Dum Romae Consulitur, Saguntum Expugnatur, reports Titus Livius that the ambassadors from Saguntum said to the Romans. “Whilst in Rome they discuss, Saguntum is taken”. History tells us that the Roman hesitation in acting decisively in the defence of Saguntum led to the ultimate destruction of the latter without doing anything to avoid a confrontation that clearly had to come anyway.
Fast forward to AD 2011. Another Curia Romana is in power now, and a similar situation is presented to them. Whilst in Rome they discuss, Austria gathers supports for an open revolt to almost every conceivable Church rule (from male priesthood to male celibacy, and from apostolic succession to Church governance) without any noise coming from Rome, and the weakest of ex officio criticism from the Austrian clergy.
The blog post of E F Pastor Emeritus about the 313 priests and deacons signing the open appeal to rebellion is as recent as last week. If you visit the page, they today have 317, with the number of adhering priests increased from 250 to 255. This in merely one week, with the page warning that in summer the updates will be irregular. For the record, the huge title of the page means “Appeal To Disobedience”. The bishop sends his greetings.
Also worthy of notice is that the supposedly sharp meowing of Bishop Kapellari didn’t come from the number one of the Austrian bishops’ conference, but from its number two. Methinks, Cardinal Schoenborn is too intent on enjoying his holiday to deal with the matter of more than 300 priests and deacons (and counting) adhering to a public invitation to open heresy. Or perhaps he is not even on holiday, but he simply thinks that such a matter of small importance as the call to open rebellion from 250 of his priests (come on, folks: Austria has 8.5 million inhabitants, 250 priests in an awful lot by every conceivable standard) doesn’t deserve a word from the boss, the second in charge being fully sufficient for the widely expected “sharp” official meowing. Or perhaps Cardinal Schoenborn is simply doing what he can to help the rebels without openly compromising himself, helping their rebellion to grow by giving the obligatory criticism as low a profile as this is possible without attracting Rome’s lightnings.
I know that this is the country where the clergy authorises western masses, laser masses, and blasphemous representations of the Last Supper. But even so, one would expect the meowing to be more energetic, and from the top cat.
Not happening. The number of openly rebellious priests and deacons grows; they will take more courage as the weeks and months go by without any reaction going beyond the meowing. The absence of a strong reaction will consolidate in the minds of the simple and of the poorly instructed (in Austria, evidently, the vast majority) the impression that the Church has a weak reaction because she is wrong; that she doesn’t act decisively because she knows this would be an injustice. This will, of course, not appease the rebels, who will feel more and more encouraged to become bolder (though I can imagine with much difficulty how one can be bolder than that: by starting to “consecrate” wymyn priest perhaps? or by declaring that satanic rituals now fulfill sunday mass obligations?….).
At this point, it is difficult to imagine that the Austrian hierarchy will suddenly find the guts to put an end to this. Firstly, they don’t believe in God (if they did, they would never countenance blasphemous material in the diocesan dome museum in Vienna). Secondly they don’t care a straw for Catholic orthodoxy (if they did, there weren’t western masses, nor laser masses). Thirdly, they are evidently not displeased with the behaviour of their priests (if they were, they would have had in the past many ways to threaten the vast majority of them into submission, which is something they do rather well when they want to).
Decisive action is now, reasonably, only to be expected from Rome. Unless this action is exemplarily harsh the ferments of rebellion will remain, as you can’t expect to reeducate a priest in such a decisive opposition to everything Catholic with gentle words more than you could avert the attack of an angry rottweiler by telling him a joke about David Cameron.
Whilst in Rome they discuss, in Austria heresy spreads.