Thursday, January 24, 2013


Dialoguing the Catholic Church to death?
Dialogue is pushed as a panacea to solving all problems. But when does an adult say enough is enough, talk is cheap and we have to do it this way, period!

Parents know all to well when their children try to talk them to death in order to get what they want. The children will keep the dialogue and conversation going until the parent is worn down and finally gives in. That might mean that a teenage girl will start dating boys at the age of 14 rather than the age of 21 the parents desire or a 6th grader will get not only an iPad but an iPhone and internet connections and you know the rest!

The same is happening in the Church on both the left and the right.

On the left it is all about continuing the dialogue about who can minister, opening the ordained life to females and making the divine institution of the hierarchical Church into the marshmallow of democratized principles that puts every single teaching of the Church to a vote and the so called "sense of the faithful" meaning not fidelity to the Church but what they happen to believe at any given point in time.

So the ultra progressives will wear the hierarchy down and win over the laity by pushing for female priests, same sex marriage and the abandonment of Sacred Tradition and Natural Law in formulating timeless truths. Then they will use only Sacred Scripture but interpret it only from the historical critical perspective and do away with any cultural aberrations that might have been in place in the life the times in which the Scriptures were orally communicated and finally put into a written form.

They will then accuse anyone who wants to maintain a rigid orthodoxy based upon Scripture, Tradition, Natural Law and Canon Law as being biblical and dogmatic fundamentalists and literalists, the worst slur you can hurl as orthodox Catholics, kind of like using the "n" word toward them!

But how about the ultra-conservatives like the SSPX'ers? They do the same and are quite dogmatic about their positions and that their way is the only way; they are the ones who are faithful and Vatican II corrupted the faith, even a literalist approach to Vatican II.

What they despise the most about Vatican II apart from the liturgical changes is "ecumenism" and more charitable approach to the Jews and other religions and even to non believers all of which Vatican II suggested, not in a dogmatic way but in a pastoral way.

Of course pastoral ways change and Pope Benedict has modeled marvelously how these pastoral constitutions should be interpreted in current day circumstances and in light of the past 50 years and what has worked and what hasn't.

But the SSPXers and others like them will hear none of that and will talk the hierarchy to death until they get their way.

But my, how times are changing! The hierarchy, meaning the pope and the college of bishops are taking the reigns once again and are teaching, ruling and sanctifying as they are divinely commissioned and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is ending dialogue that leads to a corruption of the Church, the watering down of the faith and the perversion of the Church as institution and people of God and her sacramental system.

Vatican II must be accepted by both the left and the right and thank God for that and for the hierarchy's insistence upon it!


Unknown said...

Wow!!! This is an interesting point of view. I think that parts of it are right and I am confused by another part.

First, the part which I am confused about. How can one see the SSPX as being a whiny teenager trying to get what they want? What EXACTLY, has the SSPX taught which is inconsistent with the tradition of the Church? How is asking (albeit repeatedly) that the Church clarify changes to doctrine and dogma satisfactorily, whining? If the Church is infallible, then the truth cannot change and being a champion for that truth does not equate to being a whiny teen.

BTW, they have never, ever, ever claimed that they were the only purveyors of truth. Not once. That was done for them by the liberals.

That is the first part.

The say, Fr. McD, "What they despise the most about Vatican II apart from the liturgical changes is "ecumenism" and more charitable approach to the Jews and other religions and even to non believers all of which Vatican II suggested, not in a dogmatic way but in a pastoral way."

I think that I have to take issue with that. I think that "ecumenism" was re-defined and done so incorrectly during Vatican Council II. I spoke to this in another post, so I won't go into it here, please look there, but suffice to say, I will ask the following question; Is it charitable or pastoral to misapply ecumenism to those which it doesn't apply? The Jews are not a Church, so there is no way to be ecumenical with them. We must evangelize them to convert to the only means of salvation, which is inside the Church. So my question, asked another way is, How does one act in an ecumenical way with a non-Christian group who has no real exposure to Christ?

The issue with the SSPX is not a pastoral one, I believe that they are being pastoral and compassionate and charitable, by continuing to promote the Catholic faith as defined through the ages. Bishop Fellay has over and over and over again said that the issues with Vatican Council II are doctrinal insofar as they misapply the consistent tradition of the Church. This is a pastoral issue. The dogma and doctrine haven't changed, but the application has. Interestingly enough, the Holy Father is now saying the same thing. Hermeneutic of rupture.

