Sunday, June 30, 2013



The gist of his article is that the Pope wants the Church to be functional. By Church, I mean all the baptized in union with the Magisterium, the pope and the bishops in union with him, with your bishop and mine!

He is modeling for the bishops of the world how to be a functioning bishop putting aside the air of monarchy, of dictator, or democratically elected governor and being a pastor, smelling like his sheep, wearing the names of his parishioners on their chasuble. This is powerful stuff folks,whether or not you like the kingly trappings of the kingly-shepherd properly understood under previous popes, especially Benedict XVI.

But he wants the Vatican's curial offices to function properly too and it bank. He doesn't want corruption! Enough said.

He wants the collegiality of the bishops to function properly and in union with the Primacy of the Bishop of Rome. He uses this term frequently, but has not eschewed the term pope as some have suggested he has; that is simply false. I believe the term pontiff or supreme pontiff is not off-putting to him either as that means bridge-builder which the papal office is meant to be between all the other bishops of the world.

He wants structure that Vatican II initiated to function properly too, such as the synod of bishops. There have been many complaints over the years about the usefulness of these structures that seem to be a lot of talk but no real deliberative function. Of course, these don't change the "Deposit of Faith" but strive to make it more relevant and faithfully lived.

Let's give Pope Francis a chance to be Pope Francis. I think ultimately he paves the way for the next pope to recover some of the lost trappings and make them relevant again but in a Biblical sense of kingliness.

Let's face it because of the sex abuse scandals, clerical corruption and the problems of the Vatican and the curia, the moral authority of the Hierarchy is almost demolished. It must be rebuilt from the ground up, and the Bishop of Rome is stripping things to do it.


Anonymous said...

"Jesus also said to his disciples, charged with preceding Him on the way to Jerusalem to announce His coming, not to impose anything: if they do not find willing welcome, they are [simply] to proceed further, to move on. Jesus never imposes. Jesus is humble. Jesus extends invitations: “If you want, come.” The humility of Jesus is like this: He always invites us. He does not impose."
- Pope Francis

Gene said...

So, Anonymous, what is your point?

Gene said...

Let's see... not imposing stuff...according to the Synoptics, upon entering Jerusalem, Jesus cursed the fig tree, tossed the money changers out of the temple with quite a display of anger, and then damned the scribes and pharisees...hmmm...sounds pretty imposing to me...

rcg said...

To carry the first three entries to completion: I think God is very imposing when you 'sign up'. If you just don't know for reasons beyond your control, He is quite forgiving. Once you acknowledge His primacy, you're stuck. Abusing His forgiveness, testing His patience is 'bad ju-ju'. This is why people are far less tolerant of the scandal that infects the Curia and so much of the hierarchy.

Anonymous said...

Pope Francis Seeks Unity. Alas, the SSPX does not.

Traditionalists indicate definitive break with Catholic Church

In a statement June 27, three of the four bishops originally ordained by Lefebvre expressed “their filial gratitude towards their venerable founder who, after so many years spent serving the Church and the Sovereign Pontiff, so as to safeguard the Faith and the Catholic priesthood, did not hesitate to suffer the unjust accusation of disobedience.”

The document – titled “Declaration on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the episcopal consecrations (30th June 1988 – 27th June 2013)” – is signed by Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais and Alfonso de Galarreta.

The bishops say that the documents themselves have grave errors and that they cannot be interpreted without clashing with tradition.

The “cause of the grave errors which are in the process of demolishing the Church does not reside in a bad interpretation of the conciliar texts – a 'hermeneutic of rupture' which would be opposed to a 'hermeneutic of reform in continuity,'” they wrote, “but truly in the texts themselves, by virtue of the unheard of choice made by Vatican II.”

Schism indeed.

Rood Screen said...

Gene, Well said!

Why is anonymous talking about the SSPX? What do they have to do with

Is it just my browser, or are the pictures and videos Father posts here supposed to be too large to fit?

Gene said...

The SSPX seeks dogmatic integrity, liturgical continuity, and unambiguous Catholic identity. Whatever the ensuing difficulties, Lefebvre's struggle appears to have been an honest one and not merely some self-indulgent rebellion. I believe the SSPX should be viewed as a very strong warning to the Church regarding what is ahead if apostatsy within her walls is allowed to continue unchecked and uncorrected.

ytc said...

FATHER, where is your post for the day?!

Anonymous 2 said...

This merry-go-round with the SSPX is getting old. I am certainly prepared to accept their sincerity and honesty. Charity requires giving them the benefit of the doubt, so I agree with Gene on that.

We all know about the four documents and many, perhaps all, of us have the impression that, at least for one of them (and I suspect for all four), good arguments can, and probably have, been made that they are in keeping with the Tradition of the Church.

