Friday, October 17, 2014

Guarding the Guards, a duty

Blue Thursday?
Yesterday's events in the aula of the Synod were certainly remarkable, the bishops rose up cried 'No' to their manipulation, Kasper disappeared as in a puff of smoke, and the Pope appoints an African.
The triumph of orthodoxy? No, just one battle won, the first maybe in a long war.

What gave me joy was that the media, both Catholic and secular, followed the Kasper line that very few of the Bishops favoured 'Tradition' and yet yesterday's events showed that most Bishop are actually orthodox. I mistrusted the Synod and I was right to do so, yesterday's events show that the majority of the Synod Fathers, including some of the Cardinals shared my mistrust.

Yesterday I asked, 'who will guard the guardians' and in a way yesterday's events gave an answer: Truth and openness will guard the guards. I have a friend who worked in the Balkans who talks of saintly bishops who are constantly challenged by crotchety parish priests, he has also worked in southern Italy where he says it is not unusual for Parish Priests to be challenged by irate parishioners, sometimes even whilst preaching. I think this what we should mean by collegiality.

I am the son of Liberalism and of the 1980's but I find the 'Via Traddie' incredibly attractive, it is not just liturgy but the 'style'. I mean the egalitarianism of it all. Nothing is hidden, a child or an elderly woman can challenge my preaching simply by saying, 'How does that square with the Catechism which says, .....?', I was quite delighted when a child after the Traditional Mass asked if my sermon was 'a bit Patriapassionist' (obviously it wasn't, I was right she was wrong, but it made me think), in the same way that someone can say after Mass, 'Father, the rubrics say quite specifically that ..., why didn't you  do it, can't you read, are you a fool?' Traddiness has none of the arcana of Liberalism, the type of thing which led Kasper to suggest that poor Africans just don't understand. If you pressed Kasper about what they don't understand I suspect that he would have come some 'spirit of ...' nonsense, or they hadn't read some fashionable theologian or they hadn't grasped the meaning of 'mercy' or 'love' or 'the human condition'; basically what he would have been talking about would have been some Gnostic kind of secret language known only to the elite. It is the same in a parish, question what a priest says in sermon or why he does something odd at Mass and you get a lot of obscure b... ...t, which simply places the priest beyond question.

Who will guard the guardians? It should be all of us. If a Bishop (or a priest or even a Pope) is unclear in his teaching, we have a duty to demand clarity. If he is not preaching the Gospel, if he never mentions sex, or marriage, or seems unconcerned about pro-life issues, or Eternity, if he rarely mentions God in his Pastoral Letters, if his views on the family or homosexuality, or money or whatever are singular or odd, he ought to be asked to explain himself. If he invites into his diocese speakers or groups who are obviously destructive of the faith, his priests or his people should ask, 'Why?'. In the same way if at a Confirmation or First Communion he suggests that it is acceptable for those who have just received the sacrament to lapse, he needs to be questioned by the clergy and the faithful. If he decides to sell his predecessors' house and get rid of the community that lived with him and live on his own, he needs to be questioned about his motives or similarly if he decides to cancel every Mass in his diocese on a particular day.

The Presbyterate of a diocese really do have a function not just towards their parishioners but towards their Father in God, and to one another, ultimately to get their Bishop to heaven but more immediately to ensure he has acts in a Christlike way, if the Bishop turns out to be sinful or falls, it is not merely his failure but the failure of his priests too, in the same way if a priest isn't saintly, it is failure of his people as well as his own. The sheep have a duty to make known their needs, this is surely what our obscurantist Pope means by' 'smelling of the sheep'.

The real problem is the Liberal gnosticism that was introduced following the Council removed the plain clear sense of the faith from ordinary men women, to the point where 'the Council' seemed to have more weight than the Gospels or the creed. How many of the faithful called to study those turgid documents have a grasp of the Gospels or the Creeds? Liberal gnosticism placed a liberal elite above the masses and gave a sense that they were not to be questioned, not to be held to account, which is exactly what happened until yesterday in the Synod. I remember an old PP after reading the 1983 Code of Canon Law and regretting that it failed to hold bishops to account as former Code did, his description 'between the anvil of Rome and the hammer of the diocesan Chapter'. This is precisely why Cdl Mueller was so right in deploring the anonymity of the Synod, the people (and most especially the clergy) of a diocese have a right to know what their Bishop has said. I would say they have a duty to question what their Bishop has to say, if they don't they fail him and Christ!


Liam Ronan said...

Well, there he goes again!

