Monday, November 03, 2014

The 'S' word

 Paintings Reproductions Vibert, Jehan Georges The Schism

Fr Zed has this little quote from Marco Tosatti,

“Two observations to close. Newspapers are saying that this Synod has broken the Catholic Church. False: it brought into the light an old split, perhaps as old as the Church herself. Without going too far back, decades ago now the Catholic philosopher Pietro Prini had written about a submerged schism, invisible, on the part of many (bishops, priests and theologians included) in respect to the official Magisterium. In this split, it is instinctive to find oneself in sympathy with the progressives, but, and I have to add this out of love for sincerity, not without some discomfort. Between some of the current “progressives” and the immovable “conservatives”, my esteem goes to the latter, faithful to their own line of thought even when it is inconvenient to sustain it. In just a few months the change of wind has seen many bishops and pastors, who for decades accused the “reformers” of heresy, now showing themselves to be “open” and “sensitive”. This kind of thing disgusts me. These careerist conformists are too skilled in jumping onto the banged wagon of the powers-that-be-of-the-moment to merit our trust as fellow travelers.”
 Not all of us have had bishops who have been forced to resign and whose activities will eventually be investigated by the Holy See. One of my brother priests said he felt that for thirteen years our local Church was lead by a lapsed Catholic, I don't know if I agree but I am glad that I was never forced to attend many diocesan functions during that time. There seemed to be a great deal of whittling away at the Gospel with a pen knife. It was not a good time, and a few like me kept our heads down, it at least made us more dependent on faith and helped us realise prayer, and when that became difficult, penance and fasting have great value.

The real problem in the Church, as ever, is leadership, who if they are not serving themselves are serving their faction, flip flopping from one position to another. GOD give us bishops who believe in YOU, if not all, then some or at least one or two.

It is interesting that a few American and Italian journalist are openly talking about the 'S' word: schism. Real schism is impossible in today's Catholic Church, there are some apocalyptic nuts on the internet claiming this or that Pope are imposters, but they are nuts. The real problem is a internal schism, or as said above submerged schism, a Church where few take any notice of the leadership, where the leadership instead of smelling of the sheep smell of the marble halls of Santa Martha. The problem is the Church becomes even less fruitful, with less vocations, with tired clergy. The old men ordained like me in the early years of JPII and before, for the most part are quite comfortable, it is the younger clergy who are often in agony. I really do think many will suffer a great deal and some will have a serious loss of faith.

What does one do when the centre does not hold? Past Popes have endeavoured to pass on a slightly less damaged Church than they inherited, perhaps Francis, Cardinal Pell's 'more unusual' Pope, will pass on a Church where the wounds are fully exposed so his successors over the next century or two might heal them.


JARay said...

I'm afraid that I have become more aware of a lack of leadership and authenticity which seems to have taken hold on quite a substantial number of dioceses. I'm even more afraid that I can see the veracity of the claim that the road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.

James said...

"banged wagon"

## This may be pedantry - though I think not - but I do wish that US writers would not mangle words like "bandwagon", "*boxed* set", and others.

What after all would a "banged wagon" be ? Words denote things; they are not empty ciphers that can be altered any old how to to mean any old thing. The dysphemistic usage that treats past participles ending in "-ed" as simple adjectives not ending in "-ed" seems to be gaining ground in the UK - which is all the more reprehensible, since Gresham's Law comes into operation, leading to the impoverishment of the English language's ability to express meaning.

The health of language is not something that a Church can disregard. Language cannot convey all meaning in religious matters, true - but that is a very weighty reason to treat it with respect and care and obedience to its nature, that it may be able to do well what it is within its capacity to do.

As for the leadership in the Church: perhaps the Church is paying the price for having infant baptism as the normal mode of entry into the Church. If Catholics are brought up to believe "all that RC stuff" because it is part of tribal culture, rather than discovering Christ for themselves and responding by pressing into the Church because they want to, having counted the cost of following Him - if that is what happens, then for young Catholics to kick over the traces & chuck out all that Catholic stuff is not likely; it is easily predictable.

To make things worse, Catholicism is for ever talking about the Church - the contrast with Evangelicals, who are constitutionally unable not to speak of Christ, is stark. The Church, unlike St Paul, does not preach Christ - it is not enraptured by Him. It just trundles on like any other international enterprise. Except that its CEO can't be thrown out if his performance is abysmal or its membership haemorrhages. It doesn't communicate the eschatological "newness" of Christ at all well. One need not be a Christian, to be a bishop; and by "Christian", one does not mean "Evangelical". Conformism is the way to success - boat-rockers are not welcome.

Gregkanga said...

For over 30 years dioceses in Australia under the leadership of socalled "lapsed" bishops have governed
the local Church using catholic education offices as parallel magisteriums and schools as parishes. These same bishops, which make up the majority in Australia, all propagated pastoral plans which fostered faith communities, lay leadership and ministry. What were bitter fruits of these pastoral plans? Empty parishes, lack of vocations, school Masses for the unevangelized and non Catholic staff and students and the demise of the Catholic faith in general.The sacked bishop William Morris epitomized this style of governance and leadership, and Fr John Speekman is an example of what happens you if you remain faithful and true to the Church and Christ.

