Daily Archives: June 14, 2012
Reblog of the day
I started reading this booklet, How to avoid Purgatory, with not a little measure of scepticism. Grown in an environment where the non practising Catholics were rather indifferent (my parents) and the practising Catholics were rather stern (most notably: my rather steely grandmother) I grew up believing that Purgatory is something you grow to expect, hoping that it will be as little unpleasant as possible; that it is difficult enough to avoid Hell to have the presumption of thinking of even planning to avoid Purgatory; that this idea of asking for oneself something reserved for the most saintly Christians smells of arrogance or, as I would have put it in my childhood, of being a spoiled child.
Add to this that this booklet is clearly dated. The measuring of purgatory in terms of earthly days (so and so many days of indulgence for such and such prayers…
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Rather disquieting interview from bishop Tissier de Mallerais on the usual Rorate Caeli. The bishop’s utterances are more than surprising because they repeat in public what had been privately ventilated in the infamously leaked letter in May. Please note this interview was given on the 1 Juni, and this interview does not mean in the least the bishop would secede in case of agreement. Still, I find his reasoning alarming to say the least.
The bishop’s problems with the reconciliation seem to be, as I see it, mainly three:
1. The practical agreement should not have come before the doctrinal one.
2. Rome is so far away from true Catholicism, that anything other than open war against her risks to contaminate the SSPX.
3. Even from the practical point of view, the reconciliation would effectively castrate the SSPX, reduce it to obedience, put insurmountable obstacles to its growth. This because
3.1 the SSPX would be forced to acknowledge V II , and
3.2 the bishops would be in a position to even close existing structures.
To 1, the Bishop says (emphases always mine):
We refuse a purely practical agreement because the doctrinal question is fundamental. Faith comes before legality. We cannot accept a legalization without the problem of the faith being solved. To submit ourselves now unconditionally to the higher authority imbibed with Modernism would be to expose ourselves to have to disobey. And what is the good in that? Abp. Lefebvre said since 1984: “one does not place oneself under an authority when that authority has all the powers to demolish us.”
The idea is that practical agreements should not even be sought – not even if offered without doctrinal quid pro quo– because Rome is so bad this can only end up in tears. I cannot see any concrete difference between this mentality and considering the Vatican, from the Pope down, a bunch of heretics in the hands of Satan. It is unclear to me how one can have such a position and not call himself sedevacantist. It is also unclear how the Bishop can even think a personal prelature would be a way to “destroy” the SSPX, and an agreement without doctrinal concessions would be to “submit unconditionally”. One has the impression the SSPX be a fold of timid sheep only waiting to be eaten by an evil wolf in Rome. Please.
This position becomes even clearer when we examine point 2.
The irregularity is not ours. It is that of Rome. A Modernist Rome. A Liberal Rome that has renounced Christ the King. A Rome that had been condemned in advance by all Popes up until the eve of the [Second Vatican] Council. […] But Pope Benedict XVI, while he is Pope, remains Modernist. […] […] we are currently in a state of war in the Church. It would be a contradiction to wish to “regularize the war”.
Please read this again. Rome is not seen as ill, or going through a phase of corruption. She is seen as simply heretical. Rome is not seen as polluted by heretical tendencies, but as heretic tout court. The consequence of this is that nothing less than outright war is an acceptable option.
One thinks he is reading Luther, or Calvin. Shocking.
Where the bishop might, in case, have some good cards is in the third problem. As to 3.1, I think the argument stays and falls with the confidence one has the SSPX has a mission, and a spine. I cannot imagine the cadres of the SSPX (not the Fellays, let alone the Tissiers) to submit to the V II mantra. They have not done it decades ago and one cannot see why on earth they should do it now. As to 3.2, this is the first time I hear the SSPX could be forced (more to the point: requested in vain) to close existing structures. Still: if this were to be true, it would be in my eyes the first solid argument against a reconciliation. As to the necessity of the local bishop giving his authorisation for new structures, I think this could really be a good ground for some amusing confrontation, but personally if I were Fellay I would not make the reconciliation depend on the SSPX obtaining total satisfaction on this. Considering at least 10% of the bishops as orthodox and/or sympathisers, there would be abundant scope for growth anyway.
Still, we do not know: we do not know what concrete form this personal prelature would take, and what measures would be adopted to address the SSPX legitimate objections. Also, it seems to me – but I might be wrong – the acceptance of the reconciliation does not imply the acceptance of the personal prelature. I think it is rather so, that the reconciliation would be the starting point for discussions concerning the organisation of the reconciled SSPX; discussions of which I cannot imagine – and I am not an admirer of this Pope – that they would be conducted with a view to damage the SSPX.
In the end, though, what really is disappointing is to see that highly placed members of the SSPX are – I think it is fair to say it – alarmingly similar to closet sedevacantists; with no desire whatsoever to any sort of peace with the Vatican, because they consider the Vatican so thoroughly heretic that nothing but outright war will do. Frankly, by this attitude I am not at all surprised the CDF wants to examine the position of the three bishops more closely.
Seriously: what kind of Catholicism is this?