Friday, August 26, 2005

Pre-Gaming for the Schismatics

Well, it seems everyone's pretty pumped-up about the big B16-Fellay meeting on Monday.

But, to be honest with you, I'm puzzled. For some reason, the prevailing thread of thought out there is that the return of the SSPX is a fait accompli and all anyone's waiting for is to find out what titular see Fellay gets.

Not so fast.

A couple things on my mind:
  • Why is it being overlooked that there are substantive areas of dispute here? For example, SSPX rejects the validity of the Council. Period. Then again, the same could be said of many in the comboxes here, but the latter aren't going into high-profile reconciliation talks with the Pope.
  • Why is it being greeted with little unease that Fellay thinks he has the right to dictate the terms of the discussions and a proposed accord? It's almost as if he thinks he can hold the Holy See hostage or something.... Surely, that sentiment will win him points.
  • It's funny -- there's been none of the screed-y "They're heretics" venom from the people who've made Catholic fatwa a daily way of life. Of course, it's an old tenet of politics that you don't tar your ideological allies just as they're arriving at the tent....
  • And, of particular note, I have seen next to nothing of a reminder that a universal indult would be a whack to the face of particular churches. There are American bishops (Burke, That Fabe, Vasa, et al.) who gripe all the time about the imposition of things from outside that compromises their singular authority over their dioceses -- Fabe even told the sex abuse auditors to shove it.... Well, would this not be the mother of all subterfuge or do we have a double standard at work here? A universal indult in and of itself accomplishes a political end: the disintegration of the Novus Ordo, not by majority vote, but by the aggressive, agitprop tactics of a furiously committed minority that's more AmChurch than AmChurch. And they say Catholicism is not a democracy. We've got schismatics riding in as white knights, snowflakes.... As if we needed it, further proof that, in this business, truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction.


Blogger Beasonlopes said...

I was watching EWTN during the World Youth Day celebration and a bunch of people were doing what was described as a "liturgical dance."

Am I correct that SSPX is ok with liturgical dance as long as it is a latin dance, e.g., modern salsa? Or is it their position that the dance be performed as Pius V was said to have danced during mass, which was, according to most Catholic historians, more of a rhumba.

26/8/05 11:56  
Blogger PiousPius said...

Your hatred of Traditional Catholics is unwavering, isn't it, Rocco?

Thank goodness your little blog, while somewhat interesting, does not yield any influence anywhere -- since you are so obviously ignorant of so many aspects of the issue.

26/8/05 12:03  
Blogger Papabile said...


your statement that: "For example, SSPX rejects the validity of the Council. Period." I(s flat out incorrect.

Marcel Lefebvre signed each and every one of the Second Vatican Council's documents (even though SSPX will claim he did not sign the Decree on Religious Liberty.... he did.).

They claim that it was a legitimate council, convenes under a legitimate Pope, but was simply pastoral in nature, and not dogmatic or binding.

When you ask the SSPX Bishops face to face, they will say they "accept the Council in light of Holy tradition."

This does not mean they reject it.

What the current leadership does formally reject is the Decree on Religious Liberty, because they say it cannot be consistent with Mortalimum Animos.

BTW, I do not expect the SSPX to be reconciled this coming week. They are often intransigent and do not operate in what I would call a true spirit of Charity.

26/8/05 12:03  
Blogger Jeff said...

Who do you read, Rocco? The Wanderer, Catholics United for the Faith, etc., etc., good fatwa cons all, have never had any truck with Fellay, Lefebvre, etc. They are arrogant, unpleasant schismatics; who do you see on the right praising them? But we're supposed to be striving to bring people back into the fold; why should the Pope adopt a harsher tone towards schismatic, old-fashioned Catholics than toward, say, Lutherans? We have more in common with Lefebvre than with Luther. A belief in a real Church and Sacraments, for example.

I DON'T think we can compromise on religious freedom and ecumenism, which are the main doctrinal points on which they reject the Council. If these are the sticking points, we will have to do without them.

But freedom for the old Mass will take away much of their thunder. These people mainly just want to be able to worship in the way Catholics did for more than a thousand years; as the Pope says in that connection, What was good fifty years ago cannot be bad today.

I think you overestimate the effect a universal indult would have. Priests here in the Arlington diocese complain that there parishioners resist even the inroduction of, say, the Gloria in Latin. Most Catholics, don't want the old Mass, regardless of what traditionalists say. In practice, while there might be a problem here or a problem there, a priest who pushes too hard and alienates his parishioners and such, it will make very little difference. All it will do is not KEEP those few of us who want the thing from having it when there are enough of us and willing priests. A couple more masses here, a couple of parishes there. And the Novus Ordo will remain the norm. And much of the thunder will be stolen from the schimatic traditionalists.