Anonymous said...

James You are soooo right. We talk too much about the Church and not hardly at all about the Lord. We desparately need good holy evangelical preists in every parish. No more time serving office holders some of which hardly understand their part in Gods Kingdom.

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

You know, I can be a real pain when it comes to criticising typos, especially as I can quite easily overlook my own errors. But I would hate to have every word I’ve written put under the epistolary microscope and analysed ad infinitum, mainly because I would feel sorry for anyone obliged to wade through a morass of tergiversational circumlocution and I wouldn’t see the point.

If a serious misunderstanding has been caused, fair enough, but a simple, quite minor slip, especially where the meaning is clear, it’s a waste of bandwidth. As, quite probably, is this post.

BTW, thank you for yet another superb and incisive posting Father Blake.

Nicolas Bellord said...

I think we need to be more positive. I welcome the recent resignation in A&B. If nothing else it shows what liberal progressivism leads to. We now have a wonderful opportunity to have a Bishop who is holy, orthodox and humble who will really lead the Diocese to Christ. We need to think about names and write to the Papal Nunciature with our suggestions. This diocese has suffered for too long from inadequate leadership and confused teachings. "Feed my sheep!"

Nicolas Bellord said...

Just for the record that is not Mario Tosatti writing but Tosatti drawing attention to a "quotation at the end from a liberal journalist who works for a Left-leaning Catholic news agency, Adista"

This makes it more interesting!

Pelerin said...

Nicolas Bellford's comment about submitting names to the Papal Nuncio is surely not possible for the majority of us who only have experience of our own Parish Priest and possibly one or two others.

Those parishioners who have a holy orthodox Priest will not wish to lose him by sending in his name. And those who are not impressed with theirs would not wish to have him for Bishop. So how do we choose?

It reminds me of the joke going round for years here. In answer to who would you like to be the next Bishop would come the reply 'It would be nice to have a Catholic!'

Thank you Father for 'keeping your head down' during what must have been very trying times.

gemoftheocean said...

James, FIRST TIME EVER I have EVER heard ANY American use "banged wagon." That particular idiocy was entirely of his own device.

That said, I can't stand such mangling either. It screams "Hello, I've never picked up a book." Saves time. You can basically discount what they say, or take it with a huge grain of salt.

vetusta ecclesia said...

One thing I hate in the Bishops is "Vicar of Bray" syndrome, the holding of views that vary with the incumbent authority. Have you noticed how many of the sycophants are "sporting" pectoral crosses in imitation of Pope Bergo.'s?

Anne said...

Dear Father, Lifesite News have a petition for Cardinal Raymond Burke to thank him for his service to the Vatican as well as to the Truth of the Gospel. I leave the link here if you wish to share it for those to sign. God bless you.

B flat said...

Dear Father,
Your cry of: "God give us bishops who believe in YOU!" is very poignant.
For all the talk of "The Magic Circle" in England and Wales, there have been bishops who did not fit the mould (suffering for it, presumably)in the past. I can suggest two present diocesan bishops who are definitely not of the same mind as Kieran Conry. Perhaps the position in England is not quite so bleak as it appears? It is the scattering of the sheep that makes them feel the absence of the Shepherd, but He promised to be with us always, and we have to trust His care, and grow strong in harsh circumstances. Prince Charles ended his address to an ACN meeting in the House of Lords with St Paul's words. that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope. And hope does not disappoint us. (Romans 5:3-5)

I am sorry James's "pedantry" distracted commenters from his point about infant baptism. I disagree with James completely on this, much as I sympathise with his very relevant points on language. Infants are baptised only because the Church believes the profession of Faith of parents and Godparents made on behalf of the child, and assumes that people will live as they profess to believe. If the parents are being dishonest, then the child is being raised in cynical unbelief clothed in external conformism, and eventually the young soul rebels. Argument about how to prevent this is chicken and egg; good praxis evidences good faith and strengthens it. Bad faith leads to moral breakdown. This is the key worry with the new view proposed by card. Kasper, abp Forte, and others at the Synod, who claim to wish to change praxis while keeping the Faith intact. Without judging them, or impugning their good faith, I do not believe this can be done.

Traditional Liturgy, piety and faith, brought thousands to acknowledged sanctity. Modernism promises much, but has brought only disorder and loss in the Church, and a widespread denial of Christ outside it.

Nicolas Bellord said...

My mind goes back to the beginning of this pontificate when in Rio Pope Francisco told the young and presumably all the Church to make a 'mess'. Well in the last couple of days I saw that the Spanish word was "lio". I am not very familiar with colloquial Spanish and less so with colloquial Argentinian Spanish but the equivalent in Portuguese is "lixo" which is strictly "rubbish" i.e. the smelly stuff one puts in the dustbin. The Spanish use a different word for household rubbish: "basura" but if you google translate "lio" you get several other translations for it E.g. mess, muddle and one using the f word. It certainly seems to me that his Holiness was calling for something stronger than a 'mess'. We certainly seem to have it!

Frederick Jones said...

What is the point of joining a church increasingly like the Anglican Communion; a veritable ecclestiastical Noah's Ark? Under the great Benedict one knew where authority lay - with the Tradition. Now chaos is come again.

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