ANGELUS: Interviews SSPX excomm’d bishops (part III: R. Williamson)

Here is the third part of the Angelus interview with three of the four excommunicated bishops of the SSPX.  Part one (Fellay) was here and part one (Tissier de Mallerais) here

Today we look at what SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson has to say, twenty years after the illicit consecrations in Ecône.

My emphases and comments.  I have changed some formatting.  This interview is in the recent number of the publication of the SSPX called Angelus.

Q: What are your thoughts on the state of the Church after 20 years of the episcopacy?

Williamson: The state of the Church is very grave. The churchmen at the summits [He doesn’t say "summit", but "summit" is included.] of the Church continue to be blinded by the errors of Vatican II. [A vague charge.] They may have their moments in which they show some sympathy for the liturgy of Tradition, but one would have to say that its doctrine remains for them a closed book. They show no signs of grasping that there even exists a Truth which is one, exclusive and immutable, let alone their accepting such a Truth. [So, Williamson is saying that they, including Pope Benedict I suppose, are "relativists", perhaps post-modern deconstructors.]

Q: What has changed, if anything, in the Society?

Williamson: What has changed in the Society is that on the one hand it has no longer had Archbishop Lefebvre to guide it for the last 17 years, who had a unique charism as Founder, and on the other hand the world around us has very much moved on since his death, and not for the better. The holding action [As also Tissier de Mallerais used throughout his interview, this is the language of battle.] of the Society is holding, but when one observes this world around us one cannot help calling to mind the words of Our Lord, “If these days were not shortened…”

Q: How many countries have you visited since your consecration?

Williamson: I have lost count of the number of countries I have visited since 1988. It would have to be dozens.

Q: What has impressed you most about the faithful on your world-wide confirmation circuits?

Williamson: What impresses most in the people presently following or accompanying the SSPX is that some may come and some may go, but numbers generally hold, and in some parts of the world, even increase. The Faith is being kept, and it continues to bear fruit, the same fruit of peace and tranquility [really?] as it has always borne.

Q: Is it possible to consider how things might have played out had the Archbishop not consecrated bishops?

Williamson: Had the Archbishop not consecrated? We would have seen some other marvel of the Lord God to ensure that the Faith and the Church continued. [An interesting observation.  In other words they did not have to defy the Vicar of Christ, and persist in defiance.  I think when people offer the argument that had Archbp. Lefevbre and the SSPX not done what they did, then we would not have the older Mass today, we should reject that premise, or at least scrutinize it closely.] There can be no doubt that the bishops of the SSPX have in fact made possible the continuance of the SSPX as one bulwark of the Faith in difficult times, but the Lord God’s arm is not shortened by the wickedness of men[True!]

Q: Do you see the situation with Rome as more or less encouraging after these past 20 years?

Williamson: I am afraid the situation with Rome is still more discouraging than 20 years ago. [One would not think so, unless one has an abiding problem with the person of Papa Ratzinger.  Perhaps the abiding problems is, in this case, fear.  Williamson would not be capable of "winning" an argument with Papa if it really came down to the serious doctrinal dialogue the SSPX claim they desire.  So, perhaps constantly kicking sand at the eyes of the "summits" is their best strategy right now.] As Our Lord says in one of His parables, “Some enemy hath done this.” Some enemy, very clever and cleverly hidden, is at work. [A diabolical conspiracy.  Still, I find it ironic that he cites a verse from Scripture which Augustine used when refuting the theological positions of the Donatists, who set up altar against altar, defied legitimate Catholic authority, and believed in a Church of the pure only.  Ironic.] Notwithstanding, the Lord God is in control[For someone who makes statements about abandonment to divine providence, there sure is an extreme need to be in control, isn’t there?]

Q: What would you say to those who, in 1988, predicted the Society was creating a parallel Church? [Which would a…. what… a "schism"?] Has not history proved them wrong?

Williamson: Of course events have shown that anyone was wrong who said that the SSPX was producing a parallel church. Amongst our people I would say the danger is rather of too much, and not of too little, love for these present Romans. But that love testifies to their true love of Rome[Hmmm…  I am not sure what this is saying.  However, I glean from this that Williamson thinks that those who are in the Roman Curia are not real "Romans", in the sense of living true Romanità, in the sense perhaps of sentire cum Ecclesia.  There is a Rome and the "true Rome", and the leadership of the SSPX adhere to the "true Rome".  I suppose this is part of their deeply entrenched default position that they, not Rome, are the true arbiters of what is "Catholic".  This is what, perhaps, Card. Castrillon’s conditions were aiming at when he asked if the SSPX would refrain from claiming a magisterium superior to that the Roman Pontiff.  Once again, I hear echoing through these words the attitude of the Donatist.]

Q: What stands out as the most important development of the past 20 years? The death of the Archbishop? The election of a new Pope? The Motu Proprio?

Williamson: The most important development of the last 20 years would seem to me to be no one event in particular, but rather the advance on every front of evil in general. We are surrounded. [I want to give him the benefit of the doubt here, but a close read might suggest to some that he has just including the election of Benedict XVI and the issuing of the Motu Proprio as part of the "advance of evil".  I get the impression that this fellow thinks that the MP was a Trojan Horse.  Bp. "Cassandra" is therefore warning against any close dealings with the "false Rome" or those at "the summits".]  Humanly, we are going under. [Is there a bit of a dualism behind this statement?] But God is God[Again the reference to divine providence.]

Q: Many Catholics who began the fight alongside the Archbishop years ago now feel inclined to unite forces with a seemingly more conservative Rome by allying themselves with organizations with a more “regular status” [Well… a groups status is regular or it isn’t.. something they ought to know.] within the Church. What would you say to these people who abandon the cause of the Society of St. Pius X? [Interesting.  So, unity with Rome isn’t the "cause" of the SSPX…]

Williamson: To those many souls tempted to join organizations that seem to defend the Faith yet are under these Romans, [!] I would say, beware, beware, beware! Look at the fruits of these Romans. Does the one, true and immutable Faith prosper under their hands, or does it not rather wilt? Doctrine, doctrine, doctrine[Again, the SSPX position that doctrine is at the heart of the conflict they have with the "false Rome" and they are the arbiters of Catholic doctrine.]

Q: What is your most memorable recollection of the Archbishop?

Williamson: My most memorable recollection of the Archbishop would, again, be no one thing or event in particular, but rather his steady and calm measuring of everything by the measure of the Faith, and his complete, but sane, dedication to its service. May he be resting in peace!

Q: What was the most memorable time of your seminary formation?

Williamson: The most memorable time of my seminary formation would – I am getting stuck like a needle in an old-fashioned gramophone!–be all of it.

Q: Would you say that the fight for the Mass [Is the fight for doctrine or for the Mass?  Read on.] has changed dramatically since the consecrations?

Williamson: What one might say has changed in the fight for the Mass since the Consecrations is that the enemies are pretending to yield on the liturgy, [Pope Benedict = "enemy"] but they are not giving an inch on their rotten doctrine of Vatican II. [Again, the vague label, "Vatican II".] But the relation between liturgy and doctrine is, broadly, like the relation between the ninth of the iceberg showing above water, and the eight-ninths beneath water upholding the ninth showing. Without the Faith, the Mass alone would be nowhere.  [If I am not mistaken, this was an image used by the Bp. Fellay not long ago, in Paris, at the end of June 08.]

Q: Contrariwise, would you say that the fight for doctrine [doctrine again] has become more important?

