Thursday, June 13, 2013

AS I'VE SAID BEFORE AND SAY IT AGAIN, THE GREATEST THREAT TO THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH IS ON THE RIGHT, NOT THE LEFT, ALTHOUGH THE LEFT'S THREAT IS DUMB, PURE AND SIMPLE, BUT THANKFULLY DISORGANIZED


Religious News Service has a good opinion piece on Pope Francis and that His Holiness is now coming across to ultra-traditionalists as not being too friendly to them as Pope Benedict was perceived to be. You can read the full piece at RNS BY PRESSING HERE.

I agree with this opinion piece up to a point. The traditionalists, like the SSPX, are highly organized, highly motivated and sometimes (not always) highly fanatical. They are rigid in their approach and think that it is infallible. They can easily go into schism because they are so organized as SSPX proves. But of course, like all of Protestantism, this neo-Protestantism against the Magisterium of the Church also fragments and splinters. But they have bishops that assist in this.

Then think of the wacky left. They aren't fanatical, they are wacky. Think of WomenChurch and those groups who are "ordaining" women, pushing for actively gay clergy, gay marriage and opposition to Sacred Scripture, Tradition and natural law. How can anyone really take these people seriously. They are disorganized, hate structures of authority and can never become like the SSPX, never! Many of these who promote the wacky agenda are academics living in the world of academia and part of that ultra-clericalist culture.

So Pope Benedict's solicitousness to the SSPX and other traditions of the Church was based upon their organized ability to go into schism and the Holy Father saw himself as the pontiff, the bridge builder.

RNS gets it right but unwittingly when the author writes: "It’s not just that he’s living up to his namesake (Pope Francis) in simplicity of dress, modesty of living arrangements, and true devotion to the poor. It’s that he has shown, in his supposedly offhand remarks, that he sees threats to the Church on the right as well as on the left. Last week, at an audience with the leaders of religious orders from Latin America and the Caribbean, he suggested that they not be “bothered” by getting some criticism from the CDF."

Pope Francis is concerned about the two extremes in today's Church and is calling them heretical! Yes, heretical! I don't think Pope Benedict ever called any group heretical during the time of his papacy. So we are moving into a new era where the pope speaks of heresy and calls all Catholics to orthodoxy and orthopraxis.

Pope Francis, more than Pope Benedict, is calling for fidelity to Holy Mother Church and Her Magisterium, which happens to be this pope and the bishops in union with him. He is calling all other "magisteriums" into question, including the left-wing wackos in women's Religious Life and the right wing fanatics in the various traditionalist's movements.

I'd say this is a positive development folks. The Holy Father wants us to move forward to caring for the poor, but in fidelity to Holy Mother Church and her Magisterium, even if pastoral mistakes are made in the process. He's not holding up pastoral mistakes for others to follow, he's saying keep going and try to get it right!

71 comments:

Sonny Tillman said...

There's another word that Pope Benedict never used, yet you've used it twice in this post alone: schism.

It would be useful to quote Benedict's close ally, Cardinal Castrilllon Hoyos:

"The Bishops, Priests and Faithful of the Society of St Pius X are not schismatics. It is Archbishop Lefebrve who has undertaken an illicit Episcopal consecration and therefore performed a schismatic act. It is for this reason that the Bishops consecrated by him have been suspended and excommunicated. The priests and faithful of the Society have not been excommunicated. They are not heretics."

and we all know that those excommunications have since been lifted.

I'm not a member of the SSPX, but I am praying for the Vatican to welcome them and normalize their status. Anyone who appreciates Summorum Pontificum has to recognize the debt we owe the SSPX for preserving the EF and the huge price they've paid for doing so.

Honestly, why does everyone insist on perpetuating this misinformation on the SSPX? The Vatican has made it clear that they are not in schism, but somehow everyone else knows better!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The bishops though were excommunicated and in an extraordinary gesture of generosity and the opening of a bridge to complete regularity, the Holy Father Emeritus, Pope Benedict, lifted the excommunication which the SSPX bishops in their arrogance did little or nothing to promote the eventual hoped-for complete regularization prior to Pope Benedict's emeritus status. However, as I understand it, the bishops and priests and deacons remain "suspended" in its highest form and thus Catholics in good standing should not seek ministry from suspended bishops, priests or deacons. If I were suspended by my bishop (and he may do that eventually given the notoriety of this blog) I could not function as a priest since my faculties to do so are taken away. I could only do so in a grave act of disobedience to my ordination promise and as a great act and gesture of defiance!
At any rate, on both the left and the right, there is a tendency toward schism even when it is not defacto as such.

Sonny Tillman said...

I think most of the readers here know that the SSPX priests are currently suspended. However, my point was merely that the "S-word" is too readily invoked when referring to them. It's rather depressing to see prominent priests, nuns and bishops openly defying the Vatican and canon law, but since they are lefties, they get a pass yet the left-wing Catholic press cannot wait to call the SSPX schismatics! I just don't want to see you fall into the same trap.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I agree that the left is "schismatic" in theory and not defacto as are those on the right and that in theory, the left's schism is more serious because there is heresy involved on serious levels of heresy. Yet, in reality, even if they went into schism defacto (the left) it probably wouldn't happen as they are not as organized as the right or as passionate about authority.

Andy Milam said...

"They are rigid in their approach and think that it is infallible. They can easily go into schism because they are so organized as SSPX proves. But of course, like all of Protestantism, this neo-Protestantism against the Magisterium of the Church also fragments and splinters. But they have bishops that assist in this."

WOW!!! It is exactly this direct misconception that Pope Benedict was fighting against. Certainly it isn't ideal, the situation, but to start throwing around schism again and to start holding this idea that they are not open to the Church's Magisterium is not only uncharitable, but it is wrong.

I'm not an adherent to the SSPX, never have been, but I do see their point. They are not holding the traddy line because they want to, but rather because their conscience tells them they must. The SSPX doesn't hold the traddy line out of some sense of pride or Protestantism, but because of doctrinal issues which the current leadership (yes, current...nobody other than the Pope has changed) have been acknowledged.

The rigidity and the splintering hasn't come because of their attitude, but rather because the leadership of the Church engaged in such a radical change of philosophy that matters of conscience came into play.

If you want to talk about the legality of the consecrations, we can discuss that. I think that it was rash and I think that it was hasty, regardless of that though, it has been rectified and is a non-starter. It has been since 2009. All is forgiven on that front.

If you can point to specific instances where the SSPX have engaged in non-Catholic practices which remove them from being Catholic, I would be open to seeing what I've missed, but frankly, to accuse them of what you're accusing them of, by way of this article, has been proven wrong and wrong again.

This is simply just picking old scabs hoping for some new blood.

Sad. Simply sad.

Marc said...

So, if one does not adhere to the Pope, one is a schismatic.

The Pope has said the SSPX are not schismatic.

