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Lutheran Ecumenism?

Here in a rare moment of calm: Martin Luther.

Here in a rare moment of calm: Martin Luther.

If you want to have incontrovertible evidence that post V II “ecumenism” is nothing else than a betrayal of Catholicism, look no further than at the reactions of German Lutherans to the rumours of an “ordinariate” for local, and hopefully converted Lutherans desirous to swim the Tiber.

The reaction of some of them was, as widely reported, of an initiative in contrast with the “ecumenical” work made by the Church in the past.  They are, of course, perfectly right.

The initiative of actively caring for those Lutherans (hopefully) desirous to side with Truth is in absolute contrast with the mentality, widely spread in Germany, that we must look at Lutherans not as people believing in error and endangering their soul, but of people simply choosing an alternative path to Salvation and therefore to be left in peace;  and truly, in a country where a Catholic Cardinal calls Luther “the common doctor” (this would be Lehmann, if memory serves) there is not much else to expect.

The decision to provide for German Ordinariates is, in fact, the opposite of Ecumenism as widely understood by the German Catholic clergy: no surprise our brothers and sisters in state of heresy begin to notice.

If the Ordinariates were to go on, though, one would have some serious worry about what kind of “Catholicism” the poor converts would be subjected to, as the priests able to really think and believe like Catholics seem to be in the minority. The task could be left to the well-equipped and perfectly trained Panzerdivisionen  of the SSPX, of course, but my impression is Archbishop Mueller doesn’t like the way they have let him look like an amateur theologian with a penchant for heresy – a stingy remark, because deserved – and therefore no request for help is, I am very much afraid, going to reach Father Schmidberger.

This being Germany, one must consider the ever-present issue of the Kirchensteuer: it may well be that the Church in Germany, faced with the losses caused by the Kirchenaustritte, the exits from the Kirchensteuer-system, has decided that it is time to graze in foreign pastures a bit more assertively. But it really doesn’t make much sense, because if Salvation is in the cards anyway and everyone has his heart in the right place, it should be rather the same what one does, oder?

I am curious to see what the new converts will be taught about extra ecclesiam nulla salus. They might discover some of their new teachers are just as Protestant as they do not want to be anymore.


England and Wales, Rome, Ordinariates

Think whether he would have tolerated Vincent Nichols: Pope St Pius X

From several corners, one hears voices of concern about what the plans of the bishops of England and Wales for the Ordinariates are.

We know that in their vast majority, the bishops of E & W do not see the Ordinariates with favour. We also know that they see in them a danger that the faithful will shift on the Conservative side, many of the converts probably being rather opposed to the tambourine crowd.

It appears this hostility towards the Ordinariate goes toward an interpretation that negates the Roman dispositions about it: the incardination of the Ordinariate in the respective diocesan structure, the avoidance of which is one of the main reasons why the Ordinariates were born in the first place.

Up to here all would be, as they say, SNAFU.The matter becomes, though, a bit more complicated when we consider who is, in the last analysis, the responsible for this.

Rome is “well aware” of the situation, we are told, and “discussing it”; therefore, if awareness and discussion were a valid substitute for acting one could be satisfied with that. The problem is they aren’t, and so one isn’t.

The E & W hierarchy is not something grown from the soil like a bad weed, or fallen upon England like the Spanish flu, or delivered on its soil courtesy of German bombers. The bishops of E & W, every single one of them, have been appointed by Rome, and for every one of them a Pope has taken the responsibility, in front of God and his fellow Catholics, for what he was doing. Therefore, the problems of the Church in E&W are entirely (as in: 100%) the result of Rome’s doing.

Therefore, it seems to me that the discussion about the Roman “awareness” is a rather academic one or, more likely, one piously trying to persuade the readers that no, the ultimate responsibility – and blame – for what is happening in this country cannot be put there. Yes, it can, because this is simply what happened.

It seems, therefore, rather a waste of time to wonder what those who have created the problems will do to deal with the problem they have created. They will do what they always do: send a faint signal here and adopt a weak disposition there, in the sure knowledge that the signal will be overheard and the disposition flatly ignored.

If this wasn’t the case, we wouldn’t have this situation in the first place and the idea that suddenly the Roman pussycat would transform itself in a tiger is as illusory as the belief that a weak teacher may become a severe one, or an indulgent father start to impose a rigid discipline.

The buck stops at the very top, and the very top is what – ultimately – caused the situation we have today. The situation will only change when it is considered not good (pick your adjective here: charitable, sensitive, pastoral…) to be a pussycat anymore, and tigers will start to roar instead.