Williamson: Would that the fight for Doctrine had become more important! I fear that its fundamental importance is still not sufficiently understood. Modern man is a sentimental, not a doctrinal, animal. [This is pretty close to the mark.  It is interesting how, today, you can lead people step by step through an argument and, when you arrive at the inescapable conclusion, they will say, "I feel differently, but if that is true for you…".] Truth for him goes by inner feeling instead of by outer reality. It is all laid out in Pius X’s great Encyclical, Pascendi. 

Q: What does it mean that, besides Bishop Rifan, Rome has not given traditional bishops to any of the Ecclesia Dei communities? Does this not vindicate the Archbishop’s decision?

Williamson: Bishops are where the Church is at, as Rome very well knows. Therefore of course Rome will not give out bishops if it can possibly help it. That is not a reason to consecrate them regardless, but the Archbishop was obviously right, in retrospect. [But earlier he stated that God would have provided anyway… hmmm.] God bless his courage!

Q: What do you foresee as the greatest challenges facing the Society and the faithful in the next few years?

Williamson: The greatest challenge to the SSPX in the next few years is to grasp the primacy of doctrine, [doctrine] and to measure everything else, and to pray, accordingly. In our sentimental world, the constant temptation is to go by feelings. Not going by feelings is what marked out Archbishop Lefebvre, [really?] and if in this respect we do not follow him, the SSPX will go the way of all flesh – into the arms of the (objective) destroyers of the Church. [?!? – says one of the men who broke the Church’s unity.  Whom would he list among the "destroyers", I wonder?]

Q: What do you think would be Archbishop Lefebvre’s assessment of the crisis as things stand in 2008?

Williamson: How the Archbishop would see things today is an interesting question. Myself, I think he would be more wary of these Romans than ever. [Pope Benedict, Card. Castrillon, etc.] They are persevering, persevering, persevering in their blindness, while the Lord God must, logically, all the while be offering them all the graces they need to see clear, [My heavens the arogance of this judgment… ] and if necessary, to accept the martyrs’ crown. These graces they must be steadily refusing, or de-fusing. God is their judge. May He have mercy upon them, and upon us all.

Q: What counsel would you give to parents rearing Catholic children in today’s world?

Williamson: Parents have a specially difficult task today, but the answer to the question of what they must do is basically easy – EXAMPLE! Let parents practice their Faith sincerely and steadily, as though it is the most important thing in their lives, and the children will have there the greatest help towards saving their own souls. What else matters? But parents do also need to learn the old-fashioned basics of parenting, which today go largely lost. How learn them? From grandparents, their own parents, if they still know, and from priests who have their heads screwed on straight. All modern ideas of parenting and education are worthless.   [Actually, pretty good advice!]

Q: What advice would you offer to young men and women contemplating the religious life?

Williamson: To young men and women contemplating the religious life, I would say, look before you leap[Interesting.  A slight contrast to the "leap now!" approch of Tissier de Mallerais.  Though the different answers are not necessarily incompatible.  You can still act with decision while scoping out the leap.] Again, the religious life can be presented, or present itself, in a sentimental light. Such vocations cannot go very far. For boys, perhaps ask to spend a year as a gopher in a priory of the SSPX, [hmmm…. ] and make yourselves useful. For girls, I would venture to say, look for a large family in which to spend a year helping out one of those mothers who have had nine children in ten years, and are home-schooling at the same time. That, for our under-real and under-feminine lasses, would be a great apprenticeship in reality and motherliness!  [Okay… notice the difference in the way Williamson sees vocations of young men and women.  He seems not to think of women and religious vocation at all, only motherhood of large home-schooling families.  This was the approach also, wasn’t it, of Tissier de Mallerais?]

Q: Which books do you think are most essential for the faithful in these days?

Williamson: Catholics, especially men, should always be reading, in order to arm their minds against the universal delusions and deceitful propaganda which are all around us today. [Fair enough.] The books from which someone will most profit will always be the books which most interest him. But all kinds of men are interested by all kinds of aspects of the Faith, so a general recommendation is not easy. However, in this crisis of Church, world and Faith, Archbishop Lefebvre’s writings have a special character of being truthful, profound and yet accessible. [ROFL!  Okay… no disrespect to the late Archbishop, who was a great man in many ways, but this strikes me as similar to those who offer young people the poety of Maya Angelou in a basic class in great classics of English literature.  I think we have to wonder if Archbp. Lefevbre was one of the great Catholic writers who is best apt to give young people the best starting points for their Catholic future in this difficult world.  Maybe… but I am forced to doubt.  Perhaps this could be a good topic of discussion in a new entry on this blog.] Start with the Open Letter to Confused Catholics [available from Angelus Press. Price: $14.00–Ed.] and go from there.

Q: What do you foresee in the next 20 years?

Williamson: In the next 20 years I see an on-going, even accelerating, degeneration of men and morals, until either they all begin to tear one another to pieces – a Third World War is absolutely in the cards, or the Lord God intervenes – an unimaginable Chastisement is equally likely. [These fellows are really apocalyptic.  I wonder…  It is interesting that the extreme left will accuse the right of "fear mongering" and using "scare tactics".  I wonder if these strongly apocalyptic tendencies in the SSPX leadership are not, in part, a compensation for a shaky ecclesial position.  They do play well to a base inclined to an extreme.  I am sure that the leadership is accutely aware of the need to keep the base on board with them, now that Papa Ratzinger is Pope and Summorum Pontificum is in force.  I am simply wondering out load here.  Interesting questions.] Or both. Things cannot go on for much longer like they are going at present. Reality is going to come swinging back. I think we all need to pray especially for the conversion of sinners, as Our Lady at Fatima asked of the three children, because surely millions and millions are on the very brink of eternal damnation. [But… they always have been in every age.  Nothing new here.] Christ, have mercy upon us!

Sixty-eight years old, Bishop Williamson was born into an Anglican family. Receiving a degree from the University of Cambridge, he devoted more than seven years to teaching literature, an activity which took him for two years to the heart of black Africa. At the age of 30, he abjured Anglicanism and converted to the Catholic Faith, and in October 1972, he entered Archbishop Lefebvre’s seminary in Ecône, where four years of formation brought him to the priesthood on June 29, 1976. [He was ordained just 4 years after converting.] From 1976 to 1981, Bishop Williamson performed the duties of professor at the Society’s seminaries at Weissbad and Ecône, of which he was to become the Vice-Rector in 1979.  In 1982 Archbishop Lefebvre, then Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, nominated him to the St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, of which he was Rector until 2003. In 2003 he was appointed Rector of Our Lady Co-Redemptrix [Is the SSPX pushing also for a declaration of Our Lady as "Co-redemptrix"?] Seminary in La Reja, Argentina, a post he holds to this day.

 

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199 Responses to ANGELUS: Interviews SSPX excomm’d bishops (part III: R. Williamson)

  1. [These fellows are really apocalyptic. I wonder… It is interesting that the extreme left will accuse the right of “fear mongering” and using “scare tactics”. I wonder if these strongly apocalyptic tendencies in the SSPX leadership are not, in part, a compensation for a shaky ecclesial position. They do play well to a base inclined to an extreme. . . .]

    Father Zuhlsdorf,

    I think the late Norman Cohn (see here for my appreciation of him), the great student of apocalyptic movements, would agree with your analysis of the apocalyptic tendencies of the SSPX – whether they are entirely genuinely felt or not.

  2. David Kastel says:

    Fr Z, I don’t think the bishop’s advice for the faithful to read Abp Lefebvre is laughable. It is based on Williamson’s belief that there is a crisis in the Church today, and of course, the SSPX position is that of Lefebvre – that tradition is the answer. He did not say that the Archbishop’s writing belongs with the classics. In fact, he said his writing was always accessible for all sorts of people who otherwise have very different interests regarding the faith. (Also, the question and his answer did not refer specifically to young people , but to “the faithful” in general.

