News from the New Liturgical Movement.
A good soul converts the papal encyclical (available in the public domain) into a .pdf and many other formats to make it more widely available. Gratis et amore dei, of course.
Then he posts it on his website, earning the thanks of his readers. The site is clearly non commercial.
Do you know what happens next? Both the Vatican and the USCCB ask that he takes it down.
That’s the “New Evangelisation” for you, then.
I wonder whether I was allowed to publish all those photos of Pope Francis?
As the Italians say, the mother of the idiot is always pregnant.
One of the many things that drive me mad of the secular press is this fashion of never mentioning the Church without mentioning the “scandals”.
Whilst the big problems are now around 30 years past, and the more recent problems (like Vatileaks) are embarrassing but nothing that will make Church history, it seems no journalist worth his hell can write an article about the upcoming Conclave without mentioning a Church “beset by scandals”.
Last time I looked, the last not one, but two German President had to resign due to a corruption scandal (Wulff) or grave controversies (Koehler). If this is not “beset by scandals”, I don’t know what is, and right at the top of the Institutions.
Or we want to say that the oh so anointed President of the United States is the political son (erm, bastard) of the most corrupt political machine existing in the United States, without any of his many admirers ever mentioning that he hails from Chicago, a town clearly “beset by scandals”.
In the meantime, France has a former President (Chirac) condemned to two years in prison (suspended, I grant, but you get the drift).
I will, for a human sense of patriotism, say nothing about Italy.
Summa summarum, it is not clear not me why the magic locution “beset by scandals” is almost never applied to the democratic institutions of modern abortionist Democracies, but is considered de rigueur whenever the Vatican is mentioned. Nor is this adjective applied very often to the BBC (whose men, women and people in the middle take the biscuit without discussion), or to the English educational system (worse percentage of suspected child abusers than the Church) or the so-called of England (same ballpark) or the NHS beset by malfunctions, scandals, and homicidal nurses. I will not even bore you with the Liberal Democrats, a party who seems to have made sexual perversion, creepy behaviour or perversion of justice a prerequisite to obtain positions of responsibility.
No, the NHS is such a great achievement of Socialism that it makes it to the opening ceremony of the Olympic games, but the Vatican can’t be mentioned without the “scandals” making it to the very same sentence.
I am, I must say, rather fed up. Particularly because this soundtrack will accompany us through the conclave, the election and the Easter celebrations which this year will, you can bet your pint, attract huge curiosity from the secular world because of the brand new Pope.
Seriously, the press office of the Vatican should say a couple of things on this, before the conclave begins.
I truly am sick and tired. Are you?
There was a time when the reaction times of the Church was very slow. A heresy would pop out somewhere in Europe and it was year before a meaningful reaction came. Still, the apparent slowness was a result of the slowness of the communications of the time, and the difficulty in getting and checking information. The slowness of movement also made the rest, with travel slow, expensive and dangerous in a way we today can not even easily imagine.
It is, therefore, understable in those tomes the Church reaction to worrying and ptentially heretical development was measured in years.
Please compare, though, with the world of today. A bunch of heretic German clergymen defies the very foundation of sound Catholicism on both contraception and abortion, and the news is all over the panet in a matter of hours. Never could heresy spread so easily and so fast, never was it -because of the unprecedented global interconnection – so important that heretical movement of simply confusing statements be stopped as fast as possible.
What is there to stop the relevant deciders from acting? Do they have the need for months of verification, waiting for carefully selected people to travel to Germany, comes back hopefully alive, and report about what thwrey themselves have heard? Nowadays heretical statements can be read not only from verbatim reports in the newspapers – which, if not denounced as wrong in a matter of hours, can be safely considered truthful – but in many cases can even be read in the web site of cardinals, bishops and bidhops’ conferences themselves! What is there to proof?
Then there is the extreme multiplying factor of social networks: an heretical statement will nowadays be retweeted with extreme rapidity, spreading like wildfire exactly among those most interested in reading, spreading and manipulating heresy.
What does the Vatican do to react o this? Nothing.