So, it isn't like being a whiny teen trying to get his way with regard to the SSPX, but rather it is an elder child trying to impart the knowledge and truth which had always been taught and now has changed, to a greater or lesser degree.

I agree that Vatican Council II must be accepted, but it must be accepted for what it is, not what it isn't; or more precisely, what the liberals want it to be...a defining body of "superdogma." Vatican Council II was a pastoral Council which was put forth to do two things, bring about changes to the liturgy and promote aggiornamento. When we recognize that, then we can start talking about Vatican Council II in a very honest and open way.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

My point is that we have to accept Vatican II as the Holy Father in union with the College of Bishops interpret it and we're getting very clear indications from His Holiness and now his new Prefect for the CDF about what that interpretation is.

My opinion, your opinion, SSPX's opinion and progressive's opinions are not on the same par as the Holy Father's teachings and his obligation in union with the bishops to "teach, rule and sanctify."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I might add that it is up to the Holy Father to define what is dogma, super dogma or simply pastoral practice and theology as it concerns Vatican II; it is not up to us to make that determination in the final outcome.

I'm not opposed to conversation and dialogue, since I have a blog that is quite opinionated and allows for comments, but ultimately we have to submit to the authority of the Supreme Pontiff and our local bishop when it comes to authentic interpretations of Vatican II even in non-infallible statements and even in mere administration!

Henry Edwards said...

"The same is happening in the Church on both the left and the right."

Surely not. I know of no dissent from the Pope on the right within the Church. Virtually everyone on the right is totally devoted to Pope and Magisterium. For instance, I find no dissent whatever from the authority of either pope or bishop in the TLM communities of my wide experience, rather, fervent devotion to Benedict XVI in particular. (The SSPX is an almost infinitesimal minority, and is still the Church, where they are welcome to stay until they can get with the program.)

Whereas there is massive dissent from both on the left inside the Church, including among many still in control of rectories and chanceries. There are different individual opinions on all side. But only on the left within is there dissent from Pope as ultimate authority and Vicar of Christ on Earth. (When was the last time you heard a leftie utter these words?)

So I think respectfully that your continually attempted false equivalence dilutes the credibility of the discussion. Though it's understandable that a priest might feel a need to adopt this "fair and balanced" pose strictly to protect his flanks. But isn't there a way to be candid about the whole picture, without continually tarring good loyal Catholics with a broad brush that fits only the progressives?

Unknown said...

Nobody here, has denied any of that Father, but that doesn't mean that we can't have a discussion about it.

There are some very well read people here who have a very clear ideas, which are in union with the Holy Father's. However, this is not a matter regarding infallibility, so the opinion is very valid. While the Council was Ecumencial, that doesn't mean that it isn't open to interpretation.

Submission is the ultimate end, but until then we can speculate.

Anonymous said...


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It's that dumb speller and even dumber spell check that doesn't check the title line! What's a dumb priest to do?

Anonymous said...

I very much take issue with the accusation that my problem with Vatican II (apart from liturgical changes) is ecumenism because I don't want to be more charitable to Jews and other religions.


I am against ecumenism because it is a miserable failure. Unless you define ecumenism as reaching out to help others become Catholic, then you're right, I AM against it. But not because of some "uncharitable attitude" toward other religions. I love Jewish people. Most of the people I know are members of other religions. My charity towards them is not something some stranger can quantify and this is about as dishonest as every liberal assuming that conservatives are all "racists".

I'd be very, very careful about painting with such a broad brush. Mind-reading isn't a good endeavor. Those who try are almost always wrong.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

One can like or dislike the way ecumenism or interfaith relations are done, but it really is the prerogative of the Church's leadership, pope and bishops to determine its parameters. Pope Benedict has shifted the paradigm with the establishment of the Anglican Ordinariate--which is, in other words, bringing Protestants into the full communion of the Catholic Church in an post-Vatican II, "Benedictine" fashion. I like his approach.
At the same time, ecumenism with our Protestant brothers and sisters should focus in on what we have in common, how we can serve the needs of the poor and collaboratively and maybe coming together in an ecumenical or interfaith fashion once or twice a year.
It does not mean inter-communion and pretending that all things are equal.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Henry, I would tend to agree with you, authentic conservatives and traditionalists in the Church support our Holy Father and their local bishops. They don't push for things that are opposed to Vatican II and don't demand that we return exclusively to the EF Mass and reject ecumenism, interfaith relationships and dialogue with non believers.
But progressives do find obedience to the hierarchy to be a very bad thing, in fact, they want to redefine obedience in the most wishy washy watered down way and make it fiercely individualistic based upon one's conscience either properly formed or faulty.