Fr. McDonald still maintains the SSPX is schismatic.

Ergo, Fr. McDonald is the schismatic for his lack of adherence to the Pope's pronouncement on this issue.


You see the problem here, Father? The left are heretics, as is evidenced by their public statements. This is clear for all to see. Schism, on the other hand, especially in this subtle category where the claimed schismatic claims obedience and affection, is more nebulous. They are not even remotely the same.

Andy Milam said...

"... the SSPX bishops in their arrogance did little or nothing to promote the eventual hoped-for complete regularization prior to Pope Benedict's emeritus status."

Patently false. They worked very closely with the Vatican to try to resolve the issues. They came closer than they ever did to resolving the outstanding issues...it wasn't the SSPX who bailed, it was the leadership of the Church who refused to see that traditional Catholicism is still relevant. BTW, it is still relevant.

Anonymous in Archdiocese of Detroit said...

The problem is the wacky left is not as disorganized as you want to believe. Here in Detroit, the majority of parish pastors are center-left. The majority of rank and file Catholics are a little more left. The left doesn't need organization because they already got most pastors and laity in thier grip. The Detroit major seminary indoctrinates all new priests with the theology of Karl Rahner. More traditional thinking seminarians are either booted out or converted/brainwashed.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The splintering I referred to is in their own ranks, because we all know that if the bishops had completely reconciled with Rome and the suspension was lifted, there would be a signficant group within the SSPX that would then go rogue. Protestantism in it old form and new way always seeks purity and keeps splintering as the new group thinks it is purer and by their own works at purity and thus the heresy of Palagianism. So sad.

ytc said...

Historically, schisms on the right have proved far more disastrous for the Church and have always been more successful at doing whatever they want to do.

rcg said...

The biggest difference between the Left and Right is the lack of honesty of the Left. FrAJM is exactly right about what makes the Right a threat, their method of organisation. But don't fool yourself, the Left is merely organised differently. They do not proclaim their positions, preferring to teach subversion from within institutions under the cover of misguided tolerance or from the shadow of a false fealty.

The perception that the Right is more of a threat is what the Left has taught you to think: compare the numbers SSPX to the number of Catholics who actually attend OF Mass regularly and who support gay marriage and abortion.

John Nolan said...

I'm sorry to have to say this, Fr AJM, but you are talking arrant nonsense. The SSPX may be challenging the assumptions of the post-Conciliar Church, but what exactly does it threaten? Everything it says would be considered utterly orthodox a mere 50 years ago (in other words in your and my lifetimes) and what is half a century in the life of the Church?

The only reason that the SSPX is not in full communion is because of the arrogance of the Vatican in the last decade of Paul VI's reign. You know that (your formation was in those years, and you bought into the whole liberal thing).

I accept that you have modified your views. But it is surely a mistake (and a Protestant one at that) to think there is a via media between orthodoxy and heresy.

Marc said...

"Don't go to SSPX Masses, you put your soul at risk! They are schismatics! Instead, come to this weekend's 'Interfaith Prayer Service' featuring Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, and Methodists!"

Yeah, the "schism" of the SSPX with their Eucharistic Processions and counting Rosaries is much more successful and much worse than NewChurch...

And if you don't believe the SSPX is purer than most parishes, I can take you to a couple parishes to illustrate that. The SSPX gives us all hope that one day the insanity might end and the Church might be restored to caring about those small things like doctrine and liturgy and saving souls. I wish there were an SSPX chapel near me; I would gladly attend and donate large portions of my paycheck for the privilege. Alas, I'm stuck with Charles Wesley's soundtrack.

Andy Milam said...

"The splintering I referred to is in their own ranks...."

So does the same apply to the Franciscans or the Benedictines? Because we know that there has been splintering in their ranks over the centuries. The leap isn't so far-fetched.

"Protestantism in it old form and new way always seeks purity and keeps splintering as the new group thinks it is purer and by their own works at purity and thus the heresy of Palagianism."

So are you saying by this quote that the SSPX are heretical and Protestant?

Ludovicus said...

Whether one is a leftist, centrist, liberal, conservative, or traditionalist, mayhaps it would be best to remember to remove the plank from our own eye before we point out the splinter in our neighbor's. Even the pope is reminding all to love their neighbor these days. Commenting in a sensationalistic fashion isn't remotely charitable.

How are traditionalists subscribers to Pelagianism?

Andy Milam said...

@ Ludovicus;

"How are traditionalists subscribers to Pelagianism?"

They aren't. It is a misunderstanding of the heresy.

Steven Surrency said...

Father McDonald, I see your point. While I agree with some of the others that we should be careful about using the word schism appropriately, we should also be clear about who we stand with. It is heretical to deny the teaching of a council of the church, the Second Vatican Council. It isn't heretical to insist that the Council be interpreted according to the tradition of the church is heretical. Moreover, the priests operate without faculties. So it is also illicit. Thus, the Society is an illicit organization that (sometimes?) espouses heresy. The society gets so much right, but that little bit wrong makes it heresy.

Marc said...

If Traditionalists are Pelagian, then the Church has been predominantly Pelagian since at least the Council of Trent. Traditionalists, for the most part, remember, simply live the Catholic life as it was lived before Vatican II, and that life had been lived for centuries in roughly the same way.

If it was wrong then, Traditionalists are wrong now. If it was right then, Traditionalists are right now.

Ludovicus said...

@Andy
That is also my understanding. It seemed a very out of place suggestion. I hope that such a comment from defenders of the faith was more of a side comment rather than a pronouncement.

Marc said...

How is it heretical to reject non-dogmatic statements from a pastoral council? What might be a good pastoral strategy is very likely yo change from time to time, is it not?

Templar said...

I've refrained from commenting directly on this post, everyone already knows how I feel on this issue anyway, but figured I might as well ask a related question on the topic.

Precisely what is the status of the SSPX? They are not excommunicated. Despite some loose tossing of terms they are not Schismatic. I frequently get the answer of "they're in irregular canonical status", but that term itself has no meaning. Many people treat the Orthodox Chruch, which is in Schism, better than the SSPX which is actually a valid and acknowledged Order within The Church.

Andy Milam said...

@ Steven Surrency,

" It is heretical to deny the teaching of a council of the church, the Second Vatican Council."

Which doctrine or dogma taught by the Council are they specifically denying to put them in a heretical state?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Andy, it is obedience to the only legitimate Magisterium there is, the one with the Pope and the Bishops in union with him. We are called to obedience not only in areas of faith and morals, but also discipline, such as ecumenism, interfaith dialogue and the manner in which the Mass is celebrated. The rubrics of the Mass aren't infallible but the call to obey them applies to all even if all don't obey--then that is sin.

Marc said...

The pope cannot compel one to commit sin. Therefore, no, we are not bound to ecumenism or interfaith dialogue. The Magisterium confirms the Tridentine Mass was never abrogated; therefore, it is hardly sinful to attend it exclusively.

