Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stench of the Right

I welcome the impending return to full communion with the Church of anyone but especially of the SSPX. On the positive side I think they are going to ask awkward questions, break through some of theological political correctness that seems to bind the Church hand and foot, in this respect I think they are going to be a breath of fresh air. My one reservation is the stench of the sewer that they will bring into the Church from their right wing political connections, which we have already seen seen with +Williamson and subsequent to him, in Italy, Abrahamowicz, who seems to be connected to the "Northern League". The connection with the National Front in France, so often seems to ally in the minds of the ordinary Frenchmen "Tradition" and the far right.
John Allen has a very insightful piece that is well worth reading:

What recent events make clear is that there are two camps in the small universe that rotates around the Society of St. Pius X. The first, represented by Fellay, is composed of traditionalists whose concerns are solely liturgical and doctrinal, and who see the future of their movement as a leaven within the formal structures of the church; the second, represented by Williamson and Abrahamowicz, includes people for whom theological traditionalism bleeds off into far-right politics, xenophobia, and conspiracy theories, and who are far more suspicious of any "deal" with the post-conciliar church.

Benedict XVI’s calculation seems to be that the former represent the majority, and that the best way to isolate them from the latter is to open the door wide enough that only the real intransigents will refuse to walk through it.The risk, of course, is that the outside world won’t see the pope trying to steer the traditionalists toward moderation; it will instead see the pope rolling out the red carpet for a group that includes Holocaust deniers and hate-mongers.


Anonymous said...

Would that we were all so vigilant in relation to I monumental holocaust of abortion. My point is that the opinion of a world that promotes the holocaust of children in the womb is of very little interest to me. The lifting of the excommunication is more important than any whacky views in relation to historical events. Personally, I think Catholic bishops who preach and promote heresy are far more dangerous to humanity than the imprudent Bishop Williamson.

Ben Trovato said...

Interesting analysis Father.

I know the French scene best (via French friends and going on the Chartres pilgrimage a few times). There, for some, the traditions of Catholicism are intertwined with a yearning for a return to the traditional monarchy. Given how the republic was spawned by the French Revolution with its huge hostility to the Catholic Faith, that is understandable. However, it does make traditional Catholicism feel like the natural home for the extreme right, too. That is not to say that the majority of French tradtionalists are on the extreme right, but it cannot be denied that there are a few right wing nutters in that group. And they like to make themselves visible and audible, and to make it look as though all the others who subscribe to traditional Catholic practice are on their side.

Anonymous said...

What a sad image you've posted there, Father. Really, really sad.

Adulio said...

It must be said however that Lefebrve, contrary to what Wikipedia and other amateur websites would say, never wanted the SSPX to be identified with political organisations. In his famous mass at Lile 1976, which was the beginning of deteriorating relations between Paul VI and the SSPX, Lefebrve specially forbade political groups from distributing leaflets outside his mass.

Unfortunately, some traditionalists would say that the SSPX has departed from the spirit of its founder and Bishop Fellay (a well intentioned man) has not been vigilant since.

But here is a hypothetical question that can be posed to Catholics: if one were to decide between a right-wing party that vowed to abolish abortion, homosexual unions, sex-education in schools, etc and a mainstream party that had cordial relations with the Holy See but didn't promise any of the above - which party could Catholics seriously vote for in good conscience?

Anonymous said...

whilst I think all the points made in the post are valid, I wonder about the use of 'left' and 'right' in this context. Rather I think this is a circular relation, with the extremes of each ideology having more in common with each other than with the mainstream.

Anonymous said...

Ben Trovato might be interested to learn that Philip Trower - on page 85 of his book Turmoil and Truth - states that the French Revolution swept away the old order just as the Catholic monarchies of Europe (under Gallican and Febronian influence) were on the verge of a general revolt against the Papacy.

As for the issues that need tobe resolved with SSPX I think they can be put into two boxes:

(1) collegiality;

(2) everything else.