Since the left is more problematic because they push the envelope of heterodoxy to the hilt!

The ultra traditionalists or conservative such as SSPX are the more problematic because of their rigidity and pride.

Unknown said...


I have had relations with the SSPX for years. I am not an adherent (although I did flirt with the idea several years back), but I can say that I have never seen a more humble group of souls in my whole life.

They want the Church. They want the Church now. And they want the best for the Church always. None of this so-called dissent is because of pride. It is done in all humility, because they see the real pride, the liberal mindset which is trying to usurp the right thinking of Holy Mother Church.

I don't see the SSPX being rigid and prideful. I see them as being right thinking and persecuted. Insofar as that is the case, I can completely understand why their defense mechanism is misunderstood to be rigidity.

We should do all we can to be friendly to them, not because we think them right or wrong, but that is the charitable thing to least according to this new model of "ecumenism." Charity lies in being nice these days, why are we not being nice to the SSPX? Calling them rigid and prideful is pretty mean.

But then again, that is not en is however en vogue to coddle liberals who promote things like same sex marriage, contraception, abortion and even heresy. But, as you state Father, I'm just a layman...what do I know? I should just submit to Rome and be done with it, right?

Pater Ignotus said...

Ecumenism has not been a "massive failure" unless you misconstrue it, thinking that it means that unity is achieved instantly. The painful divisions within Christianity are being healed. "For we will reap at harvest time if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9)

What has been achieved? First, we are engaged with our separated brothers and sisters in honest, open dialogue. At times the dialogue is painful; at other times is is immensely rewarding. Whereas once Christians "stood their ground" while hurling insults at each other, we can actually sit and talk like civilized Christians.

Second, we recognize that there is a great deal that we share in common. Whereas we once thought of each other as "the vomit of hell" we now understand that, in fact and by grace, we are not as opposed to each other as we once fantasized we were. And example: The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification signed by the Catholic Church and the World Lutheran Federation in 1999.

Third, ecumenical sensibility has helped us understand the need for conversion. Not the need for their conversion to us, but the need we all have for continual conversion to Christ. "Ecclesia semper reformans, semper reformanda: The Church, always reforming--always in need of reform" includes Catholics as well as other Christians.

And there are a multitude of bilateral agreements that are the fruit of dialogue.

Cardinal Kasper wrote in "Harvesting the Fruits" : "Ecumenical dialogue has nothing to do with relativism or indifferentism toward the doctrine of the faith. Its goal is not syncretism on the lowest common denominator or peaceful coexistence in division, but full, visible communion in faith, sacramental life, apostolic ministry and mission. Full communion does not mean uniformity, but exists alongside cultural diversity, different liturgical rites, different forms of piety, different but complementary emphases and perspectives, etc. In this sense 'ecumenism is directed precisely to making the partial communion existing between Christians grow toward full communion in truth and charity.' (Ut Unum Sint, 14)"

Anonymous said...

"Third, ecumenical sensibility has helped us understand the need for conversion. Not the need for their conversion to us, but the need we all have for continual conversion to Christ."

This is high-minded gobbledygook that doesn't say much of anything. How can a religion that denies the fundamental teachings of Christ and dishonors his mother NOT need to convert to the Catholic faith? How can we honor "Christians" who deny the perpetual virginity of Mary? How can we ignore the blood of martyrs who died defending the faith against an incontinent King, his malicious daughter and a German priest who was mentally ill and used by corrupt princes?

All the hand-holding and "dialoguing" haven't brought us any closer together. The only thing that WILL is when we live as better Catholics and when the pope consecrates Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We (mankind) think we have all the answers, yet sometimes no matter how much we insist and push our agenda, it fails. God has HIS agenda, the Blessed Mother told us what it was in 1917 yet so many high-ranking clergy have insisted that they know better and discarded her requests for their own games. This game is getting quite tiresome thank you.