So, again, where is the SSPX's sin or heresy? I can't find it...

Anonymous 2 said...

Along the lines of the discussion in yesterday’s thread, why is the assumption being made that Pope Francis means “all traditionalists” when he refers to “some restorationist groups” instead of warning against certain risks run by some traditionalists, specifically Pope Benedict’s “Pelagiansim of the pious”?

Unless we are careful, I fear that the media will make this another instance of where the story about the story becomes more important than what actually occurred, as happened – and I hope certain fellow Bloggers will forgive me for saying this – with the Benghazi incident where what Ambassador Rice actually said and what the attackers themselves actually said soon went down the “memory hole” (I know, because I kept records). But in our neo-Orwellian world so many things go down the “memory hole” it seems.

Andy Milam said...

"..., it is obedience to the only legitimate Magisterium there is, the one with the Pope and the Bishops in union with him."

They have never denied obedience to the Magisterium (it is an oxymoron to say legitimate Magisterium, because there is only one). As a matter of fact, they are very clear that they are stringently obedient to the authentic Magisterium (which is not oxymoronic, because that is precisely what we are all called to be obedient too).

"We are called to obedience not only in areas of faith and morals, but also discipline, such as ecumenism, interfaith dialogue and the manner in which the Mass is celebrated."

Correct, but the terms are what are at odds here, Fr. McD. What the Church has traditionally defined as ecumenism isn't what the redactors of Vatican Council II have promoted. Interfaith dialogue is wonderful, as long as the point of the dialogue is to convert non-Catholics and non-Christians to Catholicism. And Benedict cleared up the Mass question in '07, they never sinned by celebrating the TLM.

I've made this point here before that the SSPX's major concerns are fourfold.

1. The Liturgy
2. Religious Tolerance (including religous freedom and what is entailed there within)
3. Ecumenism
4. The Magisterium of Vatican Council II.

All four are valid concerns that any so-called conservative has with the leadership of the Church and in which more than a few (sic) legitimate theologians have brought up.

So, I don't agree with your critique. There is nothing in there which the SSPX is being disobedient, unless you're willing to say that there has been a doctrinal change on how we deal with non-Catholics (Christian or otherwise).

Your response just doesn't hold water. Sorry.

Anonymous 5 said...

Coming in late here.

I think Fr. McD's original post sets up a false dichotomy re relative danger from "left" and "right" (those pesky words again). If all we were talking about is danger from organizations, then one could plausibly argue that the "right" is a greater "threat." But the proper framework for understanding isn't organizations, but intellectual/theological movements, weltanshaungen. We're talking about something akin to Romanticism or nationalism here. Understand it in these terms, and we can immediately see the "right," despite its superior organization, is far, far weaker and less pervasive than the "left."

Further, the lack of organization on the "left" is actually a strength, not a weakness. There's no single organization, or handful or organizations, that can be suppressed (even if bishops or the Vatican had the inclination to do so). No easy way to decapitate the movement because it has no natural organizational centers to decapitate. It's very hard to combat a pervasive ideology, let alone stamp it out, except with a long, laborious, thorough effort at catechesis carried out at the grass-roots level.

Fr. McD's thinking on this point is (and has been) characterized by a formalism that doesn't really fit well in the postmodern world. It may be a clerical bias, an innate horror of something he sees, rightly or wrongly, as a formal break with Rome. In that sense, the specter of Luther hovers over any such discussion in which an orthodox priest is a participant. But material breaks on the "left" are both far more common and far more grave than formal breaks on the "right," since the material rebels on the "left" still bear the formal approval of the Church and sow massive confusion among the laity.

Anonymous 2 said...

Andy:

“What the Church has traditionally defined as ecumenism isn't what the redactors of Vatican Council II have promoted. Interfaith dialogue is wonderful, as long as the point of the dialogue is to convert non-Catholics and non-Christians to Catholicism.”

But such proclamation is always a central point of such dialogue, as the relevant documents of Vatican II and subsequent declarations make clear.

So what is the real problem the SSPX (and others) have with these documents and declarations regarding ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue? Is it not rather that the Church now actually sees positive elements in these other religious traditions and does not automatically condemn their adherents to the everlasting fires of Hell? Just asking.

Gene said...

I believe Mr. Tillman is right on. It is always astounding to me that the Vatican will gloss right over Bishops and Priests who flaunt their apostasy, then attack SSPX as "schismatic." It is because they are an easy target.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. 5:

I would like to differ with you in part and with Father McDonald in part.

First, I would differ with Father McDonald’s characterization of those on the left as “wacky” but not “fanatical.” I suspect there are more than a few on the “left” in the Church who are fanatical also. His listing of their activities and “causes” suggests a certain degree of fanaticism to me.

Second, I would differ with you that, understood in “worldview” terms, “the ‘right,’ despite its superior organization, is far, far weaker and less pervasive than the ‘left.’" A report that was linked in the Religious News Service article linked in Father’s post might suggest otherwise. The report, from the organization “Faith in Public Life,” is entitled “’Be Not Afraid?’: Guilt by Association, Catholic McCarthyism, and Growing Threats to the U.S. Bishops’ Anti-Poverty Mission.” It chronicles numerous extremely well-organized “attacks” by “conservative Catholic activists and their ideological allies on the political right” on various initiatives and projects undertaken by the USCB's “Catholic Campaign for Human Development.” Here is the report:

http://www.faithinpubliclife.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/FPL-CCHD-report.pdf

Now, I don’t know much about this at all, and I am always a little wary of “scare” headlines like “Catholic McCarthyism” but I offer it for what it is worth.

One thing I do know, or certainly believe – God is not a Republican or a Democrat or a capitalist or a communist. Nor is God an American, shocking though this might seem to some. Even more shocking perhaps, God isn’t even British! =) God cannot be captured and tamed by our puny labels reflecting our puny minds. I will never forget Governor Roy Barnes telling the Georgia legislature, during the Georgia flag controversy about 12 years ago in answer to the question: “What would Jesus do?” that “Jesus would vote to change the flag.” Really? I dare say there were those on the other side of that controversy who thought that Jesus would vote to keep the old flag. Now, just what was Jesus supposed to be doing in the Georgia legislature to begin with? I think you get the point.

The most we puny humans can do presumably, as we live out our lives in our various social roles, is to try to reflect the promptings of the Holy Spirit as best we are able while recognizing that we see through a glass darkly. And this is yet another reason why I feel the need to be guided by the magisterium, which benefits from the collective promptings of the Holy Spirit and thus may be expected to see a little more clearly despite its own limitations. Apparently, the SSPX, just like the “wacky left,” does not feel such a need.

Gene said...

What if the Holy Spirit -is-guiding the SSPX?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I suspect He is just as the Holy Spirit guides many aspects of Protestantism, especially when they remain faithful to the historic faith at least partially and do good works.