Anon. 5 understandably would like the hierarchy to provide greater clarification and guidance regarding these arguments.

So, here is my na├»ve question: Has there ever been an open discussion/forum (open as in not behind closed doors) between the SSPX and Rome on these very issues, with reference to the text and hermeneutical techniques? And, if not, is that an idea? Alternatively, is there such a “dialogue” in the literature to which we can be referred so we can get beyond and understanding of the dispute that amounts to: “The documents are not in keeping with Tradition” versus “Oh yes they are”? But, as have said before, ultimately we have to defer to magisterial judgment on all this.

Carol H. said...

ytc, Father just left for vacation yesterday.

Henry said...

The fixation--by some like Anonymous apparently mired in stale outdated issues-- is tiresome. I have, and have long had, extensive experience and contacts with a broad spectrum of traditional Catholics, few or none of whom represent or are represented by the SSPX.

However sincere the SSPX may be, and however laudable some of their goals, my impression is that they are largely oriented to a past in the Church, one to which they look back with nostalgia.

Whereas the great bulk of the traditionalist movement is driven by fervent young Catholics, too young to have known that past, and they look forward with optimism and enthusiasm to a bright future in an exciting renewal of Church and a reclamation of the Faith and Liturgy of which they have been deprived.

Gregorian Mass said...

Unfortunately every time we start with a new Pontificate we see things being torn down to the ground and having to be "rebuilt" by a future Pontiff. Maybe it would be helpful to not tear apart or tear down ANYTHING, just build on top of what has been built. When the next Pontiff comes of course there will be a shift of focus again, but should we really tear down what Francis might accomplish in order to start "fresh" again? With a new theme, new focus? This is a mistake that keeps happening since the 60's.

Marc said...

Henry, do you think the tendency in those young, Traditionalist Catholics who find themselves not represented by the SSPX is to simply ignore Vatican II? Perhaps stated less polemically, is their tendency to simply set it aside and focus on living the Faith as it was taught and lived prior to Vatican II? An implicit hermeneutic of continuity, if you will...

So, while the SSPX continues to rail against the documents themselves, is there an equally acceptable idea for Traditionalists to simply move forward implicitly acknowledging that which the Pope Emeritus claimed to be true - the council documents changed nothing?

rcg said...

I think the traditionalists look back longingly at a time when the Church meant what it said. Pope Francis is probably right not to fire the lot of his staff the first week. But when the corruption is your face and the bishops and cardinals challenge the teachings of the Church and can't figure out what to do with criminal priests, then it is very logical to question the faith of the clergy. There was a post recently on another site where an anonymous priest is supposedly quoted that if all the gay priests left his diocese only about 10% would remain. I am sure I believe the number as a calculation, but I expect that darn near 90% of priests have been exposed to homosexual advances and pressure. Many probably gave in out of confusion. I do have to wonder if this is not the result of what interpretations flowed from Vatican II if not its intent. The priest as the center of attention fits in with the homosexual need for self gratification at any cost.

We need to adjust to the very unpleasant fact that many will leave us, family and friends alike. We should be hopeful and pray for their conversion and return, but we cannot relax the standard to suit our personal desires. Many we love will not return and will be our enemies the rest of their lives.

This is my Pope, without question or wavering. But I wish someone could be there to help him make the changes that it appears he wants to make. He needs a strong NCO to move people out and make the physical changes, in a loving way of course. But they have doors all over the Vatican. He needs to start using them.

Hammer of Fascists said...

Anonymous: Those who know much more about the subject than I have argued very ably on this blog, and with heavy citation to evidence (including canon law and official curial statements), that SSPX isn't in schism. I won't rehash it here because, like A2, I find the issue tiresome and because some people here simply choose not to hear such arguments. If you want the evidence, look it up in prior threads. Schism _not_ indeed.

Further you seek to argue that formal schism is bad (even when there isn't any) while ignoring the far more pervasive problem of the modernist heresy permeating mainstream Catholicism, which claims itself in full communion with the Church even while ignoring its doctrines. I'd have thought in this post-modern age, people wouldn't be putting so much stress on formal irregularity when material heresy is, quantitatively, such a huge problem. Again, that's been talked to death here. Suffice it to say that if you're so worried about unity, I'd expect you to discuss people like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden in the same breath with SSPX since they maintain their Catholicism just as vehemently as the latter. What have you to say about them?

It's amazing how modernists, who diss everything "pre-VII," are so pre-VII about formal problems as opposed to material ones. But again, this is old and tiresome; feel free to look up the thorough discussions of this issue on previous threads.

