Rorate Caeli

With friends like these...
And the "Allen Warning"

This is an introduction to the text below, to which we must add our permanent "John Allen warning": John Allen - popularly known as "the National Catholic Reporter" - is not a reporter, he is an opinion maker, a fellow traveller on a mission. He is nobody's "friend" except Progressivism's, which is why he is the favorite "reporter" of the most "Progressive" "Catholic" paper in the world. As we said six years ago, when Allen wished to spread the notion that there would be no motu proprio because a "consensus" had to be found...: "[Allen] and his sources wish to influence events or to alter the way future decisions are perceived and interpreted, and that is how his words should be read." Allen/NCR has not changed - and neither have his intentions.

We must also be blunt: some movements are not exactly friends with Pope Benedict XVI. They are not his enemies, but, first, most still mourn the end of the Woytilian age and feel they have lost ground to the more "historical families" of the Church during this pontificate. Second, most of them despise the idea of re-interpreting Vatican II, as launched by the Holy Father in his epoch-making address of December 22, 2005 - they go along with it because that is the current Roman tune. Third, one must only look at how Summorum has been welcomed by some working movements: with an ice-cold reception almost everywhere, even though, on paper, few organizations should have adopted more swiftly the "Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite" than the "conservative movements". 

Even pope’s friends a bit leery on Lefebvrites
by John L Allen Jr on May. 04, 2012

 ROME -- Even in Roman circles most sympathetic to Pope Benedict XVI’s overall reading of the Second Vatican Council, it would seem, there’s a bit of anxiety percolating about what it might mean to bring the council’s biggest critics, the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, back into the fold.

At the very least, some of the pope’s defenders appear to believe a clear signal of adherence to Vatican II ought to be the price of admission.

Most recently, that impression surfaced during a May 3-4 conference on the 50th anniversary of Vatican II at Rome’s Opus Dei-run University of the Holy Cross. In the wake of Vatican II, the traditionalist society – popularly known as the “Lefebvrites” after the founder, the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre – split from Rome over changes in the liturgy, as well protests over the council’s teaching on ecumenism, inter-faith dialogue and religious freedom. In mid-April, however, the society signed off on a doctrinal preamble submitted by the Vatican as a precondition for reunion.

That could clear the way for ending the only formal schism after Vatican II, perhaps in the form of a personal prelature or other church structure to allow the Lefebvrites some measure of autonomy. The conference at Holy Cross, titled "Vatican II: The Permanent Value of a Reform for the New Evangelization," was, for the most part, a gathering of thinkers vigorously committed to Pope Benedict XVI’s “hermeneutic of reform … in continuity” for interpreting the council, which he famously outlined in a December 2005 speech to the Roman Curia.

 Like the pope, several speakers distanced themselves from rival readings which, in their eyes, put too much emphasis on Vatican II as having set aside, or overturned, previous Catholic teaching or practice.

... “In the dialogue with those who would like to enter into the Catholic church, it’s impossible not to request ‘an adherence of theological faith to the affirmations of Vatican II which recall truths of the faith’,” [Opus Dei Fr. Johannes Grohe, a church historian at Santa Croce] said, citing a phrase from another Opus Dei cleric, Monsignor Fernando Ocariz, who was part of the Vatican’s negotiating team with the Lefebvrites. The Lefebvrites, of course, are the highest profile group currently involved in a dialogue about entering the church. Grohe argued that a “profession of faith,” a time-honored way to encapsulate core beliefs one must uphold to be considered Catholic, could be updated with a reference to Vatican II.

“A profession of faith which embraces the conciliar tradition from Nicea up to Vatican II would make clear that the teaching of the last council is inserted in the long and fruitful history of the magisterium of the church,” Grohe said. An even blunter call to defend part of Vatican II’s legacy came from Franciscan Fr. David Maria Jaeger, speaking on the council’s document Nostra Aetate, concerning non-Christian religions.

... Given that context, the Santa Croce event suggests it’s not just the usual suspects, meaning broad critics of the Vatican or of Benedict’s papacy, who wonder about the price that could be paid to get the Lefebvrites back. It would also seem to include some of Benedict’s friends.


  1. rodrigo11:34 AM

    Curious how those who once behaved as if the Pope's every whim and fancy were irreformable dogma now appear to have found the will to manifest "a bit of anxiety" about the Roman Pontiff's presumed intentions. Did these characters voice concerns over Assisi '86, or do they reserve their second-guessing of papal initiatives to those favouring Tradition?

  2. I am not sure how much I even believe this erstwhile journalist. He is so biased as to either suppress or exaggerate information. Yes, the enemy is within, as our wonderful current Pope said in December. Good article, RC, as usual

  3. Allen is not trustworthy. Period.

    Opus Dei's embrace of the continuity of Church teaching over the centuries, including Vatican II, can be read both ways. They are not "year zero" thinkers, and thus we have Allen spinning their conference against Tradition and SSPX.

    Don't be fooled. There is an effort to divide.

  4. popularly known as the “Lefebvrites”,

    Popularly known, that is, among smug liberals and neo-conservatives by dismissive terms such as "Lefebvrites," "integrists," and "rad-trads."

    split from Rome over changes in the liturgy,

    or, perhaps, more accuratedly, exiled by Rome for adhering to Traditional liturgy and doctrines.

    Grohe argued that a “profession of faith,” a time-honored way to encapsulate core beliefs one must uphold to be considered Catholic, could be updated with a reference to Vatican II.

