Saturday, August 4, 2012


My comments first: There are two kinds of dissent in the Church today, that of liberal, progressives who have been and are still suggesting the deconstruction of the Church and "re-imaging" it according to the deleterious reconstruction of the Episcopal Church. The group that symbolizes this most, but is not alone, is the LCWR.

The other kind of dissent is from traditionalist conservatives who seem to reject a goodly portion of the Second Vatican Council, but more deleterious, reject the authority of the pope in the area of discipline, not so much faith and morals. This group is symbolized by the SSPX but there are others too.

The second group has been more of a threat to Church unity for they had an archbishop who was at Vatican II and worked closely with the Vatican who eventually defied direct orders of the the Vatican not to ordain bishops without papal approval. This act alone is certainly an act at the basis of all schism. It is very similar to what happens in China today and the challenges of the Chinese government toward the authority of the pope in ordaining bishops without papal approval in the Chinese Nationalistic Church which in fact has valid Holy Orders similar to the SSPX.

Liberal progressive Catholicism, while without a bishop who defies the Pope and then ordains other bishops, does tend to reject the patrimony of the Church and acts as though Vatican II created a new Church. They read the documents of Vatican II as though there were no other ecumenical councils or a 2000 year tradition of Catholic Faith. In fact, they would pose a much greater threat for not only schism but heresy if they had a bishop like Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre who could organize them into a similar society as the SSPX.

Unlike the LCWR and groups like it, the SSPX poses no real heretical threat whatsoever to the Magisterium of the Church. Their issues are more disciplinary and have to do with non-infallible teachings and tend to be more relational and disciplinary such as the revision of the Mass, religious liberty, ecumenicism and inter-faith relations, not to mention the Church's dance with godless secularism. While the Church tries to respect all, not all respect the Church and the greatest threat to the Church is not its relations with Protestants, Jews and other world religions, but with the godless secularism of a worldwide government.

The LCWR and groups like them do pose a serious threat for outright heresy. This is in the area of Holy Orders and the Magisterium of the Church where they strike at the heart of the Church and want to redefine the Church in the most false egalitarian way.

They promote the ordination of women which turns upside down the entire sacramental economy of the Church and makes it null and void. That's serious, heretical stuff! That is schismatic.

But there is one major difference between the LCWR and the SSPX. The LCWR is subversive and disingenuous. They lack courage to ordain a bishop and set all their cards on the table. Whereas the SSPX has always been straight as an arrow in terms of their demands and laying all their cards on the table and then making extremely clear through the ordination of bishops their intent. The SSPX is honest the LWCR isn't.

The following are excerpts from an interview by John Allen of the NCR with German Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller,the new prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. I think the Holy Father was brilliant in naming him the new head for he grasps what is at stake:

During the interview, Müller was asked about the doctrinal congregation's discussions with both the Lefebvrites, meaning the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, and "the American sisters," a reference to LCWR.

In response, Müller signaled a fairly tough line on principle for both groups: "There are no negotiations about the Word of God, and one can't simultaneously believe and not believe," he said. "One can't pronounce the three religious vows and then not take them seriously, just as one can't make reference to the tradition of the church and then accept it only in some parts."

Unbidden, Müller brought up the question of women's ordination, perhaps suggesting he regards this as central to the dispute with LCWR.

"Priestly ministry can't be considered a sort of position of earthly power, thinking there will be emancipation only when everyone can occupy it," he said, calling for an end to "polemics and ideology" and for "immersion in the doctrine of the church."

Müller then hinted he would like to turn a corner in relations with the American sisters.

"Precisely in America, women and men religious have accomplished extraordinary things for the church, for the education and formation of youth," he said. "Christ needs youth who follow this path and who identify themselves with its fundamental choice. The Second Vatican Council affirmed marvelous things for the renewal of religious life, as for the common vocation to holiness."

"It's important to reinforce mutual trust," Müller said, "rather than working against one another."

More broadly, Müller said he'd like to stress the positive role of the doctrinal congregation.

"Here I see one of the great duties of the congregation and of the church in general: We have to rediscover the faith and make it resplendent again as a positive force, as a force of hope and a resource for overcoming conflicts and tensions," he said.


Rood Screen said...

"They read the documents of Vatican II as though there were no other ecumenical councils or a 2000 year tradition of Catholic Faith." I think you may be giving them too much credit here. The few I've asked finally admitted they only attended "educational days" where some expert explained the documents.

Joseph Johnson said...

Didn't you mean to say, "Whereas the SSPX has always been straight as an arrow" (not error)?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

error corrected! Do you want to be my editor in chief?