Saturday, September 29, 2012

NEO-PROTESTANT ATTITUDES AND NEO-SCHISMATIC PRACTICES AND THE TRUTH ABOUT VATICAN II AND CATHOIC OBEDIENCE TO THE MAGISTERIUM OF THE CHURCH












My Comments first: One of the things I have consistently challenged on my blog is what I call neo-Protestantism and neo-schismatic attitudes about Vatican II, Church authority and fidelity to the Holy Father in the areas of faith, morals and canon law. This fidelity has to go beyond personal tastes and preferences in politics and religious practices.

For example it is perfectly acceptable to prefer a quiet Mass over Mass with music, which on Sunday is the norm according to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. It is perfectly fine to prefer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to the Ordinary, normative Form of the Mass.

Where Catholics become neo-Protestant or neo-schismatic is when they think their personal tastes and perspectives on politics and religion trumps the Church, the Magisterium, the Holy Father and the normative experience of Catholicism.

For example, unless and until SSPX is regularized with the Magisterium and unity in the ministry of Peter, that of the Holy Father, they are what I call neo-schismatic even though they hold on to the faith that most Catholics practiced prior to the Second Vatican Council, with the major exception that most pre-VAtican II Catholics were extremely faithful to the pope, bishops and living Magisterium of the Church as well as canon law! But who in the name of God has set the SSPX up as the parallel Magisterium to keep the faith in tact? Who has made them the center of Church unity? Yes, their trajectory in rejecting large parts of an ecumenical council and direct disobedience to the Holy Father is very similar in attitude to that of Martin Luther and John Calvin except the latter two had heretical views that they foisted upon their followers who broke communion with Rome.

Perhaps we can say that Martin Luther and John Calvin did fit into God's plan for the Catholic Church to make the Magisterium address internal corruption and clarify doctrine and dogma in the Counter-Reformation and the Council of Trent. Maybe the neo-schismatic SSPX will help the Church do the same today, especially as it regards the Liturgy.

However, I do not believe that the 1962 Liturgy or any missal prior to that must be frozen in time, but what develops must be in continuity with our Tradition. The 2012 Missal in English can easily be celebrated in continuity with the 1962 missal with only minor tweaking and can at least look and sound like the 1962 without any radical adjustment, simply doing what is allowed when celebrated ad orientem and in Latin.

The Second Vatican Council is being interpreted correctly by the Magisterium. Other neo-schismatics in the corrupt, progressive "spirit" of Vatican II have hijacked the council and made it appear to be that which it really never was. Some of this was outright disobedience, others though sincerely thought they were doing the work of the council in their hermeneutic of discontinuity. Our Holy Father has the correct hermeneutic for interpreting the Council and Cardinal Levada below does too. Nothing can be done overnight to rectify the breach in Catholicism brought on by the wrong hermeneutic of interpretation, but a great deal of progress has been made since Pope John Paul II was elected in 1978 and more so since Pope Benedict's papacy. Patience is a virtue and not everything will be accomplished in one's lifetime. Union with the Holy Father and the Bishops in union with him is the only faithful position of any Catholic! And yes, that take humility which is the opposite of the deadly sin of pride.

Cardinal William Levada, until recently the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, delivered a 13-page keynote address at a Catholic University of America symposium on the Second Vatican Council.

“The truth of our faith has been safeguarded and illumined by the work of the councils, as promised by Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles,” Cardinal Levada said. “Today’s culture is often skeptical about claims to know the truth: so we get along by agreeing that one person’s opinion is as good as another’s, and that we must live by ‘our own truth’ … In my view, a renewed apologetics for our time should be placed among the unfinished tasks bequeathed to us by the Council, and an important project for every Catholic university.”

“It is true to say that Vatican II was by intention a ‘pastoral’ council,” he continued. “From this, however, one cannot infer that the Council’s teachings are not “doctrinal.” Teaching the Gospel of life and salvation is the chief ‘pastoral’ task of the Bishop; it is doctrinal in its principles and pastoral in its applications … The teachings of Vatican II, even if not infallibly proclaimed, must be taken as ‘normative’ (always in accord with their intention and purpose) by all of us Catholics today,” he added. “Rather than pastoral or doctrinal, we should say of the Council that it was pastoral and doctrinal.”

