Rorate Caeli

Fellay denies a new Motu Proprio

Our friend Brian Mershon sends us the following report, published by The Remnant:

Bishop Fellay Denies Any Knowledge of New Motu Proprio
Dubs Bishop Williamson Rumor “Gossip” and “Unauthorized;” Doctrinal Talks Continue

August 24, 2010—Superior General Bishop Bernard Fellay of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), one of four bishops whose excommunications were lifted by Pope Benedict XVI in January 2009, today categorically denied any knowledge of an alleged special motu proprio being planned by the Holy See for the SSPX as stated recently by SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson.

“I’m very annoyed by the whole thing,” said Bishop Fellay. “Bishop Williamson’s statement is an unauthorized statement and is his own personal statement and not that of the Society.”

“It has never been the policy of the Society to base any kind of action or policy on gossip. I have absolutely no knowledge of any motu proprio.”

Earlier this week, Bishop Richard Williamson—who has allegedly been asked to refrain from publicly speaking on matters outside of faith and morals by the SSPX leadership—wrote a letter that was published initially on his website and then picked up by traditionalist internet Rorate Caeli blog.

In the letter, Bishop Williamson warns Catholics about the “danger” of a rumored motu proprio designed to lure the SSPX lay faithful into union with Rome and said, “…there is no way in which the neo-modernist teaching of Vatican II can be reconciled with the Catholic doctrine of the true Church.”
...
Confirmed: High-Ranking Vatican Prelate Predicted End of Novus Ordo Missae

And finally, shortly after Pope Benedict XVI issued his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, thereby affirming the right of every Latin-rite priest to offer the Traditional Latin Mass and Sacraments without his bishop’s permission, while confirming the traditional Mass had never been abrogated, a few reports included a statement by Bishop Fellay regarding his conversation with a Vatican official on the MP’s potential effect on the future of the Novus Ordo Missae.

Despite news of a new translation of the Novus Ordo missal becoming available for use in Advent 2011, this new missal, as Remnant readers know, retained only 17 percent of the original orations from the 1962 missal.

Bishop Fellay today confirmed that after Summorum Pontificum was issued, “the high-ranking prelate thought we would have 20 to 25 years before the New Mass would disappear.” [Full article here.]

118 comments:

Jordanes said...

It's good Bishop Fellay has quashed this . . . interesting rumor.

As for the disappearance of the reformed Missal, 20 to 25 years seems a little short -- my personal feeling is that it might be closer to 50 than 25 years (perhaps even longer), but however long it takes, the trend certainly seems to be towards a retrieval of the Latin Church's ancient liturgical heritage and a gradual elimination of the Pauline form of the Roman Rite.

M. A. said...

re: "Bishop Fellay today confirmed that after Summorum Pontificum was issued, 'the high-ranking prelate thought we would have 20 to 25 years before the New Mass would disappear.'"

By the grace of God, I might live to see the day!!! And good riddance!

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

Not only will the Novus Ordo Missae die out, but it will be formally condemned by a future pope. Of this, I have no doubt.

Anonymous said...

Lets hope at the very least that the Holy Father will grant the Society, faculties since Bishop Fellay is showing so much goodwill.
What a shame though that there will not be a structure set up for the Society.
That an order of priests who only want the salvation of mens souls can go so long without being canonically recognised by Rome is absolutely absurd, and sad.

Cruise the Groove.

Anonymous said...

"Only dreamers could not foresee the Rome-SSPX discussions running into a doctrinal brick wall"

Williamson publicly insults Fellay and Fellay publicly accuses Williamson of gossip.

Trouble in paradise.

Crouchback said...

Missing you already......NOT....!!!!

Paul Haley said...

IMO Bishop Fellay is once again exerting his authority as to who speaks for the FSSPX. As long as he is the Superior General, it is he and no one else that has that prerogative. I'm sure Bishop Williamson was just preaching caution, knowing full well the dangers of dealing with the modernists. Still, I wish I could be a "fly on the wall" during these talks. If there's ever a transcript released on them, it'll be a priceless document IMO. May the Holy Spirit be the true and overwhelming participant in these discussions.

Brian said...

Could it be that the SSPX Bishops are playing good-cop / bad-cop here?

. . . No, I guess not; but I can't help but wonder.

Paul Haley said...

One would hope that if the doctrinal talks prove successful, that Pope Benedict XVI will find a special place for Bishop Fellay in whatever structure emerges for the Traditional Groups. Bishop Fellay has held together a group that has tremendous potential for good in the Church and has exhibited the most favorable qualities of a bishop in our time.

John McFarland said...

It is obvious from Bishop Williamson's piece that wherever the rumors came from, they did not come from Bishop Fellay, and so his absence of any knowledge is neither here nor there.

On the other hand, Bishop Fellay's denunciation of public rumor-mongering, particularly since it might be attributed to the Society, is very much to the point.

Unfortunately, talk of "insult" is not without its point. Bishop Williamson's periodic expressions of concern about a sell-out, no matter how abstract (and I've yet to see anything concrete behind them), is not exactly a ringing endorsement of Bishop Fellay's stewardship.

It also has the unfortunate effect of giving aid and comfort to those who would like to think that Bishop Fellay IS a potential sell-out, a fantasy in which the SVists and some "deal traditionalists" have the same tendency for opposite reasons.

All in all: if Bishop Williamson reported to me, I'd be sorely tempted to change the complexion of his hindquarters with a few swift kicks.

Bishop Fellay's forbearance will surely have its reward, and I would hope that Bishop Williamson will repent in sackcloth and ashes in his next Eleison Comment.

John McFarland said...

My own speculation is that, absent a dramatic (to say the least of it) conversion of the Novus Ordo hierarchy and faithful, the (ahem) Ordinary Form will last as long as the theology that underpins it.

Sadie Vacantist said...

Fellay has presented the "70 year" argument before. Basic math suggests he is using 1965 as his starting point so 2035 is the key date in his model.

Does anyone know why 70 is the magic number? (My history isn't good enough). Surely the geopolitical situation would have to change dramatically to force a revisit of 1965.

My own view is that the USA needs to address not only 1965 but 1932 and 1913 (and carry the Catholics along with them in the process). In other words a total revision of the reputations of Johnson, Roosevelt and Wilson but I can't see it happening.

Which American, for example, wants to admit that WWII was a huge mistake and was everything that has occured in its wake of which the council was just one more unhappy feature? A council incidentally which is not just synonymous with the moral breakdown of Western society in the post-war era but an active contributor to it.

Christoher J. Paulitz said...

I used to be a defender and somewhat of a fan of H.E. Williamson. However, unfortunately, he seems all too often to return to his Protestant roots and sees little or no authority over him. And that's dangerous.

Anonymous said...

They only human way to rid the world of the N.O. IS TO LET IT DIE A SLOW DEATH..N.O. parrish will die off because alot of Catholic do not go to mass. I am 61 y.o. and I may never see the end.Of course the good lord knows when it will happen.

Anonymous said...

Bishop Fellay will be a Cardinal and Bishop Williamson will be excommunicated again when all is said and done. It is remarkable how Bishop Fellay embodies the best of the traditionalist movement, while Bishop Williamson embodies the worst.

Prof. Basto said...

As for the disappearance of the reformed Missal, 20 to 25 years seems a little short -- my personal feeling is that it might be closer to 50 than 25 years (perhaps even longer), but however long it takes, the trend certainly seems to be towards a retrieval of the Latin Church's ancient liturgical heritage and a gradual elimination of the Pauline form of the Roman Rite

I would like to see it disappear as quickly as it first appeared: in a rapid process, swiftly and by papal fiat.

And I don't see why this could not be done.

The first step, however, is to re-train the priesthood on the use of LATIN, a language many priests are not familiar with, and to insist that the canon on the formation of seminarians in Latin must not remain dead letter on the books.

John McFarland said...

Mr. Paulitz,

As noted above, I'm hardly pleased with Bishop Williamson's remarks, but I don't see how they're dangerous.

We all have our crochets, and an apocalyptic bent seems to be one of HE's, and he is not unaware of it. In a conference at Winona after he had left the rectorship, he quoted one of the seminary professors as remarking to him that if you always predict the worst, sooner or later you're going to be right.

It would help if people would recognize that when he speaks on his blog, he speaks only for himself, and doesn't pretend otherwise.

I also rather doubt that his remarks are exercise in Society or any other kind of "politics," beyond letting his confreres, along with everybody else, know what he thinks about this and that.

In this suggestion, I would suggest to friend and foe that SSPXology is a particularly dopey game. The SSPX is an amazingly open and straightforward organization. The best source of where the SSPX stands on things is where the SSPX says it stands on things.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Bishop Fellay will be a Cardinal and Bishop Williamson will be excommunicated again when all is said and done. It is remarkable how Bishop Fellay embodies the best of the traditionalist movement, while Bishop Williamson embodies the worst.

25 August, 2010 22:42

Gosh, don't you think that's a bit harsh?

Knight of Malta said...

The "Pascal Mystery" Novus Ordo negates the Sacrificial aspect of Holy Mass, making of it a community meal, as most here would agree I assume.

Msgr. Gherardini said it succinctly:

"In all truth Modernism hid itself under the cloak of Vatican II's hermeneutic...The new rite of Holy Mass practically silenced the nature of sacrifice making of it an occasion for gathering together the people of God...the eucharistic gathering was given the mere sense of sharing a meal together...After having said all of this about Vatican II, if someone were to ask me if, in the final analysis, the modernist corruption had hidden itself within the Council documents themselves, and if the Fathers themselves were more or less infected, I would have to respond both yes and no...But yes as well, because not a few pages of the conciliar documents reek of the writings and ideas of Modernism--this can be seen above all in GS."

So yes, I hope and pray the Novus Ordo Mess disappears ASAP, for the good of souls, and for the proper worship of Christ. To this end, we need FSSPX firmly back in the fold of the Church (though they never left, per se,) because there they can truly roll-up their sleeves and begin reforming the Church, from within.

Anonymous said...

"Not only will the Novus Ordo Missae die out, but it will be formally condemned by a future pope. Of this, I have no doubt."

Yes, the Novus Ordo will die out, and it unfortunatly will take about 20+ years. I say this considering that those who implemented in in thefirst rush of radical liberal enthusiasm and insane desire to immitate Protestantism were about 40 in the 1960's. This original class of dissidents who participated in Vatican II and developed the Novus Ordo are in their late 80's and early 90's now. The radical femminist liberal layclothes nuns who ruined their own Orders are now at a median age of 76, with many pushing into their 90's. The average age of these Orders is in their late 70's. Sr. Teresa Kane, the whining femminist nun who defied Pope John Paul II in the USA in 1979 "pleading" for women priests is an aged 74 (and looks 94!!)
All the Novus Ordo developers and cheerleaders are in their very late 60's to their 90's (the infamous Archbishop Piero Marini is nearly 69).
THe youngest of the Novus Ordo standard bearers and cheerleaders are in their mid to late 50's, with nearly 0 younger than 50. The Novus Ordo Orders which "pretended" to be orthodox and traditional in their Novus Ordo Masses, yet reviled the Tridentine Latin Mass are either ruined and under investigation (Legionaries of Christ, Miles Christi), or stagnant and attracting almost no vocations (Fathers of Mercy).
Of course, the Orders which adopted and radicalized the Novus Ordo with bizarre improvisations are all dying out rapidly (Jesuits, Franciscans, Dominicans, and also Cardinal Bertone's beloved Salesians).
So it may indeed take 20-25 year for the last generation of "lovers of Vatican II" and the Novus Ordo to pass from the scene.
With them will disappear the Novus Ordo....probably to be condemned as heresy by a future Pope 50+ years from now, as well as everything that came from Vatican II.
Sixty years from now, Vatican II and the Novus Ordo will be reviled in the Church, as will be the people who built and supported it.
The Popes who championed it might get off easilly by being labeled "misguided".

