A Clarification About “Attacking” Bishops

The word “attack” in the title to my previous post “Why Those Who Publically Attack Bishops Are Wrong,” is not a synonym for “criticize.” I take this opportunity to clarify my meaning here in a separate post where it won’t get lost in the comments. I also intend here to deal with certain other issues raised in the comments.

I thought it would be clear from the section on “Fraternal Correction” that I was distinguishing between “attacking” and “criticizing.” I wrote the following:

All of this is not to say that fraternal correction of our superiors is never in order, or that we are never justified in having recourse to higher superiors in the Church, or in publically correcting scandal, even when bishops commit it. You can read St. Thomas Aquinas on the subject here. I don’t pretend to have all the answers to the complex situations of our age, but I do know that matter is not as simple as some Internet pundits make it.

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Why Those Who Publicly Attack Bishops Are Wrong

There is reason to be ambivalent about Michael Voris’ resolution not to publically criticize the Holy Father.  Mark Shea has shown good example for having been quick and firm in his commendation of Voris.  I certainly could have been more gracious in the matter, especially considering that Voris has refused to back down in the face of the reactionary backlash. But even Mark Shea, as gracious as he is, acknowledges the same defect that I have found necessary to emphasize, namely, that Voris’ “gospel of anger” has created the reactionary “Frankenstein” that now wishes to eat him.  In my estimation this is because his argument for his silence about the Holy Father is on shaky ground.

Voris has worked hard to distinguish between his jihad against the bishops and his reverent silence concerning the Pope. He says the Pope is different, but to my mind does not really show how. And his reactionary friends along side of whom he used to fight have now pointed their weapons at him. Still, I do commend him sincerely for having drawn this line, and I do not want this post to be perceived as fundamentally polemical.  Voris is sincerely trying to work his way through the quagmire of modern Church life and it is not easy. Continue reading

Accounting for Differences in Papal Unity

I direct your attention to two rather provocative essays.  The first is by Sam Rocha: “Francis’s Radical Realism: Performance v. Ideology,” which attempts to interpret Pope Francis’ statement in Evangelii Gaudium “realities are more important than ideas.”  It is a challenging read and a controversial one, but no less than the statement of Pope Francis.

As a Franciscan and a Scotist any attempt within Catholic orthodoxy to give adequate accounting for the concrete and personal is of interest to me.  I also find it interesting that in the essay the concrete is set against ideology, not philosophy or theology per se, but the subordination of realities and especially persons to ideas.  I do believe that this is exactly what is happening today, especially on the fringes, where progressivist dogmas and appeals to supossed doctrinal purity seem to narrow the gospel to obsessions over only part of the message.  This sectarian reduction of the gospel ends by instrumentalizing persons. Continue reading

Teaching from Lost Teaching Moments

Good for him. I would have no sense of judgment on him. God bless ya. I don’t think, look, the same Bible that tells us, that teaches us well about the virtues of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage also tells us not to judge people. So I would say, “Bravo.”

–Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Michael Sam’s coming out

I have received a number of frustrated and angry emails about this.  Though I think it should be fairly obvious that the Cardinal is not condoning homosexual behavior, His Eminence clearly fell into the trap set for him.

Without a doubt, no matter what any person with same sex attraction actually believes about his or her sexual orientation and the acts that might proceed from that attraction, letting other people know about it involves the risk of public embarrassment and rejection.  The answer that society at large presents us is that there is nothing wrong with either the attraction or the acts and that rather than be embarrassed by one’s homosexuality, gay people and the rest of us should celebrate it.  Unfortunately the Cardinal’s remarks only reinforce this idea, even if he is otherwise clear that same sex attraction is disordered and homosexual acts sinful. Continue reading

What the Fisher More Situation Teaches Us

The current situation with Fisher More College is the new handle on the radical traditionalist axe.  As though an indisputable fact, it is being compared with the restrictions placed on the use of the Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy within the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.  The story goes that whatever the problems might have been in these institutions there simply can be no legitimate reasons, or motivations of pastoral charity, that would justify a moratorium on the use of the old Missal.  But I believe a more apt comparison is to be drawn between the way in which the two situations have been used for propaganda purposes by these traditionalists.

In both cases there has been a leaking of documentation to Internet blogger/journalists, whose credentials show them to be, not just advocates for the full implementation of Summorum Pontificum, but also mouthpieces for the extreme side of traditionalism (end of the reform of the reform, the horror of Pope Francis, the impossibility of a hermeneutic of continuity, etc.).  Likewise, in both cases there has been a great deal of prejudicial conjecture, placing the worst possible interpretation on the decisions made by the Church.  In the case of the FI, the problem has been fire-bombed with conspiracy theory and the wholesale destruction of reputations.  It needs to be clear that is has been the traditionalist sources that have made a public spectacle of these ecclesiastical problems.  If any reputations have been damaged on either side, it has been due to the fact that they chose to fight this problem out in the public square. Continue reading

Church Militant TV Weighs In

Following up on my previous posts concerning Church Militant TV, I want to point out several important developments.