Show me one instance of Vasa or Bruskewitz complaining about ROME interfering in their dioceses. They complain that Rome doesn't interfere enough. What they don't like is bodies with little or no ecclesiastical significance--Bishops' Conferences, to be precise--taking power away from individual bishops. They dislike being "parliamentarians" who have to submit to majority vote in "parliaments" with no spiritual significance. I have a lot of sympathy for them there, and so does the Pope.

So: screw Fellay if he can't be reasonable; but give us faithful Catholics who embrace the Council the old Mass anyway. As more and more dioceses open up and the Old Mass religious orders grow and spread, the practical effect will be the same in a few decades anyway.

26/8/05 12:11  
Blogger PiousPius said...

Now, I just hope that Rocco Palmo will now call a spade a spade. That is, in his great personal coherent attitude, he will also call the "Orthodox" schismatics and "Protestants" heretics.

Now, will he do that?...

26/8/05 12:33  
Blogger Richard said...

I agree with a lot of what Jeff says here.

Lefebvre *did* sign all of the Council documents but in his declining years became more erratic, alternately publicly affirming his acceptance and alternately denouncing much of it.

I think it more useful to speak of what parts or members of SSPX might accept or might not accept than the entire society at large. My guess is that some would be open enough to affirm their acceptance of the Council in an acceptable manner so long as they get some kind of concession on the rite. Others, a hard core remnant, simply won't come back, period. If we can do something to get the former back in full communion with the Church, something that does not compromise magesterial teaching, I think this would be a Very Good Thing (TM).

And who knows what that will be? A sui generis rite? A simple lifting of the indult? Hard to say. It should always be borne in mind here - especially by those like Rocco with little sympathy for the old rite - that Ecclesia Dei called for a wide and generous provision of the Tridentine rite for those still attached to it, and no one, I say again, no one can claim that this has been the case in most dioceses. So those requesting a new mechanism to better ensure fulfillment of the spirit and intent of ED have solid grounds on which to base such a request. I really do not think that a mopre generous mechanism compromises the N.O., certainly not if celebrated properly. The Church has a long tradition of multiplicity of rites. If people are confused the blame must be laid on poor catechesis.

"Priests here in the Arlington diocese complain that there parishioners resist even the inroduction of, say, the Gloria in Latin. Most Catholics, don't want the old Mass, regardless of what traditionalists say." Some truth in that, and also in the point that the practical effect of the indult is probably overstated by Rocco. I also think (in my personal experience) that it's mainly older parishioners who are most resistant to restoring traditional worship practices. Younger Catholics are more open to it. Their liturgical arteries have not hardened yet. In other words the effect might grow over time. They're open to the rich tradition that was lost in the years since 1969 of which Benedict has spoken on so many occasions. And those who go to TLM are likely mainly doing so in many instances because they can't find a reverent N.O. mass.

So if Fellay will play ball by all the necessary ground rules something good could come out of this: at least a good many schismatics could be hauled out of the feverswamps of sedevacantism and back into communion with Mother Church. For those who won't, all we can do is pray for them.

26/8/05 12:45  
Blogger Disgusted in DC said...

"What the current leadership does formally reject is the Decree on Religious Liberty, because they say it cannot be consistent with Mortalimum Animos."

This touches on the crux of the real problem. It is one thing for a theologian to question whether the Decree on Religious Liberty can be reconciled with Mortalimum Animos and where the magsiterium should go. Assuming that there in fact ARE any reputable theologians in the SSPX, they do have something to contribute. However, that's not what is happening. What is actually happening is that the SSPX is embracing and furthering dissent as one of its organizing principles. In this respect, they aren't that much different from the Sisters of Loretto and the Erie Benedictines.

I do hope that Fellay is leading a more sane and humble faction of the SSPX and can reconcile them with the Church. Probably a split in the SSPX would be a good thing: Williamson and his merry band of kooks are practically unreachable and might as well be written off.

26/8/05 12:49  
Blogger Jeff said...

Well, I want to return Richard's compliment--I agree with much of what he says and he says much of it better than I did.

I especially note that his suggestion of a parallel rite as another possible solution is a good one and I should have mentioned it as an alternative.