Anonymous said...

I'd say that based on history with Bishop Williamson someone should muzzle him. He doesn't appear to be much of an asset to this group and in fact seems to be an obstacle to the discussions that are in progress.

Mark said...

"Be not deceived, God is not mocked." —Galatians 6: 7

"It is better that scandal arise that that the truth be suppressed."—Pope St. Gregory the Great

"Not to oppose error is to approve it, and not to defend the truth is to suppress it, and indeed to neglect to confound evil men, when we can do it, is no less a sin than to encourage them. "—Pope St. Felix III

It is the greatest cruelty to use ointment where it is necessary to cut deep with steel and cauterize with fire" —St. Teresa of Avila Tito Casini, The Last Mass of Paul VI," N. Devon: Britons, 1971, p. 90.

The declared enemies of God and His Church, heretics and schismatics, must be criticized as much as possible, as long as truth is not denied. It is a work of charity to shout: 'Here is the wolf!' when it enters the flock or anywhere else. --St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, Part III, Chapter 29

"...the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of freedom and human dignity, would bring back to the world (if such a Church could overcome) the reign of legalized cunning and force, and the oppression of the weak, and of all those who toil and suffer. [...] Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators: they are traditionalists." —Pope Saint Pius X, Letter "Our Apostolic Mandate" to the French Episcopate, 1910

God bless Bp. Williamson! Viva Cristo Rey!

http://revisionistreview.blogspot.com/2010/08/catholic-laymen-challenge-bishop-fellay.html

Christoher J. Paulitz said...

Mr. McFarland:

I didn't say his words were dangerous -- I said his return to his Protestant roots is dangerous.

Whether you think he speaks for just himself or not -- and I think it's naive to believe people don't take his word as the word of at least a portion of the Society -- his words mean something. His words, in fact when public, are scandalous because he has been told to stay silent and not blog by his superior.

Much like a true Protestant, however, he bucks his superior and does what he pleases, for he has no higer authority in his mind (he'll say his higher authority is God, much like a Protestant would claim, ignoring his earthly superior).

As I said, I used to be a fan. And I used to enjoy his hyperbolic rants, but no longer. His words are causing division instead of fostering unity and teaching ignorant Catholics, and there are plent of them around to keep him busy teaching if he wished.

If I was his superior, I'd build some good, strong cells with chains in Econe, and that's where the good bishop would spend his remaining days restrained if he couldn't restrain himself.

Anonymous said...

So, the eccentric Bp. Williamson should be silenced, chained, held as a common criminal... He also " embodies worst" of the traditional movement. So say all of you ostriches with your heads in the sand.

What good has come from the New Church?

The question should be, "How does Bp. Williamson remain attached to the SSPX of his own accord?" HIs Catholic sense tells him that the SSPX is on a self-destructive course if its superior thinks he can negotiate its way back into the Novus Ordo religion. He should leave them.

Look, either the Novus Ordo is Catholic or its not - there is no middle ground, no room for negotiation. The supporters of Vatican II must return to the purity of Catholic truth and traditionalists must weather the storm and make no compromises. God in His own good time will sort this out. I pray it is soon.

A Sinner said...

The funny thing is, one gets the sense that the SSPX WANTS to remain in their irregular situation, even while denying schism.

The Holy See could declare today that the SSPX has faculties and is in regular standing with the Church again. I mean, unilaterally. The doctrinal talks are not really needed as there is not any dogma at issue on the official level, merely prudential questions.

Obviously, there is still the huge problem of the mess that the mainstream church is in on the practical level, and the SSPX likes to think they're avoiding that or having leverage to fix it by staying away from Rome.

But Rome could simply say, "You have faculties, your positions remain a valid interpretation, you may ordain priests and keep a core of always 4 bishops to self-sustain" and then allow them to go on as they do with no interference from the Vatican.

Paul Haley said...

Bishops Williamson and Fellay have always been kind of opposites in personality and demeanor. That is obvious, I think, from their discourses but I don't believe either one would seek to promote a less than unified position by the Society, in the final analysis, when dealing with Rome. The important point IMO is that the modernists not be given the opportunity to claim there is division within the ranks of the FSSPX. As long as Bishop Fellay is the Superior General, the FSSPX should close ranks behind him.

Joe B said...

Bishop Fellay is sharper than even most trads give him credit for being. I'm betting that he will soon muzzle Bishop Williamson in some stronger way than the Holocaust incident, and my guess is he has already told Bishop Williamson this.

I base it on the tone of Bishop Fellay's response, which fires back as strongly as Bishop Williamson's insult, and when SSPX has to go public with rebuke, behind the scenes blood is flowing, and Bishop Fellay is a model superior - intelligent, action oriented, and courageous.

I don't think any of this will have any effect on the current discussions with Rome because Bishop Fellay will handle it. I suspect Bishop Williamson's active days with SSPX are now being numbered, as these things tend to affect the Holy Father, and Bishop Fellay knows this and is very concerned about it, as well he should be. He will do something because he is a good son of the Holy Father, whom he is trying to help.

Anonymous said...

3 observations :

- the header is not correct. Bp Fellay only denies to be informed of a new motu proprio.
The pope can move on with a new motu proprio without needing any green light from Bp Fellay.
The denial weighs only on the SSPX : it shows Bp Fellay doesn't want to be portraited as searching a "deal" with Rome.
- It's interesting to see how "annoyed" he is on this possibility being made public, more than anything else. If you read carefully his own words.
- the paper is mentioning the new English translation available in 2011. For this minimal revision, how long did it take to get it ? nearly 20 years.
That should pour some icy water on those dreaming in technicolor previsions that NOM could disappear in 20 years.
50 years for having an improved NOM is already very, very optimistic !
Especially with the sleepy snail rythm adopted by pope Benedict XVI. If any rythm at all can be found after 5 years... Nothing has been done apart from the English text and the pope has done nearly nothing, except with the papal masses, to implement cardinal Raztinger's views on liturgy. Abp Ranjith who was in the Curia their more vocal supporter has been silenced and sent back in Sri Lanka.
A dose of realism is always necessary. TLMers have been granted new rights in theory but NOers, over 99% of the Catholics, are left with the same litnick mess unchanged.

Alsaticus

dcs said...

"It would help if people would recognize that when he speaks on his blog, he speaks only for himself, and doesn't pretend otherwise."

But when he says that the discussions with the Holy See have hit a brick wall, then he isn't speaking only for himself.

John McFarland said...

Mr. Paulitz,

Bishop Williamson's semi-publication of Eleison Comments is not in violation of any orders from his superiors. I don't recall the language describing his "silencing," but obviously the concern was entirely about his remarks on the Holocaust to those Swedish TV snakes.

By contrast, his writings show that he clearly understood the rules of the game. Before the dustup, he rarely wrote anything about the Jews as such, and I believe nothing about the H. He hasn't written about 9/11 revisionism, although the fact that he is a 9/11 revisionist is no secret.

Nor do I think that his latest Eleison Comment can be described as involving disobedience. What it involved was the complete inaccuracy and implausibility of what he said and implied. It was downright goofy -- almost a self-parody of his undoubted pessimistic streak.

So whatever's going on between His Excellency's ears, I don't think that it's a recrudescence of Protestantism.

Oliver said...

Bp. Williamson speaks for part of the Society and many trads beyond. If he leaves the Society, he will take the UK mission with him as well as a part of the US one. The Society has been a divided house for some time between the liturgists and the dogmatists. The smells and bells crowd are largely satisfied and would willingly do a deal with the conciliar church as Williamson fears. This would end the partial-communion nonsense, leading to a broader conciliar church and a chance for true trads to regroup as the Church in exile.

RipK said...

Does anyone know who is the“ high-ranking prelate" who thought that the New Mass would disappear in "20 to 25 years" from now?

Pablo said...

I am in complete agreement with Mark’s comments on the Truth.

Some commenters stated:

1). All in all: if Bishop Williamson reported to me, I'd be sorely tempted to change the complexion of his hindquarters with a few swift kicks.

2). It is remarkable how Bishop Fellay embodies the best of the traditionalist movement, while Bishop Williamson embodies the worst.

3).The SSPX is an amazingly open and straightforward organization.

Those that are in charge of Bishops should be servants of the servants, and reserve punishments to Christ.

I have found His Eminence Bishop Richard Williamson to be Honest and Truthful.

I cannot make the same statement regarding His Eminence Bishop Bernard Fellay, especially in his stewardship of the SSPX.

In the time I spent with Bishop Williamson, I was treated as one of his sheep; with much Charity and concern for my soul, and the souls of my children.

In the face to face meeting with Bishop Bernard Fellay, I got the distinct feeling I was not one of his wealthy donors, and I was going to Hell anyway.

Stepping back and observing the two, it quickly became evident to me the following existed between these two Bishops:

"Homo homini lupus, femina feminae lupior, sacerdos sacerdoti lupissimus"

Man behaves like a wolf towards another man,

A woman behaves with another woman in a more ferocious way than a man with another man,

And a priest behaves with another priest in an even more ferocious way.

Bishop Fellay needs to keep his envy of Bishop Williamson in check.

I know that is hard to do when the world continually seeks Bishop Williamson for the Truth, and ignores Bishop Fellay.

The SSPX is a continuation of the hard work of a modern day Saint Athanasius.

The statement by the commenter that the SSPX is an amazingly open and straightforward organization is not factual.

The SSPX has done exhaustive examinations of Vatican II; it should look inward, and it will find in favor of my opinion.

Pray for the Holy Father, his Priests, Nuns, and Religious.

I entrust this whole matter in the hands of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, “Mother of the Priest par excellence, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and through Him, of all priests in whom she forms her Son”.

*

Nicholas said...

"Of course, the Orders which adopted and radicalized the Novus Ordo with bizarre improvisations are all dying out rapidly (Jesuits, Franciscans, Dominicans, and also Cardinal Bertone's beloved Salesians)."

Don't be so fast to include the Dominicans in your list. In the eastern province, some twenty-one (yes, 21) novices just took the habit in recent weeks.

http://www.op-stjoseph.org/blog/vestition/

Moreover, as has been (intermittently) reported by this blog, the same eastern province is reputed to be restoring formation in the Dominican rite.

Ubi mors, ibi spes!

Brian Kopp said...

I have not seen any identification of the "high-ranking prelate" but Dr. Robert Moynihan made a similar remark in the May 2010 issue of Inside The Vatican magazine, in an article entitled "The Return of the Latin Mass":

"At least one Vatican official I talked to recently told me he believes the future of the Church's liturgical life will be a type of fusion between the old Mass and the new Mass of Paul VI.

This is the view of many.

But at least one Vatican official I talked to, also in the past month, told me he believes the future is solely and exclusively in a return to the old rite.

"The old rite is our past, and it will be our future, " he told me. "The new Mass is a passing phase. In 50 years, that will be entirely clear."

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

A Sinner said:

"The doctrinal talks are not really needed as there is not any dogma at issue on the official level, merely prudential questions."

You have a poor assessment of the crisis. Ecumenism and religious liberty are two big doctrinal battles because of their, at the minimum, implicit denial of the dogma that "Outside the Church, there is no salvation".

Anonymous said...

The remarks of Mr. Oliver and certain others further indicate that a certain minority of SSPX supporters have no desire in regularizing their situation. Bishop Fellay almost certainly recognizes this and will put the well being of the Catholic Church and its visible head on Earth, Pope Benedict XVI, in order to try and satisfy the impossible demands of these people.

John McFarland said...

Oliver,

I can't imagine any reason why Bishop Williamson would break with the Society, except if it sold out to Rome.

In that case, he and practically everyone else in the Society would leave -- because of the sellout, not because of Bishop Williamson.

