Friday, March 13, 2009

Pope's Letter, our Bishop's Website



This is very disappointing, it is on our Bishop's website, apparently the link to the actual letter was a later addition:



Press release
Issued by the Catholic Communications Network
Letter from Pope Benedict XVI concerning the remission of the excommunication of the four Bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has sent a letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church concerning the remission of the excommunication of the four Bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre.
Statement from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales:
“The Pope’s letter is a collegial act to the Bishops of the Catholic Church. In a deeply humble letter, the Pope explains his decision to lift the excommunications of the four Bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre and offers a heartfelt apology for the mistakes made and the unintended consequences of that decision. He thanks ‘our Jewish friends’ for quickly helping to clear up the misunderstanding and to restore the friendship and trust that has existed throughout his pontificate and that of John-Paul II.
“The Pope expresses his strong commitment to inter-religious dialogue, especially with those of the Jewish faith and ecumenical dialogue with other Christians. He reveals his passion for reconciliation and in a rallying call to all in the Church to give better witness, the Pope emphasises that the fundamental priority of the Church is to lead men and women to God.
“Essential to this task is the need for unity and it is the Petrine Office that is the centre and promoter of the unity of the Church and, as such, a prophetic voice as to how individuals and nations across the world should relate. As part of our Lenten journey the Pope calls on all of us to put our trust in the Lord who protects us and guides our steps along the way to peace.”
Full text of Pope Benedict XVI's letter
Pope Benedict XVI's letter to Bishops of the Catholic Church - 12 March 09 (pdf)



The only consolation I can take is that I hope it was produced without the involvement any of our Bishops.

It misses essential points:
The excommunications were medicinal, an attempt to heal a potential schism, as was the removal of the excommunications.

The lifting of the excommunications do not alter the irregularity of the SSPX, nor does it mean that the SSPX now hold any office within the Catholic Church.

Even the reference to the Petrine ministry is pretty bland in the "press release" compared to the original letter.

The issues of divergence are theological. It would have been good to have seen this key paragraph quoted:

One cannot freeze the magisterial authority of the Church in 1962 and - this must be quite clear to the Fraternity. But to some of those who show off as great defenders of the Council it must also be recalled to memory that Vatican II contains within itself the whole doctrinal history of the Church. Who wants to be obedient to it [sic. the Council] must accept the faith of the centuries and must not cut the roots of which the tree lives.


The Holy Father says,

I learn from this that we at the Holy See have to pay more careful attention to this [the Internet] news source in the future.

One can only hope whoever is responsible for the Bishop's website would give the same "careful attention", but again and again we have this sort of pap being handed out on their Lordships behalf, surely they can't be satisfied with it!

29 comments:

Diesel said...

The sooner we have the new archbishop, the better. May he bring with him a huge, new broom to sweep clean the Catholic church in England, taking along with all the rubbish, the Magic Circle as well!

Ma Tucker said...

It's called spin I believe. Get your own twisted interpretation in first that way you seed the mind of the reader with a false key in which to read the actual document. Very sad and disappointing but hardly surprising.

georgem said...

“Surely they can't be satisfied with it!” Wishful thinking, I am afraid, Father. The statement is written in their collective name. The Pope’s letter must have been received a good 24 hours before it was released publicly, ample time to get a reasoned response written for the media.
Instead, we are given another lukewarm statement which implies that the Bishops of E&W were right all along to question the lifting of the excommunications, (what a gift to that purpose was Bishop Williamson). A further, and far more serious implication, is that the Pope has now “humbly” admitted he was wrong to do it.
It is a thorough debasement of a beautiful and intelligent letter.
One might ask: with “friends” like these, who needs enemies? The kindest interpretation of the bishops’ response is that the Pope’s subtlety is entirely above their heads and they don’t understand the letter at all.
Do I sound angry? You bet I am.

Gregory said...

Father,
Unfortunately I suspect they are satisfied with it.

Delia said...

To whom should one write about this, Father? To our own bishop? If so, to the area bishops as well? Any guidance welcome.

Laurence England said...

Have posted a piece on my blog on this too Father. The doctored letter is the most worrying event yet. It is very much a 'two-fingers' to the Holy Father, from a group of people who don't want to be told the truth, nor have the truth in the public domain. Very, very concerning!

Ottaviani said...

The photo accompanying this post (even though a frequent occurence nowadays) still astonishes me. Who would have thought 50 years ago, that the sucessors of the Apostles who even denigrate themselves by sharing seats with pretenders who play "dressy-up" on Sundays?

Astonishing...

Kate said...

I too have posted about this disappointing reply from our Bishops.But, so far, Archbishop Nicholls and Bishop O'Donoghue have put up individual responces on their dioceses webpages.
Bishop O'Donoghue's is particularly warm, though he doesn't go into detail.Sorry I can't link them here but google Diocese of Lancaster and Birmingham and you'll find the information.

