Sunday, January 28, 2018


John Allen has a good article in today's Crux which you can read in full by pressing the title:

Douthat and Ivereigh showed us how to disagree without being disagreeable 

John L. Allen Jr. 
Jan 28, 2018

Allen states the following which I think should guide discussions moving forward:

 What was obvious all day was how much these guys genuinely like each other, respect each other, and want to learn from each other. In other words, underneath the very real disagreement is an equally real friendship, which informs everything they say and do.

For instance, Ivereigh began by laying out his standard assessment of what the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio in March 2013 meant, saying it was a badly needed shock to a Church that had become sclerotic, focused excessively on itself, and so rule-obsessed that the world only knew what Catholicism was against rather than what it’s for. Moreover, Ivereigh said, March 2013 also marked the date when Catholicism truly went “global,” capable of having something other than just the “rich church” conversations that characterize Europe and North America.

Douthat basically agreed with most of that, and said that at his best, it’s still what Francis delivers. He insisted, however, that’s not all Francis has done, arguing that he’s also unleashed severe theological tensions in Catholicism that may only be able to be resolved in a future ecumenical council, and which could lead to some sort of schism on the other side.

My comments: 

 Douthat seems to think some schism is about to happen in the Church which will come about because of an ecumenical council or precede it leading to an ecumenical council.

I don't know about that, I pray that this will not happen. But in the meantime Douthat and Ivereigh give us a model of how to debate sensitive faith issues, as well as discipline issues.  It cannot be motivated by anger and rage or throwing gasoline onto flames, but open, honest dialogue. If one is confident in one's position, this should not be a threat to be civil. 

But what if a schism is looming? Who are the ones in schism. In the Catholic Church schism always means separating from the pope and one's bishop. That is schism pure and simple and is a mortal sin as the Baltimore Catechism makes clear. 

While I may disagree with this, that and the other Pope Francis or even my bishop may being saying or doing, I will remain in union with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. 

The institutional Church may expand what it means to be a good Catholic confirming those who are on either side of issues hitting us today. Progressives will have their progressive parishes. God willing the SSPX will be fully reconciled to the Roman Pontiff and Catholics who prefer the Church prior to the Second Vatican Council will have parishes that allow this expression of Catholicism. 

I don't particularly like this model, but it is where we are going I fear--it is congregationalism pure and simple. It is happening first with Conferences of Bishops have wildly different interpretations of the footnote in Amoris laetitia and it will filter down to smaller groups and already has on many levels. 

Civility, or better yet, the theological term, charity is what is needed today more than ever!

As for me and my household, we always will be in full communion with the pope, the Bishop of Rome!


Victor said...

Fr McD.
Are you saying that if people get fed up with the second-rate-worship if not ungodly/sacrilegious way the Novus Ordo is "celebrated", and by nature it tends that way, and go to SSPX chapels instead, they are committing mortal sin?

Douthat is absolutely right on one matter. An authentic Ecumenical Council will need to be called, and by "authentic" I mean one that deals precisely with clear and ambiguous anathemas as all previous councils have, not the neo-Modernist discursive statements of Vatican II that are full of ambiguity and imprecision allowing for all sorts of interpretations.

Adam Michael said...

I agree - stay in union with Rome. However, the current problems (and really, they are old problems that people are understanding more clearly) must change how Catholics approach schism. Long gone should be the days when the charge of "schism" was enough to shut down any discussion of the practices of the SSPX or the Orthodox Church. In many ways, these groups or Churches feel more like home than the modern Catholic Church. They feel like our common, historical home with some undesirable furniture that needs to be removed (or better yet replaced with its old furniture now in the basement), rather than wholly new dwellings. Unfortunately, modern Catholicism feels like a foreign house with all the right furniture. We must learn to appreciate this fact if we hope things to improve in the Catholic Church. A traditional Catholic future will require the contribution of those who have preserved an organic tradition, not young people raised in innovation who have good will.

Henry said...

"ESPECIALLY orthodox Catholics ... should be kind in their rhetoric"?

Are you serious? You've seen the rhetoric at typical "progressive" sites. The rhetoric habitually employed by Pope Francis and the gang that surrounds him?

Anonymous said...

So, Henry, if the "progressives" are unkind, it's OK for you to be unkind too?

Mark Thomas said...

"For instance, Ivereigh began by laying out his standard assessment of what the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio in March 2013 meant, saying it was a badly needed shock to a Church that had become sclerotic, focused excessively on itself, and so rule-obsessed that the world only knew what Catholicism was against rather than what it’s for."

In 2013 A.D., obsession with rules marked the Church? The Church in 2013 A.D. was focused on Herself excessively? The world only knew what Catholicism was against rather than what it’s for?

That doesn't correspond to my recollection. From the 1960s to 2013 A.D. (and beyond), one parish after another offered ad lib Masses, tolerated dissent from Church teaching, and in line with Rome, had opened to the world.

The reality is that decades prior to 2013 A.D., the image of pray, pay, and obey rule-obsessed Catholicism had been shattered.

In 2013 A.D, Austen Ivereigh and I belonged to two very different Churches.


Mark Thomas

TJM said...

Kavanaugh at 6:55,

Henry is just pointing out the truth, it hurts, doesn't it?

ByzRus said...

Fr. MJK @6:56 -

Clearly, Henry wasn't suggesting an eye-for-an-eye. Of course, two wrongs do not make a right. Henry was likely getting frustrated over the singling out the traditionalists when, the progressives are equally to blame if not more so. Think of how those who love and follow tradition have been marginalized, mocked, denied ordination, treated like red-haired step children with absurdities like TLM's being banished to cemetery chapels in addition to being criticized by a sitting Pope must feel. Two wrongs don't make a right but, by God, there's an inequity here and it is tiresome being lectured on the obvious when those outside of tradition just keep going along their merry way.

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr. Allan.
One can only be in communion with a pope that one is certain is in fact a true Pope .
So who is the true Pope?
Is it Benedict?
Francis has said and written stuff that would make any Catholic /Christian seriously doubt his orthodoxy.
So that paradigm of being loyal to the pipe only works when there is one physical person wielding that title.
Since two men now wield the title officially it is no longer possible to know with 100% certainty who the true Pope is.
Sincerely. John Larkin.

Anonymous said...

If you will notice how "modernists" or "neo-modernists" or "progressives" or "liberals. "those outside tradition" or whatever name you choose are singled out here for attack, derision, and ad hominem attacks on a consistent basis, then you will begin to understand that "traditionalists" are not the only aggrieved party in these parts.

And what is "obvious" to you is not necessarily obvious to others or to the powers-that-be, and for good reasons.

Two men are not currently wielding the title of Pope. Pope Francis is the Bishop of Rome - the title is uniquely his.

Benedict 16 is Pope Emeritus, no longer an archdiocesan ordinary.