Rorate Caeli

For the record

The German press is still obsessing about the events that followed the removal of the excommunication of the four bishops of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X. (FSSPX / SSPX). One could be more sympathetic if the Polish bishops, government, and media were this obsessed... As a perspicacious commentator wrote regarding the statement of the Polish Episcopal Conference (very supportive of Pope Benedict), and how it contrasted with the German, Austrian, and Swiss reactions: "Amazing what a guilty conscience will do."

Anyway, Der Spiegel once again sought the opinion of a bishop of the SSPX, Bishop Bernard Fellay, its Superior General:

Bishop Bernard Fellay, the head of the ultra-conservative Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), has apologized for the comments made by Bishop Richard Williamson denying the scale of the Holocaust and said he had asked Williamson to retract "this nonsense."
...
"As soon as I saw this interview I told him to correct this nonsense," Fellay said. "The sooner, the better."

Fellay described Williamson as "educated and cultivated" and said the Society didn't understand how the bishop could have been so mistaken. "If one holds a person in esteem, it's very sad," said Fellay.

Fellay stressed that the Society of Saint Pius X instructed its priests to limit themselves to teaching religious faith and practice. "I must concede that we weren't strict enough here," he said.
In other news, French Catholic magazine Famille Chrétienne should publish tomorrow their interview with Bishop Fellay, in which he gave more detailed answers regarding what the discussions on Vatican II could involve, including a distiction between "the spirit and the letter" of the Council.

"There is a dangerous spirit which permeates all the Council, and, in this sense, we reject it"; and he adds: "but, when we speak of the letter, it is not about rejecting it outright as it is".

Also related: A reader sends us a link to the extensive opinion note written by Martin Mosebach for the current edition of Der Spiegel - an article which was printed, but was not made available online, as if it were destined to oblivion.

73 comments:

Philoctetes said...

Though I lack convincing factual evidence to refute Bishop Williamson's claims, I am inclined to believe he was incorrect. Lacking Msgr. Fellay's apparent omniscience, I am unable to call them "nonsense," though were I he, I would not have done so in any case, given that such a display of disloyalty might be perceived as pernicious by SSPX contributors--FORMER contributors--such as myself.

I am a hostage to the SSPX Mass, but I suggest to the arrogant superior that he seek funding from the Vatican hereafter. If my identity is discovered and I am barred from the chapel for lese majeste, so be it. I am ashamed to have contributed in ANY way to an organization that tolerates such dishonorable behavior as this in its titular leader.

Msgr. Williamson may well have been wrong, and I believe him to have been so in the matter of the interview, but so crude and openly disloyal a manner of casting him overboard ill befits the would-be leader of a Traditional Catholic organization. Msgr. Fellay should publically apologize to the CATHOLIC bishop he has insulted and belittled, and he should then RESIGN!

Enough is enough.

tomm said...

Prayers, my fellow SSPX adherents, Prayers! Viva Christo Rey!

Confiteor said...

I hope that +Fellay doesn't take too much heat for distinguishing between the "spirit" and the "letter" of Vatican II. He's getting his foot in the door. Patience, patience.

I see that the French edition of the latest Christendom (see DICI) carries a sermon by +Fellay on the meaning of Our Lord's injunction about rendering unto Caesar. I look forward to reading it in English!

Anonymous said...

I hope the Vatican sticks to healing this schism as well as speaking out against holocaust denial. True Catholics are not anti-semitic, true Catholics are with the Holy Father, true Catholics reject Modernism.

Anonymous said...

What is this talk about the spirit of the Council. The letter of Dignitatis Humanæ killeth. It killeth faith.

The S.S.P.X must hold the line and refuse to accept any new doctrine emanating from Vatican II. The Society can accept the Pope's Sacred Magisterium and it can go one step further and recognise that Vatican II was a valid œcumenical council. But it should not agree to any new doctrine. If we faithful are not required to assent to them, the Society should not be required to assent to them as a condition of ministry. Are new religious orders required to assent to the doctrines of Lateran IV by specific mention? Not.

In this dangerous time, Fellay must hold fast on this.

Having said that, we need a structure for the Society and we need it yesterday. If His Excellency and the Pope delay on this, the German press will have a field day examining the Society's newsletters over the past forty years in search of its pre-conclusion that the Society is a fascist sect. Action needs to be taken NOW.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

And what is the difference between the "spirit" and the "letter" of the statement by VII that Muslims and Christians worship the same God? It's disappointing. I hope the SSPX doesn't end up going down tbe same road as the FSSP.

St. Rafael said...

I have complete confidence in Bishop Fellay. He knows what he is doing.

Bishop Fellay would make an excellent Pope and could come close to the greatness of Puis X, if justice moves forward, and he gets a red hat.

Athanasius said...

Philoctetes

I am a long-time supporter of the SSPX (20 years) and I have to disagree with your assessment.

Bishop Williamson has been a public embarrassment to the Society for as long as I can remember with these crazy conspiracy theories of his. It does not belong to the office of a bishop of the Catholic Church to become obsessed with such secular controversies. His duty on this earth is to save souls, nothing more or less.

If he had stuck to this duty we would all be a lot better off today.

I truly hope Bishop Williamson has learned a good lesson from this business.

I have learned two lessons from it. The first is that Bishop Fellay is culpable for not having addressed Bishop Williamson's behaviour before now. The other is that, Bishop Williamson aside, it would seem that the people of this world are perfectly free to deny any historical facts they please provided they do not deny the Shoah. This is really worrying if you happen to be a non-Jew.

Anonymous said...

As a traditionalist who has never supported the S.S.P.X but sympathises with it, my position is as follows:

1. Vatican II is not a Dogma of the Faith; it is not infallible. Since it does not require us to assent to anything new which is not necessary (see Fr. McDonald's and Mr. Davies's analysis), we can withhold assent from the whole damn thing. All of it. The baby and the bathwater together. All except what it repeats from the past.

2. I refuse to assent to anything new in Vatican II. I don't read it. I read Quanta Cura and have a copy of it at my bedside. It is the true guide to the Church's teaching on political matters.

3. I specifically refuse to assent to Dignitatis Humanæ which includes, as far as I can see, heretical teaching. However, I leave this to the Sacred Magisterium and accept whatever it requires on this, which is nothing so far.


As I see it, Fellay has two options now. The first is to resolve all the doctrinal difficulties before accepting a jurisdiction. This cannot be rushed just because the press is screaming about Williamson. It is a process which will take several years, if not decades, to resolve. It will take a real jesuist to explain how D.H. can be harmonised with Quanta Cura, 1864.

The other route is to accept the structure NOW, asap, yesterday, and agree to accept the Sacred Magisterium but not to assent to ANYTHING AT ALL in Vatican II. At most, he would merely confess that Vatican II is legitimately an œcumenical council. If he's smart, he won't assent to any part of it, including uncontroversial passages. Remember that the whole damn thing is poisoned by the Spirit of Modernism.

By accepting regularisation in an international and 'personal' apostolic administration or diocese--a Campos writ large--, and by agreeing to engage in respectful criticism of Vatican II as the I.P.B. does, the Society could then resolve the doctrinal problems over the next twenty to fifty years. Once these liberal heretics have all died off and gone to hell, where they belong. Rome could anathematise their errors point-by-point.