Marc said...

I think I've figured out part of the problem here regarding opal of our disagreement with Fr. McDonald over this SSPX issue: He has never been forced to attend a blasphemous Catholic "mass" like the rest of us assuredly have. He grew up when the changes were going on, then became a priest who himself admits to DNA wacky liturgical things, and now he has compete control over the Litugy, for the most part, so it fits precisely his taste and preferences.

Many of us, on the other hand, have been traveling or live in a bad location, where we are forced to meet our Sunday obligation by attending what purports to be a mass celebrated so irreverently and callously that it is a strain on grace to make it "from chalice veil to chalice veil" (without the chalice veil of course).

When that happens to me, each time I lose a little faith in the impeccability of the Church because it highlights that I am not in any actual communion with these priests and regular parishioners: they do not hold the Catholic faith either in the same way or to the me measure that I do. Part of that is my own neurosis that causes me to spend large portions of the day contemplating the faith, but the other part is a legitimate problem.

I have never felt such concerns with the SSPX, FSSP, ICRSS, and even some Novus Ordo parishes. This is less a dispute about being "mean and disobedient" to the pope and more about being cognizant of my conscience, which tells me that the faith cannot simply change on a whim like many believe it to have done: one cannot be a faithful, practicing Catholic one day and a schismatic the next. Yet, that is what Fr. McDonald is ultimately claiming about the SSPX.

S, I suggest to all priests to spend some time outside your diocese. Maybe slip past the canon law for a moment and stand in the congregation in street clothes unknown as a priest, in a parish to which you've never been and sense the unease that comes from having no idea what is coming next in the Liturgy. A liturgy, mind you, that I was told in RCIA was timeless and the same the world over (both falsities now that were formerly true). Experience our disappointment when a priests thwarts Holy Mother Church despite our daily efforts to comport with Her will for us. Try to go to Confession out of town, only to realize it lasts for 15 minutes an hour before Mass on Saturday evening.

When you become as discouraged as us, you will recognize the value and the hope the SSPX gives some of us. And not just the SSPX, but the regularized societies as well. For, it is simply easier to find these good, faithful priests because of their association with these organizations. It is not always easy to guage by websites.

I hope this makes sense, I was just trying to get the idea out there for discussion. Thanks for reading.

Gene said...

Marc, You are speaking my mind. I think Priests like Fr. should do as you say and go to a Mass in stealth mode. BTW, who is Opal and what has DNA got to do with this?

Marc said...

Stupid iPad! And stupid me for not proofreading!

opal = our
DNA = doing

Marc said...

I'll add: priests cannot feel the same discouragement as us because they could always celebrate the TLM, if they choose! We, on the other hand, are forced to travel long distances, move, and/or wait for a cooperative and brave priest. It is completely out of our control.

And I think many of us don't understand priests who are unwilling to offer the TLM because if we were priests, that is precisely what we would be doing!

Pater Ignotus said...

"...they do not hold the Catholic faith either in the same way or to the me measure that I do."

And, along with some Pelagianism, there's the Gnosticism of the right, plain as day.

"...one cannot be a faithful, practicing Catholic one day and a schismatic the next."

Oh, yes, one can. An act of schism is an act in time. When one commits a schismatic act, one is, at that moment in time, in schism.

"... A liturgy, mind you, that I was told in RCIA was timeless and the same the world over."

If this is what you were taught, you were taught wrongly or you have understood it wrongly.

The liturgy is, in substance, always the sacrifice of Christ represented in an un-bloody manner and the participation (full, conscious, and active, mind you)of the faithful in this ritual.

It is also a human act, influenced by culture and language. Liturgy has always been and always will be a product of its time and culture.

And the liturgy has always developed, it has always been subject to change, and it will ever be so on this side of the tombstone.

Anonymous in Archdiocese of Detroit said...

If you want to experience bad liturgy, just come to the Archdiocese of Detroit. We got it plenty. Hand holding, bad pop song hymns and folk bands, being forced to "greet your neighbor" before mass begins, constant ad libbing by priests, homilies that spend more time on pop culture than anything religious. And the buildings themselves: exteriors that are either in the circus tent style or a plain nursery school-like rectangle. Interiors that are "worship spaces": plain, bland auditorium-like with felt banners, ususally no kneelers, a lot of times chairs instead of pews.

Yeah, you want your eyes opened to rank-and-file Catholicism, come to the AOD.

Anonymous 5 said...

A2,

Thanks for providing the link. I'm inclined to take the report with a very large grain of salt for a few reasons: first, the endorsing authorities include some questionable organizations, including the LCWR, and second, it's a defense of the CCHD, which has been strongly criticized for failing to adhere to Catholic teaching. Thus, this looks more like a "leftist" assault on orthodox Catholicism than a neutral assessment of "leftist" versus "rightist" trends.

Nevertheless, it's true that there's at least some "righist" activism out there. A couple of years ago, in light of the CCHD scandal, some group came into St. Joseph before Mass when the second collection was earmarked for the CCHD and put leaflets in the pews telling people not to contribute. Fr. McD sternly announced his disapproval of such a tactic (which Anonymous will certainly take as evidence that he secretly arranged the distribution himself).

Andy Milam said...

@ A2;

"But such proclamation is always a central point of such dialogue, as the relevant documents of Vatican II and subsequent declarations make clear."

But it isn't quite so clear. Nostra Aetate, the decree on ecumenism is very ambiguous and does very little to speak to traditional Catholic thought, with regard to ecumenism as traditionally understood.

Also, Benedict has tried to make distinctions by attempting to change terms, but by and large eccelsial communion v. Protestant church has not caught on.

"So what is the real problem the SSPX (and others) have with these documents and declarations regarding ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue? Is it not rather that the Church now actually sees positive elements in these other religious traditions and does not automatically condemn their adherents to the everlasting fires of Hell? Just asking."

No. The problem is that religious freedom is a misnomer and ecumenism as defined by Nostra Aetate is not what ecumenism really is.

The fight which is broken into two separate categories, becuase they really are two different categories is over the definition of Church. Prior to Vatican Council II, the Catholic Church taught that there was One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church with a schism with regard to the Orthodox. The Church taught that there were other sects which were part of the Protestant revolt or heresy, but they weren't Churches. That mentality changed with the redaction of Nostra Aetate. And that is why it is such a big issue.

Andy Milam said...

I apologize, I forgot to add that this mentality isn't explicitly carried forth in Nostra Aetate with regard to the Protestants, but rather it targets non-Christians. But this mentality has been applied by the redactors to Protestantism and is often used as a defense of the so-called Protestant Church.

Militia Immaculata said...

I'm another one who's coming in late here . . . .

Marc, you said, "The pope cannot compel one to commit sin. Therefore, no, we are not bound to ecumenism or interfaith dialogue. The Magisterium confirms the Tridentine Mass was never abrogated; therefore, it is hardly sinful to attend it exclusively."

