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 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 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 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  

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