For example, the Pope has a twitter account followed by a vast number of people. If a heretical statement starts to spread, nothing is better than Twitter to stop it from spreading. Two or three strategic twits explaining in few statement what the Church teaches, and announcing further action in the matter would immediately alert the Catholic world that a problem has been seen and corrected for the moment, whilst further meaures will be taken in due time (which means: very soon).
The sad reality of our days is that Twitter is used to post pious platitudes instead, perpetuating the Vatican II image of Popes without power or bite.
If you think, though, that the Vatican is slow because the Pope and the Cardinals are old, You should think again. When they want, the reaction is rather fast, and rather sharp. Cue the rather whining press release of today, with which Vatican officials openly complain about attempt made by the press to influence the workings of the Conclave. Whilst it is not said explicitly, it is obvious the crux of the matter is the loud cry to adk hat Mahony and Daneels (Mahony at the very least) be asked by the Pope to please “renounce” to take part to the Conclave; a cry which started to mount only in the last days, and took a couple to get traction in the first place.
You see, then, that the old men in the Vatican are alert at all times, and not shy of a fast reaction when they consider the matter burning.
Heresy and open disobedience are, therefore, not burning issues and not worthy of prompt actions. Calls to disallow the one or other cardinal from taking part to the conclave are. The German bishops are openly simoniacal like a man, and several monhs later we are still waiting from a reaction from the German Pope; a reaction which, in this like in too many other matters, will now never come.
Welcome to The wonderful world of Vatican II, and let us truly pray the next Pope will be a holy man of action.
My six readers are certainly aware (they should be at least, as the post is prominently displayed in my right hand column) that the heresy in Austria has been going on pretty much undisturbed for now far too long.
I do not report about the minutiae of this endless non-story, as the only thing worth nothing is the absolute inaction of Cardinal “I support Medjugorje” Schoenborn, here and there interrupted by some positive non-action like pointing out to the rebels their careers might suffer if they continue rebelling. Their careers might suffer? You don’t say? Ah, there must really be some smart people at work in Austria. It must be the mountain air.
It has now transpired the Vatican itself has finally moved with devastating energy, and is going to fall on Father Schueller with all the weight and the lethal energy of a timid pussycat. The meowing is, in fact, so terrible that the entire Catholic world is astonished at this show of feline determination.
What has happened is that Monsignor Schueller has been… deprived of the title of Monsignor.
What a fall. Sic transit gloria mundi. Words fail me.
I must say, this display of ruthless determination reminds me of the most glorious days of the Spanish Inquisition, and no doubt the present Vatican hierarchy will be remembered as an example of ice-cold willingness to ruthlessly meow against heresy. Nil inultum remanebit.
My own cat could not have done better, I assure you.
Father Schueller himself feigns indifference and says it’s no big deal, he never cared for the title anyway, and he will continue undisturbed to organise a revolt against the most basic principles of the Church (whilst obviously continuing to be a priest in good standing). We do believe that he will continue to spread heresy undisturbed; but come on, being deprived of the title of Monsignor must be a terrible, terrible blow. I shudder at the thought. Ugh!
In case, though, you would think the Vatican is being too harsh in their meowing, and that it is utterly insensitive of them to not only ignore, but even cruelly punish the sincere cry for “reform”, “inclusiveness” and all the other words ending with “ness” coming from the country who gave us Mozart, Haydn, Schubert and … Hitler, please consider the Vatican is not always so unbelievably harsh.
They are, for example, extremely gentle with the SSPX, allowing them in their wisdom not to be in full communion, and demanding from them that they become a bit more like
Mons Father Schueller in order for them to be allowed to be in full standing again. Now, this is smart, isn’t it?
I must now leave you, because the terrible news coming from Rome forces me to go and have a camomile tea.
The times are changing, for sure.
We must not be afraid of inaction anymore.
You may have noticed that I very seldom post about some speech of the Pope. The reason for this is that I rarely (nay: almost never) find them of any relevance whatsoever in dealing with the concrete, everyday problems of the life of Catholics.
I do not mean here that a Pope should thunder every Monday against Obama and every Tuesday against Cameron, though that would be good, too (A Pope is a head of State, but a Pope first; strong Popes of the past never had a problem in confronting Kings and Emperors). I also do not mean to say that a Pope should not talk about peace, love, and other Christian subjects.