    That said, Williamson is a bit more apocalyptic than Bp Fellay…lol

  3. avecrux says:

    “For girls, I would venture to say, look for a large family in which to spend a year helping out one of those mothers who have had nine children in ten years, and are home-schooling at the same time. That, for our under-real and under-feminine lasses, would be a great apprenticeship in reality and motherliness! ”

    It is always problematic to me when I see comments like this. As a mother who gave birth to 6 children and had two miscarriages (that’s 8 in all) in 12 years and did homeschool some of the time, 9 children in 10 years would have proven fatal to me. How much time has Bishop Willamson spent speaking with women, hearing their Confessions, [Without the faculties to give a valid absolution. – Fr. Z] etc. I wonder?

    I once met a man at college who said to me in all seriousness (trying to impress) – “Bad men see women as sex objects. Good men see women more like incubators”. Frightening.

  4. John Enright says:

    Bp. Williamson says “Amongst our people I would say the danger is rather of too much, and not of too little, love for these present Romans. But that love testifies to their true love of Rome.” If he loves the Greater Church, I can’t imagine what it would be like if he hated us.

  5. Stephen says:

    Father,
    its not just the SSPX who have apocalyptic tendencies. Many recent popes have also spoken about the last days we live in (however long that continues). Pope Pius X and XI both suggested that the times of the Antichrist was near in their encyclicals. Pius XII in his Easter Urbi et Orbi of 1957 said that the return of Jesus was near. Pope John Paul on many occasions expressed his belief that we live in the last times notably in his Prayer for the 1st World Youth day in 1985 outside St John Lateran, and in his Lenten meditations to Pope Paul VI, 1977). And most recent of all the homily of Cardinal Dias as the Pope’s envoy opening the Jubilee year at Lourdes where he said that Mary’s recent apparitions have prepared us for the coming of the Antichrist. Cardinal Dias is a member of Father Gobbi’s Marian Movement of Priests. I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit has guided the popes in reading the “signs of the times”.
    Stephen

  6. Somerset '76 says:

    Too much to say here, so this is selective. I first note that +W was a direct mentor of mine for several years in the 1990’s, and thus find that while outsiders often misunderstand him, there is nonetheless enough in his vision of things that reflect a profound imbalance … something it took me many years to discern.

    His essential tendency, affecting not only his read of Church affairs but of cultural issues as well, is to dichotimization: he sees issues as polar opposites; he tends to consider shades of reality between the poles as a vast “no-man’s land” of self-compromising. Hence, there is either the rotten “Newchurch” of neo-Modernist Rome, or else the “real” church of “Eternal Rome,” i.e., the Society’s particular understanding of Catholic tradition — and with it, a reluctance to see those elements in “Newchurch” that actually are preserving and even gradually revitalizing traditional elements.

    His similiar dichtomy between “masculine” and “feminine” is legendary among those who are familiar with the SSPX in the Anglo world. Again, “real” men are purely the former and “real” women are purely the latter, with no admixture of the other’s characteristics. I’m surprised Fr. Z didn’t flag his admonition particularly for men to “always be reading” — for him, matters of the mind are the man’s realm, to which women are only pretenders. This goes in line with what Father did flag in +W’s consigining his advice for young women to be helpers to large families.

    There is much more that can be said, and it boils down to this: behind the ecclesiastical positions, there is a definitive subculture in the Society that is largely defined by the likes of Bishops Tissier and Williamson. I’ve said it before: that subculture is an obstacle far more significant to the Society’s regularization than most people realize.

  7. TNCath says:

    Williamson wrote, “Of course events have shown that anyone was wrong who said that the SSPX was producing a parallel church. Amongst our people I would say the danger is rather of too much, and not of too little, love for these present Romans. But that love testifies to their true love of Rome.”

    Sorry, but this guy’s doublespeak reads more like a cult leader than a bishop who wants unity with the Catholic Church.

    Williamson wrote: “For girls, I would venture to say, look for a large family in which to spend a year helping out one of those mothers who have had nine children in ten years, and are home-schooling at the same time. That, for our under-real and under-feminine lasses, would be a great apprenticeship in reality and motherliness!”

    So, then, what is his problem with The Sound of Music?

    Geez…

  8. Brian Day says:

    These fellows are really apocalyptic.

    I’m not so sure. They are very pessimistic for sure, and rightly so. Myself, who my brother calls me a “Novus Ordo kind of guy”, would not disagree with his assessment. A bit harsh perhaps, but not outside of what I would call a defensible position.

  9. Michael B. says:

    I get a little nervous when I hear people refer to apocalyptic themes, not because I deny that there will be an end of time and a return of our Saviour, I don\’t, but because it tends to take the conversation away from a discussion of what\’s actually happening in this world now, substituting it with an unanswerable emotional appeal. That’s kind of funny after the lament that moderns live by their emotions rather than their reason.

    Come to think of it, Archbishop Lefebvre tends toward emotional polemic in his writing.
    Funny thing, that.

  10. mcitl says:

    Of all of the bishops this one is the least credible and not truly deserving of serious scrutiny.

    Authentic dialogue is only possible between parties who refuse to have recourse to stratagems of subterfuge, exxageration and insincerity. Reason, as Pope Benedict XVI says, must be the starting point for every coversation.

    There is nothing traditional about schism or disobedience to the Holy Father. These people cannot claim the mantle of tradition.

  11. Phillip says:

    After reading these interviews, it seems the SSPX bishops are paranoid. They feel that “Rome” or the Pope is out to get them. Perhaps their age, along with the guilt and shame they have from the excommunications. Even though it may be little, they must have some guilt and shame, because, deep down, all men who truly love Our Lord and wish to serve him cannot be separated from the Supreme Pontiff. Deep down, they desire solidarity, but its their pride that prevents it. As they grow older, and realize the gravity of their excommunications, they will only become more paranoid. [Paranoid? I don’t think so. Scared that they will lose what they have dedicated themselves to? Probably. – Fr. Z]

  12. steve says:

    I didn’t realize he used to be Anglican, though it shouldn’t surprise me. I’ve heard Anglicans/Episcopalians speak like him of “those Romans.”

  13. Paul Haley says:

    Sr. Lucy spoke of a diabolical disorientation and the last book of the bible I’ve heard titled as either the Apocalypse or Revelation. With all the goings-on these days I believe it is entirely unjust to refer to the “apocalyptic” views of these bishops. They are entitled to their view of current affairs and one can either agree or disagree without the polemics.

  14. Brian Kemple says:

    “However, in this crisis of Church, world and Faith, Archbishop Lefebvre’s writings have a special character of being truthful, profound and yet accessible.”

    This sort of suggestion is, I think, very dangerous. Most men tend to be more interested in the goings-on of the present time than they are in what happened 400, 800, 1200, and 1700 years ago; but if you’re talking about a 2,000 year old institution, can its full scope be understood without studying how it got to where it is? Not that anyone can really truly understand the Church in Her fullness, but I certainly think that someone who knows Her history, Her principles, and a good bit of philosophy as well, understands Her better than those who just know the present crisis which faces Her and the world.

  15. dcs says:

    Fr. Z comments:
    He was ordained just 4 years after converting.

    If he is 68 now, then he was 30 (the age at which he converted) in 1970. So his ordination must have been six years after his conversion.

  16. Dominic says:

    “[Without the faculties to give a valid absolution. – Fr. Z]”

    Come on, Father. You should know better.

    [That is why I wrote that. He doesn’t have any faculties at all. He is suspended and excommunicated. – Fr. Z]

  17. Antiquarian says:

    “They do play well to a base inclined to an extreme. I am sure that the leadership is accutely aware of the need to keep the base on board with them, now that Papa Ratzinger is Pope and Summorum Pontificum is in force.”