I remember Rocco mentioning with admiration Pope Benedict's suggestion of a Practical approach to solving the ecumenical crisis that concentrates on what we have in common and what we can DO NOW. I wonder if he doesn't see some merit in pursuing this approach with Fellay. It has already paid off handsomely over the years in bringing about the Indult, the Fraternity of St. Peter, the Campos Arrangement and a real rapproachment and healing with some very prickly and often nasty people.

I mean, these are at worst half-hearted schimatics and preventing outright and unbreachable schism BEFORE it happens is one of the first things that ought to be attempted in an ecumenical age. The continuing success in this matter gives much hope for the whole enterprise in the future.

26/8/05 13:16  
Blogger Richard said...

Hello Jeff,

Well said - again.

Cardinal Arinze actually seemed to share some of Rocco's concern, I think, when I asked him once about the indult issue. Would average Catholics be confused by having two main rites available? That's a concern, and maybe not a totally unreasonable one. But only because Roman centralism has in recent centuries driven hard to edge out other rites. There's still the Ambrosian, Mozarabic, etc. but you can probably stick their adherents in a Wal-Mart.

But the tradition has always allowed for multiple rites, so long as they are theologicallly sound. The banning of the old rite in 1970 marked a sharp and unprecedented break with tradition equal to the radical changes introduced into the 1970 missal, or at least in practice at any rate. I will be the first to argue that the N.O. has real advantages that I would not wish to lose but it must be conceded, as Alciun Reid (and Ratzinger) have recently pointed out, that however you cut it the practical result has been an enormous break in liturgical tradition in most of the West, one on an unprecedented scale. All this despite Sacrosanctum Concilium's call for retaining as much of the tradition of the liturgy as possible - an organic development.

But back to Jeff and the subject at hand he raises: If we are bound to mov e forward with ecumenical efforts and concentrate on what we have in common, why not with a group with whom we have more in common (at least with the more sane elements) than any Protestant or even Orthodox church?

Like you I am hopeful that Campos points the way towards a reconciliation with Fellay (I have given up on Williamson, reallly), even if by a different (more comprehensive) formula.

26/8/05 14:26  
Blogger David L Alexander said...

"But the tradition has always allowed for multiple rites, so long as they are theologicallly sound. The banning of the old rite in 1970 marked a sharp and unprecedented break with tradition equal to the radical changes introduced into the 1970 missal, or at least in practice at any rate..."

The comparison, while worthy to a point, is somewhat wanting in the long run.

There is no tradition for having two "Roman rites," which is in effect what a completely equal co-existence with both the classical and reformed missals would be. Each is a separate stage in development of the Roman rite -- which, as the term "rite" is understood in this context, is not to be confined to a book or set of books. It is, rather, a living tradition, one that is (obstensibly) common to both.

26/8/05 15:10  
Blogger David L Alexander said...

Jeff, you wrote:

"I think you overestimate the effect a universal indult would have."

I am curious as to how a "universal indult" would be implemented. Would the local bishop still have any authority over its use in his diocese? Can any priest just walk into a sacristy and decide at the last minute, okay, I'm going to use THIS set of books rather than THAT set (which has been known to happen)?

Again, just curious.

26/8/05 15:14  
Blogger Jeff said...

David; how goes it?

I think you raise good points on both approaches; my point is not that there is not validity to the questions, just that the difficulties raised are far from insuperable with good will on both sides.

Perhaps the issue of different "rites" could be go around simply by wording, calling them different "uses," "observances" or "liturgical disciplines." All of that would be subject to negotiation, but surely something along the lines of or derivative from the Campos arrangement would be the solution, no? I don't know enough myself to know all the points that would need to be raised and how they might be solved, but I don't know of any reason why there shouldn't be a solution. After all, aren't the Ambrosian, Gallican, Mozarabic, Dominican, etc., rites really variants of the Roman rite?

And on the universal indult question, who knows exactly how it might work? Suppose any priest, any time could suddenly celebrate the old Mass without getting any kind of permission? What would the real practical fallout be? That's the bogeyman here and I'm not convinced that it would really HAPPEN that way very often at all. After all, theoretically, any priest can celebrate the New Mass in all sorts of different ways without asking permission. I'm sure there would be knotty "worst case" problems here and there, but only here and there.

But there could be "declarations" or "registrations of intent" required, and perhaps bishops would retain an indirect power to move priests for good cause if there were particular problems, subject to review by a panel or commission in Rome. Perhaps Bishops could retain a right to forbid the normal use of priestly discretion in this matter, but it would have to be for good cause stated. That would put the shoe on the other foot, though, wouldn't it. Bishops would have to say "No" on a case by case basis and would feel pressure to accomodate.