If you think ecumenism is a success, then you probably believe that the Great Society is a success too and we are enjoying a "new springtime" thanks to Paul VI's liturgical "reforms".

Enjoy your Kool Aid.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon - "...when we live as better Catholics..." is exactly the conversion that our Church states is the first necessary step in ecumenism.

Yes, I do think that ecumenism has been a success - but only a partial sucsess. Baby steps come before walking.

May 13, 1982 - Pope John Paul II invites the bishops of the world to join him in consecrating the world and with it Russia to the Immaculate Heart. Many do not receive the invitation in time for the Pope's trip to Fatima, where he accomplishes the consecration.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

To Anonymous,

For those who may be misled by the understanding that Russian is consecrated, that answer is false. In John Paul II's consecration, he consecrated the whole world, not Russia specifically.

I would point one to the understanding that John Paul II nor even Pius XII in 1952 consecrated Russia specifically. To assert otherwise is specious.

It was stated by the Vatican in 2010 that to think that the prophecies of Fatima are fulfilled is a mistake.

Anonymous, Russia has not been consecrated, at least according to the prophecy of Fatima.

Anonymous said...

Pope JP II did not accomplish the consecration of Russia. He consecrated "the world" not Russia, as per Mary's demands.

There is overwhelming evidence of this and the state of the world is clear evidence that Mary's promises of conversion and peace have not been fulfilled. She always keeps her promises, so I would bet that the other side failed to keep up their end.

Pater Ignotus said...

"VATICAN, Dec 20, 01 ( - The Vatican has published an account of a meeting between Sister Lucia, the Fatima seer, and Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone. In their conversation, Sister Lucia flatly rejected the claim that the "third secret of Fatima" has not been fully revealed.

"Everything has been published; no secret remains," Sister Lucia told the secretary of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. She also dismissed the reports that she has received new messages from the Virgin Mary. "If I had received new revelations I would have told no one, but I would have communicated them directly to the Holy Father," she said.

Archbishop Bertone's meeting with Sister Lucia took place in the Carmelite convent in Coimbra, Portugal, where she now lives. There were several witnesses to the conversation, and all agreed that despite her age (almost 95), Sister Lucia was energetic and alert.

The Vatican scheduled the two-hour meeting in order to dispel reports that have been circulated by some groups - most notably by the followers of a suspended priest, Father Nicholas Gruner - that the Fatima message has not yet been completely revealed.

Some reports have also suggested that Pope John Paul II did not fulfill the requirements of the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary - a consecration that had been requested by the Virgin Mary in her appearances at Fatima. Once again, Sister Lucia said that these reports are entirely false. "I have already said that the consecration that Our Lady desired was accomplished in 1984, and was accepted in heaven," she insisted."

Gregorian Mass said...

The commentary Father does seem snide without having intimate personal knowledge of each member of the SSPX's thoughts. One not knowing your position or the position of the SSPX would conclude from reading this that they are one of the most damaging threats to the Church. I don't think that is the message you WANT to get across but it is the one that comes across.

Anonymous said...

No disrespect intended Fr. Ignotus, but you have only managed to parrot the "party line" of Cardinal Bertone, which has been shot to pieces.

Bertone walked out of Sister Lucia's convent with a dubious "admission" that doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Instead of detailing it all here, suffice to say others have done a much more efficient job than I could, especially Antonio Socci, author of The Fourth Secret of Fatima and Christopher Ferrara, author of The Secret Still Hidden.

Better yet, I'll quote Pope Benedict himself:

“We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic message is complete."

There are some serious deceptions going on in the Vatican and we would be mistaken to believe that the Curia is one big happy family in unanimous support of the pope. The Vatican has its factions and they never stop maneuvering for position.

Hammer of Fascists said...

"Third, ecumenical sensibility has helped us understand the need for conversion. Not the need for their conversion to us, but the need we all have for continual conversion to Christ."

I don't deny this. But underlying it is the fact that one must know who Christ is and what He teaches if this is to be a true conversion. Protestants and all other non-Catholics have erroneous ideas in this regard, and thus they must become Catholic if their conversion is to be complete. (Individual Catholics may have erroneous ideas, too, but the remedy in that case certainly isn't for them to become non-Catholics). Only the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of truth. This is not me talking, but what the Church has taught for centuries.