There is no "smells and bells crowd" in the SSPX. My son, a seminarian at Winona and no more a smells and bells guy than his sweet dad, says that the notion of any significant support for a sellout is nuts. If it were true, he would have heard at least SOMETHING; but in fact he's heard nothing; zilch; nada.

What have YOU heard, and from whom?

In the absence of a sellout, I find it difficult to imagine anything that would cause Bishop Williamson to be expelled from the Society. And if it were to happen, the expulsion would have to be egregiously unjust in order for very many to leave the Society over it.

As for his fans outside the Society, let me be frank: most of them are jerks that don't understand what he's all about and what the SSPX is all about. In particular, they don't understand that the Society and His Excellency are all about the same thing, and it will take more than the occasional dopey jeremiad form the latter to separate them.

Anonymous said...

While it is ultimately necessary in order to work to end the malaise in the Church today, I've always found it pointless to informally argue with neo-cons about the weight of Vatican II. It seems that pretty much everyone now knows the routine of having to clearly nuance that while various documents of VII aren't actually heretical they do seem to go that way or at the very least seriously undermine what was taught before.

Along with the new liturgical books (all of them, not just the Mass), and most of anything that came in the wake of VII we need to throw it out, ignore it, do whatever it takes to make this past half century a bad memory. No amount of neo-ultramontaine chest thumping excuse making is going to do the trick.

The popes after him didn't go on sickening kowtow fests about the theological depth and richness of the "Breviary of Paul III". It was allowed, saw some popularity for about 40 years and then was once and for all replaced, never to be heard from again.

John McFarland said...

Pablo,

Could you offer some evidence for this supposed envy?

I have met Bishop Fellay briefly. He had no way of gauging my net worth, but was perfectly cordial to me. But then I must freely admit to lacking second sight.

Other than the jerks who view him as wanting to sell out, you are literally the first person I've ever heard say anything negative about Bishop Fellay except in connection with the Holocuaust dustup. I myself was none too pleased with his performance then, but his motives were certainly not envy. They were obviously fear and anger: fear that the Society would be run out of Germany and perhaps other places, and anger at Bishop Williamson for putting the Society in that position.

Presumably you think of the transfer to Argentina as an exercise in moving the competition away from his fan base. But if I were in Bishop Fellay's place, I would have myself been concerned about both the cult of personality that had obviously formed around Bishop Williamson, and the bad feelings generated among those who did not share his views on political and cultural matters. I say this, by the way, as someone who agrees with him on most of these matters. But I believe that it is not a good thing for a priest, and much less a bishop, to be a sign of contradiction on such matters.

John McFarland said...

Fra Domenico,

The notion of a motu proprio inevitably carried the implication of possible SSPX involvement in the process. So Bishop Fellay was all but obliged to squelch the rumor.

I would think that he was in a good position to squelch the rumor.
It's hard to conceive that if a motu proprio were in the works, the SSPX would not be aware of it. Conversely, if it is in the works, Bishop Fellay has made clear that it's news to him.

Adam P. said...

A Sinner said:

The doctrinal talks are not really needed as there is not any dogma at issue on the official level, merely prudential questions.

To which Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. responded:

You have a poor assessment of the crisis. Ecumenism and religious liberty are two big doctrinal battles...

I have to concur with Brother Anthony. I just finished reading the French book "Latin or not latin : Comment dire la messe (How to Say the Mass)" in which the author Guillaume Tabard provides a very even-handed view of the development of Msgr Lefebvre's rejection of Vatican II and the ensuing fallout. Tabard makes it very clear that there are deep doctrinal divides between the SSPX and the current hierarchy that will be far more difficult to resolve than the liturgical questions.

The latest monthly Quebec SSPX newsletter translated Bishop Williamson's July 10, 2010 Eleison letter about the talks with Rome and it all appears to me to be rather level-headed:

http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2010/07/how-talks-are-going.html

Like Tabard says in his book, it is a huge spiritual loss for the Roman church to have the SSPX in a canonically irregular situation. Tabard believes that Benedict XVI truly wants to bring them back into the fold as quickly as possibility.

In such a situation it's almost normal for there to be lots of speculation, and news leaks, and denials and whatnot... sort of like Apple launching a new iPhone for the impatient masses, except about a million times more important!

John L said...

Alsaticus:

Your remark about the slowness of 'reform' of the NO is quite correct, but you seem to reason that return to the traditional mass must proceed at the same slow pace, or slower. I don't see why; in fact not moving to make the NO less bad is likely to help the old mass, as it will not face any competition from novus ordo masses that can be held up as reverent alternatives.
I am certainly inclined to think that in 25 years the old mass will be what at least 25% of congregations will be attending. But when this point is reached, the situation will be unstable; the contrast between the two rituals, and between the people who attend them, will be evident to what ordinary Catholics in the pews there are left, and attendance at the NO will be something that you have to give reasons for, rather than the unthinking norm as it now is for most Catholics. Since good reasons are lacking, attendance at the NO will suffer.
There is also the factor that clerics who now support the NO do so not only because of modernist sympathies, but because some of them are believing Catholics who think it can actually work, and is an improvement on the old mass. Such clerics may not be as common in Alsace as they are elsewhere (e.g. the US), but they exist and are a decisive factor. This belief about the NO is false, of course, but more importantly it is becoming undeniably false. It is already visible in the contrast between my small traditionalist congregation in Australia and the average parish; our average age is about 20 years younger, and this is immediately visible to anyone who walks in on a Sunday. Once its falsity sinks in to the clerical world, priests will increasingly take a lead in promoting the old mass.
I expect that ecclesiastical authority will eventually have to be used to suppress the NO, but once the balance has shifted enough in favour of traditionalism this will be possible.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"At least one Vatican official I talked to recently told me he believes the future of the Church's liturgical life will be a type of fusion between the old Mass and the new Mass of Paul VI.

This is the view of many.

But at least one Vatican official I talked to, also in the past month, told me he believes the future is solely and exclusively in a return to the old rite.

"The old rite is our past, and it will be our future, " he told me. "The new Mass is a passing phase. In 50 years, that will be entirely clear."

And most numerous of all are the bishops who dream of a new wave of liturgical revolutions to further liberalize / simplify / inculturate the "extremely Roman" (!) Novus Ordo.

The battle against modernism is far from finished. In most of the Church it hasn't even begun yet.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"Of course, the Orders which adopted and radicalized the Novus Ordo with bizarre improvisations are all dying out rapidly (Jesuits, Franciscans, Dominicans, and also Cardinal Bertone's beloved Salesians)."

Each one of these "dying" Orders / congregations annually ordains more priests than the SSPX and all "Ecclesia Dei" congregations combined. They are all shrinking (except for the Dominicans) but the rate of collapse is not as rapid as in previous decades. Furthermore, diocesan and religious seminaries in Asia, Africa and some parts of Latin America continue to attract numerous vocations, even as they continue to teach a form of Catholicism that is drenched in the '70's. The question of what attracts vocations is not as simple as "traditionalists have all the vocations and liberals have none". We do ourselves a great disservice when we fall for such fantasies.

Truth be told, the growth of the "Ecclesia Dei" congregations cannot be described as spectacular, with annual ordinations numbering around 20. "Steady but modest" would be the best description.

(The SSPX, on the other hand, is showing signs of major growth, as the sudden increase in ordinations in 2009 and 2010 and the talk of a new seminary have shown.)

Anonymous said...

"If he leaves the Society, he will take the UK mission with him"

I don't thin so. Most SSPX Mass goers I know in Britain don't have any time for him, especially in Manchester where he lost them a new church. As for Scotland, whenever I've been at the SSPX chapels there I've found an almost universal dislike of Bishop Williamson.

Oliver said...

What is not mentioned here is the effect of those reputed large donors to the Society and the influence they have on policy. For example, who is financing the proposed US seminary expansion? The trads I know are as poor as church mice!

Anonymous said...

"The old rite is our past, and it will be our future, " he told me. "The new Mass is a passing phase. In 50 years, that will be entirely clear."

This is true. The Novus Ordo was a product of the rebellious 1960's. The "Hippy Generation", "Flower Power", and the Justice & Peace movement.
That the Catholic Church bought into this corruption and spirit of the age and discarded ALL of it's tradition in favor of improvisation and radical ecumenism, dialog and accomodation, justice and peace, etc. is to be condemned. Especially when you look at the wreckage of the Church over the last 45 years.

Anyone who speaks of "the New Evangelization", or "the New Springtime" and still clings to Vatican II, it's reforms and the Novus Ordo as it's anchor MUST be either simply misguided by evil advisors, or (worst scenario),either delusional(which is a mental illness), or an active and willing accomplice in the wreckage of the Church.
I would like to think that most people in the Church over the last 45+ years (from Popes on down), have been either misguided, or unfortunatly, delusional.
I would not like to think of the third possibility....although that too, is not out of the question.

I think of all the layclothes radical dissident nuns in the USA in their 70's and think that the third possibility is not too far off.

Mark said...

John McFarland: "He had no way of gauging my net worth..."

I suppose your parish does not have am insider committee of "founders."

John McFarland said...

Oliver,

Who are the large donors? And what is their effect?

Do you know something, or at least think you know something?

Sadie Vacantist said...

It is a SSPX-ED fantasy that vocations are dropping in the NO Church. Vocations are increasing dramatically in our local diocese here in England. Similarly the Dominicans are recovering. The process seems to be that once a young man is attracted others soon follow but the picture is patchy across the country. What is more certain is that Mass attendance continues to plummet. The ratio of priest to laity remains unchanged since 1965 and in some cases the ratio has increased.

One feature apparent to me is that the sex scandals have neither crushed (nor humbled) the Church as much as perhaps they should have done. Whether the situation is different in Ireland I can't say. Another feature of the UK Church is that the NO model has meant that Polish immigrants have made zero impact on the Church unlike the Irish immigrants of previous generation or even previous generations of Poles who with the Italians, Maltese etc ... appeared to "muck in" with the rest. The NO model enables them to disappear to their own parishes. Cardinal "Murphy-O'Connor" complained about this but seemed not to make the connection with the V2 ecclesiology which facilitates this.

What is often forgotten is that pastorally V2 is proving to be a disaster. In the USA things are worse as the phenomenon of the "Hispanic Mass" is socially counterproductive even dangerous.

John McFarland said...

Mark,

I go to an indie parish that is close to the SSPX, although the pastor has not adopted the 1962 missal or the Holy Week reforms. I presume that the trustees have been there since forever; but as near as I can tell, they aren't very rich or inclined to throw their weight around.

No doubt there are other indie churches that are a very different kettle of fish, but it's not a matter of particular interest to me.

I am interested in any and all stories regarding fat cat domination of the SSPX, so I can figure out whether it's something real, or just more ignorance and/or malice.

K Gurries said...

Br. Anthony said: "Ecumenism and religious liberty are two big doctrinal battles because of their, at the minimum, implicit denial of the dogma that "Outside the Church, there is no salvation"."
========================

But this very charge reveals an "implicitly" held theological conviction -- that the supreme magisterium, as such, can defect in the order of faith and morals by teaching heresy or corrupt doctrines that are contrary to her own dogmas.

Anonymous said...

"Each one of these "dying" Orders / congregations annually ordains more priests than the SSPX and all "Ecclesia Dei" congregations combined."

Actually, that's not totally right.
Group them all together, and of course they have ordained more each year than the SSPX, but seperatly, not accurate.
The Jesuits ordained only 4 new priests in the USA in 2010, the Franciscans 2-3. Some Orders like the Salesians have had in the USA only 1 ordination every 3-4 years.

In all of Europe, there are less than 70 Jesuit novices....minus the intake for Poland, and we have about 29 Jesuit novices in all Europe.