    How about profession of the Oath Against Modernism, and other papal teachings of the past two-hundred years which the Fathers of Vatican II explicitly dismissed as too rigid and out-of-date.

    In the dialogue with those who would like to enter into the Catholic church

    so despite what the Vatican says, the SSPX is outside the Catholic Church?

    the society signed off on a doctrinal preamble submitted by the Vatican as a precondition for reunion. That could clear the way for ending the only formal schism after Vatican II

    So despite what the Vatican has said, the SSPX are in "formal schism"?

    For all the stereotyped criticism of Traditional Catholics as angry, rigid, and "holier than the Pope," I find the haughty, self-righteousness of liberal and neo-conservative Catholics to be much more blatant and offensive.

    They obviously know our Holy Father's true mind better than He does.

  5. John Allen, and those of his ilk, are not to be trusted. This sort of duplicity has no proper place. Brian, I think the Oath would be good to bring back, but I'd also love to see a goodly place for the Athanasian Creed, for the clergy, of course, but also for the laity.

  6. operator12:32 PM

    Opus Dopus has been around long enough now to reflect in its membership the general trend in the Church: older ones stuck in the woe-begotten sixties, younger ones fascinated by traditional Catholicism and yearning for the real-deal liturgy. Unfortunately, as elsewhere, the older brigade are in charge. The point of this comment being: don't tar them all with one brush. In my experience the younger ones are very promising.

  7. I'm just curious--who is the man in the (presumably older) picture with the starched detachable collar? He is obviously not the current John Allen who writes for the "National Catholic Distorter!"

  8. Barbara12:46 PM

    What on earth is Mr. Allen going on about? Sounds like insidious personal concotion to me.

    Posioned darts - that's the way I see these words!

  9. Francis12:49 PM

    John Allen IMO is a liberal, modernist heretic. I wouldn't believe anything that he writes without reliable sources to back up his stories. That goes for the liberal rag that he writes for also...the National Catholic distorter. As far as Opus Dei goes many are devout neocons and neo-Catholics that promote the "reform of the reform" nonsense. Yes, many in Opus Dei are on a bridge between Vatican II Catholicism and traditional Catholicism, while most are still on the side of Vatican II Catholicism.

  10. It's an image of Mr. Walter Duranty, patron saint of fellow travellers in journalism.

  11. Regarding those in Opus Dei, I would urge my fellow traditional Catholics not to be dismissive or harsh -- or supercilious. I do think the oblique criticism offered here is warranted, but let's be charitable and hopeful in our comments. Otherwise, do not comment at all. After all, blessed are the peacemakers.

    I think that Opus Dei, as an institution, is concerned about its own survival and growth. It does not want to alienate local ordinaries. Also, its spirituality eschews any appearance of strangeness. I think this is what explains its lack of reception of Summorum Pontificum. It will come along later. Yes, it will be late.

    As for the individual members of Opus Dei, I wish I could be as faithful to Christ and the Church as many or most of them. There are priests, numeraries and supernumeraries in Opus Dei who offer or attend the traditional Mass. Their number is growing. Please do not crush the bruised reed.

  12. Tradical1:52 PM

    Stepping back from the rhetoric and annoying inaccuracies within the piece.

    One message that it does convey is that the elements within the Church that John Allen is 'reporting' on are concerned and trying to hold on to their 'cultural assumptions' that have been reinforced over the last 40years.

    Only last week Cardinal Koch repeated the 'sspx must accept the Second Vatican Council' phrase again. My local Archbishop repeated the exact same words to me about 12 months ago.

    It's like a mantra being repeated over and over in order to hold on to some belief.

    Pope Benedict XVI is violating a number of their 'assumptions' and it is causing confusion / consternation within their ranks.

    IMO: One thing that I see coming from any regularization with the SSPX is that the lines between who is with or against the Pope are going to become very clear.


  13. Bartholomew1:52 PM


    I generally adhere to your plea for understanding regarding Opus Dei. Any reconciliation between the Holy See and the SSPX will chip away at their unique status they've enjoyed in the Church since the erection of their Personal Prelature.

    HOWEVER: do not underestimate the self-interested machinations of which their hierarchy are capable. I suspect that they are among the greatest opponents of the SSPX reconciliation (especially if it is accomplished under the terms suggested recently by Father Pfluger in the news section above this one). Opus Dei has enjoyed a rather faux reputation for rigid orthodoxy. One must remember that it was an Opus Dei priest who headed the canonical commission which reversed the ban on altar girls.

  14. Tradical1:55 PM

    @Timothy Mulligan

    "Regarding those in Opus Dei"

    Well said. Thank you for the reminder.

  15. Thank you, New Catholic!
    Your analysis is sober and I think correct. John Allen is not contributing but indeed seeking to condition the reconciliation whose time has come and for which we earnestly and unceasingly pray! God bless!

  16. Tradical1:58 PM

    Side Issue:

    For those who prayed for the success of my presentation to a Conservative Catholic men's group: Thank you.

    I was not tarred and feathered. Although the discussion afterwards was intense and lasted until the wee hours of the morning.

    I have heard reports that:
    1. A number appreciated learning more about the SSPX and the issues about the council. (I focused on ecumenism and how it has been practiced since the council).

    2. At least one was grateful to have learned more about what the Church teaches.

    3. It was one of the best meetings that they've had

  17. Your Excellency,

    Your comment made me so happy I will have to close this comment box for the moment - it has reached optimal content, and it can only go downhill from here.

    Please, pray for us,