Think of this, Bishop Fellay, this is a large enterprise for the service of the Church. It will take years to do it right, and we must do it right or future generations will suffer for it.

On another thread, Mr. McFarland made some ignorant statements about the Campos structure. The Campos structure was NOT rejected by the S.S.P.X but called the 'Rolls Royce' solution by Bishop Fellay in 2003. The Society certainly does reject the Campos action but NOT owing to the juridical provision. He needs to read up on the reasons.

I note that there is nothing at all in law which requires Bishop Rifan to participate in N.O. Masses. So why has he done this at least twice now? I don't know. Ask him, don't ask me.

When the Campos was erected as a p.a.a. in 2002, it was originally to embrace all of Brazil. The Brazilian bishops hit the roof when they found out about the plans of J.P. II and they demanded that it be restricted to one tiny diocese out of 262 in Brazil, a gilded cage, if you will. I suspect that Rifan is dancing with the Brazilian clergy because he's trying to get it back to cover all of Brazil. At present, fourteen Brazilian dioceses have the old Mass every Sunday and his priests are active in several of them, but this has to be done at present a the invitation of the local ordinary.

The S.S.P.X's problem with the Campos deal was NEVER the juridical structure but the Campos priests' agreement to assent to Vatican II in the 'light of tradition'. Once they'd signed up, the Pope announced that, of course, this meant 'living tradition'. That's why the S.S.P.X must, even now, hold fast and REFUSE to assent to ANYTHING from Vatican II.

I reiterate the following:

1. Make the deal happen asap, yesterday, tomorrow before breakfast, before the German secular press manage to mischaracterise the Society as a fascist sect, for then regularisation will be impossible.

2. The structure be an apostolic administration or else a diocese or archdiocese which is 'personal' in the sense of Canon 372.2, international, and exempt (directly subject to the Holy See.

3. The Society must be allowed to keep its real property in civil corporations which can then rent the use of the chapels for a nominal fee. Bishop Fellay: whatever you do, do NOT cede the property to this panzerpope. If it gets attached to the juridical structure, the next pope will replace you, steal the property, and then impose Modernism on the S.S.P.X. This is what Msgr. Perl lives for.

4. The Society would sign a document which fully recognises the Pope's Sacred Magisterium; and it might recognise V. II as a legitimate œcumenical council.

5. H.H. would appoint Bishop Fellay as apostolic administrator or proper (rather than local) ordinary and the following as auxiliary bishops: Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, Bishop de Galarreta, and Fr. Schmidberger.

6. Bishop Williamson would be regularised along with the rest but will not be allowed to exercise ministry unless he recants his views by 1st March. Even if he does recant, he will receive no appointment in the new structure. Is this unjust? No: he is being punished for his imprudence, not his views on the Holocaust, which he has every bloody right to hold.

5. The religious orders now affiliated with the S.S.P.X, each at its own request, would be incorporated into the personal apostolic administration or personal (arch)diocese.

Please note, if anyone on this blog even mentions a 'personal prelature' ever again, I will hunt you down and strangle you with my own hands. Let's not help the secular press destroy tradition.

P.K.T.P.

Joe B said...

Don't be so quick to turn on a trad. Most of us have some pretty counter-cultural views, you know. Mason behind every tree, anyone? Creation? Earth at the center? Women, stay home and have lots of wonderful children? 9-11 an inside job, anyone?

Anyone in the traditionalist movement that gets queasy about being marginalized by counter-cultural views probably ought to go find another cause.

And the Earth really does have four corners. They just all meet at one point.

Me said...

Philoctetes:
Did you not read Bishop Williamson's quote about "throw me into the sea"? It was humble of him to use that quote. Msgr. Fellay did not do anything wrong here. He is taking action as a leader, and thanks be to God it seems Bishop Williamson is taking it as a true Catholic. He's a man, give him some credit here! He can hold his own :) In a marriage a lot of times you have to swallow your pride. You may not always agree, but you humble yourself for the greater good. Even if your husband's wrong, you disagree, etc.. If no one's life is in danger, a good dose of humility does the body (and soul!) good!

Edward P. Walton said...

Befor Vatican ll, Bishops were Consecrated. After that Council, Bishops are now Ordained.

It sounds like previously, it was not done correctly. Is not this change a great departure? It certainly was bewildering.

Anonymous said...

I must say I find this entire discussion very interesting.

If someone could please explain to me what makes a certain statement from a council infallible and another not I would be much obliged.

I understand they said some pretty blasphemous things (and, honestly, Vatican II and John Paul II are the two major reasons I am not a Roman Catholic) but how does this work within the presuppositions of Catholic theology?

In other words, what is the difference between an Orthodox who broke during the Great Schism, a Protestant who broke at Trent and a Catholic who upholds every ecumenical council until Vatican II? Why is Vatican II so different than any other council?

This is an honest inquiry and any attempts for an answer would be much appreciated.

LeonG said...

Bishop Fellay has stated it clearly and this could well apply to many in the current Catholic episcopate. There has been too much politicking by churchmen. They should stick to teaching The Faith & Morals. Therein we can demonstrate one of the Councils' most obvious and unfortunate influences which has been to politicise Our Blessed Lord's Gospel in the world. From one extreme with Boff's Liberation Theology to the current penchant to another for the virtual sanctification of the environmental movement, it is now about time we heard our priests and bishops spreading The Gospel message as The Christ did as also his Apostles. Furthermore, we need to hear from the pulpit every Sunday why we are Roman Catholic; why we must behave like Roman Catholics and what our Roman Catholic Faith teaches us.

To this sensible message contained in Bishop Fellay's admonition ought to be added that all Freudio-Jungian psycho-social Sunday babble should be abolished and replaced with concrete Catholic teaching. The problem for many modern clerics would be that they no longer know what The Faith really teaches. How refreshing it is to hear many traditional priests talk with absolute certitude about The Roman Catholic Faith.

Finally, it must be stated that it is time to put the Williamson incident to one side and move on to the next stage. It has to be said on behalf of the Holy Father, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos and Bishop Fellay that their mutual sense of Catholic charity will not permit any cause to deflect them from the focal issues. Nothing can be exploited to undermine this process.

The archived photo New Catholic reminded us about recently contains the essential symbols of what is going to be achieved.

LeonG said...

"..it would seem that the people of this world are perfectly free to deny any historical facts they please provided they do not deny the Shoah. This is really worrying if you happen to be a non-Jew."

I have been stating this for many years now in my profession - we imagine we research in an objective manner to be scientific & we teach this to our students but in reality we try to extinguish from the public domain any perspectives that seriously challenge our own. Supporters of Evolution, Global Warming due to human activity and so on are all culpable of this irrational and near-fascist behaviour with name-calling to make it feistier. In The Church we have had the same reaction against tradition and The Holy Mass in Latin by similar elements for 45 years by those who profess liberty, equality and fraternity but not for those who love Tradition. Little wonder some traditional Catholics have a siege mentality after all they have suffered in the name of The Vatican Councils over the long years of struggle.

To this, we must add any statement made public on the dangers to the public health and to individual psychological equilibrium from sodomy. There are laws threatening imprisonment to alleged "homophobes". The Bible is now under threat of censorship from the disproportionate power wielded by the tiny secular heterophobic pro "homophile" minority. This is equally disturbing. This is why we need Tradition back in Rome where it belongs and an eventual end to secular moral relativism in the EU.