In Spain, there are only 2 Franciscan novices!! And less than 10 Salesian novices in Italy.

The reason why the Orders are dying out slower than before is that both the radicals who wanted more change, and the traditionalists who hated it left by the thousands 35 years ago. Those left were either those too old to leave, and those who were willing to stay...and accepted Vatican II enthusiastically. Next to zero candidates have come into most Orders since 1965 (by that I mean many large and substantial Orders which before the novus Ordo welcomed 100-125 new seminarians, novices (either male or female Orders) per year now welcome perhaps 0-5 per year. Our ARCHDIOCESE of Philadelphia averaged 65-100 entrants into the Ardiosecean seminary every year in the thirty-five years before Vatican II, and the 6 major Orders of Sisters combined took in over 500 vocations per year, from the 1920's thru the early 1960's. Then a complete collapse.
This year, we have 15 seminary entrants (50 total sems for Philadelphia....totals lower not seen since before the Civil War). Nuns average combined about 4 entrants per year.
Magnify that for all the USA, Canada, and Western Europe and most of Latin America...and you'll understand what I mean by dying Orders.

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

K Curries said:

But this very charge reveals an "implicitly" held theological conviction -- that the supreme magisterium, as such, can defect in the order of faith and morals by teaching heresy or corrupt doctrines that are contrary to her own dogmas.

If by "supreme" you mean the pope, not necessarily engaging his infallibility, then yes, you are correct.

Anonymous said...

That assumes that Vatican II is taught something magisterial but it was a pastoral council.

Vatican II didn't teach heresy, it didn't formally teach anything really. However, with all of its ambiguity it certainly has fostered confusion and people have run wild with its teachings or lack thereof.

The whole ecumenical adventure of the post-Vatican II era as well as the change of practice regarding religious liberty needs to be discussed (actually, it needs to be put in line with what was taught clearly before).

Pablo said...

...I am interested in any and all stories regarding fat cat domination of the SSPX, so I can figure out whether it's something real, or just more ignorance and/or malice...

To what avail?

What would you do with that information?

Mark your comments are right on.

Bishop Williamson made a private remark on his private blog that someone made public.

Large deal.

May God our Lord in His infinite and supreme goodness be pleased to give us His abundant grace, that we may know His most holy will, and entirely fulfill it.

*

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

Anonymous of 27 August, 2010 23:32

Your statistics come straight from Neverland. The Midwest (Wisconsin, Chicago and Detroit) Jesuits had 6 new priests this year, the New Orleans Jesuits had 3 new priests, and the New England-NY-Maryland Jesuits had 5 new priests. That is already 14, not the 4 that you enumerate.

The Philippine Jesuits had 7 priestly ordinations this year. Other Asian and African provinces also had many ordinations.

The ordinations for the "Biggest Orders" may be nothing compared to the pre-Conciliar norm, but let's not fool ourselves! The cause of Tradition is not served by mistaking our wishes and fantasies for reality.

K Gurries said...

Br. Anthony, indefectibility (protection from corruption in faith in morals) is always active -- even when a Pope or council does not "define" a dogma of faith. In other words, even non-definitive magisterial teachings are indefectible. The magisterium is subject to err in a certain sense -- but not in Faith or Morals. See this for more:

http://opuscula.blogspot.com/2009/05/on-rupture-theology.html

K Gurries said...

Anon 1:52 said: "That assumes that Vatican II is taught something magisterial but it was a pastoral council.

Vatican II didn't teach heresy, it didn't formally teach anything really."
========================

The "pastoral" character of the council does not mean that it excludes content/teaching on faith and morals. This is evident by the nature of the texts -- some of them "Dogmatic Constitutions". So, I think we have to consider VII as a council with a "pastoral character" (i.e., it did not intend to define new dogmas or condemn specific heresies -- but wanted to prudentially/pastorally adapt to the requirements of modern circumstances) while also teaching on various aspects of faith and morals.

Msgr Gherardini notes the following:
"His Excellency, Msgr. Felici, added another specification of pertinent interest about those items which, outside of any dogmatic intention, 'the Holy Synod proposes as doctrine of the Church's Supreme Magisterium,' that is to say, of the Council itself. All of the faithful in general and each in particular will be bound 'to accept and embrace them in conformity with the mind of the same Holy Synod; this mind, according to the theological hermeneutic, is made manifest both by the doctrine treated and by the tone of the verbal expression...'"

More on Gherardini's analysis here:
http://opuscula.blogspot.com/2010/08/msgr-gherardini-on-vatican-ii.html

Knight of Malta said...

K Gurries: "...indefectibility (protection from corruption in faith in morals) is always active -- even when a...council does not 'define' a dogma of faith."

That is debatable. Since in your next comment you quote Gherardini , I will quote him on-point:

"This [the general guidance of the Holy Spirit at a Council] does not mean that the Holy Spirit may not encounter formal or material resistance from the free-willed men who give life to the counciliar event. It is from this possibility that there arises the great risk which casts itself upon the background of the Council...namely, the possibility that it may even fail in some way. Someone has even gone further and has asked if an Ecumenical Council can fall into error in Faith and Morals. The opinions are at variance..."

Therefore, since a major theologian states that opinions are at variance as to whether a Council can fall into error in Faith and Morals, I would say it is far from clear that Vatican II had the protection of the Holy Spirit. Gherardini is saying that the Free Will of council fathers can overshadow the working of the Holy Spirit. And that, in my opinion, is exactly what happened at Vatican II.

K Gurries said...

Knight of Malta, if you continue reading, Gherardini says in the next breath (cf. my blog piece):

"At any rate, even if error in matters of Faith and Morals must be formally excluded as a possibility in an authentic Council, no one on principle can exclude the possibility of some formulations which are less than pleasing..."

In other words, error is faith and morals, per se, is excluded as a possibility, period. At the same time, there can be other deficiencies and/or error -- but not at the level of faith or morals. Then at what level? We are talking about deficiencies in the practical/prudential order. More on this in the Rupture Theology piece...

John McFarland said...

Mr. Gurries,

You are making up your own definition of indefectibility. The term does not mean "protection from corruption in faith and morals."

Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma states: "In saying that the Church is indefectible we assert both her imperishableness, that is, her continual duration until the end of the world, and the essential immutability of her teaching, her constitution and her liturgy."

I would imagine that any other pre-Vatican II manual of dogmatic theology says much the same.

The correct understanding of indefectibility clearly does not imply that the Pope or a council cannot make a mistake even in a situation where its teaching is not infallible.

As regards Cardinal Felici's remarks as quoted by Msgr. Gherardini, my reaction is: the mind of the Council as reflected by the language and hermeneutic of -- whom? Rahner, Congar, Ratzinger and Schillebeeckx et al. (leaving aside their internal differences? Archbishop Lefebvre and the Coetus? The vast majority of clueless Council fathers who went along with what they thought the Boss wanted?

I have not read Gherardini, but I'll be pretty surprised if he was quoting Cardinal Felici approvingly.

P.S. I would also offer the CCC's definition of indefectibility, but I couldn't find it in the index of my 1994 edition -- nor infallibility, for that matter. I'll look further when I have the time.

John McFarland said...

Mr. Gurries,

Indefectibility does not mean "protection from corruption in faith and morals."

In the Baltimore Catechisms for grammar school, the definition was that the Church would last until the end of time.

Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma says: "In saying that the Church is indefectible we assert both her imperishableness, that is, her constant duration until the end of the world, and the essential immutability of her teaching, her constitution and her liturgy."

Now I could well imagine that a devotee of the hermeneutic of continuity might use the concept to argue that essential immutability requires that we accept novelties taught by those in authority or deny indefectibility.

But a traditionalist could argue, and certainly argue more consistently with the spirit of the doctrine, that novelties must be rejected, whether from the Pope or an angel from heaven, when they constitute an essential change in doctrine, constitution or liturgy.

Anonymous said...

I would not trust Williamson OR Fellay as far as I could throw the Empire State Building.

Brian said...

K Gurries accuses Br. Anthony of an "implicitly" held theological conviction -- that the supreme magisterium, as such, can defect in the order of faith and morals and writes, indefectibility (protection from corruption in faith in morals) is always active -- even when a Pope or council does not "define" a dogma of faith. In other words, even non-definitive magisterial teachings are indefectible. The magisterium is subject to err in a certain sense -- but not in Faith or Morals.”

During deliberations at VC2 liberal theologians justified the “new and positive” presentation of the faith at VC2 as a necessary corrective to the “defensive,” “anti-Modernist mentality,” and “”theology of negations and prohibitions” of the Syllabus of Pius IX, the decree Lamentabili and encyclical Pascendi of Pius X, and the encyclical Humani generis by Pius XII. The criticisms of new theology contained in these papal teachings were dismissed as being marked by “cramped thinking,” “neurotic denial of everything new,” “excessive one-sided zeal,” an “old pattern of ‘anti-sim,” and a “spirit of condemnation and negation.”

This “new beginning” and “new position” presented in VC2 was developed in self-conscious contrast to the papal encyclicals of the prior hundred years.

But here, one who faults VC2's new presentation of the faith for implicitly contradicting prior Church teaching is accused of denying the indefectibility of the Church in the order of faith and morals.

K Gurries said...

John, I did not intend to "define" indefectibility -- but only to point out one aspect of it -- including the fact of ongoing protection from corruption in faith and morals in her official teachings. Check out the Catholic Encycopedia on the Indefectibility of the Church (...promised to Peter and the See of Rome):

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The gift of indefectibility plainly does not guarantee each several part of the Church against heresy or apostasy. The promise is made to the corporate body. Individual Churches may become corrupt in morals, may fall into heresy, may even apostatize. Thus at the time of the Mohammedan conquests, whole populations renounced their faith; and the Church suffered similar losses in the sixteenth century. But the defection of isolated branches does not alter the character of the main stem. The society of Jesus Christ remains endowed with all the prerogatives bestowed on it by its Founder. Only to One particular Church is indefectibility assured, viz. to the See of Rome. To Peter, and in him to all his successors in the chief pastorate, Christ committed the task of confirming his brethren in the Faith (Luke 22:32); and thus, to the Roman Church, as Cyprian says, "faithlessness cannot gain access" (Epistle 54). The various bodies that have left the Church naturally deny its indefectibility.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03744a.htm

K Gurries said...

Brian, I would not put too much weight on what "liberal theologians" have to say or the so-called "spirit" of Vatican II. Look to the texts and you will find no heresy. The magisterium of the Popes remains indefectible -- even when not defining ex-Cathedra.

Brian said...

K. Gurries,
I was not referring to liberal theologians who, after the fact, distorted what the Council said by claiming some imaginary "spirit of Vatican II."

I was referring to the what liberal pereti who drafted the documents of Vatican II claimed about those documents. These documents were self-consciously drawn up as correctives to the papal teaching of Pius IX, Pius X, and Pius XII. The pereti in drafting those documents did so in contrast to prior papal encyclicals which they dismissed as being cramped, negativistic, and condemning.

Of course the point of those papal documents was to clearly and specifically contrast Catholic dogma from modernistic errors. The periti who drafted the actual documents of Vatican II, drafted those documents as explicit criticisms and correctives to the excessive, one-sided, anti-Modernistic zeal of those papal teachings.

So, who is right? Popes Pius IX, Pius X, and Pius XII, or the pereti who framed the documents of Vatican II? Did these papal encyclicals go too far in their teaching of the faith and their warnings against ecumenism, indifferentism, and Modernism?

Why is it that the authors of the documents could criticize the teaching of prior encyclicals, but one cannot criticize the documents of VC2 without being accused of denying the indefectibility of the Church?

Picard said...

K. Gurries:

Your theorie is debatable, there is no absolute consensus but rather it´s an opinion.