Ecumenism and interfaith dialogue are not sins, and while Church disciplines as prescribed by ecumenical councils (or any Church discipline, for that matter, may at times be ill-advised and thus subject to change, they can never be outright sinful -- if that were the case, then Jesus lied when He said the gates of hell would never prevail against His Church). Anyway, no one in the Church is bound to take part in interreligious dialogue or ecumenical efforts, but a Catholic MUST accept them as good things (true ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, mind you, not abuses of them, which, I admit, do happen). Vatican II didn't define dogma, true, but it did teach via the Ordinary Universal Magisterium, which Catholics must also assent to (not the same type of assent as the kind owed to dogma, but assent nevertheless).

Getting back to true ecumenism, Vatican II made it clear that the "go along to get along" approach of false ecumenism (and which was condemned by Mortalium Animos) is still condemned: "The way and method in which the Catholic faith is expressed should never become an obstacle to dialogue with our brethren. It is, of course, essential that the doctrine should be clearly presented in its entirety. Nothing is so foreign to the spirit of ecumenism as a false irenicism, in which the purity of Catholic doctrine suffers loss and its genuine and certain meaning is clouded" (Unitatis Redintegratio).

As for interreligious dialogue, the ultimate purpose of that is to help lead others to Christ and His Church. Yes, it has been abused, but if you want to help lead others to the Church, both sides have to be willing to come to the table ready to present their side and explain why their viewpoint is correct (note that I'm not saying that the non-Catholic viewpoint is correct; the Catholic in the dialogue has to be ready to gently and charitably call out error as well).

Then, Marc, you said, "So, again, where is the SSPX's sin or heresy? I can't find it..." So their disobedience in having suspended priests (which applies to all SSPX priests) say Mass, hear confessions, and witness marriages isn't sinful (and in the case of confessions and marriages, invalid)? Even if the suspensions were unjust, that wouldn't make it OK to disobey. Remember that St. Padre Pio was forbidden from hearing confessions for a long period and was given other questionable orders as well. But you know what? He obeyed with humility.

Andy Milam said...

"Anyway, no one in the Church is bound to take part in interreligious dialogue or ecumenical efforts, but a Catholic MUST accept them as good things (true ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, mind you, not abuses of them, which, I admit, do happen)."

So, what is the true end of inter-religious dialog in today's Church, as defined by her leaders? Is it to tolerate the heresy of Protestantism with the goal of conversion to Catholicism or is it to simply affirm the necessity of understanding Protestants and affirming their position in the world today?

So, what is the true end of ecumenism? Is it to enter into discussion with the Orthodox with the goal of reconciling them to Catholicism or is it to simply affirm the necessity of understanding all worldviews and affirming their position in the world today?

The question is certainly not clear and there certainly is an error involved. Not by the Church, mind you, but by the leadership of the Church. Big distinction to make.

Anonymous 2 said...

Andy,

I was careful to refer to the documents of Vatican II_and_subsequent declarations. Anyway, I believe there is some confusion here, which Militia Immaculata has gone a long way to dispelling. If I may, I would like to provide some additional elaboration.

Regarding ecumenism, I would urge everyone actually to read at least sections 3 and 4 of Unitatis Redintegratio. They are too long to reproduce here but it is only by reading them that one can achieve the proper context and perspective for understanding the purposes of ecumenical dialogue and the spirit in which it should be undertaken. Here is a link to the document:

http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19641121_unitatis-redintegratio_en.html

I would highlight the following statements, however:

“For it is only through Christ's Catholic Church, which is ‘the all-embracing means of salvation,’ that [other Christians] can benefit fully from the means of salvation. We believe that Our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, in order to establish the one Body of Christ on earth to which all should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the people of God.” [from section 3]

“When such actions are undertaken prudently and patiently by the Catholic faithful, with the attentive guidance of their bishops, they promote justice and truth, concord and collaboration, as well as the spirit of brotherly love and unity. This is the way that, when the obstacles to perfect ecclesiastical communion have been gradually overcome, all Christians will at last, in a common celebration of the Eucharist, be gathered into the one and only Church in that unity which Christ bestowed on His Church from the beginning. We believe that this unity subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time.” [from section 4]

Anonymous 2 said...

Regarding inter-faith dialogue with non-Christian religions, it is true that Pope Benedict has identified as a weakness in Nostra Aetate that it tends to accentuate the positive about other religions and fails to recognize the deficiencies sufficiently. Thus he has said (I believe in a 2012 radio address):

“[A] weakness of this otherwise extraordinary text has gradually emerged: it speaks of religion solely in a positive way and it disregards the sick and distorted forms of religion which, from the historical and theological viewpoints, are of far-reaching importance; for this reason the Christian faith, from the outset, adopted a critical stance towards religion, both internally and externally."

However, in his last address to the priests of Rome in February 2013 he seems strongly to affirm Nostra Aeatate when recounting the history and circumstances of its creation:

http://www.catholic.co.il/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1781:pope-benedict-on-nostra-aetate&catid=10:documents&Itemid=16&lang=en

Once again, I would urge that we read the 1991 “Reflections and Orientations on Interreligious Dialogue and the Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” from the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue to gain the proper context and perspective for understanding the purposes of inter-faith dialogue and the spirit in which it should be undertaken. Here is a link to the document:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/interelg/documents/rc_pc_interelg_doc_19051991_dialogue-and-proclamatio_en.html

And again I would highlight the following statements:

77. The Church's mission

Interreligious dialogue and proclamation, though not on the same level, are both authentic elements of the Church's evangelizing mission. Both are legitimate and necessary. They are intimately related, but not interchangeable: true interreligious dialogue on the part of the Christian supposes the desire to make Jesus Christ better known, recognized and loved; proclaiming Jesus Christ is to be carried out in the Gospel spirit of dialogue. The two activities remain distinct but, as experience shows, one and the same local Church, one and the same person, can be diversely engaged in both. . . .

82. Personal involvement

All Christians are called to be personally involved in these two ways of carrying out the one mission of the Church, namely proclamation and dialogue. The manner in which they do this will depend on the circumstances and also on their degree of preparation. They must nevertheless always bear in mind that dialogue, as has already been said, does not constitute the whole mission of the Church, that it cannot simply replace proclamation, but remains oriented towards proclamation in so far as the dynamic process of the Church's evangelizing mission reaches in it its climax and its fullness. . . .

Anonymous 2 said...