Hebdomadary said...

"...so crude and openly disloyal a manner of casting him overboard..."

Phil, if you recall, in his apology to the Holy Father casting him overboard is EXACTLY what Bishop Williamson suggested they do to calm the raging water. Are you suggesting that was less than sincere? Are you suggesting that there is the slightest treansgression in taking him EXACTLY at his word and doing just that? If he didn't mean it, he shouldn't have SAID it. It will only make him look a hypocrite if he chaffes in harness as the punishment is dolled out. Believe me, I recognize the value of the Society, I fullly acknowledge that without their leadership we would not be in the ascendent trajectory that tradition finds itself in today. But it is time for the SSPX to come in from the cold and warm up the halls of the Vatican for a while. They can always leave again if they find it warmer outside (they did once), but action is required for the good of the church and it's not up to Bp. Williamson to throw a spanner into the works. It's time to act like a good mechanic and start tuning the engine. And if he has to stand by and watch, so be it.

God protect and save Pope Benedict XVI. Our Lady of Victories intercede for him.

Peter said...

@Anonymous 11 February, 2009 03:15:

The fact that it did not want to be infallible makes the Vaticanum II fallible. Read the opening speeches by Paul VI and John XXIII and the answer from the Council's secretary, HE Pericle Felici from March 6, 1964 (repeated a few times afterwards). Furthermore, the incompatibility with the Magisterium makes it fallible.

Anonymous said...

De Gloria Olivae.

A resolution will be found.

David Joyce said...

Regarding Bishop Fellay's comment:

"There is a dangerous spirit which permeates all the Council, and, in this sense, we reject it"; and he adds: "but, when we speak of the letter, it is not about rejecting it outright as it is".

I really don't think we should get too excited or worried about this - this has always been our position, as traditional Catholics. We do reject the dangerous spirit, but not necessarily the letter ("outright" as Bishop Fellay puts it). He said recent that the SSPX accepts most of the Council, just as Archbishop Lefebvre did. It is the parts that seemingly contradict previous teaching that need clarification.

Truth will win out in the end. The triumph will be through Our Lord's Sacred Heart and Our Lady's Immaculate Heart. So let's not jump to hasty conclusions or conspiracy theories - trust that those who know the workings of the Vatican best of all in the traditional movement (i.e. the SSPX leadership) can handle the upcoming negotiations well.

Paul Haley said...

I'm very distrustful of anything that Der Speigel publishes as truthful and authoritative on the part of the SSPX and its leadership.

Bishop Fellay, I think, got caught between the proverbial rock and the hard place with the Holy See looking over his shoulder, so to speak, and I sympathize with his situation. He has my prayers and so does Bishop Williamson who is prone to speak his mind without necessarily viewing the consequences.

I truly hope Bishop Williamson re-evaluates the magnitude of the holocaust as he said he would do and his re-evaluation produces a more charitable response to the victims. For I truly believe Bishop Williamson wants to do the right thing both as a bishop and as a man.

40YrsInDesert said...

Anonymous said...
I must say I find this entire discussion very interesting.

If someone could please explain to me what makes a certain statement from a council infallible and another not I would be much obliged.

I understand they said some pretty blasphemous things (and, honestly, Vatican II and John Paul II are the two major reasons I am not a Roman Catholic) but how does this work within the presuppositions of Catholic theology?

In other words, what is the difference between an Orthodox who broke during the Great Schism, a Protestant who broke at Trent and a Catholic who upholds every ecumenical council until Vatican II? Why is Vatican II so different than any other council?

You ask good questions. Here is an attempt at a short answer. Please keep in mind that volumes can be and have been written on these subjects.

What makes a certain statement from a council infallible is that the council either declares it to be infallible, the statement reiterates something that has previously been defined as infallable, or the statement pertains to an article of faith that has always and everywhere been considered infallible.

As to your other question, the Orthodox broke off in the Great Schism over one doctrinal item - whether the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son (Roman Catholic) or directly from the Father (Orthodox). The other issue was the unwillingness to recognize the Bishop of Rome as Pope.

The Council of Trent was called in reaction to the protestant revolution in order to reaffirm and clearly delineate traditional Catholic doctrine from heresy. It was a clarifying council that stated what must be believed in order to be Catholic. Protestants who broke away lost access to the sacraments that convey grace. Validly ordained priests are needed to convey those sacraments. Protestants deny the priesthood, among other things.

VII is unique in the history of the Catholic Church in at least two ways: (1) Its express purpose was pastoral and not doctrinal, and (2) The language of the documents is ambiguous instead of clarifying.

Maureen said...

Dear Philoctestes

Perhaps before judging Bishop Fellay too harshly, you might want to read Bishop Richard Williamson's own remarks on this controversy.

"Take me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you; for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you."

Maureen

Anonymous said...

On Mr. Walton's comments: Really, it is only a change in terminology. I just continue to use the very consecrate for bishops.

P.K.T.P.

Joe B said...

LeonG,
I hope you are correct, but didn't we read in an earlier post that the jurisdiction issue was supposed to be announced something like last Monday, then delayed for only "a very short while" - like a couple of days? Somehow I suspect the Holy Father and the Vatican are, indeed, letting this issue or some other deflect them from the real issue. Shades of Vatican dealings with Archbishop Lefebvre all over again. Hopefully, the announcement will come before this gets posted and I'll be proven wrong.

Rats, wrong again.

Anonymous said...

Abou infallibility:

To be infallible, a organ of the Church must propose a certain teaching to be so, or declare anathemas against contrary teachings. It must be manifestly so. Both popes of Vatican II as well as the fathers themselves said the opposite: they said that doctrines were not infallible, usually because they did not define anything.

One passage in Vatican II also says that nothing unessential is imposed for assent. Only that which is infallible is essential. Thereofore, since nothing new in Vatican II is infallible, nothing new in Vatican II is imposed for assent. This is important because the Church can require a submission of mind and will to non-infallible teachings.

About other councils, some of them do not propose any infallible teachings; most do.

The Orthodox are considered to be schismatics as a body. However, they are also at least materiel heretics, since they deny the extent of papal jurisdiction as set forth in a Vatican I document.

Protestants are clearly heretics, and on several points.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Holocaust Revisionist Put Under Pressure by Church, Courts

Deutsche Welle | Feb. 10, 2009 http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,4017832,00.html

Church leaders aren't the only ones calling on Williamson to retract his denial of the Holocaust The superior of an ultra-conservative Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) called on Richard Williamson to "correct" his denial of the Holocaust. The move comes as Argentina, where Williamson resides, filed suit against him.

Bernard Fellay, who heads the ultra-conservative Society of St. Pius X, said Richard Williamson "should study the historical facts quickly and correct his false statements -- the sooner the better," the online version of the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported Tuesday, Feb. 10. There has been outrage, especially in Germany, over Williamson's claim to a Swedish television interviewer that there had been no gas chambers at Nazi concentration camps and "only 200,000 to 300,000" Jews had died in the camps.

Fellay, 50, said he told Williamson to "correct this nonsense" as soon as he saw the interview. "It should not have needed a papal demand to do so," Fellay said, adding that he had suspended Williamson as head of the SSPX seminary at La Reja, Argentina, on Jan. 31. "I have forbidden him to make further public statements without my permission."

