Daily Archives: February 22, 2011
I have often read harsh criticism about the disobedience of Archbishop Lefebvre in consecrating the four bishops after becoming fed up with JP II’s waiting games.
I will readily admit that this was an act of disobedience. But in the simple world in which I live there is disobedience and disobedience. A son may disobey to his father in rebellion at his father’s authority qua authority, or he may disobey to his father because the father himself insists in misbehaving. The first disobedience is out of rebellion, the second out of a higher form of respect for the father’s role and obedience to the God-given commandment. The first disobedience is aimed at making a father out of a son; the second is aimed at making of a bad father a good one. The first disobedience aims at destroying traditional, God-given rules; the second at preserving them.
If your father is drunk and you don’t obey to his damaging – or outright wicked – orders not because you don’t want him to be your father, but because you want him to stop being drunk you are still being disobedient, but you are certainly a good son.
I have therefore not many qualms with the Society of St. Pius X and the only reason why I never attended their mass (whose sacramental validity I do not doubt in the least, nor does the Vatican) is my subterranean terror of finding myself surrounded by a couple of dozens of bony, angry nutcases eager to recruit “the new one” to their poisonous cause with intemperate rants about the Antichrist in Rome and the like. I might be entirely wrong of course; but in these matters I am a rather sensitive, delicate flower who prefers to avoid unpleasant experiences.
In the same spirit, I look with a certain sympathy to those cheeky priests who realise that they have been tested with an uncommonly disgraceful bishop and decide to try to twist his arm on this or that matter (the recent episode or Thiberville having as disgraceful protagonist bishop Nourrichard comes to mind).
In all these cases, I see disobedience as a higher form of obedience. Obedience to the Church as an institution rather than obedience to (say) a liberal baboon; or obedience to what the Church commands rather than to what a bunch of naive (or faithless) bishops wanting to play “cool” and “popular” think is all right and very Catholic indeed.
But you see, all these disobedient priests and bishops still obey to that higher order that is the Church that has always been. They haven’t tailored their beliefs to what suits them; they haven’t come out with a new theology; they have just continued to believe what has been transmitted to them by countless generations of Catholics! “The Bishop’s – or Pope – good servant, but God’s first” could they say paraphrasing Thomas More. Whilst I agree that this behaviour is not advisable bar in the most extreme circumstances, I can’t see in it a menace to the Church, but rather a menace to the liberals and modernists within her. Never can the Church be damaged by those who, confronted with dramatic and sweeping changes, upheld what the Church has always been. To think so is, in my eyes, a contradiction in terms. These reactions should then be properly seen as a useful gauge of a malaise within the Church; a malaise which would then have to be scrutinised in the light of the strictest orthodoxy, not demonised as if the Church of the past had suddenly become wrong.
This is the reason why in my page about Catholic Quotes (see the upper bar) the place of honour is given to this beautiful quote from Robert DePiante:
What Catholics once were, we are. If we are wrong, then Catholics through the ages have been wrong.
We are what you once were. We believe what you once believed.
We worship as you once worshipped. If we are wrong now, you were wrong then. If you were right then, we are right now.
I do hope that the rift (not schism) between the SSPX and Rome will be healed in my lifetime. Until then I will continue to give my allegiance to the latter, and my admiration to the former. I can’t avoid thinking that all that is happening now (from the slow resurgence of proper Catholicism to Summorum Pontificum to…. well, there’ s not much else for now and we might be slowing backpedaling) has been accelerated by the constant work of the SSPX, whose action – sometimes wrongly worded, sometimes a bit ego-driven, but in my eyes always conducted in a proper spirit of Catholic orthodoxy – has exposed the ridicule of NuChurch and helped to shape the resistance to the post-Vatican II drunkenness.
The threatened disobedience of the priest who says that he can’t accept what, in her essence, the Church has always been (find an example here) is not defending Church tradition, but starting his own one. The threatened disobedience of the priest (or archbishop) who says that he can’t accept that the Church may become different from what she has always been is on another plane altogether.