"What they despise the most about Vatican II apart from the liturgical changes is "ecumenism" and more charitable approach to the Jews and other religions and even to non believers all of which Vatican II suggested, not in a dogmatic way but in a pastoral way."

If by "ecumenism" you mean "indifferentism," then yes, I despise it, because it is a heresy that can lead to the damnation of souls, which is in no way a charitable approach to anyone.

If all this sounds a bit too pre-Vatican II for y'all, my response is "Good!" As the hierarchy never tires of declaring (although never seems to cogently explain), VII didn't change this prior teaching. The thing that I'm waiting for is to see how the hierarchy squares VII "ecumenism" with the above statements doctrinally. But in practice they seem very often to be ignoring pre-VII teaching in favor of false ecuminism, i.e., acting indifferentist. This should alarm everyone who professes the Catholic faith.

Really, now; should we rejoice in whatever elements of the Catholic faith that Baptists or Pentecostals or whomever happen to hold in common with us? Or should we be be truly, fraternally, concerned with the state of their souls, since many of them haven't received a valid Baptism or made a good confession and been absolved of their mortal sins or received any other sacrament?

Anonymous said...

BTW, the popular lie that Fr. Gruner is "suspended" is just that, a lie.

Pater Ignotus said...

From the (shudder) "Wanderer" -(6.3.2003) "Many Wanderer readers will recall that not too many years ago, the Apostolic Signatura upheld Father Nicholas Gruner’s suspension from his priestly faculties. The Signatura is the Church’s highest court of appeal, short of the Holy Father himself. News of this suspension was made public in an official press release which in part stated: ‘The Congregation for the Clergy, upon the mandate from a higher authority, wishes to state that Rev. Nicholas Gruner is under a divinis suspension, which has been confirmed by a definitive sentence of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura’."

Unknown said...

Anon 5;

I have a big problem with the idea of "ecumenical sensibilities" leading us to a conversion, as another poster writes and to which you seemingly agree, to a point.

I don't see how this view leads anyone to conversion. What are we talking about? What kind of conversion? Interior? What does that mean? Has it been successful? Is there a way to quantify this so-called interior conversion through "ecumenical sensibilities?"

To me, this doesn't follow the Church's model for conversion. It doesn't follow how one is formed nor does it have a concrete application. With the Church, there is always something quantifiable regarding conversion and it really only happens once. To constantly talk about conversion is to assume that we are constantly separating ourselves from the Church and needing to be reuinted with her. That simply isn't true. Once we are baptized and recognized as Catholic, we are members, at that time, it isn't a matter of conversion any longer, but rather it is a matter of catechetics.

So, color me confused. I don't see how one can be "ecumenical" within the Church to which one already belongs. Perhaps I am missing something in translation.


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Can someone remind me how this post got to Fatima and consecrating Russia and Fr. Grunner?

Marc said...

Father, many Traditionalists lay the cause for all the things going wrong in the world and in the Church at the feet if those who obstinately refuse to Consecrate Russia as requested at Fatima. They do not believe the consecration to have adequately taken place despite the things posted by Fr. Kavanaugh. They believe the Mother of God revealed this tribulation and the apostasy of the Roman Pontiff at Fatima.

So, everything we are discussing in terms of liturgical and doctrinal chaos has its roots in the message of Fatima and the failure of the "Vatican" to act on the message.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

But Marc, Catholics are not required to believe in private revelations, even those endorsed by the Church even when the Holy Father might take it quite seriously. It is not to be placed on the same level as Scripture, Tradition and Natural Law. What the Blessed Mother is purported to have said cannot be on the same level as Revelation, except if she is quoting Scripture or defined Church teaching.

Marc said...

Father, I agree with you. I do not subscribe to the ideas I just set out. I was simply answering your question.

The superstition surrounding Fatima and its subsequent interpretation by "Traditionalists" has led me away from "Traditional" Catholicism. Frankly, I think the whole "Third Secret" thing and the Consecration of Russia "issue" are ridiculous.

I'm merely letting you know that many people take this stuff very seriously and base a lot of their thinking about the Church and the modern world on it.