Legal charges were also leveled against Williamson on Tuesday in Argentina. He is accused of denying the Holocaust, according to evidence brought to Judge Julian Ercolini's attention. The head of Argentina's National Institute Against Discrimination (INADI), Maria Jose Lubertino, said Williamson would have to correct or confirm his claims and could potentially face other legal charges.

"He is obliged to clarify the veracity of his claims," Lubertino said, according to the AFP news agency. "We are going to make a formal legal complaint and he may face up to three years in prison."

Last week, Williamson told Der Spiegel he would reexamine the historical evidence before reaching a decision on whether to apologize. "If I find proof I would rectify (earlier statements)... But all that will take time," he said, adding that he would not travel to Auschwitz.

Pope Benedict had hoped to reunited the Church by lifting the four bishops' excommunication Fellay, Williamson and two other SSPX bishops were re-admitted to the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI two weeks ago to end a 21-year schism with an estimated 600,000 ultra-traditionalist Catholics who had refused to follow the pope.

CALLS FOR POLICE SURVEILLANCE IN GERMANY

SSPX, which opposes much of the religious doctrine put in place by the Second Vatican Council, is active in Germany, where it is opposed by most official Catholic bishops. The lay people's committee of the Catholic diocese of Paderborn called Tuesday for SSPX groups to be put under police surveillance to establish if they were a threat to democracy in Germany. Several politicians in the Social Democratic and Greens parties endorsed the call.

ALSO OF INTEREST:

Your editor will be discussing the case of Bishop Williamson on the Jeff Rense radio program early next week. Watch this column for information on the date and time, or check our "News Bureau" at http://www.revisionisthistory.org

In addition to three years in jail in Argentina, CNN reports that Bishop Williamson is facing a potential five year prison sentence in Germany:

"A German district attorney (Guenther Ruckdaeschel) announced February 4 that he had launched a criminal investigation against Williamson....Denying the Holocaust in Germany is punishable by up to five years in prison." http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/02/09/germany.bishop/

Progressives at NPR Applaud Repression: "The society (of St.Pius X) has begun to clean up its act: It fired Williamson, the Holocaust denier, from his seminary; it removed a virulently anti-Semitic tract from its Web site; and it banished an Italian Holocaust-denying priest."

--Sylvia Poggioli, National Public Radio (NPR) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100534823

Anonymous said...

But what does it matter whether Vatican II is infallible or not when, in order to be a good Catholic, we have to give assent to its' "teachings" anyway? They have us either way.

AZ

Lefebvrefan said...

Anonymous said...

"If someone could please explain to me what makes a certain statement from a council infallible and another not I would be much obliged."

Dear Anonymous,

According to Catholic teaching, the Pope is infallible when he speaks by himself, ex-cathedra (meaning he is attempting to bind the entire church with his supreme authority on a definitive statement concerning faith and morals). Secondly, when the Pope in union with the Bisops of the world convene a General Ecumenical Council, such a council may also issue infallible definitive declarations on faith and morals if these are clearly intended to bind the whole church. However not every sentence or paragraph in the decrees of a Council are of equal weight. Some statements are simply dicta (background or explanatory information), and other statements are merely suggestive, but not mandatory. Not even the great Council of Trent was infallible in each and every sentence contained in its texts.

What makes Vatican II different than all of the other General Councils, is that for the first time in History, a Council declared itself to be "not dogmatic" but merely "pastoral" (meaning it was giving suggestive norms, not definitive teaching).

Archbishop Felici, the Council's General Secretary, at the closing of Vatican II, stated that the infallibility of individual declarations contained in the Council documents must be judged by comparing them to prior Church teaching:

"We have to distinguish according to the schemas and the chapters those which have already been the subject of dogmatic [infallible] definitions; as for the declarations which have a novel character, we have to make reservations." (Crying in the Wilderness Newsletter, "Ecumenism is a Fraud", Autumn 1988, p. 3; also New Jersey Catholic News, Autumn 1987, p.2).

Pope Paul VI on Jan.12, 1966, confirmed this very same thing when he stated:

"Given the pastoral character of the Council, it avoided proclaiming in an extraordinary manner dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility." (A. de Lassus, Vatican II: Rupture or Continuity, (French publ.), p. 11).

Vatican II was also different from the other councils because it contained novel ideas.

Since the Church is infallible in its binding definitions on Faith and Morals, it follows that any novel statements in the council documents which contradict what the Church had previously infallibly defined must be rejected.

This is explained in Vatican I on July 18, 1870:

"For the Holy Ghost was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of Faith [Tradition], and might faithfully set it forth."

I hope this provides some clarification for you.

Anonymous said...

Scary world we're living in. God forbid I ever say anything that's not historically or politically correct! I try not to give too much thought to the question, "are these the end times?", but boy oh boy this talk about the "SSPX groups to be put under police surveillance", has got me thinking about it!

Jordanes said...

Declaration of thr Theological Commission, 6 March 1964:

"Taking conciliar custom into consideration and also the pastoral purpose of the present Council, the sacred Council defines as binding on the Church only those things in matters of faith and morals which it shall openly declare to be binding. The rest of the things which the sacred Council sets forth, inasmuch as they are the teaching of the Church's supreme magisterium, ought. to be accepted and embraced by each and every one of Christ's faithful according to the mind of the sacred Council. The mind of the Council becomes known either from the matter treated or from its manner of speaking, in accordance with the norms of theological interpretation."

Jordanes said...

I just continue to use the very consecrate for bishops.

As does the Catholic Church, as did the Second Vatican Council. I don't know where the idea came from that bishops are now "ordained" rather than consecrated." See, for example, the Notificationes given by the Council's secretary general on 16 Nov. 1964:

"A person becomes a member of the College by virtue of Episcopal consecration and by hierarchical communion with the head of the College and with its members."

M.A. said...

"De Gloria Olivae.

A resolution will be found."

Certainly it will. Deus vult! But first, many rosaries. The greater our spiritual efforts for a speedy process, the greater will be our joy when the reconciliation is finally announced.

(And then, PKTP will be able to get some sleep!)

Jordanes said...

Vatican II was also different from the other councils because it contained novel ideas.

Not exactly. You forget that Nicaea I's inserting "homoousion" into the Creed was a novelty and was extremely controversial. Never before had a non-scriptural word been included in the Creed, and that was also a word with Sabellian baggage.

Fr. Steve said...

Finally some sanity,
Here is a link about an Orthodox Rabbi in charge of 1000 Rabbi's defending the Pope and Traditional Catholicism. Please spread the sanity.

Fr. Steve said...

Sorry forgot the link

http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/feb/09021007.html

Anonymous said...

Jordanes: Would you kindly translate that Declaration into simpler terms for those of us who are not too smart? Also, I can't find it in my Vatican Council II -the Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents book that I have.

Thank you.

AZ

Jordanes said...

Would you kindly translate that Declaration into simpler terms for those of us who are not too smart? Also, I can't find it in my Vatican Council II -the Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents book that I have.

AZ, that quote from the declaration is at the Vatican’s website. Just google “Lumen Gentium,” click on the Vatican link you find, and scroll down to the Appendix.