A2: I may not be the best one to speak on this, but, if memory serves, whatever discussions that the Vatican may have had with SSPX on the issues in question ultimately ended with the Vatican delivering an ultimatum: "You want full unity? Then you have to formally announce your acceptance of everything in VII and quit trying to get us to explain what it means." That kind of statement, in fact, is the basis for my belief that the Vatican isn't interested in clarifying what these issues really mean or squaring them with prior doctrinal statements in a (theo)logically coherent and intellectually honest way.

Anonymous said...

Bishop Fellay has gone FAR beyond suggesting that the interpretation or implementation of Vatican II is faulty.

"The bishops say that the documents themselves have grave errors and that they cannot be interpreted without clashing with tradition."

This is new and it is schism.

Bringing up Pelosi and Biden is a diversionary tactic.

SSPX now claims for itself the authority to determine what is and what is not Church doctrine. (It has all along, but SSPX supporters have overlooked this "minor" flaw.)

Rood Screen said...

I suspect that some well-meaning souls who comment here lack regular pastoral care that is uncompromised my Modernism. Therefore, they see only two choices: support the SSPX, or support the secularized religion of their local parishes.
But Catholics living in parishes where the directives of VCII are followed faithfully in continuity with Trent, etc., do not experience this dilemma, at least not so acutely.

Templar said...

Anon 2: To answer your direct question, No. No "open discussion" has ever occurred between the SSPX and the Vatican, the "closed door" discussions the occurred over the past few years were the only official attempt by the Vatican to engage on the subject at all, and that was driven by Benedict XVI and, some speculate, not done with full enthusiasm or investment by the Vatican officials assigned. You see, the last thing that those in the "establishment" can really afford to do is ever surrender the position of superiority. They must say they are "The Church", they have "The Authority", and only "They are correct". The SSPX has always maintained that it would welcome an open and honest "debate" on it's points.

In my youth in CCD I was told by a Priest that a Saint (whose name slips my mind) once famously said that the Church never fears or flees from an argument or a debate because the Turth always wins out in the end. I have a real tough time squaring that with today's Church and it's Hierarchy's refusal to even entertain the idea of defending what it believes.

Henry: What makes you think SSPX Chapels aren't filled with young people too? Most of the SSPX attendees post date V2 and therefore can have no nostalgia about the "good old days".

Templar said...

Anon: It's not new and it's not schism. The SSPX has maintained the position that V2 contains grave errors since it's inception. The whole closed door talks the past few years was to discuss the particulars of those grave errors, to show hoe what V2 said was in contradiction against what had been said before (and from the other side, the Church tried to show how there was no contradiction).

Nothing new there, and pointing out how changing something like "no salvation outside the church" is not in alignment with previous doctrine is about as schismatic as pointing out that the Death Penalty and War are both acceptable to the Catholic Church under certain conditions.

Henry said...

Mark: While there is a wider range of opinion among older traditionalists, I gather that that most young traditional Catholics simply are not fixated on Vatican II like older folks at both extremes. That Vatican II is just not a preoccupation with them, either to actively oppose or to studiously ignore, not a big part of their thought and worship. If something Vatican II taught is helpful (like its re-emphasis on Gregorian chant and actual prayerful participation in liturgy) then fine with them, but the fact is that conciliar documents have little effect on everyday orthodox spirituality. There was just no vital new "there" there.

Templar: I see no reason to assume proportionally fewer young folks in SSPX chapels, though the ethos of those who have grown up in the SSPX may be different from those in diocesan TLM communities who did not.

But my main point is that the SSPX is just not a big item in mainstream TLM growth today. For instance, in my diocese, growth from a single TLM each Sunday (in a 300-mile expanse) before Summorum Pontificum to 3or 4 each Sunday now, with occasional TLMs (including nuptial and requiem Masses) having now been celebrated in a number of parishes where none had before, with several energetic young TLM priests plus tradition-friendly seminarians on the way, all this with no SSPX influence whatsoever, just not on the radar screen. So why this fixation on the SSPX in some quarters? In my practically 24/7 TLM involvement, the SSPX simply never comes to mind except in blog discussions.

Anonymous said...

Templar - "No salvation outside the Church" remains our doctrine.

What has changed - and rightly so -is our understanding of what "Church" means.

Previously our conception was that to be a member of the Church Christ established one had to be baptized a Catholic and practicing Catholicism.

A better understanding is that one is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, through valid Baptism. Hence, many non-Catholic Christians are, by virtue of their valid baptisms, part of the Church. While they may be imperfectly members (who, after all, is a perfect member of the Body of Christ?), they are part of the Church nonetheless.

