Tuesday, January 22, 2013

UNHOLY DISSENT AND CAUSING FURTHER DISUNITY TO THE CHURCH

Of the two polar groups representing dissent from Vatican II and the Holy See and the Holy Father in particular, in my most humble opinion, the ultra liberal, heterodox left is more sinister than the ultra conservative, ultra orthodox right when it comes to the corruption of the Church's faith, morals and unity.
In the Church today there are many people on both the left and the right who think they have a mission to make things right with the Church according to their own agendas.

For example, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre is a dead hero to many and his community of the Fraternity of St. Pius X is a living sign of prophecy to the whole Church. The fact that the Vatican and the Pope have censured them, suspended their priests and excommunicated their bishops, but now lifted, it is fro them a a badge of courage being so bold as to buck Vatican II and the Holy See and the Holy Father.

On the progressive side of things, there are priests and religious who are challenging the Vatican and the pope about many things, such as the "pelvic" issues of ordination of women, marriage of homosexuals, use of artificial birth control and so on and so on.

There are a few heroes for the progressive side, like the now laicized former Maryknoll priest, Roy Bourgeois, living in Columbus Georgia and others like him.

What do these two groups have in common. They are neo-gnostics in the sense that they think their decision of conscience gives them an inside track that the authorities of the Church don't have, especially the pope and the bishops in union with him.

They also do something else that is very serious. They wound the unity of the Church and further fragment her.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, in times like ours the best thing for any Roman Catholic is to follow the Holy Father and the bishops in union with him in the areas of faith and morals, or more specifically, Scripture, Tradition, Natural Law and Canon Law.

If you follow anyone else who teaches or suggests teachings in the areas of faith and morals that is contrary to the Tradition of the Church, then you've become a neo-Protestant IMO!

Fortunately the Holy See has a way of dealing with dissent and sometimes in the most patient ways. But make no mistake about it, the Holy See is the boundary keeper when it comes to dissent and heterodoxy. The Holy Father excommunicated the bishops of SSPX, but did not laicize them and by his charity he also lifted their excommunications.

Not so for Roy Bourgeois. He was dismissed from the Maryknoll Order mandated by the Holy See; He was excommunicated and now the Holy Father has laicized him.

It doesn't get more serious than that!

50 comments:

Henry Edwards said...

"the ultra liberal, heterodox left is more sinister than the ultra conservative, ultra orthodox right"

Like maybe a thousand times more sinister? Since the left is in control of much of the Church, and the right is in control of nothing.

And since the left is trying to subvert traditional faith and liturgy, while the right is trying to restore them (albeit both with sometimes questionable tactics).

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I would contend that none of the Popes of Vatican II or since have be ultra liberal and heterodox. The Lord works in mysterious ways and tests our faith and participation in the Church under the vicar He has chosen. So once again, I would say stick with the Pope even when you may disagree.

Andy Milam said...

A couple of points of disagreement and an interesting point you raise...

1. The SSPX does NOT wear anything as a "badge of courage." They see this issue they are embroiled in as being VERY serious and not something which is done purely out of rebellion, which is what a "badge of courage" would assume.

The reason they do what they do, is that they perceive a crisis. They are acting according to their conscience. We can debate all day long the formation of said conscience, but suffice to say that they are not doing anything out of malice.

2. I don't think that any "SSPXer" would think of the SSPX as a prophecy, as a rule. There may be individuals, but by and large most don't see the SSPX as doing anything other than that which they think to be right.

On the other hand, have you noticed that with a grave exception, the SSPX have not been silenced. They are allowed to continue their work, although they are "irregular." But, the super liberals are almost always laicized.

The bottom line is that the SSPX is acting in a way which is Catholic. While they are "irregular," give it another month and the Vatican will give them another position. It has constantly been changing over the years. The liberals, however, cease to be Catholic. They abandon Catholic philosophy and theology for a Protestant ideal and they act upon it.

We don't live in a perfect world, but we can strive to do that which is right. The SSPX clearly are trying to do the right thing. The liberals on the other hand are trying not to. Ultimately, the SSPX will regularize and the liberals will eliminate themselves. The Church swings like a pendulum. It is swinging to the right.

Joe Shlabotnick said...

It's probably harder to get inside the minds of the popes, but Paul VI himself admitted that the "smoke of Satan" had entered the sanctuary and that the "new springtime" he envisioned was a failure. Yet he did nothing to stop it. About the best thing he did was fire Bugnini, but the sacking came AFTER the damage was done. Why didn't he revoke the "new Mass" and go back to the drawing board, knowing that the head of the Consilium had been corrupted? John Paul II clearly saw the destruction and deterioration that was taking place. In fact, many of the liturgical abuses went on IN HIS OWN MASSES, PROMPTED BY HIS OWN PAPAL MC! This is not meant to indict the late pope of venerable memory, who was doubtlessly a holy man, but it cannot be ignored that he could have done much to stop the rot and chose to do very little. In fact, he appointed many horrible, terrible bishops and the Church is only BEGINNING to turn around because so many of his appointments are either dying or retiring.

