Rorate Caeli

Editorial response: Our supreme priority is love.

Update: We reworded this post. The original content, by the very names mentioned, appeared to give a semblance of legitimacy, even if indirectly, by acknowledging the existence of a non-existent argument, a non sequitur by double association created by others. From Cicero to Küng, we have posted thousands of texts with whose contents we did not necessarily agree - much less with what these same original sources might have said or written elsewhere. This is what we do most here: we report things and translate original sources. It was, then, a non sequitur moved by irrational motives, and maybe also (the timeline seems to indicate) by ulterior motives related to a recent text we helped move out of censorship. There was, in the end, nothing Christian in the ensuing artificial uproar fanned by a small clique -- and, unfortunately, promoted by others. Tradition, which is what we cover, is wide and deep in history, and international in scope, and it is fortunately much, much greater than cliques, being rather the foundation of the "great Church" (see below).

Therefore, only the prophetic words of Pope Benedict XVI with edited related commentaty will remain. Thank you.

We are glad to be on the same boat as the hated and despised Pope Emeritus, "without misgiving or restraint", who is more humiliated and ridiculed now than ever. It is tiresome for Traditional Catholics to be the ones who must every single day proclaim publicly they respect the Pope, pray for the Pope, pray for the Bishops, accept every single item of every single thing. Every single day, a litmus test. We do not deny anything, but must always proclaim publicly that we accept everything, even things that are not even part of any creed, but we must, to have "acceptance": please, please, do not send us to the corner!... Catholicism demands from us to denude ourselves from all ideologies - but it seems some with highly ideological pasts and agendas have a hard time grasping that these ideological tests are not for us, that for Catholics the "test" to pass is a good confession, in the hands of a merciful God by way of the Priesthood of the New Testament, hoping and praying for final perseverance. We do not want to be "liked" or "accepted" or "deemed acceptable" or respectable by a certain kind of self-righteous definition of what is acceptable, but only by Our Lord in the Confessional and in particular judgment when time comes, within the "great Church" defined by Benedict XVI:

Should not the great Church also allow herself to be generous in the knowledge of her great breadth, in the knowledge of the promise made to her? Should not we, as good educators, also be capable of overlooking various faults and making every effort to open up broader vistas? And should we not admit that some unpleasant things have also emerged in Church circles? At times one gets the impression that our society needs to have at least one group to which no tolerance may be shown; which one can easily attack and hate. And should someone dare to approach them – in this case the Pope – he too loses any right to tolerance; he too can be treated hatefully, without misgiving or restraint.

And, if there are people who are not the meekest in Traditional communities, experience and common sense tell us that the best way for pastors to relieve the tensions is to be generous in responding to the legitimate aspirations of those who want access to the Traditional Mass. The exaggerations that spring up in persecuted communities collapse on their own as soon as love and generosity replace illegitimate prohibition. It is the obligation of pastors (bishops above all), as Benedict XVI reminded us, to educate with love.

That the quiet gesture of extending a hand gave rise to a huge uproar, and thus became exactly the opposite of a gesture of reconciliation, is a fact which we must accept. But I ask now: Was it, and is it, truly wrong in this case to meet half-way the brother who "has something against you" (cf. Mt 5:23ff.) and to seek reconciliation? Should not civil society also try to forestall forms of extremism and to incorporate their eventual adherents – to the extent possible – in the great currents shaping social life, and thus avoid their being segregated, with all its consequences? Can it be completely mistaken to work to break down obstinacy and narrowness, and to make space for what is positive and retrievable for the whole? I myself saw, in the years after 1988, how the return of communities which had been separated from Rome changed their interior attitudes; I saw how returning to the bigger and broader Church enabled them to move beyond one-sided positions and broke down rigidity so that positive energies could emerge for the whole. ... Should we casually let them drift farther from the Church? I think for example of the 491 priests. We cannot know how mixed their motives may be. All the same, I do not think that they would have chosen the priesthood if, alongside various distorted and unhealthy elements, they did not have a love for Christ and a desire to proclaim him and, with him, the living God. Can we simply exclude them, as representatives of a radical fringe, from our pursuit of reconciliation and unity? What would then become of them? ...

Dear Brothers, during the days when I first had the idea of writing this letter, by chance, during a visit to the Roman Seminary, I had to interpret and comment on Galatians 5:13-15. I was surprised at the directness with which that passage speaks to us about the present moment: "Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’. But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." I am always tempted to see these words as another of the rhetorical excesses which we occasionally find in Saint Paul. To some extent that may also be the case. But sad to say, this "biting and devouring" also exists in the Church today, as expression of a poorly understood freedom. Should we be surprised that we too are no better than the Galatians? That at the very least we are threatened by the same temptations? That we must always learn anew the proper use of freedom? And that we must always learn anew the supreme priority, which is love?

This is a matter we consider closed, also in the spirit of the same letter of Benedict XVI. A letter whose words, we are sure, will stand as some of the most prescient of this age.