Yes, some arguments and authorities speak in favor of/for your opinion, but there are others against it, cf. f.e. the Dogmatik of Ott or the liturgical argument from the Litany of all Saints: "ut Domnum Apost. in sancta religione conservare digneris"

Also your quotation of the Vatican-paper (in your opusculum) - that should show that there can only be errors in the prudential order - is not correct resp. does not say and confirm what you suggest.

So at least according to many theolgians there is the POSSIBILITY: If the Pope is not speaking ex Cathedra, so infallibly, he can fall into heresy - cf. the Honorius question. At least the Church left the POSSIBILITY of such a case open, as the Honorius-question shows [I know that later on he was not condammend as heretic but only as haeresi(m) favens/fovens]

Many theolgians even think that a Pope could totaly apostate (but then would lose his Papacy)!!

K Gurries said...

Brian, I still think you put too much stock even in liberal periti -- as if they controlled the final outcome. The schemas went through many drafts through the interventions of the council fathers. Liberals will always paint a liberal view of the documents -- just as protestants will always paint a protestant view of sacred scripture -- according to their own hermeneutic.

Picard, indefectibility is not some opinion made up by me. Nor does Ott contradict what I have said. The debatable point is whether or not a Pope can err in a merely PRIVATE capacity (i.e., as a priviate theologian, etc.). I am talking about authentic acts of the papal magisterium. The papal magisterium, as such, is indefectible (authentic acts) -- even if some theorize that a given Pope can be subject to err in a private capacity.

I have quite a number of citations (see the footnotes) on this issue in my post on Rupture Theology....

K Gurries said...

Picard, below are just a few citations (cf. On Rupture Theology) in connection with the indefectibility of the Church. I hope this underscores the fact that this is not some casual opinion of my own creation:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

[4] Cf. Matthew 16:18; Matthew 28:20.
Some representatives of rupture theology conceive the concept of indefectibility in a seemingly narrow and conditional manner. According to this narrow view, indefectibility is not an inherent and permanent charism of the teaching office (magisterium) that is always active. Rather, indefectibility and the protection from corruption in faith must be actively engaged in a deliberate mode of solemn or "ex cathedra" teaching.

Cardinal Journet notes that the indefectibility of the magisterium or “teaching Church” is linked to the indefectibility of Peter: “At the end of St. Matthew's Gospel, Jesus, to whom all power has been given in heaven and on earth, sends His disciples to evangelize the world, promising His assistance till the end of the world. What is explicitly designated here is the indefectibility of the teaching Church. But the teaching Church, and every believing Church sustained by her, has Peter for foundation (Matt. xvi. 13-20). To say that the Church is truly indefectible, and that it is truly based on the assistance promised to Peter, is to say in a way that is as yet implicit but already real that the assistance promised to Peter is indefectible….To say that the flock of Christ has a visible pastor on earth, and to say that this flock is indefectible, is to say in a way that is still undoubtedly latent, but real, that the visible pastor of the Church is, as such, indefectible” (Cf. Journet, The Church of the Word Incarnate, Sheed and Ward, 1955, pp. 440-441). Maritain makes the same point as follows: “We know that a Pope can be a great sinner, but that – a condition presupposed by his charisma (“strengthen your brothers”) – he will never lose the faith; and that the Episcopal body also will never lose the faith (although bishops individually taken can fall into heresy, at least through weakness, - one saw this too well, and very abundantly, at the time of Arianism).” In an endnote to the foregoing, Maritain comments: “This is why the questions which the medieval theologians posed to themselves concerning a Pope who would become heretical seem to me wholly academic” (Cf. Maritain, On the Church of Christ, UND Press, 1973, p. 139).


[6] Cf. First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ, July 18, 1870. In his official Relatio of July 11, 1870 on chapter four of the Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus Bishop Gasser stated the following: “This prerogative granted to St. Peter by the Lord Jesus Christ was supposed to pass to all Peter’s successors because the chair of Peter is the center of unity in the Church. But if the Pontiff should fall into error of faith, the Church would dissolve, deprived of the bond of unity. The bishop of Meaux speaks very well on this point, saying: ‘If this Roman See could fall and be no longer the See of truth but of error and pestilence, then the Catholic Church herself would not have the bond of a society and would be schismatic and scattered – which in fact is impossible.’” (Cf. Gasser, The Gift of Infallibility, Ignatius, 2008, pp. 24-25)

Anonymous said...

"I would not trust Williamson OR Fellay as far as I could throw the Empire State Building."

I would trust both of them more than 99% of Bishops around the world, and more than the Cardinals and Bishops, monsignori, priests and other functionaries of the present Vatican.

Williamson has his problems. But Fellay is 100% an honorable man and a total Catholic bishop.....in the mold of generations of bishops before Vatican II!

K Gurries said...

Picard, this is more than a casual theory or private opinion. The proposition that "the Church of the city of Rome can fall into error" is one of the theses of Peter de Osma, formally condemned by Pope Sixtus IV as erroneous and as containing manifest heresy. (Cf. DZ, 730)

Anonymous said...

It seems the real issue is not if Vatican II has actual doctrinal errors in it but rather that those liberal periti and bishops influenced the way things turned out and had it in their minds what they were going to do with the documents and interpretation. We can argue until we are blue in the face trying to prove the orthodoxy of Vatican II. In facing the issues of the day, can we say it did anything but fail? The biggest issues of the day (i.e. communism, the resurgence of modernism in the 'nouvele theologie', etc.) were not touched on. There was no "new springtime", there was just confusion.

Do the Vatican II documents enshrine heresy? No, but even people like Cardinal Ratzinger have criticized VII documents as using "downright Pelagian terminology". There is far too much ambiguity and wordiness in the VII documents to make them models of Church teaching. When I want to read what the Church teaches, I do not bother to dig through the profluvium of VII or any post-conciliar documents for that matter. The confusion they have created and/or enabled is enough to confine them to the wayside of Church history.

There is absolutely no need to try to find heresy in Vatican II. Does it teach what the Church has always taught as well as it has taught? Does it provide heretics with ample wiggle room to promote their own heresies and errors? What has the last 40 some years shown us? It should be condemned in the same sense Pope Honorius was.

Brian said...

K. Gurries,
The liberal periti I was referring to and from I extensively quoted above was, then, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger who, also wrote,in his book Theological Highlights of Vatican II, "the Council had resolutely set itself against perpetuating a one-side anti-Modernism," (i.e., as expressed in the papal teachings of the prior hundred years).

Fr. Ratzinger's remarks were not passing thoughts in the midst of the debates. He was offering a summation of what had occurred during the course of the prior year at the Council. He was commenting on the final outcome of the of the previous year, on what the Council DID.

There is in his writing a clear criticism and dismissal of one hundred years of papal teaching as one-sided, negativistc, overly condemning, and needing to be set aside. Was Fr. Ratzinger implicit denying the indefectibility of the Church? or do you only lodge that accusation against Traditional Catholics, like Br, Anthony who criticize the Council?

What Fr. Ratzinger said that the Council did, of course, is exactly what was done at Vatican II. Vatican II, along with post-Conciliar popes swept away the papal teaching and scholastic theology of over a hundred years of Catholic teaching.

Fr. Ratzinger explicit made that claim and his claim is obviously correct.

K Gurries said...

Anon 1:49, there is no human text that is immune to human manipulation and human bias. Even sacred scripture is subject to manipulation and abuse. For all of the defects that can be pointed out in this or that text -- the real defect is in the human will that would manipulate/interpret a text in pursuit of his own ends. According to your criteria we should condemn sacred scripture itself -- as it is so easily used by heretics to support their false ideas....

Brian, note that Ratzinger qualified his term as a ONE-SIDED (i.e., false, narrow and/or extreme) type of anti-modernism. That is not the same thing as the anti-modernism of the Popes....

John McFarland said...

Mr. Gurries,

You have assembled various authorities that you appear to believe support the proposition that the Pope can't be in error because that is incompatible with the indefectibility of the Church.

I think the first question is: what do you and your authorities mean by error?

It seems to me that for these purposes, error must mean material heresy.

If you grant that point, then I don't find your argument of much interest, because (1) the Holy Father has certainly never clearly denied any de fide doctrine, much less clearly stated that he recognized a de fide doctrine as such and was nonetheless denying it; and (2) and I can't read his mind.

If you deny that point, I am interested in knowing your reasons for denying it.

John McFarland said...

Brian,

One hundred years? More like 1,930years.

When Cardinal Ratzinger said in his memoirs that he rejected scholasticism because he needed to figure it all out for himself, can you point me to the passage in the gospels that he was appealing to?

Brian said...

K. Gurries,
You wrote,
note that Ratzinger qualified his term as a ONE-SIDED (i.e., false, narrow and/or extreme) type of anti-modernism. That is not the same thing as the anti-modernism of the Popes....

Your comment is contradicted by, then, Fr. Ratzinger.

Fr. Ratzinger specifically writes that the Syllabus of Pius IX was characterized by "excessively one-sided zeal. " He continues, "this development reaches its zenith in the various measures of Pius X against Modernism (the decree Lamentabili and the encyclical Pascendi (1907)."

Fr. Ratzinger continues with his critique, writing that in their one-sided zeal, "much real wheat was lost along with the chaff. This historical perspective helps explain then, that secret fear and mistrust of any theological expression of modern historical and philosophical thought. This same anxiety persisted until its last reverberation sounded in the encyclical Humani generis of Pius XII. This document pursued once more the line of thought of Pius IX and Pius X."

Fr. Ratzinger then identifies the theology of these popes with the theological schema which was prepared by Cardinal Ottaviani's theological commission, and rejected by the Council. According to Fr. Ratzinger, this schema was rejected because it "breathed this same spirit. The same cramped thinking" as did the papal teaching cited above.

Again, Fr. Ratzinger identifies the theology of the popes with the theology of Cardinal Ottaviani's schema, which, he writes was rejected by the Council because it exhibited a “defensive,” “anti-Modernist mentality,” and “”theology of negations and prohibitions.” And because of its “cramped thinking,” “neurotic denial of everything new,” “excessive one-sided zeal,” an “old pattern of ‘anti-ism,” and a “spirit of condemnation and negation.”

John McFarland, I agree with you. The papal teachings of Piux IX, Pius X, Pius XII were in continuity with ancient Church Tradition. Here, however, I was limiting my remarks to statements that, then, Fr. Ratzinger made and his specific criticism of the "embattled atmosphere of the Church during the previous hundred years."

I specifically mentioned the papal teaching of the prior hundred years in order to stay with Fr. Ratzinger's comments. He writes, "The earlier preparatory work had been done in the defensive, anti-Modernistic tradition of the curia, most of whose offices had come into being during the battles of the last hundred years. The Council's decision meant nothing less than a basic overhauling of the view manifested in the preparatory work." ("Basic overhauling"!)

According to Fr. Ratzinger, "The real question behind the discussion could be put this way: Was the intellectual position of "anti-Modernism" -- the old policy of exclusiveness, condemnation and defense leading to an almost neurotic denial of all that was new -- to be continued? Or would the Church after it had taken all the necessary precautions to protect the faith, turn over a new leaf and move on into a new and positive encounter with its own origins, with its brothers and the world of today?"

K. Gurries, you accuse Br. Anthony of denying the indefectability of the Church. What about, then, Fr. Ratzinger? He claims here that a "basic overhaul" of papal teaching was required in order to allow the Council to "move on into a new and positive encounter with its own origins, with its brothers and the world of today."

If a Catholic Brother just doesn't buy that line of thinking; if he thinks that the whole project of VC2 was mistaken and believes that Popes Pius IX, Pius X, and Pius XII got is exactly right, is he denying the indefectability of the Church?

K Gurries said...

John, Indefectibility involves the preservation (protection from corruption) in faith and morals. If you see my Rupture Theology piece (see the section on the prudential order) you will find that it covers in what sense the magisterium can err.

