More sad SSPX news

I sadly read a piece posted by our friends at Rorate that the head of the SSPX, Bishop Bernard Fellay, excommunicated in 1998 for accepting episcopal consecration without pontifical mandate, has dissed His Holiness Benedict XVI during a sermon last Sunday in Paris at the SSPX "parish" St. Nicholas-du-Chardonnet.

Here is what Rorate posted:

    And now, we have a perfectly liberal Pope, my very dear brothers. As he goes to this country [the United States], which is founded upon Masonic principles, that is, of a revolution, of a rebellion against God. And, well, he expressed his admiration, his fascination before this country which has decided to grant liberty to all religions. He goes so far as to condemn the confessional State. And he is called traditional! And this is true, this is true: he is perfectly liberal, perfectly contradictory. He has some good sides, the sides which we hail, for which we rejoice, such as what he has done for the Traditional liturgy.

    What a mystery, my very dear brothers, what a mystery!

The original French is posted on the website La Porte Latine of the SSPX.

How gracious of him to admit that Pope Benedict has good side to him.

I cannot believe that a person who desires unity with the Roman Pontiff would stand up in a pulpit and say this sort of thing about the reigning Pope. 

Thinking it is one thing, but saying it in a sermon is another.

However, this statement does underscore what I have been saying all along.  The real problem for the SSPX is not so much the liturgical issue or the excommunications, or even some juridical structure they could fit into.  Those things can be solved with the a few signatures. 

The real obstacle is the Church’s teaching about religious liberty.

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242 Responses to More sad SSPX news

  1. kradcliffe says:

    “The real obstacle is the Church’s teaching about religious liberty.”

    Father, I don’t understand. Could you explain why this is a problem?

  2. schoolman says:

    Is Bishop Fellay pretending to be a “teacher of the Pope”? I think he may want to heed the words of Cardinal Castrillon — given in interview after the recent ordination seremony for the FSSP in Lincoln.

    “We hope that they [SSPX Bishops] will come to full communion with the Church…but some people are going too fast…to the schism…and to the heresy…because, if they begin to be ‘teachers of the Pope’, this is not schism…this is heresy. And, if it is confirmed…people going with that kind of movement will be excommunicated too…because of the heresy…”

  3. Other Paul says:

    I love my neighbor I love my neighbor I love my neighbor I love my…

    Dis’ my Pope will ya? Why I oughta…….Grrrrrrrr!!

    I love my neighbor I love my neighbor I love my neighbor I love my …

  4. Connie says:

    Schoolman,
    Can you post a link to that interview? I’d like to read it.

  5. Matt of South Kent says:

    Kradcliffe,

    I am no expert but what I have read on other web sites and blogs and I do not mean to offend anyone. I am as interested in learning more about SSPX’s position as anyone.

    SSPX and its members really disagree with the change and expansion of ecumenical activities instituted after the Second Vatican Council. They firmly believe that salvation is found only through membership and adherence to the Catholic Church. It is my impression that they believe all non-Catholics are condemned to Hell.

    They firmly believe that the Catholic Church should go back to ignoring the Protestants and deal with non-Christians as if what they believe is of no value.

    I understand their point of view but I don’t agree with it. It would have the Catholic Church deny her role as the mother church of all Christians.

    I was talking to my 10 year old son this weekend and he asked “the Protestants don’t have a Pope?” and I told him, yes they do, they have our Pope. Pope Benedict is everyone’s Pope – St. Peter’s successor.

  6. schoolman says:

    Connie, I transcribed that from the following audio of the interview:

    http://media.journalstar.com/podcast/?mid=M4840b17287666

    The Cardinal would not say that an “exact” schism exists — insofar as the SSPX Bishops refrain from attempting to exercise true episcopal authority.

    At the same time, however, he warns about the danger of real schism…and even heresy…insofar as they pretend to be the Pope’s “teacher”.

  7. Jrbrown says:

    I would note that later in this same sermon Bp Fellay goes on to state that the principles of Catholic doctrine, as announced immediately prior to the Council, very likely lead to almost the same situation as America actually has, namely great tolerance for religion, within limits of public order and common good (for example, polygamy is illegal, even if on religious grounds). Thus, he actually admits that in practice the teachings before the Council largely have the same application as those announced at the Council. So, in that sense, he actually is making a specific appeal for continuity.

    However, it is indeed ‘a mystery’ as to why he uses these terms. Admittedly, the term ‘liberal’ has a somewhat different connotation in Europe, mostly referring to the political concept of liberty, as accounced during the early statges of the French Revolution and largely adopted by the USA. In that sense, our Holy Father himself has indeed said that these non-radical and religiously neutral politcal concepts are in fact acceptable, and a contribution by the West to humanity. This philosophy, of course, is radically opposed by SSPX on the basis of the Syllabus of Errors, the teaching of St. Pius X, etc., on the relations between Church and State. Clearly there is a polemic to this homily, though, even if the terminology is not the same as we think of in America. I think what he is actually saying is that Benedict XVI seems to adhere to a condemned proposition that the State has no duty whatsoever towards true religion-of course, Dignitatis Humanae itself states that the Council was not overturning the traditional doctrine about the duties of ‘men and nations’ towards the true religion. Which begs the question, and one which must be answered by the Church, what IS that traditional doctrine upheld by Vatican II?

  8. Clara says:

    Well, think about it this way. Dignitatis Humanae makes it sound as though every person has a pre-institutional right to follow any religion of his choice. That is, everyone is born, regardless of time or place, with a right to worship any god of his choice in whatever way he deems fitting (presumably with certain limitations when this threatens public safety etc.)

    But if the Catholic faith is the one true one, worshipping other gods or following other religions will be, at least for those who are not invincibly ignorant, a serious sin. Does it make sense to say that we have an inalienable right to sin? That we are entitled by natural justice to adhere to error?

    A further reason for worrying about this is that it certainly seems like a significant departure from the views of some of the Doctors of the Church, who seemed definitely to be of the opinion that heretics could justly be punished — and should be. St. Thomas clearly states that repeat heretics (that is, those people who fall into heresy, are persuaded to renounce their error, but then fall back into the same heresy again) must be executed for the sake of avoiding scandal. Plenty of other saints and doctors (St. Augustine, St. Thomas More, and many others) have articulated or at least operated on similar principles. And you can see what they’re thinking. Heresy is both sinful, and a danger to other souls. What reason would we have for protecting it?

    I’m by no means an SSPXer, but I also find this troubling, and it does seem to constitute a serious change in Catholic teaching. This is just a bare-bones sketch of the problem, but hopefully enough to give you the idea.

  9. Ottaviani says:

    It is my impression that they believe all non-Catholics are condemned to Hell.

    They firmly believe that the Catholic Church should go back to ignoring the Protestants and deal with non-Christians as if what they believe is of no value.

    That is probably the best caricature of the SSPX’s position, I’ve seen. It might surprise you to know that Catholicism, even before Vatican II, believed non-Catholics could be saved by invincible ignorance. What the SSPX (and many traditionally- orientated Catholics privately) believe is some ambiguity of the documents of Vatican II obscure this, so as to lend themselves to heretical interpretations and conclusions.

  10. Clara says:

    Sorry, I should have specified that my post was directed towards Kradcliffe’s original question. I forget how quickly comments go up on this blog.

  11. Malta says:

    You are a sensitive lot! Whoever said one can’t criticize certain actions of the Pope? Dante made it into an art. I love Benedict XVI, and I’m sure that Fellay does too, but we need not approve everything a Pope says or does. I too hope that SSPX reconciles with Rome, and soon. I don’t think what Fellay said will effect that; Our Pope is a big boy with a brilliant mind, I doubt he’ll get too ruffled by this one comment.

  12. Jacques says:

    I just read the whole homily of Bp Fellay.
    I understand well that the excerpt quoted above by Fr Zuhlsdorf about Our Holy Father is somewhat shocking and not at all in the mood to calm the minds on both sides.
    Yes, but fundamentally, is this sermon so wrong? Of course, the SSPX is against the religious liberty, like was our Church for centuries. But its main reproach is not as much the fact the Church is now tolerating the other religions as not to clearly say aloud that the Catholic Church alone holds the Truth, the only Truth that leads to Salvation. Instead the current creeping relativism is confirming everybody, Catholic or other religion’s believer, that the RCC is only one way to salvation among many others.

  13. Tom S. says:

    Sad indeed… I just don’t get how a man who can seem so reasonable and thoughtful can come up with such odd ideas.

    And what does he mean by “He goes so far as to condemn the confessional State”??
    Excuse my ignorance, but I just don’t get it.

  14. Sir H Grattan says:

    This is the beginning of the end for the SSPX. The fact that all priests can now celebrate the old Mass removes their raison d’être. Traditionalists no longer need them, and they will decline as a result of our Holy Father’s Motu Proprio. Clearly the schismatic heretic Bishop Fellay intends to salvage his sinking ship, but I doubt he’ll get very far. In the future nobody will want to join their retrograde, schismatic (canonically-unrecognized) “society”. Eventually they’ll become a mere memory in the minds of Catholics. Their pathetic rat-infested seminaries are attracting hardly any vocations. One of their Irish based priests testified that the SSPX have such a problem with vocations that eventually the ‘society’ will have no priests in Ireland, a country that was once the garden of priestly vocations. I believe they’re becoming a (small) brainwashing cult as opposed than anything resembling a true religious society. Fellay has already said he has no plans to “re-enter the church” (his words, not mine), so I don’t see why some people are so surprised at his latest anti-Catholic, anti-Papal rant. How long will it be become the Lefebvrites start denouncing Catholics as ‘Romanists’ or ‘Papists’. Some members of their ‘society’ are so vehemently anti-Catholic that they make Jack Chick look like a disgruntled little altar boy.

  15. Scott Smith says:

    DIGNITATIS HUMANAE
    “Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society. Therefore it leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.”

    “This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.”

    I don’t understand the material objection of the SSPX. I find reason to object that the traditional teaching of the obligation of society toward God is neglected today as if it were falsely opposed to the freedom from coercion.

    There are many places where the Council has been mis-applied, misunderstood, and even ignored by those on both sides of the issue.

  16. Gerard says:

    Bishop Fellay certainly is not timorous about expressing the effect of the Holy Father’s actions and words when viewed from a traditional perspective. I actually find it refreshing. There is too much of a facade of agreement. Bishops used to publicly fraternally correct each other all the time.

    Fr. Benedict Groeschel was on EWTN just this past weekend praising “the end of the Emperor” aspect of the papacy.

    Well…you can’t have it both ways. If the Popes have insisted that protocols regarding them and by them be reduced since John XXIII then they are consequently going to open themselves up to criticisms.

    Malachi Martin wrote that the pre-conciliar Popes let the man they were die to the papacy and they were in “the amber of the papacy”

    This is why the pomp and ceremony was so necessary, you could tell who the Pope was in paintings by robes and beehive crowns. From a distance Pius XII looks like Pius XI or John XXIII, this gives the impression of a stable papacy.

    I would also add that it’s not the “Church’s” teachings on Religious Liberty that the SSPX disapproves of. It’s the actual policy and the implementation of that policy which is hardly evangelical in nature.

    I was surprised when I read Augustin Cardinal Bea’s “On Christian Unity” and found that the only person today who publicly speaks with the same terminology, clarity and goals of the Catholic Church as expressed by Bea is Bishop Williamson of the SSPX.

    Something seriously went awry between the time of John XXIII and now.

  17. schoolman says:

    BF: “As he goes to this country [the United States], which is founded upon Masonic principles, that is, of a revolution, of a rebellion against God.”
    No, the Pope distinguishes between the American and the French Revolutions. While the French Revolution rejected God and His Church, the American Revolution remained open to religion — even in the public square.

    BF: “And, well, he expressed his admiration, his fascination before this country which has decided to grant liberty to all religions.”
    So what? The fact is that the citizens of this country come from a variety of faith traditions. Which religions would Bishop Fellay publicly “repress” today were he given the authority?

    BF: “He goes so far as to condemn the confessional State.”
    Not even close. The CCC expressely teaches that duty of both individuals and societies (the state) regarding God and His one true Church. The problem here is that Bishop Fellay would like to understand the traditional teaching in such a way that normally requires that citizens be repressed in their false religious practices in the public domain. Here is where we need to distinguish between dogmatic and civil tolerance. While we can never practice dogmatic tolerance — civil or political tolerance — under the correct circumstances — can become an obligation (duty in justice) and a delicate virtue to practice.

  18. Malta says:

    Matt of S. Kent and Ottaviani,

    Who said the doctrine of “outside the Church there is no salvation” has changed? This was even affirmed by Vatican II: “This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation.” Lumen Gentium, 14.

    Btw: SSPX DOES believe that in certain rare circumstances a person can be saved through either Baptism by Desire or Blood, and rejects Feeneyism:

    http://www.sspx.org/miscellaneous/fr_feeney_catholic_doctrine.htm

  19. jeanmarie says:

    I do not find this sad. It was predictable following the Pope’s speech to the curia in December 2005 in which he announced the program of his pontificate. At the time, I interpreted the speech as a direct assault upon SSPX whom I saw a positing a “rupture epistomologique” between the Church’s doctrine prior to Vatican II and its doctrine after it. Pope Benedict XVI denied such a rupture and posited his famous doctrine of hermeneutic continuity. In justifying this continuity he acknowledged that whereas the Church could not support the violent and godless face of the French Revolution. That same Revolution had a friendly face that showed itself in the American Revolution.
    Of course, at the time of the American Revolution the colonists were very much divided. E.g., Virginia—Anglican, Rhode Island — Baptist, Maryland —Catholic,Massachusetts—Congregational, etc. In order to bring about the necessary esprit du corps, especially in the Revolutionary army Freemasonry was actively promoted. Do we not look upon the Father of our country George Washington clad in full masonic regalia in our nations Capitol today? The apron he wears in this portrait was a gift from the Marquis de Lafayette made by his wife (cf. Simon Shamas’ book-Citizen) Presumably all could agree for example on religious liberty which fell under the general principle of liberty. Now for Catholics both revolutions—French & American have been problematic. The Pope seems to be glossing over this without any real explanation, except the Vatican II document pertaining to religious liberty. Many Catholics, not just SSPX have a problem with this and other documents of the Council. We await the Pope’s own reading of the Conciliar documents since he says they are in continuity with what the Church has always taught. He has cleared up some points. But others like religious liberty and inter-communion with non-Catholics remain to be sorted out. As it stands, non-Catholics under certain conditions can receive communion. That practice is widely abused of course. But in essence this is troubling. In any case, SSPX has a number of issues it wants straightened out before it returns to full communion with the papacy. Fellay has no other choice but declare openly what he said, since many SSPXers believe he is selling out to Rome. As sad as it seems we have to face the fact that many Catholics do not believe that communion with Rome is necessary for salvation and are therefore indifferent to papal claims But this is not entirely their fault given what the Church has said on a number of issues pertaining to this. Given the fact that the Church is a perpetual institution which will outlive all of us, it seems impossible to expect it to clarify things as quickly as we would like. Some patience is required. Still, one’s concern with one’s salvation is only valid as long as one is alive. If the doctrine endorsed by the papacy does not appear to be salvific within the span of one’s life it may appear reasonable to break communion with the Pope and say, “Let God judge!” I prefer patience myself but mostly because of my theological incompetence. But I do not judge those who do not have patience and who have leaders that are competent theologically. Forty years seems a long time to wait for clarification. But it comes little by little. I am not satisfied with what the Pope has said so far. But then he has also said that one cannot be a Freemason and a Catholic. We must wait and see. Meanwhile, SSPX’s hard line seems to be an effective counterpoise to the liberal voices that sometimes drown out orthodoxy in the Vatican

  20. Br. R says:

    Fr. Z,
    “Disrespectfully dissed”? Isn’t “dis” already short for “disrespect”? So there would be no other way to dis someone than disrespectfully.
    Respectfully,
    Br. R

  21. schoolman says:

    Malta, the problem already exists in the SSPX presumption that extra-sacramental (exceptional) salvation is necessarily “rare”. Salvation by way of exception (by exceptional means) does not mean the same thing as “rare”. (Cf. Van Noort, Dogmatic Theology, Vol. II)

  22. Matt of South Kent says:

    Malta,

    Can you please point me to the document where the Roman Catholic Church states “outside the Church there is no salvation”?

    I can not find it in the catechism and I think that statement is the real caricature.

  23. Patrick says:

    R.I.P., SSPX.

  24. schoolman says:

    What is “sad” here is that even President Bush — leader of this so-called “masonic” nation — seems to have shown more respect to the Holy Father than Bishop Fellay has given.

  25. Daniel Latinus says:

    “And you can see what they’re thinking. Heresy is both sinful, and a danger to other souls. What reason would we have for protecting it?” – Clara

    I’m afraid that over the long haul, attempts to use the civil authorities to enforce orthodoxy have led to worse problems. It has been alleged that the parts of France that most quickly adopted Protestantism were those that suffered worst during the Albigensian Crusade. It is said that the widespread unbelief and superstition in today’s Czech Republic is a direct result of attempts by the civil authorities to stamp out the Hussites. And no small part of the Jews’ resistance to the Gospel is the long memory of persecution in the Name of the Jesus the Gospel proclaims.

    And the issue works both ways. Burning heretics is great fun when it’s Jan Hus, Thomas Cranmer, or even a somewhat orthodox sourpuss like Savonarola being roasted. But it’s less fun when the “heretics” being martyred are Joan of Arc, Thomas More, Edmund Campion, or Margaret Clitherow.

    Every time the Church demands that the civil authorities enforce its teachings, it effectively gives the civil authorities power to judge what is orthodox Christianity. And each time this happens, the possibility opens that the civil authority may decide the Church is wrong.

    And of course, there’s also the possibility, as occurred during the Spanish Inquisition, where the Church could become an accomplice to the civil authorities’ crimes. Today nobody recalls the abuse of the Inquisition for reasons of State, or just plain avarice; but everyone knows that the object of the Inquisition was to stamp out heresy and unbelief.

    And how does the life of grace benefit when people are simply going through the motions to avoid persecution, instead of professing the True Faith out of conviction, or at least an openess to it? What kind of a sin would it be to submit to Baptism insincerely to save one’s mortal skin?

    And the SSPX has to ask itself some hard questions. Like what if Paul VI, and various local clerics unfriendly to Tradition, had the muscle of the civil authorites to suppress Abp. Lefebvre and his followers? (In the few cases where the civil authorities seemed to be impeding the SSPX’s goals, they protested loudly.)

    In short, this is a case of the wheat and the tares; let them grow together, and let the Lord sort them out in the end, lest the wheat be destroyed also.

  26. Gerard says:

    Look at all that love coming from Sir H Gratton. A shining example of how to have a civil discussion. The Catholicity shines forth!
    Compare that to what Fellay said and then we’ll have a scale of comparison for what constitutes a lack of respect. I don’t think Fellay is guilty of calumny in his comments.

  27. berenike says:

    “They firmly believe that salvation is found only through membership and adherence to the Catholic Church. ”

    So does the Catholic Church. E.g. Council of Florence.

    DigHum certainly sounds different to Florence or Unam Sanctam! And it might give the impression of a change. But that would be strange, no? :-)

    Councils and popes, as a fellow blogger exclaimed to me a month or two ago, are inerrant; they are not inspired. They can’t actually say something actually wrong. Doesn’t mean they can’t say things in misleading ways, for example. It’s not like the Scriptures. The guarantee is only a negative one – there won’t be any actual errors.

