Tuesday, August 30, 2005

He's a Cardinal, And You're Not

Well, one cardinal isn't prostrating himself before schismatics, and he's getting hell for it.

Mario Francesco Pompedda, a top-shelf canonist and former prefect of the Apostolic Signatura -- the church's supreme tribunal -- put some rational skids on the restoration parade in the Italian press today.... As CWNews reports
Full communion with the Lefebvrists can only be achieved “if the SSPX submits itself to the legitimate authority of the Pope” and recognizes the validity of Vatican II decrees, the Italian cardinal said....

Cardinal Pompedda argued, however, that “the real problem is not the Latin Mass.” He said that the SPPX was founded upon “an attitude of condemnation of the Second Vatican Council.”

Although the meeting between Pope Benedict and Bishop Fellay has generated new optimism about a possible reconciliation, Cardinal Pompedda said that he did not perceive a “new climate between the two parties.” He said, instead, that there is now “hope that the SSPX will really take the steps” that are necessary to reconcile with the Vatican. The cardinal explained that “it was not the Holy See that created the division,” but the defiance of the traditionalist groups. Only an end to that defiance will heal the schism, he said.
Unsurprisingly, the Lawler people are not happy that the Conciliar subterfuge has been interrupted by truth. One commentor raves:
Who is Pompedda? I've never heard of him. The only one I want to hear from is Pope Benedict and not some obscure Cardinal that's never been heard from before and probably will never be heard from again. The Vatican has bent over backwards to reconcile the Orthodox. They should do the same with the SSPX.
And what about proponents of women's ordination? The Holy See should bend over backwards for them, too? Should the Holy See bend over backward for Frances Kissling? Call to Action? Dignity? John Kerry? What's fair is fair, right?

I love it how the rightward fringe -- while castigating Mahony, Levada, and anyone else who gets in their way but remains in valid communion -- sees Fellay as a valid bishop who's just tragically misunderstood. He's not.

These same people can't accept that Mahony has licit authority over the archdiocese of Los Angeles -- and he actually got that from a Pope. Can't say the same about Fellay & Co. now, can we? Did the Trads raid the cafeteria while the Catholics slept?

It's like those stories about the women who were to be "ordained Catholic priests" on the St. Laurence River. The same people who talk about "Bishop Fellay" were all hopped up screaming for corrections about the festival on the boat, that "it's not an ordination."

But if it's the illicit ordination of someone who, though on a par with an ordained woman Catholic priest, can advance their political agenda -- even if the act was done in the face of the explicit stipulations of canon law and the emphatic pleas of their beloved John Paul the Great -- hism-schism... it's all good and holy. In the process, they imply that JP didn't know what he was talking about and didn't sufficiently bend enough.

So much for the right's claim that everything Wojtyla touched turned to orthodoxy... Apparently, he didn't touch them.



Blogger John Hearn said...

Rock, you are absolutely right here. It may have been a sad day when my Cardinal Archbishop got the LA See, but got it he has. But I can still hope that BXVI has a nice place in the Vatican Congregation for Refugees (or whatever) nicely warmed up for him.

30/8/05 13:21  
Blogger Jeff said...

I agree with MOST of what you say, Rocco, but, you know, you're talking THEOLOGY and whenever anyone asks you about it, your answer always is, "This is not a debating spot for theological questions."

I accept that Catholics must accept even non-infallible teachings of the Church and submit themselves to them. The problem with the schismatics is that they aren't Catholic ENOUGH.

But if Fellay should accept non-infallible teaching from Vatican Two, doesn't that mean that it's even worse if a so-called Catholic does not believe infallible pronouncements of the Magisterium on women's ordination, for example? If you don't accept the Church's teaching on, say, religious freedom, you're a bad Catholic, I agree. But if you don't accept the Church's solemn TEACHING (not discipline) on women's ordination, you're not a Catholic at all.

Of course, we should try to reconcile people who believe in women's ordination. But NOT by admitting that they might have a point and pretending the issue is open to question. We should use patience, kindness, and forbearance. But also firmness and clarity.

On Bishops: Do you really maintain that Bishops CAN'T be teachers of false doctrine or be themselves disobedient? Or are you just saying, we shouldn't criticize them publicly? More theology, I'm afraid. But you raised the questions.

30/8/05 13:42  
Blogger Pat B said...

You must know that the ordination of Fellay was valid but not licit. The ordination of the women was neither valid nor licit. The SSPX situation is more similar to that of the Orthodox in that they have valid sacraments.

30/8/05 13:50  
Blogger Disgusted in DC said...

"But if you don't accept the Church's solemn TEACHING (not discipline) on women's ordination, you're not a Catholic at all."

This is not correct. The commentary to Ad Tuendam Fidem suggests that those who obstinately reject the church's teaching on OW are not in full communion with the Church. That is not the same thing as being outside the Church altogether. They still are Catholics, though perhaps not good ones.

If the SSPX is reconciled to the Church, I will not be wringing my hands too much if many of its members withhold internal assent to the declaration on religious freedom, other decrees on ecumenism, etc. Catholics have been able to withhold internal assent from various statements of the non-infallible magisterium under certain limited conditions, both before and after Vatican II. If the SSPX accepts the validity of the Vatican II decrees with this understanding in the background, then there should be no problem for either the Vatican or the SSPX. Chances are, however, that someone, somewhere will have a problem that scuttles any sort of reconcilation...