And then, of course, there is Pope Benedict’s (as Cardinal Ratzinger) 2000 “Declaration ‘Dominus Jesus’ On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church” that was the subject of one of Father McDonald’s posts several months ago. This document seems to confirm the approach to ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue discussed above and warns against religious relativism. Here, once again, is a link:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000806_dominus-iesus_en.html

So, in light of all this, I still don’t understand the SSPX objections to the approach of the Roman Catholic Church to ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue. I suspect it is because they think this approach is not compatible with earlier pre-Vatican II pronouncements. So, again I wonder: Is it the SSPX understanding that all non-Catholics are eternally damned, and is it their understanding of pre-Vatican II documents that this is what the Catholic Church used to maintain?

Finally, as Militia Immaculata intimates, effective evangelization and proclamation in ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue requires sensitivity and prudence if it is not to be counter-productive. Pithly put, if we want to attract people to the Catholic Church, we need to be attractive, while not compromising Truth.

Gene said...

Anonymous in Detroit...What are you still doing in Detroit?

Gene said...

I would wager that no one involved in the so-called "ecumenical movement" or inter-religious dialogue (does anyone realize how stupid that sounds?) understands either as having the goal of converting anyone to Catholicism. That would be considered chauvinistic, politically incorrect, and intolerant. I consider the entire "ecumenical movement" (not the true ecumenicism of converting the heathen) to be so much dog waller and not worth even a minute of anyone's time.

Anonymous 2 said...

But to the extent such misunderstanding indeed exists, surely it suggests an insufficient understanding of the pertinent documents, and does not impugn the documents themselves. And unless I am mistaken, the SSPX has a problem with the documents. That is what I am curious and still perplexed about.

Militia Immaculata said...

Anonymous 2 -- The SSPX claims to want clarification of the documents in question. But in reality, they have already made up their minds that they know what the documents mean, namely, the interpretation that goes against Church teaching (or, to put it another way, the meaning that "spirit-of-Vatican-II" folks want them to mean). It's duplicitous pride to claim to want to understand something while at the same time assuming one already understands it.

Gene said...

Anon 2, I think there is a misunderstanding of the documents and of ecumenicism. But, it looks like we are stuck with this crap. I have been dealing with it since the COCU nonsense of the sixties and seventies. It just will not go away.

Templar said...

Militia: The SSPX Priests are NOT suspended. They do not have normal jurisdiction (but do have supplied jurisdiction) but NO ONE has ever suspended them. Why have they never been suspended? Precisely becasue they are part of the Catholic Church as has been made clear by the Vatican on numerous occassions. For a period of time their Bishops, BUT NOT their Priests were suspended, but that too has been lifted.


Also, it is not disinegenious on their part to ask for an explanation on how things which were not part of the Catholic Faith on one day can be added to it the next. Any declared change would require exactly that, a declaration, but when asked for one we are told that V2 changed nothing. Clearly that is not so, and clearly that is still the sticking point some 40 odd years on.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Templar they are not excommunicated but most certainly are suspended meaning Catholics should never seek ministry from them except in an emergency. Priests get suspended for a variety of acts of disobedience to their local bishop, the SSPX is the highest form of canonical suspension since it is from the Pope.

Marc said...

Can you provide evidence that the SSPX priests have been suspended by the Pope?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Local bishops normally suspend individual priests. With SSPX the are globally suspended and thus not under the jurisdiction of the local bishop, meaning a bishop cannot lift the suspension for the ones in their diocese.

Marc said...

So, that is a "No" then -- you cannot provide evidence that SSPX priests have been suspended by the Pope.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

They are suspended globally and individual bishops cannot lift the suspension for the ones in his diocese. Who in the world could authorize such a pan suspension Marc?

Marc said...

I agree with the premise that the pope could suspend priests the world over, if he so chose.

I question your assertion that he has indeed done so in this case since you are unable to provide any actual support for it.

Militia Immaculata said...

Templar and Marc, you are both incorrect. While the excommunications of the SSPX bishops have been lifted, both they and the SSPX priests are indeed suspended; that has never changed (Templar, it seems you're confusing excommunication and suspension; excommunication is not the same thing as suspension; priests and bishops can be suspended but not excommunicated). Several years before the excommunication, Msgr. Camille Perl of the Ecclesia Dei Commission wrote the following,"While the priests of the Society of St. Pius X are validly ordained, they are also suspended a divinis, that is they are forbidden by the Church from celebrating the Mass and the sacraments because of their illicit (or illegal) ordination to the diaconate and the priesthood without proper incardination" (cf. canon 265). The lifting of the excommunications didn't change that. Read the text of Pope Benedict's decree lifting the excommunications; nowhere does it say they are no longer suspended. If they were, it would have said so. Don't forget the fact that the decree said the SSPX doesn't exercise any legitimate ministry in the Church.

And Templar, the SSPX's "supplied jurisdiction" claim (I assume you mean in regard to the sacraments of penance and matrimony) is nonsense. Canon law makes clear what is needed to hear confessions validly (all emphasis is added):

Can. 966 §1 For the valid absolution of sins, it is required that, in addition to the power of order, the minister has the faculty to exercise that power in respect of the faithful to whom he gives absolution.

§2 A priest can be given this faculty either by the law itself, or by a concession issued by the competent authority in accordance with can. 969.

Can. 969 §1 Only the local Ordinary is competent to give to any priests whomsoever the faculty to hear the confessions of any whomsoever of the faithful. Priests who are members of religious institutes may not, however, use this faculty without the permission, at least presumed, of their Superior.

§2 The Superior of a religious institute or of a society of apostolic life, mentioned in can. 968 §2, is competent to give to any priests whomsoever the faculty to hear the confessions of his own subjects and of those others who live day and night in the house.

So, a man must be validly ordained and must have the Church’s permission to use the power to absolve sins validly. That line about “the law itself” refers to a case of danger of death. If someone is in danger of death, even a laicised priest, excommunicated priest, or a priest without faculties can validly absolve.

Some folks cite canon 144, saying that it allows an SSPX priest to deem his own absolutions to be valid "due to legal common error." However, canon 144 is not for the individual priest to interpret. The legal error must be on the part of the one confessing. For example, if I go to confession to a validly ordained priest but am unaware that that priest’s faculties were suspended that very day, my sins would probably be forgiven. I would be in error about the facts through no fault of my own.

Perhaps one may bring up the accomdation that the Catholic Church grants the Orthodox, but that's a false distinction. If the SSPX are truly not schismatic, and if they are "merely" disobedient sons of Holy Church, then they should be held to a higher standard than the accommodation extended to the schismatic Orthodox.

Militia Immaculata said...

Templar, you also say, "Also, it is not disinegenious [sic] on their part to ask for an explanation on how things which were not part of the Catholic Faith on one day can be added to it the next. Any declared change would require exactly that, a declaration, but when asked for one we are told that V2 changed nothing. Clearly that is not so, and clearly that is still the sticking point some 40 odd years on.