  28. Malta says:

    Matt, Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus has been declared infallibly three times:

    http://olrl.org/doctrine/eens2.shtml

    but, again, it is possible to be “in” the Church by desire or blood:

    http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/outside_the_church.htm

  29. Papabile says:

    First, the Holy Father has as much as told the SSPX in the past that they could be valuable to the Church. (I am not affiliated with the SSPX, nor have I ever attended their masses on a regular basis. I split my attendeance between OF and EF forms.)

    Second, the CDF has officially stipulated that the SSPX has never advocated heresy, and has disclaimed heresy as being any source of schism. It really isn’t useful or Christian to call them heretics, when even the CDF does not.

    Thirdly, the Holy Father has called for a Hermeneutic of Continuity.

    This sermon presents an opportunity for thos of us who think with Rome to explore how to genuinely reconcile Dignitatis Humanae with the previous teachings of the Church with respect to religious liberty.

    I believe it can be done. However, it means tossing out much of the pablum associated with how Dignitatis Humanae has been taught for the past 40 years.

    What was true before remains true now.

    Fourthly (and while I do not believe this personally), the CDF confirmed through Cardinal Ratzinger that the Feeneyite position on extra ecclesiam nullus salus is within the realm of belief for those Catholic s who wish to believe that. Howvere, PLEASE NOTE that the SSPX EXPLICITLY preaches against the FEENYITE position on this.

  30. dcs says:

    Matt of South Kent asks:
    Can you please point me to the document where the Roman Catholic Church states “outside the Church there is no salvation”?

    There are many such documents. A simple Google search will turn them up.

    I can not find it in the catechism and I think that statement is the real caricature.

    It is not a caricature, it is an accurate statement of Church dogma.

  31. Michael J says:

    Schoolman,

    As a practical matter, if salvation for those outside of the Catholic Church is not rare, what does the Church offer? Why should anyone become a Catholic? Why should I remain a Catholic at all if my opportunity and chance for salvation is equal in any religeon? In fact, why stop there? If salvation is equally accessible to thoise practicing any religeon, it logically follows that it is equally accesible to those practicing none at all. Have to tell you honestly, in many ways my life would be much easier if I weren’t Catholic.

  32. Michael Riker says:

    Dear Father Z:

    Infallible Catholic doctrine was and always will be that the civic community as such (aka “the State”), being a moral person, has the objectively grave obligation both to worship Christ the King and to acknowledge the unique truth of Catholicism. That many times, given the reality of pluralism, such a duty is impossible to fulfill does not somehow make the State’s inability to fullfill this duty somehow the “ideal” situation. Yet, words like that of Pope Benedict, with his praise of “healthy secularity”, would seem to imply just this.

    *The time is long overdue for the Magisterium to clarify how conciliar and post-conciliar teach re: such “proper secularity” as pertaining to the State can be and is in harmony with the traditional doctrine.* (Starting with the CCC’s own beginnings of a clarification is a start, but no where near sufficient.)

    *Though I don’t condone Fellay’s public criticism, the frustration that motivates such critcisim is entirely understandable. The Magisterium has the DUTY of removing the present, 40-year old scandal being caused through this _apparent_ doctrinal discontinuity.*

    No amount of referring to historical contingencies of the past will suffice. The objective duty of the State of which I speak at the begginning of this missive obtains in all times and places — even when, given the reality of pluralism, extenuating circumstances excuse the actual *practicing* of said duty. However widespread such excusing circumstances may be does NOT render the State’s consequent incapacity in this regard “healthy” or “proper”.

    So Fellay was wrong. Shame on him. Yet, the Pope (in turn) has an obligation to remove the 40-year old scandal of apparent doctrinal discontinuity and, like Paul VI and John Paul I and II, HE HAS YET TO DO SO. This, too, is wrong. Which is the greater shame? Which will ultimately produce the greater harm to souls?

  33. Sir H Grattan says:

    To be honest, Gerard, I tend to disregard the opinions of those who consider Bishop Williamson (an anti-Semite holocaust denier who blames the American government for the 9/11 attacks) one of the last few proponents of authentic Catholic doctrine.

  34. Sir H Grattan says:

    To be honest Gerard, I tend to disregard the opinions of those who consider Bishop Williamson (an anti-Semite holocaust denier who blames the American government for the 9/11 attacks) one of the last few proponents of authentic Catholic doctrine.

  35. Matt of South Kent says:

    Malta and DCS,

    If it is so straight forward then please point me to the paragraph in the CCC. Simple right?

    Neither of Malta’s two links are to official documents of the Church.

    The provided references are someone’s interpretations of teachings, not the actual teaching.

    I am not trying to be difficult or combative.

  36. Sir H Grattan says:

    Agghh, sorry for the repeating posting. Whenever I went to post, this website kept telling me that an error had occurred, so I reposted it again, presuming that the message wouldn’t show.

  37. Sir H Grattan says:

    I actually meant to say *repeated* not *repeating*….(like it matters!).

  38. Scoliosis says:

    http://www.olfatima.com/August%20301%202006.html

    So sad to see the Williamson school prevail

  39. SD Padre Fan says:

    I have heard similar talk from liberals who don’t affirm the Real Presence. They say that it’s such a mystery that we cannot simply assert that it’s the Body and Blood of our Lord, since we cannot really know that. Using the “mystery” line helps someone dismiss off hand data which clearly contradicts the point they want to make.

  40. Jason says:

    Matt: Paragraphs 846-848. http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p123a9p3.htm#III (you have to scroll down ~18 paragraphs. but they’re numbered so it’s easy).

  41. Matt of South Kent says:

    Jason,

    Thank you! You are a gentleman and a scholar.

  42. Tony says:

    Matt of South Kent:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extra_Ecclesiam_nulla_salus

    That wasn’t very hard.

  43. Tony says:

    Matt of South Kent:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extra_Ecclesiam_nulla_salus

    CCC 846-851.

    30 seconds.

  44. elizabeth mckernan says:

    I have just read through this homily too. The actual reference to the Pope is small as the homily is mainly about devotion to the Sacred Heart. I am not quite sure why the bishop popped it in there. I have never been to an SSPX Mass at St Nicolas although I did once go in out of curiosity – I am in that area of Paris twice a year and walk past the church on many occasions. Having been told of its history I felt quite uncomfortable inside, and not at all at ease although it does have a splendid interior.
    I could not help noticing that before and after his homily, the bishop said ‘In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen’ I have to admit I do miss making the sign of the Cross before and after the homily as we used to do. It put us in the right frame of mind to listen and at the end to acknowledge what we had heard. It just seemed such a natural thing to do. Body and soul together so to speak.

  45. Tony says:

    Not to mention the first canon of the Fourth Lateran Council, the bull Unam Sanctam of Boniface VIII, the Syllabus of Errors of Pius XI, the encyclical Mortalium Animos of Pius XI, and Lumen Gentium, and on and on and on since the third century.

  46. Michael J says:

    Father,
    You hit the nail one the head when you wrote “The real obstacle is the Church’s teaching about religious liberty.” As I write this, there have been 41 posts and probably a dozen or so different explanations and interpretations about what the Church does teach. So while Bishop Fellay’s open and public criticism of the Pope is hard to justify (I could even go so far as to say deplorable), nobody can really claim that the Church’s teaching about religious liberty has exacly been clear.

    I know that many will claim that the teaching is perfectly clear and the fault for mis-interpretation lies entirely with those who got it wrong, but at some point, when the entire class fails a test, you have to assign some of the blame to the teacher.

  47. Malta says:

    A couple of thoughts: First, why can’t SSPX be allowed to exist within the Church and reject the notion religious liberty? St. Benedict’s Abbey in Still Water Mass. is within the bosom of the Church but agrees with Feeney’s strict interpretation of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus (Feeney was also admitted back into the Church without renouncing this belief even though it was the reason he was excommunicated,) and rejects the Church’s official understanding of this doctrine (in other words, they accept the doctrine , but reject the exceptions–Papabile noted this, with respect to Feeney, supra.)

    St. Benedict rejects the Church’s general understanding of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus and yet is allowed to be in full Communion with Her; why? Simply because the notions of Baptism by desire or blood are not doctrines or dogmas of the Church (much like Limbo). It is not usually prudent to disagree with the Church’s general teachings on a subject, it is certainly possible to do so and in certain circumstances and yet remain in the Church. For instance, although a politician can be excommunicated for advocating for Abortion, I have never heard of an example of one being excommunicated for rejecting John Paul IIs teaching on the death penalty.

    Why can’t SSPX be allowed to full communion and still reject religious liberty? The Church’s teachings on religious freedom are not doctrines or dogmas, and therefore it is my understanding that it is not sinful to not agree with Her on this subject so long as one is not holding the belief in a spirit of rebellion from Rome.

    Another point I’d like to make: Pius XII (who is admired by SSPX) taught that democracy is a viable and good form of government:

    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius12/P12XMAS.HTM

  48. dominic1962 says:

    Matt,

    There is more out there than the CCC (though it certainly has this doctrine in it). Look at Unam Sanctam of Pope Boniface VIII and the Council of Florence. While I intend no disrespect for the CCC, we shouldn’t be “Sola CCC”.

  49. Jon says:

    Matt,

    Here are two of many.

    Pope Eugene IV, Cantate Domino (1441): “The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the “eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41), unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.”

    This was pronounced during the Council of Florence, and, I believe, is stated in very careful language that would pass infallible muster as determined by Vatican I.

    Next, for something more recent, I’d read Mortalium Animos, http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius11/P11MORTA.HTM
    written in 1928 by Pius IX.

    Try as you might, you can’t bang the square peg of DH and Assisi into Pius’ round hole, let alone Eugene’s. At least I can’t.

    If that doesn’t justify Bishop Fellay’s method, it almost certainly justifies his madness.

    I truly wish the Holy Father would clear up this confusion, and soon.

  50. Tony says:

    As a corollary to dominic’s statement, the fact that something that was taught as Catholic doctrine for hundreds of years or more is not mentioned in the CCC does not mean it has ceased to be Catholic doctrine. It means that no book can contain the entirety of Catholic doctrine.

  51. schoolman says:

    Michael J., we may be getting off-topic here, however, I think you move from one extreme to the next. We can hold that visible members of the Catholic Church enjoy the fullness of the means of salvation — and at the same time — the possibility that God liberally distributes sufficient grace to those not visibly united to her — where not a small number respond to such interior graces.

  52. Clara says:

    Daniel Latinus,

    I understand some of your concerns. The matter doesn’t seem so clear-cut to me. I mean, obviously you only want civil government to be punishing heretics if the civil government is directed by virtuous people who understand who the real heretics are. But that *is* the basic Aristotelian idea of a virtuous society — that it should be directed by wise people who understand the human good. Obviously that doesn’t always happen, but even accounting for human error, it’s far from clear that the punishment of heretics in the Middle Ages did more harm than it did good. (And btw, it certainly doesn’t seem to me that the Inquisition has been “forgotten.” I hear liberals refer to it all the time, whenever the Church seems to be, you know, asserting forcefully that she’s right about something.)

    But let’s suppose you’re right that it’s overall better to have a separation of church and state. These are still merely *prudential* arguments that you’re giving me. Pragmatically it may be better to leave heretics alone in exchange for a promise that they’ll leave believers alone. But it’s taking things a considerable step further to say that they have a RIGHT to be left alone — that is, that justice DEMANDS that the state leave them alone. The CCC states that the Church does not recognize a right to adhere to error, but it’s hard to see how you get around that conclusion when you read Dignitatis Humanae.

  53. Maureen says:

    Re: religious freedom as not Catholic doctrine

    Gosh, I guess all the Fathers who advocated religious freedom (to worship Christ or be monotheist but not Jewish) to the Emperors were mistaken. All that “we really can be loyal citizens of the Empire, honest — remember the prayers of the Christian legion guys” was just wrong.

    Re: Sign of the Cross at beginning and end of homilies

    There’s nothing that says that priests can’t do that. Our old priest who just retired — he always did that. It was awesome and prayerful.

  54. Patrick says:

    Jon,

    It seems rather obvious that current Church teaching is totally consistent with these older references. No one can receive grace unless through Christ’s Church, so one must be joined to the Church in order to be saved. Not sure where you are seeing a disconnection. It seems pretty straightforward to me.

  55. schoolman says:

    “The CCC states that the Church does not recognize a right to adhere to error, but it’s hard to see how you get around that conclusion when you read Dignitatis Humanae.”

    Clara, the difference lies in the simple distinction between the “error” (in itself) and the erring PERSON as a subject of due rights. For example, it is true to say that “error has no rights”. But it is an error to say that “the erring have no rights”. An honest conscience — even an invincibly erroneous one is binding under pain of sin. Such a person has a moral obligation to follow his honestly erroneous conscience. The corrolary is that such a person has a moral RIGHT to fulfill his moral DUTIES.

  56. Michael Riker says:

    To be exact, the apparent discontinuity does not lie so much in religious liberty *per se* (for that *has* been clarified and explained quite well by the Catechism of the Catholic Church). Nor has it _ever_ been a question of what type of government is acceptable.

    For both the SSPX as well as so many faithful, obedient Catholics, the BIGGEST apparent discontinuity concerns the infallible doctrine that the civic community as such (aka the State) has an objective obligation to acknowledge the true relgion.

    Since its publication some 40 years ago, Dignitatis Humanae has been interpreted as trashing this infallibly-taught doctrine — and this *despite* assurances to the contrary found in Article 1 of the document itself.

    Given that no clarification from the Magisterium has been forthcoming in the wake of 40 years of *honest controversy* (not just among disobedient Catholics, but faithful ones too), it is no wonder that some will be frustrated when the Pope speaks in favor of a healthy secularity as regards the State. It is yet to be shown how the latter idea may be seen to be in continuity with the aforesaid, objective duties of the State in regard to Christ the King and His Church.

    And, again, the fact that the duty cannot be carried out in pluralist societies is beside the point: even the very *ideal* of the State thus carrying out its objective duty of acknowledging Christ and His Church seems to be called into question by the notion of a “healthy secularity”, a notion with at least seeminly normative overtones (viz., overtones as to what “should” be the case).

    Clarification from the Magisterium is desperately in order — not just for the SSPX but for all Catholics familiar with traditional Church teaching in this regard.

  57. James says:

    Firstly the United States, with founding fathers such as George Washington and Ben Franklin was Masonic at the time of its inception. To argue that the American Revolution was not Masonic, is like arguing that the French Revolution wasn’t. Did the Masonic deism of the time influence the founding documents and the general distaste towards a national religion? It would be amazing if it did not.

    Was Freemasonry solely responsible? As Jefferson was almost certainly not a Freemason, then it can’t solely be left at the locked door of the Lodge. However to refrain from calling the American system Masonic would be as silly as not calling it English speaking, pluralist or liberal.

    But let’s leave the Freemasons muttering about Boaz and Jahbulon on their own. The question should be is pluralism really a model for Catholics to follow? Or is it a denial of the social kingship of Christ?

    Religious liberalism and religious tolerance may not sound like they differ, but they do. It’s the difference between treating all religions as equal and relative or treating those who err with love. When Rowan Williams talked about incorporating the barbaric practices of Sharia into English law it was the language of religious liberty, religious relativism, pluralism.

    And it is where religious liberty leads. If you accept that religions other than Catholicism – all of them in error – have rights in and of themselves then how can you argue against polygamy, or living in sin or homosexuality?

    Now America may have been based on religious liberty, and America may dominate the blogospehere, but that does not make it Catholic.

  58. Papabile says:

    Maureen:

    There is a dubia from the mid-70’s that forbids the Sign of the Cross from opening and closing the homily. I will see if I can dig it up. It is to be found in the DOL.

  59. jeanmarie says:

    Schoolman:
    It is misleading to say that, “the American Revolution remained open to religion—even in the public square.” The God it remained open to was not the God of Christian revelation worshipped by Catholics. One sees this in the writings of the Founding Fathers, eg. Thomas Jefferson. Their god was that of the English deists. It is also misleading to say that the Pope does not condemn the confessional state. He has done so in cases like Saudi Arabia and Iran. So one presumes he would condemn Catholic confessional states as well. He has not condemned Israel, however which is a de facto confessional state. We will perhaps see more on this when he meets with the Muslims in the autumn. In my opinion the baptism of the convert from Islam on Easter wsa programmatic with regard to this upcoming meeting Pope Benedict XVI also seems to have in view states like Russia who curtail missionary activities of Catholics as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Orthodox and Muslims in the Russian duma joined hands in this well-known restriction of religious liberty. The Pope has not directly spoken as far as I know against the Orthodox on this issue.
    I do not think Bishop Fellay has in mind America. Franco’s Spain and Salizar’s Portugal are more like what he has in mind. What Catholic can say that morality in Spain or Portugal has flourished since the adoption of religious liberty in Spain? In the eastern American colonies protestant pluralism was there from the start. This was not true in the old Spanish and French colonies. When Mexico declared that US citizens in Texas be Catholic or convert, the US government in 1846 declared war. This led to the liberation of Texas and other Spanish colonies in 1898. Woodrow Wilson then proceeded to demand the dissolution of the last Catholic Empire in Europe as a condition for piece in WW I. Blessed Karl of Austria, the Emperor had of course already sought peace in the famous Xistus affair. Let us not mention the American bombing of Nagasaki, the center of Japanese Catholicism and the American sanctioned overthrow of the Diem regime. All this has left Catholics wondering about the motivations behind American Democracy with respect to our Faith. Those of us whose family history pre-dates the founding of the American Republic and the imposition of religious liberties with its Constitution like it when the Pope is silent about these matters. However, recently this has not been the case. One hardly feels comfortable with the civil religion laid down by the Constitution. But we can carry out the worship and obedience for which we were created. The same is true for those of us who remain under the Pope after Vatican II. We can worship according to the old rites. I am sure that SSPX would have continued in this fashion, except that its founder feared for the future of traditional Church doctrine and proceeded with the consecraton of the four bishops. Of course, many of us face no such responsability and have done nothing to warrant excommunication. Still, one wonders about the wisdom behind Pope Benedict XV’s actions. In time, we will no doubt find out what this is, not, however, before I am dead.. I am an ignorant one. May God have mercy on me if I was wrong not to break communion with the post-Conciliar popes
    Clara:
    I agree with you

  60. Fr Z,

    Am I getting this wrong:

    If

    SAVE THE LITURGY, SAVE THE WORLD

    means anything, it means that everything has to do with the Liturgy, does it not?

    Permit me to point out the irony here:

    The SSPX effectively claims that it is all about religious liberty, etc., and nicely dismisses the Liturgy as being more or less a carrot on a stick, non-negotiable, but also not the most important.

    That is their fatal mistake. We shouldn’t imitate them.

    If they only really understood the Liturgy, that Christ’s religious freedom to obey, His religious freedom to be nailed to the Cross, is our freedom to do the same, then they, the SSPX, would have no problems about the absolute obligation to assent to the Living Truth proclaimed by Dignitatis Humanae.

    Something to think about, perhaps.

    Cheers!

  61. Trey says:

    “believed non-Catholics could be saved by invincible ignorance”

    I don’t think so! But I’m sure that’s not what you meant. They are, of course, saved by grace, which is not nec. impeded by those in a state of invinc. ignorance.

    But yes, this is not a VII idea… Others have referred to Dante… pay attention to some of the people in Paradise…

    Clara – There is a big difference between LEAVING the faith, and never having been of the faith. I think that is an important distinction to make.

    As for the whole religious liberty thing… Is this something to do with faith or morals? Salvation? Why is this treated as though it is of such great importance? Can we not differ on thi?