Father, 90% of your blog is devoted to documenting the restoration of proper Catholic worship. Can you deny that none of this would need to be "restored" if these popes had been more proactive in protecting what was never broken in the first place?

Mr. Edwards is right, the liberals and heterodox hold all the power. I believe history will vindicate the SSPX and Archbishop Lefebvre. For the time being, they suffer unjustly, but suffering will bear fruit. They obviously love the Church and the Holy Father, but their love doesn't equate with denying the obvious: There are serious flaws in Vatican II. No one has addressed the rumored dying words of Pope John XXIII: "Stop the Council! Stop the Council!"

Let's stop badmouthing the SSPX and give them and the Vatican the time and room they need to resolve their differences. And let us continue to pray for them.

Andy Milam said...

Fr. McD,

I would agree that none of the popes since Vatican Council II have been ultra-liberal, but they have been liberal, with the exception of Benedict XVI. I would argue that he is a moderate.

Look at the theologies and philosophies they espoused. Phenomenology is a very liberal theology and the theologies of both Paul VI and John Paul I were liberal as well. Another tell tale is to look at the men that they surrounded themselves with. All three, with the exception of Benedict, since the Council have leaned toward naming more liberal bishops and elevating liberal cardinals.

I agree that we should stick with the Pope, but I don't think that the SSPX is separating themselves. The Vatican has done that for them. They desperately want to be Catholic and a huge game is being played at their expense.

Every traditional idea which has come forward since the Council has been because of the SSPX, either directly or indirectly...yet they are held on the outside...how does that make any sense? It does not. It isn't so much that the SSPX is outside looking in of their own accord, but rather that the Vatican just won't unlock the door. I say, turn the damn key already and swallow your pride. It's not a matter of dogma or doctrine, it is pastoral matter and on that it can be changed easily.

Marc said...

Of course, there was a long period of time where everyone believed what the SSPX teaches and lived the faith accordingly. On the contrary, there has never been a time where the Church professed what the liberals profess with its accompanying "liturgics" (excluding the last 50 years where their heresy has flourished).

Equating the two positions is disingenuous. It is easy to say, "Follow the Pope" and "Follow your bishop" in the abstract. This is much more difficult if the pope or your bishop is in error as gauged by reflecting on the past.

The idea that a recent former pope, like Pope Pius X, would recognize the last few popes as practicing the same faith is laughable. To put the question for simply: Does Fr. Kavanaugh teach and hold the same faith as the FSSP pastor in Mableton? Do either of then teach and hold the same faith as Fr. McDonald? Do any of them profess the same faith as the pastor of the Melkite Church in Atlanta or the SSPX Chapel in Roswell? And are they keeping the same faith as the bishop who said the most recent "Clown Mass"?

There is a disconnect here. Another example: Did you see the article in this morning's VIS detailing the "innovations" (the Pope's word) in the 1983 Code of Canon Law in accordance with the "innovations" (again, his word) in Vatican II (he particularly names in this connection Unitatis Redintegratio and other documents).

So, there is innovation for purposes of this statement but continuity for purposes of other statements. And this from the ordinary Magisterium himself...

This is the state of the Church at this moment, for those paying attention. Is this time experiencing more heresy than any other? Probably not as much even as the Protestant revolt or the Arian heresy, but neither is there a great leader emerging to fight against the modern heresies as there was in those times. This is a huge problem for everyone paying attention - unfortunately, only a few people seem to be paying attention and not all of them agree its a problem!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Following the pope in the areas of faith and morals would have prevented many of the problems, maybe no all, in the post Vatican II era.
However, my post also indicates that perhaps the Church is being tested by this renewal to be stronger in the future, although smaller.
I would never deny that Vatican II and its aftermath were foreseen by God and that God is allowing things to unfold so that His grace might be even more abundantly received later.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Fidelity to the Holy Father and the bishops in union with him is a hallmark of Catholicism that no one on the right or the left should weaken.

Marc said...

If the SSPX had "followed the Pope" there would be no Summorum Pontificum: you wouldn't be offering any TLMs because there probably would never have even been an indult and the Novus Ordo would be even more out of hand than it already is.

The idea that following liberal popes in the wake of a liberalizing council would have prevented the liberal problems is funny. The liberals followed the popes and they were made bishops and cardinals for their fidelity. Guess what? They're still liberal and still following the pope. And it's one big liberal mess!

Henry Edwards said...

Fr. McDonald: "I would contend that none of the Popes of Vatican II or since have be ultra liberal and heterodox."

Any such contention, if intended seriously, would be a straw-man argument, since no one of consequence within the Church has ever suggested that any of these Popes was ultra-liberal or heterodox.