In contrast, I will be wringing my hands if open dissent from these Vatican II decrees continues to be part of the operating principle of the SSPX. If that is permitted to continue, then there is no point in bringing the SSPX back into the fold.

30/8/05 13:53  
Blogger Todd said...

Rocco, I think you nailed it.

30/8/05 13:53  
Blogger J. R. P. said...

As a member of what you perceived is the rightward "fringe", I think your characterization of each position is uncharitable.
I do think Fellay tragically misunderstands certain things - but that he is well intentioned. I put Bishop Mahoney is the same soup - on other topics.

I would think many people of similar lean would concur.

These same people can't accept that Mahony has licit authority over the archdiocese of Los Angeles -- and he actually got that from a Pope.

I think there is a difference between recognizing 'licit authority' and asserting they are exhibiting 'prudent judgement' and 'orthodox teaching'.

I don't see a mass defection of traditionalists to alternate societes from Mahoney's dioceses - just a requisite amount of bitching and moaning, which is their right as Americans - and right - and possibly duty - under Canon law as well (212.2 and 212.3).

It seems to me different in kind as well as degree for the people entrusted to a Bishop to look to the Vatican and the Church Universal to get their Bishop to stop what is perceived as a continued cluster of violations of time-tested doctrine and teaching, than for others who consult their own pineal gland to decide to reject bits and pieces of doctrine, dogma, and discipline.

30/8/05 14:17  
Blogger John Bianco said...

While I am not someone who is an apologist for Bp. Williamson and his ilk, I think you should be a little bit more intelligent in trying to get a point across. Comparing the SSPX and Womans ordination groups is the comparison of apples and oranges. Like it or not, the SSPX bishops and priests, as you allready know Rocco, are valid, and like it or not, the SSPX does not dispute the dogmas and doctrines of the faith, unlike the womens ordination groups. Please do not insult the intelligence of your readers.

Anyways Rocco, I do enjoy your blog, for the occasional good bit of info that it has, but mostly as an example that those left of center can be as bitter and angry, and as full of venom as the rad-trads are.

30/8/05 14:25  
Blogger Jeff said...

No, Patrick, you are wrong.

Canon 1364 §1: “an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.”

Once one rejects a solemn teaching of the Church, one becomes a heretic. There is no necessity for a declaration of the fact by competent authority. That's why we get solemn teachings of the Church in the first place. So we may know what we must believe in order to be Catholic. Ipso facto, we know what is necessary to believe for others to be Catholic as well.

OF COURSE, that is not to deny that there are bonds which unite us even with heretics. Protestants, who are formal heretics, and schismatics are still united with us by the bonds of baptism, etc., etc. But it's simply nonsense to say that you can't put yourself outside the Church except by saying, "Bye-bye, I'm leaving!" Do a thought experiment with an extreme case: Very confused person, baptized in the Church, actually believes that God doesn't exist, but claims, "Hey, I tell everyone there is no God, including my kids. That's what I believe. But I think there's something to all this Catholic Church business, the spirituality is only symbolic, but it's good for human nature. I'm a Cathlic and nobody can tell me otherwise."

No, sorry. Being Catholic is a matter of Faith, not simply having been baptized and going to a Church with a Vatican flag inside. And Faith consists in part of accepting specific dogmatic teachings from an authority which teaches with the voice of Christ.

This is the point of the anathemas and solemn proclmations that anyone who rejects defined teaching has "made shipwreck of the Faith" which historically have accompanied definitions of Catholic teaching. It's fish or cut bait. Either you believe the Church teaches with divine authority, or you don't. If you don't, you're not a Catholic. Maybe a very nice fella, but not a Catholic.

30/8/05 14:31  
Blogger Disgusted in DC said...


Please re-read Cardinal Ratzinger's official commentary on Ad Tuendam Fidem. The ban on OW was never solemnly defined as a dogma of the faith, though it may be in the future. Those who support OW may very well not be in full communion with the Church, but they are not outside the Church altogether, i.e. excommunicated heretics or schismatics.

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30/8/05 15:41  
Blogger Jeff said...

Done, Patrick and you're still wrong.

Par. 6 refers to teachings about morals which are proximate to Divine Faith, but not of the Faith itself. Even so, if one rejects such a truth, one is, as you admit, one is no longer in full communion with the Church. But this paragraph only refers to ex cathedra moral teachings.

Par. 5 refers to ex cathedra teachings about principles of the Faith. Now do you claim that the teaching on Women's Ordination is a moral teaching? I hope not. Or are you proposing some third category?

Or, are you simply saying that it was about a principle of the Faith, but not ex cathedra? Or that solemn and binding ex cathedra teaching on a matter of faith is possible, but that that is not the same thing as a definition. I suppose that's techncially a possible view. But not one with any real meaning that I can fathom. What does it mean to define something ex cathedra, which is neither a moral principle nor a dogmatic one? Pope John Paul did everything he could to make the teaching as clearly binding and solemn as he could, short of a formal anathema. Are you claiming that the anathema must be attached? In any case, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, over Ratzinger's name and with specific and unusual endorsement from the Pope himself, says it's ex cathedra. So let's just say, I agree with them. And if you don't agree with them, then why should you appeal to me to accept Ratzinger's commentary on Ad Tuendam Fidem either? It seems to me I should submit to both.

Also in future, it's better when discussing something to cite a particular provision with quotation or at least a particular reference within the text. A citation in the form of, "Look up this document and then you'll know all about it" usually just leads to talk at cross-purposes since one has to hunt and speculate about the point at issue.

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