As for translating it into simpler terms, you’re assuming that I understand what it means. :-D

Seriously, though, as others here have said, the purpose and nature of Vatican II was pastoral rather than dogmatic. Consequently new dogmatic definitions are absent from Vatican II’s teaching. That doesn’t mean Vatican II didn’t deal in dogma and doctrine at all, because it certainly did, even issuing two dogmatic constitutions – and dogmatic constitutions and apostolic constitutions are the most authoritative magisterial documents the Church ever issues. To discern the level of authority and the degree to which a conciliar document is binding, one must look at what kind of document it is, what the subject of the document is, and how the Council Fathers expressed themselves while teaching on that subject. All church teaching is authoritative and can’t simply be ignored, but not all church teaching is infallible or irreformable.

Among the “norms of theological interpretation” is an understanding of the different levels of authority that church documents have. A helpful summary can be found here:

http://www.adoremus.org/0902AuthorityChurchDoc.html

Jordanes said...

That should be ". . . ChurchDoc.html" not "htm"

Anonymous said...

Jordanes: What are the two dogmatic documents?

AZ

Anonymous said...

Infallibility applies to definitive declarations of doctrine binding the whole Church. As far as I know, Vatican II made no such definitive judgments.

Lyons I under Pope Innocent IV also promulagated no definitive declarations of doctrine. It was concerned with certain disciplinary and temporal issues. In other words, it was "pastoral."

John McFarland said...

Do any of you find it rather anomalous that Bishop Fellay wants the SSPX to stay away from non-religious matters, but seems to be insisting that Bishop Williamson make a non-religious judgment, and make it in the way that Bishop Fellay thinks it should be made? Is this because Bishop Fellay is much more knowledgeable than Bishop Williamson on the matter? Or much more scared?

In the link that New Catholic has kindly provided, Martin Mosebach says the following:

"... the whole world has had the opportunity of hearing on television one of the four bishops, the Briton Williamson, utter the most revolting theses regarding the persecution of the Jews at the time of Hitler. Behind the seemingly dispassionate poker face of the prelate there was revealed a paranoia bordering on madness. This was linked, as had been long known in the Fraternity, to a complete, insane, system composed of similar “secret knowledge.” It is understandable that a general horror prevailed, on seeing that such a man might exercise his office as an official Bishop, reconciled with the pope."

Does it seem to any of you that Mr. Mosebach seems to be practicing both mind reading and psychoanalysis without the appropriate licenses? Do you believe that everyone who disagrees with you is (semi-)insane and/or evil? Do you believe that anyone who suspects that a fair amount of the evil in the world is accomplished by people working together behind the scenes is (semi-)insane and/or evil?

As it begins to look as if Bishop Williamson is in serious danger of doing hard time for what in the U.S. is (so far) a constitutionally protected right, are any of the American commenters feeling perhaps just a little bit queasy?

Do you believe, with the Jewish delegation that went to give Cardinal Kasper a piece of its collective mind, that Bishop Williamson's view was not a fact but a crime?

It's occurred to me that when Pilate says, "What is truth," at least in part he means: "For gods' sake, you fool, no one here cares about truth. It's a question of whether we can save your hide." I think that pretty much all of you, in the current situation, don't care very much about the truth.
Are you certain that Bishop Williamson is wrong because you've made a careful study of the matter? Of course not.

I really don't understand why the ADL keeps Abe Foxman on the payroll, when so many goyim are prepared to do his job for nothing.

PKTP, I think you're overreacting to Bishop Fellay's comments. He's just trying to indicate that he does not propose to condemn the acts of Vatican II in toto. You may not like his formulation, but I think his intent is perfectly sound; and I would remind you that we don't really have good language for formulating the proposition that an ecumenical council has taught inadequate and adulerated doctrine. And given that you're a Quanta Cura guy, let me ask you again the question I've asked you before: if you can't trust the Holy Father to give you the straight doctrine, how can you trust him to give the SSPX (or any other traditional grouping) a workable status in the Church?

Philoctetes said...

I defer to the seniority of Athanasius, though I disagree that the mission is "saving souls and nothing else." I believe that trying to restore the Social Kingdom of Christ must also be on the agenda, but that's just my opinion. I am also not so sure that some of BW's social theories are all that crazy, but there again, that's one man's opinion, albeit at times an informed opinion.

Bishop Williamson had to fall on his sword and has honorably done so. Bishop Fellay as leader had to do something, and did so, but his words in my opinion were less than honorable. In my opinion. I read B. W.'s words and for precisely that reason used the metaphor I did; it is not the action to which I object, it is the wording used, and the disrespect it implies. I sympathize with B.F.'s dilemma, but I beleieve he could better have expressed his disagreement with B.W.'s indiscretion. I sympathize too with the Holy Father, for what my sympathy and support may be worth.

Bishop W. is now to be the subject of criminal prosecution in Argentina, where a new law is being introduced that will make punishable by imprisonment even speaking negatively in ANY way about the holocaust. I will be curious to see to what degree the SSPX will support their senior bishop in a criminal proceeding, or whether it will be deemed best to tie a safe containing all non-Catholic-questionable previously-published SSPX literature to his ankle before casting him into the sea. Will Leviathan pass by and swallow the whole package hook, line and sinker?

Jordanes said...

AZ, the two dogmatic constitutions of Vatican II are Lumen Gentium, the dogmatic constitution on the Church, and Dei Verbum, the dogmatic constitution on the Word of God. They do not include any new dogmatic definitions, but reiterate and expound upon perennial Catholic doctrine, with certain noteworthy doctrinal developments.

Lyons I under Pope Innocent IV also promulagated no definitive declarations of doctrine. It was concerned with certain disciplinary and temporal issues. In other words, it was "pastoral."

True, and I believe the same was the case with the Council of Vienne, which was almost entirely disciplinary and had little of a doctrinal character about it. Of course it is true, however, that these prior “pastoral” councils did not announce themselves as “pastoral, not dogmatic.”

Anonymous said...

"(end times)...but boy oh boy this talk about the "SSPX groups to be put under police surveillance", has got me thinking about it !"

And to think it is the German CATHOLIC lay groups behind this.

Brother against brother, bishop against bishop...isn't that what the prophesy states.

Anon Anon

Anonymous said...

I wanted to thank everyone for taking my question seriously. When I read the question to myself it read as though I was speaking in an insulting manner. I apologize if this was the case, but regardless, I thank you for taking it seriously.

There were a few responses that really made sense to me, however, I'm still struggling with the concept of infallibility.

It's not that I do not think councils cannot be infallible (I do), or even that the Pope cannot be infallible... I just have a hard time understanding what makes certain statements infallible and others not.

I have read through Sources of Catholic Dogma and the First Seven Ecumenical Councils and, it's hard for me to comprehend when to draw the line between doctrine and dogma.

At this point, I think the only thing that could really help me is prayer (though, I am willing to read your thoughts, articles, or even books). There is a large part of me that thinks I should unite with Rome and another that thinks I can be Catholic without being Roman Catholic.

I'm sure it's just my insane way of loving my wife (she hates Catholics) but for some reason I can never get to the point in my thinking that I know I need to "pope."