Other people on here (such as myself) have shown how disputed points of Vatican II (e.g. religious liberty, ecumenism, etc.) do not go against prior Church teachings. Do you need me to look up those entries for you? Besides, Vatican II and its teachings are not optional for Catholics (pastoral nature notwithstanding). Fr. Robert Levis of EWTN fame spells it out levels of Church teaching:

1. If it is a teaching proclaimed by the extraordinary magisterium,
a good Catholic must assent under pain of heresy.

2. If it is a teaching proclaimed by the ordinary magisterium, e.g.
the 10 Commandments, a good Catholic must assent under pain of
serious sin.

3. If it is a teaching seriously proclaimed by the magisterium in a
non-infallible way, on a non-infallible topic, a good Catholic
must assent under pain of sin, possibly mortal. Canon 752 covers
this case.

At the very least, Vatican II's teachings fall under #3.

Marc said...

Well, maybe the Pope should appoint you, Militia Immaculata, to explain all these things and deal with the SSPX. After all, Rome hasn't seen fit to explain any of these things despite your apparent contention that they are so easily understood...

But, of course, these things are not so simple as you make them appear. And, frankly, I'm willing to put more trust in the writings of the SSPX's theologians than your hypotheses. If Rome at some point decides to bring us all out of darkness by commenting on these important aspects of the Faith, I'll listen to them too.

As for the suspension of the SSPX priests, you still haven't shown this to be the case. You aren't a canon lawyer so you're citation of the canon law means nothing. In fact, your attempt to disprove the claim to supplied jurisdiction helps me to utterly discount your thesis regarding the suspensions as it shows you are keen to simplify very complex laws in an attempt to explain (even though you surely know that there are compelling and reasonable arguments on both sides of this issue that mostly boils down to a question of fact as to whether there is, in fact, a crisis in the Church).

Lest you think I'm calling you out, I'll say that I've been guilty of the same errors in my thinking - I have attempted to understand the canon law even though that is not my game as a layman. It is also not the provence of diocesan clergy to make such determinations, regarding the status of councils or the canon law. So, we are all here speculating.

And that leads me to my broader point: Rome should make the determination and tell people the answer, but they haven't. And the fact that this confusion occurs in the wake of a purportedly ecumenical council is the truly baffling thing. After all, the whole point of such a council is to clarify the faith not to confuse it.

Militia Immaculata said...

Marc, it's not solely my contention; I've researched a lot of Church experts and theologians on these matters (e.g. Fr. Z, Pete Vere, and many others). So really, your argument isn't with me but with noted experts. Besides, don't you know that the SSPX's theologians would naturally try and do all they can to spin the SSPX's positions in their favor? Furthermore, I've never said they were simple matters to understand; however, it's completely wrong to just assume that a something that is said by Vatican II is wrong just because you get the impression that it contradicts earlier Church teaching and are unwilling to make the effort to do research.

As for SSPX priests being suspended, I have indeed shown it to be the case, but you show yourself to be unable or unwilling to listen. No, I'm not a canon lawyer, but again, the info I cite comes from experts, albeit not necessarily canon lawyers (and by the way, since this isn't a term paper, I don't feel the need to painstakingly cite every little thing). However, by claiming that the arguments I've provided from aren't valid because I'm (and presumably my sources as well) not a canon lawyer seems to be a form of the logical fallacy of appeal to authority, that is, claiming that because a certain authority says something is true then it must be true. You're saying something similar -- that because I'm not an authority in the matter, then I don't know what I'm talking about (of which you have no evidence because you don't know whom I've consulted and what I've read).

You say, "I'll say that I've been guilty of the same errors in my thinking - I have attempted to understand the canon law even though that is not my game as a layman." On the contrary, you're not submitting yourself to the Church's judgment. You don't have the competence, ability, or authority to decide that the SSPX has jurisdiction when the Church has decided they don't. Nor do you have the right to judge for yourself whether or not certain teachings of an ecumenical council go against previous Church teaching. The Church makes those decisions, and a faithful Catholic's job is to respect and submit to those decisions until or unless a change is made. I hate to tell you, Marc, but you're treading on dangerous ground; you're in danger of taking on a schismatic mentality, which can only lead one outside the Church. I'm sorry if you find that harsh, but it's the truth, and the truth hurts. But I wouldn't be a friend if I didn't say what you needed to hear (no matter how unpleasant it may be).

Anonymous 2 said...

Militia Immaculata,

“Do you need me to look up those entries for you?”

Yes, please do give us the references if you have them. I had tried to do a bit of this myself – not in any authoritative way, of course, and only to demonstrate the potential – and I would love to read your analyses.

Thanks.

Marc said...

Fr. Z, while having my respect, is not a theologian. If you are going to set forth an argument from authority, as you are attempting to do, you must reference those authorities. I am not arguing from authority, so I have not included any citations.

I do not judge the SSPX priests to have jurisdiction. Nor do I judge against it. I don't know the answer to that conundrum. And neither do you or any of your supposed authorities.

I don't assume that that portions of Vatican II are wrong because they disagree with earlier Church teaching on the basis of having conducted no research. On the contrary, I have examined the issue and find the situation perplexing because of the apparent contradictions I have noticed. As for what conclusion to draw from that, I am on the fence.

So, of course, I have not submitted myself to the Church's judgment because the Church has not seen fit to judge the issue. I presume the Church is of the opinion that nothing need be clarified because an "ecumenical" council speaks for itself. If that were the judgment, I think it would be a good pastoral strategy to put the foot down and clarify it. But, the Church has not done so.

Finally, I don't care whether you think I am a schismatic because you, like me, are not the competent authority to determine whether I must assent to Vatican II.

Of course, my latest point in this thread has been to point out that neither you nor Fr. McDonald supported the position that SSPX priests are currently suspended. If one is in schism over such a trivial request for evidence, then I suppose I'm a schismatic. It furthers frustrates your point to review my earlier post, which is simply a further appeal for Rome to clarify these issues. And I mentioned that, until they chose to do so, I would give equal time to the SSPX theologians on issues pertaining to their status, the canon law, and Vatican II. Now, I'll invite you to show where and how my comments here have demonstrated a schismatic mentality lest you appear to be rashly accusing me without evidence.

Militia Immaculata said...

Anonymous 2 -- you got it! :-) The following link is the comment section on a previous blog entry of Fr. McDonald's. I commented rather extensively; my comments (of which there were several) begin on March 16, 2012 at 12:18pm (so you'll need to scroll down a bit): http://southernorderspage.blogspot.com/2012/03/1968-humanae-vitae-viet-nam-riots.html .

In addition to the sources I quoted from, I also used a lot of info gleaned from various Catholic apologists and theologians writing on the very topic of Vatican II and its authority. As I said earlier, I could've cited those sources as well, but since it wasn't a term paper, I figured a bibliography wasn't necessary. ;-)

Militia Immaculata said...

