Daily Archives: February 13, 2013
The sudden resignation of Pope Benedict has a positive side effect that I thought I would not leave uncommented: the freezing of the beatification of Vatican II via Paul VI and John Paul I. This very questionable plan would clearly have been tantamount to a desperate last attempt to reinvigorate Vatican II. Pope Benedict, who was unwise enough to give the plan the green light, was wise enough not to carry it out before stepping down.
The beatification of the two former Popes – and with them, de facto and certainly in the intentions of the Vatican, of an entire generation of disgraceful Catholicism, as Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II are already beatified - – is now officially on ice, hopefully forever.
Pope Benedict’s successor will, though, find two highly “charged” beatifications baked almost to perfection, and his decision whether to serve the unsavoury dish to the Church or to let the matter die quietly will be a useful indication of what his plan for his pontificate are.
For the moment, I am glad this madness will not take place.
There is a great talk about the fact whether the Pope will influence the election of his successor, though his brother says this will not be the case.
I frankly think it does not even need to be the case, as it would be inelegant in the first place, and ineffective in the end, if the Pope would try to steer things in the direction he wishes.
We must reflect, though, that a Pope actually steers things in the direction of his own successor every day, in the sense that his choice of Cardinals will be directed by the thought of what these Cardinals will do when they are called to their most important task.
Pope Benedict has already appointed more than half of the Cardinals who will participate to the conclave, and therefore had not three weeks, but eight years’ time to steer things in the direction he wished. His appointments of Archbishops to the most important positions also show what his wishes and intentions are.
It seems to me, therefore, that Pope Benedict already has indicated – albeit in a wisely delicate way – who his own candidate of choice is: Cardinal Angelo Scola, a man almost uniformly ignored by the British press on Monday but whose name is appearing now, as the professional geniuses of the local press start to have the Italian newspapers translated and to talk with people who have a clue.
Pope Ratti (Pius XI) and Pope Montini (Paul VI) where Patriarchs of Milan. Pope Roncalli (John XXIII) and Pope Luciani (John Paul I) were Patriarchs of Venice.
Cardinal Angelo Scola was the Patriarch of Venice, and is now (by appointment of Pope Benedict) the Patriarch of Milan. Facts speak louder than words and this facts are, if you ask me, loud enough.
In my eyes, it is clear that Pope Benedict is saying “you decide this race, but please note I have put Cardinal Scola in the pole position”. Our man is also known to be one who is good at making friends and avoiding enemies, and from what IO read of him he isn’t the shy one who would – apart from the obligatory non sum dignus modesty – shun the responsibility. I personally think – from what I have read of him in the past – that he would not be the ideal choice, but the Cardinals could do much, much worse than picking him.
Still, in Italy they say he who enters the Conclave as Pope often gets out of it as Cardinal. I am sure he knows the saying too, which is why I expect the Cardinal to keep a very low profile in the next weeks. I do not doubt, though, he is willing and ready.
And so the SSPX should be, one is informed, scared of the new Pope crushing them, and should have accepted the poisoned bread offered to them by a, erm, rather scheming Pope.
Should they? Really? I am not persuaded at all. Let us see why.
Broadly speaking, the new Pope can only be one of three:
1) a modernist like Schoenborn.
2) a so-so, V-II nuChurch Pope like, well, all of them since Pope Roncalli.
3) A traditionalist Pope.
If 1) happens, you’ll see an explosion of sedevacantism, and as a result of the prestige and position of the SSPX who, whilst not being sedevacantists, are in clear opposition to the antics of nuChurch. Whatever this new Pope may order to them, the Society will certainly apply the blessed “first rule of the Italian army”: gli ordini sbagliati non si eseguono, “wrong orders are not carried out”.
I can, in fact, not imagine anything more promising for the growth of the Society than an utterly disgraceful Pope. Please reflect the likes of the FSSP would all be silenced in no time, and told they are lucky if they can keep the Tridentine Mass, and the Society would soon remain, to all intents and purposes, the only traditionalist shop in town.
