Daily Archives: July 7, 2011
One looks at this video from Gloria Tv and can easily understand why in Austria there will never be problems with heresies, and uprisings of priests and deacons.
The Gregorian Chant is solemn, and beautiful. The atmosphere full of sacredness. The celebration so reverent. The rubrics are followed to the littlest detail. Note the complete orthodoxy of the vessels, which are rigorously in gold or silver, as prescribed. The very traditional host is protected from every kind of desecration (being little, one doesn’t need to break it and there’s no risk of crumbles falling around).
With such beautiful orthodoxy, we can rest assured that heresy and rebellion to the Magisterium will never set foot in Austria. How do they say? Oh yes,
Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.
From tt.com, excerpts from a kind of “open letter” addressed from Cardinal Schoenborn to the Austrian rebels, headed by the heretical Helmut Schueller. I couldn’t find (yet) the letter online, so I’ll have to rely on the article.
Tt.com says that this is the first time that Cardinal Schoenborn takes a position about the “Priester-Initiative”. The open invitation to revolt is dated 19th June. I wouldn’t call this a prompt reaction, but at least he has acted.
The letter says that Cardinal Schoenborn was “appalled” or “devastated” (“erschuettert”) about the initiative; that it filled him with “anger and sorrow” (“Zorn und Trauer”), and that with this revolt “a new level” (of disobedience) has been reached. This means that the Cardinal admits that disobedience was, under his watch, happily going on; only not at this level.
Here it starts to get a bit strange:
“„Wie würden in unserem Land die Familien aussehen, wenn Ungehorsam zur Tugend erhoben würde?“
“How would families in our country look like, if disobedience were to be elevated to the rank of a virtue?”.
This strikes me as very odd, because there is no reference whatsoever to the position of the heretics being…. heretical. He doesn’t say “you are totally wrong in the matter”. He says “you are wrong in inciting to disobedience”.
It goes on.
Jeder müsse für sich entscheiden, ob er „den Weg mit dem Papst, dem Bischof und der Weltkirche“ gehen wolle oder nicht. Wer jedoch „das Prinzip des Gehorsams aufgibt, löst die Einheit auf“, so Schoenborn.
Everyone must decide, whether he goes “the way of the Pope, the Bishops and the Church” or not. Still, he who “gives away the principle of obedience, destroys the unity”, Schoenborn said.
Once again: no word about the theology. That male priesthood is matter of Ordinary and universal Magisterium which must not be put into question is simply ignored. This is a call to obedience, not to theological soundness. That so many priests seem to think that a woman can be priest is not recognised as a problem, at all; that they by so doing go against the union within the Church, is.
Als Priester habe man bei der Weihe „aus freien Stücken, von niemandem dazu gezwungen, dem Bischof ‚Ehrfurcht und Gehorsam‘ in die Hand versprochen“, erinnerte Schönborn weiter, um schließlich die Priester der Erzdiözese wie auch die Unterzeichner des Aufrufs zum Ungehorsam zu fragen: „Steht ihr dazu?“
As a priest, one has on occasion of his ordination “voluntarily, forced by no one, promised to the bishop ‘reverence and obedience’ “, remembered Schoenborn, in the end openly asking his own priests and the underwriters of the appeal: ‘Do you stand by your promise?’ “
This is eerie. He asks all of his priests, and the heretical priests with them, whether they stand by their promise. Again, there is no threat, no reference to their theological confusion. He never says that they are wrong in the matter. On the contrary, the point is always the same: obedience. You have promised obedience, are you still obedient? If you ask me, this isn’t the most intelligent question to pose to people who have openly called to disobedience.
It goes on, and here it gets really disquieting:
“Er selbst habe dem Papst ebenfalls Gehorsam versprochen – und er wolle „dazu stehen, auch wenn es Momente gegeben hat, wo das nicht leicht war“.
“He himself has in turn promised obedience to the Pope – and he wants ‘to stand by it, even if there have been moments, when it wasn’t easy’ “.