Unfortunately, however, a couple of them yielded the control of much or most of the Church's bureaucratic and hierarchical machinery to liberals and progressives. Resulting in a more pervasive loss of faith than at any time in history--including during the reformation and the great heresies, some of which infected much of the Church, but not in every region and at every level.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Each pope has leadership in different ways. The 1960's was a unique period in Church and world history and cultural shifts at that.
In my mind we are in a spousal relationship as Church with Christ (Bride and Bridegroom). Within the Church we are wedded to one another also. So it seems to me that as orthodox as the SSPX is in some areas it is truly heterodox or leans towards divorce or schism in other areas because they do not accept the authentic ministry and authority of the Holy Father or of an ecumenical council that shifted many things but done, nonetheless in union with the pope and the bishops of the world in union with him.
It really is a divorce mentality that the left exhibits too and in a more profound way as it also rejects basic doctrines, moral and dogmatic.

Henry Edwards said...

"I would never deny that Vatican II and its aftermath were foreseen by God and that God is allowing things to unfold so that His grace might be even more abundantly received later."

Others might. God allows certain things to unfold not because they will yield abundant grace, but because of the free will of fallen man and the presence of Evil in the world.

For instance, any argument that God allowed the Holocaust to occur--or the present holocaust of abortion--in order that his grace might be received more abundantly later, would be obnoxious and repugnant.

Not everything that God foresees and allows can be ascribed to as His will (in any human understanding of the term). Some things happen as a result of Evil in the world--and perhaps even evidence the "smoke of Satan"--contrary to and in despite of anything His active will. Who can say that devastation of Church and Faith in recent decades is not in this category?

Anonymous said...

If we are in a spousal relationship with the Church, then Jesus must be pretty upset with his wife right now. First it was adultery, but lately it's been prostitution.

rcg said...

Commenting on your last sentence: Actually, Fr., it gets a lot more serious than that if he has consciously constructed a wall between himself and God.

As for the more 'sinister' nature of the Left, it could be because the Right is more 'dextrous' in their dissent. In either case, a prayerful support would have saved so much trouble and, I am afraid, many souls.

Militia Immaculata said...

If the SSPX had "followed the Pope" there would be no Summorum Pontificum: you wouldn't be offering any TLMs because there probably would never have even been an indult and the Novus Ordo would be even more out of hand than it already is.

The idea that following liberal popes in the wake of a liberalizing council would have prevented the liberal problems is funny. The liberals followed the popes and they were made bishops and cardinals for their fidelity. Guess what? They're still liberal and still following the pope. And it's one big liberal mess!


Just because we might not have Summorum Pontificum or wider availability of the Extraordinary Form Mass doesn't mean Archbishop Lefebvre did a good thing by disobeying. It simply means God brings good out of bad.

Also, heterodox bishops (I don't think words like "liberal" and "conservative" are appropriate to use in regard to Catholicism) DO NOT follow the pope. The pope has never told anyone to go against Church teaching! Yes, sometimes bad bishops have been appointed, but did you ever stop to think that maybe, just maybe, there were NO better candidates at the time?

Besides, as Catholics we are to obey ALL legitimate authority UNLESS they command us to sin. However, no pope has ever ordered Catholics to sin!

Templar said...

So when the Church has had two concurrently reigning Popes, which one was the corect one to follow? When Papacy has been vacant were we to follow no one? There have been many notorious Popes who openly sinned, were they to be followed without question? The Pope is selected not by God, but by Cardinals, and as much of the influence of the Holy Ghost is present in the selection, so to is the influence of man and his sins.

Everyman's duty is the King's, but every man's soul is his own.

Marc said...

Yes, sometimes bad bishops have been appointed, but did you ever stop to think that maybe, just maybe, there were NO better candidates at the time?

So... Your suggestion is that, out of all the unmarried men in the world, which is the candidacy pool for the selection of bishops, it is possible for there to be no better qualified candidates at any time?

How plausible does that sound to you? Or is it more likely that liberal popes select bishops of their own ilk?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

We follow the pope in the areas of faith and morals and canon law, not in terms of his personal opinions from which we may differ. There are different levels of papal teachings, the highest being what he proposes and supports in an ecumenical Council such as Vatican II which incorporates much that has already been previously defined as infallible.
So when there were two popes and true confusion about it, it eventually was determined who was the pope and who was the anti-pope, case closed!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc you are placing yourself outside of acceptable Catholic teaching as it regards the Holy Father and the bishops in union with him. Of course there are corrupt people in high office in the Church, but the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church.
You sound just like the progressives who despise the Holy Father we have now because he isn't doing what they want him to do as they understand Vatican II and Church history.
Both camps who do this, the ultra heterodox and the ultra orthodox are cut from the same cloth but do their dissent and mistrust in the same way.