"Pope Francis allows Sistine Chapel to be rented out for private corporate event" - Telegraph


To me there are echoes of John 12:4-5 and Luke 19:46 in this.

"But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?"

"My house is the house of prayer: but you have made it a den of thieves."

Otherwise said perhaps: 'Why was this house of God not rented out to a multinational corporation (Porsche) and the money...etc.'

October 18th...while the Synod is in progress...

Anna J said...

My heart sank when I read about this Porsche event, where they will be hosting Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle. This is what Rossini himself had to say about this piece.

At the end of the score, he wrote, “Dear Lord, here it is finished, this poor little mass. Have I just written sacred music, or rather sacrilegious music?

Cosmos said...

Excellent post, Father. I am circulating it now!

Thank you!

Simon Reilly said...

What do you mean by "obscurantist Pope"?

Mark said...

I challenged my local priest & catechist in West Sussex about strange, modern interpretations & pronouncements. I did it gently and with cocncern. However, I was told to mind my own business and leave it to the experts!? Now they all avoid me! I now travel a round trip of 50 miles on Sundays whenever possible!

John Vasc said...

We mustn't relax our vigilance for a moment. The adversaries of the one true Faith have been provoked into the barely suppressed rage of a roaring lion. It's unacceptable that the bishops should be trying to tinker around with the entirely flawed Relatio text, which their revolt has shown to be a tendentious, fraudulent fabrication of what they actually decided.
Instead they should start from scratch, sack the previous editorial team, and have each group feeding in its findings and proofreading the report in open group discussion, before it is published.
And they should place it on solemn record that they have rejected the previous document, not merely objected to it. Otherwise it will carry on popping up and being used as an 'authority'.

JARay said...

I could not believe it when I read that the Sistine Chapel was to be rented out for a private event. It may be the case that the Vatican is strapped for cash. Hmmmm!
I don't like it when churches are rented out for concerts. I have seen it happen several times and I am not sure that the Blessed Sacrament has been removed whilst the event takes place. I visited Prague once and there were concerts in just about every church in Prague.

Lynda said...

Cardinal Burke has finally stated explicitly what everyone knows - that the Holy Father is responsible for the attacks on the doctrine of the Faith and the moral law:

Wynn said...

Father, I can't even begin to imagine whom you might have in mind in your fifth paragraph ;)

Thomas Travers said...

The word ‘Tradition’ is often referred to in these interesting blogs and I would welcome some explanation of what this term means and what it signifies. The impression I have is that ‘Tradition’ means the past practices of the body of the Church in terms of its rites, rules, rituals, forms of prayer which are still in use today. As such, ‘Tradition’ is distinguished from ‘Faith’. Traditions are important as they are adjuncts to Faith, or facilitators of Faith, and are considered to represent ‘best practice’ or ‘ideal practice’ by which any variant practices should be judged. It seems correct to say that Traditions, unlike Faith, are created by men. Therefore they are not timeless. They originate from a point in time.
If we go back to the foundation of the Church then is it there, in the practices of those early decades, that we should seek for the authentic Tradition which cannot be superseded or surpassed by that which followed? And should we discard all that followed as not being Traditional? But rather a gloss or unnecessary add-on? In seeking Tradition how far do we go back? At what point in time, what era, do we reach out to in order to find authentic Tradition if not to the start of it all? Or can we go to multiple points in time to select different elements of practice which collectively we may regard as representing Tradition? Who decides what is Traditional?
Our Faith is derived from Judaism but the Jewish washing and dietary traditions of the Old Testament play no part in the lives of the Faithful today. So at various points the Church has discarded what were once Traditions. Can one be a faithful Catholic unless one also follows the Traditions and, if so, which should be followed?

Fr Ray Blake said...

I would never understand Tradition in such tight terms but as Dei Verbum does in terms of 'that which has been handed on', that includes rites, but should not be limited to it. Tradition is as much part of Revelation as Scripture.

Read Ratzinger, to start with Introduction to Christianity.

Lynda said...

Mr Travers, I think this is a good, simple explanation of Tradition in the Catholic Faith:

Pelerin said...

Regarding the fifth paragaph and mention of suspect groups being invited to speak by a bishop, I recently attended one of these meetings out of curiosity and strictly as an undercover observer. One should not criticise something without experiencing it first hand.

For the bishop to have said that he saw nothing wrong in it seems to indicate either that he had neither read nor asked about it, had never attended one of its meetings or that he agreed with its aims to 'change the Church'. Sadly I think the latter may have been the case.

On the form I was asked to fill in at the end, in answer to 'Will you be attending further meetings' I put a large NO! I was not being brave - it was anonymous!