What I mean is that by reading the Pope’s messages you wonder whether the news from Planet Earth manage to enter the offices of the Vatican.
There is almost no day without some new attack on the Christian society, perpetrated by heads of governments, parliaments, judiciary, down to universities, Cardinals, Bishops, and even parish priests. One would expect the Pope to become very stern and very vocal in the defence of Catholicism, and to take the lead in the battle.
Instead, the typical fare coming from the Vatican is the kind of generic waffle which either doesn’t criticise anyone or, if it does, does it in a way that no one needs to feel criticised.
The United Kingdom’s PM might be thinking of launching a same-sex initiative in parliament against the majority of his own party, obviously relying on the Labour votes to make a favour to his girlfriend Clegg and, it is increasingly suspected, keep getting sex at home. Popes of the past would have made his life very difficult.
The US elections showed the Church has almost no grip on the “catholic” electorate, and even her US leader thinks it smart to rub oneself against the president, just in case he should win. I remember reading that in England the entire country was excluded from communion in the XVI century at some stage of the conflict with Henry VIII. Let us say this again: A Pope took away communion from an entire country. In the US, we are probably going to hear another lecture about the importance of “encountering another”.
The HHS mandate threatens the freedom of not only Catholics, but every American. In the past, when the freedom of Catholics was threatened Popes started organising wars, and certainly weren’t shy in saying who was a friend and who was an enemy.
These are just few examples taken out of three seconds of reflection; every one of you can add countless other issues, big and small.
Now let us move on to the Catholic News Agency, and let us see what weapons the Pontiff is using against the deterioration of everything Christian all over the West. As per today I find the following:
“Pope reflects on finding faith in a secular world”: the talk is about “experience of God”, “encountering another”, and such like.
“Pope Calls faith, reason essential to human freedom”: 70 scientists are lectured about “a new vision of the unity of the sciences.” Expressions like “participated being” rear their ugly head.
“Pope reflects on the power of love”. Love is this, love is that. All fine of course, but there’s nothing against Obama, or Cameron.
It’s all like this. If it’s not love is charity, if it’s not charity is understanding, if it’s not understanding is dialogue. All very edifying, no doubt (apart form the “dialogue”), but when it comes to what can make a difference, that is: taking a hard stance on the modern world’s controversies and the battlefields that are shaping the world of the future generations, the Pontiff is utterly and absolutely nowhere to be seen, and rather makes the same impression as the photo above.
In past times, far lesser attacks to Christianity than what is currently going on in countries like the US, Canada and the United Kingdom would have caused prominent excommunications and a promise of cold or – perhaps – warm war.
Nowadays, Joe Biden has just been reelected Vice President, and all we will probably hear is some common place who does not say he is wrong, let aloe punish him. You are unlikely to ever hear from the Pontiff anything even remotely similar to this , and the man who has the gut to talk so beautifully and openly is not some agit-prop, but a Bishop of the Church; one of those who seem to be appointed by the Pope only by mistake, or fortunate coincidence.
The Vatican is fast asleep. What happens outside seems not to concern them and if it does, it is as if Pope and Cardinals thought they are the last one called to vocal and concrete opposition, as opposed to generic waffle.
Sleep, Vatican, sleep.
One day you’ll wake up to jail and persecution, and it will be your fault.
Around the Catholic blogosphere there is a lot of writing about orthodoxy, and rightly so. Orthodoxy being at the very core of Catholicism, it is perfectly fitting that it should receive the first place in the discussion.
Still, I seem to notice that not every orthodoxy is born equal; that, so to speak, this beautiful quality may be found in a shiny, resplendent way, or in a more opaque one.
In my eyes there are, broadly speaking, two types of orthodox Catholics: the silent and the vocal one.
The first one does everything right; if he is a priest, he can be very conservative in his priesthood, and liturgically unexceptionable; if he is a layman, he is a credit to his religion, and at all times aware of the example he wants to be for others. He is, in a word, perfectly sound, but that’s that.