Cardinal Levada criticized the rejection of conciliar teaching by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the “hermeneutic of discontinuity” that followed the council in some places. “The Council, like all of the Apostolic Tradition, finds its authentic, authoritative interpretation, not in the judgment of individuals or groups (such has been the origin of schisms from the Church), but rather in the judgment of the Church’s Magisterium, according to the promise of Christ to the Apostles,” he said, adding:

(My comment about the following two paragraphs--I was taught in the 1970's seminary that the following would be the future of the Church, but indeed it is heretical): About four years ago the Dominican Province in the Netherlands sent a letter to every parish in the country outlining their position on how to meet the shortage of priests that prevents people from having Mass offered in their own parish church every Sunday. They proposed not only the ordination of women and married men, but also advanced the theory that in the absence of an ordained priest, the worshipping assembly could designate its own presider who could lead them in a valid Eucharist.

It does not take an expert in theology to recognize such a view as heretical, since only a validly ordained priest can celebrate a valid Eucharist (cf. CCC n. 1411). Here is an example of the confusion caused by an attempted interpretation of Church doctrine that is “in discontinuity, even rupture” with the Tradition of the Church. In order to repair the scandal caused, the Master General of the Order required the Provincial to send to the same parishes an article prepared by the Dominican theologian Fr. LeGrand, OP, presenting the correct Catholic doctrine on each of the points raised by his Dutch confreres.

24 comments:

Anonymous 5 said...

Fr. McD,

I agree in theory with your characterizations of people who "think their personal tastes and perspectives on politics and religion trumps the Church, the Magisterium, the Holy Father and the normative experience of Catholicism." The question is whether the specific examples you give do in fact fit that definition. Here are some thoughts that I hope will show that one must be very careful about analyzing such issues.

My premise is that the concerns I mention below are not driven solely, or even primarily, by "personal tastes and perspectives," but by something much more basic. Nevertheless, I'll concede that clown Masses, irreverence, and insipid music haven't helped the VII cause in this regard ("spirit" or no). The fact that the hierarchy has systemically allowed such abuses to continue for so long hasn't helped the hierarchy's credibility one little bit. But while things like this may indeed prejudice someone, sometimes that prejudice is in the right direction.

With that established, here are some questions.

1) Hypothetically, what if a Vatican III (yes, III) document were to expressly state that Mary is one of the Blessed Quadrinity of one God in four persons? Would laity be justified in arguing that such a statement simply cannot be doctrinal? That a hermeneutic of continuity is simply incapable of being stretched so far as that?

2) If such a statement were to be made, would that mean that Vatican III is invalid or that the Catholic Church is teaching doctrinal error? I don't think so. But it also means that not everything officially stated by the council either must or should be taken to be doctrinal.

3) If the pope and other officials subsequently and repeatedly claimed that this new notion of the Holy Quadrinity is in fact in continuity with earlier statements about the Holy Trinity, would those claims either a) be owed even so much as religious submission of intellect and will (to say nothing of full assent of faith)?

4) You may be saying at this point that such a hypothetical could nevr come about. But I ask in response: Is it compatible with Catholic doctrine to say that the Holy Spirit might allow such errors to be taught in a pastoral council as long as those errors don't compromise doctrine? That is really the heart of the matter.

5) My point being this: Might we have examples of such statements in Vatican II--the four that are pointed out by SSPX and others? Of course they aren't as obvious as my Holy Quadrinity example, but if the principle is the same, does my analysis above not apply?

6) Andif my analysis applies, is it accurate, or fair to SSPX, to liken it to Luther and Calvin?

I will point out that a couple of weeks ago A2 took up my open challenge to reconcile one of the four statements with earlier doctrinal pronouncements, and I think he did quite a good job of it. I'm thus not arguing that these four statements are Quadrinity-style statements--merely that the hierarchy is, after adopting a mode of reasoned discourse and thus appearing to invite such discourse, is refusing to allow reasonable criticism and concern to be aired, turning instead to the hammer of the argument of authority.