Anonymous said...

Delia,
Complain to your own Bishop, obviously if he doesn't give a satisfactory answer, or any answer, you can always then send his letter on to the Secretariat of State at the Vatican.
Depending on your complaint you could send the complaint to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Be polite, be brief.

Malcolm

English Pastor said...

There presentation appears to suggest that they are speaking with the Pope, since they describe the letter as a collegiate act. It is not, since it was written to the Bishops, not with them. It is a humble letter acknowledging some administrative errors, but with a strong and fundamental call to order. The Bishops forget that while Vatican II called them Vicars of Christ in their own Diocese, their authority, though not their solicitude for the entire Church, ends there. The Petrine keys which the Supreme Pontiff alone holds and wields are used to grant each and every Bishop the mandate to teach, sanctify and govern in their Diocese only when in union with the Pope. As Vatican II also reminds them, the college of bishops even as a whole has no authority unless united to the Roman Pontiff. They would do well to show to their superior the respect and obedience they expect of their clergy.

becket said...

At least you have something. I can't find the letter anywhere on the UCCB's website here in the USA. See if you can find it.
http://www.nccbuscc.org/

Laurence England said...

Well said!

mafeking said...

This is entirely predictable and my gut instinct is that the Bishop's are entirely satisfied with this response. They've sliced and diced the letter and given it the meaning they want in the same way they do with the V2 documents et al. It's all part of the strategy - ignore what the other person is saying and then bulldoze them into agreeing with you. It's bullying basically. The only difference is that the people are more educated.

Pius X got it right when he said of these people...."they bow their heads momentarily (when admonished), but then later they raise them more arrogantly than before"....If Benedict thought his letter would bring the liberals to book I think he's wrong. What he's written in public he's got to say face to face to these people - it's no use leaving it in a letter, great letter though it is. He's got to firm up the boundaries and show them who's boss.

St. Peter, pray for the Holy Father

alban said...

Oh dear. Ottaviani, in your rush to take a nasty swipe at the (presumably English) Catholic bishops seated with their Anglican counterparts in the photo posted by Fr. Ray, you forget that the Holy Father himself has been seated with Archbishop Rowan Williams and has prayed with him on at least 2 occasions. Further, the Holy Father has addressed Rowan Williams as "Archbishop" both in writing and when speaking to him.

Do you also accuse Pope Benedict, of "denigrating" himself? Please think before you post.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Ottaviani,
I really do not believe this precis originated from any of our Bishops. The HF's letter is essentially about his committment to ecumenism.
The picture was meant to illustrate our Bishops committment to the ecumenical dialogue.
As Catholics all of us must be committed to the reunion of all who share baptism and faith in Christ.

Sorry, I should have said this when I published your comment.
Thankyou Alban, for your comment.

George said...

Agree entirely with Georgem's sentiments!

All I can say is thank goodness for the internet and blogs, where these 'abuses' can be spotted and exposed 'faster than a speeding bullet'!

E & W take note - you can't get away with your tactics of the last 40 years any longer! Wake up to the reform of the reform. Catholics will not accept this limp and lukewarm version of the faith and faithfullness to our Holy Father anymore.

Let's have a real rally of support for Rome, 'Tu es Petrus.....' these are the words of Christ Himself - not made up by man, but from God, Sacred scripture.

While E & W 'spin their petty media statements' God's plan continues unabated, of that we can be sure. Deo Gratias.

Ottaviani said...

Alban - just because the Holy Father sits with "Archbishop" Rowan Williams does not make it any better, nor does it change the fact that the Church of England:

1. Does not objectively speaking have valid orders (excluding those who have sought orders from the Orthodox and Old Catholics).

2. Has drifted to an sorry extent that ecumenical dialogue is now a never-ending horizon, that is going absolutely nowhere.

While my previous comment, may have been uncharitable - the sentiment is still the same. The church needs to be confident in herself, just like she used to be and proclaim the return of dissidents back to the one true church. There is not anything more uncharitable to the souls of non-Catholics than to tell them that there is no need to abandon that, which separates them from the mystical body of Christ.

In response to Fr. Ray's comment - if only the church of England did share our faith but they do not even share the same morals as us and are just as bankrupt in that department (gay ordinations, Lambeth 1930 permission for abortion and contraception, etc)

Jane said...

I commented on this very thing under Fr's post of yesterday. Looks as if I wasted my time and everyone missed it.

In the same comment I made a criticism of the way Vatican You Tube handled Fr Lombardi's press statement on the Pope's leter.

I should be most grateful if people would go back there and let me have some feedback.

Thanks everyone.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Nat, this post is not about the invalidity of Anglican Orders.

Riccardo said...

