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Monday, April 23, 2012

The Waiting Game

For those of us who are more traditional minded, we have entered into a sort of "waiting game."  We have become enamored with the idea that the SSPX are going to reconcile.  Some of us, including myself think that this can do nothing but promote healing in the Church with regard to the traddy faction and the progressive faction.  Some feel exactly the opposite.  I cannot speak for the progressives, for I am not one of them, but I can give my view as a traddy, because it is what I believe.

From time immemorial, the Church has been conservative.  Her role is not only to help Catholics live in the time in which they are a part, but also to maintain the connection between the Apostles and the Fathers of the Church.  A very big part of the Church is to conserve the Truth of Jesus Christ.  That, above all else, is what drives the SSPX and all traddies.  As traddies, we are not looking to stifle the Church, hardly, but we are looking to conserve that which transmits the truth.  We can be certain that the traditional ways of Catholicism do this, we cannot be certain that the new methods do, especially when those methods are at odds with traditional Catholic thought.

This is the conundrum which we face.  I think that it is the conundrum every age faces.  I don't think that the Church has endured such a polarizing shift as it did in the 1960s.  It's how we respond to those conundrums which define us as Catholics.

We hear all the time that the SSPX is "acting away from the Church."  We hear that the SSPX is "dangerous to the faith."  We hear that the SSPX is "disobedient."  We hear that the SSPX has "set up an alternate Magisterium."  Where has the SSPX said any of this?  Where has the SSPX done most of this?  Let me answer some of these questions, from my point of view. 

1.  How exactly is the SSPX "dangerous to the faith?"  Have they taught heresy?  No.  Have they taught apsotasy?  No.  They don't teach anything which is contrary to Catholic thought.  If they do, I would like to hear it. 

2.  How has the SSPX been "disobedient?"  Because they question the Magisterium of Vatican Council II?  How can Vatican Council II have a Magisterium if there was no dogma and no doctrine defined?  There was nothing definitively declared.  There were no Magisterial acts enjoined.  It was pastoral.  To question this isn't being disobedient, it is being intellectually honest.  Then there is the whole Econe consecration thing.  Well....last I checked that was forgiven and the excommunications were lifted.  So, to speak of that as being an act of disobedience is intellectually dishonest, because if the Church (and we are the Church) is socially aware enough to forgive, then the Church should simply forgive and not put conditions on the forgiveness.

3.  The SSPX has not set up an "alternate magisterium."  Where has the leadership of the SSPX ever said that they were anything other than Catholic?  Where has the leadership of the SSPX ever said that they were above the Pope?  They have not.  They have constantly and consistently said, since their early days that they were concerned with the authentic tradition of the Church being transmitted.

The problem lies, as I see it, with the progressives.  They have tried and tried, over and over, in many different ways to set up alternative magisteria.  Think about it...there are many different manifestations of this, the two most recent being the priests in Austria and the LCWR in America.  The progressives have altered the liturgical action through disobedience, to the point where it is unrecognizable to the wishes of the Council Fathers.  The progressives have attempted to alter the understanding of ecumenism, to the point where ecuemenism doesn't refer to the Orthodox any longer, but rather it refers to any Christian denomination.  And the progressives have expanded and perverted the notion of religious liberty to the point where secular humanism and the melding of the Protestant mind is no longer a heresy, but simply another way of looking at Christianity on an equal and respected level.

Is it disobedient to protect tradition?  I don't know.  I do know one thing though, none of this, NONE of this is infallible.  The SSPX, by all accounts will reconcile in May.  They will be "legitimate."  They will be as legitimate as Sr. Joan Chittister, they will be as legitimate as Fr. Richard McBrien, they will be as legitimate as any progressive member of the Church.  The big question is this...

What will the progressives do when they are reconciled?

The reason the progressives don't like the SSPX or any other traddy group is simple.  We stand in the way of their re-imagining of the Church.  There is no place in the Church for secular humanism and the heresy of Protestantism.  There is a place however, for those who support tradition.  Why?  Because what the traddy promotes is consistent with 2000 years of the Church, can the progressives say that, authentically?

Caveat:  This isn't about the SSPX.  This is about tradition.  This is about understanding the breakdown of what is going on in the Church today.  The SSPX is the most visible, so they are the obvious example, but this can be attributed to most any traddy. 

The truth is that the progressives wanted change.  The problem is that the Church doesn't change, she grows.  The sooner the progressives understand this, the better.


  1. So you think that a canonical regularization is basically certain at this point?

  2. I'd like to point out an observation:

    The bishops, even the liberal ones, are decrying this HHS mandate saying, "We follow God's laws, not man's."

    And yet that is exactly what the SSPX has been impugned for lo these many years.

    Archbishop LeFebvre was not about to acquiesce to man's law - a pastoral (non-dogmatic) council and deny God's law - 2000 years of tradition.

    It seems to me that many of these bishops have been cozying up to the modernists and are now shocked to find out they've been used.

    What's that saying, lie with dogs and you'll wake up with fleas?

  3. Heather, can you prove that Archbishop Lefebvre actually obeyed God's law over man's? He and the bishops he ordained weren't excommunicated for promoting the Latin Mass but rather for disobedience (that is, ordaining bishops without papal permission). Remember, St. Pio of Pietrelcina and many other saints were given orders that we might consider unfair, but they obeyed anyway, as they weren't ordered to commit sin. Also, just because Vatican II is pastoral doesn't mean it may be disregarded. Pope Paul VI addressed that very thing once:

    "You cannot invoke the distinction between dogmatic and pastoral in order to accept certain texts of the Council and to refute others. Certainly, all that was said in the Council does not demand an assent of the same nature; only that which is affirmed as an object of faith or truth attached to the faith, by definitive acts, require an assent of faith. But the rest is also a part of the solemn magisterium of the Church to which all faithful must make a confident reception and a sincere application" (Letter to Archbishop Lefebvre, Nov. 10, 1976).

    Many years prior to then His Holiness said the following (note the full quote -- too often people only quote part of the first sentence from "In view of . . ." to ". . . note of infallibility"):

    "In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any extraordinary statement of dogmas that would be endowed with the note of infallibility, but it still provided its teaching with the authority of the supreme ordinary Magisterium. This ordinary Magisterium, which is so obviously official, has to be accepted with docility, and sincerity by all the faithful, in accordance with the mind of the Council on the nature and aims of the individual documents."

  4. Andy Milam writes : "Some of us, including myself think that this can do nothing but promote healing in the Church with regard to the traddy faction and the progressive faction."

    The progessives are a bit more than a faction, they've won the culture war and are even now solidifying their gains. The culture and the accepted theological sensibilities are theirs.

    With that said, I'm glad for the reconciliation, just as I was glad for the motu proprio, and the FSSP before that. They make my family's life better, but they have zero impact on the Church as a whole.