Collegiality is fairly straightforward, and Catholics shouldn't have any problem receiving it as de fide.

Everything else consists of ecumenism, openness to other religions and the civil right to religious freedom. All are reducible to the one issue which ought to exercise SSPX.

Are non-Catholics always in bad conscience in what concerns the true religion, or not?

Unknown said...

The very welcome welcomings aside, there are a few questions needing attention:

Who are you letting decide what the label "right wing" means, contains and when to use it? Is it proper to tell fellow Catholics that they "stink of sewer"?
On what solid ground could one brand Front National as less Catholic than the radical secularists and abortionists ruling many Western countries?

Just recently, a curial Cardinal stated that "the Pope doesn't answer to the media but to Christ". If only the rest of us were so couragious.

Anonymous said...

While the FN arn't perfect they are pro-life and oppose the islamisation of France. There is no more a problem of conscience voting for them (less in my opinion) than for the Labour Party of the Lib Dems.
You can't be a Nazi and a Catholic, but parties like the FN, Lega Nord or the LPR in Poland. Why not?

epsilon said...

Well said, Ma Tucker!

Father, conspiracy theories aren't confined to the politically far-right, and dare I point out that certain comments to your blog aren't always devoid of extreme right-wing sentiments.

Bishop Williamson wasn't totally denying the holocaust - outside the method, he was querying the numbers involved.

He's not the only one across a wide political spectrum, deploring the holocaust "industry".

see Chomsky:

"It's [the Holocaust] very consciously manipulated. I mean, it's quite certainly real, there's no question about that, but it is also undoubted that they manipulate it... one of the founders of the Jewish state and the Zionist movement and one of the elder statesmen, a very honest man... said it's sacrilege to use the Holocaust as a justification for oppressing others."

Fr Ray Blake said...

A reasonable point, but for a start I think we reject anything that pushes a nationalist agenda against brotherhood which comes from a common Father, for a start.
One could progress from there.

Ben Trovato said...

Notwithstanding Trower's views, there is no doubt that the Revolution was actively hostile to Catholicism, and that Catholics have good reason not to celebrate it.

I agree that the label 'right wing' is not very helpful. While the left wing has an identifiable ideology (expressed as socialism or communism, for example) there is no comparable ideology one could call right wing. rather it is often a term of abuse applied to those hostile to the left wing.

Having said that, there are some unpleasant extremists, commonly labeled right wing, who have attached themselves to traditional Catholicism in France -but they are not representative of most traditional Catholics.

Anonymous said...

Exactly so, Father.

It's interesting that these secular nationalist movements often embrace anti-Semitism.

In doing so, they reject Jesus as the model of Christian patriotism.

Ben Trovato, what you say has a good deal in its favour, but - as Trower goes on to say - it put these monarchies on notice that the revolutionaries were a greater threat to their thrones than the Papacy had ever been.

gemoftheocean said...

I kind of resent the implications that anti-semitism is a right-wing phenomenon. Nazi= SOCIALIST. It's right there in the name. And there is no one more virulently anti-semitic as the left wing so called "intelligentsia." I think the reconciliation is premature, in as much as as far as I can see the SSPXers have admitted NO WRONG DOING, including all that crap about how the pope doesn't have any authority because he authorized a rite other than the Tridentine rite blah, blah. I still think they can be very cult like and overbearing on issues which should have NO bearing on Catholicism. I don't want any truck with them until they admit they were wrong on certain issues.

A few weeks ago, a young man of about 25-30 came back into our sacristy before Mass. He asked our pastor if we ever did a Latin Mass, and our nearly 64 year old pastor said "no, and there WON'T be as long as I'm pastor." In his mind, it was said in such a vehement manner, I was reluctant to press why, but if I had to guess, it's in his mind "Latin Mass" means the SSPX types, not the much milder Latin Mass Society types which seem prevalent in England. If the Latin Mass is to be mainstreme (and I personally think people should have this option available) it's got to be seen as something for ALL the people, not just "cultists."