Finally, we should keep in mind that if making the Latin Mass into a god is possible, so too it is possible to make a god out of either a pope or a council. Ultramontanism and conciliarism are historically recognized movements within the Church.

I respectfully submit all of my statements here to the Magisterium.

Andy Milam said...

Father,

I have to take exception with your "classification" of the SSPX. Why is it so hard to simply use the language of the Church?

Does the Church call the SSPX "neo-schismatic?"

The SSPX formally question the very same things you do informally on this blog, yet you call them "neo-schismatic." Your logic fails me.

The questions the SSPX asks can be paired down to four issues.

1. The Mass
2. Religious Liberty/Freedom
3. Ecumenism
4. The Magisterium of Vatican Council II.

All of their questions fall into these broad categories, but then again all of the questions brought forth on this blog fall into these broad categories.

but...BUT...

The SSPX doesn't flinch in asking the questions that we all want answered. They are holding the leadership of the Church accountable to justifying the lunacy since the Council.

So...I do take issue with your assertion that the SSPX are "neo-schismatic." They are not. They are in an imposed "irregular" status, but they remain as Catholic as you and me.

If you can offer solid proof that they are, in fact, schismatic, I will ammend my view, immediately and publicly.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A5--it is the act of disobedience to the Holy Father and to a legitimate Council of the Church, or at least portions of it, that I liken to Luther and Calvin, not their theology but the spirit of disobedience, pride and thinking they know better than the Church, meaning the magisterium even in non infallible matters--its the disobedience that I liken to the Protestants who have a very good track record of splitting and dividing when someone thinks they have a better idea.
As far as the term neo-schismatic, they are not in schism yet, but could well be very close to it and the fact that the bishop were excommunicated, but not lifted, indicates that Holy Mother Church was warning them that that was and perhaps still is the direction they are heading and taking many with them. The priests and bishop are still suspended, which is another canonical penalty to get them to think long and hard about where they are going and where they are leading people. But again, it all has to do with Peter and Him deciding who is in and who is out and that unity in the Catholic Church is around Peter and His successors.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

should have read: (Bishops were excommunicated but now lifted)

Anonymous said...

But again, it all has to do with Peter and Him deciding who is in and who is out and that unity in the Catholic Church is around Peter and His successors.

I read a similar statement on Fr. Z's blog. Anyone care to attempt to support this proposed doctrine with reference to history and Tradition?

Not arguing, just curious... The statement has a strange sound to it.

Anonymous 50000b said...

"The 2012 Missal in English can easily be celebrated in continuity with the 1962 missal with only minor tweaking and can at least look and sound like the 1962 without any radical adjustment"

My main concern regarding the ordinary form is that the missal of Paul VI seems to be not so much a revision or evolution of the 1962 missal, but rather an ecumenical Catholic-protestant hybrid mass. The removal of the intercession of St Michael, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul and the apostles in the Confiteor and the addition of the protestant portion of the Our Father point to this. As does the overall more secular attitude of the missal, by having the priest face the people ("protestant" presider) instead of leading the people in prayer facing eastward, by handholding and shaking hands, and secular pop-folk style liturgical music replacing chant.

The 1965 Missal, was, at least, clearly a simplifing, streamlining of the 1962 missal, with no protestant integration. In this year of faith, I hope and pray the Vatican has the courage to declare the missal of Paul VI to be an experiement whose time has passed, and restore the 1965 vernacular missal as the OF. But if it doesn't happen, I will be obedient to the magestarium no matter what.

Andy Milam said...

Fr. McD,

I assume the following statement was aimed at me and not A5, so I will respond to it.

"As far as the term neo-schismatic, they are not in schism yet, but could well be very close to it and the fact that the bishop were excommunicated, but not lifted, indicates that Holy Mother Church was warning them that that was and perhaps still is the direction they are heading and taking many with them. The priests and bishop are still suspended, which is another canonical penalty to get them to think long and hard about where they are going and where they are leading people. But again, it all has to do with Peter and Him deciding who is in and who is out and that unity in the Catholic Church is around Peter and His successors."