  62. Michael B. says:

    The Catholic blogosphere is starting to remind me of the “crisis of the minute” mentality over at conservative talk radio. Did no one know that the SSPX disputes Dignitatus humanae and finds the over-riding problem in the Church to be modernism/liberalism? That the discussion is still in the extreme distrust phase shows that Rome and the SSPX are not having a discussion on this at all, and that Rome may foolishly believe that this has always been about access to the Traditional Mass. Access to the Traditional Mass was only the catalyst of this dispute in 1970.

    Meanwhile, people who have long ago written off the SSPX get to express their vitriol again. That’s a shame.

  63. Michael B.,

    I guess you’ll want to read my entry above, posted while you were typing!

    Cheers!

  64. Nick says:

    Can someone explain WHAT the “confessional state” is and why it is or is not bad?

  65. John says:

    Grattan: “their pathetic rat-infested seminaries are attracting hardly any vocations”… talk about being both insulting and mistaken.

  66. Brian Day says:

    There are 60 posts already as I write this. But no one yet has mentioned that DH was (most probably) written to address the problem of communism and the lack of religious expression of any kind in those societies.

    I think that discussing the issue of unintended consequences is appropriate, but that should not happen until the “communism” problem is discussed and resolved.

  67. schoolman says:

    The CCC gives a clear and explicit teaching on this matter.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    The social duty of religion and the right to religious freedom

    2104 “All men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and his Church, and to embrace it and hold on to it as they come to know it.”26 This duty derives from “the very dignity of the human person.”27 It does not contradict a “sincere respect” for different religions which frequently “reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men,”28 nor the requirement of charity, which urges Christians “to treat with love, prudence and patience those who are in error or ignorance with regard to the faith.”29

    2105 The duty of offering God genuine worship concerns man both individually and socially. This is “the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies toward the true religion and the one Church of Christ.”30 By constantly evangelizing men, the Church works toward enabling them “to infuse the Christian spirit into the mentality and mores, laws and structures of the communities in which [they] live.”31 The social duty of Christians is to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true and the good. It requires them to make known the worship of the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church.32 Christians are called to be the light of the world. Thus, the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all creation and in particular over human societies.33

    2106 “Nobody may be forced to act against his convictions, nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with others, within due limits.”34 This right is based on the very nature of the human person, whose dignity enables him freely to assent to the divine truth which transcends the temporal order. For this reason it “continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it.”35

    2107 “If because of the circumstances of a particular people special civil recognition is given to one religious community in the constitutional organization of a state, the right of all citizens and religious communities to religious freedom must be recognized and respected as well.”36

    2108 The right to religious liberty is neither a moral license to adhere to error, nor a supposed right to error,37 but rather a natural right of the human person to civil liberty, i.e., immunity, within just limits, from external constraint in religious matters by political authorities. This natural right ought to be acknowledged in the juridical order of society in such a way that it constitutes a civil right.38

    2109 The right to religious liberty can of itself be neither unlimited nor limited only by a “public order” conceived in a positivist or naturalist manner.39 The “due limits” which are inherent in it must be determined for each social situation by political prudence, according to the requirements of the common good, and ratified by the civil authority in accordance with “legal principles which are in conformity with the objective moral order.”40

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P7D.HTM

  68. Paul Murnane says:

    1st observation: I hear lots of talk about the ambiguity of DH; does this ambiguity exist in the Latin as well as the translations? Given the record of horrid translations since the Council, I’m just wondering. It also seems that precision in vocabulary is central to this argument, yet the term “religious freedom” and “religious liberty” are used interchangeably by advocates of either side to make opposing points. In the end, both sides just end up talking past each other.

    2nd observation: it seems as if Bishop Fellay and the other SSPX bishops are really relishing their “outsider-but-not-really-in-schism” status. Interesting how a group that professes true fidelity to the traditional Church can treat the visible head of the Church, the Vicar of Christ, in such a shabby manner. To use the bishop’s own term, that seems “perfectly contradictory.”

  69. Michael Riker says:

    Schoolman,

    *The problem, however, is that the CCC did not (indeed, could not) speak to the issue of papal recommendations in favor of a “healthy secularity.” The latter smacks of something normative (even ideal), not merely something (like pluralism) which must be tolerated out of respect for those whose consciences are in error.*

    What becomes, then, of the doctrine of Christ’s Kingship over all societies (the civic community, in particular)when taken, that is, in conjunction with Pope Benedict’s own statements in favor of healthy secularity? The CCC itself cites Leo XIII and his repeated emphasis concerning the objective obligation on the part of the public power to acknowledge the unique truth of Catholicism.

    Yes, I know, the fullfillment of this objective duty isn’t possible with pluralist societies — a reality that must be lovingly tolerated. But the Pope’s own words seem to smack of what is to be sought after *as the ideal*, viz., what the _normative_ situation ought to be… I hardly think that “healthy secularism” qualifies in this regard.

  70. Le Renard says:

    The real obstacle is the Church’s teaching about religious liberty.

    Are you serious here?

    So, in other words, it’s the fault of the Vicar of Christ that the SSPX remain separated rather than the fault residing primarily with the SSPX behaving like protestants?

    I should say that the latter is the real obstacle.

    Should it then be the Vicar of Christ who should yield to the demands of the wayward flock rather than we obediently submitting to the Successor of Peter?

    Or was there a footnote in the Baltimore Catechism that stated we should only obey the Head of the Church when he teaches that which is deemed acceptable to us?

  71. schoolman says:

    Michael Riker, the Kingship of Christ and a “healthy secularity” are not mutually exclusive. The concepts of the “healthy secularity” were already covered in depth by Leo XIII (Immortale Dei) when he distinguishes between the “two powers”:

    “The Almighty, therefore, has given the charge of the human race to two powers, the ecclesiastical and the civil, the one being set over divine, and the other over human, things. Each in its kind is supreme, each has fixed limits within which it is contained, limits which are defined by the nature and special object of the province of each, so that there is, we may say, an orbit traced out within which the action of each is brought into play by its own native right.”

    A “healthy secularity” respects this principle.

  72. Gerard says:

    Comment by Sir H Grattan

    To be honest Gerard, I tend to disregard the opinions of those who consider Bishop Williamson (an anti-Semite holocaust denier who blames the American government for the 9/11 attacks) one of the last few proponents of authentic Catholic doctrine.

    Well that’s plainly obvious. You’re a ranter. And your rants are an occasion of sin for yourself. Bishop Fellay is not a heretic. Yet, you call him one without any proof or authority. Sorry, I’m not seeing any honesty on your part.

    On the other hand, that rancid uncontrollable hatred may just be a ruse.
    I may be wrong about Cardinal Bea and his words that I read in his book and the virtually identical words of Bishop Williamson that I have on recordings. I’m falling headlong into a trap carefully laid out by a genius.

    Just fill me in on your vast knowledge of Cardinal Bea and his ecumenical approach and how he differs from Bishop Williamson and I’ll have learned my lesson and you can continue uninterrupted hurling filth in Christ’s name on behalf of the Holy Father. I’m sure he’d be proud of you.

    Calling Williamson an anti-semite is also a lie. You remember what he said about Jews on his “Behind the Headlines” interview with Bernard Janzen, don’t you?

    Enlighten us. Or let the grown ups discuss this in a civilized manner.

  73. Paul Murnane says:

    The Catholic blogosphere is starting to remind me of the “crisis of the minute” mentality over at conservative talk radio. Did no one know that the SSPX disputes Dignitatus humanae and finds the over-riding problem in the Church to be modernism/liberalism? That the discussion is still in the extreme distrust phase shows that Rome and the SSPX are not having a discussion on this at all, and that Rome may foolishly believe that this has always been about access to the Traditional Mass. Access to the Traditional Mass was only the catalyst of this dispute in 1970.

    Meanwhile, people who have long ago written off the SSPX get to express their vitriol again. That’s a shame.
    Comment by Michael B. — 4 June 2008 @ 4:28 pm

    Michael,

    What I find troubling in your post (and with many of the arguments of SSPX adherents/advocates) is that you seem to be treating Holy Church and the SSPX as equals,/b> in this “discussion.” Are you trying to place the Holy Father and Bishop Fellay on the same footing? That’s just not possible, kinda like women priests. I continue to be amazed how often many self-styled “traditionalists” pit the Pope against Bishop Fellay/Williamson, e.g. the Pope said “x” and Bishop Fellay/Williamson said “y” and the starting point for the ensuing discussion is that the Pope is always wrong. Why is it that “Rome” must bend to Econe in order to get past the “extreme mistrust” phase? What was that again about Peter being the rock?

    Speaking directly to religious liberty, if this issue is so important to the SSPX and souls are truly at stake, then why does the SSPX continue to sit on the sidelines? Are those souls not as important as their status as….what exactly is their status again? It’s time to get in the game and engage. Oh, and it case that wasn’t clear, getting in the game means ‘full communion”. And no, full communion does not mean “unconditional surrender”.

    Sorry if that sounded like a rant; it was not intended to be. This topic is very sad and frustrating.

  74. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Since there has been some talk of Feeneyites in this thread, I will post one of my favorite poems (actually a portion of one) from Father Feeney:

    When speaking of how to pray,
    Dogmas come first and not liturgies.

    The idea is that the prayer of the Church should reflect the Dogmas of the Church. Pretty liturgies filled with ambiguity and/or even heresy (High Anglican Services) do much more damage than good. Save the Liturgy, save the World, yes. But you will never save the Liturgy until you save the Faith that the liturgy should reflect.

    I would also say that the Church can not ask you to assent to a teaching, which they are not willing to give the meaning to. Schoolman insists that the meaning of Religious Liberty is clear and in line with the past, but his opinion and $5 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Only the Hierarchy can tell us what the ambiguities in the Vatican II mean, and they are not speaking.

    Finally, I will say that no one is saved by invincible ignorance, or even grace alone, as if our cooperation is not necessary. All are saved by Faith without which no one can please God. The CCC even makes this clear. Also when the CCC says all are required to seek the truth about the Church we can add the statement of Pius XI in Mortalium Animos about it:

    “13. You, Venerable Brethren, understand how much this question is in Our mind, and We desire that Our children should also know, not only those who belong to the Catholic community, but also those who are separated from Us: if these latter humbly beg light from heaven, there is no doubt but that they will recognize the one true Church of Jesus Christ and will, at last, enter it, being united with us in perfect charity.”

    This is the highest authority on this subject. No statements have come from Rome modifying this statement. If a person is bound to seek the truth of God’s Church, then he must do so. If he does so “there is no doubt but that they will recognize the one true Church of Jesus Christ and will, enter it.” If the do not find this Church it is because they are not looking as they are bound to do.

  75. Michael Riker says:

    Schoolman,

    Ideed, respecting the proper autonomy of the temporal order is every bit as traditional as the doctrine on the social Kingship of Christ.

    Yet, the context of the Pope’s words (i.e., discussion of American’s traditionally-accepted version of secularity) would appear to betray any notion that Benedict *merely* had the aforementioned autonomy in mind.

    *At the very least*, the Pope’s words would appear to give licence to those (like George Weigel) who unwittingly carry the torch for John Courtney Murray’s equally unwitting denial of the Church’s full doctrine on the social Kingship of Christ.

    Now, of course, given that Benedict is a _communio_-oriented theologian, I would tend to think he would agree with David Schindler in disagreeing with Murray in this regard. But most people won’t be taking such niceties into account. Most people will take the Pope’s words as giving positive approbation (qua ideal, not qua tolerable) to the American version of secularity.

    Hence the need for clarification.

  76. Papabile says:

    Maureen:

    Here’s the dubium on the Sign of the Cross at the Homily. It seems to leave some allowance according to local lawful custom. However, one’s parish needs to be able to establish such custum within the law, unless contra legem is acknowleged by the lawgiver…

    DUBIUM: Is it advisable to invite the faithful to bless themselves before or after the homily, to address a salutation to them, for example, “Praised be Jesus Christ, etc.?”

    REPLY: It all depends on lawful local custom. But generally speaking it is inadvisable to continue such customs because they have their origin in preaching outside Mass. The homily is part of the liturgy; the people have already blessed themselves and received the greeting at the beginning of Mass. It is better, then, not to have a repetition before or after the homily: Notitiae 9 (1973) 178.

  77. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Schoolman,

    From the same encyclical of Leo XIII:

    “5. … But, if those who are in authority rule unjustly, if they govern overbearingly or arrogantly, and if their measures prove hurtful to the people, they must remember that the Almighty will one day bring them to account, the more strictly in proportion to the sacredness of their office and preeminence of their dignity. “The mighty shall be mightily tormented.”(2) Then, truly, will the majesty of the law meet with the dutiful and willing homage of the people, when they are convinced that their rulers hold authority from God, and feel that it is a matter of justice and duty to obey them, and to show them reverence and fealty, united to a love not unlike that which children show their parents. “Let every soul be subject to higher powers.”(3) To despise legitimate authority, in whomsoever vested, is unlawful, as a rebellion against the divine will, and whoever resists that, rushes willfully to destruction. “He that resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation.”(4) To cast aside obedience, and by popular violence to incite to revolt, is therefore treason, not against man only, but against God.

    6. As a consequence, the State, constituted as it is, is clearly bound to act up to the manifold and weighty duties linking it to God, by the public profession of religion.”

    If Benedict XVI had come to America and said this there would be no problems with the SSPX, of course Americans would have had much to say. The quote you give completely misrepresents the general teaching of the entire encyclical, but perhaps in your haste you skipped over everything else in the encyclical.

  78. schoolman says:

    Michael Riker, when speaking of a “healthy secularity”, the Pope most definately has in mind the proper autonomy of each sphere. Again, the doctrine of religious liberty has nothing to do with “license” — nor does it conflict with the Social Kingship of Christ. Religious liberty, properly speaking, flows from the natural moral law — God’s law. In other words, to deny due religious freedom in the name of the Kingship of Christ is to make of mockery of His Kingdom and its laws…

  79. Agellius says:

    I’m not an SSPXer, but I happen to agree with Fellay that the U.S. is founded upon deeply flawed principles, which are the direct cause of most of our biggest problems today. Some say that “if only we could get back to the principles of the Founders, things would be OK”, but it’s the principles of the Founders that have got us into this mess, meaning the moral mess our country is in, most conspicuously in the matter of abortion.

    The problem is that our Constitution is designed to treat all ideas the same, insofar as they don’t directly contradict the Constitution. Further, it’s designed to water down all ideas so that none dominates in our society. The problem is, it doesn’t even ask whether the ideas it waters down are good or bad. It waters down the good along with the bad. It’s good when it prevents bad ideas from dominating. It’s bad when it prevents good ideas from dominating. What we get are a bunch of middle-of-the-road ideas which do no one much good while allowing a lot of bad.

  80. Gerard says:

    Le Renard wrote:

    So, in other words, it’s the fault of the Vicar of Christ that the SSPX remain separated rather than the fault residing primarily with the SSPX behaving like protestants?

    What makes it impossible that the fault lies with the Pope?

    Should it then be the Vicar of Christ who should yield to the demands of the wayward flock rather than we obediently submitting to the Successor of Peter?

    If the Vicar of Christ, Patriarch of the West, Supreme Pontiff is wrong and “wayward flock” is correct, what should do? Adding the Popes’ various titles doesn’t change facts.

    Or was there a footnote in the Baltimore Catechism that stated we should only obey the Head of the Church when he teaches that which is deemed acceptable to us?

    It’s not in Baltimore as far as I know, but legitimate resistance is in the writings of numerous saints and doctors of the Church as well as a few Popes.

  81. schoolman says:

    Christopher, these principles were not “skipped” in the least. They are included in the CCC sections posted above.

  82. Michael Riker says:

    Schoolman,

    I didn’t use the word “licence” in any context having to do with religious liberty. I *agree* that the highly-nuanced version of relgious liberty as expressed by DH and reiterated by the CCC is based on natural law and is wholly consonant with the traditional teaching.

    As I’ve already said, my sole concern (and the subject re: my call for clarity) _merely_ has to do with the objective duty of the State to _acknowledge_ the unique truth of Catholicism. *Such an acknowledgement need NOT entail any disrespect or civil intolerance towards those in error (within the limits of the common good).*

    Now, getting back to the issue I was actually raising, I hope you would agree that American secularity is hardly a model for what ought to obtain in that rare but ideal circumstance wherein the State is able and willing to excercise its religious duty of acknowledging Christ and the Church.

    Why, then, is it “clear” how Benedict’s “healthy secularity” (patterned as it is on American secularity) can at all coincide with that “healthy State” (to coin a term) which is willing and able to acknowledge the unique truth of Catholicism?

  83. Michael B. says:

    Dear Father Renzo di Lorenzo,
    I command you to immediately come to my diocese and instruct our poorly formed diocesan clergy!
    We are certainly in agreement, I am simply very sympathetic to the SSPX, and the way DH is understood popularly in a Liberal sense.

    I’m just not ready to throw them out, and I wish the controversy would cool down. I think this kind of pressure only inflames the situation.
    With warmest regards,

  84. Malta says:

    I’d like to reiterate my question from earlier if any are interested in trying to answer it.

    Why can’s SSPX be fully reunited to Rome despite rejecting religious liberty, much like the Benedictines are in Still Water, Mass., who accept Feeney’s interpretation of “outside the Church, there is no salvation”?

    In other words, since SSPX adheres to every doctrine and dogma of the Church (better, one might argue, than the vast majority of Catholics in the world) but only rejects novelties from VII, which are not doctrines or dogmas, why can’t they continue to reject such novelties, and still be re-united with Rome?

  85. Michael B. says:

    Dear Father Renzo di Lorenzo,
    I command you to immediately come to my diocese and instruct our poorly formed diocesan clergy!

    We are certainly in agreement, I am simply very sympathetic to the SSPX, and lament the way DH is understood popularly in a Liberal sense.

    I’m just not ready to throw them out, and I wish the controversy would cool down. I think this kind of pressure only inflames the situation.
    With warmest regards,

  86. The homily is part of the liturgy; the people have already blessed themselves and received the greeting at the beginning of Mass. It is better, then, not to have a repetition before or after the homily

    Balderdash!

  87. Oliver says:

    Bishop Fellay is being too generous towards the Roman incumbent. Religious liberty means pluralism and ultimately no meaningful religion because of overriding secularism. If Catholicism is to mean more than a sociable Sunday hobby, then it must be practised and promoted in public life. To wallow in a sea of vague religious feeling or humanist goodwill is hardly the role of popes but then conciliarism has changed the rules. The Vatican has flung open her windows to the world and is breathing deeply.

  88. David2 says:

    Nick, “confessional state” means a state which has a “State Religion”; Saudi Arabua us a Muslim confessional state; historically, the Catholic Monarchies were confessional states, and technically, England is still a (protestant) confessional state, having a “church, by law established’.

    Now, to put it at it’s simplest, the Church’s traditional view was that the state had the duty to promote and protect the Catholic Church; heretics, pagans and the like might be given, in certain circumstances religious tolerance within a political system, but they had no inherent right to religious liberty. The concepts of tolerance and liberty need to be distingushed.

    Malta – I think that the position of he Feeneyites within the Church is problematic. Feeney was reconciled to Paul VI, without retracting or repenting of any of the matters that lead Pius XII to excommunicate him. It’s one of those unfortunate decisions of the dying days of the Paul VI papacy; I can’t imagine any other Pope would have done it. With respect to the SSPX, the problem here is that they won’t reconcile without complete capitulation by the successor of Peter.

  89. patrick f says:

    If one is going to openly criticize the Holy father, I would seriously be concerned about their loyalty to Holy Mother Church. I know its not mine to decide, no man knows what truly is in his heart, It just seems like the SSPX says one thing and does another. They claim to be “Roman Catholic” , yet here we have a bishop openly criticizing current church teaching. Really its been there all along, though I know there are some who will deny that fact and quote everything under the sun. Jesus didnt condemn the pagan centurion, who said “Lord I know I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof”, yet our Lord in his infinite wisdom, showed what true love was. Anyone who goes to mass knows the rest of that story.