Marc said...

Oh? I was unaware the selection of bishops was infallible. Can you point me to that teaching, please?

Can you tell me specifically to which of my comments you are referring?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, you are sounding more and more like a progressive dissenter and it is frightening!
We owe the Holy Father obedience in even that which is not infallible and as it concerns the governance of the Church, even when you personally don't like it. While he is not infallible in terms of who he selects, it is infallible teaching that the pope can bind and loose--he has an authority which is infallible.

Marc said...

And you are sounding like the most ultra of ultra-montanists!

I fail to see how pointing out that the last few popes have made poor decisions in the selections of bishops is disobedient.

Furthermore, it is neither progressive nor liberal to seek clarity and consistency in the Faith. In fact, it is by definition the precise opposite of "progressivism" and "liberalism" to do so.

Leaving my personal thoughts on these issues aside (as I do not wish to go into them publicly at this point), I am simply pointing out to you that there is a huge difference between the liberals and the so-called Traditionalists as you continually conflate their respective positions. Moreover, the resort to the "follow the pope" mentality does not resolve the issue for those in either camp because the pope himself is "too Traditional" or "too liberal" depending on the perspective of the subject.

For his part, the pope apparently does not feel it necessary to clarify the confusion. Instead, he injects more confusion by, inter alia, referring to Vaticam II as both an innovation and a continuity. Since he does not wish to clarify, I find it difficult to believe he wants obedience as the one seeking obedience should make his directives more distinct if he intends them to be followed.

So, referring to a "follow the pope" stance these days means nothing as the pope can be on whichever side you want him to be on. All this presupposes an agreement about which pope to follow for, as has been pointed out, the various popes throughout time have been inconsistent to the point of being non-recognizable in relation to each other.

I'll provide one example: we have a pope who previously taught (using the phraseology necessary to invoke the ex cathedra status) that individual submission to the Roman Pontiff was absolutely necessary for salvation. Yet, we have the popes of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, in union with the bishops, talking about separated brethren and all the rest. Now, these statements could possibly be reconciled -- that is not my point. My point is that none of these popes in question did reconcile them and the current pope refers to this as an "innovation." So, obedience to Pope Benedict or obedience to Pope Urban?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if the appointment of bad bishops is "infallible". It's pretty hard to argue convincingly that the best possible appointment for Chicago was Joseph Bernardin or that the best possible appointment for Rochester was Matthew Clark, or that the best possible candidate for Los Angeles was Roger Mahony or the best possible candidate for Atlanta was Eugene Moreno. It's stupefying to look at the records of these bishops and see the tremendous damage they've done to the Church.

No, appointing bad bishops is infallible.

It's inexcusable.

Militia Immaculata said...

So when the Church has had two concurrently reigning Popes, which one was the corect one to follow? When Papacy has been vacant were we to follow no one? There have been many notorious Popes who openly sinned, were they to be followed without question? The Pope is selected not by God, but by Cardinals, and as much of the influence of the Holy Ghost is present in the selection, so to is the influence of man and his sins.

So there have been popes who sinned. So what? Did they make binding orders on the faithful that they were to do things that were actually sinful? Of course not!

Anonymous said...

I meant to say appointing bad bishops is NOT infallible.

Militia Immaculata said...

So... Your suggestion is that, out of all the unmarried men in the world, which is the candidacy pool for the selection of bishops, it is possible for there to be no better qualified candidates at any time?

How plausible does that sound to you? Or is it more likely that liberal popes select bishops of their own ilk?


The first question that we must ask is: why not just simply choose a "good bishop" in the first place instead of going through the headaches and politics of removing a bishop from his See? Are we really to believe that the pope wants incompetent or doctrinally unsound leaders of the flock? That does not make much sense. OK, then could the process be flawed? Not really. There are sufficient checks in place to ensure that generally speaking better candidates are chosen. So then, we are left with some scary conclusions.

Sure, you find it unbelievable that the bad bishops we've had over the past several years were truly the best there were at that point in time, but humor me for a moment: why couldn't that be a theoretical possibility? I mean, we could have had FAR WORSE bishops! Secondly, if, generally speaking, we have the "best of a bad bunch", what does that say of the pool of candidates Rome has been given to make a decision? Answer: the pool needs some cleaning. I mean, really, if we could only be a fly on the wall every Saturday evening in the Pope's apartment, maybe we'd hear the other side of the story: "Gosh darn it, what the heck is this? Larry, Moe, and Curly yet again? Please don't make me appoint one of these guys?"

But this brings us to yet another question. From whence do these priests come? They come from and are influenced by the current culture of death. Now, then, let's see if we can understand this simple connection: strong culture, strong bishops with a time delay. Ergo, if you want strong bishops, you evangelize the culture first. You need to squeeze the orange before you get the juice. Incidentally, this explains a strong hierarchy in Pre-V2 days and a weak hierarchy in Post-V2 days. The culture in the decades immediately preceding Vatican II was already beginning to degenerate, thereby influencing the quality of the next generation of bishops.