Hammer of Fascists said...


My fault. I suspect the thing that confused you was the fact that I'd had an exceptionally long day looking after parents when I read and wrote in this thread. I actually don't even recall seeing the middle statement in my quoting of PI: "Not the need for their conversion to us, . . ."

I think it clear from my post that I obviously _don't_ agree with that particular snippet. They do in fact need conversion to us if they are to be fully converted to Christ, for--and this is whre 'ecumenism" just doesn't get it (or refuses to get it and thus falls into heresy)--without embracing Catholic teaching in its entirety, non-Catholics are failing to understand who Christ is. Their very notion of Christ is wrong, or at the very least materially deficient. My fault for indicating agreement with that snippet.

Yet I do believe in the need for a continual or at least a repeated _something_, which may be improperly labeled conversion, precisely because of the sort of continual separation you mention. If by mortal sin a Catholic cuts himself off from the Church, he must turn back to the Church through the sacrament of reconciliation. There are parallels between baptism and reconcilation that are visible even in the early Church--reconciliation as a "second chance" to return to the immediate post-baptismal state, the heavy penance required, and such.

This does raise a definitional question. If the definition of Catholic is one who 1)has been validly baptised AND 2) professes the true faith (see Otto, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma), then is it possible that when one sins mortally, he may be refusing to profess some essential aspect of the true faith? If so, then he _isn't_Catholic, and in order to be absolved and return to communion with the Church and a state of grace, he must be converted (or whatever) back to the true faith in much the same way as he was originally converted through Baptism.

Unknown said...

Anon 5;

"Yet I do believe in the need for a continual or at least a repeated _something_, which may be improperly labeled conversion, precisely because of the sort of continual separation you mention."

That "something," you mention isn't conversion, it is contrition and repentance. How is one reconciled from mortal sin? Through the Sacrament of Penance, one is continually "renewed" in the manner which the "ecumenists" now call "conversion."

So, to answer your question yes it is possible that who commits a mortal sin may be heretical or in a state of apostasy, but not always so. I would argue that even then, confessing to the Ordinary will restore his position within the Church.

The Church has always had a mechanism for doing what the liberals are trying to redefine, namely the Sacrament of Penance. But, when the Sacrament is knowingly brushed under the rug, it then becomes a major issue insofar because the Sacramental act is abandoned in favor of inner "conversion." And another sacrament is compromised.

Baptism only happens once. So, conversion only happens once. I would argue though that reconciliation happens continually and to varying degrees. Now we just need to get the liberals to understand that their conversion isn't re-inventing the wheel, but rather distorting the Sacramental ideal of Penance and reconciliation.

Hammer of Fascists said...


We're in agreement regarding everything but nomenclature--and since it sounds like you've done more research on the applicability of the term "conversion" than I have, I'll defer to you in that regard also. But here are some thoughts nevertheless.

While "conversion" may be a term of art specifically describing the process leading up to and including Baptism, I do think that from a subjective perspective the catechumen and the penitent may very well both go through the same emotional/psychological changes for each (e.g., a catechumen may be moved to Baotism by his contrition and repentance just as a baptized penitent may be moved to reconciliation), especially when someone has been away from the Church and the sacraments for a long period. Given that, and the fact that the results of Baptism and absolution are fairly similar, I'm not especially troubled by the labels, though you could perhaps give me some examples in which the labels do matter.

But if labels are used to argue against the need for conversion (in the sense in which you mean it) to the Catholic faith or against the need for regular/frequent sacramental confession, I obviously don't condone that. It's just that I haven't encountered their use in that sense. In fact, by using the term "conversion" to liken Baptism to Reconciliation and thus encourage more frequent use of the latter, it might be a good thing.


Hammer of Fascists said...

One more point, Andy: I think that my hypothetical regarding mortal sin implicating a rejection of some portion of the Catholic faith may be much more widespread than the examples you have in mind.

Let's say I'm tempted to commit a mortal sin. In that moment I may attempt to justify my sin by deciding that the Church is unreasonable to call such behavior a sin, and thus wrong to do so. By making this fleeting justification to myself (and maybe orally to the people around me), have I not ceased to profess the faith? Or, as long as I'm saying the right words formally in Mass or at a baptism, am I still professing the faith even though my minions are, at that moment, executing my business rivals on my orders?

