Daily Archives: June 30, 2013
From Pope Francis’ address to the bishops on occasion of yesterday’s “Pallium Mass”
The Second Vatican Council, in speaking of the hierarchical structure of the Church, states that the Lord “established the apostles as college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from their number” (ibid., 19). Confirming in unity: the Synod of Bishops, in harmony with the primacy. We must walk on this path of synodality, grow in harmony with the service of the primacy.
The pallium, while being a sign of communion with the Bishop of Rome, with the universal church, with the Synod of Bishops, also commits each of you to being a servant of communion.
It is at first difficult to really understand what is really meant here, even if this homily was certainly not off-the-cuff. Particularly the grammatical structure of “confirming” through “primacy” seems very adventurous to me, and without a proper meaning. Still, by flexing one’s synapses one can understand what the Pope (probably; more or less; in some way) wanted to say: that he envisions a path of increased synodality, by which the bishops remain not only in harmony, but at the service of the primacy of the, erm, bishop of Rome. This is repeated in the second phrase I have mentioned: being a servant of the communion means at the same time being at the service of the primacy of the bishop of Rome. If the latter isn’t there, the former isn’t either.
As so often with this Pope, this is the Seventies all over again. Like your typical communist apparatchik, or Western agit-prop, of those years, the Holy Father wants to have all the power and all the decisions, but by letting it appear that they both come from the “collective” (you remember the “collectives”? If not, you’re still young…), or the “group”.
Notice the typical Seventies pattern: it is fine to “grow” in synodality, as long as your “growing” is the one I want. If this is not the case, you aren’t serving the “communion”, because you are working “against the group”.
You may ask: fine, he is the Pope, but where is the need for that? Why all the talk about synodality if in the end he is the one making the decisions? Isn’t he the Pope and, therefore, the one entitled to decide anyway?
Well, yes and no. In a proper way, of course he is. But you see, he doesn’t want to; or at least, he does not want to appear to.
As in a Communist Party of the Seventies, or in a students’ collettivo of the same period, things must never be allowed to appear as they are. “Harmony”, “growth”, the “walking” of the “permanent assembly” will be stressed. A “collective” endeavour. The “people” (in this case, “of God”) clearly, clearly is the one from which ultimately everything emanates.
Path Walking. Harmonic Growing. “Confirming in Unity”.
It must not be said the Pope – or the party secretary, or the head agitator – is autocratic! God forbid! We live in the years of post Vatican II, where the Pope doesn’t behave like that anymore! No siree!…
In a sense, it is reassuring. If my interpretation is correct, what Francis is saying is that there will be all the rhetoric about collegiality the bishops and the public can bear, provided in the end things go as they always did. Ah, human nature… plus ça change…
I sometimes think this way of talking is exactly the one that John Paul I would have chosen if he had decided – as some seem to think – to suppress the excesses of Vatican II. Taking the name “John Paul”, and promising how much he would have remained faithful to the path of his two predecessors, he would have been able to remake everything from a position of strenght or, as they would have said in the Seventies, from the “head of the movement”.
Alas, Francis does not give any impression of wanting to suppress anything wrong, rather to amplify it, and I suspect he actually wants to make sure he can go on with his work without undue interference from his lieutenants; obviously, apart from the smoke screens of the “G8”, the “synodality”, the “harmony”, and the “walking”.
Yes, this is another one straight from the Seventies.
One feels younger already.
After an observation or two in the comment box, it is perhaps fitting to say one or two words about this little effort, so that any uncertainty that there might have been in less attentive – or less assiduous – readers is definitively dispelled.
1. Read the statement from Robert De Piante on the right hand column of this blog:
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.
This is probably the most famous statement expressing in just a few words the essence of traditional Catholicism. It is there for a reason. I do not exclusively employ the term “traditionalist” because I think that “conservative” Catholic also perfectly fits the bill, though in a wider sense. Since this blog’s inception almost three years ago, pretty much all of my posts have been tagged “traditional Catholicism”. If some post isn’t, it’s because I forgot. My blog “line” (the one you also read on every search engine) is also very telling: tradidi quod et accepi, another famous traditionalist “punchline” commonly associated with the SSPX.
2. My blog posts in support of the SSPX are very many, though they are certainly not enough in number or worthy enough in their quality. I do not think I have ever been ambiguous in my approval of their work both in the present time and at the time of the disobedience/refusal to close down the seminary in Econe/appointment of the four bishops. Where I stood in the matter of the preambolo dottrinale is also very clear to everyone who reads my blog with a minimum of regularity and attention, and I dare to say I have made myself clear in as open a way as I could without thinking I was failing to show the proper respect to the office – and in the case of Pope Benedict, the person – of the Pontiff.
