Friday, January 30, 2009

An Act of Mercy

Father Zed is running a story which says that the SSPX could be reconciled by Monday, as their reconcilliation has been one of Benedict's main concerns fopr the last 30 years, presumably some legal/theological package is on a desk somewhere.

Last year Bishop Fellay suggested that the SSPX's relationship with Rome could be like that of the Chinese Patriotic Church, which is interesting, and presumably indicates a degree of autonomy, we will see.

I was speaking to a priest the other day, who was quite angry about the likely reconciliation, which was quite sad, especially as he had been heavily involved with ARCIC on a local level. I think he fails, like many people, to understand the Pope's priorities.

I see them as being twofold:

The Reconciliation of East and West, in a sense the bringing into communion of the SSPX and other traditional groups, as well as the Anglican group TAC is both a model for the East and an "experiment" in plurality for the West.

The Reconciliation of the Catholic Church with its history, a substantial part of this is the great battle with "relativism" and overthrowing the notion of the "Spirit of Council". John Paul II in Et Unum Sint said the role of the Pope is the great obstacle to unity. In his writings the Pope Benedict sees the bishops as being the "faithful bearers of the Tradition" they are supposed to be overseers and regulators of the Church. It is only when bishops are unable to do this that there is a need for a strong Papacy.

Benedict realises that he will die before either of these are achieved but what he seems to be doing is laying a foundation to a renewed and authentic Catholic ecclessiology that a successor will find impossible to undo.


Dilly said...

As usual your analysis is thoughtful, considers the "big picture", and is spot on.
It is an exciting time to be a Catholic. The wonderful thing about the Catholic blogosphere (the sensible part of it) is that the true texts emanating from the Holy Father are being disseminated ahead of the biased and incomplete analysis in the mass media. This is strengthening my faith tremendously - I wish all parish priests would read them and counter the disinformation that their parishioners encounter elsewhere. (I spent most of Christmas arguing with family about the Pope's real message on homosexuality).

Anonymous said...

I reckon this must have been a done deal months ago. Someone on the +Williamson camp must have got wind of it and tried to scupper it at the last moment.

It looks as if at long last the re-unification of the orthodox can take place. We have to form some kind of critical mass within the Church otherwise nothing much is going to change. We are a small, fragmented group so we need to have some rallying points otherwise we are going to get picked off by the liberals. Structures like this will go a
long way to solving that problem.

It will take a long time before a new consensus emerges among people of an orthodox persuasion on liturgy and pastoral care (this is where I think the problem originated in the first place) but at least the foundations are being laid. There's almost something biblical about this.

St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, pray for us.
St. Athanasius, You stood against the world, pray for us.
St. Antony of Padua, Hammer of the heretics, pray for us.

Anonymous said...

How can a priest be 'quite angry' about the reconcilliation? Surely Our Lord prayed 'that they may be one?'

Fr Ray Blake said...

I think that many priests thought they understood the way in which the was moving, ecumenism: towards Anglicanism & Protestantism, morals: towards liberalism, liturg: towards informal flexibility.
These for many priests ordained before the Council were taken on with difficulty, then regarded as certainties, and now they see them being changed.

Anonymous said...

What I find disconcerting on Father Z's blog is the rumour that SSPX won't be required to accept the Council, because it issued no infallible teaching.

But its decrees are binding because they are authentic, therefore they must be obeyed under the usual conditions for obedience to legitimate social authority: in all that is not sin.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Michael, I have had to rethink this myself, but what developments in teaching did Vatican give us, that we are bound to accept, that were not already presented in the Ordinary Magisterium?

Brian said...

IF this is good enough for the fathers of Vat II its good enough for us. As far as I am aware nothing was declared doctrinally binding at Vat II. THere were no new dogmas just pastoral admonitions.

"Taking conciliar custom into consideration and also the pastoral purpose of the present Council, the sacred Council defines as binding on the Church only those things in matters of faith and morals which it shall openly declare to be binding."

Council appendix to Lumen Gentium of Vatican II


Anonymous said...

What developments in teaching did Vatican give us, that we are bound to accept, that were not already presented in the Ordinary Magisterium?

Do you think that Lumen Gentium 8

- "This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, SUBSISTS in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure" would be what they are thinking of?

Adulio said...

In his writings the Pope Benedict sees the bishops as being the "faithful bearers of the Tradition" they are supposed to be overseers and regulators of the Church. It is only when bishops are unable to do this that there is a need for a strong Papacy.

Is this really the definition of the papacy? Someone who just oversees things and has no say at what happens at a local level? This is surely what liberals and modernists would love to reduce the papacy to? Is no wonder that some bishops think that papal pronoucments do not apply to their diocese, because they only see the pope as "another bishop" and not someone who governs the church because of his mandate from Christ?

Anonymous said...

"I reckon this must havIt looks as if at long last the re-unification of the orthodox can take place."

mafeking, if you mean reunification of the Eastern Orthodox, it is highly unlikely. There are too many dogmatic, ecclesiological and political problems. Mass and influential opposition and hostility within the orthodox camps. There must be a very long way. SSPX is completely different. Thyey are Catholic after all.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Certainly not all, but the normal way of things.

In the light of the constant Tradition how do we interpret "subsists", and how does the Supreme Pontiff interpret it?

Anonymous said...

In answer to your question, Father, I can't think of any myself, neither can I for the life of me identify any part of the Conciliar decrees which it would be a sin to accept.

The qualification "in all that is not sin" appears in the Penny Catechism where it deals with the obligation of obedience to parents and social superiors in Church and State.

In answer to X's question about SUBSISTS, there is a long tradition for this which goes back at least to the Church's condemnation of the Donatist schism and is expressed by the fact that she has always recognised the validity of sacraments administered outside her visible limits.

So it is that Christians baptised elsewhere are merely received into the Church, and confirmed if they have not been already, while Eastern Orthodox clergy are received as clerics validly ordained.

George said...

The 'reform of the reform' is now an unstoppable JUGGERNAUT! And not a moment too soon. Deo Gratias.

Anonymous said...

I find it strange the attitude of Catholics to SSPX when compared with their attitude at the highest levels in England and Wales to the recpetion of the main architect of death in this country. Receiving somebody into full communion with the Chruch who promoted gay marriage, contraception, human cloning, human embryo research and at least publicly had no problem with the modern day holocaust of abortion. I am not suggesting Bishop Williamson is right in any way whatsoever but I would like to read a letter from Tony Blair apologising or at least explaining why he has rejected his uncatholic views or perhaps he hasn't?

Anonymous said...

"But its decrees are binding because they are authentic."

Michael, these decrees seem to include all the traditional things which were taught by the Church for centuries, the most apparent difference being wordiness, verbosity and vagueness in formulations. Good catholics probably may criticise or even oppose the form that in their good conscience mistifies and confuses the true essence.

Anonymous said...


No I don't mean the re-unification with the Eastern Orthodox. I mean the re-unification of orthodox believing Catholics inside our own Church as opposed to the heterodox and liberals we seem to swimming in at the moment. To me we (the orthodox believer) are a small fragmented group with one here and two there who seem to be united mostly by the internet. "Bishop Ray", "Bishop Tim" and "Bishop Z" are the only real Bishops we've got. The regularisation of groups like the SSPX means that we don't have to put up with the nonsense we see in our parishes and we can at least go somewhere to get support and find out who we are. As I said I think we need rallying points otherwise we can't influence what's going on in Rome. At the moment we are an atomised group scattered around the country but we need "bases" as it were. It's almost like recusant times where what was left of the faithful had to travel miles to find a decent priest and go to mass.

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