Brian, did then Fr. Ratzinger accuse these popes of heresy? One-sidedness need not be interpreted as heretical -- but only imprudent, etc. But that has nothing to do with defection in faith and morals.

As Pope, Benedict XVI still condemns the errors of his predecessors (relativism, moral license, indifferentism, etc.). But he does so in his own way. These are legitimate differences that belong not to faith and morals, per se -- but to the practical prudential order.

Brian said...

K. Gurries,
I don't recall anyone involved in this discussion making explicit accusations of heresy.

K Gurries said...

Brian, let's go back to the original statement from Br. Anthony...

========================
Br. Anthony said: "Ecumenism and religious liberty are two big doctrinal battles because of their, at the minimum, implicit denial of the dogma that "Outside the Church, there is no salvation"."
========================

Then I commented as follows:

=======================
But this very charge reveals an "implicitly" held theological conviction -- that the supreme magisterium, as such, can defect in the order of faith and morals by teaching heresy or corrupt doctrines that are contrary to her own dogmas.
=======================

To contradict or deny (implicitly or explicitly) a dogma of Faith enters into the very definition of heresy. To say that the supreme magisterium can formally teach heresy is directly opposed to the indefectibility of the Church.

I have no problem with criticism of Vatican II etc. There are always certain deficiencies that can be highlighted and discussed. But when the criticism of authentic magisterial teaching elevates to a charge of heresy -- I say that goes too far. That is all that I wanted to point out here.

Knight of Malta said...

K Gurries: "In other words, error is faith and morals, per se, is excluded as a possibility, period."

With all due respect, that is not what Gherardini is saying. He says "even if," (according to your own post) which means it could go the other way.

K Gurries said...

Knight of Malta, true he entertains some kind of "rupture" -- but in the final analysis he does not consider the possibility that the supreme magisterium can contradict (rupture) in Tradition or anything fundamental and essential. This is evident by what I have quoted in the article -- and other statements such as this:

"A Council, as I have repeatedly pointed out, is the undeniable guarantee of true Catholic doctrine, the supreme pinnacle of the authentic and solemn Magisterium of the Church. (Cf. Gherardini, p. 213)

Brian said...

G. Kurries,

Let us go through our posts, as you suggest.

When I posted:
"Fr. Joseph Ratzinger . . . wrote in his book Theological Highlights of Vatican II that 'the Council had resolutely set itself against perpetuating a one-side anti-Modernism,' (i.e., as expressed in the papal teachings of the prior hundred years)."

You replied:
Brian, note that Ratzinger qualified his term as a ONE-SIDED (i.e., false, narrow and/or extreme) type of anti-modernism. That is not the same thing as the anti-modernism of the Popes....

So then, by your own argument, to characterize a document as teaching “one-side anti-modernism” is to imply that the document teaches a “false, narrow and/ or extreme” type of anti-modernism.

As it turns out, you were incorrect, Fr. Ratzinger was indeed, openly and directly criticizing the anti-modernism of the Popes. In fact, Fr. Ratzinger did not only write that these teachings exhibited a “one-sided anti-Modernism,” he also wrote that they exhibited an "excessively one-sided zeal."

Therefore, again, by your own argument, Fr. Ratzinger implied that the Popes taught an over-zealous, “false, narrow and / or extreme” anti-modernism.

Therefore, Fr. Ratzinger implied that the anti-modernism of the Syllabus, the decree Lamentabili, the encyclical Pascendi, and the encyclical Humani generis was excessively “false," excessively "narrow," and/ or excessively "extreme.”

Now, following your reasoning, to imply that a papal teaching is excessively “false, narrow, and extreme” is surely to imply that those papal teachings lacked indefectibility.

Again, sticking with your way of judging things, to imply that those papal teachings lack indefectibility is tantamount to stating that the supreme magisterium formally taught heresy.

To state that the supreme magisterium formally taught heresy is, of course, to commit heresy.

Therefore, we can conclude that Br. Anthony and Fr. Ratzinger are both heretics.

Reading through our posts, your reasoning strikes me as being inconsistent. Fr. Ratzinger's report that the Council Fathers criticized papal teaching is doggedly defended through a shifting series of arguments, while Br. Anthony's criticism of VC2 teaching is rashly condemned as heretical.

K Gurries said...

Brian, I really don't have all of the context to know in which sense then Fr. Ratzinger considered former teaching as "one-sided". The term could be taken in many ways -- which is why I followed up by saying:

"One-sidedness need not be interpreted as heretical -- but only imprudent, etc. But that has nothing to do with defection in faith and morals."

Again, all of this is a question of accidentals -- rather than a dispute about the substance of their teaching. I have already indicated this above by noting that as Pope, Benedict XVI still condemns what was condemned earlier (relativism, indifferentism, moral license, etc.). Does he do it in what he then considered as "one-sided" or does he do it in what he considers to be more "balanced" and/or pastoral/prudential? These (practical/prudential) questions are open to endless debates that I have little interest in.

Brian said...

K. Gurries,

You write, all of this is a question of accidentals -- rather than a dispute about the substance of their teaching.

Condemning modernistic ideas was not accidental to these encyclicals. The substance of those documents was to defend Catholic faith and morals in the face of modernistic thought. When one reads those documents, can one trust that what is written there is true?

You write that as Pope, Benedict XVI still condemns what was condemned earlier (relativism, indifferentism, moral license, etc.).

The problem once again, is that, as Fr. Ratzinger points out, for one who still adheres to ("clings to"?) to pre-VC2 papal teaching, in order to understand what Pope Benedict XVI means by the terms relativism, indifferentism, moral license, etc would require a "basic overhauling" of ones thinking and attitudes. A basic overhaul that I have little interest in.

K Gurries said...

Brian, your opinion is based on mere assumptions and interpretations that are not supported by the facts. Below is only one example where formerly condemned modern errors are recalled and condemned again -- and in the very same sense -- and with clear references to the former papal documents:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++
"A kind of cultural relativism exists today, evident in the conceptualization and defence of an ethical pluralism, which sanctions the decadence and disintegration of reason and the principles of the natural moral law..."

"The teaching on freedom of conscience and on religious freedom does not therefore contradict the condemnation of indifferentism and religious relativism by Catholic doctrine;[30] on the contrary, it is fully in accord with it."

[30] Cf. Pius IX, Encyclical Letter Quanta cura: ASS 3 (1867), 162; Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter Immortale Dei: ASS 18 (1885), 170–171; Pius XI, Encyclical Letter Quas primas: AAS 17 (1925), 604–605; Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2108; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Dominus Iesus, 22.

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20021124_politica_en.html#_ftn11

John McFarland said...

Mr. Gurries,

You are trying to take what might be called the a priori route to defending the supposed continuity between Vatican II and what went before -- that is, you want to be able to argue that if Vatican II said it, it can’t contain error, or at least not “substantial” error.

Since a posteriori I have no doubt that any number of things in the acts of Vatican II would have earned at least “smacking of heresy” or “offensive to pious ears” or the like from the pre-Vatican II Holy Office, and most of the makers of Vatican II (including Father Ratzinger) were at least under suspicion in those same quarters (recall Archbishop Lefebvre’s amazement at being shoulder to shoulder with them in the pre-conciliar commission), I can’t say that I derive much comfort from “substantial,” nor would I even if I were clearer as to what “substantial” meant.

But for the moment, let’s focus on the a priori approach. It seems to me highly unlikely that any of the pre-Vatican II learning to which you appeal took into account the possibility that a Pope in giving his approval to acts of an ecumenical council, might not be interested in upholding the traditional doctrine of the Church, but might rather be interested in making political, intellectual and religious peace with the modern world, and with those elements of the Church which had already embraced that program.

I therefore think that the relevance of that pre-Vatican II learning to the mess we are currently in is at best suspect. A partial analogy is the Feeneyites’ habit of burying their opponents under hundreds of categorical assertions from the Fathers, Doctors, etc. to the effect that water baptism is necessary for salvation. Of course, the problem with this is that baptism of blood and desire have no pastoral relevance: they come into play precisely when water baptism, which is obviously what must be done if it can be done, has not been done.

Furthermore (returning to the a posteriori), there is manifestly discontinuity that has generated a crisis, and that discontinuity began with and followed from Vatican II. We have a Mass that undercuts the propitiary nature of Christ’s sacrifice and its “representation” in the Mass. We have religious education that effectively eliminated any doctrinal formation (there are no doubt Ph.D.s who go to Church on Sunday and know less about the real doctrine of the Church when I did when I was six). We have a funeral Mass that evangelizes the salvation for every individual for whom it is celebrated. We have an ecclesiology that undercuts the doctrine of the Catholic Church as the one true church established by Christ. We have an ecumenism that undercuts the doctrine of the Catholic Church as the one ark of salvation. As regards the doctrine of Hell, the conciliar magisterium has followed the spirit of the Council, whose acts reputedly make not one unambiguous reference to it.

There is an old Protestant joke that goes as follows:

A to B: Do you believe in infant baptism?
B to A: I’ve seen it done!

As regards discontinuity before and after Vatican II, I (and everyone else older than 60 or so) has seen it done, and everyone else knows about it.

And if this discontinuity is not substantial, then “substantial” must have a very refined sense indeed.

So, Mr. Gurries, I think that you have there are three choices: (1) “right wing” apostasy, (2) sedevacantism, or (3) becoming a real traditionalist.

A real traditionalist is one who says: insofar as what has been taught since 1962 is, in letter or spirit, at odds with what was taught before 1962, so much the worse for what has been taught since 1962.

As to how to describe the current situation in traditional terms, I’m at a loss, the same as everyone else. But I can’t let that prevent me from describing what I can describe, or rejecting arguments to the effect that I must treat those who are not teaching the complete and unadulterated faith are if they were.

John McFarland said...

Mr. Gurries,

You are trying to take what might be called the a priori route to defending the supposed continuity between Vatican II and what went before -- that is, you want to be able to argue that if Vatican II said it, it can’t contain error, or at least not “substantial” error.

Since a posteriori I have no doubt that any number of things in the acts of Vatican II would have earned at least “smacking of heresy” or “offensive to pious ears” or the like from the pre-Vatican II Holy Office, and most of the makers of Vatican II (including Father Ratzinger) were at least under suspicion in those same quarters (recall Archbishop Lefebvre’s amazement at being shoulder to shoulder with them in the pre-conciliar commission), I can’t say that I derive much comfort from “substantial,” nor would I even if I were clearer as to what “substantial” meant.

But for the moment, let’s focus on the a priori approach. It seems to me highly unlikely that any of the pre-Vatican II learning to which you appeal took into account the possibility that a Pope in giving his approval to acts of an ecumenical council, might not be interested in upholding the traditional doctrine of the Church, but might rather be interested in making political, intellectual and religious peace with the modern world, and with those elements of the Church which had already embraced that program.

I therefore think that the relevance of that pre-Vatican II learning to the mess we are currently in is at best suspect. A partial analogy is the Feeneyites’ habit of burying their opponents under hundreds of categorical assertions from the Fathers, Doctors, etc. to the effect that water baptism is necessary for salvation. Of course, the problem with this is that baptism of blood and desire have no pastoral relevance: they come into play precisely when water baptism, which is obviously what must be done if it can be done, has not been done.

Furthermore (returning to the a posteriori), there is manifestly discontinuity that has generated a crisis, and that discontinuity began with and followed from Vatican II. We have a Mass that undercuts the propitiary nature of Christ’s sacrifice and its “representation” in the Mass. We have religious education that effectively eliminated any doctrinal formation (there are no doubt Ph.D.s who go to Church on Sunday and know less about the real doctrine of the Church when I did when I was six). We have a funeral Mass that evangelizes the salvation for every individual for whom it is celebrated. We have an ecclesiology that undercuts the doctrine of the Catholic Church as the one true church established by Christ. We have an ecumenism that undercuts the doctrine of the Catholic Church as the one ark of salvation. As regards the doctrine of Hell, the conciliar magisterium has followed the spirit of the Council, whose acts reputedly make not one unambiguous reference to it.