Not in schism yet? How about not in schism EVER. The SSPX has never been, nor have they ever been close to schism. A schism is an act of the will. For one or a group to be in schism means that he or they must deny the authority of the Pope and the bishops united to him and thereby choosing to cut himself or themselves off from Holy Mother Church. This must be done knowingly and willingly. The Orthodox and the Old Catholics are clear and good examples of that. The SSPX on the otherhand do neither of those things, to the contrary, at the last General Chapter, the SSPX re-affirmed that, "We reaffirm our faith in the Roman Catholic Church, the unique Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, outside of which there is no salvation nor possibility to finding the means leading to salvation; our faith in its monarchical constitution, desired by Our Lord Himself, by which the supreme power of government over the universal Church belongs to the Pope, Vicar of Christ on earth; our faith in the universal Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of both natural and supernatural orders, to Whom every man and every society must submit."

There is nothing the SSPX have ever said or done which is schismatic. While they remain suspended and "irregular," these are juridical definitions which are 100% reversable.

The SSPX does not deny any tenant of the faith. Not one. The SSPX does question the novelties and the inaccuracies of Vatican Council II. All they ask is for a clear explanation of said novelties and inaccuracies and won't relent until such time as they get them. BTW, they have that right.

So, while the Vatican is upset that they won't just relent, the reality is that the SSPX is still doing more for authenticity in the Church since Vatican Council II (I hate the terms pre-Conciliar Church and post-Conciliar Church...they assume two different Churches, which don't exist).

Bottom line, the term "neo-schismatic" is a reckless and inaccurate term to apply to the SSPX. They certainly are anything but schismatic or neo-schismatic or even near-schismatic.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I intentionally use the word "neo" so that the term schism is nuanced to mean it is different than an actual schism it is New and abnormal their state of affairs with an ecumenical council and the living Magisterium and the current pope.

Andy Milam said...

Fr. McD;

"I intentionally use the word "neo" so that the term schism is nuanced to mean it is different than an actual schism it is New and abnormal their state of affairs with an ecumenical council and the living Magisterium and the current pope."

Their state of affairs is "irregular." But what does that mean? There is no juridical or ecclesiastical definition for the term, "irregular."

Sadly, the term "irregular" is just the latest in a vertible cornicopia of definitions for the SSPX, the Vatican officals. Every time the SSPX defines it's position and discredits the new characterization, said officials must re-define their position, so as to keep them arms length away.

Catholics are becoming weary of this dance. The traditionalist movement is directly due to the SSPX. If the SSPX are "neo-schismatic," as you claim, why is it that they are responsible for nearly all of the resurrected traditional practices in Holy Mother Church? Those would include the attitudes you take.

I am not an adherent to the SSPX. I have the good sense to understand though that the SSPX are not schismatic or neo-schismatic. I understand that they are in love with Holy Mother Church and they want to forward the Church from the beginning up and until today.

**I understand that without the SSPX, there would be no traditionalist movement and we would be mired in and forced to accept the obtrusive innovations of the reformers after Vatican Council II.**

I am sympathetic to their cause. But I will call them what they are. They are "irregular." That is what the Vatican calls them. That is what they are. It would be nice to know just what "irregular" means. I am not, however, trying to create a new word to define them. The SSPX has enough bogus definitions to fight, without being classified as "neo-schismatics," too.

Gene said...

Ironic, isn't it...the SSPX are devout, literally, to a fault...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, but so are charismatic Catholics who are very conservative and orthodox religiously and politically but quite Protestant pentecostal in their prayer and spirituality and Biblical outlook.

Andy Milam said...

"... but so are charismatic Catholics who are very conservative and orthodox religiously and politically but quite Protestant pentecostal in their prayer and spirituality and Biblical outlook."

The key there is that they are Protestant in their prayer. The SSPX are not. Most traditionalists are not.

Yet...

The charismatics are readily accepted simply because they claim fealty to the Holy Father, while being utterly heterodox in their actions?

Well, the SSPX claim fealty to the Holy Father, but won't relent on matters of doctrine and dogma, so they are labeled as "troublemakers."

Interesting.

Gene said...

