This appeared some days ago on the generally well-informed (and said to have very good contacts within the SSPX) Kreuz.net.
The news matches rather neatly with another one, always from the same sources, concerning the Bishop having celebrated some confirmations in Brasil without authorisation from the SSPX.
It is now irrelevant to decide whether Bp. Williamson will (would; might) be excluded because of his Brasil confirmations, or whether he decided to fly to Brasil because he had decided to secede in the first place. What I think is relevant is that the news comes from a generally very informed source, and as far as I know has not been denied by the SSPX yet.
Those of us who think that the Holy Father started the entire exercise to try to see whether he could provoke divisions within the SSPX (I am among them) might think that with this development the Holy Father has reached his objective, but I am not persuaded the action will be of any use to the Pope either during the rest of his pontificate or afterwards.
Williamson will – if the exclusion/secession really happens – carry with him a part of the SSPX, but not a very big one. We know this, because we have seen Bishop Fellay carrying with him the vast majority of the Fraternity in the past months and we know that his leadership was not challenged in any significant way. It is reasonable to assume enough supporters and – importantly – wealthy donors will remain with the SSPX to allow it to continue its work undisturbed, with the added advantage of getting rid of the at times embarrassing presence of Bishop Williamson.
At the same time, it is difficult for me to believe Bishop Williamson would have decided to (or encouraged the) split without being assured he will have an organisation at his command with enough supporters and enough means to be of some permanence. I might be wrong, but if this secession is going to happen I think the newly created organisation is going to stay with us for a long time, and to be a voice heard within the Catholic world.
If, therefore, the split was the objective of the Holy Father, what has he obtained? Has he managed to weaken the SSPX, or to undermine its authority and prestige among sanely thinking Catholics? By no means. Has he then at least managed to defuse Bishop Williamson? Improbable.
Of course, the Holy Father might now proceed to excommunicate (again) both Williamson and the SSPX bishops after the clear failure of the negotiations (which I am now persuaded were meant to fail from day one from the Vatican, it being rather illogical that a Pope who placidly tolerates schismatic movements or currents in Austria, Switzerland and Germany would see himself unable to allow the SSPX to continue their perfectly orthodox work), thus striking them when they are, allegedly, weak; but again, I doubt this would lead to any meaningful results, as the SSPX fare best when the Post-conciliar Vatican is against them, as the past decades have abundantly shown.
Therefore, as a result of what I think were rather Machiavellian machinations from the Holy Father, the Vatican will – if the secession happens – be now confronted with not one SSPX but, so to speak, two; of which one rather as strong as ever, and the other possibly destined to become rather strong, too.
I have often thought, and become more and more persuaded, that this Pope is too clever by half, and his policy of deception is not bearing any of the desired fruits.
Pope Benedict gave conservative Catholics Summorum Pontificum to make them believe he was on their side and would (slowly and prudently, but steadily) steer the Church in their direction. In reality, though, he was only giving some food to the pigeons whilst he continued the Vatican-II policy of appointment of modernist bishops, and toleration of almost every form of dissent (not the orthodox one of the SSPX, of course; perish the thought…). As a result, conservative Catholics are now more and more aware of the deception and will (particularly after he has died; alas, many Catholics can just not conceive a reigning Pope might be wrong) soon realise the “hermeneutic of continuity” is nothing more than an attempt to perpetuate the Neo-modernist horrors by getting rid of the Modernist tones.
Concerning the SSPX, the same politics was observed: the lifting of the excommunications – a fact which might have been embarrassing for the Vatican, but was certainly not decisive for the SSPX – was the prelude of “talks” meant to divide them in the middle, and possibly strike them separately afterwards. It seems clear to me this policy will fail, too, and the traditionalists will now grow stronger rather than getting weaker.
Make no mistake: Williamson will do fine, and so will the SSPX. The only one who will be disappointed is the one who wanted to beat or destroy them, and whose machinations are now all too clear to see. Just reflect how free the neo-modernist forces are to operate, and how inflexible the Vatican is with the SSPX, to realise on which side this Pope stands.
Again: too clever by half.
Archbishop Mueller has introduced himself, and he stinks mightily of heresy already. If Pope Benedict thinks he can save his soul with appointments like this, I can’t avoid thinking he might be sorely disappointed.
Archbishop Mueller wonderfully represents the worst that 50 years of post Vatican-II Church have given us: ambiguous, oily, always flirting with heresy, and harsh only when he talks about the SSPX. He does it, of course, to appear “modern” and “with it” to the millions of horribly misinformed and, alas, loud bellowing German Catholics who still constitute the biggest spenders of the Church.