Bernard Nathanson died on the 21st February at the age of eighty-four.
Mr Nathanson didn’t come from an easy background. Grandfather had committed suicide, as later his sister did. He became a doctor as his father and a fervid supporter of abortion. He committed an abortion on a baby of whom he was the father, later he went on to become an important member of the abortionist movement and director of a big abortion clinic. A liberal Dr. Mengele, so to speak.
Jewish by background he was, by his own admission, an atheist. He divorced three times. Always by his own admission (though he changed this in later years) he might have been responsible for around 75,000 abortions. You’d say that one like him is a pretty safe candidate for Hell and fully deserving of the likely treatment.
Then things changed. The advent of ultrasound in the Seventies put him in front of the reality of the human being in the uterus in a way he had evidently never considered before. He made a u-turn and from abortionist became a vocal pro-life activist.
In 1996 he converted to…. Catholicism and his life went the full circle. From atheist, abortionist and divorce subscriber to voluntary member of the shop in total antithesis to his own old convictions.
It is difficult, for me as for probably everyone else, to forget as I write the 75,000 children, nor the huge number of those who have probably marched to damnation because of the influence they allowed him to have on their life. Still, my little human understanding cannot fully comprehend the immense love and forgiveness of God; the fact that at his baptism, even the sins related to the 75,000 victims were fully erased from his account, or the fact that God’s love was so powerful as to insist in offering him a further chance of salvation.
Think of it: the man who could perform the abortion of his own child in cold blood is the same man who went on to produce the vastly influential documentaries The Silent Scream and Eclipse Of Reason; the former atheist went on to become the author of The Hand Of God; the three times divorced Nathanson went on to become, of all things, a Catholic.
Yesterday Bernard Nathanson died and we have all reasons to hope for a happy death.
The ways of the Lords…..
Messa in Latino has another post about the thorny question of the instruction. Once again, this beautiful site shows that it has pretty good feelers concerning Vatican affairs.
The process of the instruction is described as follows:
1) There was a first version, ready as soon as February 2008. A good version but with some questions left open. The then secretary of Ecclesia Dei, Mons. Perl, personally vouched with the Messa In Latino‘s blog post writer “Enrico” about this fact.
2) A second draft was prepared by the new Secretary of Ecclesia Dei and therefore called “Pozzo draft”. This was, we are assured, magnificent, as it was both exhaustive in its dealing with interpretation questions and able to greatly enhance the concrete possibility of use of the Tridentine Mass.What Summorum Pontificum freed in the juridical sense, this Instruction would have freed concerning its practical application.
3) The Pozzo draft was apparently “too good” and, well, not entirely popular among liberal Bishops. These then started to lobby to have it watered down. Messa in Latino mentions as helpers Cardinals Re, Kaspar, Arinze, Tauran. Together with Cardinal Levada, some (not all, see Kasper) of them are rather conservative chaps but alas, they’re no great friends of the Tridentine.
An added problem was that the merging of Ecclesia Dei within the CDF in the wake of the “Williamson affair” led to a deminutio of the latter, now merely a branch of the CDF and not in a position to vigorously defend the original document once pressure for change started to come from the CDF (Levada) himself.
The rest, as we will probably very soon say, is history.
What would seem to transpire (and at this point it seems to me that the people at Messa In Latino certainly know what they write) is that an original sincere intention to do things better and, most importantly, in an orthodox way goes through a process of internal “improvement” and comes out of the Vatican’s washer-dryer rather discolored in the best of cases, and gravely stained in the worst. One is reminded of Vatican II, really.
Let us hope that last-minute interventions will avoid great damage and that the bombing of Summorum Pontificum, so it should come, will prove not threatening for the edifice’s structure.
In the end and as I have written in the past, there is no way the resurgence of the desire for the Latin Mass can be stopped, though it can certainly be slowed down.
The real solution will come from the undertakers.