Of course, ALL of these solutions have problems, but NO solution has even more problems. Love, generosity, and the spirit of reconciliation is all that is necessary and our Pope has all of those qualities. That's really what ecumenism is all about isn't it? Never closing the door of the mind or heart and being willing to revisit and revisit again and again over time, though without compromising truth. Look what time has done even to the practical dimensions of the Christological controversies? Who feels the same kind of passion about the living Nestorian churches of Assyria today that the partisans of Cyril felt in the time? Who even felt that passion two centuries ago? Most have become Catholics and those that have not feel closely connected to us in the face of the challenge of Islam. God has moved us closer together than anyone could have imagined in Cyril's time and all that was necessary was a few centuries, the development of Christian thought, and a bit of good will.

26/8/05 16:35  
Blogger Banshee said...

Speaking for myself, I'm not likely to call someone a heretic or schismatic if they might be coming back -- because if they came back, they would already have provided proof that they are no longer schismatics, and they wouldn't have been allowed back if they were heretics. Changing your mind and coming back is good.

Ditto the white knight thing. If you come back, obviously your sins have been made white as snow. And if the prodigal son comes back, I don't think the rest of us don't have to play the whiny son. Eat some fatted calf and be happy.

26/8/05 16:48  
Blogger the Savage said...

I support the idea of a universal indult, but as David suggests, there would have to be rules. At a minimum, every parish - except for Tridentine rite personal parishes - would have to provide at least one Sunday Mass in the normative rite and a bishop could provide that where a parish offered only one daily mass, that it would also have to be in the normative rite. Beyond that, it would seem just to allow priests the choice of what rite to offer for any otehr mass, provided that for any publicly scheduled mass they indicated which mass would be offered and offered the rite advertized. These kinds of provisions would have to be included in legislation.

In practice, I suspect that this would only lead to adding one or two scheduled Tridentine Masses per diocese in most places, although probably quite a few more private, non-scheduled Masses.

Far from destroying the Novus Ordo, I think it would provide it more stability by giving it a fixed refeernce point to compare itself to. To prevent priests from going Tridentine, bishops would likely encourage / tolerate more Novus Ordo masses in Latin, ad orientem, using the Roman canon, with Gregorian chant, etc. The presence of more of these kinds of traditionalized Novus Ordo Masses and Tridentine Masses in dioceses would likely lead to other priests and parishes adopting bits and pieces of these more traditional forms.

26/8/05 16:52  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...

This was intriguing:

"Priests here in the Arlington diocese complain that there parishioners resist even the inroduction of, say, the Gloria in Latin. Most Catholics, don't want the old Mass, regardless of what traditionalists say."

And it could be a very humorous or pathetic (depending on your leanings) new blossoming of clericalism as well:

biretted young priests, earnestly studying the CDs and DVDs from the Association for Latin Liturgy or Angelus Press, then deciding which of "their" Masses would be old Rite or new;

people straining their necks to see if the altar cards were going out on the old altar or the candles were being lighted on the new;

and for those of us who actually know and love Latin, the resultant liturgy could become distracting in a whole new way, since some of these earnest young fascia-ists (just kidding!) don't really know all that much Latin.

The poster mentioned Arlington, and that reminded me of the CREDO materials I had the opportunity to look at a number of years ago.

Of the many howlers contained therein, the one that sticks in my mind was the translation offered for:

Deus, qui beatam Virginem Mariam, eius humilitatem respiciens, ad hanc gratiam evexisti of the Collect for the Vigil of the Assumption.

The Arlington-CREDO rite suggested this "accurate" translation of the third phrase:

"respecting her humility" !!!

Free-for-all Tridentine Rite could be interesting indeed!

26/8/05 18:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By all means, let's not disturb the coma of the ordinary catholic by making them learn two--get that--two masses. It might require that they actually spend more than 45 minutes thinking about their spiritual life in a single week! Hell, we might lose half of them! And think of the carnage in the religious orders--more than 45 minutes away from walking labyrinths and doing social work. Why, it could be their ruin!

27/8/05 10:37  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...

Walking Labyrinths!


Excellent, michigancatholic!

I remember when that test was all the rage - what the hell was it called - where they assigned you LETTERS to describe your personality?

You know, you were a "J" or an "I", etc.

Some Sisters who had taken it were explaining to the (elderly) Pastor that they were sure he needed to "get in touch with his J-ness" or some such psychobabble.

When they left, he quietly remarked, "I think THEY need to get in touch with their P-ness!"

27/8/05 13:52  

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