The lightning rod of the SSPX is getting hit from various angles these days. Michael Voris thinks the Society is still schismatic, but Bishop Athanasius Schneider believes there is nothing seriously preventing the SSPX from being fully reconciled. In the middle, Bishop Morlino states there is very good reason why the Society finds itself in an ambiguous situation: they are not excommunicated but they have no ministry because they have chosen “to work outside of—and sometimes against—the hierarchical Church and its structures.”
The members of the SSPX are not being prevented from believing what they want about Vatican II and the new Mass. They remain without a ministry because their own definition their ministry is to expose the Council of Freemasons, Modernists and Jews and oppose the New Mass, which they believe is valid but evil.
Bishop Schneider thinks that both the Society and the Holy See overestimate the importance of Vatican II and regard it in isolation from the other Councils of the Church. But is not the solution he proposes a hermeneutic of continuity, and is this not what other traditionalists priests like those of the Fraternity of St. Peter have agreed to in order to have a ministry?
It seems to me the matter is not simply a question of charity and of stopping the infighting. With all due respect to Bishop Schneider, no matter how Bishop Fellay phrases himself the Holy See is very unlikely to give him a ministry to oppose the Council and the New Mass. And it is very unlikely that Bishop Fellay, a moderate in the Society, will agree to anything less.
Even if there were no doctrinal preamble to sign, in order to give a wider allowance for personal conscience, the Holy See would assure that the Society’s rules reflect the same kind of agreement made by the Ecclesia Dei communities. But the preamble helps to assure that members of the Society know clearly that their personal opinions and what they are permitted to do with the Church’s sanction are two different things.
And lets be Frank. The Holy See has every reason to believe that a mandate given to the SSPX ministry on a “as they are” basis would be considered a blessing on the Society’s mission to oppose Vatican II and the New Mass.
The other day Damian Thompson published a candid history of the Catholic blogosphere, which covers its heyday during the reign of Benedict XVI to its subsequent decline in recent years. Thompson knows a lot about this since he was on the ground floor of the Catholic digital information explosion, having been the writer for the very popular and hard-hitting blog, Holy Smoke.
As noted here before, the information democracy of the Internet has largely served the interests of the more conservative minded, both within the Church and in the secular world, because the mainstream media (secular and Catholic) has long been dominated by the left. Thompson acknowledges this, and accurately situates the new informational freedom in the context of Benedict XVI’s reform of the reform. With papal power behind doctrinal and liturgical reform as well as unrestricted access to the public through the blogosphere, a large sector of the Church, formerly marginalized, now had an opportunity to further what they saw as the true Church’s agenda. Continue reading →
The following essay has been writing for this blog by one of our seminarians, Fra Josemaria M. Barbin. I agree with it in its entirely.
Some say that J. R. R. Tolkien is a black-and-white thinker who just pits the force of good against that of evil. However, his characters prove how Tolkien’s writing does not fall readily into such simple categories. The Istari (also known as wizards), for instance, reveal that in Middle-earth things are no so black-and-white. Tolkien’s wizards illustrate how one may do evil even with the best of intentions, when one is seduced by the temptation to use an evil means to a good end. Continue reading →
Fr. Fidenzio Volpi generously assumed a position of authority within the Institute at the bequest of the Holy Father which he neither asked for or wanted. He did so under extraordinarily difficult circumstances and in the process paid the price by being pilloried in the gauntlet of the Catholic Internet, for the most part by people who did not know him and who knew nothing about the situation with which he was dealing apart from what they read from bloggers with an axe to grind.
I am personally grateful for the sacrifices he selflessly made on behalf of the Church and our Institute. It was a no win situation for him, but he never complained about it. He just continually asked us to do what the Churched asked of us, and gave us an example to follow. He was a good man, and much aligned in the manner of a true follower of Christ.
Please pray for the repose of his soul, and for the good of our Institute. There has already been enough talk and too much sabotage. Now is the time to believe like Catholics and use supernatural means to achieve what can only be a supernatural end, namely, the restoration of unity within our Institute and its perseverance.
Over the past week the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate having been in mourning the loss of Fr. Gabriel Maria Polo, who passed away following a heart attack in Cebu, Philippines. He was forty-three years old, nineteen years in religious vows and twelve years a priest of Jesus Christ.
Fr. Gabriel for a time was a missionary in Anapolis, Brazil and latter was assigned to Stoke On Trent, England. More recently he was the master of postulants and the superior of the formation house in Naga, Philippines.
I came to know Fr. Gabriel while I was assigned to the friary in Cornwall, England. He was a fine friar and priest, kind and joyful, and he was particularly good to me. I am honored to have called him a brother and a friend.
As I understand, he was interred yesterday is Cebu.
Please pray for the repose of his soul and for the consolation of his family.
I include here a video tribute to him, prepared by Fra Didacus as well as some photos from when he was assigned to England provided by Fr. Agnellus.
Now Fr. Gabriel has both hands free.
Fr. Gabriel taking it all in.
Fra Solanus, Fr. Agnellus and Fr. Gabriel
Fr. Gabriel and Fr. Agnellus
Fr. Gabriel and Fr. Agnellus
Fr. Gabriel, Fra Leonardo (his cousin), Fr. Agnellus, Fra Solanus and Fra George
In my last post, I quoted Fr. Volpi response to the claim that he is no longer able to carry out the function given to him by the Holy See to govern our Institute as the Apostolic Commissioner. He effectively denied it. Since then a further claim has been made that in spite of Fr. Volpi’s attestation to the contrary, “he is unable to carry out, both physically and mentally,” his duties.
The source for this report professes to “confirm” (without providing evidence) that the “Volpi era” is effectively over. So the source pretends to both know and at the same time “respect” Fr. Volpi’s his privacy concerning personal medical status, which certainly is the business of the Capuchins and the Holy See, but not that of a blogger or the general public. Continue reading →
I already have reassumed the full exercize of the functions of government and am about to resume normal work.
—Fr. Fidenzio Volpi, May 15, 2015
Fr. Volpi thanks everyone for their prayers and wishes to confirm that reports of his death have been greatly exaggerated.
If there ever were a major change in the government of the Institute or any other important news, one should expect to hear it from the Holy See or the Institute itself.
I cannot stress too much what ought by now to be apparent to all, namely, that blogs are not news outlets and bloggers are not disinterested reporters or journalists. When they do “break stories” their work ought to be checked against how self-serving the stories are, and whether or not they are willing to post alternative positions.
Furthermore, just because a web site aggregates the work of many writers does not mean that it is anything more than an aggregated blog. One-sidedness is a dead give away that you have a blog and not a serious news source. Even when scholars and journalists blog, they are, believe it or not, blogging and not performing the work of a scholar or journalist.
All this being said, I still don’t see why so many Catholic bloggers have such a hard time telling the truth, instead of just pushing their agenda.
On June 8th and 9th of this year, Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, FI, will have his lifetime of theological work honored by a large number of scholars in a symposium, entitled: Sursum Actio: Symposium in Honor of Peter Damian Mary Fehlner, FI. The event will be conducted at Notre Dame University. Please click here for more information about the speakers and venue. Continue reading →