Rorate Caeli

Iacta alea est

Some thoughts of Michael Davies (Requiescat in pace) recently crossed our mind. At first, we could not find the link to them -- but it was a sure bet that we would be able to find the piece through the archives of the greatest Catholic news source in English, Seattle Catholic.

Michael Matt, the editor of The Remnant, recalled some of Davies' most controversial convictions near the end of his life:

I make no secret of the fact, for example, that I questioned (and still question) Michael's dogged defense of Cardinal Ratzinger. Over the years and to Michael's dismay, I published criticisms of some of the Cardinal's more perplexing statements. But I can also assure the reader that there was much more to that story. As someone who took issue with him on this very point, I hasten to set the record straight—Michael Davies, through it all, had only the best interest of traditional Catholics at heart. And here's what I mean: He firmly believed (and had been assured on numerous occasions) that Cardinal Ratzinger is "on our side" and would do all in his power, short of touching off a schism in Rome, to gradually turn things in Tradition's favor. All His Eminence required of us was patience and time.

Some of us were (and are) skeptical. But, as Michael saw it, the Cardinal had demonstrated enough good will on our behalf to justify our giving him the benefit of the doubt, i.e., the Cardinal's foreword to Msgr. Gamber's book; the Cardinal's historic rehabilitation of Pat Morely and the Honolulu Six who had been placed under interdict for "formal adherence" to the SSPX; the Cardinal's public celebration of the Tridentine Mass on occasion; the Cardinal's willingness to meet personally with traditionalists, etc.

Whether we can bring ourselves to accept the Cardinal's assurances that he is "on our side" is not at issue. What is at issue is that Michael believed that the Cardinal believed he was our ally. His great "sin", then, was to take his friend, the Cardinal, at his word; but this was very much the British thing to do. There was no conspiracy or dark and dastardly plotting going on behind the scenes. Michael simply believed, based on private meetings with His Eminence (to which none of us was privy, by the way), that the Cardinal would prove an invaluable ally to us all. What of it? Wouldn't it be grand!

As we sit and wait, and see apparent signs, like Caesar across the Rubicon, we must wonder: was Michael Davies right? The die is cast, and there is nothing we can do but pray -- "patience and time" (and prayer) are all it takes.


  1. I think both Matt and Davies are right.

    Pope Ratzinger agrees with Traditionalists on many issues and sympathizes with them on others. And he simply can't see why they should be persecuted in a way which differs substantially from the way the Church treats others of Her sons.

    Loyalty to Catholicism is not loyalty to the "Spirit" of Vatican Two. Vatican Two is but one in a long line of councils and it's teachings must be read broadly enough to encompass the whole tradition of the Church. We can't have a Church in which the promotion of women priests and contraception is allowed, but opposition to newfangled notions of religious freedom or to the new missal gets one effectively excommunicated. That isn't the Catholic Church, it's the Church of Vatican Two, an ersatz imitation.

    The trouble with some Trads is precisely that they don't want ALLIES. They want people who accept all their ideas as simply Catholicism full stop. Ratzinger is a friend and an ally, but not an uncritical member of the club.

    Neither, for that matter, was Davies, who was quite vocally critical of traditionalist tendencies on some occasions later in life, saying many of them were "ignorant of Tradition." And of course, there are even Trads who feel he "went over" in his last days (this is why Matt feels he must defend him.) It's "with us or against us" for them. On THOSE terms Ratzinger and even Davies are rightly seen as "enemies".

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. No, it was taken by the author... When I am forced to delete comments, they disappear completely.

    However, I will not remove yours just to portray the greatest problem which afflicts many Catholics: rancor; deep-seated unabated rancor.

    Thank you for your visits. You are always welcome.

  5. I'm shocked New Catholic - shocked to think that you descry rancor in my expansive prose.

    I admit, mea culpa, that I should have made a distinction between thee and the (choose your epithet) jeff.

    I don't recall having removed the comment to which I alluded, but then these days there's a lot I don't remember. Were it possible, I'd suspect jeff did it.

    I will now remove my nasty remarks and take full responsibility - not for the nastiness; for the removal.

    I am a new Catholic, also. In fact if you discount five years with the Novus Ordo Rot and five years with the Maronite Rite I'm only 7 years a Catholic (SSPX Traditional Latin Rite).

    I grew up intellectually (if "grew" is an accepted descriptionis) by indulging in the works of the likes of C.S. Lewis and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn; William F. Buckley, Jr. and Eric Voegelin, among many others. Subsequently, I was driven away from long years as a wannabe liberal and determined atheist. (Since I began as a Mormon, allowances are in order, if you please - that's a big hurdle to trip over.)

    I am told that I'm not cut out for apologetics because of a thin skin and a short fuse. This is a hazard of the trade among "innerleckchuls" (term from Miss Flannery O'Connor via Mr. Marion Montgomery.)

    I absolutely loathe wishful thinking of any kind, especially regarding Mother Church. Hence, I'd readily liquidate brother jeff with extreme prejudice.

    Now that's a thought to go to confession with.


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