(to be continued)

Militia Immaculata said...

(continued from previous)

So then, now that we are in this situation, however, why can't we work for the long term by evangelizing the culture and thereby fostering holy and strong bishops AS WELL AS removing the weak bishops already in place?

That's a legitimate question. Let's take a look at that.

#1 - There have been bishops who have been reproached and reprimanded. Some have even been suspended from their office. Admittedly, the numbers have not been very high, but then again, mass suspensions are not a real alternative as we shall soon discover.

#2 - Just because it's not available for public commentary, we have no idea of the pressure the Vatican is applying to individual bishops. That is not the way the Church operates. It does not call a news conference every time a bishop fails in his office. Americans are great for parades and flash, but that does not necessarily translate into how the universal church handles these matters.

#3 - If we begin to single out one bishop for removal, where will the inquisition stop? The ousted bishop will rightfully ask that the criteria be applied fairly and uniformly. And then? Well, then you have a situation of a complete purging of virtually the entire hierarchy of the U.S.! In fact, why should we stop at the U.S.? How about the whole Western world? OK,, then. Why not? Let's do it. Very well, then, what are we left with? We are left with 1250 vacant Sees to fill. And who, pray tell, are going to fill these Sees? A currently orthodox priesthood who will do a much better job? Yeah, right. If only that were the case! And what happens when the next bishop is just as bad or perhaps even worse than the guy you booted out? What then? More bouncing? Do you see by now that Rome should not be in the business of babysitting and bouncing? The culture gets the bishops that it wants. Rome's job is to convince the culture to open themselves up to Christ and select, for themselves, holy men who will guard the truth.

#4 - And what about this little judicial and legislative war that we've started? Do you really think that the fan is only pointed towards the leftists when the proverbial dung hits it? I don't think so. As Rome begins the purging process, the persecution of faithful Catholics will not be a small thing -- far worse than they are now, as hard as that is to believe. The puny concessions the left has allowed for traditional Catholics, for instance, would be wiped out overnight. Think of those who have recourse to one church in a whole diocese for the Traditional Mass. Now, picture this: those Catholics going to a Novus Ordo Mass because your lefty bishop wants to play hardball and refuses to allow the Latin mass any longer. Chilling sight, no?

#5 What is the Church's mission? It is to evangelize the world. In our day, that includes not only evangelizing non-Catholics but even those Catholics within the Church. If the Vatican's focus was on playing powerball with every recalcitrant bishop in this world, we'd have to hire even more Vatican bureaucrats to deal with the diocesan bureaucrats. Now, why would we want to do that? There is no point in wasting time, money and talent in policing and enforcing conformity with the truth, and all of the stonewalling, yelping, and back-stabbing that goes with it. We cannot force people to accept the truth. In the end, they'll do what they want, in any case. The best approach - the approach in the Pope's view -- is to go right for the jugular and change what people want. This is the most effective and efficient approach to the dilemma in the long run.

John Nolan said...

Fr Allan,

It is possible to be ultra-conservative; it is not possible to be ultra-orthodox.

There is an extreme right, the sedevacantists (most of them are in the USA), and it is they, not the SSPX, who should be equated with dissidents like Bourgeois and the LCWR. SSPX represents mainstream Catholicism as traditionally understood; they have reservations about certain V2 documents, but so did Cardinal Heenan and so did Cardinal Ratzinger.

The last ten years of Paul VI's papacy were an unmitigated disaster for the Church. Lefebvre was not the only prelate to be shabbily treated during those shameful years - look what happened to Cardinal Mindszenty.

In France, where the Conciliar Church (for want of a better term) has all but collapsed, SSPX is the most important traditionalist movement. In Brussels it runs the National Monument church of St Joseph in the Leopold quarter. If there is going to be a Catholic revival in France and Belgium, its role will be crucial.

It is easy for Catholics in the USA or the UK, neither of which are Catholic countries, to be sniffy about the SSPX. But Europe matters.

Militia Immaculata said...