Well I do hope the Holy See has learnt some lessons. Perhaps the most important one being to google the name of the candidate for Westminster before selecting him. Iam amazed for example that Middlesborough's current bishop was selected given to some of his liberal talks given to seminarians posted on the Ushaw website.

georgem said...

A personal take on the bishops conference statement -

“The Pope’s letter is a collegial act to the Bishops of the Catholic Church.”

We are all equal, therefore we see no need to obey him

“In a deeply humble letter, the Pope explains his decision to lift the excommunications of the four Bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre and offers a heartfelt apology for the mistakes made and the unintended consequences of that decision.”

The Pope humbly admits he made a mistake in lifting the excommunications from the SSPX.

“He thanks ‘our Jewish friends’ for quickly helping to clear up the misunderstanding and to restore the friendship and trust that has existed throughout his pontificate and that of John-Paul II.”

Don’t let’s bother with the doctrinal minutiae regarding the rescinding of the excommunications. He almost ruined the good relations built up by John Paul II. In the circumstances, the Jewish community has shown great generosity in saving his face.

“The Pope expresses his strong commitment to inter-religious dialogue, especially with those of the Jewish faith and ecumenical dialogue with other Christians.”

That’s more like it. He’s finally got the point. Ecumenical dialogue, ecumenical dialogue and more ecumenical dialogue.

“He reveals his passion for reconciliation and in a rallying call to all in the Church to give better witness, the Pope emphasises that the fundamental priority of the Church is to lead men and women to God.”

The ball’s in his court, really.

“Essential to this task is the need for unity and it is the Petrine Office that is the centre and promoter of the unity of the Church and, as such, a prophetic voice as to how individuals and nations across the world should relate.”

There’ll be unity as long as he doesn’t keep fouling up. And don’t forget the ecumenical dialogue.

"As part of our Lenten journey the Pope calls on all of us to put our trust in the Lord who protects us and guides our steps along the way to peace.”

And that means marching to the beat of our drum.

Henry said...

INEPT COMMUNICATION

I downloaded the original letter, printed it and started to read it, but had not got past the second paragraph when I woke up at 3 am to find the lights still on. Did anyone here manage to read it through?

My reaction to the document was to ask why the Vatican cannot get someone to edit it into decent fluent British English before publication?

People do themselves and us no favours when they churn out this turgid stuff. It is not the only example - Centesimus Anno is in similar turgid prose. Again, almost nobody has read it but it apparently contains valuable insights. The same can be said also of the Catechism and Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching, which lack clarity and are difficult documents to navigate.

The hierarchy must communicate in decent English or they will be ignored or their message distorted. I am not suggesting it should use the language of the tabloid gutter press, but it should not be more complex than quality newspapers like the Financial Times. That is just sloppiness, inept and inconsiderate, if not plain rude.

Whether one likes it or not, English is the biggest language in the world and the British version remains the standard. What is little better than word-for-word translation out of some other language is not good enough.

George said...

Georgem and Henry - right on the ball!

God Bless our Holy Father.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Nat I chose not to publish you comment because it was deliberately insulting or ill informed.
Since the Ap. Cur. the inclusion of rogue bishops, Old Catholic, Orthodox and odd Catholics in schism have been included in Anglican ordinations, so it is not possible to say all are "laymen", that doesn't make theological sense.

Fr Anthony said...

I think a little study on the matter would not go amiss. The Church of England entered into intercommunion with the Union of Utrecht in 1931. Thus, Old Catholic Bishops began to be invited to co-consecrate and co-ordain at official ceremonies in Anglican cathedrals in the full light of day.

Anglican ordinations and episcopal consecrations have never involved irregular “vagante” bishops and no Eastern Orthodox bishop would break the canons of his Church and participate in such a way in an Anglican service. However, some Anglican clergy got themselves – secretly and in an unofficial and irregular manner - re-ordained by irregular bishops and sometimes consecrated to the Episcopate, but if this was found out by the Anglican authorities, the clerics concerned were sanctioned.

You can get most of this from reading Anson’s “Bishops at Large” or Brandreth’s “Episcopi Vagantes and the Anglican Church”.

Fr. Anthony (priest in the TAC)

Fr Ray Blake said...

Fr Anthony,
Never?
Not even Hong Kong?

Fr Anthony said...

To Fr Blake 14/3/09 7:10 PM :

"Never?"

I may be wrong, but who were the bishops involved in Hong Kong?

I'm open to new information so that I can learn.

[Sorry to be off-topic, but I am answering existing comments.]

Fr. Anthony

Fr Ray Blake said...

Were there not strange goings on after the "ordination" of Florence Li Tim-Oi with vaganti of different "rites"?
And is not the Church of South India also in communion with the Anglican Communion, I understand that there are actually strange oriental, possibly validly ordained bishops there.

Little Black Sambo said...

Ottavian, be off to Holy Smoke, where you belong.