I always told my wife that if Rome ever went back to the pre-Vatican II way of thinking I would be there in a heartbeat. I just hate how hug-a-jew the modern Catholic Church is (not to say Jews do not deserve love... I just hate how tolerant everyone is).

Again, thank you for taking the time to address my concern.

Sincerely,
Anonymous 11 February, 2009 03:15

Confiteor said...

I think that pretty much all of you, in the current situation, don't care very much about the truth.
Are you certain that Bishop Williamson is wrong because you've made a careful study of the matter? Of course not.


Has +Williamson shown great care for the truth by spouting off his controversial opinions based on some secondary research that he did in the 1980s? In any of his remarks on the topic of the Holocaust, has he presented a careful analysis of the opposing research? I'm not certain that +Bishop Williamson is wrong, yet he hasn't done nearly enough to persuade me that he's right.

Confiteor said...

"(end times)...but boy oh boy this talk about the "SSPX groups to be put under police surveillance", has got me thinking about it !"

And to think it is the German CATHOLIC lay groups behind this.

Brother against brother, bishop against bishop...isn't that what the prophesy states.

Anon Anon


My thoughts as well. The actions of the Catholic diocese of Paderborn are nothing short of despicable.

Anonymous said...

Dear AZ:

But didn't you read Fr. McDonald's article on this blog? We do NOT have to give assent to ANTTHING new in Vatican II. The reason is that the Counci fathers decided not to impose anything which was not necessary, which means anything which is not infallible.

So we do NOT have to assent to Vatican II.

Do religious orders have to assent to it? Only, it would seem, traditionalist orders being reconciled with Rome. Rome can make priests asset to Vatican II as a condition for exercising ministry, but not as a condition for being Catholic.

P.K.T.P

Anonymous said...

On Jordanes comments:

This is not a correction but a reinforcement of what he has written here. Michael Davies, in one of his books, pointed out that the use of the term "dogmatic" in the title of Vatican II documents does NOT mean that they contain dogmas in the strict sense, even previously established dogmas (although, in the case of Vatican II documents, they do). That may be bizarre but it is nevertheless correct. He also noted that some of the terminological descriptors in Vatican II documents seem to indicate distinctions apparently but do not.

This is all the more reason that the Pope alone has the Magisterium to rule the authority of each document and its meaning.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

McFarland writes of me:

And given that you're a Quanta Cura guy, let me ask you again the question I've asked you before: if you can't trust the Holy Father to give you the straight doctrine, how can you trust him to give the SSPX (or any other traditional grouping) a workable status in the Church?"

It is not about trusting the Pope so much as it is about making reasonable judgements about whether or not certain safeguards are adequate. When they are, we have an ordinary duty to work in regularised structures. Disobedience to legitimate authority is sometimes a necessity; it can never be reduced to a matter of convenience.

Notice how McFarland simply can't answer the proposition which I have put to him.

1. Apb. Lefebvre was prepared to accept FAR LESS from Rome in 1988 than what Rome has offered since 2000.

2. The ONLY reason that L. ripped up the 1988 agreement at the last moment was that Rome was delaying on naming a bishop for the Society and L. was afraid that they'd wait until he was dead. If McFarland wishes to contest this point, I challenge him here and now. There is ample proof of this fact. It's not hard to find it. L. made the reason public. He didn't hide it for a second.

3. The Society has had not one but four bishops since 1988, and Rome has agreed to accept this situation since 2000.

4. Nothing worse than Assisi, 1986, has happened since 1988. It's really stretching it to claim that some horrendous post-1986 event makes the situation different.

5. If follows logically that Abp. Lefebvre would have accepted the offer of 2000. Why, then, hasn't Bishop Fellay?

The only way for McFarland to get out of this is to agree that Lefebvre was dead wrong in 1988 to have accepted the Protocol of Agreement plus one bishop.

It's a point of view.

I'm with Lefebvre; McFarland is against Lefebvre and with Fellay.

Fr. Aulagnier, who was a co-founder of the S.S.P.X, realises that this is correct and has said so.

Now Bishop Fellay himself is prepared to reverse himself. He had said publicly in the past (and I have copies of the references) that he would not make a deal for a structure until ALL doctrinal questions had been resolved. Now he's saying that, oh, not all, just some principal concerns.

But McFarland, to his surprise, may find that I am on his side in the end. I don't think that Fellay should sign anything which requires the Society to swallow Vatican II. If he's determined to stand firm on doctrine, the best solution is to accept the Pope's Magisterium and agree to recognise only that V. II was a legitimate council, something the Society has never denied. Then the Society can help save souls over the next several decades by examining and clarifying the Council documents one by one. In the end, let's get it right for the good of the Church.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Dear Confiteor:

And you haven't done nearly enough to persuade me that Bishop Williamson is wrong. Where is your careful first-hand historical research?

This brings us to the essential question. How much historical research is one bound to undertake in order to have a moral right to express an opinion on a matter? 'Tis a good question, but not one which need concern the law, unless, of course, we are referring to Nazi law.

Of course, we could force everyone to spend hundreds of hours poring through documents as a condition for expressing a view on a matter. That was an old trick of the liberals in the 1950s. They would write a book running to 1,300 pages. Then they would say that nobody could contest their insane ideas without having read and thorougly considered their book. The best thing is to read the preface and then toss it into the trash. Everything has its place.

P.K.T.P.

John McFarland said...

PKTP,

Well, let's start with this.

How do you interpret Archbishop Lefebvre's sermon at the consecration. To my unsophisticated eye, it says that he can't work with Rome because Rome doesn't have the faith. Indeed, it says that in about as many words.

Your dice, sir.

Confiteor said...

Dear Confiteor:

And you haven't done nearly enough to persuade me that Bishop Williamson is wrong. Where is your careful first-hand historical research?


Dear PKTP,

I didn't say that Bishop Williamson is wrong. In fact, I said: "I'm not certain that +Bishop Williamson is wrong ..."

Also, I did not say that Bishop Williamson does not have a right to express his views. However, I believe that Pope Benedict XVI and Bishop Fellay have censured Bishop Williamson at this moment for good reason, which is to permit the dialogue between Rome and the SSPX to proceed with as little distraction as possible.

Confiteor said...

This whole business of defending +Williamson's "right to express his views" strikes me as a bit odd, coming as it does from Traditionalists. What principle are we promoting here? What is the basis of this supposed "right to free expression"? Is it human dignity?

PKTP, what say you?

John McFarland said...

PKTP,

Just so you have it handy, here is the crucial languge from Archbishop Lefebvre's consecration sermon:

"'And why, Archbishop, have you stopped these discussions which seemed to have had a certain degree of success?' Well, precisely because, at the same time that I gave my signature to the Protocol, the envoy of Cardinal Ratzinger gave me a note in which I was asked to beg pardon for my errors. But if I am in error, if I teach error, it is clear that I must be brought back to the truth in the minds of those who sent me this note to sign. 'That I might recognize my errors' means that, 'if you recognize your errors we will help you to return to the truth.' What is this truth for them, if not the truth of Vatican II, the truth of the Conciliar Church? Consequently, it is clear that the only truth that exists today for the Vatican is the conciliar truth, the spirit of the Council, the spirit of Assisi. That is the truth of today. But we will have nothing to do with this for anything in the world!