    I think some people mistake religious tolerance for religious acceptance. You have those who will criticize the pope for visiting a synagogue, or kissing the torah (Which is more or less a gran daddy of the modern day catechism, FYI torah is more then the first five biblical books). I just dont get why they cant accept the doctrine. It is one thing to say, we understand you dont believe as we do, and we pray for you that you might be converted (which is why the Good Friday prayer is totally correct) but no where do you see us accepting what they do. You dont see the pope making a trip to mecca and walking around the kabba, you wont see me avoiding a sacred cow. Is it really so much a crime to grant people the sacred, God given dignity of choice? Sure, we might not agree with it, but it is not ours to Judge. Thats what the Vatican decree on religious freedom means, well atleast to me.

    God gave us choice. We had that from the begging, the apple simply gave us a knowledge of what was right, and what was wrong. God wants us to freely choose to love him, not to be pressured into it through an interpretation of doctrines, or at the point of a sword.

    Fr Renzo, rightly points out that it comes down to choice. The litrugy, and faith, is about freely chosing to believe. One cannot have faith, if one doesnt chose to have it. Every human being has the right to chose. Granted the preferrable choice is Holy Mother church, but it is not our place as poor creations to judge. There is one Judge, and He is infintesimally more qualified then any of us, or the SSPX. Please dont misunderstand my words. I am in no way saying anything besides Holy mother church is acceptable. But that is a far cry from condemning others, who are not further down the path as those who have found the church.

  90. David2 says:

    “The homily is part of the liturgy; the people have already blessed themselves and received the greeting at the beginning of Mass. It is better, then, not to have a repetition before or after the homily”

    Henry Edwards; that’s one of the differences between the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms. In to the Novus Ordo, the homily is part of the liturgy; it’s definitely not part of the Liturgy of the Old Mass.

  91. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Malta,

    The Feeneyites never ordained priests illicitly and certainly not Bishops. When Fr. Feeney was excommunicated he immediately appealed with a compliant of nullity ie he submitted to the canonical process (BTW they never answered his appeal, which by canon law grants the appeal). The Feeneyites never hold the statements of theologians (even St. Thomas) against statements of Popes. They only interpret lesser statements of Popes in line with higher statements of Popes. In the case of EENS they stood on the clear dogmatic ground of three infallible statements. The Feeneyites have never required the Church to hold their “strict interpretation” of EENS, they only want the ability to defend their position. The Society could get a deal tomorrow that allows them to constructively critique the Council, but they will not budge till the Hierarchy says the SSPX is right. Finally, the Feeneyites were treated unjustly by the Hierarchy, and therefore the Hierarchy has gone out of their way to give the Feeneyites all that is remotely reasonable. I remember when they needed a priest to say Mass, and so they asked the Melkite bishop to ordain one of their brothers, who was from Lebanon. At the time the Feeneyites had no canonically recognized structure. The bishop wrote to Rome, and Rome wrote back that he should ordain the brother to the priesthood. This was not the answer the Melkite bishop was expecting, and the Roman Rite bishop was furious. Finally, the Melkite bishop said that since the St. Benedict Center was a Roman Rite congregation, he would only ordain the brother with the permission of the local Roman Rite bishop, but he was nice enough to give a copy of the letter from Rome to the Center. This brother was later offered a position on the International Theological Commission (ITC) by then Cardinal Ratzinger. I hope this answers your question a little.

  92. Belloc says:

    Henry,

    Balderdash indeed.

    But let us not forget that in 1973 the Secretary of the CDW under whose guidance that Notitiae reference was penned was none other than the future papal nuncio to Tehran himself.

    In light of the fact that his creation eliminated some twenty-five Signs of the Cross traditional to the Mass, and that he didn’t even want it to BEGIN with the Sign of the Cross until thwarted by Pope Paul, does explain things somewhat, doesn’t it?

  93. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Patrick f,

    They do not have the right to choose evil, if they did then God could not punish them for their choices. They have the right to choose good freely. They have the ability to choose evil, but if they do choose evil they will be punished for it. No one has a right to religious liberty in the sense of being able to reject God and his Church. God only grants them the ability to do so.

  94. JJ says:

    Fr John, I agree; the issues for the SSPX are far deeper than liturgy, and law, even though liturgy is the “spearhead” of the issue.

    I have read Michael Davies book on “Religious Liberty and Vatican II”, and many other articles, and I have to agree, I can’t see how the position taken since Vat II is a development of previous papal teaching (from multiple great popes moreover). I may not be smart enough, but nobody that I have spoken with about this has been able to satisfactorily explain how the post-Vatican II parlance w.r.t religious liberty is consistent and in line with the past – from proper pirnciples.

    Further, the Holy See has given clarifications on “subsisit” for the Church, and the “pro multis” for the Mass, and other slightly problematic Vat II or post-Vatican II issues….i.e., it has clarified and cleared up things.

    But the Holy See has never clarified with any explanation how the teaching on religious liberty is actually a development!! I may be wrong, but I haven’t seen anything in this regard, I find that curious, especially considering the confuysion it has caused, and especially considering the many false ecumenical understandings and gestures that have occurred in the Church since Vat II.

    I am happy to be taught by the Magisterium in this regard, and submit my intellect to the judgements of the Church, but I can’t see how it fits, until I do, I’ll stick with what the previous popes have said. It may be that Vat II, got this slightly wrong, or wrote Dignitatis Humanae badly?? I don’t know – but I think it was sloppily written. Vat II wasn’t infallible for those “new” positions, or novel ideas.

    Fr John, maybe you could do a blog-post on this ?? to help us understand.

    Why doesn’t the Holy See enter into proper dialogue with the SSPX about this issue?? They seem to want to dialogue with everybody else about every other subject – but why has the Holy See not tried to explain this “new” teaching to those in the Church who have trouble understanding?

    Is it because they can’t?

    If any body wants to give me any resources to read, I’d be happy to follow thew links.

    Thanks
    JJ

  95. Warren Anderson says:

    Hmmm. Let’s stop pretending that the SSPX and other radical pseudo-Catholic groups (liberal or “traditional”) deserve any further coddling. Bishop Fellay’s uncharitable and condescending comments put him in the same pen as other disobedient sheep who think they know better than Holy Mother Church. Reality check – if anyone wants to call him/herself a Catholic, then submit to Rome. What’s so freaking complicated? I can imagine what the priest might have said if, when I was received into the Church, I had said “Sure, I’ll become Catholic – on one condition… oh, and this too…”. Can you say arrogance? Blessed are the meek (not the cheeky!).

  96. Geoffrey says:

    Warren said: “…if anyone wants to call him/herself a Catholic, then submit to Rome.”

    Amen! Alleluia!

  97. Vicki says:

    To read an excellent sermon on EENS by Msgr. Ronald Knox go to: http://www.ronaldknoxsociety.com/apologetics.html and scroll down to ‘The Unconscious Catholic’

  98. jim m says:

    Father Z

    I also have read Michael Davies book regarding this subject and found it convincing. I have much the same feelings as JJ. Some insight on your part would be a big help.

    Thanks
    JM

  99. Gerard says:

    Warren Anderson wrote:

    Hmmm. Let’s stop pretending that the SSPX and other radical pseudo-Catholic groups (liberal or “traditional”) deserve any further coddling.

    This is funny, essentially you are saying that the Pope shouldn’t listen to the SSPX, he should listen to you. Well the lugubrious fact is, you can ask him, just like the SSPX asks of him certain things, but he doesn’t have to listen to you. If he wants to coddle liberals or traditionalists your job is to suck it up and hope tomorrow will be different.

    Bishop Fellay’s uncharitable and condescending comments put him in the same pen as other disobedient sheep who think they know better than Holy Mother Church.

    Interesting, it’s always funny how critics of the SSPX go from the specific to the general instead of general to specific to prove their points. That’s because they can’t prove their points.

    Perhaps you could enlighten everyone as to what you mean when you say “Holy Mother Church.” I suspect it’s actually just empty rhetoric.

    Reality check – if anyone wants to call him/herself a Catholic, then submit to Rome. What’s so freaking complicated?

    It’s not complicated, you’re just caricaturing Catholicism though.”Submitting to Rome” is not a problem for the SSPX. Submitting to liberalism being promoted by Rome is. And Vatican I specifically states that the Pope is owed “true” obedience, not false obedience.

    I can imagine what the priest might have said if, when I was received into the Church, I had said “Sure, I’ll become Catholic – on one condition… oh, and this too…”. Can you say arrogance? Blessed are the meek (not the cheeky!).

    To paraphrase the initial sentence, let’s stop pretending. Your analogy is not even close to being apt. Read some history, learn the faith and use reason not red hot emotion to find the truth.

  100. Michael B. says:

    Warren et al,
    I think you make a caricature of the SSPX position. In 1970, the traditional Mass was supposedly suppressed according to Paul VI, the Motu proprio SP has shown that not to be the case, vindicating Lefebvre’s position on this point. To exercise the legitimate traditions of a Catholic, one may have to do so in the face of authority mis-used, a very difficult position. One can only hope for future clarification of the disputed point. As of now, other than the case of the Mass, I don’t believe those other points of dispute have been addressed and clarified. It is not always as simple as “submit to Rome”.

  101. Sissy says:

    Gerard, are you the same Gerard that was booted from the (Patrick Madrid) Envoy Forum for being schismatic?

  102. Somerset '76 says:

    Granted the Society does have its problematic issues, but those who see in the cited words of Bp. Fellay above an insult to either the Holy Father’s person or his office are being oversensitive.

    The “confessional state,” for those who aren’t familiar with the term (and the extent of current unfamiliarity with the term is itself a point to note), is one in which the Catholic religion is enshrined as the official religion of the State, whereupon the State in its own name: (1) renders acts of devotion and worship to God via the Catholic Church: e.g., Franco’s government officially facilitating Spain’s consecration to the Sacred Heart by that nation’s bishops (in the 40s or 50s), official coronation or inauguration Masses, etc.; (2) actively collaborates with the Catholic bishops of the country; (3) uses the whole of the Church’s doctrine (not just the moral aspect) as the fundamental basis of law, in what is facilitated, permitted, tolerated, and prohibited; in lands governed by a constitution, this would profess that the Catholic religion is the religion of the State itself (as did, for example, Ireland’s first constitution as a free republic).

    In addition to the past acts of Magisterium cited by other posters here, one must look to Pius XI’s Quas Primas (1925) for a splendid encapsulation of the teaching of the centuries regarding the socio-political dimension of the Kingship of Christ; the feast of Christ the King was instituted by that Encyclical precisely because societies already by then had been largely alienated from the rightful collaboration between the Catholic Church and the State.

    With that background, one can certainly understand Bp. Fellay’s distress at the remarks relevant to this topic that Pope Benedict made in his recent visit to this country. I read them in excerpt and likewise cringed myself.

  103. Gerard says:

    Fr. Z,

    Here’s a transcript of a conference given by Bishop Williamson on the problems of Religious Liberty. A lot of us would love for you to call him up and interview him. That might be a concrete step that has a chance of gaining clarity.

    http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/vatican2/america.htm

  104. jacobus says:

    Sissy, I would be interested in what you have to say with regard to Gerard’s argument.

  105. Gerard says:

    Gerard, are you the same Gerard that was booted from the (Patrick Madrid) Envoy Forum for being schismatic?

    Comment by Sissy

    Sissy, for simplicity’s sake, yes I am the same Gerard. I would disagree with how you’d characterize Mr. Madrid’s reasons for “booting” me.

    I asked a few questions that were politically incorrect. When he wrote his “More Catholic Than the Pope: An inside look at extreme traditionalists” I asked him how many actual priests and lay faithful he interviewed and if he’d actually ever been in an SSPX chapel. No answer. The banning came after I volunteered to rebut his book chapter by chapter and offered to do it on his site so as to give him a fair shake at defending his work.

  106. Malta says:

    Dear Christopher Sarsfield, thank you for that detailed history!

    My question was somewhat rhetorical, but I appreciate the response. I think SSPX could be reconciled while disagreements persist re: VII; but, I agree that their insistence that Rome abrogate her positions first are unrealistic. SSPX should come back home, and if her parents are wrong in their opinions (VII was nothing but a set of opinions–no dogma or doctrine) then they will show forth. SSPX, though, should be careful of pride, a sin that tempts all. Just because she was right about the Latin Mass doesn’t mean she can continue to defy the Pope ad infinitum. The Vatican, too, should budge a bit, and just let SSPX come home without conditions.

  107. Gerard says:

    There’s nothing to prevent the Pope from reviewing the case and declaring the SSPX correct and JPII wrong. He’s the Pope. He can do it all on his own without any agreement with the SSPX.

    That will simply bring the SSPX canonically back to the position they were in prior to the 1988 consecrations.

    At that point, he can actually start the doctrinal discussions with the SSPX.

    Tangentially related to the problem, is the Darwinian mindset.
    Dr. David Berlinski (of “Expelled” fame) was just interviewed by Chris Ferrara at the Remnant. Berlinski had interesting things to say about his experience with the PBS in Rome. Some mentalities held by Churchmen for decades may be crumbling.

    Ferarra: One other subject. There’s a problem in the Church of churchmen in contingent matters wanting to embrace what is au courant and always being about 50-75 years behind the times.

    Berlinski : Oh, let’s use the right word: groveling. [Laughter]

    Ferarra: Tell us, first of all, just by way of background: You’ve had an encounter with the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences… for the purpose of trying to get somebody into the Academy or at least to make a presentation of a paper to the Academy—

    Berlinski : —I never got close enough. You know, they couldn’t have been more decent and welcoming. But there’s a wonderful story in Kafka, where he talks about some courier, he’s got a letter to transmit, and he’s in the center of the imperial city. And he talks about the difficulties in getting out of the center of the imperial city because there is layer upon concentric layer of massive, teeming populations, guards. No matter how far he penetrates, he can never get out. In reverse, that was my experience with the Vatican—as it should be. It’s a huge institution. I couldn’t even find the right door. [Laughter]…. They [two staff members from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith] took me out to lunch. Extremely bright, extremely decent guys. But that was it, really….

    Ferarra: Did you discuss with them the problem of evolutionism having basically taken over the secular thinking of churchmen?

    Berlinski : We agreed completely.

    Ferarra: Oh , they do?

    Berlinski : But these were two young guys. We were just sitting around schmoozing over lunch. It wasn’t an opportunity where any of the dignitaries behind them would have a chance to interact and make their position known….

    Ferarra: What do you say today to churchmen who are surrounded by Darwinian thought and seem to be, as you say, groveling before it? What’s your advice to the Church today in terms of taking up arms against Darwinian thought?

    Berlinski : Stand up and declare yourself like a man. That’s what I would tell them.

  108. Brian Mershon says:

    Ottaviani: It is incorrect to say that anyone is “saved by invincible ignorance.” That has NEVER been the teaching of the Church.

    Everyone who is saved is Catholic before he dies either through formal membership or through explicit, and perhaps, implicit desire.

    Invincible ignorance neither saves nor damns.

    You do the real Cardinal Ottaviani of happy memory no favors by erring as grievously as you did in this statement regarding the eternal salvation of souls. He would not be enamored.

  109. Brian Mershon says:

    From one of the top cardinal theologians in the Church

    Invincible ignorance neither saves nor damns

    http://www.cfnews.org/invig.htm

  110. Michael B. says:

    Gerard,
    Thanks for the link. Especially interesting in light of Alasdair MacIntyre’s critique of liberalism.

  111. Sean says:

    It’s always amused me the way certain SSPX devotees will justify criticism of the Pope by Bishops Fellay or Williamson but let someone criticize those two bishops and they react like you insulted their own mother.

  112. Gerard says:

    It’s always amused me the way certain SSPX devotees will justify criticism of the Pope by Bishops Fellay or Williamson but let someone criticize those two bishops and they react like you insulted their own mother.

    Sean,

    You are making the mistake of thinking there is equivalency in the criticisms. Fellay and Williamson use their intellects in their criticisms. And those criticisms are based on Church teaching. Those that attack the SSPX never actually provide a criticism, they provide character assassination.

    That’s like comparing a Bach Fugue and Death Metal Rock. Both miraculously fall into the category of music but they are not at all the same.

  113. Norman Lee says:

    I cannot for the life of me imagine how Bp Fellay was using his intellect in that excerpt. He’s just looking at things on the surface from his myopic point of view. He says Pope Benedict is liberal because he expressed his admiration and fascination for the USA. Suppose then Pope Benedict decides to visit Japan. Would Bp Fellay then expect Pope Ben to start screaming at the Japanese for being Buddhist?

  114. schoolman says:

    “…I hope you would agree that American secularity is hardly a model for what ought to obtain in that rare but ideal circumstance wherein the State is able and willing to excercise its religious duty of acknowledging Christ and the Church.”

    Michael, you have to ask yourself if those circumstances were ever really fulfilled in the United States — in order to justify that the state proclaim Catholicism as the official state religion.

    “Why, then, is it “clear” how Benedict’s “healthy secularity” (patterned as it is on American secularity) can at all coincide with that “healthy State” (to coin a term) which is willing and able to acknowledge the unique truth of Catholicism?”

    Because a “healthy secularity” is one that respects the freedom and proper autonomy of spiritual authority and also adheres to the natural moral law — yet this will not always and in every circumstance provide for an official state religion. To impose the “Kingship of Christ” by force only makes a mockery of the Kingship of Christ. Christ must first reign in hearts and the families of a nation before He and His Church can become recognized as the official religion of that nation. This is an organic process — not one that can be mechanically imposed as by force.

  115. G. Bitzer says:

    “…but those who see in the cited words of Bp. Fellay above an insult to either the Holy Father’s person or his office are being oversensitive.” I must agree. In fact,Bp. Fellay’s comment on the Pope is very mild compared to what St. John Bosco said to some of the boys of his orphanage who were one day shouting Viva Pio Nono, viva Pio Nono! This moment in the orphanage occurred during the first half of Pius IX’s reign, his liberal years. The Pope’s weaknesses did not go unnoticed by Don Bosco. When he heard what the boys were chanting he stopped them and explained: Don’t use a pope’s name when saying, Long live the pope!, because if the Pope is bad, we don’t want him to live. This interesting story is told in the Biographical Memoirs of Saint John Bosco (XV volumes). Salesian Press, New Rochelle, NY

  116. Sean says:

    In fact,Bp. Fellay’s comment on the Pope is very mild compared to what St. John Bosco said to some of the boys of his orphanage who were one day shouting Viva Pio Nono, viva Pio Nono!

    The other thing that is amusing is how they then trot out the litany of saints who have criticised various popes to defend their own or others criticism. Let me know when those Bishops reach the level of sanctity of a Don Bosco or Catherine of Sienna and I’ll listen. BTW the translation of the above quote does not necessarily imply that Don Bosco thought Pope Pius IX was bad. It says “if the Pope is bad.” He was speaking in general terms.

  117. Rum orthodoxio byzantine says:

    Considering No salvation outside the Church–where does that put the Eastern Orthodox and/or the Oriental Orthodox?

  118. Rum Byzantine says:

    Considering No salvation outside the Church–where does that put the Eastern Orthodox and/or the Oriental Orthodox?