Marc, Church teachings can develop in that, as doctrines are examined more fully, the Church comes to understand them more deeply, but she never understands them to mean the opposite of what they once meant. All ecumenical councils -- including Vatican II -- have examples doctrinal development therein. As for your Pope Benedict vs. Pope Urban example, it is indeed possible that one can be submissive to the pope without knowing of the necessity of this submission. An analogy may show this point. For example, during the Colonial times, Great Britain owned vast amounts of empires in Asia and Africa. All the people who lived in those areas were indeed truly under the authority of Great Britain; however, if one went into the bushes of Asia or Africa, there were probably people who did not know about the authority of Great Britain and did not know that they had to submit to it. In a sense, they were submissive to Great Britain without knowing of the need to. If once they learned of the necessity of being submissive to the colonial rule of Great Britain, they would then become submissive when they knew they had to. However, if they learned of this authority and rejected this authority, they cut themselves off. In the same way, the pope truly has authority over all the earth; nevertheless, there are some who do not know or have not seriously studied that indeed he has this authority. However, if they submit to whatever grace that Christ has given them, then they can (note that I said can, not will) achieve salvation; nevertheless, if they have truly heard the message of the full gospel (which includes papal authority), and they refuse to submit to this authority, the people very well cut themselves off from salvation. No one who has truly heard this message and knowingly rejects this truth for whatever reason can be saved.

Henry Edwards said...

I read recently that one's love of the liturgy may be measured by his distress when it is done poorly. Perhaps it is true similarly that one's respect for the papacy can be measured by his distress when it is done poorly.

In any event, I believe the present distress in the Church is largely the result of a single papacy whose disastrous mistakes the current pope and his predecessor have not yet been able to overcome. For instance, the bulk of the "bad apples" that remain in the U.S. episcopacy--and largely controlled it for a period--are probably the heritage of a single episcopal figure who was appointed and rose to such power and influence during that papacy and the following one that (it's generally believed) for a couple of decades no U.S. terna went to Rome without his consent. And this was just one of the areas of calamity during that papacy.

Marc said...

MI, nice analogy. Perhaps you can point me to the Chech teaching that supports it?

Everyone will please forgive me for referencing Pope Urban when I intended to reference Pope Boniface. In reviewing his Bull Unam Sanctum, which is addresses to the "Greeks", we see MI's analogy fall apart. For, in that Bull, the Pope says directly to the Eastern Churches that they must submit, collectively and individually, to the papacy or else they forfeit salvation. Yet, we later find these same "Greeks" called separated brethren, no longer the target of proselytization, a true Church with valid sacraments (therefore with the possibility of salvation as the presence of the valid sacraments cannot indicate otherwise).

So, while the analogy is well-intentioned it does not address the subject matter directly. And my stated point was not the so-called development of doctrine, it was a lack of clarity of doctrine. Say what you will of Unam Sanctum, but it is certainly a model of clarity. And one demanding obedience thereby: Query precisely who is being disobedient to Pope Boniface's purported ex cathedra statement in Unam Sanctum... Pondering that leads precisely to the quandary that I am raising.

Anonymous said...

When Benedict XVI visited America a few years ago, I entertained a fantasy of him walking into a meeting hall with all of the U.S. Bishops and saying, "Thank you for your service. However, your services are no longer required. Gentlemen: You're fired."

No one can deny that we have had some very weak and even corrupt bishops in the U.S. in the last couple of decades. So where is the first place the Vatican looks for new bishops? THEY ASK THE OLD BISHOPS FOR THEIR SUGGESTIONS (the terna)! And, more often than not, these bishops will suggest someone who is like-minded and part of their "inside network".

A few years ago, in one U.S. diocese, the bishop (a weak bishop who is still in charge) was asked to submit a terna for an auxiliary bishop. The Congregation for bishops told him that they already had one name on the terna and wanted to give him the option of submitting two others. The bishop submitted two other names, both priests who were yes-men and part of his little cadre. The Vatican chose their own man this time and the bishop was furious. The priest chosen was a younger, traditional and very orthodox priest. The two names submitted by the bishop were anything but that. That younger auxiliary has since gone on to become an archbishop of an important metropolitan diocese.

The process for choosing bishops is flawed, but sometimes the best man wins anyway. However, whenever a good bishop retires, many of us wait in horror, for fear that another good old boy will get the nod because he did the right favors or it was "his turn".

I propose that it be required that any candidate for bishop must demonstrate a love for the EF and say that form of the Mass regularly. He should also have experience ferreting out homosexual priests, since they have all but destroyed the priesthood. I don't think the Vatican will take my suggestion, but there it is.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Keep in mind that Jesus Christ Himself appointed or called (better term) bad bishops, one who betrayed Him and another who denied Him three times. I suppose those in comment land here would take that right away from not only the Vicar of Christ, but Christ Himself all based upon our corrupt human nature due to original sin and its child actual sin?
Are you all a bunch of Puritans or a bunch of Catholics?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

What was the education level of the 12 apostles? Jesus picked the wrong guys folks. Pack it up and go home!

John Nolan said...

"Vast amounts of empires"? To the best of my knowledge there was only one!

Britain's African colonies and protectorates relied on 'indirect rule'. Native social and power structures remained in place, the British being content to 'hold the ring'. When we pulled out we largely washed our hands of them, as long as the natural resources could still be exploited to the benefit of the West.

The French were far more 'hands on', and are more ready to inervene in their former colonies, Mali being the latest example. Ten years ago we did go back to sort out Sierra Leone, but that was atypical.