Dominus Iesus explains this very elegantly and authoritatively. The opinion of the SSPX on this matter is not authoritative and should be understood as such by Catholics.

Hammer of Fascists said...

Anonymous: I repeat: According to the Curia, SSPX isn't in schism. Go look at the documents. John Nolan and Templar have forgotten more on this issue than you and I together have ever known. I would particularly refer you to Templar's posts on this thread:

If you're the same anonymous that keeps telling me that I think I know better than the Church, on this point you'd better take a good long look in the mirror, because you're doing what you often accuse me of: ignorant, stupid Vatican says no schism, but anonymous knows otherwise.

As for Pelosi and Biden: It isn't a diversionary tactic: you're the one who brought up unity as a concern. You cited SSPX as an example. I took issue with your example and alleged that Pelosi, Biden, and similar modernists are a much better example of disunity. If you're really concerned about (dis)unity, then what's your response to that allegation? Or is your real intent not really to address the unity issue but instead merely to bash the SSPX?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, how does this new conception of Church works in the real world since the doctrine is clear that heretics and schismatics are outside the Church? Also, how does your definition encompass those who are outside the Church even by your enlarged definition of the term - the unbaptized and those of other faiths? And, what about all those unbaptized infants who die without baptism?

Your new conception of Church appears to be at odds with the doctrinal definition of "Church" that has been developed through the ages and set forth very elegantly and authoritatively prior to 1965. The problem is not so much with the new definition, you see, but with reconciling that new definition with the previously settled definition. Admittedly, you've made a good point by shifting the focus to the concept of Church, but that really dodges the greater point, doesn't it?

Templar said...

LOL, you're right Anon....the Church doctrine is still no salvation outside the Church, we've just redefined the meaning of "Church" so we can be all inclusive and squishy.

Anyway, as others have pointed out there are plenty of threads about SSPX on this blog, and many real good ones on others, so I don't need to contribute to the hijacking of this thread. Besides, my policy has always been to ignore "anonymous" posts, a practice I shall return to.

To Henry: You are truly blessed to have seen the growth of Tradition in your Diocese since SP, it is a big reason why it is my Diocese of choice to retire to in the coming years. But I dare say you are the exception not the rule. In many palces there is no sign of implementing SP, and in those few places it does get implemented it is curiously only a reaction by the Diocese to the SSPX coming in and setting up a Chapel. If for NOTHING else, the SSPX is owed a debt of gratitude from every Traditional Catholic for keeping the pilot light burning, without them does anyone seriously think SP would have ever been released?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - Regarding children who die without baptism, "CCC 1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them," allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism."

Regarding heretics and schismatics: If they are baptized, they are within the Church. They may be sinners within the Church, but they are within the Church nonetheless.

This is not "my" conception of the Church. It's it the Church's conception of the Church. Again, I recommend Dominus Iesus as a fine explanation of this notion.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I recommend Mystici Corporis Christi as a fine explanation of the immemorial teaching on the nature of the Church and its composition.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, here also are some examples of the prior ordinary Magisterium addressing your citations:

Pope St. Innocent, 414: “But that which Your Fraternity asserts the Pelagians preach, that even without the grace of Baptism infants are able to be endowed with the rewards of eternal life, is quite idiotic.” (Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 3: 2016.)

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Letentur coeli,” Sess. 6, July 6, 1439, ex cathedra: “We define also that… the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go straightaway to hell, but to undergo punishments of different kinds.” (Denz. 693)

Pope St. Zosimus, The Council of Carthage, Canon on Sin and Grace, 417 A.D.- “It has been decided likewise that if anyone says that for this reason the Lord said: ‘In my Father’s house there are many mansions’ [John 14:2]: that it might be understood that in the kingdom of heaven there will be some middle place or some place anywhere where the blessed infants live who departed from this life without baptism, without which they cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, which is life eternal, let him be anathema.” (Denzinger 102, authentic addition to Can. 2.)

To clarify: I'm presenting these to demonstrate the issue isn't as clear as you'd like it to be, and to show that those of us who are confused about the "muddy Magisterium" of recent decades are justifiably perplexed.

Henry said...

Templar: "If for NOTHING else, the SSPX is owed a debt of gratitude from every Traditional Catholic for keeping the pilot light burning, without them does anyone seriously think SP would have ever been released?"


My own diocese is hardly trad heaven. The great majority of our priests are still of that troubled generation. The recent progress is due to a small core of faithful young priests swimming valiantly against the still prevailing current, and the seminarians coming along are like them rather than their predecessors. I believe this is more and more true of seminarians in the pipeline all over, and they they--rather than current popes and bishops--will shape the future of the Church and its recovery from the disaster of the past half century.