  119. Gerard says:

    Comment by Sean: The other thing that is amusing is how they then trot out the litany of saints who have criticised various popes to defend their own or others criticism. Let me know when those Bishops reach the level of sanctity of a Don Bosco or Catherine of Sienna and I’ll listen. BTW the translation of the above quote does not necessarily imply that Don Bosco thought Pope Pius IX was bad. It says “if the Pope is bad.” He was speaking in general terms.

    This is actually the funny part. St John and St.Catherine didn’t finish their letters with, “Looking forward to lunch with you next week.

    Sincerely,

    Saint John Bosco”

    In fact, nobody knew they were saints for sure when they were living their lives and taught and sinned and suffered.

    And then there’s the logical fallacy you have to deal with. How does one’s sanctity become a requirement for your acceptance of the Truth. Hitler or Stalin or Satan himself could tell you 2+2=4 and it would be just as truthful if Our Lady said it. I don’t understand how the dependence on a person’s sanctity as an intellectual crutch makes your position sound. I mean, why not make it a height requirement? Or a certain tonal range in the voice? Those are just as valid and logical as your sanctity requirement.

    Come on now! We’re holding you up to a higher standard of scoffing. You can do better! The other guy who is I’m sure, researching Cardinal Bea on Ecumenism in his well-stocked library took care of the fire-breathing hate part of the pile on. But we’re coming up a little short in the scoffing department. A little prayer to St. Jerome might help you out about now.

  120. patrick f says:

    Yes, the church teaches that doctrine, but final judgement is up to God alone(the church also teaches THAT as well, and always has). As much as I know this will incite others, if God so choses to save someone, it is up to him. Nothing we can say or do will stop it. In the end it brings up an aire of uncertainty, when you factor in the Orthodox (who do follow our faith, probably better in some cases).

  121. Antiquarian says:

    “Extra ecclesiam nulla salus” is a far more nuanced statement than “outside the Church there is no salvation.” Perhaps Father Z could discuss it at some point.

    Williamson is anti-semitic, no matter how many times he flutters his eyelashes and denies it. If his apologists don’t like his anti-semitism being disclosed they should advise him to stop spewing anti-semitic bilge. I’ll agree that he is an intelligent man, but he mainly uses his intelligence to sell what his customers want to buy.

    Oh and Williamson has stated on his blog that the SSPX is having a vocations crisis. He inexplicably blames it on Vaticsn II.

  122. TNCath says:

    Fr. Z. wrote: “I cannot believe that a person who desires unity with the Roman Pontiff would stand up in a pulpit and say this sort of thing about the reigning Pope.”

    I’m not convinced that Fellay really desires unity with the Roman Pontiff. Not only does he disagree on the issue of religious liberty, he also has an obedience/authority problem. In the words of Fellay, “What a mystery, my very dear brothers, what a mystery!”

  123. Just to say it:

    The supernatural virtue of infused faith is one thing. The assent to that faith may be inculpably lacking on whatever point. Assent — by way of supernatural faith having a good effect on conscience and then grace assisting the will — depends on what is already our own theology, which can be inculpably deficient. Example: Aquinas and the Immaculate Conception.

    Cheers!

  124. Antonio says:

    Is the SSPX pronounced “spucks”? Or do you [clearly American] people mean S.S.P.X?

  125. B. says:

    I don’t understand why people think that Bishop Fellay is insulting the pope. I really think it has to do with the different understanding of the word “liberal” in Europe and in America, which are almost directly opposed.
    I don’t think what Bishop Fellay said was an insult, and I’m not an SSPXer.
    The pope praised an aspect of the American constitution that we in Europe would describe as a liberal principle. Perhaps it is an oversimplification to say that this makes the pope a “perfect liberal”, but it’s a possible conclusion.

  126. Jack Regan says:

    I rather think with SSPX that their power and infuence would be greatly diminished if it weren’t for the fact that everytime they sneezed it was reported by every Catholic blog and paper the world over.

    The fact is that most Catholics have never heard of SSPX and they are (in the general scheme of things) a tiny, tiny group. And, strangely, some Catholics bother more about reconciliation with them than about reconciliation with the almost 1 Billion Protestant Christians in the world. Not to mention the non-Christians!

    Perhaps in some cases people who report on SSPX do so as a foil for thier own agendas (I’m not saying that’s the case with wdtprs though). Either way, if we ignore them then I suspect that they will change their tactics to ones more likely to bring reconciliation. I am not normally one to stifle debate, but are these people really in the mood for a growthful debate? I doubt it.

    Just a thought :)

  127. Jack Regan says:

    Okay, so… the last line of the second paragraph there should say ‘not to mention EVANGELISING the non-Christians!’

    …just so I don’t get jumped on :)

  128. Michael UK says:

    I despair at SSPX, which has gone downhill since the death of Msgr. Lefebvre and lacks both wisdom and Charity. One problem is the infection of the Williamson/Americanisation cult which has overtaken the SSPX UK Province – as a prime example. When I was first involved with SSPX in the UK, their clergy had good relations with Diocesan clergy, now such would be anathema. Can Bishop Fellay rely believe that forty years of lies and obfuscation by elements of The Curia and Bishops’ Conferences will be overcome by the wave of a wand, if so he is deluded and I credited him with more sense. I have experience of SSPX clergy in both France and Germany and I have found them fairly levelheaded, but the American contingent, by and large reflect the Williamson seminary teaching weirdness – not in its basic teaching, but in its sectish approach, where all who are not of the at frame of mind are heretics. Lord preserve us!

  129. Oliver says:

    Interesting being reminded how small the SSPX is in terms of number of priests and followers but it seems to pack a powerful punch. Perhaps it has something to do with actively preserving the traditions of Catholicism while those in authority are surrendering them. However, it also speaks for millions of lukewarm traditionalists and conservatives who from time to time come face to face with the horrors of conciliarism yet resign themselves to wishful thinking. Being such a thorn in the side of the liberals is thus a worthy project and the more Fellay and Williamson remind them what the Church really is the more I rejoice.

  130. Oliver says:

    Michael UK, I have never seen any “good relations with diocesan clergy” in the UK. Considering the hierarchy is among the most protestantised there is, such occasions would never exist. Even the humble LMS gets short shrift from Westminster’s bishops. I agree with Williamson when he says some Anglican bishops are more Christian. Now dialogue with them would be more fruitful!

  131. Oliver says:

    Michael UK, I have never seen any “good relations with diocesan clergy” in the UK. Considering the hierarchy is among the most protestantised there is, such occasions would never exist. Even the humble LMS gets short shrift from Westminster’s bishops. I agree with Williamson when he says some Anglican bishops are more Christian. Now dialogue with them would be more fruitful!

  132. Jack Regan says:

    Oliver, Some interesting points there, which I mostly agree with. I would say though that it is keeping debate alive and healthy that is a ‘worthy project’ rather than being a thorn in anybody’s side. Maybe people need slighty agitating into self-reflection at times so that debates can start. But do SSPX reciprocate this self-reflection? I do wonder.

    Also the reason why SSPX, and Traditionalists in a wider sense, are able to make an impact may well be connected to their nature as you say. Of course it is undoubtedly also partly due to the fact that they have what an aquaintance of mine calls an ‘amazing PR machine.’ You only have to look at the information sharing and consolodation that goes on between blogs and websites to see that this is the case. Not that I’m necessarily knocking the message though.

  133. There’s a lot more intelligence shown by all sides of this debate than when it popped up over hear a couple weeks ago.
    http://www.haloscan.com/comments/chezami/4632559236242702411/#926871

    Anyhow, are any of you familiar with the 5 volume history of the United States published by Angelus called “Puritan’s Progress”?

    It may not be complete but it raises a lot of points I was never taught in public school. By the style, I suspect Charles Coloumbe had a hand in its writing even though he isn’t named as an author.

  134. Jay Jay says:

    As the saying goes, ‘dismayed, but not surprised’. I had always thought Fellay
    was one of the Bishops who was something of a ‘moderate’ , whatever that may mean
    exactly.
    I’ve stopped hoping for reconciliation with SSPX pretty soon after the MP came
    through. The years of separation have taken their toll and the SSPX has apparently
    run out of the spiritual strength needed to bring this disagreement to its con-
    clusion.

  135. Sir H Grattan says:

    Or do you [clearly American] people mean S.S.P.X?

    Them’s fightin’ words.

  136. Hoka2_99 says:

    Fellay is not a legitimate bishop, nor is the SSPX Catholic. Our beloved Holy Father has tried to reconcile these schismatics, but if they won’t return to the fold what more can he do.

    Though I’m struggling with Sunday Mass here – guitar every week, sometime recorder too and a “clapping Gloria” [though not every week] – I’d rather continue to attend that than go anywhere near the SSPX.

    Where’s my Swiss Guard pike? I’ll defend Benedict XVI – every facet of him – to the death!!!!!!

  137. Abernathy says:

    Antonio said:
    Or do you [clearly American] people mean S.S.P.X

    You clearly don’t realize it’s acceptable writing style to drop the periods from an abbreviation. Let’s make a deal: I won’t bother you about misspelling “Anthony” if you won’t get worked up about absent periods from an abbreviation. Sound reasonable?

  138. Habemus Papam says:

    “You don’t see the Pope making a trip to Mecca and walking around the kaaba”. We saw a Pope making a trip to Jerusalem and kissing the Wailing Wall. A quote which was very sad came from an old nun on the death of John Paul II; “The Pope taught us that all religions are equal”.

  139. George Festa says:

    Unam Sanctam
    His Holiness Pope Boniface VIII
    November 18, 1302

    URGED BY FAITH, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins, as the Spouse in the Canticles [Sgs 6:8] proclaims: “One is my dove, my perfect one. She is the only one, the chosen of her who bore her,” and she represents one sole mystical body whose Head is Christ and the head of Christ is God [1 Cor 11:3]. In her then is one Lord, one faith, one baptism [Eph 4:5]. There had been at the time of the deluge only one ark of Noah, prefiguring the one Church, which ark, having been finished to a single cubit, had only one pilot and guide, i.e., Noah, and we read that, outside of this ark, all that subsisted on the earth was destroyed

    Also found in CCC 846ff.

  140. Gerard says:

    Antiquarian,
    Williamson is anti-semitic, no matter how many times he flutters his eyelashes and denies it.

    False assertion that actually goes against the facts. I think the late Fr. Harry Marchosky would disagree with you for one example.

    If his apologists don’t like his anti-semitism being disclosed they should advise him to stop spewing anti-semitic bilge.

    Williamson isn’t a problem. He’s just the target of desperate people invested in the conciliar Church trying to throw anything at him. And the false accusation of anti-semitism will stick to anyone. Ask Pope Benedict.

    I’ll agree that he is an intelligent man, but he mainly uses his intelligence to sell what his customers want to buy.

    Short on details again. I don’t think you have a clue as to what you’re talking about.

    Oh and Williamson has stated on his blog that the SSPX is having a vocations crisis. He inexplicably blames it on Vaticsn II.

    Somehow, I think he does explain it. Williamson isn’t one to leave things a mystery. And as a vocations crisis can go two ways, there aren’t enough priests to handle a growing population of faithful attendees in the SSPX. This is contrasted with the number of priests declining at a faster rate than the population of faithful is declining in the free fall of the conciliar Church.

  141. Dougall says:

    Coming from a layman with no real knowledge of theology….

    It just seems like they could do so much good in the mainstream Church. They don’t have to worry about “accepting” Vatican II, because isn’t the Institute of the Good Shepherd somehow able to be critical of it and remain in full communion?

    Of course, I don’t know what documents these powerful people are looking at. Just have press releases and blogs to go by.

    That said, the Mass itself has power. Every traditional Mass said is like an antibiotic shot in the arm, which if enough are provided, it could cure this crisis once and for all?

    I like Fellay. Despite what people say, he actually seems like a nice guy. I like Williamson, but the crazy 9/11 stuff bothers me.

    Old Catholics ordaining Sinead O’Connor lol

  142. David2 says:

    Bishop Williamson gives a homily:

    – on LIberty [at 1:17]
    – on married life [at 3:00]
    – on the Jewish People (remember, he’s not anti-semitic) [from 3:25 onwards]

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VruioFzIwg

    I always think of this when I read Bishop Williamson’s writings. I know the SSPXers say he’s not anti-semitic, but his remarks on the Jews bear the flavour of 3:25 et seq.

  143. John Enright says:

    I wonder if Bishop Fellay realizes that the American tradition of religious freedom precedes the establishment of the United States by almost a century, and prior to founding of London’s Masonic Grand Lodge of England. For instance, religious tolerance was a central tenet contained in the 1701 Charter of Privileges which was the founding document of the Province of Pennsylvania under William Penn, a Quaker. As a result of the Charter, the English Penal Laws were inoperative in Pennsylvania, and thus, in 1734 Philadelphia’s Old St. Joseph’s Catholic Church was the only place in the entire British Empire where it was legal to celebrate the Mass publicly.

  144. magdalen says:

    The anti-apam word was ‘pray for bishops’ and I did that just this morning in our rosary after Holy Mass. Their responsibility is SO great before God!

    But this ‘Bishop’ Fellay is excommunicated! No reason in the world to follow him!

    SAINT John Bosco said that if something is derogatory to the Pope, then one should not read it. (this is in the book on his 40 dreams). The SSPX is constantly critical of the Pope; they seem to ‘know better’. The anger and bitterness of many of those who follow this sect will not allow them to reunite with Rome. Yes, I hope that there will be at least some reunification but the plain facts are that many will not now accept obedience to the Holy Father and will continue to second guess the Vatican and Magisterium. Obedience is always key. I never have or will read Abp. Lefebvre for he split the church–is his action different than Martin Luther who thought he had the better way and better solutions and answers? Our Lord has let us wander 40 years in a liturgical desert and one reason may well be to test our obedience. Some have failed that test, whether on the right or on the left.

  145. Matthias says:

    @ Habemus Papam:

    The difference between the Kaaba and the Wailing Wall is still there, you gotta admit. The temple whose blueprint God gave to Ezekiel is just as much a temple of our God as it is of the Jews’ – and early jewish Christians prayed there as well, until they were kicked out shortly before the Romans decided to destroy the complex. Mecca is, on so many ways, a different case.

  146. Trey says:

    “The idea is that the prayer of the Church should reflect the Dogmas of the Church. Pretty liturgies filled with ambiguity and/or even heresy (High Anglican Services) do much more damage than good. Save the Liturgy, save the World, yes. But you will never save the Liturgy until you save the Faith that the liturgy should reflect.”

    I’m curious to know what exactly about “High Anglican Services” is heretical?
    There are a number of Catholic parishes that use the Anglican liturgy
    (slightly modified) every day, with the blessing of Rome and the USCCB.

    In practice “High Anglican Services” are often essentially the traditional
    Mass rendered into English.

    RUM – I don’t think the Eastern Orthodox are “outside the Church.” Catholics are
    free to receive communion in these Churches, and reconciliation if allowed by the
    Bishops of that Church. (None allow it that I am aware of, except perhaps in times
    of dire nec.)

  147. B. says:

    Well, the Muslims let no Non-Muslim, let alone the pope into Mecca.
    As the John Paul II. kissed just about anything within an arms reach (the Wailing Wall, the Torah, the Qu’ran, the Ring of the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, you name it), I have little doubt that he would have kissed the Kaaba given the chance to do so.

  148. Gerard says:

    Bishop Williamson really gives a homily:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4rHHOOGfSk

    When I see people put up hysterical and erroneous comparisons to Hitler like David2 just did, the reality of the madness of the crisis in the Church and the loss of the ability to think clearly is strikingly brought to the fore.

    Modern Catholics who attack Williamson and Fellay are virtually identical in their attacks as Jack Chick is in his tracts.

    I would like to see one of them actually be a man about it and get into a real discussion.

  149. Habemus Papam says:

    Matthias: The message is the same, Gods Spirit inspired the founders of the various religions (allocution of John Paul II 19 September 1999). In a similar way its difficult to reconcile Pope Benedict’s condemnation of the dictatorship of relativism with a secularism which permits equality to the various religions. The Catholic States were relinquished in keeping with the Vatican II teaching on religious liberty. Apparently Cardinal Ratzinger admitted that it was difficult to see continuity with pre-Vatican II teaching on the uniqueness of the Catholic Faith. This contradiction is central to the SSPXs position vis-a-vis Modernism, its nothing new in their argument with Rome and would have to be addressed before any meaningful reconciliation were possible.

  150. Angelo says:

    To: Fr John T Zuhlsdorf

    Father, in posting this particuar item, didn’t you realize that it would incite a diatribe of verbal abuse & passions, in which an intelligent discourse of the matter could take place? Was it really sad news for you? or was it an opportunity for you to prompt such an outburst of hostility & ignorance among your readers, some of whom are quite ignorant of the related issues? I do not fault them as much as I do you as being the instigator of this worthless commotion. Unfortunately this does not help the process of healing & reconciliation. [I think people should know what Bp. Fellay has said in public abut Pope Benedict – Fr. Z]

  151. Geoffrey says:

    “A quote which was very sad came from an old nun on the death of John Paul II; ‘The Pope taught us that all religions are equal’.”

    That is a great misunderstanding. People who say that did not understand the late pontiff. John Paul the Great never taught such a thing. Read “Crossing the Threshold of Hope”… and let us not forget the CDF’s document “Dominus Iesus”, which he ordered to be written.

    “Unfortunately this does not help the process of healing & reconciliation.”

    Neither does the SSPX constantly criticizing the Vicar of Christ.

  152. Habemus Papam says:

    “John Paul the Great never taught such a thing”. Yes he did. General Audience 19 September 1999. He may have countered his teaching at other times, this is what Modernists do. Every Catholic has a right, even a duty to contradict the Pope if he teaches anything contrary to the Catholic Faith.

  153. Angelo says:

    Geoffrey, I was addressing my remarks to Fr Zuhlsdorf, not to you.

  154. Patrick says:

    Aside from the tired arguments put forward in favor of this little fringe group, it would seem from Bishop Fellay’s comments that the SSPX is not working toward any type of reconciliation. His words are not words that will aid his cause. It seems that Bishop Fellay is pushing toward something, what?…I’m not sure. It seems he has been oddly hardline towards Pope Benedict. It’s almost as if he believes the Holy Father will give in if he pushes hard enough. My sense is this tactic will backfire.

  155. Patrick says:

    Habemus,

    Can you post a link to the text of that audience. Thanks.

  156. Ron says:

    I think he has a point, honestly. The Church has changed their approach on the issue of religious liberty. What the Church firmly believed and practiced for centuries has all of a sudden become anathema: the confessional State.

    It seems like religious liberty, where the State does not recognize absolute truth and does not seek out the true religion with which to align itself, is dangerous. We’re seeing, in our times, fruits of indifference toward religion and the idea that all religions somehow lead to eternal life with God. The state is controlled by the majority and thus no moral absolutes can be followed.

    It does seem like the modern Popes (note: not modernist but rather the Popes of our times) have tended to praise religious liberty whereas former Popes spoke of the necessity of the state to choose the true religion.

    Now whether or not Bishop Fellay should have said such from the pulpit is another question. I’m not sure what I think of it. I can see arguments as to why he should have said it and why he shouldn’t have. I’m not sure.

    From Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Libertas:

    “And if it be asked which of the many conflicting religions it is necessary to adopt, reason and the natural law unhesitatingly tell us to practice that one which God enjoins, and which men can easily recognize by certain exterior notes, whereby Divine Providence has willed that it should be distinguished, because, in a matter of such moment, the most terrible loss would be the consequence of error. Wherefore, when a liberty such as We have described is offered to man, the power is given him to pervert or abandon with impunity the most sacred of duties, and to exchange the unchangeable good for evil; which, as We have said, is no liberty, but its degradation, and the abject submission of the soul to sin.”