There is an old Protestant joke that goes as follows:

A to B: Do you believe in infant baptism?
B to A: I’ve seen it done!

As regards discontinuity before and after Vatican II, I (and everyone else older than 60 or so) has seen it done, and everyone else knows about it.

And if this discontinuity is not substantial, then “substantial” must have a very refined sense indeed.

So, Mr. Gurries, I think that you have there are three choices: (1) “right wing” apostasy, (2) sedevacantism, or (3) becoming a real traditionalist.

A real traditionalist is one who says: insofar as what has been taught since 1962 is, in letter or spirit, at odds with what was taught before 1962, so much the worse for what has been taught since 1962.

As to how to describe the current situation in traditional terms, I’m at a loss, the same as everyone else. But I can’t let that prevent me from describing what I can describe, or rejecting arguments to the effect that I must treat those who are not teaching the complete and unadulterated faith are if they were.

Brian said...

Let us say that the new philosophy of Mr. Smith, in fact, differs dramatically from the old philosophy of Mr. Jones.

Mr. Smith, in fact, states that Mr. Jones teaching is a philosophy of negations and prohibitions and is one-sided and narrow, defensive, cramped, and out of touch with modern thought. Mr. Smith instructs that if a student of the old philosophy wishes to understand his new philosophy, that student will have to undergo a basic overhauling of their attitudes and thinking.

Let us further suppose, however, that despite their actual difference in reality, Mr. Smith insists that “my new philosophy says the exact same thing as Mr. Jones old philosophy.”

Now suppose, that despite their marked disagreement on most points, Mr. Smith’s disciple argues that his master, Mr. Smith, is teaching the exact same philosophy as Mr. Jones. Naturally, Mr. Jones’s students beg to differ.

Welling with pride, Mr. Smith’s disciple “indisputably proves” his argument by citing a passage in which Mr. Smith wrote similar words to those found in Mr. Jones’s philosophy. Not only that, but the passage that the disciple cites concludes with Mr. Smith’s claim that, “my new philosophy says the exact same thing as Mr. Jones old philosophy.”

The disciple proclaims, there, I have conclusively proven that there is no difference between my master’s philosophy and that of Mr. Jones!

The disciple also proclaims, I have also conclusively proven that Mr. Smith never criticized the substance of Mr. Jones’s old philosophy.

Has that disciple proven anything?

K Gurries said...

John said: "...I therefore think that the relevance of that pre-Vatican II learning to the mess we are currently in is at best suspect."
======================

John, as noted above:

The proposition that "the Church of the city of Rome can fall into error" is one of the theses of Peter de Osma, formally condemned by Pope Sixtus IV as erroneous and as containing manifest heresy. (Cf. DZ, 730)

Now, is this an example of "pre-Vatican II learning" that we should now consider as "suspect" in light of the post-Vatican II "experience"? Or would you hold it against me if I adhere (a priori) to the Traditional teaching of Pope Sixtus IV -- and subsequent "pre-Vatican II learning" of the Popes? As Catholics there are certain "facts" that we hold a priori -- and any so-called personal "experience" to the contrary is really the thing that ought to be suspect.

John McFarland said...

Mr. Gurries,

In my 1957 edition of Roy Deferrari's English translation of the 30th edition of Denzinger, ed. K. Rahner, S.J. (1954), de Osma's errors are listed as (1) through (7). Item (6) is n.729; item (7) is n.731. A footnote mentions that the condemned proposition you have quoted (which it renders as "The Church of the city of Rome can err") was n.730 in former editions. It was clearly one of the condemned propositions, but Rahneer does not explain why it has been removed.

Be that as it may, I feel reasonably confident that you have no more idea of the context of this condemnation and the exact meaning of de Osma's words than I do, and I therefore don't see much reason to pay attention to it.

If there's an argument to be made here, you should be able to find something a bit more prominent and containing more explanation.

Furthermore, I would suppose that judgments of heresy, as opposed to infallible doctrines on which those judgments are based, are not themselves necessarily infallible.

Finally, the basic issue is the understanding of the term "error." Is the Pope's infallibility very carefully defined and hedged, but the notion of the Church's never teaching error much broader and fuzzier? What do we (so to speak) need infallibility for, then?

P.S. I can't think of any truth of faith that can be said to be held a priori. We hold them on the word of God revealing them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived, which doesn't fit very neatly -- if it fits at all -- into the a priori/a posteriori distinction. We can't believe that the Pope can teach error ex cathedra, but that is not because papal infallibility is true a priori.

Anonymous said...

To go back to an earlier comment, the difference between the biblical text and a conciliar text is inspiration. The Bible is inspired, no council document (or encyclical, motu proprio, etc.) is inspired. Heretics can and have taken the Bible to mean all sorts of things which is doesn't mean. However, we have a long line of solid commentary from the Fathers, Doctors, Saints and Magisterium that tells us just what the Bible is saying.

A conciliar text is not inspired (even if it is protected from formally teaching heresy, but that's different than inspiration) and it is much more subject to the human influence of its author(s).

Thus, some Church documents (of all levels of authority) are formulated better than others. Some are clear and precise teachings, some are (while not heretical) basically unhelpful. This is the problem with Vatican II documents, most (if not all of them) are poorer examples of Church teaching. Compounding this inferior style is what happened after the Council in the name of the Council even from official dicasteries and committees.

With all this mess, it seems to me it is a grand waste of time to dig out the gems in Vatican II and do all the mental gymnastics to square it all with pre-conciliar teaching. Just go to the clear sources. We'd be much better off, for instance, using Mediator Dei for the basis of our liturgical restoration than Sacrosanctum Concilium.

K Gurries said...

John said: "If there's an argument to be made here, you should be able to find something a bit more prominent and containing more explanation."

See "On Rupture Theology" for the basic argument and explanation that you are looking for:

http://opuscula.blogspot.com/2009/05/on-rupture-theology.html

John McFarland said...

Anonymous 03:10,

It is at best misleading to talk about the acts of Vatican II as "poorer" examples of Church teaching.

The acts of Vatican II that are not in actual error are deliberately ambiguous, the intent being to push the progressivist interpretation in actual practice.

Vatican II was basically the work of Pope Paul. He handed it over to the progressivists, and then presided over the implementation of the progressivist agenda after the Council. The process continued under JP II, who was a significant figure at the Council. The revolution was completed by the time Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope, and he certainly has not reversed anything of any consequence. This is hardly surprising: as Rahner's assistant, he, too, was part of the progressivist cabal at Vatican II.

The progressivist members of the dicasteries who did the dirty work were not vomited up from Hell; they were appointed by the progressivist popes.

It was not a matter of bad expression. It was a matter of revolution, in which deliberate bad expression was a tactic.

You can and should look to Mediator Dei rather than the acts of Vatican II for guidance. But you need to understand that the revolutionary acts of Vatican II are the basis upon which the Vatican is running the Church, both as a matter of doctrine and of discipline. To look to Mediator Dei is to be an outcast. Just ask the SSPX.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say that Vatican II was the "work" of Paul VI, he didn't seem to have the mettle to intentionally preside over such a work. He seems more like the sad, weaker figure that was taken for a ride. I think he honestly believed that the nutjobs being presented to him as "experts" were just that. Even when the wool was pulled away from his eyes, he did way too little way too late.

The Vatican II documents were written by progressivists, there is no doubt about that. What I meant about poor expression is that as an official act of the Church, however flawed, is is an expression of the faith but very poor.

After reading all of Vatican II, I came away from it surprised how much was quoted from previous councils and popes, especially in light of all the "Spirit of Vatican II" utter nonsense. I am also convinced that there is no heresy involved in it, but that its ambiguity and ease of being used as ammo against Catholicism is such that it really should be scrapped, corrected, etc.

There are also a number of things surrounding Vatican II that were most unfortunate and contributed in a very important way to the grand confusion. The practical renouncing of condemnation, to me, is one of the absolute most foolish things we've ever done. Looking down through the ages of conciliar, papal and curial documents-condemnation of heresy and error is a Catholic tradition! When has the Church ever failed to condemn the errors that besiege it in the utmost clarity until now?

Since we aren't condemning anymore, we can't really enforce much of anything either. One thing I have in mind was DV 11. I don't know how many times I've read how this changes our outlook on the historicity and how many articles I've read by various others pointing out that it does no such thing and that the translations are faulty, etc.

Why doesn't the Church clearly restate our doctrine on the historical inerrancy of Scripture, define exactly how DV 11 is to be read and condemn any who will pertinaciously hang on to the heretical opinion?

That isn't the way we roll anymore and many of the officials in the Pontifical Biblical Commission and whatever curial office this would come out of probably hold to the erroneous opinion anyway...

Picard said...

K. Gurries:

I dont deny that the SEE and CHURCH of Rome cannot fall into formal heresy. But we have to see what this means.

As I also admitted, there seem to be some theologians that read this statement in a very narrow or strict sense (as you cited Card. Journet f.e.)

So yes, it is an theological opinion to read this sentence (of Rome never losing the faith etc.) in this strict sense.

BUT it is ONLY an opinion!

Because I can cite You many other theologians that interprete this sentence in a broader, not so narrow way, saying this means only, that the Pope can´t fall into error and heresy speaking with full authority, so ex cathedra - cathedra means the See, you see?!

I mentioned Ott.

I´m very busy at the moment, but I´ll try to look up the exact quotations.

And he is not speaking only of very privat opinions of the Poppe.

He is also telling us that f.e. enzyclicals, so official documents of the Popes magisteriums, are not per se infallible.

I can cite you also some doctors and great theologians who held up the opinion that a Pope could fall into heresy or even more totaly apostate (and not only in private documents, but if not speaking with their highest authority).

That are true possibilities, the Church never condemmed this interpretation of the sentence that Rome/the Holy see can not fall into error/heresy/ can not defect.

And also f.e. your own citation of
the "official Relatio of July 11, 1870 on chapter four of the Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus" of Bishop Gasser speaks against your selfe / is in favor of my thesis:

Because this indefectibility and infallibility only means, as Vat.I makes clear, the cases speaking ex cathedra - from His See with highest authority!

Picard said...

K. Gurries:

And your citation of Maritain, ("On the Church of Christ, UND Press, 1973, p. 139")"This is why the questions which the medieval theologians posed to themselves concerning a Pope who would become heretical seem to me wholly academic.”

again confirms what I argued for:

there are many theologians - I say: the best ones of the "Medium Aevum"
- that held the opinion that a Pope can become heretical (or apostate!!)

Well, now you will (and can [at first sight] rightly do so) COUNTER:

ok., I commit, but that is only the Pope thinking and speaking privatly.

But my SED CONTRA as follows:

Then all encylicals, bulls etc. of the Pope would be infallible (re faith and morals).

But that is

a) absurd, because:

-- Vat.I is NOT in favor of this interpretation, because if the Pope would be infallible in all His official utteranc(es) because his magisterium would be totaly indefectible (in all official acts), then it would not make sense to say He is only infallible (re faith and morals) if He speaks ex cathedra.

-- (and) it would never be legitimate then to contradict any Papal teaching (re faith and morals) (if officially teaching) [what is absurd, not taught by the Church, by her theologians, and leads to the next point:]


b) I can quote you many theologians that deny this (there seem to be only very few, perhaps Card. Journet is one of them, that hold such an extreme and extraordinary teaching and interpretation of the Roman prerogative that you try to defend)

c) we have historical examples Popes erring (also re faith & morals) in official documents, f.e. in the bull "Unam Sanctam"

Picard said...