Anonymous 5 said...

I find it hard to see a considered and good-faith attempt to abide by the Magisterium and doctrine as it has been enunciated by popes and councils over 2000 years as an "agenda." The very reason SSPX exists is because VII appears so out of step and discordant with all that has come before, it left them scratching their heads trying to figure out how in fact it _could_ be in continuity with the rest. (And I remind the readers here that I have never in my life attended an SSPX parish or Mass.)

And it isn't disloyalty to the pope or to the papacy to say that post VII popes--while not having formally taught error--have still done (and perhaps said) some heterodox things. Lest we become ultramontanists, we should always recall popes such as Popes Alexander VI and John XII. A review of Popes Formosus, Stephen VI, and the Cadaver Synod by themselves should remind us that popes can say and do some highly questionable things, and that popes have even accused other popes of such (and in bizarre circumstances, no less).

It isn't my intention here to smear post-VII popes or to equate anything they've done with the Borgia pope or his likes. I'm simply trying to point out that in a tumultuous time such as our own, merely to state that the pope isn't ultra-liberal or heterodox is not to put him beyond the reach of criticism. Anyone who argues that popes in the last 40 years have done nothing to worsen the crisis either through action or omission bears a very heavy burden of persuasion, IMHO.

Anonymous 5 said...

Fr. McD,

Are you arguing that just because God Incarnate picked apostles that appear at first glance to us to be bad choices, that grace will therefore _always_ abound as a result of the bishops chosen by popes? That there can _never_ be such a thing as (as Henry Edwards might put it) a "Holocaust bishop?" (A phrase that I put forward to stand with the same stature as "pelvic issues," hehe.)

Marc said...

I would remind the commenters, in relation to Fr. McDonald's latest point, that two of the Apostles did fall into error quite quickly: Judas betrayed Christ and St. Peter fell into the judaizing heresy.

Judas refused correction and fell into despair. St. Peter was subjected to the rebuke of St. Paul and the issue was submitted to a council presided over by the bishop of Jerusalem, St. James, where the judaizing heresy was anathematized. In essence, St. Peter's decision did not rule the day.

My point here is that collegiality maintains this delicate balance. Bishops should rebuke bishops when those bishops fall into error - this is one of the main ideas behind national bishops' conferences. Moreover, if the pope falls into error, a council rebukes the pope (as with St. Peter and later with other popes, including one who was posthumously anathematized).

Currently, bishops are being rebuked by no one as far as we know. That is, the national conference is not acting in this way. The pope, admittedly, cannot be expected to know the teachings of every single bishop in the world. This is an excuse for existing bishops. My guess is the process for selecting bishops does a poor job of excising heterodox candidates as it likely involves heterodox local/regional people making the selection. Knowing that to be the case, the pope should conduct more intensive review of problem regions.

But, again, we are far from the point -- there will always be bad bishops and, yes, bad popes. To put a cover over your eyes and pretend like this is not the case is bizarre, especially when you publicly criticize those who refuse to ignore the overwhelming evidence (and history) by pointing out the obvious.

As regards the SSPX, I agree they should formally go Ito schism. As I've said before, their position is de facto sedevacantism. They are picking and choosing the time period they call "Tradition" and it is really a pious nostalgia. But, their position is at least more tenable than the liberals who would like to ignore 1,960 years of Church history and doctrinal development. I simply happen to recognize that the current and recent popes appear to favor this liberal tendency, perhaps in reaction to the false-nostalgic tendency on the other hand. The pervasive ultra-montanism, both here and by the SSPX, only serves to further complicate matters.

At any rate, as today's blog indicates, the position is ridiculous. To say with a straight face that the Novus Ordo is not only in continuity, but is a legitimate development, is unbelievable. And that observation says nothing of the illegitimate doctrinal developments of recent decades and the lack of clarity flowing therefrom, as I've indicated in prior comments.

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc claims there are "illegitimate doctrinal developments of recent decades." Two questions follow. First, which are the illegitimate developments, and second, what gives Marc the authority to determine which are or are not legitimate?

To say "I judge them not to be legitimate" or "I don't understand how these are legitimate" is not an assertion of proper authority.

Marc said...

Fr. Kavanaugh, please do not address me as I refuse to engage you in discussion. Obviouly, you are free to disregard me, but all comments from you directed at me will be ignored.

William Meyer said...

Gleaned from the latest adult education class bulletin from my former parish:

"Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self" By Richard Rohr

"The Gospel and Epistles of John: A Concise Commentary", by Raymond Brown

"The Mystery of Faith: An Introduction to Catholicism with Fr. Michael Himes"

"Foundations of Christianity: Mystery, Conversion, Faith, Hope and Love with Fr. Michael Himes"

"In Search of Belief", Sr. Joan Chittister

"Come as you are", Fr. Art Baranowski

-- and --

A Parish Mission to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II and the Year of Faith
with Fr. Bruce Nieli, CSP

This could serve as a primary reference for authors and speakers who should be shunned! Not one of them supports the full teaching of Holy Mother Church.