Then there is the second type, the vocal one. If he is a priest, he is one of those priest who can’t shut up, or one of those bishops who end up in the viewfinder of the IRS; if he is a layman, he is the one likely to take fire every time heresy and negation of Christianity is discussed among his circle of friends or acquaintances.
I do not make any observation here as to the personal quality of the two archetypal “orthodox catholics”; for what I know, it can be those of the first kind are, on average, better able to live a Catholic life than the representatives of the second kind. But the fact remains, the second ones probably do more to advance sound Catholicism among the masses.
I am, for example, rather impressed by the difference in public behaviour between the Society of St. Pius X and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. I do not doubt the members of the second order are perfectly orthodox Catholics, strictly obedient to the Magisterium and intent on advancing the cause of Catholicism through spotless orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Still, I notice it is rare that priests of this order are in the line of fire when something really controversial happens (like the Assisi gathering, say) and whatever the position of the one or the other of their members might be, their collective profile is far more subdued than the one of the SSPX.
The latter are, as religious orders go, a completely different animal. They do not limit themselves to talking the talk, or to walking the walk. They go beyond these very laudable traits, in that they fight the fight. You see this not only in matters concerning internal disagreements with the Vatican (disagreements on which it is to assume the members of the FSSP must often be of exactly the same mind as their cousins at the SSPX; they just don’t say so), but matters of faith and morals in general. As every blog writer, I roam the internet seeking proper events and news which might make a blog post an interesting and possibly instructive reading, and I must say the presence of the SSPX whenever controversial matters are discussed is far more noticeable than the always unexceptionable, but rather less incisive FSSP. I cannot avoid thinking those members who left the SSPX to join the newly created FSSP knew from the beginning this would be the case, and were happy to proceed on this basis.
I do not think much will change after the Vatican-SSPX reconciliation. I expect the SSPX will proceed to some small adjustment in volume, but without any change in the tone. If you ask me, they will continue pretty much the same battle they have fought up to now, limiting themselves to only those small adaptations dictated by elementary common sense and proper behaviour.
They will do this also because they will be subject to intense scrutiny from their own members, of course. But in the end, I think they will continue to do it simply because they have guts, and see their role in fighting the fight.
I do not know whether I am the only one, but the concept of “patience” as practised in the Vatican corridors seems rather odd to me.
Whenever heresies or grave acts of disobedience arise, the Church reacts with such slowness, in comparison a sloth looks like Usain Bolt. The thinking here appears to be that one doesn’t have to rush things, and “the Church has always time”, and “the Church thinks in centuries, not years”.
But then one wonders why the same thinking is applied so selectively. If there is so much time, and the Church thinks in centuries, why was the battle against abortion not started, and aggressively so, when abortion legislation swept the Free World?
“Ah, this is because the Church is attentive not to engage her weight in battles she knows are lost”, is the mantra I used to hear in years past. The reasoning goes that if you fight against abortion and lose, then you’ll lose leverage when you fight against….. I don’t know exactly what, as in the last forty years I haven’t seen much of a fight anyway, unless it was for popular causes (we have now Popes engaged for the environment, for example; a rather novel concept, if you ask me).
My question then is: if the Church has time, and thinks in centuries, wouldn’t this be a wonderful reason to engage in all kind of battles, particularly those who would seem lost to this generation?
It is very, very seldom, that important societal changes take place overnight. Even when events take place in rapid succession (take the French revolution, or the October one) it is plain to see the events have leavened for decades before the revolutionary outbreak. What we can clearly see is that even the Church cannot hope to introduce or re-introduce important societal changes unless a long, patient work is started, which then goes on for generations if needs be.
The battle against abortion is such one; the one against contraception another; the one against sodomy a third, and the one against euthanasia a fourth one.
I get seldom as angry as when I read, on comments written around, that a certain battle is lost. Lost, my foot! No battle is ever lost with the Holy Ghost on your side. But we have to have the courage to fight, and the determination to carry the fight in our graves and transmit it to the following generation if needs be.
How was this called? O yes…
I would suggest you skip the first part of this – still very interesting – blog post from Monsignor Pope (the part with the “oh how guilty I feel that I struggle with my weight whilst other don’t have enough to eat”) and jump directly to the serious part: the comparison between the stages leading to the physical starvation and the correspondent symptoms of the spiritual starvation in the West.