K. Gurries and others:

Yes, before Vat.I some could think there is only the difference the Pope speaking a) private(ly?) and the Pope speaking b) officially (so not private) and he can only err (re faith and morals) as speaking a)

But at least after Vat.I we all know there are 3 specific differentiations:

Pope speaking
a) totaly private
b) officially, but not with his highest authority
c) officially and with his highest authority (ex cathedra)

The question is now:
Does the condemned sentence of Rome or the Church of Rome falling into heresy/error
apply to a) b) and/or c)

We agree, as I think:
Not to a)

I argue (in good company with many theologians): only to c)

You argue (also quoting theologians, like Journet):
to b) and c)

But then I argue further that you are wrong -- BUT AT LEAST: yours is only an opinion, because my interpretation is also possible and some/many theolgians hold it too!


BTW, its interesting that some after-Vat.I- theologians tend to your opinion but some/many pre-Vat.I- theologians hold mine (I would argue that they really hold mine, so the Pope not only speaking a) very private(ly) but also b)!!)

John McFarland said...

Anonymous 3:10/17:48,

Papa Montini's mother reputedly called him "the little iron man."

He was very good at getting what he wanted without seeming to be pulling the wires. He stacked the committee that ran the Council with progressives plus one ineffectual conservative. From there he just let it take its course; the council fathers knew whose side he was on, and acted accordingly. What decisions he did make, generally went the progressive's way, but he was very good at appearing to be even-handed, and to have agonized over his decisions.

I think that to some degree he was indeed a tortured man, and certainly a double-minded one. But I think that most of the genuine part of his sadness came when the fruits of the Council got entirely beyond his expectations --and beyond the control of his backroom wire-pulling skills.

But all the "smoke of Satan" et al. were in the last analysis just chin music; he never tried very hard to control the excesses, much less turn back.

But even in his chin music there was still a lot of theatrics. For instance, am I really supposed to believe that as regards the New Mass, that he just signed whatever Bugnini put in front of him?

In any event, he clearly set out to make a revolution, although I'm prepared to believe that he got a lot more revolution than he bargained for.

He was certainly more a progressivist groupie than a progressivist adept like Bishop Wojtyla or Father Ratzinger. But he had put his "political" chips on progressivism, and he made sure that it triumphed, both during and after the Council.

John McFarland said...

Picard,

Error in Unam Sanctam?

Says who?

Picard said...

Mr. Mc. Farland:

Well, most Church-historicans say it (and I think also the "real" thelogians, means dogmatic-theologians [in German we say "Dogmatiker"], but I did not look it up).

But also without explicitly and direktly saying so it becames clear if you compare the teaching of Bonifaz VIII in "Unam Sanctam" re the temporal or better wordly power of the Church ("two-swords-teaching") with the older teaching and with the newer one, f.e. of Leo XIII.

Bonifaz teaches, that the Church owns also the wordly (temporal) sword and so has direkt temporal power over all kings and states/nations.

Leo and all the newer (and older) Popes and theologians hold that the Church has no direkt power over the governement of the states. The two powers (spiritual/eccl. power vs. temporal/public power) are relatively independent.

But even if you would insist that this question is not already solved, than at least it is POSSIBLE that Pope Bonifaz taught an error. And vice versa: Leo XIII.

And more, one of the Popes holds and - that´s the point!!!! - taught publically a theological error!! (Because they contradict each other1)

So not every teaching of a Pope is automatically right and infallible. A Pope can teach a theological error/material heresy.

q.e.d.
[reductio ad absurdum via historical factum]

Picard said...

And I also looked up the exact quote of Ott in his docmatical handbook.

He clearly teaches that not all public teachings of a Pope are infallible and also that someone can contradict it [of course with all due respect ...] if he is competent and comes to the conclusion that the teaching is wrong.

Quotation will follow (right now I do not have my Ott at hand).

K Gurries said...

Picard, you seem to apply your own "hermenuetic" to the teaching of previous popes and theologians to the point of making them say that the magisterium, as such, can formerly teach heresy. Is everything is up for discussion except for a short list of dogmas according to your view? If you don't want to consider the teaching of Pope Sixtus IV then at least cosider how it was positively formulated in Ch. 4 of Pastor Aeternus -- your interpretation of various theologians notwithstanding:

"...in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been kept undefiled, and her well known doctrine has been kept holy...knowing full well that this See of Saint Peter remains ever free from all blemish of errors, according to the divine promise of the Lord Our Saviour..."

John McFarland said...

Picard,

As regards the alleged error in Unam Sanctam and Leo XIII, you are dead wrong.

The teaching of the Church before Vatican II is consistent. Caesar cannot be interfered with in the things that are Caesar's; but if Caesar's actions interferes with the higher work of salvation, the Pope can discipline him. This is what is meant by "indirect" power over the secular arm. The most recent example, I believe, is Pius XI's invalidating anti-clerical Mexican laws in the 1920s.

As for Church historians: unless they are also dogmatic theologians, who cares what they say?

John McFarland said...

Mr. Gurries,

As indicated in my previous posts, I hold no brief for Picard's curious thinking.

But let's get back to the topic, which is whether pronoucements like your quote from Pastor Aeternis stand for the proposition that the recent Pope's magisterium
cannot involve error.

It's hard for me to see how that can be true. How can religious liberty as a natural right of every human being be squared with traditional teaching? How can the praise of the false religions be squared with traditional doctrine?

But even if you can make the case for the absence of error, who cares? The conciliar magisterium, taken at its very best, has led, or permitted to be led, millions into apostasy or a grotesque caricature of the true Catholic faith. By your fruits you shall know them; and if the fruits are bad, the tree of the conciliar magisterium is bad.

K Gurries said...

John said: "How can religious liberty as a natural right of every human being be squared with traditional teaching? How can the praise of the false religions be squared with traditional doctrine?"
=======================

John, I think there is always the possibility of (apparent) discontinuity. I highly recommend the (1862) teaching of Bishop Ketteler of Mianz regarding the question of Religious Freedom. You can see my article on this topic in The Remnant online here:

http://remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2008-1115-religious_freedom_and_the_cathol.htm

Other topics need to be considered one by one -- but I have tended to focus mostly on the question of Religious Freedom. I have a number of posts on my blog dealing with various aspects of the question.

John McFarland said...

Mr. Gurries,

Here is a rough sketch of the Catholic doctrine on religious freedom and toleration.

There is no such thing as freedom to do what it wrong. There is free will, which can choose what is wrong. The are two different things, as St. Augustine famously explains.

So the only freedom of religion is the choice and practice of the true religion.

One cannot force someone to become a Catholic against his will because he is not then a Catholic. This has nothing to do with religious freedom or freedom of religion, because there is no freedom to do anything but choose the good.

The civil authority is obliged to forbid any public manifestation of false religion unless doing so would generate a greater political evil. Toleration is precisely the civil authority's decision not to suppress such public manifestation because to do so would lead to such greater evil.

When non-Catholics have a certain level of power, and willingness to use it to defend the practice of their false religion, then toleration is generally necessary.

When Catholics have little or no political power (as at present), tolerance doesn't become an obligation. Rather, it becomes meaningless, because there is no longer an institution that is willing to suppress false religion under any circumstances.

If Bishop Ketteler says something different, and to some extent I think he does, then so much the worse for Bishop Ketteler.

Picard said...

Mr. Mc Farland,

I dont in wich way wy my thinking is curious, at least not more curious than yours.

and re Unam Sanctam: it teaches not the indirect, but the direct power!

John McFarland said...

Picard,

Do you mean that per Unam Sanctam, the Pope has the right to govern, say, England or France or the State of North Dakota, or Sioux City, Iowa?

Picard said...

Yes - or better, no, not govern Himselfe (because Bonifaz VIII like others that held this wrong theory [wrong interpretation] of the two-swords) says that the Church does not use/raise up the temporal-public sword Herselfe -

BUT confers it as feud/tief to to the kings and governers (they use it only as vasalls of the Church) -- and therefore can take it away if used in a bad way and freely give/confer it (to) another governer (as leud/vasall of the Church).

Picard said...

So no: under normal circumstances the Pope/Church would not govern it Him-/Herselfe.

But yes: strictly speaking of the right or of the highest governement and legal power it´s "yes",because
(a) if you are the liege-lord, then you are the formal -highest- governer and
(b) if there is no liege/tenant/vasall [f.e. directly after deposition through the Pope before new-nomination of a new one] the feud must be governed by the liege-lord, so the Church Herselfe (for a while).

[NB: Well, there was also the theory that the Church is NOT allowed to govern the states Herselfe at all but must find a tenant -- that would perhaps cancel (b) - but (a) still stands.]

Picard said...

and btw. "indirect power" does NOT mean that the Pope can cancel wrong laws or depose a legitimate governor/politician (as such and per se) - but on the contrary that he can NOT do so per se and only if the governor/politican is Catholic resp. baptized then he can punish him, f.e. ban him (as and insofare the politician is a Catholic, so the politician quasi as a private man, not as a politican as such)
-- and only via this punishing (as a CATHOLIC statesman) [so indirectly] there can be - accidently - some consequences for the STATESMAN (and the state, the res publica) as such.

That means the teaching of the "indirect power".

John McFarland said...

Picard,

If you do not accept the primacy of the spiritual power over the temporal power, you are not a Catholic. If you accept it, you must further accept the proposition that when the temporal acts in opposition to the spiritual power, the latter is within its rights to discipline the temporal power. The salvation of souls is the supreme law.

The thing to be focused on is the fact that the object of the temporal power is precisely temporal things -- things that will pass away. Temporal matters as such are none of the Pope's business, and Unam Sanctam doesn't say that they are. But when temporal and spiritual considerations are at odds, spiritual considations are trumps, and justify intervention in temporal affairs for spiritual ends.

The feudal analogy therefore doesn't work. The Pope didn't give the temporal power its authority; God did. The Pope therefore cannot take back a power that he didn't grant. But in the interest of spiritual matters, he can depose the holder of temporal power and involve himself in finding a replacement. No doubt a pope can and perhaps popes have overstepped their spiritual authority; and in that case they did wrong. But since the real situation most of the time is the Church trying to protect its undoubted rights from encroachment by temporal authority, any such papal overstepping in the (exceeding rare) instances where the papacy had the leverage to do so, was the least of the Church's troubles in the best of times, and a practical impossibility in our own times.

The "indirectness" of the exercise of spiritual power with respect to temporal power lies precisely in the fact that the Pope cannot intervene in political affairs by the exercise of temporal power that he does not possess, but only by virtue of the exercise of his (superior) spiritual power -- that is, indirectly.

Picard said...

yes, re the direct/indirect power You, Mr. Mc. F., are right:

The Pope has no temporal power over the states(men) but only spiritual power.

That also implies that he has only power over baptized persons and can f.e. ban (or depose) a Cahtolic statesman but not a pagan one. The Pope has no executive or coactive power re a pagan (He has no iurisdiction over pagans).

And You are also right:
The Pope does not give the temporal power so he can also not take away/back what he didn´t grant --- according to Leo XIII and the sound Catholic doctrine.

But according to Unam Sanctam and other documents and teachings of this time the Pope did grant it and can therefore take it away/back. [What is wrong, yes.]

That´s exactly the problem and point I wanted to stress!

Picard said...

I know, some old Church-historians (or dogmatic- or moral-theologians) try to harmonize Unam Sanctam and other those-age-teachings with the older and newer ones, by some "hermeneutic of continuity" ;-) --- but the better and honester/ more honest [you say more honest, don´t you] ones do confess that there is a real contradiction and error.

And if reading Unam Sanctam itselfe and also some historical context you will see the latter is right (as it is now ;-).