Frankly, I think people like my pastor are just waiting for BXVI to die and hoping the Latin Mass wave passes before it catches hold. I don't care for schismatics from the left OR the right. These SSPXers are being let back into the tent with NO admission of wrong doing, and it bothers me greatly. I don't want them poisoning the well of what looks like to be a promising start of the EF form of the Mass becomming mainstreme. Letting them back in like this gives pastors like mine more room to dig their heels in.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Gem, I think "socialism" is even more ambiguous than "left" or "right", what do you mean by the term?
The world had more of a problem with "National" rather than "Socialist" when it came to Nazis.

The Bones said...


Is he saying Holy Mass at a political party conference? That's awful if he is!

Fr Ray Blake said...

Yes, under the name of Le Pen.

Anonymous said...

Gemoftheocean, anti-Semitism can be found in lots of different places, not just nationalism. The oldest hatred mutates.

You find it on the socialist left for all the world to see whenever they demonstrate in public alongside the supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah.

Representatives of those two organisations have been seen at Holocaust denial and anti-Zionist conferences with a certain Mr Irving.

gemoftheocean said...

Fr. Blake, to me, socialism is forcing people into a scheme of social engineering where one has no option of retreat. Socialists are often people who have lost God, and in their own minds, want to set up what is "good" (which may not be what God thinks is good) and force you to do it.

It is quite one thing to volunteer to join a group of Benedictines for instance, and being forced to join. One always has the option of leaving, for instance.

Socialists want a degree of autonomy that is not healthy, with THEMSELVES in charge, of course.

They are coercive. I don't like "groupism" when one has no say of opting out. Nanny states are the least of it.

Anonymous said...

See this!

Anti-Semitism on the American SSPX site.

Anonymous said...

What a shame that the work of the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II is being undone. On his passing the United Jewish Communities (UJC) declared "It was Pope John Paul II who advanced the Catholic Church's dramatic reconciliation with the Jewish people. He fought anti-Semitism as "a sin against God and humanity" John Paul II became the first Vatican leader to visit Rome's great synagogue since the time of Peter. It was under John Paul that the church issued the document, "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah," which criticized historic Christian anti-Semitism and challenged Holocaust denial." Let's all pray that the Servant of God will interced for us and help us to remove this recent stain our relations wish our Jewish brothers and sisters.

Anonymous said...

Daniel/ Momcilo, I would had hoped that if the Far Right ever get to power in this country, and they want to send immigrants 'home' (even if they are British citizens), and they want to stop non-white people marrying the people they love, if they are white, because it might threaten 'the purity (sic) of the white race (sic)', as part of a general programme to stop 'foreign influence' (they don't give a monkey's about Islam versus Christianity per se, it's just that the former has more non -white adherents in Europe than the latter), Catholics, who include in their number peoples of all places, would stand up in the name of Christ, who draws ALL PEOPLE to himself. Now I'm not so sure...

Anonymous said...

It is an appalling article, Dotty, because it singles out the Jews for a special odium on account of unbelief, as though there were not Gentile unbelievers as well.

Adrienne said...

I'm going to have to agree on most of Gemmie's points.

I spent 7 years in what is considered one of the most radical of the SSPX chapels. It turned out to be a horrible experience.

Many of them (perhaps a few hundred) were taken in by my present NO parish before they were able to acquire their own church (FSSP. They were supported by our money and facility for about 8 years.

Their behavior during that time was such that they actually put our pastor in the hospital and created such ugliness that our area will never, ever see a EF Mass outside of their new FSSP chapel (and the existing SSPX chapel)

They placed themselves in a position of being their own "church" without regard for the hierarchy of the Church. I was as guilty as the rest for spiritual superiority. They are working on their third generation raised in this atmosphere and it will take a generation or two to fix the problem.