The comparison is useful and certainly a tool for reflection, though I dare to say I am far less pessimistic than Monsignore.
Particularly concerning Europe, I think we are far away from being doomed, though we are certainly in a worse shape than the United States.
Interestingly, Monsignor Pope mentions the Pope saying that the lights are going out in Europe, without telling us what this very same Pope is doing to avoid this happening. I mean, not by talking – he is, undoubtedly, good at that – but by acting. Can’t see much of that I admit; at least, by far not enough to start that reversal of fortune Catholicism in Europe needs.
And in fact, it seems to me that the initial stages described by Monsignor Pope (weakness and confusion) beautifully apply to the Vatican. Weakness, because no one seems able or willingly to declare war to the rampant secularism (they most certainly don’t; they deplore it, which is vastly different) and to start to uproot the evil among the bishops; and confusion, because the present Church hierarchy stills wants to be everything to everyone: recover Tradition, and accept the Neocathecumenal masses; enact Summorum Pontificum, and refuse to enforce it; desire a reconciliation with the SSPX, and insist in keeping the tenets of Conciliar thinking; promote orthodoxy, and host Assisi gatherings.
The lack of clarity of the European Christianity is first and foremost the result of the lack of a clear guidance from the European Church. The spiritual starvation so well described by Monsignor Pope applies to the European Church hierarchy in exactly the same way; the apathy and lethargy are those we can see every day in front of rampant heresy among bishops and priests.
It is good to notice and criticise the dangerous secular drift of the Western world. But it is, in my eyes, dangerous not to see that this does not come from irresistible forces expanding notwithstanding the Church’s resistance, but from very resistible forces which have expanded because the Church has made no resistance.
It is, of course, not too late. By far not. But the awakening must start from the place where it is most important that right thinking – and, far more importantly, acting – sets in: Rome.
After the end of my pressing engagements , I notice that the usually very well informed Messa in Latino informs us of the following:
1) The SSPX has been given ample time to answer. This is very good as it prevents the SSPX internal debate occurring in the middle of the predictably torrid weeks leading to and – hopefully not – perhaps following the Assisi-III initiative.
2) It would seem that a personal prelature in Opus Dei-style is being considered instead of an Ordinariate; but Messa in Latino points out that it would have to be an organisation sui generis to avoid the SSPX pastoral activities being controlled by the local bishops, a solution which not only will never be accepted, but is very probably not desired by the Vatican, either.
I cannot avoid a certain sense of euphoria, I admit. It’s not the evening whiskey, either. It seems to me very clear that the Vatican would not have released such an invitation, and handed such a document, without an agreement with the top echelons of the SSPX having been reached beforehand.
Of course, it will now be the SSPX’s job to persuade their ranks; but again, if I am right and they have already deemed the document acceptable this is a clear sign that they already know that they will have a clear majority of the SSPX with them, and no one seriously doubts that a minority of professional grumpy men would have never been satisfied anyway.
Better days ahead.
The blog of EF Pastor Emeritus reports about the “Pastor intiative”, a delirious heretical initiative of Austrian priests and deacons thinking that they can have their way because they are many. Those of you who can read German can check here that the points repeated by E F faithfully reflect (albeit in the third person plural) the points of the “Pastor Initiative”.
For your convenience – and hoping not to ruin your dinner – I’ll copy and paste them here:
1. In every liturgy they will include a petition for church reform.
2. They will not deny Communion to faithful of good will, especially remarried people, members of other Christian churches, and in some cases those who have officially left the Catholic Church.
3. As much as possible they will avoid celebrating multiple times on Sundays and feastdays, and avoid scheduling circuit rider priests unknown to the community. A locally-planned Liturgy of the Word is preferable.
4. They will use the term “Priestless Eucharistic Celebration” for a Liturgy of the Word with distribution of Communion. This is how the Sunday Mass obligation is fulfilled when priests are in short supply.
5. They will ignore the prohibition of preaching by competently trained laity, including female religion teachers. In difficult times, the Word of God must be proclaimed.