We will come there one day, as in this only unavoidable that after the excesses of the past fifty years the pendulum starts one day swinging the other way. I have merely lost all confidence that the present reign will ever effect anything remotely similar to roaring. This pontificate will be remembered for ground breaking instructions and dispositions, for which lack of obedience was passively accepted, and lack of enforcement confused with a charitable approach.

At least, some plans have been laid. Let us pray that the future may give us builders able to translate projects into a concrete edifice.


The Convert And His Church

Hopefully, one day, a Catholic church: St. Mary Abbott, Kensington, West London, Sir Georg Gilbert Scott (1811-1878).

On the newspaper of the Anglicans (called “Anglican Mainstream”) there is an article of Andrew Carey regarding the attitude of the Anglican clergy toward those who have decided to join the Ordinariate.

Basically, the Anglican hierarchy are refusing to give churches (even unused ones) to the converts for their own use; in addition, they are refusing the shared use of Anglican churches. Mr. Carey considers this attitude to be wrong as in his opinion a “broad church” like the Anglicans should “act differently”.

I disagree with Mr. Carey. I see in the refusal of the Anglicans to allow converts to use their own churches a last vestige of dignity and coherent thinking, the more remarkable because the Anglicans have been clearly losing both for many years now.

By all talking about being “broad” or “open”, it goes without saying that whoever is out is not in, and whoever has chosen to be out has consequently chosen not to be in anymore. The expectation (more or less strongly entertained) that there should be a moral obligation of the organisation that has been left to do something gratis et amore Dei for those who have left them is not very realistic and is, more importantly, utterly illogical.

For the Anglicans, the Ordinariates are a problem; certainly not a mortal one, but one that can’t be dismissed as irrelevant. To help those who go would simply mean to help to achieve one’s own demise. Glad as I would be to see the death of this heretical outfit born of whoring and/or bastard kings, I don’t think that this should be expected from them. If Anglicans have a remnant of dignity at all, they must still consider (wrong as this certainly is) their way the best one and conversion to Catholicism a mistake. If this is so (and it can’t be otherwise, logically) it certainly cannot be asked of them to help not only the achievement of their own demise, but the spreading of theological error.

In addition, it must be said that the Anglicans – wrong as they certainly are – are there to protect the interest of their own community. Their duty of allegiance is to those who are in, not to those who have chosen to go out. By all talk of ecumenism, this is a brutal truth that can’t be ignored without making oneself open to the accusation of working against one’s own shop.

As to the sharing of churches, the nicest thing I can say is that the idea is bonkers and I truly hope that it will never become a reality in any Ordinariate whether in the UK or abroad.
There is already an issue of letting the potential converts understand that Anglicanism is a completely different, utterly opposed, fundamentally antithetic choice to Catholicism. There is already the fear that many converts will prove fake converts thinking that they haven’t really changed anything, but have only continued to be the same in a slightly different setting (heresy and sacrilege I know; but browse around and you’ll read things that will have your hair stand on end). If to this danger of fundamental misconception we were to add the worship in the same church building as before, we would positively encourage the heresy and the sacrilege; this without even considering the practical problems of how to set the altar, how to care for the tabernacle and so on. Interfaith worship in the same building doesn’t make any sense, it merely confuses the faithful.

Does this mean that all those beautiful churches, now unused, should be left empty? Certainly not. In my eyes, in the coming years and decades some of these churches should be bought by Catholic institutions to be exclusively used as Catholic churches. As the Anglican so-called church has no use for many of them, their value is not very high and as they are mostly Grade I or Grade II-listed they can’t be knocked down to build shopping centres or garages, which circumstance further depresses the value of the land. Catholic dioceses could, in turn, purchase some (or more than some) of these churches and use them in substitution of their monstrosities of the Sixties, whilst the fact that most of the monstrosities are not listed would make it easier to sell the land to be redeveloped for other purposes; some of the newly acquired churches could then be shared by ordinariate and diocesan Catholics without any problem.

In this way, the Anglicans could do something useful for their own people (cash in, and less maintenance costs) and the Church would get a number of beautiful old churches, adequate worship opportunity for the Ordinariate Catholics, the disappearance of many ugly church building and perhaps, here and there, some rather nice real estate deal. A win-win situation, it seems to me, obtained without having to ask (or worse, expect) favours from everyone and without compromising the obligatory doctrinal rigidity of Catholic worship.


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