    “Wherefore, civil society must acknowledge God as its Founder and Parent, and must obey and reverence His power and authority. Justice therefore forbids, and reason itself forbids, the State to be godless; or to adopt a line of action which would end in godlessness-namely, to treat the various religions (as they call them) alike, and to bestow upon them promiscuously equal rights and privileges. Since, then, the profession of one religion is necessary in the State, that religion must be professed which alone is true, and which can be recognized without difficulty, especially in Catholic States, because the marks of truth are, as it were, engravers upon it.”

    Pax Christi tecum.

  157. Habemus Papam says:

    Seeds of Truth Are Found in Other Religions

    http://www.catholicculture.org/library/view.cfm?RecNum=535

  158. veritas says:

    I rad Dignitatis Humanae as saying nothing more than what is patently obvious: you cannot force or coerce conversion of heart. Even if you extract, e.g., a confession, it doesn’t mean there’s a sincerity of heart. The only way someone will sincerely believe is if they utilize their inherent freedom to seek out and discover the Truth. This doesn’t mean the Church is somehow contradicting Her belief as the one Church. It just recognizes that at a base level people make choices, sin included.

    In that light, I fail to see why the likes of Fellay and the SSPX have such issues with this document.

  159. Sean says:

    Geoffrey, I was addressing my remarks to Fr Zuhlsdorf, not to you. Angelo

    Then you should send him a personal email not post in a public forum where you can expect your comments to be responded to.

  160. Habemus Papam says:

    “It must first be kept in mind that every quest of the human spirit for truth and goodness, and in the last analysis for God, is inspired by the Holy Spirit. The various religions arose precisely from this primordial human openness to God. At their origins we often find founders who, with the help of God’s Spirit, achieved a deeper religious experience. Handed on to others, this experience took form in the doctrines, rites and precepts of the various religions”.

    John Paul IIs General Audience Address of September 16 1999.

  161. patrick f says:

    The SPPX and people like them have issues with it because of pride, they like to think they have all the answers. Only God has all the answers, and I dont think he needs our help in the matter. Ours is to follow.

  162. ALL: Keep in mind that I normally delete comments posted as “Anonymous” or “Anon”.

    Post will some sort of name people can work with.

  163. Brian2 says:

    Why do people, pro and con SSPX readily assume that they have the proper interpretation of tradition. They have instead a pretty straightfoward neo-scholastic reading, which only really came into being in the 19th century as a reaction to modern philosophy. Interestingly, neo-scholasticism’s emphasis on certain knowledge, clear and distinct teachings, mirrors Modern philosopy’s epistemological obsessession. And modern philosophy’s rule of thumb (derived from Descartes) that that which is not certain is to be treated as false. SSPX are much more modernist than they know!

    This is related to a a tendency in SSPX apologists to simply complex teachings: Like Descartes, they equate simplicity with clarity, and clarity with truth. So one sees above a person treating the fairly complex distinction between ‘seeds of truth’ and ‘truth’ as something simple. So he thinks that to say that another religion has the seeds of truth is to say that it is true, or has the truth. But that is not so. An acorn is the seed of an oak tree, but we would be wrong to call it an oak tree in the strict sense. And in any case, one can find similar statements in early Church father’s discussions of Platonism and other pagan philosophies (whicn were not then sharply distinguished from religion): Plato had the ‘seeds of the truth’ but not the complete truth, which is and is made known in Jesus Christ.

    And then there is the complext doctrine of the transcendentals (being = good = beautiful = true), developed by Thomas and his successors. Combined with the neoplatonic dictum that all beings are in some way good (evil = non-being). This was embraced by no less than Augustine. So, anything and everything that exists has some good in it, at least insofar as it exists. And by the doctrine of transcendentals is also in some way beautiful and true. This flies in the face of the bifurcated dichotomies of Descartes and SSPX. Add to the mix the principle that all goodness comes from God…

    But this is only to scratch the surface of the complex web of history, philosophy, theology, and logic that underpin these discussions. I am saying all this not to come down on one side or the other in the debate as to what is the traditional doctrine of religious freedom, in its essentials, but to point out the complexity of this debate about tradition. A complexity and richness that SSPX seems to want to reduce simple clear and distinct formulas.

  164. EJ says:

    “I do not fault them as much as I do you as being the instigator of this worthless commotion. Unfortunately this does not help the process of healing & reconciliation.” – Comment by Angelo

    Far from being worthless, this thread was indeed worth my while, and I thank Fr. Z for posting it. Those more in line with the thinking of Atila Sinke Guimaraes and Bishop Williamson, et al. and less with the mind and authority of Benedict XVI may consider looking for another blog which might tickle their ears the way they like and better cater to their egos and warped notion of ecclesiology. Fellay is just playing politics here, and considering the fact that many of his priests may really be suffering, this is particularly regrettable, for lack of better words. You may want to ask yourself who really “does not help the process of healing & reconciliation.” After reading his most stupid and unfortunate comments, I think Fellay himself projects himself at least as uninterested in working to this end.

  165. Martin Riker says:

    Schoolman wrote:

    “To impose the “Kingship of Christ” by force only makes a mockery of the Kingship of Christ. Christ must first reign in hearts and the families of a nation before He and His Church can become recognized as the official religion of that nation. This is an organic process—not one that can be mechanically imposed as by force.”

    What’s new? You appear to be arguing with a straw man at this point.

    I was in no way suggesting that such force be imposed. My question concerned precisely that situation wherein the aforementioned “organic process” _had_ been fully successful (clearly something that has *not* yet occurred in our country). I quite agree that it is only under the circumstance wherein said organic process has achieved its goal that the State can and should acknowledge both Christ the King and the unique truth of Catholicism.

    And yet the question remains whether, *precisely in the context of this ideal scenario*, it is desirable that the State be patterned after the distinctly American model of “secularity”. Yet, if such is NOT desirable within the context of this ideal scenario (wherein the body politic is, with moral unanimity, freely and happily Catholic), it is understandable that someone might wonder why the Pope is thus holding up the American model up as the ideal.

    Indeed, many would argue that — under this *non-forced*, ideal situation (terminus of the “organic growth” of which you speak) — American secularity would clearly *not* be the most appropriate model for Church-State relations. Indeed, American secularity may be “healthier” than other forms of secularity, but to refer to such secularity as “healthy” — full-stop and without any qualification — is this not to lay oneself open to the charge of denying, _a la_ John Courtney Murray, even the *ideal* of State acknowledgment of Catholicism?

    To repeat: said “ideal” would not and cannot be imposed, and a proper distinction must always be maintained between the earthly and heavenly spheres. I am certainly NOT arguing in favor of some “union” of Church and Sate. I *am*, however, pointing out that the public power of such a State (consisting as it would of a moral unanimity of Catholics, free and devout) is only healthy if it draws its vision for both man and the common good based, not merely on natural law, but on the Kingship of Christ and the Catholic Gospel. This is the ideal; this is the “healthy State. This is what we can and must pray, strive and work for — always, of course, with fraternal charity, a spirit of tolerance, and respect for the dignity of every human conscience.

    Indeed, you are preaching to the choir to the extent you emphasize the need for religious liberty and the importance of the ideal scenario only being accomplished by way of a free, organic growth on the part of the people. I heartily concur with all of this.

    *Nevertheless*, unless and until said ideal _is_ achieved any talk of an unqualified “health” on the part of the State is misleading at best. As Leo XIII well said: “The extent to which the State is driven to tolerate error or evil the further it is from perfection.” *Of course*, the State MUST tolerate such things, and it must do so precisely in the name of that limited religious liberty enunciated by DH. Yet the moral necessity for such tolerance does not render the State any less perfect, less “healthy” for all that.

    To be sure, in pluralist societies, the State has the *de facto* duty, based on the rights of its citizens, to maintain a vision of man and the common good based on natural law alone. But this does NOT somehow render said circumstance “healthy” or the “ideal”. Indeed, to claim that the latter situation — such has traditionally existed in America — *is* the ideal is precisely that naturalism with regard to which the Church reiterated its condemnation in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  166. Geoffrey says:

    This is from the same discourse cited by Habemus Papam:

    “For the reasons mentioned here, the attitude of the Church and of individual Christians towards other religions is marked by sincere respect, profound sympathy and, when possible and appropriate, cordial collaboration. *This does not mean forgetting that Jesus Christ is the one Mediator and Saviour of the human race. Nor does it mean lessening our missionary efforts, to which we are bound in obedience to the risen Lord’s command:* ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Mt 28:19). The attitude of respect and dialogue is instead the proper recognition of the ‘seeds of the Word’ and the ‘groanings of the Spirit’. In this sense, far from opposing the proclamation of the Gospel, our attitude prepares it, as we await the times appointed by the Lord’s mercy” (Pope John Paul II).

    When read without blinders, the phrases “Seeds of the Word” and “Groanings of the Spirit” do not mean that “all religions are equal”.

  167. surge says:

    Hmm, so it is wondered what reception in eternal Rome was offered to Bp Fellay last Tuesday, at a meeting to discuss the excommunications ?

  168. Matt Q says:

    Habemus wrote:

    “Matthias: The message is the same, God’s Spirit inspired the founders of the various religions (allocution of John Paul II 19 September 1999). In a similar way its difficult to reconcile Pope Benedict’s condemnation of the dictatorship of relativism with a secularism which permits equality to the various religions. The Catholic States were relinquished in keeping with the Vatican II teaching on religious liberty. Apparently Cardinal Ratzinger admitted that it was difficult to see continuity with pre-Vatican II teaching on the uniqueness of the Catholic Faith. This contradiction is central to the SSPXs position vis-a-vis Modernism, its nothing new in their argument with Rome and would have to be addressed before any meaningful reconciliation were possible.”

    )(

    I would like to comment on this if I may, Habemus, and this is not a criticism of your comment.

    God Himself does not **inspire** the founder of other religions. It is in the nature of man to seek the supernatural because he was created by God and given an immortal soul, so as to seek Him to be with Him in all eternity. After the Fall, man’s nature became base and thus he sought out and mistakenly practiced what he thought to be a higher power–or attribute to–because he is following his own natural instincts to seek the eternal.

    Although world history may cause one to think differently, God has never abandoned mankind. The direct link to Him was first through the Jews, and in the fullness of time, Our Lord Jesus Christ entered the world, and now the link is through us, the Holy Roman Catholic Church. As the Church teaches, God The Father has bound salvation to the Church but He Himself is free to operate out of the bounds of the Church. Whom Christ saves outside of the Catholic Faith is His business but it is the saving grace which flows through and out of His Church that the person is still saved and hence Purgatory ( only holy souls and martyrs go directly to Heaven ), so that they may grow in the love and knowledge of Jesus Christ they were unable to achieve while in this life. This is why the “New Evagelization” is so important and necessary, and why both John Paul and Pope Benedict have said we each need to be missionary in our approach to the rest of the world.

    In a convoluted way, back to Bishop Fellay. I believe the issue is the way this is approached. “Religious liberty,” ecumenism is supposed to be a dialoguing of what one holds dear and to see whether there are similar points in other denominations and religions and build on that. I believe where the Church has failed is failing to point out to others is that the Church is the fullness and summit of salvation on earth and need to embrace the Church. The way it is now, the Church seeks out these commonalities and then skips hand in hand down the road of life doing nothing more to emphasize the Church is the signpost in the middle of the road and direction people need to take. It is as though the Church sees others religions as states and seeks only diplomatic liasoning rather and being evangelical and telling them the facts of life.

    … Off the soapbox.

    God bless us all.

  169. Ron says:

    veritas,

    You read Dignitatis as saying “you cannot force or coerce conversion of heart” but it goes beyond that into a different view of the state and of liberty. The state, then, is viewed as having to accept all religions and not align itself with any one religion. Leo XIII said the opposite, that the State has a necessity to align herself with the one true religion. It is true the state should not and cannot force anyone to convert but the state should be aligned with the true religion even if it allows those of our religions to exist within her boundaries.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  170. Michael says:

    “The real obstacle is the Church’s teaching about religious liberty”. Nothing new, Father Z.: Michael Davis said the same before the consecrations in 1988. But I disagree.

    The main obstacle is that the mainstrem Church is in a mess, and they feel that they are better off on their own. An average SSPX church goer has no clue what this doctrine on religious liberty is all about. He just wants a decent Mass, modestly dressed women, no standing and hand-streatching for Communion, kneeling at least from Sanctus untill the Body of Christ is placed in the tabernacle; he wants to have Catholic catechism in schools and in preparation for Confirmation and Holy Communion; he doesn’t want to hear a pro-contraception advice in a confessional, no girls in the sanctuary, no lay ministers ….and this is not what the Holy Father can promise him, can he ?

    Can he promise the SSPX’s priests that they will have a healthy atmosphere for celebrating the Holy Sacrifice along these lines, when he himslef, while still a Cardinal, asked with a resentment: ”Who still talks today about ‘the divine Sacrifice of the Eucharist’ ?”, quoting SC no. 7. And then: “It is only against this background of the effective denial of the authority of Trent, that the bitterness of the struggle against alowing the celebration of Mass according to the 1962 Missal … can be understood. The possibility of so celebrating constitutes the strongest, and thus (for them) the most intolerable contradiction of the opinion of those who believe that the faith in the Eucharist formulated by Trent has lost its value.” (Alcuin Reid OSB, ed.: Looking Again at the Question of the Liturgy with Cardinal Ratzinger. Proceedings of the July 2001 Fontgombault Liturgical Conference, pp 19-20)

  171. Brian C. says:

    Michael B. writes:

    Dear Father Renzo di Lorenzo,
    I command you to immediately come to my diocese and instruct our poorly formed diocesan clergy!

    No, darn it! We in Wisconsin already have dibs on him! Get your own!

    :)

    In Christ,
    Brian

  172. Michael J says:

    Geoffrey,

    I more or less agree with you that “When read without blinders, the phrases “Seeds of the Word” and “Groanings of the Spirit” do not mean that “all religions are equal”.

    The question then becomes: Why do so many get it wrong?

  173. Jordanes says:

    Now that we’ve seen the quote from John Paul II’s allocution of 16 Sept. 1999, it’s clear that John Paul II never said all human religions are equal or that they are all inspired by God. The “inspiration” of which he spoke is the innate religious impulse and desire for truth that God gave everyone. In fact he didn’t say anything in that allocution that the Catholic Church hasn’t believed for 2,000 years. Habemus Papam must retract his false accusation.

  174. Geoffrey says:

    Michael J said: “The question then becomes: Why do so many get it wrong?”

    Excellent question. I think it is because of a lack of proper catechesis in all spheres of Catholic life: proper religious education of children is lacking, seminary training was lacking but is getting better, and especially homilies… which are the perfect time for proper catechetics but is often nothing but fluff. Things are changing though.

  175. Adam says:

    Matt of South Kent,
    Gavin D’Costa’s essay on this subject might be of interest to you, ‘Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus – Revisited’, in ed. Ian Hamnett, Religious Pluralism and Unbelief, Routledge, London, 1990, pp. 130-47.

    You’ll find background information about the Prof. D’Costa on his webpage at the university of Bristol, but what that page won’t reveal is that when Prof. Paul Willams was received into the Catholic Church D’Costa was the sponsor. Paul Williams is an authority on Tibetan Buddhism and was for many years a practitioner and his conversion raised not a few eyebrows – among ecumaniac Christians

  176. veritas says:

    Hi Ron,

    Your point is good and certainly well taken. But as a practical issue, do you think it would be even possible for the State to align itself with a particular religion AND, at the same time, permit other religions to exist? It seems the former would by definition preclude or otherwise severly limit the latter.

  177. Adam says:

    Habemus Papam,
    General Audience 19 September 1999? There was no GA on that day as it was a Sunday.

  178. Patrick says:

    Michael J,

    Because if the SSPX can paint John Paul II and Benedict XVI as in error and not traditional, they can justify their own disobedience and schismatic acts. The SSPX doesn’t even try to interpret or read modern documents in the light of tradition. It simply doesn’t help their little movement.

  179. Michael J says:

    Patrick,
    I wasn’t referring to the SSPX when I asked why so many people have a mistaken notion about what the Church teaches about religious liberty.

    If you can set aside your obvious distaste, you’ll have to admit that what the SSPX teaches regarding religious liberty actually is what the Church teaches and what Dignitatis Humanae and John Paul II’s General Audience Address of September 16 1999 really taught. It seems that most everybody else got it wrong.

  180. Angelo says:

    To: Fr John T Zuhlsdorf

    Father, the issue is not the “right to Know” but your apparant lack of prudential judgement in posting this item . . . a failure to foresee the consequences your action would generate? You misconstrue Msg Fellay’s remarks regarding the Holy Father as being disrespectfull. Was it really? What about the disresepct you showed the Person of the Holy Father by publishing those outrageous photoshop images you posted on your blog April 1, 2008? Remember? Captain Kirche. In case you have forgotten I posted the link here to refresh your mememory.

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/04/from-the-shrine-captain-kirche/

  181. Ron says:

    veritas,

    “But as a practical issue, do you think it would be even possible for the State to align itself with a particular religion AND, at the same time, permit other religions to exist?”

    Leo XIII says that true liberty isn’t the freedom to do anything but rather the freedom to seek and do what is good and pleasing to God. The state is to actually assist men in that end. To that point I’d say the state must be aligned with the true religion to be able to orient men toward the true good (or else how does the state know what is truly good and right?).

    But you’re right, a Catholic state could allow other religions to exist within the state but if those religions wanted to do something contrary to the Catholic faith then they would not be able to do them. The state couldn’t allow them to do anything they wanted to do. Ex: homosexuality. A Catholic state would have to outlaw homosexuality so any people who wanted to do that would be punished by the state. But I don’t see why another religion could be tolerated in a Catholic state.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  182. malta says:

    “Can he promise the SSPX’s priests that they will have a healthy atmosphere for celebrating the Holy Sacrifice along these lines, when he himslef, while still a Cardinal, asked with a resentment: ”Who still talks today about ‘the divine Sacrifice of the Eucharist’ ?”

    Michael, with all due respect, I believe you are completely misreading BXVI’s words. If you read the quote in context, he is actually advocating for an understanding of the Mass as Sacrifice, and he goes on to say that Trent is still completely relevant:

    http://www.oriensjournal.com/11librat.html

    Aside from that, I agree with you that the modern Church is a mess. But that is all the more reason to have SSPX back home; I believe they could be given assurances and quasi-autonomous status to work for the boss–our Pope–but no one else.

    PAX

  183. Gerard says:

    As I’ve stated before, until the Pope starts to come down hard and I mean really hard on liberals, nothing is going to get better.

    Here’s how to get the SSPX to “return”

    Condemn false interpretations of Vatican II in clear and precise terms. Revise and rewrite the 16 documents if he has to and show clearly where the magisterial voice is present in the condemnations.

    Remove liberal bishops and Cardinals from positions of authority and publicly correct them.

    It doesn’t matter how many ceremonial elements or vestments the Pope brings back, if he doesn’t bring back a hammer to use against heretics, it’s all for nothing.

    The primary duty of the Pope is to guard the deposit of faith. Any guard who is unwilling to fight and defend when the faith is under attack is of no use.

  184. John Enright says:

    Angelo said this about Fr. Z: “What about the disresepct [sic] you showed the Person [sic] of the Holy Father by publishing those outrageous photoshop images you posted on your blog April 1, 2008? Remember? Captain Kirche.”