6. They will advocate that every parish has a presiding leader – man or woman, married or unmarried, full-time or part time. Rather than consolidating parishes, they call for a new image of the priest.
7. They will take every opportunity to speak up publicly for the admission of women and married people to the priesthood. These would be welcome colleagues in ministry.
It would be difficult – but not entirely amusing – to try to rank these points in order of heretical content, or stupidity. It is also clear that even a very bad Pope, let alone a good one, should see in around twenty-seven seconds the destructive potential of this and the necessity of swiftly suffocating the revolt in the bud inviting the men to immediate retractation or dismissing them from the clerical state. I want to hope – desperately so – that if the bishops don’t act, Rome will.
Still, I do have some questions:
1. How can it be that a letter from a perfect stranger is sufficient to suspend a priest (Father Corapi, and many others) from his priestly functions, but the written and public self-denunciation of a priest as a heretic – and one who not only openly rebels to the rules of the Church, but even openly invites other priests to do the same – is not?
2. If 313 priests an deacons are not enough to punish them and set an example, when will the right moment be? When they have become 1000? 2000? 3000?
3. If there is no courage to act when the rebellious priests/deacons are 313, what should let us think that this courage will be found when these priests are a multiple of that?
4. How can it be that the Austrian bishops (provided that they do not, in fact, collude with the rebels) do not see that to let such an open call to revolt unpunished can only achieve the effect of encouraging others to participate to the rebellion?
5. How can a bishop, in his conscience, tolerate that such a priest remains in his function as priest of the Catholic church? How can he tolerate such a scandal? How can he leave such a priest at his place, in full standing, knowing that he is both in open revolt and clearly heretical? The scarcity of priests is fully irrelevant here as it is clearly better to have no priest that an heretic inviting priests and faithful to rebellion.
Again: if one didn’t know how inefficient and weak bishops can be, collusion would be the only reasonable hypothesis for such scandalous failure to act (see below).
6. Why is the Vatican doing nothing? When do they think it will be the moment to act? Are 313 priests/deacons in the same little country not enough? If not, what is enough? A revolt of Arian proportion all over the German-speaking world? Or perhaps it is better to wait that France explodes, too? What about Canada?
Now don’t think that there has being no reaction at all. Oh no. There has been the usual verbal alleged “sharp” reaction with Bishop Kapellari making very clear to them, with a sharp blabla, that he sharply disagrees. You don’t say? Really? Are you sure you are not being too harsh here, Your Grace? By the way, the last link would seem to indicate that of the 313, 250 are priests. A lot of people with Freundinnen there, for sure.
And as we talk about about bishops, make no mistake: they are the main culprits as a revolt of such massive proportions could never have been even conceived if the bishops had worked properly in the past years. The revolt of the grassroots (Austria is a relatively minor country, and 313 priests/deacons would be an awful lot in every country) is a clear indication of the complete failure at the episcopal level: failure to instruct, failure to warn, and failure to punish.
Unless of course the bishops are colluded; which would explain a thing or two.
This scandal is rapidly reaching Dutch proportions. The Dutch schism is probably the darkest page of the already, let us say, not entirely luminous pontificate of Pope Paul VI. When I read the pages about the schism on Iota Unum I remember thinking “thank God, this madness could never happen today and if it did, the punishment would be swift and exemplary”.
I don’t know anymore about swift. We’ll see about exemplary.
See here a very optimistic Michael Voris about the soon to be released Instruction regarding Summorum Pontificum, about which much has been written on these pages.
Voris’ message is that his sources indicate two powerful measures in favour of the scope of Summorum Pontificum:
1) the instruction that one part of the seminarians (in every seminary, I assume) is to be instructed in the celebration of the Tridentine, and
2) words aiming at appealing to the bishops to stop boycotting Summorum Pontificum.
Whilst this sounds good at first sight, i can’t avoid posing myself the following questions:
1) what is of the already leaked – and confirmed from several sources – restrictions to the celebration of the Tridentine in the Diocese of Milan (Ambrosian Rite)?
2) What is of the also leaked rumours of ban of celebration of the Tridentine for ordinations, and of the old version of the Masses of religious orders?