So much for the biological solution! This is the sort of teaching which perpetuates the problems we face in the Church today. So glad to be out of there!

Anonymous said...

You could have irrefutable proof that a bishop was a drunken, abusive child molester who had pilfered the diocesan coffers to purchase male prostitutes and, guess what? You wouldn't be able to find ONE fellow bishop willing to even mildly criticize him.

That's just the way it works. I love the Church. I'll never leave the Church. I believe in the Church, but that's one of the flaws that we have to tolerate just to be Catholics. It's also one of the reasons the Church is having such a credibility crisis.

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - A cursory re-read of my 11:45 a.m. post will show that I did not address you. Oddly enough, in your riposte, you address me.

You are safe in your autocephalous religion where you are the final authority on liturgy, the ultimate judge of orthodoxy, and the all-knowing keeper of the deposit of faith. And until you come to terms with that anomalous situation, your discomfort will, I suspect, continue.

Pater Ignotus said...

This is not addressed to Marc -"With respect to the Second Vatican Council itself, Archbishop Müller (Head of CDF) has insisted that “the Church cannot, on the doctrinal level, contradict herself—that is impossible. Any perceived contradiction is caused by a false interpretation.” In November, he went farther and called such interpretations “heretical”. Just last month he emphasized again the need to distinguish “between the true teaching…and specific abuses that occurred after the Council, but which are not founded in the Council’s documents.”

John Nolan said...

Marc, the SSPX cannot go into schism because they are Catholic. Unless and until Rome declares them to be schismatic, which is unlikely, that is how they remain.

Anonymous, you are no doubt referring to Rembert Weakland. We all know about him.

Marc said...

Anonymous, I'm sorry, but that is not "just the way the Church works." Bishops are supposed to criticize each other. That's why all those early councils were called and those bishops were excommunicated!

rcg said...

Anon 12:24. There is an exception to that. the current Bishop of Rome has done just that, and more as in the case of the Bishop of Adelaide as well as the action taken with Mr. Bourgeois. I certainly feel your frustration and often express the same. But it is good that the Pope reserves much of that sort of action to his position. Otherwise you would end up with a group of peers jockeying for leadership as we see in many other Christian sects and numerous other religions. I am frustrated that the Pope is so slow to respond, but I think that is largely due to his insulation from these matters. This Pope is clearly exploiting the information age and I think his successors will be expected to, as well.

Marc said...

John, I agree with your assessment. I was suggesting that, if they are not going to submit to the pope (whatever that means), perhaps the more honest position is to be overtly sedevacantist. In fact, defying a person whom you acknowledge to be the pope in the face of his direct order is probably more sinful than holding a position that the person claiming to be the pope is not actually the pope.

After all, sedevacantists can in good faith claim full submission to the pope -- just as soon as an actual pope is installed. The SSPX, on the other hand, refuses to submit to a man they acknowledge to be their superior. They can argue a "state of emergency" all they want to: that seems to be code words for de facto sedevacantism in practice (that is, they continue on as if there were no pope and the only difference is they commemorate him in their Masses).

Anonymous said...

I agree that's not the way the Church SHOULD work and it would behoove our modern bishops to think more on those early councils. However, that's the way they've chosen to operate today and, for better or worse, we have to live with it. I don't like it, but I suck it up and look the other way. Those who don't look the other way often pay a terrible price.

Militia Immaculata said...

"In reviewing his Bull Unam Sanctum, which is addresses to the "Greeks", we see MI's analogy fall apart. For, in that Bull, the Pope says directly to the Eastern Churches that they must submit, collectively and individually, to the papacy or else they forfeit salvation. Yet, we later find these same "Greeks" called separated brethren, no longer the target of proselytization, a true Church with valid sacraments (therefore with the possibility of salvation as the presence of the valid sacraments cannot indicate otherwise).

Marc, at that time the Greeks (what we now know as the Greek Orthodox Church) knowingly refused to submit to papal authority, and so they had no excuse. They essentially said, "Non serviam!" But now the Church takes a different approach (much as it does with Protestants) because the Orthodox have changed A LOT since the Great Schism, much like Protestants have changed a lot since Luther. Back then, the Greeks refused to be part of the Catholic Church because they hated her (much like the first Protestants). But with the centuries that have past, the Orthodox of today (much like the Protestants of today) don't know any better! With those who don't know any better, preaching to them that they'll go to hell if they don't convert will only drive them further away.

And yes, the Orthodox have valid sacraments; that has ALWAYS been the case! Also, tell me where the pope has ever said the Orthodox don't need to convert.