I don’t know how you call this, but I do.
I have just reblogged an old post of mine dealing with both a blog post from Ite ad Thomam concerning Modernism and Neo-Modernism, and the simple fact that modern liturgy and Catholic thinking as listened to in many parishes every week has become simply unrecognisable as such for a Catholic of the past.
Coming more to the point of our hero, let us see what the writers of Ite ad Thomam have to say about neo-Modernism. Emphases always mine.
The post-conciliar theological principle is neo-modernism, and the theology that is based on it is known as the nouvelle theologie. It is the idea that old dogmas or beliefs must be retained, yet not the traditional ‘formulas’: dogmas must be expressed and interpreted in a new way in every age so as to meet the ‘needs of modern man’. This is still a denial of the traditional and common sense notion of truth as adaequatio intellectus et rei (insofar as it is still an attempt to make the terminology that expresses the faith correspond with our modern lifestyle) and consequently of the immutability of Catholic dogma, yet it is not as radical as modernism. It is more subtle and much more deceptive than modernism because it claims that the faith must be retained; it is only the ‘formulas’ of faith that must be abandoned–they use the term ‘formula’ to distinguish the supposedly mutable words of our creeds, dogmas, etc. from their admittedly immutablemeanings. Therefore, neo-modernism can effectively slip under the radar of most pre-conciliar condemnations (except Humani generis, which condemns it directly) insofar as its practitioners claim that their new and unintelligible theological terminology really expresses the same faith of all times. In other words, neo-modernism is supposed to be ‘dynamic orthodoxy’: supposedly orthodox in meaning, yet always changing in expression to adapt to modern life (cf. Franciscan University of Steubenville’s mission statement).
I will save you now the umpteenth repetition of the “courageous” theological statements of the innovative Archbishop now everywhere on the net.
I will, instead, invite you to compare this with a revealing expression of our new guardian of Catholic theology:
The 1965 reorganisation of the dicastery placed this positive aspect in its heart. It is about the promotion of theology and its basis in Revelation, to ensure its quality, and to consider the relevant intellectual developments on a global scale. We cannot simply and mechanically repeat the doctrine of the faith. It must always be associated with the intellectual developments of the time, the sociological changes, the thinking of people.
This, my friends, is pure NuChurch-ese, and bollocks of the most dangerous sort. You can’t say it is openly heretical, but it is not difficult to understand what he is aiming at.
Of course, the Church must adequate the way it communicates to the changing times: two thousand years ago a sermon might have entailed the growing of the crops; together rather a car, or an Iphone. But the Archbishop says much more than this. He says that the doctrine must not be repeated “mechanically” (clearly implying what was good yesterday will not be good tomorrow) and talks of things which become increasingly more dangerous, namely:
a) the “intellectual development of the time”. This is a rather novel concept, to my knowledge unknown before V II: if the intellect of men develops, when will the time come when one says that certain truths of the Faith must now be adapted to the developed intellect of men? Of course doctrine (slowly) develops, but it is an organic development, and it is certainly not the fruit of the development of the human being as such, but of the harmonic growing and flowering of those immutable truths, which are themselves immutable because the human being, in his essence, is immutable himself.
b) the “sociological changes”. I read here “the fact that we are full of divorced people whose money I want”. Once again, if the doctrine must be “evolved”, and be that only in the way it is presented, in harmony with the “sociological changes” we’ll soon have a “theology of divorce and remarriage”, courtesy of Archbishop Mueller. Make no mistake, this is no man likely to be afraid, as he does not hesitate in tampering with the Blessed Virgin’s hymen. But millions of Germans will be thankful to him. Cha-ching…
c) the “thinking of people”. This is scary, and amazing even for a German Bishop. Catholic doctrine can’t be repeated mechanically; no. it must be “associated” with “the thinking of people”. If you think like this, you can say the most absurd things: like… like… that Protestants are part of the same “church”, or even try to give an interpretation of transubstantiation acceptable to Protestant, because it stinks so much of consubstantiation. The possibilities are limitless…
As always, if you really, really want to give to his words a halfway orthodox interpretation, you can. Perhaps, it was all innocently said; perhaps, the Archbishop simply means that you mention the Ipod instead of the wheat crop; perhaps, he simply means that one must pay attention he captures the attention of the people. But does he, really? Is this the history of the last 50 years of German episcopacy? Is the the way he wants to be understood?
