The Year For Consecrated Life Has Begun

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On the First Sunday in Advent, November 30, 2014, Pope Francis released a message inaugurating the Year for Consecrated Life, which will end on February 2, 2016, the Feast of the Presentation. In the message the Holy Father outlines a program for reflection and action that should be a source of renewal for individual consecrated persons and their institutes. Please support Pope Francis and all consecrated persons in this endeavor by taking the time to read his message. I offer a few reflections of my own here. Continue reading

The Spirit(s) of the Synod

That Pope Francis would have executed the synod in the manner in which he did was predictable from many things he has said over the course of his papacy, including Evangelii Gaudium, esp. 32-39. From what he says there, especially about the “conversion of the papacy,” it seems he is not adverse to critique, as long as there is ultimate unity with Peter and under Peter (cum Petro et sub Petro).

One ought to make a distinction between legitimate but respectful criticism from those who are genuinely concerned about the preservation of the deposit of faith, and the radicalizing tendencies of certain factions who will use anything to promote their own interests. One group uses Francis’ openness to sinners as an excuse to justify the unjustifiable, and the other is bent on using the synod to prove that everything since Vatican II was a mistake. 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.

Continue reading

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

More Crypto-Lefebvrism from Rorate Caeli

New Catholic at Rorate Caeli claims to be taking the high road of honesty under the patronage of the Sol Iustitiae, even though he assiduously avoids permitting, even by way of links, anything that points out the errors made on the blog. A case in point is the grossly exaggerated figures concerning the departures from our Institute, which still have not been corrected. He has not even acknowledged that there might be a problem with his facts.

At least my superiors and Andrea Tornielli have the intestinal fortitude to put their real names on what they write and to correct their mistakes, rather than lurk in the darkness spouting lies and calumnies and then pretend they have no responsibility for what they say and do. Continue reading

The Crypto-Lefebvrism of Rorate Caeli

I need to refute certain claims made by Rorate Caeli concerning the audience that some of us (about sixty, not forty, as RC reported) had with the Holy Father on June 10.

Regarding Summorum Pontificum

Contrary to the claims of RC, there are many who are confused about the way in which the particular application of Summorum Pontificum attempted in our community involves a modification of our founding charism.  Some of these are people on the Internet, mostly in forums and comment sections, who believe our founding charism to include an attachment to the vetus ordo.  Others are within the Institute.  In fact, I have heard friars formerly in positions of responsibility who have argued that the charism has evolved to include such an attachment, even though this “evolution” is not reflected in our ecclesiastically approved legislation. Continue reading

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