The SSPX would then be seen as the last and only bastion of orthodoxy, and rightly so. They have the people, they have the money, they have the faith and the determination. Depend on that, they won’t take stupid orders by any stupid Schoenborn, Pope or no Pope. Amen.
2) So-so Popes can bark – with great effort – but they can’t bite. Therefore, your typical V II Pope would engage in endless “dialogue” without ever coming to any conclusion, which is why they engage in “dialogue” in the first place (besides trying to split the Society). There would be a gesture here and its contrary there, a Bux here and a Mueller there (well, not really; the man will hopefully be gone for good soon); but in the end, nothing would happen.
“You must accept V II”, the Vatican would say. “You must wake up and repent”, the SSPX would answer. Not the stuff of agreements, and it is probably good so as long as this situation persists.
3) If we are blessed by a traditionalist Pope (an event we as Catholics have by far not deserved), then the problem would solve itself by itself. We’d soon have the SSPX in full communion and – in time – Fellay as Cardinal ( I have joked about that in another post, but in this constellation I can’t see any other outcome). Case 3) is not a problem, but the end of all problems, and is therefore not worth discussing much.
What can, then, an hypothetical new and angry Pope do against the Society? A fat nothing, is the answer. The Society exists because the Papacy is in crisis. They will not do the Pope’s bidding when the papacy is even more in crisis than it has been in the times of Paul VI.
On the contrary, it seems to me that the decision of the Pope to go away is in fact a vindication of the SSPX policy. He will soon be gone, and the SSPX is still there. With Benedict, Mueller will soon go (not immediately, probably; the successor will allow him a face-saving time before he picks his own man). If there had been a (bad) agreement, how long had it lasted? Months? If the new pope is bad, than the SSPX was even more right in not wanting lazy compromises, and insisting on guarantees of freedom of criticism beside operational autonomy.
If you are smart, you talk with the Vatican but you don’t trust your own existence to their mercy. Bishop Fellay is very smart, and every agreement would have to be approved by the majority of the SSPX priests, so expect no surprises from there.
So: Pope Benedict will soon be gone. Archbishop Mueller will follow him soon after. The SSPX is still there, as solid as a rock, growing like a mushroom colony, and not scared of anything but lazy compromises.
I wonder who won?
We learn from the always excellent Rorate Caeli that of the 117 Cardinals who will participate to the Conclave only eleven have celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass after the introduction of the Novus Ordo. This is a one figure percentage, a bit like saying the “Traditional Mass Party” is less represented within the Church than the Monti coalition is in Italy.
Of course, it can be that many of them are, so to speak, secret admirers and did not want to stand out with something so unashamedly Catholic as a Traditional Mass (we live in such times…). Others may be too old to want to start the re-learning (though one would say a Cardinal who is now 79 was only 71 in 2005, and certainly celebrated the traditional Mass for several years before the Great Neo-Modernist Mess). In both cases, we are probably not talking of warriors for Christ.
Still, you never know and every Italian knows (or should know) the more or less legendary anecdotes about Sixtus V, er papa tosto (“the tough Pope” in the Roman dialect), a man who kept a very low profile and (says the legend) led the other Cardinals to believe his health was very bad, and he himself a harmless old man, to be elected as a “transition Pope”. One of the many stories about him goes that when he accepted the election he stood up strong, threw away his stick, and started singing the Te Deum with thundering voice.
Like you, I keep thinking all the time what the Cardinals will do. Like you, I am scared stiff a truly bad man could be the choice. Like you, I draw some comfort from the fact that hopefully a good majority of the Cardinals believe in God, and might do the right thing or at least avoiding doing the very wrong one.
But seriously, only eleven have celebrated again the Traditional Mass. I think one is justified in being afraid, but I will try to think of some possible Sixtus V hiding among the Cardinals’ ranks; one who has never celebrated the Traditional Mass to make himself acceptable to the Neomodernist majority, and is now silently biding his time.
O Lord, please, please give us a good, strong Pope.