    I have long felt about Williamson’s writing that he is strongly playing to an intended audience, so much so that I sometimes wonder whether he really believes what he’s saying (that may just be because I can’t believe anyone believes some of it). Much of his polemic, as well as other SSPX material, strikes me as peddling what he knows his market wants to buy. [I am confident that he believes what he writes and says. But I think people can work themselves up into a position which then, after time, becomes normal. – Fr. Z]

  18. Susan Peterson says:

    I had nine children in sixteen years. I had the first 8 in 12 years. Nine in ten years, unless there are twins, is not physiologically normal for human beings, as nursing babies according to the biologically normal human pattern puts babies at least 17 or 18 months apart. (The biologically normal human pattern means no bottles or pacifiers, nursing for comfort as well as for nutrition, sleeping with the baby at night.) This pattern is healthier for women and for babies than having the woman get pregnant again when her baby is three months old.

    I think Bishop Williamson is the one who says women don’t need to go to college….. and you are right, he doesn’t even mention women who have a vocation to a teaching or nursing order, or to contemplation. Yet these have also been very important to the church.

    I hear in what this man says a very schismatic spirit. He sounds a bit like some Orthodox I know. Seriously, if he is not going to be in communion with Rome, he might as well join Western Rite Orthodoxy and at least be in communion with one of the ancient apostolic churches. It doesn’t really work to say you are more Catholic than the pope.

    Susan Peterson

  19. gsk says:

    I’m with you, avecrux. Nine children in ten years is well-nigh abusive. Remember the hullabaloo about the woman who drowned her five children because of her depression? I remember the cluelessness of her husband, who had her living in a trailer with no friends, family, or help. Surely, marriage is ordered to children, but when you combine the fact that men should be reading lots of books and women shouldn’t, that there’s no loving guidance in the confessional (for overwhelmed mothers or misguided husbands) the natural reaction to this crowd is to turn and flee immediately. Something is terribly amiss.

    Lest anyone refer to the family of Saint Catherine or other saints from large families, please remember that there was an entirely different social structure at the time, complete with live-in help and extended family within a home. On the other hand, most of these women are isolated, surrounded only by other women in the same situation.
    What thinkest this holy bishop, mewonders, of Saint Edith Stein? A philosopher who [gasp] read lots of books.

    I am revolted by his calling B16 an enemy and blind at that. “Motes” and “beams” come to mind. Don’t discount the prayers and sacrifices of these good women trapped by apocalyptic lies–God bless them and grant them a reward for their fidelity to duty!

  20. Antiquarian says:

    “I am confident that he believes what he writes and says. But I think people can work themselves up into a position which then, after time, becomes normal. – Fr. Z”

    All quite true, Father, and yet another reason to deplore the length of time the irregular situation has lasted, and to pray for reconciliation. I know several people who have long assisted at SSPX chapels and who are deeply troubled by many of these statements on the bishops’ parts, but who remain out of– loyalty? inertia? gratitude? It is for them and other like them that I am most fervently praying.

  21. Tzard says:

    So he’s telling his “flock” that they love their neighbor too much? I don’t remember our Lord putting limitation on the love we’re supposed to have for our neighbor. I guess since Rome is so far away, it’s not “his” neighbor.

    He’s obviously using “love” in the sentimental sense – when as a cleric, he should be fighting the “modernist” tendency to this sentimentality by emphasizing the sacrificial nature of true love (and living accordingly).

  22. Bishop Williamson was saying much the same thing about impending doom during my first interview with him in Winona in September 1991. I suppose if he keeps on saying it, he’ll be right one of these days!

    My comments on Tissier’s interview are here: http://thesensiblebond.blogspot.com/2008/07/tissiers-trifles-skip-to-last-paragraph.html

  23. schoolman says:

    Yes, very apocolyptic and conspiritorial. That’s why the “NewChurch” conspiracy on the 3rd secret of Fatima, don-cha-know.

    No need to submit to the Christ’s Vicar when Christ Himself will come again in the flesh — any moment know — to “set things right”…

  24. Cory says:

    A friend of mine had the rare opportunity to meet Williamson years ago before he was made a bishop. From what my friend tells me, the discussion was pretty much Williamson just spewing out hatred towards the Catholic Church. My friend’s impression was that he shouldn’t have been ordained a priest in the first place.

  25. I would look forward to a complete reconciliation between the Holy See and the Society. It is with that in mind that I submit the following…

    Were I in a position of negotiating with such men as this (as I understand certain officials in Rome to be), and had the impression that an accord was just within reach, my subsequent reading of such interviews, would give me serious reason to doubt their good faith in said negotiations. That they do not notice even the appearance of disingenousness, leads me to believe they have other priorities.

    And please don’t tell me it’s “the Truth.” The above is sufficient evidence of their failure to be true to themselves, never mind anyone else.

    (A note about spacing of children. Those who eschew any artificial methods of birth control, and who breastfeed their children, are in the best position to space those births in a healthy manner. Having nine children in ten years is not evidence of this. At the risk of presumption, I believe this is what Mrs Peterson had in mind.)

  26. gsk says:

    Don’t most seminaries, monsateries and convents have a rule at present not to take new converts, in order to let the conversion “distill” somewhat? Is this a new practice, ancient, or variable?

  27. Antiquarian says:

    And let’s remember– this man was in charge of the North American seminary of the SSPX for over 20 years, and judging from some of the videos on youtube, his former students hold him in very high esteem.

    So what do we think your average Society priest trained by him has to say on these subjects?

  28. Derek James says:

    “He was ordained just 4 years after converting.”
    After reception into the Church he sought to join Brompton Oratory, he wasa accepted but was dismissed after only a few weeks.

  29. Matthew M. says:

    I hope it will not be characterized as ‘hatred’ of the SSPX to point out, here, that in light of these three interviews, there are quite obviously much greater obstacles to the regularization of the SSPX than the ‘imminent lifting of the excommunications’ expected by some.

    He advises to “be more wary of these Romans than ever. They are persevering, persevering, persevering in their blindness”. Anybody want to rehash the question of whether the SSPX bishops express schismatic points of view? Aside from that, one need look no farther than the venom expressed by these SSPX bishops at traditionalist groups that have reconciled with Rome. There, perhaps, even a dull nose might catch the whiff of schism?

    There is a bright side to this interview, though. Williamson departed from his usual script and didn’t blame ‘the Jews’ for anything.

  30. Antiquarian says:

    “There is a bright side to this interview, though. Williamson departed from his usual script and didn’t blame ‘the Jews’ for anything.”

    Perhaps he knew that Tissier de Mallerais already had.

  31. Michael says:

    May suggest, as a hypothesis for comments, that the Archbishop Lefebvre’s consecrations might not have been valid, at least the attempted consecration of Fr. Williamson.

    The question is: whether the Archbishop had an intention of “doing what the Church does”, and, more importantly, whether those four had an intention to receive the sacrament.

    If by carrying out the rite of Consecration he intended to pass on the sanctifying power only – that is what had been said by Fr.Black during his sermon in London – that would have been useless to the SSPX, because the new “bishops” would not have been able to choose whom to ordain to a priesthood as that choice, in itself, is not a sanctifying act but an act of jurisdiction. And it is the consecrating bishop, not the Superior of the SSPX who claims juisdiction, who ultimately accepts a candidate as suitable for ordination.

    Furthermore, the “mandate” which was read during the ceremony was without precedent in the history of the Church. It was claimed to have somehow come from the Church itself, the Rome being occupied by modernists. Was the “Rome” the true Church in spite of being thus corrupt, or not. If not, what is the point of retaining, in the Canon, the prayer for the Pope; if yes, the intention was evidently not “of doing what the Church does”, but contrary to what the Church does.