I'm a big one for making distinctions between the formal and the material, but I would also say that essence trumps form. Hence my disdain for all the people who formally and vigorously profess to be Catholics while adamantly engaging in anti-catholic activities (read: Biden, Pelosi, Sebelius, etc.).

Unknown said...

Anon 5;

I think that this exercise is good for me, due to the fact that I need to be able to clearly state my view. Thank you for continuing to humor me.

You state, "I do think that from a subjective perspective the catechumen and the penitent may very well both go through the same emotional/psychological changes for each (e.g., a catechumen may be moved to Baotism by his contrition and repentance just as a baptized penitent may be moved to reconciliation), especially when someone has been away from the Church and the sacraments for a long period."

Certainly that person who has lapsed must reintegrate himself into the life of the Church, but that isn't done through conversion, but rather it is done through catechesis. I think that nomenclature in this instance is very important and should be concise. What one must do to reconcile from being lapse isn't to convert to Catholicism, but rather to re-educate himself on what it means to be that which he already is. Catholic.

I think that the problem arises, when we move away from the objective understandings of these words and actions and into the subjective. The subjective should always be subordinate to the objective. So, if there is an interior conversion, it isn't as though one is becoming Catholic all over again, as the liberals would like it (a la pre-conciliar/post-conciliar), but rather it is through coming to understand in a more complete and concrete way, Catholic thought and then applying it to the self.

You go on to ask, "Let's say I'm tempted to commit a mortal sin. In that moment I may attempt to justify my sin by deciding that the Church is unreasonable to call such behavior a sin, and thus wrong to do so. By making this fleeting justification to myself (and maybe orally to the people around me), have I not ceased to profess the faith? Or, as long as I'm saying the right words formally in Mass or at a baptism, am I still professing the faith even though my minions are, at that moment, executing my business rivals on my orders?"

Yes, you have ceased to profess the faith, but is that cessation obstinate? The answer is most likely not, because it is in that moement. Now, if you were to continually deny this over and over and over and over, then yes, it becomes apostasy or heresy, depending on the circumstance, but it does not remove the Sacramental character you took on at Baptism. So, conversion is not necessary. Reconciliation and catechesis is, though.

I am a big one for making distinctions too, but if we look at what Biden, Pelosi and the rest of the nutburgers are doing, it is heresy. And that doesn't remove the Sacramental character of Baptism, it is just an obstinate denial of a truth which must be adhered to, with Catholic Faith. And that requires Reconciliation, not conversion.

This is about terms and properly applying them. Surely you can understand that. One of the biggest issues that traditionalists faces is overcoming the hi-jacking of terms. Nouns are turned to verbs, certain actions are replaced by something altogether different and it goes on an on.

Hammer of Fascists said...


The humoring goes both ways so consider yourself thanked in turn. :-)

You do make a strong case that calling post-baptismal changes "conversion" is more than nominally wrong. As I said before, I'm certainly not wedded to the term conversion in that case. As I stated in my previous, I think we're in fundamental agreement.

One thing, though, regarding failure/refusal to profess the Catholic faith. I think you and I are looking at different things. Regarding heresy, the "obstinate" component you mention is certainly needed. But for the definition of Catholic, I don't think that Otto et al. require obstinacy. Simple refusal to profess the faith is sufficient. Thus my hypothetical of the otherwise faithful Catholic sporadically and briefly but definitely refusing to profess the faith; he may not be a heretic, since he isn't being obstinate about it, but he may nevertheless not be Catholic during those periods.

Gene said...

Anon 5, So, let me get this straight...if I am lusting after Kate Beckinsale, am I no longer professing the Catholic faith during those lustful moments? Or, may I lust after her with no serious intention and that be merely a venality? What if I only lust after her to keep from wishing the Inquisition upon Ignotus? Is this not a more acceptable use of lust?

Hammer of Fascists said...


I am saying that here is one possible scenario that involves lusting after Kate Beckinsale: You intentionally lust after her, knowing it's grave matter, thus meeting the definition of mortal sin. You know the Church says it's a mortal sin, but at that moment you don't care. The way your rationalize your not caring is to tell yourself that the Church is in error about lust being a sin because the Church doesn't really understand human sexuality, or it's asking for an impossibly high standard of behavior, or whatever. In this circumstance, haven't you denied the faith, even if for just a few moments?