    I don’t think that the photos of the Holy Father were disrespectful at all. There is a difference between harmless fun and disrespect. From everything I’ve heard, the Holy Father has a keen sense of humor and he is often self-deprecating! I’m certain that the Holy Father would see the humor in the post, even if Angelo doesn’t. In any event, yelling at Fr. Z for posting this issue misses the mark entirely; he didn’t put the words into Bp. Fellay’s mouth, nor has he ranted about the matter. Instead, he’s given us a forum to discuss the matter politely and, hopefully, without further ad hominem attacks.

  185. Geoffrey says:

    I think Angelo’s comments are out of place. This is Fr Z’s blog and he can do whatever he likes.

  186. John Enright says:

    I forgot to mention that April 1 of every year in the USA is “April Fools Day” when people traditionally play harmless practical jokes on others.

  187. Tom says:

    DH says “the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.”

    That’s the problematic part of the document, specifically the claim that “human dignity” prevents the state from suppressing not only private heretical manifestations, but PUBLIC manifestations, too, such as publishing, teaching, pampleteering, etc. This prohibition, posited to be based not on prudence but on the very constitution of humanity (“human dignity”) is an absolutely unprecedented novely supported nowhere in Scripture or in Sacred Tradition.

    That this apparent contradiction needs serious attention is obvious. It is not an insignifcant point that bothers only radical traditionalists. Fr. Brian Harrison, for one, has acknowledged the legitimacy of this whole issue, while offering a good (if insufficient, IMHO) attempt to reconcile the apparent discrepancy between the novel teaching and the Catholic doctrine.

    Whether the SSPX always follows the rule of charity and prudence in announcing this truth about DH is another matter.

    Whether the SSPX conflates this (legitimate) doctrinal point with their unusual, historically-based, Franco-culturally based, anti-democratic, monarchical leanings (which are NOT doctrinal) is also another matter.

  188. Brian Kiernan says:

    With regard to Pope John Paul II’s General Audience Address of September 9, 1998 which was cited above by Habemus Papam (at 10:58am),

    Geoffrey (at 11:33am) quoted the Holy Father:
    “For the reasons mentioned here, the attitude of the Church and of individual Christians towards other religions is marked by sincere respect, profound sympathy and, when possible and appropriate, cordial collaboration. This does not mean forgetting that Jesus Christ is the one Mediator and Saviour of the human race. Nor does it mean lessening our missionary efforts, to which we are bound in obedience to the risen Lord’s command”

    Geoffrey then, I believe, correctly stated that “the phrases ‘Seeds of the Word’ and ‘Groanings of the Spirit’ do not mean that ‘all religions are equal.’”

    Jordanes then (at 12:01pm) stated:
    “Now that we’ve seen the quote from John Paul II’s allocution of 16 Sept. 1999 (sic), it’s clear that John Paul II never said all human religions are equal or that they are all inspired by God. The ‘inspiration’ of which he spoke is the innate religious impulse and desire for truth that God gave everyone. In fact he didn’t say anything in that allocution that the Catholic Church hasn’t believed for 2,000 years. Habemus Papam must retract his false accusation.”

    Is that really true? Are the following statements from that address consistent with what the Catholic Church has believed and Popes and Councils have taught for 2000 years? It sounds as if the Pope was teaching some sort of “inspiration” or “calling forth by the Holy Spirit” in the founders, prayer, and doctrines of these religions. According to the address:

    “The various religions arose precisely from this primordial human openness to God. At their origins we often find founders who, with the help of God’s Spirit, achieved a deeper religious experience. Handed on to others, this experience took form in the doctrines, rites and precepts of the various religions.”

    “In every authentic religious experience, the most characteristic expression is prayer. Because of the human spirit’s constitutive openness to God’s action of urging it to self-transcendence, we can hold that ‘every authentic prayer is called forth by the Holy Spirit, who is mysteriously present in the heart of every person.’”

    “We experienced an eloquent manifestation of this truth at the World Day of Prayer for Peace on 27 October 1986 in Assisi, and on other similar occasions of great spiritual intensity.”

    “The Holy Spirit is not only present in other religions through authentic expressions of prayer. ‘The Spirit’s presence and activity,’ as I wrote in the Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, ‘affect not only individuals but also society and history, peoples, cultures and religions’ (n. 28).”

  189. Habemus Papam says:

    John Paul II 9 September 1998 General Audience published above 16 September: “At their (the various religions) origins we often find founders who, with the help of God’s Spirit, achieved a deeper religious experience. Handed on to others, this experience took form in the doctrines, rites and precepts of the various religions.

    He makes clear at the start of this allocution that he is teaching us about the Non-Christian Religions. These, he goes on to say are inspired by the Holy Spirit. The various religions arose precisely from this. Precisely.

    So, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity as well as revealing the Christian Faith inspired the founders of the non-Christian religions. The same Person, God’s Spirit. To illustrate his point John Paul mentions the World Day of Prayer for Peace on 27 October 1986 in Assisi when he stood alongside the representatives of these various religions.

    The Pope knew what he was doing and saying, what message he was sending.

  190. Patrick says:

    Brian,

    Good post. All of those quotations mesh perfectly with traditionally Catholic teaching. Unless, of course, one bends over backwards trying to interpret those statements in the most tortured and bizarre way possible.

    Men seek God naturally. This is not a new teaching.

    God puts that desire in man. Nothing new here either.

    Authentic prayer is caused by the Holy Spirit. Not new.

    The movement of man toward God, the path toward conversion, and the path toward Faith, are all acts of the Holy Spirit. Again, not new.

  191. Geoffrey says:

    “It sounds as if the Pope was teaching some sort of ‘inspiration’ or ‘calling forth by the Holy Spirit’ in the founders, prayer, and doctrines of these religions.”

    Doesn’t everything that happens in the world, happen in accordance with the Will of God, even if we can’t understand it?

  192. Trey says:

    Can I repost my question to see if someone will engage it?

    Is the question of religious freedom something to do with faith or morals?
    Salvation? Why is this treated as though it is of such great importance?
    Why can we not differ on this? Can’t we disagree about the prudence of the
    teachings of the Vatican Council, esp. those that are “pastoral” and
    “prudential”? The Holy Father has made clear, when Cardinal, that the Council
    could not change doctrine, as it was a “pastoral” council…

    I’m not really sure on this, and would like some comment.

    As for Bp. Fellay, don’t we owe a certain amount of respect to the Holy Father. If
    we can’t give assent to his teachings, are we supposed to speak publicly about this?
    I always thought that these difficulties with what the Church teaches should be
    kept to oneself and one’s confessor…But perhaps I am wrong…

  193. Ron says:

    Two points.

    Patrick: While man may seek God naturally it does not mean everything man does in his search for God is inspired by God. To claim that non-Christian religions are inspired by the Holy Spirit is wrong. The Fathers thought the pagan gods were in fact demons. I won’t even speak the obvious conclusion we would have to draw. Some things in religions may be from man’s honest search for God but a lot of it is error and deception. The Holy Spirit does not inspire error and deception or anything contrary to the true religion Christ gave us.

    Geoffrey: “Doesn’t everything that happens in the world, happen in accordance with the Will of God, even if we can’t understand it?” While everything that happens may be governed by Divine Providence that does not mean everything that happens is inspired by the Holy Spirit. God may permit false religions to exist in the world but that does not mean He has inspired them or even desired them to exist, He merely allows it so the truth may be more clearly known.

    The fact is the Holy Spirit was sent to us to lead us into all truth. Who has received the Holy Spirit? Not everyone but those who are born anew in Christ through Holy Baptism. I don’t see how we can attribute the errors and deceptions of false religions to divine inspiration. We may be able to attribute it to natural human attempts at understanding God but I do not think our Tradition says that the Holy Spirit has any part in it.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  194. Michael J says:

    Trey,
    This is just my opinion, but I think the question of religious freedom is very much part of faith and morals. I base this on the forceful statements from the Church’s past. The fact that so many have commented on it indicates to me at least that this is a big deal. Since the Vatican II Council specifically affirmed its continuity dont let anyone fool you into thinking that the doctrine has “developed” to the point where it contradicts what these great men have emphatically stated:

    Pope Leo XIII: Libertas Praestantissimum

    Since, then, the profession of one religion is necessary in the State, that religion must be professed which alone is true, and which can be recognized without difficulty, especially in Catholic States, because the marks of truth are, as it were, engraven upon it. This religion, therefore, the rulers of the State must preserve and protect, if they would provide-as they should do-with prudence and usefulness for the good of the community

    Pope Leo XIII: Immortale Dei

    the chief duty of all men is to cling to religion in both its teaching and practice— not such religion as they may have a preference for, but the religion which God enjoins, and which certain and most clear marks show to be the only true religion.

    Pope Gregory XVI: Mirari vos
    Now from this evil-smelling spring of indifferentism flows the erroneous and absurd opinion… or rather, derangement—that freedom of conscience must be asserted and vindicated for everyone

    Pope Pius IX: Syllabus of Errors
    Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, led by the light of reason, he may have thought true (Condemned)

    Pope Pius IX: Quanta Cura
    The best condition of human society is that wherein no duty is recognized by the government of correcting, by enacted penalties, the violators of the Catholic Religion, except when the maintenance of the public peace requires it.(Condemned)

    The liberty of conscience and of worship is the peculiar (or inalienable) right of every man.(Condemned)

    They do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI, an “insanity,” viz., that “liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way.

    St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II-IIae, q. 10, a. 11
    On the other hand, the rites of other unbelievers, which are neither truthful nor profitable are by no means to be tolerated, except perchance in order to avoid an evil, e.g. the scandal or disturbance that might ensue, or some hindrance to the salvation of those who if they were unmolested might gradually be converted to the faith. For this reason the Church, at times, has tolerated the rites even of heretics and pagans, when unbelievers were very numerous.

  195. Patrick says:

    Ron said: “While man may seek God naturally it does not mean everything man does in his search for God is inspired by God.”

    And Pope John Paul II doesn’t say that everything man does is inspired by God. You are opposed to a bad non-traditional interpretation of what he wrote, instead of what he actually wrote.

    When a Jew decides, through prayer, that he ought to read the New Testament. That’s the Holy Spirit inspiring his “authentic prayer.” When an atheist picks up a Gideon’s Bible and begins to read, that’s the Holy Spirit at work. When a Muslim reads “Mere Christianity” because he wants to find out what this christianity-thing is all about, that’s the Holy Spirit.

  196. Somerset '76 says:

    There is one simple reason why a thread about the SSPX Superior General’s commentary can produce nearly 200 responses: because the substance of those remarks, as indeed of the Society’s posture in general, touch raw nerves. Posters here have posited credible evidence of a radical discontinuity between preconciliar and postconciliar attitudes towards the rightful place of Catholic confessional states — the existence of this discontinuity the Society asserts unflinchingly.

    Recall Gerard’s recent comment above:

    As I’ve stated before, until the Pope starts to come down hard and I mean really hard on liberals, nothing is going to get better.

    Here’s how to get the SSPX to “return”

    Condemn false interpretations of Vatican II in clear and precise terms. Revise and rewrite the 16 documents if he has to and show clearly where the magisterial voice is present in the condemnations.

    Remove liberal bishops and Cardinals from positions of authority and publicly correct them.

    It doesn’t matter how many ceremonial elements or vestments the Pope brings back, if he doesn’t bring back a hammer to use against heretics, it’s all for nothing.

    The primary duty of the Pope is to guard the deposit of faith. Any guard who is unwilling to fight and defend when the faith is under attack is of no use.

    That’s very key, indeed. I would hazard to suspect that were this done, not only would there be a better atmosphere for the Society and Rome to discern what of true continuity there actually is since the last Council: there would be a much better chance of getting the Society to reevaluate its understanding of Indefectibility, which in agreement with Dr. Brian Sudlow (I provided the links in an earlier comment this thread), I am convinced is suspect.

  197. MIchael B. says:

    Brian C.
    You are tens of comments too late! I suggest you call Father Robert Skeris next time he’s home in Wisconsin, then ask him to stop in Michigan to help us on his way back to Washington.
    with regards and the spoils of being first,

  198. Jordanes says:

    Gerard said: Condemn false interpretations of Vatican II in clear and precise terms. Revise and rewrite the 16 documents if he has to and show clearly where the magisterial voice is present in the condemnations.

    In other words, convene another oecumenical council — for only a papally-approved oecumenical council could do the momentous things you are calling for.

    No, the documents of Vatican II can never be revised or rewritten. No Pope has ever done any such thing. Conciliar documents can be superceded, however, and placed in proper context. That the Popes have been doing for the last 40 years, and will continue to do for as long as the Church exists on earth, until the Holy Spirit moves the Church to convene another general council (hopefully not in our lifetimes — we still haven’t recovered from the last one).

  199. Michael B. says:

    Somerset ’76 and Gerard,
    I think you have “cut to the chase”. The biggest mystery of the last nearly fifty years is this: why have the Popes held back from taking these decisive actions?

    Taking a step back from the discussion just a moment, I think there has been a minimum of “low blows” in this contentious comment box. Thanks to all for that. No doubt this box has been visited by Christians. Perhaps we should all agree to meet for an ale and sing Belloc’s “Pelagian Drinking Song!”

  200. Jordanes says:

    Habemus said: He makes clear at the start of this allocution that he is teaching us about the Non-Christian Religions. These, he goes on to say are inspired by the Holy Spirit. The various religions arose precisely from this. Precisely.

    No, he doesn’t say anything remotely like that. There is not a single statment in that allocution about non-Christian religions being inspired buy the Holy Spirit. He said that often we will find that the founders of these religions were prompted by the Holy Spirit to a deeper religious experience. But that isn’t anything the Church hasn’t said for the past 2,000 years. Read a few of the early Apologists like St. Justin Martyr, if you don’t believe me.

    The Pope knew what he was doing and saying, what message he was sending.

    Yes, and I know what he was doing and saying, and what message he was sending. But I don’t think you know what he was doing and saying. Your quotes of his talk don’t match up with what you claim the quotes say.

  201. Brian Kiernan says:

    Patrick,

    I believe that if you go to the link that Habemus Papam provided at 10:58 am, you will see the Pope John Paul II made the following remarks together (I slightly edited the quote for readability, without, I believe, any change in meaning. Please go to the link and double-check for yourself):

    “In every authentic religious experience, the most characteristic expression is prayer. Because of the human spirit’s constitutive openness to God’s action of urging it to self-transcendence, we can hold that ‘every authentic prayer is called forth by the Holy Spirit, who is mysteriously present in the heart of every person’ . . . We experienced an eloquent manifestation of this truth at the World Day of Prayer for Peace on 27 October 1986 in Assisi, and on other similar occasions of great spiritual intensity. The Holy Spirit is . . . present in other religions through authentic expressions of prayer.”

    In this quote, the Holy Father does not seem to be talking about non-Christians being immediately led by prayer to the Catholic faith. Although I am open to correction, as I read it, John Paul II is talking about other religions having authentic religious experience and engaging in authentic prayer called forth by the Holy Spirit within their own tradition as, for example, at Assisi in 1986.

    Clearly these are delicate, complicated issues about which one should not rush to judgment. I am not sure how to understand these teachings and exactly what message he was sending.

  202. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    You have to place the Pope’s statements in the context of Assisi. The Pope called together all the Religions of the world to come and pray in one place each according to their traditions. The problem of course is that the prayers of many of the pagans involved are idolatry and therefore a grave sin. John Paul II facilitated the commission of grave sin by calling Assisi, there is no way to get around this. The only way I could see how he could do this, is if he really believes that idolatry is some type of movement of the Holy Ghost, but of course the Holy Ghost can not inspire sin. Yes there is a natural religion. Yes anyone one is capable of praying and having his prayer heard by God, but not if he is praying to a tree as if it were God. The great missionaries would never hold ignorance of the Trinity against non-Catholics they were evangelizing, but they absolutely would condemn them for the sin of idolatry. There is no excuse for idolatry. It fulfills none of man’s desire for God, and the grace of God is available to all (including pagans) to not commit such a heinous sin.

  203. Malta, just so you are aware, St. Benedict’s Abbey is in Still River, MA not Still Water, MA. There are also two other groups in the same area descended from Fr. Feeney’s original group. The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the St. Benedict Center (Brothers and Sisters) and the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Sisters only, affiliated with the Abbey). All three groups are in union with Rome under the Diocese of Worcester.

    In the interest of accuracy: According to the Decree of Excommunication, Fr. Leonard Feeney was not excommunicated because of his stance on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, but because of his disobedience to his religious superious (Jesuit and Archdiocese of Boston). The following is taken from: AAS (February 16, 1953) Vol. XXXXV, page 100:

    Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office
    Decree: The Priest Leonard Feeney Is Declared Excommunicated
    Since the priest Leonard Feeney, a resident of Boston (Saint Benedict Center), who for a long time has been suspended from his priestly duties on account of grave disobedience of Church Authority, being unmoved by repeated warnings and threats of incurring excommunication ipso facto, has not submitted, the Most Eminent and Reverend Fathers, charged with safeguarding matters of faith and morals, in a Plenary Session held on Wednesday, 4 February 1953, declared him excommunicated, with all the effects of the law.
    On Thursday, 12 February 1953, Our Most Holy Lord Pius XII, by Divine Providence Pope, approved and confirmed the decree of the Most Eminent Fathers, and ordered that it be made [a matter] of public law.
    Given at Rome, at the Headquarters of the Holy Office, 13 February 1953.
    Marius Crovini, Notary.

  204. JJ says:

    Hey, one of my comments seems to have disappeared. Fr John, did you delete it? I just want to know, so that I don’t rewrite it?

  205. Gerard says:

    Jordanes wrote:

    In other words, convene another oecumenical council—for only a papally-approved oecumenical council could do the momentous things you are calling for.

    No, the documents of Vatican II can never be revised or rewritten. No Pope has ever done any such thing. Conciliar documents can be superceded, however, and placed in proper context. That the Popes have been doing for the last 40 years, and will continue to do for as long as the Church exists on earth, until the Holy Spirit moves the Church to convene another general council (hopefully not in our lifetimes—we still haven’t recovered from the last one).

    Jordanes,

    I think you are imbibing in a little Gallicanism with your post. The Pope is Supreme. He can absolutely re-write the documents with magisterial invocations. He can rule that his formulations are not to be departed from and “X” means “this” and not “that” regarding the documents of Vatican II. By tying them to anathemas from previous councils he can give the documents the needed stability to actually express the truth clearly. He can also weed out and dispose of the ambiguous phrases and the non-relevant temporal references. “In these days….” etc. Any interpretation that contradicts or departs from the literal meaning of the words on the page is “rash, injurious to pious ears” etc. He can also peel back a lot of the allowances that the documents give to the bishops. Like King Lear, the idea may have sounded good in the beginning but it just lead to trouble.

    He certainly doesn’t need to convene another council. He has the power to do it himself. Fr. Malachi Martin once related the story of how Paul VI discovered the plot against the papacy in the writing of Lumen Gentium. This is also referred to in Ralph Wiltgen’s “The Rhine flows into the Tiber” where Paul VI was reduced to tears. My own guess is that it was Karl Rahner who was behind it. Fr. Martin lamented, “Why didn’t Paul VI stop the vote? He could have overturned the whole thing. Instead he wrote an ineffectual nota explicativa that is never read by anybody and placed in the index of the document.”

    One other thing. The Holy Ghost doesn’t move the Church to convene councils. They are human decisions entirely, either blessed by the Holy Ghost with the invocation of magisterial authority or they are left alone as more modest attempts to address issues. No promises are made about the fruits of a Council.