    And perhaps, there is some significance it the text of excommunication: the four were excommunicated as “priests”, and not as bishops. (This makes no sense to me: if they remained priests the rite was invalid and no latae sententiae excommunications would have been incurred. I am not a canonist; somebody should know it better. It is only a remark in passing, and irrelevant to my main points.)

    But supposing that, in spite of all this, the intention could still have come under the “doing what the Church does”, there remains the question of whether the four candidates had an intention to receive the sacrament.

    In one of his monthly letters a few years ago, Bishop (?) Williamson has attributed to what he elsewhere called the “New Church”, the Vatican II doctrine that, at Consecration, a candidate receives three functions as constitutive of the sacramental character of episcopacy: teaching, sanctifying and government (LG 21/2). The “traditional” position he approved of was that of Pius XII, otherwise known as the Papal Theory (Ott p. 290), according to which the “power” of jurisdiction (which covers what is refereed to by LG as the “functions” of teaching and government) is received by the Pope directly, not by the Consecration.

    Now, when it comes to the intention of the minister of a sacrament, it is generally assumed that if the minister goes through an acceptable rite with seriousness (i.e. not in jest, or play, or to demonstrate how the rite is to be carried out) and without explicitly repudiating what he mechanically performs… that he intends to do “what the Church does”. It is not necessary to intend “what the Church intends”, i.e. to cleanse the Original Sin, to transubstantiate, to forgive sins, to confer a character etc. Fr.Leeming in his Principles of Sacramental Theology, pp 435-497, extensively covers the matter.

    On this account, ABP would have consecrated validly even if he did not intend to pass on the functions of teaching and government, i.e. the two essential constituents of the episcopal character.

    But when it comes to the intention of a recipient, the crucial factor is not the minister’s valid administration as such, but the recipient’s right to freedom (Ott. p. 345). One can physically restrain a person and carry out the rite of Baptism validly, but the recipient would receive nothing. I presume, that a Low Church Anglican candidate for the “Ministry” who, while rejecting any idea of a sacrificing priesthood and power to forgive sins, submits himself to ordination to an Old Catholic Bishop according to the (valid) Old Catholic ritual, receives nothing, because he can’t be forced to receive what is essential for the Priesthood he rejects.

    So, I would suggest that Father Williamson, while rejecting the two essential constituents of the episcopal character: teaching and government, has rejected the episcopacy itself; otherwise, his freedom would have been violated. As far as he was concerned, he, probably unknowingly at the time, submitted himself to what turned out, for him, to be an empty ritual.

  32. Martha says:

    Fr. Z,

    I am a humble Catholic trying to keep my faith in this difficult world, and I am faithful to our Blessed Pope. But in a way I understand some of the pessimistic views expressed by Bishop Williamson.
    There are many things I find troubling myself, especially the fact that Church authorities have allowed for a long time repugnant behavior from some priests here in the US (and other parts of the world).

    These 3 examples below from decaying churches and decaying liturgical practices in Europe seem to show that not only the US has been falling into
    darkness, these examples do not seem to worry Bishops in those countries:

    Diocese of Leeds: http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=265602590&blogID=389969200
    and
    also these examples of church desecrations in Belgium where old church altars are being used as space to exhibit questionable “art” and questionable practices to administer Sacraments (pictures can be seen in these links):
    http://cathcon.blogspot.com/2008/01/pictures-at-exhibition-2007.html
    http://cathcon.blogspot.com/2008/01/feast-of-christening-of-kas.html

  33. Matt Robinson says:

    Williamson is wrong with regard to his degree of angst, but not
    with regard to his diagnosis of the substantial problem.

    By “Vatican II”, he is not being vague. He means precisely:

    1. Collegiality – which has transformed the Pope into a mirror
    of the Archbishop of Canterbury – basically a symbolic figurehead
    who is not obeyed even by his own Bishops, nevermind the SSPX!
    This policy is a direct result of Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium.
    A practial denial of authority on the part of the Pope, which
    is followed in example by Bishops, and then by priests. Like every revolution, we are now ruled by faceless Councils with no individual
    taking responsibility for the mess.

    Read John XXIII’s opening address to the Council, this model for the Church is there…it’s all laid out there.

    “Medicine of mercy” rather than correcting error – a virtual abdication of papal and conciliar responsibility in most respects.

    2. Ecumenism – created a politically correct, anemic faith in
    dicoeses worldwide. This lead to efforts to consult protestants on how to “exercise the papacy” vis a vis Unitatis Redintegratio, and the endless streams of apologies to non-Catholics for what prior Popes did ect. Ecumenism continues to cause massive confusion concerning soteroliogy and a “guilt complex” that Pius XII lamented would come via the modernists. On the realistic level, it was a complete waste of time, due to the RCC focusing on the fastest dying and most culturally irrelevant (not to mention heretical) liberal protestant dinosaurs.

    Ecumenism was never defined in the council, alluding to another chief problem with Vatican II: its deliberately vague
    concepts and policies. However the Decree on Ecumenism was
    CLEAR in pointing out that ecumenism has nothing to do with
    Evangelism (another myth propogated by many people of good will
    but please read the council).

    3. Aggiornamento “updating”: like “Hope and Change” it sounds
    nice, but is a challenge to implement. This results in the RCC, especially in its liturgy being stuck forever somewhere around 1975. Coupled with an outlook on the world which is hopelessly stuck in the naive optimism of the early 1960’s. (Pre Tet, Pre 1968, Pre Woodstock, Pre-Watergate, Pre- Roe Vs Wade )- basically hopelessly incapable of dealing or confronting the REAL modern world, which is anything but friendly to the faith.

    4. Religious Liberty. Benedict in his December 2005 address on the
    Council stated that by secularizing the State (i.e. no room
    for Christ in the State) we are getting back to the Gospel.
    He is condemning 1,750 years of Catholic history. The practical
    result today is 57 Muslim countries who dominate the UN and 0 Catholic ones. We had many only 40 years ago.

    Another result within society is a dictatorship of relativism in public life: because the modern secular state is no a friend of the Church, nor does it help souls get to heaven. The Kennedy Compromise repeated 1000 times without any politician being reprimanded.

    A third result: with the Vatican forcibly laicized many nations in the 1970’s and 1980’s, it was nolonger illegal for every protestant sect and cult to prostheletize Catholics. Practically speaking, this was a boon for protestant missionaries who literally flocked to Latin America to completely undermine the Catholic faith. Latin America today is a patchwork of charismatic sects and cults directly thanks to this policy of the state not speaking on matters of faith nor restraining error.

    An additional problem is that the secular state is now the GOAL! We are not to strive for a truly Catholic society or Catholic lawmakers, because this violates Nostrae Aetate! Unbelievable. True lawmakers must make their law according to Christ the King, (this includes providing special provision for the True Faith) yet this is impossible when Rome has abandoned the Social Kingship of Christ.

    5. Guadium et Spes (written mostly by Hans Kung, need I say more??)
    This resulted in a mass exodus of monks from monasteries worldwide, as they were forcibly brought before psychologists. Nuns doing yoga, abandoning their communities and historic charters in order to “commune” with the modern world and “understand perfectly modern man”…again it’s all here. If you do nothing else, please go to the Vatican website and read it folks. Please educate yourselves!

    5. Sacrosanctam Concilium – bascially followed the “camel’s nose under the tent approach” to experimentation, giving individual Bishops carte blanche authoirity to mess about with the sacred. Total chaos.

    Clear enough?

