I wrote the following article shortly after the beginning of the new year. At the time I was not sure what I wanted to do with it, but now, in the light of the negative responses to the Holy Father’s abdication, I think it is time for me to put it out.
Rather than revise it in the light of the recent events, I am just going to leave it the way it is. It is long, but it provides significant research into crypto-traditionalism and why it is a pernicious problem that needs to be called out.
NB: The links to the endnotes are not functioning at the moment. I will try to fix them.
The Postconciliar Moment
The Year of Faith provides a backdrop for recent developments regarding the hoped for regularization of the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) and the ongoing controversy concerning the Second Vatican Council. Not only have questions been raised about the doctrinal value of the Council itself, but also of what position Pope Benedict has taken on the matter of the Council’s continuity with Tradition. I contend that those who denigrate the Council because they find major parts of it to be in rupture with Tradition do so along ideological linesand are therefore compelled either to publicly disagree with the Holy Father or to cherry-pick from his teaching.
Year of Faith
This Year of Faith, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the inauguration of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, might be characterized as the postconciliar moment. We are beneficiaries of both the patrimony of the conciliar texts and a very problematic postconciliar implementation of them. We have witnessed extremes of all kinds, but mostly those of the progressive wing. All the while, the postconciliar popes have been patiently and consistently working to restore the interpretation of the Second Vatican Council to both Tradition and legitimate progress. In a particular way, Pope Benedict has made it his task to bring about a reconciliation with our past, without, however, backing away from the legitimate aspirations of the Council indicated in its actual texts.
I believe the Year of Faith may be the postconciliar moment for two reasons: First, we are witnessing a very definite shift from progressivism to traditionalism. This has been occurring for some time, but is now plainly evident. Progressivism is slowly growing out of fashion and the trend, at least in some circles, is moving definitely toward traditionalism. Continue reading
With the stunning announcement of the Holy Father’s resignation to take place on February 28, the speculation will begin as to his successor will be and as to the direction the new pontificate will take. Of particular interest to me is the “hermeneutic of continuity” of Pope Benedict in respect to the Second Vatican Council. This is a hot issue at the very moment the Holy Father announces his resignation.
The Holy Father’s appeal to a renewal of faith based on the proper assimilation of the texts of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church is being rejected, in very the name of the faith, in favor of some “more faithful” and “holier” version of Catholicism. In fact, this is the appeal of traditionalism: it represents a more vital commitment to the faith than can even be mustered by the Vicar of Christ. I am sure we will witness from the traditionalists the hope and prophecy of a more “dogmatic” papacy.
Wait for a much louder drum beating. It is coming. Continue reading
Charles Morerod, OP, Bishop of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg
The SSPX, their Orthodox sympathizers and New Catholic at Rorate Caeli, just ignore the bishop’s explanation and equate it with spitefulness because they don’t want to be held accountable for their own choices.
Bishop Fellay just said that the SSPX is willing to loose everything in order to preserve their “faith.” Bishop Morerod’s decision is consistent with Church law, which the traditionalists reject because they have chosen to follow their own conscience.
We all make choices and then reap the benefits and suffer the consequences. That is not persecution. That is life.
Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain an end of the war.
—Our Lady of Fatima, September 13, 1917
In her spiritual commentary on these words of Our Lady of Fatima, Sr. Lucia dos Santos, the eldest of the three seers at Fatima, states that war can only be brought to an end by prayer and sacrifice. Of, course the “war” Our Lady is speaking of is the First World War. However, Sr. Lucia’s ties the praying of the Rosary to the end of all war. Her reflection about “the end of the war” is a long disquisition on the existence of evil spirits and our combat with them. Salvation is a matter of spiritual combat. Its weapons and tactics are not those of this world. The prayer of the Rosary is, so to speak, the weapon of choice in the conflict at which our souls are at stake.
The Church Militant is the term used to identify the life of Christ’s followers on earth. It is a general term that situates us between heaven (the Church Triumphant) and purgatory (the Church Suffering) in a state of crisis and combat. St. Paul’s exhortation to put on the armor of God urges us to act like we are at war, to be aware of the “enmity” that exists between God and Satan and how that conflict is played out in our souls and in the history of men. St. Paul is clear about distinguishing this war from general human conflict:
For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places (Eph 6:12). Continue reading
Recent developments shed light on Bishop Fellay’s inflammatory statements of December 28. The bridge he burned had been carefully reinforced some weeks earlier by Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, Vice-President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. The Holy Father has entrusted to the Archbishop the task of dialoguing with the Society of St. Pius X in the hopes of restoring its unity with the Church.
The letter was sent in French during Advent to Bishop Fellay and the priests of the Society. In the last few days, it was posted on the internet in both French and English. Whether the English is the original of Archbishop Di Noia is not clear, but the version used here is apparently the same quoted in the Catholic News Service article recently published.
I would just like to highlight two points that he makes and leave you to read and reflect on the rest. Archbishop Di Noia suggests charity and discretion as the way forward.
- On the other, the SSPX still considering that certain passages of the teaching of Vatican II cannot be reconciled with the preceding Magisterium, it could discuss it, as long as it:- abstains as a matter of principle from [discussing them in] the mass media;- does not establish itself as a parallel magisterium;- always presents the objections in a positive and constructive manner- bases all its analyses on deep and wide theological bases.
During a 2-hour conference given in Ontario, Canada on December 28th, 2012, Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society St. Pius X, commented on the relations between the Holy See and the SSPX during the last two years.
During the conference Bishop Fellay stated “Who, during that time, was the most opposed that the Church would recognize the Society? The enemies of the Church. The Jews, the Masons, the Modernists…”
The word “enemies” used here by Bishop Fellay is of course a religious concept and refers to any group or religious sect which opposes the mission of the Catholic Church and her efforts to fulfill it: the salvation of souls.
This religious context is based upon the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the Holy Gospels: “He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.” (Matthew 12:30)
By referring to the Jews, Bishop Fellay’s comment was aimed at the leaders of Jewish organizations, and not the Jewish people, as is being implied by journalists.
Accordingly the Society of St. Pius X denounces the repeated false accusations of anti-Semitism or hate speech made in an attempt to silence its message.
Okay, it’s not antisemitism. It’s crypto-antisemitism. Is that better?
And why are we getting this from the US District of the SSPX and not from His Excellency himself?
We have many enemies, many enemies. But look . . and that is very interesting. Who during that time was the most opposed that the Church will recognize the Society? The enemies of the Church: the Jews, the Masons and the Modernists. The most opposed that the Society would be recognized as Catholic: the enemies of the Church. Interesting, isn’t it? More than that, what was the point? What did they say to Rome? They said: “You must oblige these people to accept Vatican II.” That’s also very interesting, isn’t it? People, who are outside the Church, who clearly during centuries are enemies of the Church, say to Rome, if you want to accept these people, you must oblige them to accept the Council. Isn’t that interesting? Oh, it is! I think it is fantastic, because it shows that Vatican II is their thing, not the Church’s. They see—the enemies of the Church—their benefit in the Council. Very interesting! So, I may say, that is the kind of argument we are going to use with Rome, trying to make them reflect, trying to make them reflect.
Bishop Bernard Fellay, SSPX, December 28, 2012 (1:18:23-1:20:06)
“Very interesting, isn’t it?” This repeated phrase is supposed to let us know that there is more to what Bishop Fellay is saying than what he actually puts in words. In the world of traditionalism, the good bishop’s suggestion enjoys a certain amorphous plausability. That is all it needs. It has plenty of gas and will go a long way. Continue reading