  206. Michael B. says:

    Here is a link to a critical yet respectful review of Michael Davie’s book on DH by Fr. Brian Harrison:http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt44.html

  207. Dan Hunter says:

    It seems that various priests with the F.S.S.P.X cannot agree on the Founding Fathers “Masonic Principles”.
    The following is an article by my uncle, Rev Father Christopher Hunter F.S.S.P.X., pertaining to George Washingtons conversion to Catholicism:

    Excerpt Catholics and the Republic
    by Reverend Father Christopher Hunter

    Washington and Freemasonry

    To begin with, such chroniclers who assert this (and they usually assert it with great authority!) are proving their willingness to believe Masonic sources as if these same Masons were pillars of honesty and would never mislead us in matters that might be self-serving.

    The Masons, of course, love to claim our first President as their own, often depicting him in full Masonic regalia, laying the foundation stone for certain public buildings in our Nation’s capital. But if ever there was a classic example of a half-truth, this is it! I will let the reader determine if it is either fair or accurate to call our first President a Mason.

    Washington took the first degree of Masonry in 1752, at the age of twenty, at Fredericksburg, Virginia. In the following year he took the second and third degrees at the same place. What the Masons don’t bother to mention is, that after 1753, Washington never practiced Masonry. On September 25, 1798, Washington wrote that he had not set foot in a Masonic Lodge “more than once or twice in the last thirty years,” or that he told his aide-de-camp that Masonry was “for the most part child’s play,” and that “it might be used for the worst of purposes.”

    Nor are we told that Washington died a Catholic. The facts concerning this have been well publicized and would seem to leave little room for doubt.

    Four hours before Washington’s death, Fr. Leonard Neale, S.J., was called to Mount Vernon from St. Mary’s Mission across the Piscatawney River, where he baptized President Washington.

    There is little reason to doubt the report of Washington’s deathbed conversion since his Negro slaves who testified to it, were not Catholic. In fact, it is reported that “weeping and wailing occurred in the quarters that Massa Washington had been snared by the Scarlet Woman of Rome…” In addition, it is reported that Washington made the Sign of the Cross before meals. He is also known to have attended High Mass on occasion in old St. Mary’s Church in Philadelphia.

    After his death, a picture of the Blessed Mother was found among his effects which, I am told, today hangs in his home, Mt. Vernon.

    It was of George Washington that the Catholic Cecil Chesterton was speaking when he wrote: “It may be justly said of him, as it can be said of few of the great men who have molded the destinies of nations, that history can put its finger on no act of his and say, ‘Here this man was preferring his own interest to his country’s’.”

    Such are the facts that must be taken into account concerning America’s political beginnings. Dr. Walsh was always fond of saying that: “Facts are truth, but facts are not truth unless you have all the facts.” What I have put down here are those facts necessary to have a complete picture of the influences on the men who gave us the two documents upon which the United States was founded.

    If Catholics believe it important to honor their Church by demonstrating its powerful influence upon the minds of men, then they should rejoice that in otherwise Protestant America, Catholic principles triumphed at the beginning!

    The Angelus

  208. This gets stranger the deeper I dig. It seems
    that the position on the US Founding that is
    opposite of the SSPX is peddled by the SSPV
    http://www.wftsradio.citymax.com/catalog/item/3130759/2667488.htm

    The neo-Cons:
    http://www.amazon.com/Two-Wings-Humble-American-Founding/dp/1893554341

    And the Holocaust deniers:
    http://www.revisionisthistory.org/cgi-bin/store/agora.cgi?cart_id=9289262.7678*Uo29k7&product=DVDs

    I’m not promoting guilt by association, but this topic needs to be studied further

  209. Dan Hunter:

    Fr. Christopher Hunter’s video is the one sold on revisionisthistory.org

    And now for something even stranger regarding Washington and the Church. The following was reported by Wingate himself when a guest on The SciZone.

    http://www.trumpetersmission.com/messages_faqs_36.htm

    It’s similar to what the Bayside folks say. The ones who also say that John Paul II has been locked away by Benedict and that we should pray for the souls in Hell.

    Sigh

  210. Jason Keener says:

    One of my favorite articles on this topic:

    “Vatican II and Religious Liberty: Contradiction or Continuity?” by Father Brian Harrison

    http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Dossier/00MarApr/continuity.html

    Bishop Fellay shouldn’t be ridiculing our Holy Father in public, but I also believe the Holy See has to do a better job in
    demonstrating how certain elements of Vatican II can be read in light of Sacred Tradition. And even though it can be done, reconciling “Dignitatis Humane” with earlier papal encyclicals isn’t the easiest task in the world.

  211. Robert of Orono says:

    I have trouble with the liberalism that formed our country. I struggle with Dignitatus Humanae. How can DH say that “Therefore it leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.” AND This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.” and reconcile with the very strong words of Pius IX in Quata Cura and also his quotation of Gregory XIV: For you well know, venerable brethren, that at this time men are found not a few who, applying to civil society the impious and absurd principle of “naturalism,” as they call it, dare to teach that “the best constitution of public society and (also) civil progress altogether require that human society be conducted and governed without regard being had to religion any more than if it did not exist; or, at least, without any distinction being made between the true religion and false ones.” And, against the doctrine of Scripture, of the Church, and of the Holy Fathers, they do not hesitate to assert that “that is the best condition of civil society, in which no duty is recognized, as attached to the civil power, of restraining by enacted penalties, offenders against the Catholic religion, except so far as public peace may require.” From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI, an “insanity,”2 viz., that “liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way.” But, while they rashly affirm this, they do not think and consider that they are preaching “liberty of perdition;”3 You can’t really say the mean the same thing

  212. Robert of Orono says:

    On the Masons comment: I read years ago the encyclical Humanum Genus by Pius XIII on Freemasonry. He very strongly condemns much of what is now part of political religion and culture. I quote: In those matters which regard religion let it be seen how the sect of the Freemasons acts, especially where it is more free to act without restraint, and then let any one judge whether in fact it does not wish to carry out the policy of the naturalists. By a long and persevering labor, they endeavor to bring about this result — namely, that the teaching office and authority of the Church may become of no account in the civil State; and for this same reason they declare to the people and contend that Church and State ought to be altogether disunited. By this means they reject from the laws and from the commonwealth the wholesome influence of the Catholic religion; and they consequently imagine that States ought to be constituted without any regard for the laws and precepts of the Church.

    I highly recommend American Catholics read this encyclical and ruminate on how much of what is condemned as poison in this encyclical that the average American Catholic (and prelates) have drunken in.

  213. Bishop Fellay’s words can be considered much tamer compared to those of Archbishop Lefebvre. As someone commented above, you guys are a really sensitive lot.

  214. Michael B. says:

    It looks like Fr. Z (religious liberty is the issue holding SSPX back from unity) was scooped on this point by Fr. Harrison in 1989. http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Dossier/00MarApr/continuity.html.
    Thanks for the link, Jason.

    Again, the key question here was described at length by Romano Amerio in Iota unum: why the abandonment of authority by the Conciliar and post-Conciliar Popes in the face of revolt within the Church? If the Pope were to dare to exercise his authority on those matters, the SSPX would have little to do but to sing a Te Deum and consider the “restoration” at hand.

    Frankly, I’d rather be in communion with Catholics more like those in the SSPX than with those in my diocese and my bishop’s office who regularly deny and pervert Catholic teaching. This isn’t the fault of the SSPX, but of Popes who have made it easy to be publicly and officially “Catholic” without believing the Faith.

  215. Habemus Papam says:

    John Paul II opens this address with a quote from Nostra Aetate, the Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions. These various religions are clearly the subject of his teaching.
    To place this in context of the SSPXs problems with Religious Liberty is to recognise that in the traditional teaching of the Church these religions are “natural” while the Catholic Faith is supernatural religion. Teaching that natural religion is founded with the help of God’s Spirit makes it supernatural. Direct contadiction of traditional teaching.

  216. Gerard says:

    Habemus Papem,

    Does Pope John Paul II ever mention the influence of the Devil in these non-Catholic (ie. false ) religions?

    How does he know these “religions” are natural and not preternatural in origin?

  217. Fr Scott Bailey,

    I don’t believe you are correct about the status of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. From their website (catholicism.org):

    “We are often asked about our community’s status in the Catholic Church. The following points should help to clarify this.

    As baptized Catholics who hold the Catholic faith in its entirety, we are in communion with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. We pray for him, as well as for our local bishop, His Excellency, Bishop John McCormack, in all of our Masses.

    At this point, our Order has no formal canonical recognition from the Diocese of Manchester.”

  218. Habemus Papam says:

    Gerard: Do some research into Catholic Apologetics and the difference between natural and supernatural religion. These terms may sound strange today but before Vatican II every educated Catholic would have been familiar with them.

  219. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Mr. Hessel,

    Father is correct. The website you are looking at is the for the St. Benedict Center in Richmond, NH. They are currently in discussions with Rome and the diocese to bring about their regularization, but it has not been completed yet. The website for the St. Benedict Center in Still River, MA is: http://saintbenedict.com/

    One small correction to what Fr. Bailey said though. Fr. Feeney was excommunicated for refusing to present himself before a tribunal of the Holy Office in Rome, until the Holy Office provided him with charges so he could prepare a defense (as is required by canon law).

  220. Mr. Hassel,

    Please read a bit more carefully. I do not refer to the group in New Hampshire who publishes the site catholicism.org. They, though descended from the Fr. Feeney’s group and bear the same name, are not part of the Still River, MA group and are not in communion with the Church. You will note that they are in a different town and state and they are in a different diocese.

    There are three groups of “Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” that are not recognized by the Church: the New Hampshire group you refer to, a group in the Midwest, and a group in California. The three groups descended from Fr. Feeney in Still River, MA all have canonical recognition.

  221. Gerard says:

    Habemus Papam,

    Gerard: Do some research into Catholic Apologetics and the difference between natural and supernatural religion. These terms may sound strange today but before Vatican II every educated Catholic would have been familiar with them.

    Yes. I understand the concept. Fr. Vincent Miceli refers to it in his “Adventures In Atheism” based on his book, The gods of Atheism.

    But I was just asking, did John Paul II ever mention the Devil’s influence on false religions? Leo XIII didn’t mince words when he referred to Freemasonry’ s “god” as the Devil.

    My second question was how did JPII distinguish between religions that are “natural” and those that have “preternatural” influences on their emergence?

  222. Patrick says:

    Gerard,

    What are some examples of “false religions”?

  223. Habemus Papam says:

    Gerard: I would be surprised if John Paul II even recognised the concept of false religion. For him everything arises from the depths of human conciousness and develops into the various religions. Apart from Satanism I’m not sure what a preternatural religion is. Those animistic religions, panthean beliefs which were certainly considered evil seem to have been accepted by this Pope as some sort of spiritual expression. His whole thinking was so weird. I prefere the clear thought of the pre-Conciliar Popes. Leo XIII yes, he wouldn’t get a look in today!

  224. Gerard says:

    Patrick,

    You want examples beyond the Freemasons as already mentioned?

    At the moment, I’m thinking particularly of the false gods worshipped by the Egyptians when Moses confronted the sorcerers of Pharoah.

    Simon the Magus is another.

    The New Age is another.

    Catharism.

    Darwinism.

    Islam.

    Post Christian Judaism.

    Protestantism.

    Satanism.

    and others.

    Are those examples of religions that are false sufficient?

    Remember, truth + falsehood = falsehood.

  225. Gerard says:

    Habemus,

    Does your understanding of JPII’s conception of religion differ essentially from the immanentism condemned by St. Pius X?

    I’ve heard it described that JPII’s phenomenology ultimately has no sure foundation in metaphysics. I have yet to read anything of his that disputes that claim.

  226. Habemus Papam says:

    Mohammed, Buddah,Confuscious, Shiva I suppose, were all influenced by God’s Sprit. It sounds Gnostic to me. We all have the divine spark. Very strange coming from a Catholic Pope.

  227. Habemus Papam says:

    Immanentism would describe my understanding of his concept of religion. Also Theosophy. He was influenced by Steiner apparently. Very disturbing. I have veiws of this Pope which are probably a bit strong for this forum so I’ll keep them to myself.

  228. Gerard says:

    I think it’s amazing that the ONLY religion that seems to have the smoke of Satan in it according to the recent Popes is the Catholic Church.

  229. Patrick says:

    Gerard,

    I think you’re missing the point. Other religions affirm truths about God. Insofar as they do so, they are doing something good. Insofar as they don’t, they are not.

    It’s pretty straight-forward and nothing new.

    Pope John Paul II’s phenomenology is really just Thomism using words like “person”. It’s pretty clear, if you read it.

    Habemus,

    Man’s innate desire to understand something beyond himself is not gnostic. Man seeks his Creator, and that is a part of his nature that was designed by his Creator. God created man to know,love, and serve Him, so it really shouldn’t be a surprise that he designed us to seek Him. If a man is born in tribal Africa with no contact with the outside world, the desire that he possesses to find a Creator, something beyond Himself, something Divine, is a desire put there by God Himself.

  230. I am not Spartacus says:

    I have read Gerard defending opposition to the Pope. Well, here is what The Popes teach about that claim:

    Pope Pius IX: Quanta Cura

    1) “We cannot pass over in silence the audacity of those who, not enduring sound doctrine, contend that ‘without sin and without any sacrifice of the Catholic profession assent and obedience may be refused to those judgments and decrees of the Apostolic See, whose object is declared to concern the Church’s general good and her rights and discipline, so only it does not touch the dogmata of faith and morals.’ But no one can be found not clearly and distinctly to see and understand how grievously this is opposed to the Catholic dogma of the full power given from God by Christ our Lord Himself to the Roman Pontiff of feeding, ruling and guiding the Universal Church.”

    Pope St. Pius X: Allocution of May 10, 1909

    “Do not allow yourselves to be deceived by the cunning statements of those who persistently claim to wish to be with the Church, to love the Church, to fight so that people do not leave Her…But judge them by their works. If they despise the shepherds of the Church and even the Pope, if they attempt all means of evading their authority in order to elude their directives and judgments…, then about which Church do these men mean to speak? Certainly not about that established on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone

    As for poor Fr. Fellay:

    In January, Cardinal Castrillon had incorrectly written that with some conditions I would accept Vatican II. Since I wanted him to know exactly what I think about the Council, I handed him Catholicism and Modernity, a booklet in French by Fr. Jean-Marc Rulleau in which he studies the Council and shows how the spirit of the Council is radically opposed to Catholicism. It is, we may say, a total demolition of the Council.

    Given that antisemitism is the rennin binding the schism (“The Jews as a race are cursed”)there is every indication the sspx is annealed in its heresies and errors.

    There would be a huge revolt were Fr. Fellay to try and repudiate the SSPX’s execrable “The Jews as a race are cursed” heresy. He, and Mons Lefevbre before him, have rhetorically painted the schism into a corner from which there will be no escape.

    Truly, a miracle will be necessary for reconciliation.

  231. Habemus Papam says:

    Patrick: Not if its a tree. One of the problems with John Paul was that the animists, the voodoo priests held his attention just as much as the Greek Orthodox. At least Benedict XVI seems to know where to draw the line, the orthodox Jews! Both these Popes nonetheless would get very short shrift from Pius XII, Pius XI …..Pius IX, Gregory XVI….

  232. Patrick says:

    Habemus,

    The motivation that drove the pagan to worship something beyond himself is what is caused by God. The tree is the mistaken (chosen hopefully out of ignorance and not malice) object of the pagan’s worship. But the very desire “to worship” comes from the Holy Spirit and is in every man. You are mistaking the object of worship for the innate desire to worship. They are not the same.

    You wrote: “the voodoo priests held his attention just as much as the Greek Orthodox.” this statement is silly and baseless. Do you mean at one prayer meeting? Or for the duration of his papacy? Also, “paying attention to” and “agreeing with” are totally separate. I could sit you in front of a TV and show you a 60 second clip of Adolph Hitler giving a speech. Then, I could show you a 60 second clip of the Holy Father. I could then claim that “Hitler holds your attention as much as the Holy Father.” Would this be a fair statement?

  233. Habemus Papam says:

    Man seeks his Creator, and that is a part of his nature that was designed by his Creator. True. This is natural religion. However, since the coming of Christ and His Divine Manndate the Church is to go to all nations and Baptise them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Contrast with the teaching of JPII. Gods Spirit helps the pagans to develop their own religious practice and INSTEAD of converting them the Church must dialogue with them. Why? Because the Second Vatican Council says so. Read what he said in that General Assembly Address.

  234. I am not Spartacus says:

    Mohammed, Buddah,Confuscious, Shiva I suppose, were all influenced by God’s Sprit. It sounds Gnostic to me. We all have the divine spark. Very strange coming from a Catholic Pope.

    Acts 17:28

    For in him we live and move and are: as some also of your own poets said: For we are also his offspring.

    *According to “A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scriptur:”

    The poets/poems referenced are Cleanthes’ Hymn to Zeus and the Phaenomena of Aratus …

    Paul was praising the truth apprehended by pagans.

    So, it appears to me the Pope was acting within tradition. If Paul can reference and recognize the truth existing in those outside the early Church, who then can complain about the “evils of Ecumenism” which cites the objective truths observed in those outside the visible church of today.

    Done rightly, Ecumenism is Tradition.

  235. Habemus Papam says:

    The desire to worship comes from God and must be developed as the worship of Christ. This is the progression from natural to supernatural religion. However, JPII tells us that God develops this desire to worship into worship of the tree, this doctrine rite and precept. Whats more we must leave him worshipping his tree because this is the attitude of respect and dialogue INSTEAD of baptizing him.

  236. Habemus Papam says:

    St Paul did not confirm the pagans in their limited understanding. With Gods help he converted them to Christ.

  237. Patrick says:

    Habemus wrote: “The desire to worship comes from God and must be developed as the worship of Christ. This is the progression from natural to supernatural religion. However, JPII tells us that God develops this desire to worship into worship of the tree, this doctrine rite and precept. Whats more we must leave him worshipping his tree because this is the attitude of respect and dialogue INSTEAD of baptizing him.”

    You wildly misinterpret what he said. If he said what you think, then he is a heretic, and all the bishops who failed to speak out against him are his accomplices. Luckily, what you state is not at all what he said.

    Remember, read his words in light of tradition. If you do that, it’s very easy to understand.

  238. Patrick says:

    Habemus,

    I’m just looking at this again…

    You said, “Whats more we must leave him worshipping his tree because this is the attitude of respect and dialogue INSTEAD of baptizing him.”

    Also, how do you propose we convert them without any dialogue? That’s just comical. Do we just walk up to the pagan and he spontaneously converts? It’s customary for the “convertor” and the “convertee” to use words when converting. But I suppose that’s just “moodernist”, isn’t it?

  239. Patrick says:

    Please disregard the previous post…

    Habemus,

    I’m just looking at this again…

    You said, “Whats more we must leave him worshipping his tree because this is the attitude of respect and dialogue INSTEAD of baptizing him.”

    Where does he say this exactly?

    Also, how do you propose we convert them without any dialogue? That’s just comical. Do we just walk up to the pagan and he spontaneously converts? It’s fairly customary for the “convertor” and the “convertee” to use words when converting. But I suppose that’s just “modernist”, isn’t it?

  240. Michael J says:

    Habemus,
    If I understand the distinction you are making, a man’s desire to worship something beyond himself is part of his “built-in” nature similar to his desire to breathe or eat or procreate so it is improper to consider it as being “inspired by the Holy Ghost”, correct? Likewise, it is incorrect to say that his desire to worship a tree is “inspired” by God any more that would be his desire to fornicate. Is this a fair assessment?

  241. Jordanes says:

    Patrick, your efforts are heroic and noble, but I think you’re going to have to give it up — Habemus Papam lacks either the desire or the ability to read John Paul II’s statements accurately and charitably.

  242. I think this has run its course.