Voris doesn’t say anything on this. One hopes that the outcry has been the end of those provisions. They were most certainly there as confirmed even by those who disputed their devastating influence on the edifice of Summorum Pontificum. But it goes on:
3) Why should the rectors of the seminaries take heed of what Pope Benedict says, perhaps giving some lips service if they really can’t avoid it, and
4) why should the bishops stops ignoring the Pope’s wishes now, when ignoring him is exactly what they have been doing all these years, unpunished.
At the root of the problems are not the bishops – whose allergy to proper Catholicism was always obvious – but Pope Benedict himself, who doesn’t do anything concrete to care that his “reform of the reform” is not only proclaimed, but seriously put to work. What we have, on the contrary, noticed is that those very same bishops who drag their feet and undermine his work are not only not punished, but are often promoted. There is nothing in Pope Benedict’s work that says that he doesn’t want to be only an innovator, but an enforcer of his own innovations.
On the other hand, the day Pope Benedict decides to force his bishops to acquiescence – I doubt it very much, but would be extremely happy to be contradicted by facts – he will not need any new documents, the removal of a dozen of the hardest cases being a rather more effective and immediate mean to this end.
As it is today, the impression is that Pope Benedict is happy to be the one who paves the way for a recovery of traditional Catholicism, without being the one who actually takes care that this recovery also happens in the lives of Catholics the world over. He probably thinks that this gradualisms will – as the Italians would say – save the goat of the “reform of the reform” together with the cabbages of the internal peace.
We will see. For the moment, I allow myself not to share Voris’ optimism both on the content of the Instruction, and on its ultimate application.
It would appear that soon the Vatican is going to give us more details as to how the UK Ordinariate is supposed to work and be organised. I can imagine that savage speculations are going to mount in the next days (or weeks) as to who will lead it, how it will be funded, what provision might be offered to those Anglican clergy thinking of conversion but also mindful of a family to feed, etc.
Personally, I hope that the following will happen:
1) The British hierarchy is going to be kept out of the entire affair. If the Holy Father lets them in from the door, orthodoxy will soon go out of the window. I hope that the Ordinariate will be not only factually autonomous from the Bishops (bar a technical cooperation where unavoidable; it is not that they have to ignore each other’s existence), but that they will also be seen as such.
2) I so much wish (though I am sure that I will be disappointed) that the Ordinariate could be led by a person of undoubted, uncompromising orthodoxy. One able to explain to everyone (to the press; to the Anglicans thinking about conversion; to the other British Catholics who might see in a staunchly orthodox Ordinariate a good alternative to a Novus Ordo Mass) that the Ordinariates are not the Anglican version of the Catholic Church, but the Only Church organised in a slightly different way.
From what I have read up to now, none of the so-called Anglican bishops who have announced their intention to convert is up to the task. From what I could see to date, it is fair to be afraid that they would stress how “Anglican” the new outfit is, not how Catholic; how little things would change for the Anglican converts, not how much; what a continuity there would be between the heretical shop they leave and the authentical one they enter, not what a radical change this represents. My impression up to now (as seen on this very blog) is rather that they would accuse of being “uncharitable” or even “unchristian” everyone pointing out to the obvious shortcomings (nay: cowardice; nay: utter bad faith) of such an approach.
I see a clear danger that what could be created here is a body largely constituted of people who think that their cultural specificity authorises them to be at variance with the Church; a body seeing itself as composed of Catholics who have the right to be different in their Catholicism (just to make some example: in thinking that it is fully OK to be an Anglican; or in thinking themselves Catholics because they believe in the existence of Transubstantiation in an Anglican Mass) rather than in the way their Catholicism is organised.
A bit of healthy cynicism will make us aware that conversion to Catholicism can be wished because one desires the Truth or because one has a sacrilegious desire to continue to believe in the same old lies, but without bishopettes around.
The person appointed to lead the UK Ordinariate will have to make this very clear; he will have to be a champion of orthodoxy for the entire British Catholicism. If this is not the case, the risk for the Ordinariate to fail spectacularly and to be remembered as a source of strife rather than reconciliation will be very real.