First, Louie Verrecchio has fired back at Michael Voris regarding his manifesto that CMTV will not publicly criticize the Holy Father.  It is interesting.  I completely disagree with Verrecchio’s rad trad Protestantism ideology/propaganda [see] but I think he making the same point that I do in my previous posts.

Next, take a look at the comment section beginning here with a the discussion that has ensued between Terry Carrol, Executive Producer of CMTV, Christine Niles, who seems to have some loose association with CMTV, and myself (look for commenters Christine Niles, person111, and Terry Carrol).

I have been saying for a long time that this is the postconciliar moment, and that Bishop Fellay’s agenda to change the terms of the discussion regarding Vatican II has largely succeeded.  Now CMTV is scrambling at the edge of the brink and trying to walk the edge.

More on Patrick Archbold and Michael Voris

Michael Voris has interviewed Pat Archbold about his piece that I commented on here.  I have to say that Archbold is completely genuine and motivated by love for the Church.  He is clearly moved by deep concern.

Both Archbold and Voris admit that the proposal for Pope Francis to regularize the SSPX without an agreement might be naive, but they believe that there is a greater good to be achieved that is worth the risk, because the marginalization of traditionalists, perceived or real, may end very badly and be irreversible.

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Conspiracy Corner: Pope Benedict Not a Subscriber

From the pen of Andrea Torneilli:

On 16 February, the author of this article sent the Pope Emeritus a letter with some specific questions regarding these interpretations. A response came two days later. “There is absolutely no doubt regarding the validity of my resignation from the Petrine ministry,” Ratzinger wrote in his letter of reply. The only condition for the validity of my resignation is the complete freedom of my decision. Speculations regarding its validity are simply absurd.” Those closest to Ratzinger had been aware of the possibility of his resignation for a long time and he himself confirmed it in a book-length interview with the German journalist Peter Seewald (“Light of the World”, 2010): “If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically, and spiritually capable of handling the duties of office, then he has a right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign.” . . .

In the letter he sent to us, the Pope Emeritus answered some questions regarding his decision to keep his papal name and continue dressing in white. “I continue to wear the white cassock and kept the name Benedict for purely practical reasons. At the moment of my resignation there were no other clothes available. In any case, I wear the white cassock in a visibly different way to how the Pope wears it. This is another case of completely unfounded speculations being made,” he wrote.

Next stop on our conspiracy tour:  “Pope Emeritus Benedict kidnapped and replaced by an impostor,” or “Lets see the letter.  It was forged and Pope Emeritus Benedict has been silenced.”  Watch for it.

This is one against “The Wedge.”

More Evidence of the “Wedge”

Pat Archbold of Creative Minority Report has published another “open letter” to the Holy Father, like the one he published about my community.  This time it is an appeal to regularize the SSPX without requiring from them any agreement whatsoever.  His post was up on The National Catholic Register website, but the editors there removed it.  (In my estimation, a wise choice.)  He has now posted it on his own blog.

Archbold argues that the generosity extended by Pope Francis recently to a group of charismatic Protestants ought also to be extended to a group of Catholics who hold no doctrinal errors.  I do not understand this logic, since while Pope Francis encouraged unity he did not invite these Protestants into full communion or suggest that they enjoyed it. (My bad. See comments: 1, 2) Continue reading

Rome Reports

I have been in Rome for nearly a month now, working on the details of my studies. Nothing definite to report there.

On Sunday a group of us were privileged to attend the Holy Father’s Mass for the Feast of the Presentation, which was also the 18th World Day for Consecrated Life.  You can read his homily here.

I found Pope Francis’ simple and yet significant notice of the Presentation as a meeting between the young and the old—between the Holy Family and the Simeon and Anna—to be remarkably astute, as it is a revealing and accurate exegesis of St. Luke’s gospel reading. The youth are  in the Temple to observe the Law.  The old are there under the spirit of Prophecy.  The Holy Father goes on to reiterate what he has said before, religious must preserve their traditions in the fervor of youth and at the same time be open to the wisdom of prophetic grace:

And in the consecrated life we live the encounter between the young and the old, between [observance] and prophecy. Let’s not see these as two opposing realities! Let us rather allow the Holy Spirit to animate both of them, and a sign of this is joy: the joy of observing, of walking within a rule of life; the joy of being led by the Spirit, never unyielding, never closed, always open to voice of God that speaks, that opens, that leads us and invites us to go towards the horizon.

It’s good for the elderly to communicate their wisdom to the young; and is good for the young people to gather this wealth of experience and wisdom, and to carry it forward, not so as to store it in a museum, but to bring it forward addressing the challenges of life, to carry it forward for the sake of respective religious orders and of the whole Church.

Here are some recent photos: