attend that Rite and make sure we are being as reverent as possible to make reparation to our Lord for those who fail to pay any attention to such things.

When you find yourself despising the OF of the Mass, in my experience, it is time to stop thinking about these things because you have taken the exit to the road to schism.

Ave Verum said...

BTW, the word "despise" keeps coming up; Father, who in good conscience would despise a valid liturgy? I'm clueless..

Anonymous said...

"Would that we had died at the Lord's hand in the land of Egypt as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread. But you had to lead us into this desert to make the whole community die of famine!" (Exodus 16:3)

Everything "back there" looks so good from our current vantage point, but there can be a certain false nostalgia underpinning the pining for the past.

Paul, assault on the person of the Holy Father incurs automatic excommunication. (Canon 1370/1) Assault on a bishop places the culprit under interdict. (Canon 1370/2) Now, if the offender is a cleric, automatic suspension is added to the interdict.

Apparently you can assault a simple priest without falling under canonical sanction . . .

pinanv525 said...

There is no real comparison between the SSPX and what the radicals and de facto apostates are doing with their cynical and deliberate distortions of the Mass. The SSPX developed out of true devotion to the True Church and the Mass of hundreds of years existence. The SSPX may not have been technically "right" in its reaction, but it was certainly right-minded. I see nothing right minded in the progressivist and modernist agenda...nothing.

Father Shelton said...

What faithful Catholics need today is hope. And they have every reason to hope that if they stand up for what is right within their parish and out in the world, then God will bless their efforts, whatever the outcome. Catholics who courageously lives lives of truth and charity have every reason to hope, provided they don't hide the light of truth but shine it into every dark corner, even, perhaps, the darkness of the local parish.

Templar said...

As Marc correctly points out, there is more to the Traditional faith than the Mass, however every good Catholic knows that the Liturgy is the source and summit of our Faith, hence the emphasis on it.

No one, certainly not I, despirses a valid Liturgy. However there are MANY aspects of the current OF Mass which were not placed there licitly. You know that Father, yet we continue to ignore that fact. What is worse there are licit options for the illicit ones not exercised, but Clergy seem unwilling or unable to do anything about it because of the intervference of the Bishops. How can that be addressed?

SouthronCatholic said...

Let me rephrase, because apparently I wasn't clear in what I first said. I don't actually despise OF in and of itself. I despise aspects of it. It is a valid rite and I would attend if it was the only option. I'm very thankful to God that it is not.

I am also well aware that despite however irreverent I personally feel the OF in its current state may be, I am also aware that our Lord is still present there, and I have no right to force people not to do it that way. I have no intention of even suggesting as much.

I love the Church. I don't want to go anywhere else, even if the OF was the only option. I just want a service that is prayerful, contemplative and reverent. I want a service that doesn't just say that Christ is Truly Present among us, but proceeds in a manner that really shows it. For me that is the Tridentine Mass.

Thank you Fr. McDonald for the work you do to give us the Tridentine Mass when you do and all that you do to make the OF as reverent as you can.

I don't really know what else to say and I'm not sure I know how to say it if I did.

Templar said...

Father Shelton provides the best comments for this post. 1) He's right that we Traditionalists are cowards. Why are we not battering down the doors of our Bishops Cathedrals demanding Orthodoxy and the True Faith? Countless Martyrs before us have died for much less and we meekly stand by and beg for crumbs. 2) We do need Hope, and we have the right to Hope that if we ask just ask long enough and nicely enough we will be heard.

Maybe if 2) is ignored long enough 1) will become inevitable.

Frajm said...

Templar, maybe it's because of my pre-VAtican II formation as a child that "battering down doors of Cathedrals and shouting at bishops" strikes me as the opposite of a virtuous Catholic. It also goes against the law of charity that Jesus taught so clearly. Evidently those who want the EF Mass and its orthodoxy and solid formation don't want the two greatest commandments: Love of God and love of neighbor.
As I mellow in my late 50's I've come to realize that you win a whole lot more converts with honey rather than vinegar.

Templar said...

LOL, I perhaps should have used a smiley face in my previous post Father. Surely you can atest that I have never shown up at the Parish door with either firery brand or pitch fork in hand :)

And yes, the reason we do not march upon the Cathedral is precisely because we wish to be "Virtuous Catholics", but do not brand Traditionalists with my bad behavior. True Traditionalists (like the SSPX) have been model Catholics for decades and have been winning the fight. Us, NO Catholics of traditionalist bent are much more frustrated than true Traditionalists precisely because we are so close to the problem, hence the frustrations. You see, we want the NO church to wake up from it's 40 year nightmare, while Traditionalists (true ones) never swallowed the sleeping pills in the first place. They have the peace of Righteous Men, while we fools who linger in the NO Church want desperately to fix it, no doubt in part as guilt for having been lulled to sleep in the first place. Please don't misunderstand me, I am not your enemy. I would be very happy indeed if we could get the rest of the NO church to be just like St. Joseph. While I personally wouldn't consider that "Traditional enough" for me, it would clearly be 100% Orthodox, and that would be victory enough. We are after all talking about the Salvation of Souls, and what goes on at St. Bozos in Any Parish USA simply isn't getting the job done.

pinanv525 said...

In what diocese is that guy in the picture serving as Bishop?