What we learn from this is that he was tempted to rebel to the Pope ( we are talking doctrinal matters here, remember! You don’t break any unity if you disagree with the Pope on some opinion of his), but he has decided not to do so, because of his promise of obedience. Here, the heroic self-portrait of a closeted heretical Cardinal is painted; one that at times would have so much liked to break the unity with the bishops and the church; but then decided not to, because of his promise of obedience. His every word seems to say to the rebels “I feel with you, bro”.
Even at this point, there is no word – at least in the article – about the matter in itself, that is: that these people are theologically wrong, big time, and in frontal rebellion to the Ordinary and universal Magisterium. It’s always, and exclusively, about obedience. You start to think that this Cardinal still has some huge problem with the Magisterium but hey, he is an obedient closet heretic.
It goes on:
Man müsse „nicht jeder kirchlichen Entscheidung“ eine „Herzenszustimmung“ erteilen, räumt Schönborn auch ein. Wenn der Papst jedoch – etwa in der Ämterfrage – klare Vorgaben mache, so stelle eine Aufforderung zum Ungehorsam letztlich „die kirchliche Gemeinschaft in Frage“
One doesn’t have to “agree with his own heart with every decision of the Church”, admits Schoenborn. But when the Pope – say: in the question of the offices – gives clear instructions, then an appeal to disobedience ‘puts the union of the church into question'”
This here is positively creepy. Among the requests of the rebels there are some which are clearly heretical and in obvious conflict with the Magisterium. The idea that a priest may feel authorised to disagree with those is appalling and gives all the measure of Schoenborn’s weakness or, worse, closet heresy. At the same time, it is the clearest explanation of how it could come to this in the first place: a Cardinal who thinks his own priests authorised to not accept Catholic doctrine in their heart can really not be surprised when they refuse to accept it openly.
Once again, please notice: not one word about the theological matter. Not one word saying that they are just plain wrong. His only, and constantly repeated, argument is that they should be good boys, swallow their disagreement and not revolt for the sake of the unity.
He even goes so far as to say that they must shut up merely because the Pope says so, and here the reference to Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is very clear. Once again, that male priesthood is matter of infallible Sacred Magisterium is not mentioned, at all. He fully ignores the theological question. This isn’t a father who says to his children “you are wrong”. This is a father who says to his children in an understanding tone “I know you’re right, but be good for your mother’s sake”.
The last pearl is the following one:
Schließlich bestätigte Schönborn in dem Brief, dass er in Kürze mit den Vertretern der Pfarrer-Initiative ein Gespräch führen wolle und darin auf verschiedene „Ungereimtheiten“ ihres Aufrufs hinweisen werde
In the end, Schoenborn confirmed in the letter that he wants to meet in the near future with the representatives of the “Priest Initiative”, and point out to them to some “inconsistencies” of their appeal
“Ungereimtheiten”. This means “inconsistencies”, “small contradictions”. That the rebels want to give away the Eucharist without priests – and make of this, let us not forget, a substitute for sunday mass obligation – is merely an “inconsistency”.
And so we are at the end of the article. From what it is possible to see from it, the entire question has been reduced to a question of obedience.
Theology doesn’t play any role; on the contrary, the man clearly feels with his priests; he doesn’t reproach their theological position with one word, not even on the most scandalous issues; he doesn’t threaten any consequence; he doesn’t suspend anyone, not even Father Schueller; he doesn’t even order to take the page down; he doesn’t do anything else than inviting them to be obedient, whilst at the same time giving them every reason to believe that he is not in disagreement with the way they think, merely with the way they act.
This is, be assured, the message that will go out among the Austrian faithful. That the priests are impulsive, but in the end they are right; that their superior can’t tell them they are wrong, so he tells them to be patient and well-behaved; that what is wrong is not what they think, but Rome’s position.