    Many problems in the modern world are a DIRECT result of Vatican II and its practical effect of causing the Church to “auto-destruct”, using Paul VI own words of assessment.

    If you don’t believe me, look around your parish and tell me what the demographic spread is? And where do you think it will be in another 5-20 years?

    If you don’t want to be stuck in the past, why are we then stuck with a Council 45 years in the past and hopelessly outdated in its assessment and approach on every level?

  34. JSP says:

    He’s my favorite of the SSPX bishops. Thanks for posting, Fr. Z.

    Let’s assume that a miracle of grace occurred and the bishops of SSPX returned to full obedience to the Pope. Would Bishop Williamson’s views really be that far out in the right field as some of the most liberal bishops currently in “good standing” and “united” with Rome are out in left field? If Rome considers the antics and pronouncements of the liberals to be “in bounds” then certainly the likes of Williamson’s are also.

    But really, would even his most harsh and reactionary and out right damning words be allowed in the debate within the episcopacy? As things stand now, I doubt it.

    It seems to me a double standard exists. Liberal bishops are given far more latitude to contradict the Vatican and even publicly disobey the Holy Father. The antics of Archconservatives, however, will not be tolerated.

  35. Andy says:

    “the advance on every front of evil in general. We are surrounded. “

    I believe he was referring to the general situation in the world and especially the position of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular in it. And I think he is right – sodomites claiming “rights”, mocking marriages and even being protected from criticism, famillies falling apart (I’ve once calculated that in Sweden only 1/3 of children born today will reach 18 years of age with the same pair that conceived them), university professors desecrating the Holy Sacrament plus the whole madness of media, which seem to get more stupid every year. Even the situation within the Church is far from being good – yes, we have a great Pope, yes there is Motu Propio – but still most bishops oppose tradition, oppose Latin Mass and advance questionable practices like communion into hands.

    Sorry, but bp. Williamson is IMHO quite right in his harsh judgement about the state of the world today. He is right that evil did advance greatly over the last 20 years. What he makes out of it is another story.

  36. Piers-the-Ploughman says:

    I fault the SSPX for excessive polemics and apparently their principled refusal to say even one traditional NO mass. On the other hand, it is difficult to ask them to be subject to so many bishops who would make their work very difficult. I would say let them do their work but stop with this criticism of the Holy Father who suffers much having to work with these same bishops they avoid. Too bad individual groups of sspx priests in various dioceses could not be regularized where the bishops would otherwise let them serve the Lord and the people according to the traditional way.

  37. I am shocked and disappointed in the lack of charity and understanding among the presumably “orthodox” and/or “traditionalist” Catholics commentors on these SSPX bishops.

    Clearly, the Church is in a state of emergency (see recent posts on this blog on Rochester, and the translation of the liturgy for starters). So is Western Civilization. As to the statements on women, in a culture that is destroying the family and has undermined the roles of men and women, a little hyperbole is not unjustified.

    Based on these comments, I wonder whether (unlike the pope), proponents of the TLM are more concerned with style than substance.

  38. Matthew M. says:

    JSP writes:

    It seems to me a double standard exists. Liberal bishops are given far more latitude to contradict the Vatican and even publicly disobey the Holy Father. The antics of Archconservatives, however, will not be tolerated

    That is an interesting point. I’m not sure it’s true that the people (here) who criticize the words of SSPX bishops would be more lenient on ‘liberal’ bishops in formal union with Rome. Is there not ample dispute taken with heterodox decisions of some of these bishops – for example, when one tries to unduly restrict the traditional liturgy?

    But even if your point is granted, is it really unfair to apply a higher standard to men like the SSPX bishops, who are so right-headed about many, many things? Shouldn’t we expect more of them, I wonder?

  39. ekafant says:

    Not much left to say. Matt Robinson hit it just right. Bishop Williamson might be a bit odd, but that is not a sin. However, he will preach the Catholic Faith without compromise. I think I would rather take catechism class with him than some of our modern Bishops, with a few exceptions. As someone with a large family, it would not be the worst thing for a young girl to get an idea of what it is like to raise a large family. When you get to the nuts and bolts, that is what marriage is for. To be fruitful and multiply! Noone said it would be easy, but many feel that marriage and family is easy. It would also help some young men to help out in the same way. I do not think he was implying that women are to be baby machines and men priests. I think he was just using some examples. You people need to lighten up a bit! I hope that you find time to laugh!! Do not forget that a Bishop, any bishop, has a much different “job” than any of us laymen. They are expected to uphold the faith and live it. I bet he has forgotten more theology than any armchair theologian will ever know.

  40. QC says:

    I recently read a volume of St. Catherine of Siena’s letters (after reading the unabridged Dialogue) and I am now in the midst of reading a couple volumes of the letters of St. Peter Damian. The point is, in both their times things were as bad as they are now (and maybe worse!) and the Popes governing during those times were definitely not of the caliber as the current Holy Father. And yet, the response of these saints is completely different than that of the SSPX leaders who maintain their war with Rome. I am reminded particularly of St. Catherine answering those claiming the Church was wilting and unable to save herself, creating schisms under the pretext of resisting bad clerics: she says to have faith that God is permitting it to bring about a greater good and to cling to Christ on Earth, who holds the Keys to the Blood.

  41. sacredosinaeternum says:

    Matt Robinson,

    Good assessment:iIf you look at those things with the hermeneutic of discontinuity (which it seems to me you are), your point is made. Rather, looked at with a hermeneutic of continuity, which the successor of Peter, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has directed us, you are incorrect. Indeed, look around at the typical Catholic parish, and you will see the result of 40 years of this hermeneutic of discontinuity and the disastrous effects it has wrought. The same Holy Spirit which inspired the Second Vatican Council is calling the Church to a renewed understanding of the Conciliar teaching seen with a hermeneutic of continuity. Vatican II is not the problem. The pride of heart and erroneous interpretations of so many have brought disunity and error for so long now and continue in many quarters (including the SSPX). However, God willing, the Successor of Peter will continue to teach the TRUTH humbly and constantly, and his pontificate bear great fruit for one Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

  42. JM says:

    Give up on the double standard nonsense.

    Just because there are “bad” liberal/modern bishops in communion with the Church, doesn’t give “good” traditional bishops license to be bad: to say insulting and rude things constantly about the Church, the Pope, its bishops, and priests, to violate the canons of the Church, to administer illicit and invalid sacraments regularly and purposefully, to ignore tradition, to give all pretense of being “a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father.” A good bishop, a holy bishop, is actually polite, humble, charitable, faithful, obedient, and submits to the Holy Father. By their very words and actions, the SSPX bishops are none of these things. The SSPX bishops are not being good traditional bishops. They are bad traditional bishops, which means they aren’t traditional Catholic bishops at all.

    They are acting like a bunch spoiled brats who can’t get their way, throwing little tantrums like a bunch children, painfully twisting tradition, history, law, theology, etc to justify their course of action, and then blaming everyone but themselves for their problems, for the fact that the Church hasn’t accepted their interpretation of the way things should be. And then they whine about how they can’t trust Rome, how everyone is being mean to them, and then, when they are asked to behave, when they are asked to stop kicking the back of their brothers seat on a cross country car ride, they stick out their toungues with these interviews just like kids.

    They need to grow up and return to the Church and then perhaps they can accomplish something of merit. Their scandalous behavior taints any good that they might accomplish by association, just as their scandalous behavior has “tainted” the traditional Mass for many people. Perhaps if they stop acting like children, they can actually be traditional bishops instead of merely being called traditional Catholic bishops.