I'm not saying that all mortal sins _must_ involve this momentary--renunciation, for lack of a better word. For instance, you may have a different rationalization, such as "The Church is right, but I'm too weak," or "The Church is right, but I love Kate Beckinsale more than I love God," or no rationalization at all. But I think it's a possibility.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene, you may be on safer ground if you attend the cake baking sale instead.

Unknown said...

Anon 5;

What you are describing is despair. That doesn't equate to heresy or aspostasy. I would argue that If the despair persists (a longer period of time) then it becomes an issue of faith.

However, what you are describing is nothing more than one of the effects of sin. I believe that John of the Cross as well as the Cure D'Ars speak about this.

You're looking to Ott to give an answer, I don't think it's there, because what you're describing isn't a dogmatic or a doctrinal issue, but a faith and pastoral one. Look to the Spiritual Fathers and I think you'll find the answer you're looking for.

Hammer of Fascists said...

Andy; Same answer as the one I gave regarding "obstinacy." I've never argued that my hypothetical amounts to heresy, or at any rate that it _must_ amount to heresy. I merely ask whether it amounts to a failure to profess the faith in a way required to meet the definition of "Catholic."

I understand that in practice much of this would be met at a pastoral level. But here I'm talking at a theoretical/definitional level.

Gene said...

Well, Anon 5, I would not classify my lust after Kate Beckinsale under either option in your first paragraph. No, there is no renunciation or attempt to deny Church teaching. Perhaps it could be described more as a certain desultory lust, the pitfall of idleness or "brown study." I suppose my rationalization might be, "the Church is right but, damn, she is pretty!" I am sometimes able to sublimate this process and attain a level at which I appreciate her from a merely aesthetic viewpoint, as I might appreciate, say, Raphael's "Madonna of the Rocks." You believe me, right?\
So, perhaps my lust is merely venial...I mean, I'm not going to call her up, for heaven's sake...

Unknown said...

Anon 5;

"I merely ask whether it amounts to a failure to profess the faith in a way required to meet the definition of "Catholic.""

I don't think so. If everyone who sins or in a fleeting moment of despair or sin is separated from the faith, we wouldn't have any Catholics.

I know that asking a question to get an answer is not generally a good thing, but...

Did Peter cease to be Catholic when he denied Christ at the gate to the Praetorium? No. He didn't, it is much the same thing, as what you're asking.

Unless one repudiates the faith, obstiantly, he remains Catholic. Even then he remains Catholic, but is an apostate. So, while it may be a failure to profess Catholicism, it doesn't eliminate one from being Catholic, nor does it separate one from being Catholic.

Pater Ignotus said...

Re: Conversion - "Convert us, O God our Savior, and instruct our minds by heavenly teaching, that we may benefit from the works of Lent."

From the Collect, Monday of the First Week of Lent.

Unknown said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,

Sadly, I must respond directly to you. This is the exception and not the rule going forward, but I must comment on your indignant pride in finding the 1st Monday of Lent's collect.

As you know already, this is a very controversial collect to use, because it is not Roman in origin, but Gelasian. Interestingly enough, it was not part of the 1962 Missal, but is only found in the 1970 and it's revisions.

That being said, when we look at the Latin (Because the use of the English is too varied and dynamic), we find that converto is "to turn or whirl round, to wheel about, to cause to turn, to turn back, reverse; and with the designation of the terminus in quem, to turn or direct somewhere, to direct to or towards, to move or turn to." (Kudos to Fr. Zuhlsdorf for that explanation)

So, rather than it meaning exactly what you think it does, dear Father; it in actuality means something a bit different. It has a much more military feel, as opposed to a feel of opening one's heart to the salvific mystery in a wholly new way. This is borne out in the rest of the translation, which I shall not bore you with, as I know that your use of Latin is limited and most likely will not apply in daily life.

As it is though Father, your "re: Conversion" is as most things with you not what it seems through the mere use of English. And in and of itself reason #604992939492343929292 and 1 why we should abandon the vernacular in favor of the universal Latin.

I now resume my self-imposed ban. It was necessary to point out your inconsistency for the sake of those who read the comboxes here on a regular basis.

May God Keep You Close.