Dear Father . . .

Quote

Father,

I read your blog and know that you comment on the SSPX and related matters. What do you make of this: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/08/sspx-priest-celebrates-mass-in-saint.html  This does seem to change things. They were given permission to offer mass. Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQfiaY-6bRQ Thank you for your time. The SSPX confirms that permission was in fact given: http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/sspx-mass-st-peters-basilica-video-4715.

I can only speculate what it all means.  I am not inclined to think that it means anything juridical is in the works.  However, I would hazard to say that it indicates that Pope Francis has no ill will or nefarious plan for undoing the provisions which favor those attached to the TLM.  Which is what I have always been saying.

And for this reason the confusion of Damien Thompson as to why then Pope Francis would have placed restrictions on our Institute, might best be explained by considering that perhaps the narrative some traditionalists have spread about my Institute are wrong.

Of Rabble Rousers, Crystal Gazers and the Internet

Steve Kellmeyer ruffles some feathers  here and here.

I am not sure how far he is to be taken literally in terms of the faithful’s right to lodge their concerns to their pastors.  On the other hand, he makes a simple and valid point that most of us have come to give way too much importance to the way we think the Church ought to be instead of fostering the unity of the Church by not habitually and publicly contradicting our pastors and undermining their authority.  Catholic orthodoxy/traditionalism has pretty effectively aped the rabble rousing progressives and felt banner wavers of the 60’s and 70’s.

The internet and social media, now a part of the fabric of our lives, seems to carry with it the assumption that somehow all of our opinions are important all the time.  The digital age also validates the idea that we can say anything we want and then slough off responsibility for having said it.

The internet is a quicksand of cultural exibitionism and voyeurism.  We Catholics have been suckered into it in the name of all that is holy. Continue reading

Homily for the Memorial of St. Pius X

Today we celebrate the memorial of St. Pius X, one of the great popes of the 20th century. He was born in 1835, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, and he grew up in poverty. His father was the village postman and little Giuseppe walked six kilometers to school everyday. This poverty characterized his whole life, and it was not just a matter of physical poverty. St. Pius X was a man who was truly poor in spirit. Our Lord said: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Throughout his life as simple priest and Franciscan tertiary, then as bishop of Mantua, later as cardinal archbishop of Milan and finally as supreme pontiff of the universal Church, Giuseppe Sarto, remained a simple man and a lover of poverty. His last will and testament gives witness to this with the words: “I was born poor, I have lived in poverty, and I wish to die poor.”

Thus, this great man was single minded throughout his life and placed himself at the dispositions of Christ and His Church, without consideration for himself. This was his poverty in spirit. His whole life was to serve Christ and the Church.

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Tolkien and Kevin O’brien on Chivalric Love

Read the whole thing. It is well worth it.

They speak of “shipwrecks” and “guiding stars.”  Men tend to look at women as guiding stars and women tend to think they can turn the men they love into knights in shining armor.  In reality, both men and women are “companions in shipwreck.”  Kevin points out that Tolkien’s view is both brutally realistic and at the same time wholly fair and charitable. Continue reading

In Defense of XXXXXXXXXXXXXX the Latin Mass

That should be “In Defense of Pope Benedict and the Latin Mass.”

The Week has recently published a hit peace on the new Mass and Vatican II by Michael Brendan Dougherty. Ostensibly it is praise of Pope Benedict and his support of the Traditional Latin Mass–well deserved praise, I must say, of the Pope Emeritus’ promulgation of Summorum Pontificum.

But then there is this:

Benedict’s intervention was not perfect. His intellectual attempt to save the Council and the new Mass from criticism with a “hermeneutic of continuity” was a noble failure. If the council intended continuity, why did it throw every aspect of Catholic worship up for possible revision in its documents? Why was the council swiftly followed by the worst spasm of iconoclasm in the history of the church — a tearing down of altars, images, statues — and a hasty revision to nearly every part of Catholic life?

Interesting rhetorical questions, which Dougherty does not answer.  But the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy is a nice spinning lure that always hooks the fish.

It just illustrates how Benedict XVI is so often used and abused in order to push one agenda or another.  Calling Pope Benedict’s hermeneutic of continuity a “noble failure” and brushing it off with a wave of the hand also illustrates why I am not a traditionalist.

I Believe in Ghosts, or Even More on Crypto-Lefebvrism

For a group of people who believe that there is no content to the term “crypto-Lefebvrism” those at Rorate Caeli along with Roberto de Mattei devote a good deal of time and space to the question. They also seem to be quite concerned about the criticisms I have been lodging, devoting as much time and energy as they have to the question, while making sure that they avoid linking to my blog.

But I am willing to concede that the crypto-Lefebvrists are ghosts. At least, they sure do behave like them. Etherial creatures they are, lurking in the shadows and working in the dark.

The latest contribution about this matter on Rorate Caeli is from pseudonymous Fr. Pio Pace who claims that the Holy See has been engaged in the “programmed destruction of the Franciscan of the Immaculate.” Not surprisingly, he calls the allegation of “cryto-Lefebvrism” simply the absurd and baseless pretext for the destruction of the FI. All the while he employs a revisionist historical narrative of the dialogue of the Holy See with the SSPX in the service of his allegation of the Church’s attack on traditionalism within the FI. Continue reading

What Happened to the Dialogue between Rome and the SSPX?

This post has been a long time coming.  It recounts much of what ought to be clear to the careful observer, but since it runs contrary to the popular narrative this documentation is in order.  I wish to put to rest the fatuous misrepresentations of the dialogue between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X.

My account is by no means complete, but neither does it omit the pertinent facts. A separate analysis could be devoted to the various nuances of positions represented within the Society.  The Society is by no means a homogeneous group and admits of degrees of intensity in regard to the “hardline.”  It is certainly true that there was more sympathy within the Society towards the Pope Benedict’s efforts at reconciliation than was often manifested in the media.  However, for several reasons, I do not think it is necessary to attend to these nuances in order to bring to light the aspects of the history that are often ignored.  First of all, this is so because it is what the leaders of the SSPX think that is decisive.  The opinions of individual members do not represent the Society per se.  On the other hand, what the leaders, particularly Bishop Fellay, set down is policy.  Secondly, the nuances are not essential to this account because the position of Bishop Fellay is relatively moderate within the SSPX.  In fact, he was greatly criticized by many members for his willingness to consider a doctrinal agreement at all.

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The Crypto-Lefebvrist Dodge

The following is my response to Professor Roberto de Mattei (Italian, English) who recently came to the defense of Rorate Caeli. I note that neither de Mattei nor Rorate Caeli link to my original critiques (1 & 2).

Professor Roberto De Mattei, like New Catholic at Rorate Caeli, believes that my use of the term “crypto-Lefebvrism” is meaningless. They say that it is name-calling directed at faithful Catholics. In particular, de Mattei believes that my intention is to demonize those whose only wish is to be guided by Tradition and the Magisterium, and who under that guidance decide for themselves when the reigning Pope is to be followed and when he is not.

I have been saying for a long time that Bishop Fellay, the superior of the Society of St. Pius X, has been highly successful at executing his intention for the now failed dialogue with Rome. That intention, which he explicitly stated a number of times, was that the work of the Society should serve to weaken the influence of Vatican II. Roberto de Mattei has labored at this right along the Society of St. Pius X. Continue reading