Some of you will have read of my rather perplexing experiences in Bruges, Flanders. Rather a couple more – says my stats table – have read, or at least clicked on, my several posts about the Heresy in Austria.
In what appears to be the deserved punishment for the Vatican’s incompetence and culpable inaction, the heresy now spreads to Flanders, where – as I write this – no less than 211 priests have signed a sort of petition explaining things the poor idiots “don’t understand”.
Unfortunately, your truly can help with German, but he is totally at a loss to interpret that strange-sounding mixture of guttural sounds called Flemish. For this reason, I will have to rely on the always excellent Rorate Caeli for a list of those things the poor idiots – or worse; read my post about Bruges – don’t understand. They seem to be the following:
1) We do not understand why the leadership of our local communities (such as parishes) is not entrusted to a man or woman, married or unmarried, professional or volunteer, who received the necessary formation.
2) We need dedicated shepherds. We do not understand why these fellow faithful cannot lead Sunday services.
3) In every living community we need liturgical leaders. We do not understand why – when there is no priest – a service of Word and Communion is not allowed.
4) We do not understand why skilled laypeople and formed religious educators can not preach. We need the Word of God.
5) We do not understand why faithful of good will who remarried after a divorce have to be denied Communion. They are equally part of the community.
I regret the demise of those blessed times when a slap in the face was the way such questions – when posed by, say, an unruly child; adults would obviously, being adults, not pose them – were dealt with. Unfortunately, nowadays the children aren’t treated that way anymore, and many of them seem to have become priest.
Why they did that, is beyond me. Unless they’re homosexual or pedophiles, of course.
Still, I do not want to hide from you the fact that in my modest opinion, the biggest culprit for this mess is the Vatican, and one wonders how many countries – or parts thereof – will launch such “initiatives” before someone in the right chambers wakes up, smells the coffee and starts being Catholic instead of regaling us with the usual platitudes about how good bishops are supposed to be, without caring to do anything when they – regularly – don’t.
The northern European barn is slowly, but surely burning. I can’t hear the Vatican sirens anywhere.
The time for empty talk has passed. This is the time for sharp and decisive action, for exemplary excommunications, for punishment and restoration of sound Catholic thinking. Beginning, of course, from Cardinal Schönborn but now – alas – having to go much further than some diocese lost in Mitteleuropa.
The Neville Chamberlain policy didn’t work. It never could, it never will.
The blog of EF Pastor Emeritus reports about the “Pastor intiative”, a delirious heretical initiative of Austrian priests and deacons thinking that they can have their way because they are many. Those of you who can read German can check here that the points repeated by E F faithfully reflect (albeit in the third person plural) the points of the “Pastor Initiative”.
For your convenience – and hoping not to ruin your dinner – I’ll copy and paste them here:
1. In every liturgy they will include a petition for church reform.
2. They will not deny Communion to faithful of good will, especially remarried people, members of other Christian churches, and in some cases those who have officially left the Catholic Church.
3. As much as possible they will avoid celebrating multiple times on Sundays and feastdays, and avoid scheduling circuit rider priests unknown to the community. A locally-planned Liturgy of the Word is preferable.
4. They will use the term “Priestless Eucharistic Celebration” for a Liturgy of the Word with distribution of Communion. This is how the Sunday Mass obligation is fulfilled when priests are in short supply.
5. They will ignore the prohibition of preaching by competently trained laity, including female religion teachers. In difficult times, the Word of God must be proclaimed.
6. They will advocate that every parish has a presiding leader – man or woman, married or unmarried, full-time or part time. Rather than consolidating parishes, they call for a new image of the priest.
7. They will take every opportunity to speak up publicly for the admission of women and married people to the priesthood. These would be welcome colleagues in ministry.
It would be difficult – but not entirely amusing – to try to rank these points in order of heretical content, or stupidity. It is also clear that even a very bad Pope, let alone a good one, should see in around twenty-seven seconds the destructive potential of this and the necessity of swiftly suffocating the revolt in the bud inviting the men to immediate retractation or dismissing them from the clerical state. I want to hope – desperately so – that if the bishops don’t act, Rome will.
Still, I do have some questions:
1. How can it be that a letter from a perfect stranger is sufficient to suspend a priest (Father Corapi, and many others) from his priestly functions, but the written and public self-denunciation of a priest as a heretic – and one who not only openly rebels to the rules of the Church, but even openly invites other priests to do the same – is not?
2. If 313 priests an deacons are not enough to punish them and set an example, when will the right moment be? When they have become 1000? 2000? 3000?
3. If there is no courage to act when the rebellious priests/deacons are 313, what should let us think that this courage will be found when these priests are a multiple of that?
4. How can it be that the Austrian bishops (provided that they do not, in fact, collude with the rebels) do not see that to let such an open call to revolt unpunished can only achieve the effect of encouraging others to participate to the rebellion?
5. How can a bishop, in his conscience, tolerate that such a priest remains in his function as priest of the Catholic church? How can he tolerate such a scandal? How can he leave such a priest at his place, in full standing, knowing that he is both in open revolt and clearly heretical? The scarcity of priests is fully irrelevant here as it is clearly better to have no priest that an heretic inviting priests and faithful to rebellion.
Again: if one didn’t know how inefficient and weak bishops can be, collusion would be the only reasonable hypothesis for such scandalous failure to act (see below).
6. Why is the Vatican doing nothing? When do they think it will be the moment to act? Are 313 priests/deacons in the same little country not enough? If not, what is enough? A revolt of Arian proportion all over the German-speaking world? Or perhaps it is better to wait that France explodes, too? What about Canada?
Now don’t think that there has being no reaction at all. Oh no. There has been the usual verbal alleged “sharp” reaction with Bishop Kapellari making very clear to them, with a sharp blabla, that he sharply disagrees. You don’t say? Really? Are you sure you are not being too harsh here, Your Grace? By the way, the last link would seem to indicate that of the 313, 250 are priests. A lot of people with Freundinnen there, for sure.
And as we talk about about bishops, make no mistake: they are the main culprits as a revolt of such massive proportions could never have been even conceived if the bishops had worked properly in the past years. The revolt of the grassroots (Austria is a relatively minor country, and 313 priests/deacons would be an awful lot in every country) is a clear indication of the complete failure at the episcopal level: failure to instruct, failure to warn, and failure to punish.
Unless of course the bishops are colluded; which would explain a thing or two.
This scandal is rapidly reaching Dutch proportions. The Dutch schism is probably the darkest page of the already, let us say, not entirely luminous pontificate of Pope Paul VI. When I read the pages about the schism on Iota Unum I remember thinking “thank God, this madness could never happen today and if it did, the punishment would be swift and exemplary”.
I don’t know anymore about swift. We’ll see about exemplary.