Daily Archives: January 19, 2013
We are, as you all know, in the middle of the Year of Faith. The way I understand the Year of Faith is that this is a year in which Faith is promoted with particular fervour to react to the growing secularisation of Western societies.
If this is so , it goes without saying the promotion of Faith goes together with the promotion and diffusion of the Truths of faith, as opposed to the error. It should be also not even worth mentioning that errors in matters of sexual depravity should be, in the Year of Faith, be fought against in a particularly virulent way.
Obviously, and as in every human endeavour, words count much less than facts and, in fact, words not accompanied by the relevant facts have in all ages been mocked. Facta, non verba, says a very old adage. Now, most of us must be content with words because they are not in a position of power where they can really act (we can in our small way, of course; but I am not talking about that…). Still, every Bishop can do a lot, and a Pope can, alone, change the face of the Catholic clergy as there is no bishop he cannot remove, no religious order he cannot reform or disband, no crusade he cannot (provided they do not require real tanks) undertake. The Pope is far more powerful than the President of the United States, then he is stopped by none of the checks and balances the latter has to deal with every day. The Pope is, very simply, the person on earth who can act the most, and his responsibility is commensurate to the power entrusted to him, and to the prestige attached to his function.
Ubi honor, ibi onus.
This is the problem I see with the Holy Father. He proclaims the Year of Faith, and a torrent of very apt words falls on the world’s Catholics. Still, when it come to facts one notices very fast the Holy Father is, like all his predecessors after Vatican II – with the possible exception of the one who died too early to tell – sorely deficient. Like his predecessors, he makes more the impression of an impotent teacher in a class taken over by unruly children than of a strong headmaster with the school firmly under control.
Most recently, we are informed, some French Bishops have come to the idea that the best way to defend Catholicism is to attack it, and that undermining God’s commandments is the best way to defend them. Truly, they must be V II bishops.
The suggestion to defuse the matter o so-called same sex marriages by allowing so-called civil partnerships is as perverted as the idea to avoid robberies being made legal by suggesting to decriminalise theft. It is also extremely stupid because our geniuses should find us a country where so-called civil partnerships have been allowed without the cry for “the full monty” becoming deafening in a matter of just a few years.
Are, therefore, our French bishops so unbelievably stupid that they can’t see beyond the door of their residences? Are they so gaga that they do not know anymore what sodomy is, and that it remains such even if there is no state “marriage certificate” to sanction it? O do they have collective Alzheimer’s and do not remember what “scandal” means, and that it is their duty to avoid it to spread, let alone become legal?
The truth is, I am afraid, much simpler. These despicable men have lost the Faith, and their horizon is now strictly limited to what might give them some chance of caving in to the instance of the secular society without appearing too cowardly – if possible; otherwise, who cares… – in the process.
They have, I have told, clearly lost the Faith; then a Bishop who believes in the God of the Christians would never even think of sanctioning legal recognition of sodomy so that there be no legal recognition of sodomy… called marriage. Really, these people are evil, and evil in the most dangerous of ways, because in purest V II style they smuggle their satanic work for Christian charity or political prudence, like a closet Communist would suggest you submit to a new Brezhnev to avoid the return of Stalinism.
Padre Pio would roll in his grave.
What does, then, the Pope, who has not only the power but the duty to neutralise these people, do to protect the faith in… the Year of Faith? Has he forced anyone to retract? Has he removed any of them? How many of them are, in fact, his own appointments? The answer is: nothing. He has done nothing, he is doing nothing, he will do nothing. As long as he reigns, bishops will continue to undermine Catholicism everytime they feel they have some advantage to gain from so doing and remain unpunished. They have nothing to fear. They know it, and he knows it too.
Mind, it is not that the Holy Father cannot talk. His Christmas address concerning the fact one cannot choose his “gender” was beautiful. But if a Pope talks and refuses to act, he is betraying at least half of his office, and will be justly remembered like another Paul VI who had a clear vision of what was happening, but did not have the guts to be Pope.
Another two or three well-sounding and ineffective Popes like this one, and we will be persecuted in the public square.
Reading on the Internet here and there one gets the impression the SSPX depends on the Vatican’s goodwill to survive. The reasoning goes along the lines of “the SSPX should take what is offered now, because the Holy Father’s patience is now rapidly depleting, and he is the last chance for them to reach an agreement, after which they will be crushed/declared schismatic/ordered to disband”.
It seems to me this kind of comment is made in ignorance of what the SSPX is all about. Let me explain.
The idea at the basis of the SSPX is that the fidelity to the teaching of the Church comes before the fidelity to the Pope. Whilst generally the two coincide, and obedience to the Pope is due every time fidelity to the Church is not in question, when the Pope insists in wanting something that is against the teaching, then the faithful find themselves in the necessity to refuse that obedience they continue to be ready to pay in all other circumstances.
This is not a Sedevacantist position, as the authority of the Pope and his legitimacy in being Pope is not put into question.
It would be very erroneous to think a Pope can never be wrong in doctrinal matters, because the Holy Ghost would strike him dead if he tried. Popes have been vocally and utterly wrong in doctrinal matters in the past (think of John XXII), and the protection of the Holy Ghost only kicks in in that the Holy Ghost will (predictably) strike the Pope dead before he imposes his error as a dogma of the Church. This has never happened up to now (not even with John XXII), and therefore the Holy Ghost clearly had no reason to strike any of the Vatican II Popes dead.
Another famous episode is the way Paul defended received truth (occasionally also against Peter). Paul doesn’t mince words:
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. (Galatians 1:8)
Paul was an obedient follower of the Pope, but not a silent one, nor was his obedience unconditional, in a kind of blind Fuehrerprinzip. In Galatians we read, referring to the incident in Antioch
But when Cephas was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. (Galatians 2:11)
Paul opposed Peter every time he thought it necessary, full knowing the latter’s position. He did so publicly when necessary. It’s not that Peter should have been struck dead by the Holy Ghost. Peter simply happened to be wrong on a couple of issues, and not even angels would have persuaded Paul that hey, he is the Pope so that’s what it’s going to be.
A third episode is the painful story of Athanasius, about which I have written already.
The obvious consequence of this is that the SSPX will give obedience to the Pope in everything possible, but refuse obedience whenever necessary. Not one, or one hundred, excommunications are going to stop them. Not any declaration the Vatican could make that the SSPX are Schismatics, or Muslims, or Buddhists, or cats, or dogs; not any order to disband; not even an angel coming down from Heaven and telling them to, pretty please, accept the Vatican II concept of, say, religious liberty. It’s just not going to happen.
Now, I fully agree that if the SSPX had been an organisation of people merely fantasizing themselves the defenders of orthodoxy, the old excommunication would have wiped them out in just a few years. But the fact is, they truly are the defenders of the orthodoxy! Many people see it, and see that far from being rebellious to the Pope, they are obedient to the Pope in everything, except in those things which not even an Angel could persuade them to do, because it would mean to be disobedient to the very Truth from which the Pope’s authority derives. This is why the SSPX grow and prosper, whilst the V II clergy shrink and become old.
Yes, of course the Vatican is wrong, and the SSPX is right. Peter was wrong, and Paul was right! The Vatican was wrong, and Athanasius was right! It has happened in the past, it will happen in the future. It does not mean we do not owe obedience to the Church and to the Pope, it simply means we must recognise we live in one of those periods in history in which a state of necessity may apply in certain circumstances; but again, it is a state of necessity due to obedience, not rebellion.