  43. I live in the diocese of Rochester. Here the problem is not the words of the bishop, but the fruits…Bishop Clark is a lovely man (according to everyone who knows him), gives good sermons (I’ve heard a few), says all kinds of right things. After all, he was rector of the North American College in Rome – he knows how to talk the talk. The fruits, eh – I’m just grateful to live in the boonies, where the priests are orthodox, tho the music is not inspiring. Those more ‘desirable’ parishes in Rochester-proper must be pretty grim, from all I read.

    The excommunicated bishops of the Society of St Pius X bounce all over the place – Mason, devotion to the BVM, Jews, traditional piety, female literacy — and their fruits?

    Per capita they didn’t ordain many more priest this year than the Diocese of Rochester, NY. 8, wasn’t it? We got 1.

    I would be very interested to see a good poll of the LAITY in some of the SSPX strongholds, like the towns in Kansas, to see how deeply the multi-generational separatist identity (a.k.a., schismatic spirt) goes. How many of them would rather join up with a sedevacantist bishop if the institutional SSPX and all 4 of its bishops came over? Would that be a fruit of Bishop Williamson’s 20 years of seminary teaching?

  44. Sorry – Matthew Clark

    1972 – 1974: Served as Assistant Spiritual Director, North American College, Rome

    1974 – 1979: Served as Spiritual Director, North American College, Rome

    [Sadly interesting… but are you in the right thread? – Fr. Z]

  45. Louis E. says:

    I don’t think the Econe consecrations could be declared invalid as well as illicit…Licinio Rangel was reconciled to the Catholic Church without reconsecration and his consecrators were Tissier de Mallerais,Williamson,and Galarreta.He would have needed to be consecrated all over again if their orders had been invalid.He was a co-consecrator for Bishop Rifan that same year,before his death.
    If the Church recognizes someone ordained to the episcopate by those ordained at Econe as qualified to consecrate in turn,the Econe consecrations must have been valid.

    Of course the whole point of co-consecrators is to guarantee valid succession if any of them in fact does not possess valid orders,so some might discount Rangel,but those on the rad-trad side might discount Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos (the principal consecrator),as this was I believe the only consecration under the (1960?) Pontifical to take place under Roman obedience since the adoption of the 1968 Pontifical which had been used for Cardinal Castrillon’s own consecration but is doubted by the rad-trads.If an unbroken succession of “old rite bishops” is to be preserved time is running out.

  46. AB says:

    Going to the SSPX is a no-no.

  47. Andy says:

    “Many problems in the modern world are a DIRECT result of Vatican II and its practical effect of causing the Church to “auto-destruct”, using Paul VI own words of assessment.” – Comment by Matt Robinson — 27 July 2008 @ 6:11 pm

    I don’t think so. Just read:

    PASCENDI DOMINICI GREGIS
    “ON THE DOCTRINE OF THE MODERNISTS”

    ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS X, SEPTEMBER 8, 1907

    It was written in 1907! It is obvious that something had been brewing for years.

    Then we had World War I and II. (100 million people killed!)

    Then the “Universal declaration of human rights” (!)

    Then the “Golden Sixties”. People became richer, more educated (?), freer (?)… The fast development of science and industry, the race to the moon, “extraterrestrial life” (!), more medical care, “eternal life here on earth” (!!) etc etc etc.

    Among the young a political, social, Third-World, anti-imperialistic awareness was born. They foundered in individualism, anarchy and every form of authority was called into question.

    Well, if you are really looking for the source of this mentality, just read the Universal declaration of human rights! It is obvious that this tidal wave of “rights” will end in chaos!

    The “Golden Sixties” were characterised by an ill-founded optimism, which inclined many circles to believe that prosperity and expansion would necessarily and indefinitely grow.

    This was the particular context in which Vatican II was held.

    This “free” atmosphere of the Sixties that, in certain circles, bordered on euphoria was to end in disillusionment.

    Our world is a world in choas. Our society is always in crisis. Young people wonder how they can insert themselves into this chaos.

    Unemployment, terrorism, AIDS, the environmental problems, the demographic decline in the West, immigration, racism, abortion, euthanasia, eugenetics, indoctrination, depersonalization, programming and reprogramming of people…

    There is an erosion of all sense of the human person.

    The West is tired of freedom. Young people are too tired to love life. They are too tired to respect the culture and religion of their parents and their grandparents. They are too tired to respect God. This tiredness of freedom results in the West’s own, “mysterious” inner breakdown.

    The only remedy is to educate and love our children and to teach them how to discover God.

  48. Brian Kemple says:

    I think if the SSPX Bishops were genuinely interested in the spread and defense of the faith, they would be supporting and encouraging the Pope with things like Summorum Pontificum – not attacking him for “not doing enough.” I think they would be thrilled that the door has been opened for the good elements of tradition; but they cling to all of it, good and bad, and someone astutely noted above, they (Bp. Williamson in particular) dichotomize everything. The world is certainly in a crisis, but calling Benedict XVI an enemy of the True Church in that struggle is wrong on so many levels.

  49. Bruce says:

    Darn THOSE ROMANS!

  50. Fr. Marie-Paul says:

    These fightin’ words certainly don’t give any hint of reunification with Rome. We can see how they do not adhere to the 5 point letter. Bp. Williamson’s comment of “some other marvel of the Lord God” makes me think much about God’s alternative ways of working since SSPX certainly doesn’t seem on the path to Peter. It reminds me of the High Priest who prophesied that it was better that one man die than the nation. Bp. Williamson said it himself – “Humanly, we are going under.” We see God’s Merciful hand extended through his good vicar Pope Benedict XVI, for the moment that is. It seems a formal excommunication of all SSPXers who refuse Rome would do well to force those who wish to stay with Peter to decide once and for all, versus this charitable limbo state. Biting the Divine Hand that feeds you is not good practice. Refusal of reunification will lead to what happened to the unconverted Jews in approximately the year 70AD – Rome will crush them, albeit in a different manner this time around, using the sword of Truth. And others, through “some other marvel of the Lord God,” will be raised up to take their place. That’s the kind of “end times” which is currently on my mind after reading these two SSPX Bishop interviews. Quite apocalyptic indeed – for SSPX. Maybe that is what these Bishops sense?

  51. Malta says:

    I had heard Bishop Williamson trashed in various and diverse ways because of off-the-cuff remarks he has made in the past, so I decided to view a couple of videos of him on youtube, and what I found was quite a brilliant man:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3L2bf18Hatg

    I certainly don’t agree with his conspiracy theories, but it is highly unfair to judge a man by a few of his remarks without looking at the whole.

  52. David says:

    “There is a bright side to this interview, though. Williamson departed from his usual script and didn’t blame ‘the Jews’ for anything.”

    I was happy for that as well.

  53. Matt Robinson says:

    Andy,

    Can you honestly reconcile Pascendi Domini Gregis with either the spirit or letter of Vatican II?

    Isn’t the whole “reorientation of the Church” a direct cause of Pius X’s Oath Against Modernism going from being mandatory for all priests and teachers to swear to being dropped altogether in 1967?

    The problem is that the modernism Pius X warned us about became the new orthodoxy among the clergy.

    Oath Against Modernism
    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius10/p10moath.htm

    To the others, my argument is that the problems are in the texts of the Council themselves, further buttressed by the philosophy underpinning Aggiornamento. From a purely philosophical standpoint, the worldview of Vatican II is completely disconnected from both the hard lessons of 20th Century experience, as well as the traditional Catholic approach to error, ecclesiology, governance, evangelism and discipline.

    Hermeneutics cannot overcome something, which in its very nature, is a striking departure from the historic wisdom of the Church. Infallibility cannot cover an approach. Vatican II is an approach, and a most vague one at that. The LAST thing Vatican II wanted to be was infallible! The forces determining the Council were dead set against any invocation of infallibility.