3. I attend very often Novus Ordo Masses, and will continue to do so. This I do because I fear the effect that an entrenchment on the Traditional Mass would have on me, given my uncompromising nature and the resulting tendency to incendiary emotions and hardline militancy; emotions and militancy that can be very dangerous, and might well lead me astray unless I recognise the problem and act accordingly to counter them and soften my approach. Therefore, as long as I have no doubt that the Novus Ordo Masses I attend to are sacramentally valid, I plan to continue to do so for as long as I see the danger of slowly slipping into Sedevacantism if I don’t. I also see it as a form of penance, when I reflect that our sins (mine, and yours; not only the clergy’s) are also a cause of the present mess.
Through the participation to a second-rate – but by all means not invalid – Mass, I figure I show the Lord my loyalty to the Church even when it hurts, and at the same time keep my inner religious arsonist in check. But this does not mean I think you should do the same. The Novus Ordo is vastly inferior to the Traditional Mass (I do love to call it “Tridentine”, by the way), and if you can and want to attend it every time, more power to you. For the same reason (obedience to the Pope in as much as I can without conflicting with 2000 years of Catholicism) I go to confession to Novus Ordo priests, as I have up to now never met a priest in the confessional who was such a clown as to make me think, after due reflection, the absolution was not valid. I think most of my readers do the same. Or you can say this: as long as I think a Novus Ordo priest can provide me with a valid absolution, I personally see no reason to confess to an SSPX priest. But if had valid, constant reason to fear then I would happily recur to the services of the SSPX priest. But again, personal fears play a role in my decision: the day I decide a NO priest isn’t good enough, how far am I from Sedevacantism? You may not have the problem. I do. Novus Ordo confessor is it, then.
Still, either the SSPX have supplied jurisdiction, or they haven’t. As I am persuaded they have, after long reflection and opportune readings I have reached the conclusion that I can’t see how this should not be extended to confession. The SSPX priests also obviously think in the same way, and as I would trust my path to salvation much more eagerly to them than to the most conservative of the Cardinals, I can’t see anything wrong in that. In times in which the Popes are bad Catholics, a religious order can certainly be more Catholic than the Pope. Since March, I’d say this is not difficult at all even for a properly instructed layman. The Holy Ghost never promised the Pope would be a good Catholic, or would know the Ten Commandments, or wouldn’t be a murderer, a robber, a fornicator, an accommodating coward, or a pious nincompoop. Read the contract attentively, it’s in the small print.
4. In consequence of all the above, I think it should be clear enough to any reasonable reader what this blog is about. I notice, though, here and there a certain tendency – again, perhaps the fruit of insufficient reflection – to approve of what I write without considering what this necessarily entails. If you think that the SSPX are in formal Schism, then you must think that they endanger souls. If you think so, already the reading of the quote mentioned above and of the blog line should be reason enough for you to strongly disapprove of this blog, whose support of the SSPX is as staunch as its author can express with words. To behave any differently means either to take one’s own salvation lightly, or to read this blog because of the titillation coming from the enjoyment of my somewhat robust prose (and many thanks for the compliment!), but without sufficient reflection as to the values this little effort constantly tries to defend.
I do not write this blog for the sake of a vast audience. I have never searched popularity or approval. Wretched sinner as I am, I write this in the first place in the hope the Blessed Virgin will one day look at my effort and find it certainly inadequate and unworthy, but not entirely useless.
I take my salvation extremely seriously. I spend a lot of time thinking of it, praying for it, hoping for it, fearing for it. I have found that the best course to follow is to be on the side of 2000 years of Catholicism; no ifs, no buts, and most certainly no Pinocchios. Faithful to the Church always. Obedient to the Pope as long as that faithfulness is not challenged. Whilst I am sure the day I die many horrible sins will reemerge to haunt my conscience, I am very confident my support for the SSPX will be on my assets, not my liabilities column. You who read these lines, do you think the same?
My dear reader, please reflect on the consequences of your reading this blog. Be wise and do not follow it merely for the sake of emotional satisfaction and enjoyment of my somewhat, ahem, Italian writing style. If the SSPX is wrong, then they are entirely wrong, as is this blog. If they are in schism, then not only 2000 years of Catholicism are in schism but both yours truly and you are, with my approval of them and your approval of me, being an accessory in this sin.
Of course, I do not think they are in schism, because I do not think 2,000 years of Catholicism can be declared “schismatic” without contradicting the very essence of what Catholicism is. I think the safest way is to live and die on the side of these 2,000 years, rather than following the madness of a new way of thinking that came to power during the Kennedy/ Khrushchev era. If logic and common sense were not enough to persuade me of this, the immense devastation of the last 50 years would.
Stuff Pinocchio. I for myself will take my refuge, and put my hope, in the Church transmitted to my grandmothers and to countless generations of devout Catholics before them; then if we are wrong now, they were wrong then. If they were right then, we are right now.