"That is why, taking into account the strong will of the present Roman authorities to reduce Tradition to nought, to gather the world to the spirit of Vatican II and the spirit of Assisi, we have preferred to withdraw ourselves and to say that we could not continue. It was not possible. We would have evidently been under the authority of Cardinal Ratzinger, President of the Roman Commission, which would have directed us; we were putting ourselves into his hands, and consequently putting ourselves into the hands of those who wish to draw us into the spirit of the Council and the spirit of Assisi. This was simply not possible.

"This is why I sent a letter to the pope, saying to him very clearly: 'We simply cannot (accept this spirit and proposals), despite all the desires which we have to be in full union with you. Given this new spirit which now rules in Rome and which you wish to communicate to us, we prefer to continue in Tradition; to keep Tradition while waiting for Tradition to regain its place at Rome, while waiting for Tradition to re-assume its place in the Roman authorities, in their minds.' This will last for as long as the Good Lord has foreseen.

"It is not for me to know when Tradition will regain its rights at Rome, but I think it is my duty to provide the means of doing that which I shall call 'Operation Survival,' operation survival for Tradition. Today, this day, is 'Operation Survival'. If I had made this deal with Rome, by continuing with the agreements we had signed, and by putting them into practice, I would have performed 'Operation Suicide.' There was no choice, we must live! That is why today, by consecrating these bishops, I am convinced that I am continuing to keep Tradition alive, that is to say, the Catholic Church."

***

As for whether things have changed in these twenty years, I offer you the remarks of the Pope to the Jewish representatives earlier today (February 12), and ask you whether you can square them with the tradtional doctrine of the Church regarding the relation between the Jews and the Church. That doctrine is, at bottom, that we of the Church are the true Israel, the true Jews.

John McFarland said...

Confiteor,

Bishop Williamson has not absolute right to express himself, but the truth does have absolute rights.

To avoid scandal and for other good reasons, you can and sometimes must remain silent, you can avoid saying what will get you in trouble (Our Lord was very good at this: recall the woman caught in adultery, tribute to Caesar, the question of divoce, the question of his authority.)

But it doesn't make the truth go away. Nor does it make the obligation to know the truth go away. This obligation is not absolute either; but it would certainly seem appropriate for those trying to understand the modern world, to understand the place of the Holocaust in that world, and whether that place is appropriate.

To be sure, one must be careful, since in the world (and in the Vatican) there is only one answer permitted. The notion of "staying out of politics" cannot be absolute. As St. Pius X once observed, we are always involved in politics around here (the Vatican), insofar as political matters impinge -- as inevitably they do -- on the mission and the rights of the Church. Is the Pope not involved in politics in his pronouncements on the Holocaust, which can hardly be considered matters of Chuch doctrine?

Anonymous said...

How can +F assess +W's position as nonsense if he's no more an expert than + W??

Confiteor said...

As for whether things have changed in these twenty years, I offer you the remarks of the Pope to the Jewish representatives earlier today (February 12), and ask you whether you can square them with the tradtional doctrine of the Church regarding the relation between the Jews and the Church. That doctrine is, at bottom, that we of the Church are the true Israel, the true Jews.

Assuming that what is posted on this blog is the complete text of the Holy Father's remarks, I see no difficulty. They contain nothing to contradict the doctrine that the Church is the true Israel. That doctrine is not even addressed in the Pope's remarks. What exactly is the problem, from a theological point of view?

John McFarland said...

Anonymous 7:29,

Bishop Fellay can't assess Bishop Williamson's position as nonsense. All he is expressing is What Everybody Knows.

Furthermore, his statement is as little a statement of Church teaching as Bishop Williamson's.

But let's put our cards on the table. Practically no one among those who have denounced Bishop Williamson knows very much. I know the general outlines of recent Holocaust revisionism as regards the gas chambers, and I look to be one in ten million. What's more, no one but Bishop Williamson has expressed any intention of learning more. The reason is that the ignorance is combined with fear: fear of organized Judaism, fear of hate crimes legislation, fear of the near-universal belief that the Holocaust is a certainty and that those who think otherwise are by definition intellectual and moral lepers.

Can you think of a doctrine of the Church that the Pope has expressed as forcefully or as unambiguously as he has embraced the "doctrine" of the Holocaust before some 70 Jewish big wheels at the Vatican the other day? Me neither. He's scared, too.

But what will happen if and when the powers that be come for the traditional doctrine of the Church on the Jews? Do you doubt, if they see fit, that they can convince practically everyone they haven't convinced already that "supersessionism" (which is of course the immemorial doctrine of the Church) is the first cousin if not the twin of Holocaust denial? Does it not foment hatred of the Jewish "race" as the world has been taught to understand hatred?

The SSPX has removed theological analysis of the role of the Jews from its U.S. website. I view this as a sign that we can no longer publicly profess "supersessionism," or even offer it as a possibility. Henceforth we must talk about this doctrine only in the catacombs, if you will.

Or will we convince ourselves that we must not talk about it at all?

Vatican II can be understood as the hierarchy's capitulation to the powers that be on everything that concerns those powers, and its rationalization of that capitulation. Will we traditionalists be scared into joining for all practical purposes in that capitulation?

Regina Martyrum, ora pro nobis.

Confiteor said...

Is supersessionism a dogma? Where is it defined as such? The term doesn't appear in the Catholic Encyclopedia. A Google search doesn't immediately turn up any Catholic sources.

Obviously Catholicism is the one true religion and no one can be saved by adherence to Judaism. Yet doesn't supersessionism as a theological interpretation suggest something a bit more? Doesn't it imply that God has utterly revoked his Covenant with the Jewish people? That's not a Catholic dogma, is it? Does a present-day Jewish convert to Catholicism commit heresy if he says that the Catholic Faith fulfills and completes the faith that he had as a Jew?

Paul Haley said...

Confiteor said...

Is supersessionism a dogma? Where is it defined as such? The term doesn't appear in the Catholic Encyclopedia. A Google search doesn't immediately turn up any Catholic sources.

I'm not sure if this will answer the question you posed but it definitely speaks of the covenant or testament: "This is the chalice of My blood, of the new and eternal testament, the Mystery of Faith, which shall be shed for you and for many unto the forgiveness of sins."

Now you may notice that it speaks of testament" but the following definition of that term is from dictionary.com: "either of the two major portions of the Bible: the Mosaic or old covenant or dispensation, or the Christian or new covenant or dispensation."

So, I think it's obvious that we as Christians believe the Old Covenant was superseded by the New Covenant and if you wish to use the term supersessionism, I guess that would apply as well.

Confiteor said...

Is John McFarland suggesting that the Pope doesn't believe that the New Covenant of Our Lord Jesus Christ supersedes the Old Covenant, or at least that the Pope is afraid to say so? That strikes me as totally unfounded. I understand the Pope to believe that God still intends to fulfill His promise to the Jews by bringing them to Christ. Thus the Old Covenant still has meaning, insofar as it eternally points toward Jesus Christ and His Church. Now if supersessionism means that the Old Covenant is utterly devoid of meaning, then, no, I don't think that the Pope subscribes to that theory, nor is it a dogma.

John McFarland said...

The Pope said to the Jewish delegation the other day:

"[T]he Church draws its sustenance from the root of that good olive tree, the people of Israel, onto which have been grafted the wild olive branches of the Gentiles (cf. Rom 11: 17-24)."