If I were in his shoes and were to be scheming on how to protect the uprising without incurring the ires of Rome but at the same time allowing it to grow and consolidate, I would do exactly as he did: make a formal appeal to obedience by at the same time never showing that I disagree with the theological argument; allow my priests to appear in front of the faithful as people who have their heart in the right place, but who are a bit impulsive in their desire to progress; downplay as “inconsistencies” those requests who are less hugely heretical than the call to women priests.
Well no, on second though, I think I’d be more prudent than that. I’d say a couple of words about the Magisterium, too. To just completely ignore the matter would seem to me too openly approving of their position.
I wonder how long the Church in Austria will have to cope with this man.
Pray for his immortal soul, and that the Church in Austria may soon have a new, worthy pastor.
In Austria there very probably is, like the rest of Continental Western Europe the obligation from the prosecutors to open an investigation wherever criminal charges are pressed. It is not like in the Anglo-Saxon countries where, say, the police can decide not to proceed. The investigation must start and then, if considered unfounded, it can be archived – but the matter will now take its course anyway.
There would seem to be two separate episodes. Again, the news from “Nachrichten.at” is fragmentary and rather confused.
A) A Girl is sexually abused by a Franciscan in 1984; ten years later she says this to Schoenborn; Schoenborn does not denounce the Franciscan to the police, but the man is not allowed to teach anymore, it i snot clear to me whether now in 2011 or then, in 1994. It is also not clear to me whether this is the episode in question – I’d rather think not – but the way the matter has emerged until now this seems to me to be absurd to even consider. The lady is 45 now and therefore she was 28 in 1994; unless she is not able to think for herself, she was perfectly able to press all the charges she wanted triggering, as already said, an inevitable investigation. I can’t imagine that in 1994 there was an obligation in Austria to go to the police when informed of such an episode. Again, the man admitted the charges and is not allowed to teach; whether this happened in 1994 or only just now is not very clear.
B) In what would appear to be a separate episode, in 1994 the same lady would have been sexually assaulted by the Director of the Pontifical Mission Society, Leo Maasburg. She would have spoken to Schoenborn asking him to do something about it, that is: to talk directly to Maasburg. Whether Schoenborn talked to Maasburg or not, he didn’t go to the police and today, seventeen years later, the lady presses charges against Maasburg and Schoenborn and accuses Maasburg of “sexuelle Noetigung”, “sexual assault” and – I gather – Schoenborn of “not having prevented the crime” (if this is the crime we are talking about; which by the mixture of facts with the Franciscan above is not clear, either). Once again, the lady could have gone to the police every day that God sent on earth in these last 17 years.
Schoenborn’s office says that: a) it is not true that the lady asked Schoenborn to put pressure on Maasburg; b) that the facts were at the time depicted in a much less serious way as they are now, and c) that the conversation happened during a confession (“Beichtgespraech”; literally, “confession discussion”).
The information is very fragmentary for now, rather confused and confusing and I will have to leave it at this until tonight, when hopefully better information will be available.
I wonder whether to both Cardinal Schoenborn and Leo Maasburg the same discipline will be applied that is used for countless priests – we know the recent famous case – accused of misconduct.
I also warn from Schadenfreude, rash judgement or demands for the man’s head. From the information available up to now, if what has happened justifies a criminal case God save us all: every adult would now be able to come out and ask for money because hey, twenty years ago he mentioned something to a priest and he hey, did not run immediately to the police. A nightmare.
Thankfully, in Continental European legal systems we do not have the “creative jurisprudence” I notice in the US, there are statutes of limitations, and people are generally not allowed to accuse third parties of not having used the brains they should have used themselves.
Just to make a comparison (Continental European legal system are all rather similar; it’s largely because of Napoleon), in Italy the obligation to go to the police and denounce a crime is given only in very few extremely grave cases, like the information that a terrorist attack is planned, or a coup d’etat. Everyone can, though, go to the police himself and at that point, a criminal investigation must start. Same in Germany. Same, I am rather sure, in Austria.
More on this in the evening.