A strong argument can be made that the charismatics are heretics. I believe they are. This kind of behavior and piety is just a replay of the Enthusiast heresy with a tinge of Gnosticism thrown in for flavor...

John Nolan said...

The very fact that the Council has to be reinterpreted and re-evaluated has to raise questions about its place in the history of the Church. Traditionalists, if pushed, wish it had hever been called in the first place. Indeed, it would not have been had Pius XII not suspected Montini of being a modernist and denied him a red hat. We know that if Paul VI had been elected in 1958 he would not have called a General Council. Did the Holy Ghost sow the seeds of suspicion in Pius's mind so that a Council might be called, and then inspired the periti who drew up the documents to make them ambiguous? I know He moves in mysterious ways, but this is stretching it.

Progressives view the Council not only as revolutionary in itself, but as merely the first step in an ongoing revolution; in the words of the feminist theologian Tina Beattie "the painful birthing of a new way of being in the world". You can call this a "hermeneutic of rupture" but this is not the same thing as saying it is a misinterpretation of the Council. Indeed in the ten years following the Council it was the official line, peddled by local hierarchies and indeed by the Vatican itself.

By allowing the continued use of the pre-conciliar books, the Pope is tacitly acknowledging that the revised versions (and these were specifically called for by the Council) are in some parts wanting. Most of the discussion has centred around the Mass, but the mutilation and general dumbing-down of the Rituale is even more worrying. The new rite of baptism is a case in point - it can be argued that the three exorcisms in the old rite were the result of historical accident, but to get rid of all of them (the so-called prayer of exorcism is not in fact an exorcism at all) is unilateral disarmament in the face of a very powerful adversary, who "tamquam leo rugiens, circuit, quaerens quem devoret".

If SSPX has reservations about some of the Council documents it is in good company (Benedict XVI for starters).

Pater Ignotus said...

"The very fact that the Council has to be reinterpreted and re-evaluated has to raise questions about its place in the history of the Church."

No, it does not. This has been the experience of every Council, not just Vatican II.

"We know that if Paul VI had been elected in 1958 he would not have called a General Council."

Amazingly absurb claim here. How do we "know" this I wonder?

Andy Milam said...

Pater Ignotus;

Speaking of place in the history of Holy Mother Church, you claim, "This has been the experience of every Council, not just Vatican II."

Not so. The utter uniqueness of the format, formula, and content of Vatican Council II lends itself to a level of scrutiny which has never before been seen. Looking back at any Ecumenical Council prior, one can clearly see that the acceptance of the Council was realized in short order, if not immediately. Why? Because something which must be held with Catholic faith was adhered to as a direct result of said Councils. That is NOT the case with Vatican Council II. There is nothing in the Council which we must adhere to as a matter of doctrine or dogma.

So, the claim that Vatican Council II must be re-interpreted and re-evaluated is unique. And it's place in the Church exists, but to what degree of importance is yet to be determined, but it's importance is diminishing with each passing year. Can you say the same about Nicaea or Florence, or Trent? No.

MarvinDante33 said...

One thing which seems to be overlooked here: Archbishop Lefebvre was intimately involved in the Second Vatican Council and was actually a strong supporter of it until Modernists and the enthusiastically opportunistic secular media hijacked it and turned it into a full-scale assault on Catholic discipline and dogma. As to the rest, I fully concur with Andy Millam & A5.

Andy Milam said...

@ MarvinDante33;

Your observation is not lost on me, but I will admit it hadn't been brought up. The reason being, at least from my point of view, the invoking of the Archbishop's name is not necessarily germane to this particular conversation.

The issue is summed up in the SSPX's four-fold view, which is clearly the same as the Archbishop's.

However, since you bring it up, we are in agreement with one small tweak...Archbishop Lefebvre was never a "strong" supporter of the Council. He tolerated it insofar as it was called and he was called to participate. It became clear to him early on (during the deliberations of the first session from October-December 1962) that there was something run afoul and he became more and more the critic, especially in the area of religious liberty.

But, on the whole, we do agree.