I rarely speak out because I have been so relentlessly attacked for speaking the truth. So to anyone who thinks I am painting all with a broad brush, rest assured I am not. I am simply relating the verifiable truth of what happened in my town.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Bishop Williams should read Pope John Paul's reflection on the Holocaust, and then offer a proper apology for those he has caused terrible harm to. A public Mass for all 6 million Jews killed wouldn't be a bad start My Lord.
"This century has witnessed an unspeakable tragedy, which can never be forgotten: the attempt by the Nazi regime to exterminate the Jewish people, with the consequent killing of millions of Jews. Women and men, old and young, children and infants, for the sole reason of their Jewish origin, were persecuted and deported. Some were killed immediately, while others were degraded, illtreated, tortured and utterly robbed of their human dignity, and then murdered. Very few of those who entered the Camps survived, and those who did remained scarred for life. This was the Shoah. It is a major fact of the history of this century, a fact which still concerns us today."

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Father: Very well stated intro to this post.

In my humble opinion and experience, any one who comes home to Holy Church brings hard questions and their past experiences and beliefs to the table. They are welcome and I welcome the opportunity to share and evangelize with them as well as ponder their questions.

When a re-entry to the Church is done well,the person is absorbed and enfolded in the flock. They become part of us and we are one.

I'm doing a bad job of explaining what I mean but, basically, I'm saying that if all goes well the SSPX will bring their hard issues and both sides will adjust but we will not bend to accomodate them so much as curve around them.

gemoftheocean said...

Cathym, that's the problem. I can easily see them holding out arrogant that "they were right all along."

Semyon said...

What's wrong with saying Holy Mass at a political rally? If only the Labour party conference began with the Sacrifice of Our Lord each day imagine what feats the delegates could accomplish! Of course all ideology is objectionable since it isolates God, or at least uses Him as a wholly materialistic device, but the beauty of the Old High Right is it has no ideology. I believe genuine conservatism is a disposition, not a plan of action and never a manifesto. In modern French politics, Le Pen is closest to this venerable tradition, stretching back to Maurice Barrès, Maurras and Action française.

Perhaps Maurras is a good figure to note here. He adored the Catholic Church for its prestige and the authority it gave to his movement, but he never believed in God. Perhaps the real division in French hard right politics is between those who are extremists and follow Christ and those who are extremist and don't really. God knows, Christians have to be "extremist" in this world.

Anonymous said...

joe mc; I didn't say anything about the far right in England. I specifically stated that you can't be a Nazi (used as a synonym for racist) and a Catholic. However, in the Lega Nord, FN or LPR manifesto's you don't see any of that kind of thing. We are all God's creatures and discrimination is wrong. However, I refuse to see what is wrong with wanting zero immigration, pro natal, pro life policies?
I maintain Liberals are further from Christ than FN voters.

Anonymous said...

To 21st century man
Church tradition and practice prohibits priests from endorsing candidates or political parties, although the Church can be and is active in pursuing causes that align with Gospel values. Clealy as the picture shows, offering Mass under the logo of this political party clearly violates that tradition. Moreover, the proper place for the Celebration of Mass is a Church, as I am sure the priest in question is well aware.

Anonymous said...

Is there any respectable historian who doubts for a moment the scale and scope of Hitler's mass murder of the Jews? There are so many survivors even from the death camps, there are masses of ducuments complied by the SS and the German bureaucracy, there is the testimony of those who ran the camps. Only one gentleman with claims to be a historian, taking time off from addressing neo-Nazi meetings, has denied its scope or that it took place, his veracity was questioned at the Old Bailey. Bishop Williamson is no historian.

One wonders how the Pope, who was there in Germany during the period in question, could have risked sening out the wrong signals by admitting to communion a man who denies the obvious historical truth for reasons which must be perfectly obvious.

Simon Platt said...

"Stench" is a bit strong father!

But I'm sure "Chelsea Man" is quite right.

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