Marc, first of all, Fr. Z is only one of several authorities whom I've used (among them at least one canon lawyer -- Pete Vere, to be exact -- he's a former SSPX adherent; ever heard of him?). Even so, you were claiming that one has to be an expert on canon law to know whether or not the SSPX has jurisdiction, is suspended, etc., which is just not the case. The Church has never said they have jurisdiction. Period. In fact, in addition to the canons I cited, there's yet another one to add:

Canon 973: The faculty to hear confessions habitually is to be granted in writing.

Canons 966, 969, and 970 show that a priest must get faculties from the local bishop, who must deem them "qualified" to hear confessions. SSPX priests, in almost all cases, have not approached local bishops and cannot, therefore, have been found "qualified," and, as such, cannot validly hear confessions. Ask any SSPX priest to see his written certification from the local bishop to hear confessions -- if they insist they have the authority to administer these sacraments.

You now claim you don't know whether or not the SSPX has jurisdiction, but you know as well as I do that you're backpedaling. The fact that you've heard the side of the SSPX's theologiansand are now demanding proof from the other side and then rejecting it when it's given to you suggests that perhaps your mind is already made up.

You say you don't assume Vatican II is wrong, but your persistent claims that some of its teachings go against Church doctrine would seem to indicate otherwise.

True, the Church has not made a final judgment on the matter, but your open calling into question of Vatican II is not compatible with the docility Catholics owe the Magisterium. Asking questions and trying to understand is fine; thinking there's a good chance that a certain teaching may be wrong is not, since at the very least it goes against the 3rd level of teaching I mentioned in my previous post.

Finally, I never called you schismatic, nor did I say you have a schismatic mentality. Please refrain from putting words in my mouth. What I said was that you're in danger of taking on a schismatic mentality. Why? Because despite your claims, you're not merely asking for clarifications; you're getting upset when things aren't clarified right when you want them to be and in the meantime allowing yourself to be swayed by claims put forth by those who do have a schismatic mentality. True, the SSPX isn't schismatic per se, but this unwillingness on their part to reconcile with Rome except on their own terms shows a lack of humility and obedience on their part.

By the way, I've said none of this on my own authority. I've merely repeated what the Church, her Magisterium, and canon law state. Your argument isn't really with me or Fr. McDonald; it's with the Church.

Marc said...

I think you somehow got the impression that I am an SSPX adherent. Well, I am not, but in the interest of full disclosure, I would be if there were a chapel near me. And I am truly unsure of their jurisdiction, but from the canon law scholars I've read, that very uncertainty probably is sufficient to make the Confession valid. I have never been to an SSPX priest for Confession, and its likely ill never have occasion to do so. I formerly spent some time looking into these issues, but now they are immaterial to me. I continue to strongly disagree with the idea that their priests are suspended or that it matters in practice (it certainly doesn't matter to me -- I'd still go to their Masses absent clear direction to the contrary).

And that brings me to this -- these laws are to be construed in a way so as to save souls. Absent clear direction, Sacraments are presumed valid. In this case, with the supposed suspension, the PCED has said the faithful can attend the SSPX Masses. If they were suspended, it would be sinful to do so. Therefore, I am giving the PCED the benefit of the doubt and saying they are probably not leading people into a sinful situation. I think, this being the case, there is a strong presumption the priests are not suspended. So, yes, I think the burden is on the hierarchy to clarify this issue.

As far as Vatican II, no, I don't believe it to be doctrine insofar as it conflicts with Church teaching. I don't know precisely how or if it conflicts with Church teaching. Again, I am on the fence about this right now. My current thinking is that I am apt to reject the development of doctrine idea that allows for novelty to pass for continuity, and that seems to have happened many times before. Honestly, though, I wish I could stop thinking about these things because they aren't helpful to me. Unfortunately, every time I go to a Novus Ordo Mass (as it is currently celebrated), I am reminded about the lack of consistency with the past, not only in liturgy but in doctrine as well. And it is troubling to me on a nearly constant basis.

Templar said...

MI, Marc has pretty much stated everything I could have reasonably responded with, and in fact better so than I, since he is better educated, better spoken, and much more patient than I. When you sift through all the back and forth of the past day the most salient point is made by Marc, and that is that Canon Law is not Gospel, and is the Law of the Church codified. The supreme Law of the Church being the salvation of souls, all Canon Laws should be interpreted in a manner that would allow such, yet all the SSPX nay sayers want to read Canon Law as stingy and narrow as they can. I can post up some refernces that will show you how the Law can be interpreted in this manner to make the case for Supplied Jurisdiction, but you're not likely to find satisfaction with it, so I will not bother. Instead I will close on this note, in your own words Supplied Jurisdiction is provided if the adherent believes it to be there, not if the Priest believes it to be there, fine.

I'm the adherent, and I believe it. And unless and until some competent authority rules to the contrary, I shall continue to believe it.

Militia Immaculata said...

Marc and Templar --

The Ecclesia Dei commission has said that SSPX priests are suspended a divinis, and at no time has it ever said that that has ceased to be the case. But more importantly, the commission has come right out and said the following in a letter dated May 23, 2008:

“The Sacraments of Penance and Matrimony however, require that the priest enjoys the faculties of the diocese or has proper delegation. Since that is not the case with these priests, these sacraments are invalid. It remains true, however, that, if the faithful are genuinely ignorant that the priests of the Society of St. Pius X do not have the proper faculty to absolve, the Church supplied these faculties so that the sacrament was valid (cf. Code of Canon Law c.144).”

Read that again. It says that if a person is genuinely ignorant that SSPX priests lack faculties, then their absolution would be valid, as the Church would supply those faculties.

By the way, Templar, never did I say that a person would be validly absolved simply if the person believed the priest had faculties; you're (perhaps purposely) misinterpreting my words. Again, the key phrase is "genuinely ignorant." You, on the other hand, cannot claim ignorance. You have been told that SSPX priests don't have faculties for confession, but you stubbornly refuse to believe it. Thus, in your case, if you went to an SSPX priest for confession, the absolution you receive wouldn't "take." Even worse, it creates another problem, according to canon law:

Can. 1379 In addition to the cases mentioned in ⇒ can. 1378, a person who simulates the administration of a sacrament is to be punished with a just penalty.

Knowingly receiving an invalid sacrament (no matter how valid you choose to tell yourself it is) is simulation of a sacrament, which is gravely sinful.

Templar said...

Read THIS again MI: Unless and until some competent authority...and if that ain't clear who, IT AIN'T YOU or anyone else on this Blog...rules on it, I'll stand by my choices.

Frankly I worry much more for the souls of the fools who attend NO Masses out of choice than I do for those attending at SSPX Chapels.

Militia Immaculata said...

And you ARE a competent authority on the matter? I have cited the Ecclesia Dei Commission and the Code of Canon Law, which are quite competent authorities. As I told Marc, your argument isn't with me but with the Church.

You can stand by your choices all you want, but if you choose to endanger your soul by going to the SSPX for confession, you won't be able to plead ignorance on Judgment Day.