Amazing, what being friends with the Pope can do for you…
Let us wake up, say I, and look at the problem in the face: under the wake of Pope Benedict, the smoke of Satan has entered the Church not from a fissure, but from the main entrance; and has blackened the ceilings of the Vatican all right.
Brilliant blog post on “Ite Ad Thomam” about Modernism vs. Neo-Modernism. The blog post (the blog is run by strictly orthodox Thomist theologians) is particularly notable because its rigorous exam of the evil of Neo-Modernism doesn’t stop at the extremists, put points the finger to the widespread corruption of traditional Catholic thinking still present today in the very heart of the Church.
The summa divisio is between Modernism and Neo-Modernism.
The first is defined as follows:
Modernism is the idea that there are no eternal truths, that truth is the correspondence of the mind with one’s lifestyle (adaequatio intellectus et vitae), and that, therefore, old dogmas must be abandoned and new beliefs must arise that meet ‘the needs of modern man’. This is a radical denial of the traditional and common sense notion of truth: the correspondence of the mind with reality (adaequatio intellectus et rei), which is the basis of the immutability of Catholic dogma.
Modernism is, in its essence, the attempt to protestantise Catholicism, adopting the motto of most of their communities: we’ll make out our theology as we go along, and according to the need of the moment.
Neo-modernism is defined thus:
It is the idea that old dogmas or beliefs must be retained, yet not the traditional ‘formulas’: dogmas must be expressed and interpreted in a new way in every age so as to meet the ‘needs of modern man’. This is still a denial of the traditional and common sense notion of truth as adaequatio intellectus et rei (insofar as it is still an attempt to make the terminology that expresses the faith correspond with our modern lifestyle) and consequently of the immutability of Catholic dogma, yet it is not as radical as modernism. It is more subtle and much more deceptive than modernism because it claims that the faith must be retained; it is only the ‘formulas’ of faith that must be abandoned–they use the term ‘formula’ to distinguish the supposedly mutable words of our creeds, dogmas, etc. from their admittedly immutable meanings.
One can immediately see that this kind of thinking is infinitely more dangerous than the previous one. Modernism is an open attempt to tear down the walls of Catholicism and, as such, is bound to encounter fierce resistence; but neo-modernism is an attempt to infiltrate the city without tearing down the walls and is a less spectacular, but more insidious threat.
“Ah”, you will say,”but this is simply the Church’ reaction to the new times”. Exactly this is the problem. The idea that there be “a new man” in the presence of which capital punishment is not justified anymore is, in nuce, Modernist thinking; the idea that there be a new man who, in the new phase of evolution which he has now entered, isn’t authorised to wage war is the fruit of exactly the same error; and the idea that one can be saved by praying for peace or “having his heart in the right place” comes from…. well, no one really knows whence, but it sounds so good that it has become the unspoken mantra of countless Catholic parishes here in the UK.
The blog post distinguishes three degrees of neo-Modernism: the “vanguard” a’ la von Balthasar theorising formally not heretical, but absurd nuCatholic novelties like the one that Hell might be void – the author of this one, mind, was made Cardinal by the late Pope, though unless I am mistaken he went to his “reward” before the official ceremony -; the more moderate but still at times strange sounding theologians a’ la Ratzinger himself – and here a rather adventurous “evolutionistic re-interpretation of Resurrection” is mentioned, details if you follow the link – and in the end the mainstream, “nuChurch”, “home made popular theology” of the present times that I have mentioned above.
I liked this article because I often reflect that if a properly educated Catholic of, say, 200 years ago would be absurdly allowed to come back to earth and assist to a Novus Ordo Mass without telling him anything, he would probably not recognise it as Catholic and if asked would, methink, say that what he has assisted to was a Protestant celebration, of a very bad sort. As to the homily, he would probably not be able to recognise anything familiar at all and would say that the priest was clearly confused, and clearly unaware of the basics of Christianity as a religion. A lot of other things – from the half-naked people in shorts and flip-flops, to the people standing when receiving communion, to them receiving in the hand – would leave him simply horrified at the point of believing that he might have assisted to a cruel parody of the Holy Mass instead of the real thing.
Think of it, one wouldn’t need to go as far back in time. Any of our relatives who died during the Fifties would probably think pretty much the same.
The dismantling of the liturgy brought with it the dismantling of sound Catholic thinking. It is no coincidence that our ancestors wouldn’t be able to recognise either.