If this means that the current people of Israel are in some sense the root of the good olive tree, it is not the Catholic faith. The unbelieving Jews are the cultivated branches that have been broken off, with the Gentile wild olive branches grated in in their place.

If this is not what the Pope means, one must ask why he doesn't say more clearly what he means. St. Paul makes the point quite clearly. The broken off branches can be grafted back in, but only by becoming Christians. Why can't the Pope be that clear?

My suggested answer is that he doesn't want to be clear. He wants to give something to everybody. As Bishop Williamson is fond of saying, for the Pope sometimes 2+2=4, sometimes 2+2=5.

But you can't divvy up the Faith: either it's the whole thing, or not the Faith at all.

John McFarland said...

I've realized that there's something in the recent days' events that's been overlooked (including by me) and should be noted.

The Spiegel "interview" with Bishop Fellay, which was published (in English, at any rate) on February 10, is better described as a precis of written answers to questions posed by the Spiegel staff. It is not clear when those answers were written. Nor has there been a release of the complete interview (if there can be said to have been one) analogous to the release of the full Spiegel interview with Bishop Williamson; and perhaps there never will be such a release.

But on February 9, the French side of www.dici.org published a note in French (and subsequently in German and Spanish) that is still on the site, although an English translation has not appeared on the English side of dici.org. This note stands quite energetically for the proposition that the Bishop must examine the facts and make his own determination, and so is in quite striking contrast to Bishop Fellay's remarks to Der Spiegel.

It is hard to imagine that this piece wasn't cleared with SSPX headquarters before its publication; and if it wasn't, it's harder still to believe that it would still be posted on dici.org.

So I think that there's the distinct possibility that Bishop Fellay has thought better about the remarks he made to Der Spiegel, and that the DICI piece reflects his current view. We shall see.

Angie said...

"Obviously Catholicism is the one true religion and no one can be saved by adherence to Judaism"

The Church has made excruciatingly clear, that, not only does God's plan for salvation include jews and muslims, but also that God may even be leading them to "that faith without which it is impossible to please Him" in ways and in forms that Catholics may not recognize.

The Church is less willing than you are to second-guess God on whether he has the capacity and will to save the jews in spite of their rejection of the Catholic faith.

John McFarland said...

Because I think it bears on the whole relationship between the Catholic Church and the powers that be, very much including the Holocaust issue, let me offer a suggested answer to PKTP's question as to what we fought two world wars for.

We fought them for America's control over as much of the world as it saw fit to control. For present purposes, let's just talk about WW II.

For Roosevelt, it was a world in which Soviet Russia would govern more or less its Czarist boundaries, with more or less its Czarist influence in eastern Europe; and America would control the rest. In Asia, the more specific task was eliminating Japan as a rival for American control of China.

It didn't come out quite per the Roosevelt playbook. Russia ended up with more territory and control than expected, and Communism in Europe turned out to be more of a problem than anticipated; and control of Chinese went to its indigenous communists. Hence the Cold War. But the basic outlines of the original plan were followed until the collapse of Soviet Russia; and China turned out to be a relatively minor problem for the U.S. and Russia (though not for scores of millions of Chinese).

The collapse of Soviet Russia represented a new ball game, in which America's notion of what and how it would control changed; but the issue is still the extent of American control. At bottom, I would suggest, that's what PKTP's relatives, and everyone else's relatives, fought for, and many of them died for.

Our Lady of Victories, give us victory over the lust for war, and its hypocritical rationalizations.

trex said...

"Why can't the Pope be that clear?... he doesn't want to be clear...you can't divvy up the Faith: either it's the whole thing, or not the Faith at all."

So, to be clear about what you're saying, John McFarland, the Pope either misunderstands, can't speak as "clearly" as you about, or simply prefers to mislead us all about, the Faith ?

Really ?

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia has some interesting insights and quotes Catholic sources on 'supersessionism'. One section of the article ends with typical V2 bs,"Despite all the history, however, the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults (2006), states explicitly: "The covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them."[34] Just precisely what authority this statement in the catechism has, or whether it is an error, is a matter of internal debate among American Catholics, and the US Bishops have voted to change this part of the Catechism."

It is an internal matter...(kinda like what Pope Ratzinger said of the FSSPX). They have voted for change...good grief,our leaders can't even get the Catechism right.

Please Lord make the Pope strong and decisive.

Anon Anon

John McFarland said...

Trex,

Really.

Just for openers, consider the following: "I tell you that many will come from the east and the west, and will feast with the Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom will be put forth into the darkness outside; there will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth."

You may recognize these as the words of a prominent if controversial Jewish hedge preacher of the first century A.D.

Now: can you explain to me why it's pretty hard to square these words with those of the Pope to the Jewish delegation the other day?

Take your time; you're going to need it.

Anonymous 10:45,

I believe that some decree has come from Rome that the American bishops are supposed to fix up that obviously heretical statement. Robert Sungenis raised a lot of heck about it; you might check his website for the particulars.

But if you look into the things that the Pope has said on the matter, you'll find that they're not much better.

In addition, if you look on the prayer for the Jews in the Novus Ordo liturgy for Good Friday, you'll see that it's implicitly two-covenant. As far as I know, when the Pope doctored up the traditional prayer last year, he didn't doctor up the new prayer.

I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but a strong and decisive pope is the second stage. The first stage is a pope who teaches the complete and unadulterated Catholic faith of all times. A pope who is always talking out of both sides of his mouth, constantly trying to cut a deal with the powers that be and public opinion while somehow remaining Catholic, can't be strong and decisive. He's wishy-washy in practice because he's wishy-washy in theory.

The Lord our God is not a difference-splitter. But his current vicar on earth, and his immediately predecessors, is and were a different story.

Confiteor said...

Angie,

My statement is based on 2000 years of "excruciatingly clear" and infallible magisterial teaching. Your statement is based on the muddled and ambiguous theology of the past 40 years.

Nice try.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Confiteor. This "JPII Generation" is getting on my nerves. Whatever makes them think they are arbiters of truth? Do they not know that the Church was in existence before John XXIII?

Angie said...

"My statement is based on 2000 years of "excruciatingly clear" and infallible magisterial teaching. Your statement is based on the muddled and ambiguous theology of the past 40 years."

Confiteor,

The rest of can only long for your divinely granted ability to tell which of the Church's teachings (and which parts of the catechism) are to be accepted and which are to be rejected as the heretical by-products of the most recent Popes' indifference to the true doctrine.

You should share your insights with the Cardinals before they go off and again give the big hat to yet another second-rater like Benedict that apparently sadly lacks your theological discrimination.

Confiteor said...

Oh, give it a rest, Angie. The non-infallible statements of Vatican II on religious liberty and ecumenism are a muddled mess and the source of great mischief in the Church today. The majority of Catholics believe that anyone can get to heaven through any religion, so long as they're "good people". The majority of Catholics believe that the separation of Church and State is a good thing, despite the fact that it was categorically condemned by past popes. The majority of Catholics believe that "the Church" is a big tent that includes the Roman Catholic Church and all of the protestant denominations. Shall I go on? You don't have to have any "divinely granted ability", just a shred of common sense to see that something is terribly wrong with this picture.

Please, go and enjoy your New Springtime of the Church.