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

Montini, a pragmatic curialist who was more aware of modernist undercurrents in the Church than Roncalli was, wondered whether "the old boy knew what he was letting himself in for". By the time the Council met Pope John was terminally ill and died without signing off any of its decrees. According to John Carmel Heenan, who knew him well, he was dismayed at the course the Council was taking.

Gene said...

Andy, You said, "There is nothing in the Council which must be adhered to as a matter of Catholic doctrine or dogma."

Then can we not say that, without fear of disobedience and remaining in a State of Grace,the Council may safely be ignored?

Pater Ignotus said...

Andy - You are, I would guess due to a lack of knowledge of the history of Councils, mistaken.

The "content" of Vatican II is the Faith of the Church. That a Council should speak to the Faith of the Church is not "unique." I would be so bold as to suggest that addressing matters of our Catholic Faith is precisely what a Council should do. And this is what Vatican II did.

The "format" employed by the Council Fathers of Vatican II is not unique. Vatican II largely eschewed scholastic language and doctrinal formulation. It used what is known as the "ars laudandi" or "panegyric" style, well known in ancient authors and well used by many of the Patristic authors. This style is not "unique" to Vatican II, having been used by Saints, bishops, and theologians for centuries.

This was an outgrowth, I suspect, of the much-misunderstood and, therefore, much maligned "ressourcement" principle that was already in play in theological circles for 100 to 200 years before the Second Vatican Council was called.

To suggest that the acceptance of prior Council was realized "in short order" tells me that you know little or nothing of the schisms, doctrinal disputes, inter-and intra-religious order theological battles, and the outright bloody battles that were fought following many prior Councils.

This inaccurate vision reflects what seems to me to be a "pious fantasy" that is based on the premise that "all was right with the Church prior to Vatican II and that Vatican II is the cause of everything wrong with the Church since 1965." It is, as I say, a pious fantasy, unhistorical and unsupportable.

Andy Milam said...

Pater Ignotus;

Please show me proof (empirical proof) that there was this much strife surrounding any other Council.

As for the "content" of the Council, of course it is the faith of the Church, mainly because it didn't say anything. You're trying to set up a straw man and I'm not going to bite.

So, I'll point blank ask you Father, "What dogma or doctrine was defined at Vatican Council II which commands our immediate faith and fealty, which did not already exist?"

If you want to call me mistaken, if you want to call inaccurate, you're going to have to prove it. Otherwise, you're just being mean and calumnious.

My vision is not a "pious fantasy," but rather it is born out of truth and reason. As I have said on other issues and I stand by it on this one as well, if you can prove that Vatican Council II defined a dogma or doctrine which must be adhered to with Catholic faith, I will relent and I will publicly acknowledge it.

But, rather than throw out ad hominems or ad hominem tu quoques, which is unbecoming of someone who is supposedly learned in philosophy, how about engaging the issue and working through it.

So, my request for proof remains. If you can, do it...you won't be able to though.

BTW, I never claimed that Vatican Council II wasn't a valid Council, I simply said that there was nothing in that Council which we must adhere to as a matter of doctrine or dogma.

Gene said...

Now, Andy...where do you get the idea that Ignotus is "supposedly learned in Philosophy?" He has certainly given no indication of it here. One who is learned in Philosophy would not make the lame theological comments and allusions that Ignotus has made on this blog many times, nor would he avoid engaging people in theological dialogue as he has also done repeatedly. He substitutes ad hominem insinuations, trite references to Catholic dogma that avoid issues, and sophomoric references to philosophical issues that were discussed in undergrad while reading some "Introduction to Philosophy" or a Bertrand Russell anthology. I'm sure he has read a good bit on social issues and Third World "liberation theology," which is to say "no theology at all." Dealing with him on the blog is rather like trying to dialogue with an angry college student who is standing out in the quadrangle with a sign of some kind yelling for the latest socialist/egalitarian band wagon. His posts are more entertainment than anything else, but still need to be addressed, unfortunately, for the unsuspecting out there.

p.ig.otus said...

Andy - You make the absurd claim that the content of Vat 2 is unique. Your word. Then, when this cockamamie claim is rebutted, you quickly reverse course and say "of course" the content of Vat 2 is the faith. Which is it?