    Hence is stands apart from every other Council for the following:

    Canons – 0
    Condemnations – 0
    Definitions – 0

    All we have are long-winded, poorly composed essays written by people like Hans Kung, John Courtney Murray, and Karl Rahner.

    The only major Council Father still living, whom we can ask what the Council actually meant is Hans Kung, and we all know what we will say! (Fr. Ratziner, at the time, played a minor role as one of the junior advisors to Cardinal Frings, he was not involved in the composition or direction of the documents).

    Where in V2 are sober, prescient warnings of Pius IX through XII, or the razor-sharp analysis of Leo XIII?

    Vatican II is mostly an homage to modernity. Reading Vatican II, one would never think the WWI, WWII, Fascism, the Cold War or Communism ever existed in the 20th Century. The modern world (meaning Europe in the minds of the Council Fathers)is protrayed as a modern wonderland, totally cooperative with the Church and its mission in the world, on the edge of an amazing era of peace and hope for manking.

    The historic reality of how easily the Council itself was subsumed into the chaos of Paul VI’s reign is testament enough to its utter inability to foster either oneness or holiness. If the very people who brought in the Council did not understand it properly, and the legion of Bishops who implemented it in their dioceses got it wrong or had the wrong “hermeneutic”, then it is utter folly to suppose that we can go back 45 years later and get to the true, hidden, esoteric meaning of the Council.

    Forget about it. It’s impossible. If the Pope and legions of Council participants and Bishops were out to lunch, then what hope do we have, when all we are left with consists of documents too shrouded in inconciseness to be of any use.

    But oh yes, we still have Hans Kung, so we could ask the big guy what hermeneutic inspired him to write Gaudium et Spes?

  54. Felipe Childers says:

    Someone should do more research into the circumstances of Williamson’s ejection from the London Oratory.

    When one of the British television news programmes of the time covered the consecrations in 1988, Williamson defiantly informed the journalist that Catholic critics would be sorry when Soviet tanks starting rolling across into Western Europe.

    Needless to say, that particular apocalypse was averted by the collapse of the USSR in the three years which followed.

  55. sacredosinaeternum says:

    Sorry Matt, you seem to be a different page from the current Successor of St. Peter, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, in regard to the Second Vatican Council (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2005/december/documents/hf_ben_xvi_spe_20051222_roman-curia_en.html). Perhaps you would do well to seek counsel from Bishop Williamson or any of the other Bishops who are also on that page which is separated from His Holiness.

  56. Antiquarian says:

    “I had heard Bishop Williamson trashed in various and diverse ways”

    No, it’s a latae sententiae trashing; he trashes himself whenever he speaks as he does in this interview.

  57. Baron Korf says:

    What I have yet to see in all this is some sort of path to reconciliation. If I were to entertain for the moment that these Bishops, whose heartfelt love for Church I do not deny, are correct, my question would be: What now? From reading these interviews I see no strategy beyond one of a defensive siege. What would be the plan for trying to restore the whole of the Church to her proper self?

    Maybe the problem is I’m too new to this struggle. Their positions have me really confused as to their goal.

  58. Fr. BJ says:

    The general outline of the SSPX charges, including the mantra-like insistence on a difference in doctrine, reminds me very much of the apologia of the Feeneyites, e.g. as found in their book “The Loyolas and the Cabots” (online at http://www.catholicism.org/book-loyolas-and-the-cabots.html).

  59. Malta says:

    It’s a sad fact that Vatican II praised false, pagan religions without even hinting at their error:

    http://www.cmri.org/94prog6.htm

    For instance, with respect to Hinduism, Vatican II said they are on a “loving, trusting flight towards ‘God’.” LOL! Which one? And why capitalize “God”?

    What a farce. Christ turned-over the money-changers tables and admonished the Pharisees, but Vatican II praises Hindus. What other Council has ever praised false religions? Vatican II was the first-ever pastoral council convened to praise and coddle the modern world: a world full of error and deception. It’s time to reconcile SSPX ASAP. It’s my opinion–even as a non-member–that they will be victorious in this battle (yes, “battle”) with modernistic heirarchs (many of whom, no doubt, are headed to perdition–yes, modern heirarchs, many of you are headed to hell) because we live in one of those ages which our antecedents will look on as the age of heresy…

  60. Malta says:

    * I think when people offer the argument that had Archbp. Lefevbre and the SSPX not done what they did, then we would not have the older Mass today, we should reject that premise, or at least scrutinize it closely.*

    With all due respect, Fr. Z, without SSPX, you would not have FSSP, Summorum Pontificum (no impetus, no remedy,) indult, etc. You might have a few dying Agatha Christie indult masses in the UK–but nothing else. I think the Holy Spirit is using SSPX to infuse tradition back into the Church, much as the Spirit did Athanasius. Christ never said there wouldn’t be struggle in the Church, just that, “the gates of hell,” would not “prevail” against her.

  61. I think it was interesting to read him repeat himself three times to emphasize his points. A very odd habit, indeed, indeed, indeed!

    Fr. Deacon Daniel

    PS: I have been told of very strange, strange strange teachings going on in the Society regarding women, their role in society, the Church and the home. Does anyone have any knowledge or sources of such teachings? I’m sure not all of it is bad, but some of the things that I heard about made me twitch a bit…

  62. Jbrown says:

    Keep in mind one thing, which has been mentioned nowhere in any of the commentaries. He is an auxiliary bishop for the FSSPX, not a “leader” in the canonical sense. In fact, the leadership is entirely the Superior General and his immediate staff and assistants, beginning with Bp Fellay. While the bishops have moral authority, they have absolutely zero governing power whatsoever-they do not have authority of command, counsel, etc., if not given by the Superior General himself. Hence, it is up to the Superior General to discuss things with Rome, keep order in the Society, and anything else which pertains to his office. Rome doesn’t want a breakup, and neither does Fellay, but I think we see now the folly of consecrating 4 bishops for a society which, while global in scale, is NOT a parallel church and DOESN’T need four bishops!

  63. James says:

    “I recently read a volume of St. Catherine of Siena’s letters (after reading the unabridged Dialogue) and I am now in the midst of reading a couple volumes of the letters of St. Peter Damian. The point is, in both their times things were as bad as they are now (and maybe worse!) and the Popes governing during those times were definitely not of the caliber as the current Holy Father.”

    Not true.

    Many, although not all, of the church’s historic problems (NOT the invstiture crisis, but, e.g., the “problem” of alleged immorality of the married clergy during the reign of St Gregory VII) have been caused by prideful monks and neo-Platonic philosopher trying to turn the entire church into either a revived Academy or gigantic, world-wide monastery.

    Human nature rightly baulks at such a prospect, for the type of asceticism advocated and practised by neo-platonists, stoics, monks, friars and canons-regular require a signal, vocational grace from God that is not given to every cleric, let alone every Christian.

    In this context, it is easy to understand the rapid dechristianisation of the Latin Countries after the dismantling of mediaeval catholicism and replacement with the counter-reformed model, which quickly evolved into the practice, if not theory, of Jansenism. One need only refer to the apparently endless accounts of life in pre-conciliar religious houses and seminaries verifying same.

    Little wonder neither ultramontanists nor most traditionalists deal with this issue – or for other reasons, modernists.

  64. Malta says:

    *Does the one, true and immutable Faith prosper under their hands, or does it not rather wilt?*

    Indeed, think about this!

    I am Catholic to my toes, but I am often horrified wherever I go to hear mass ( I travel frequently across the country). Lately, I\’ve been impressed by Indian (as in \”India\”) Catholics recruited to be priests here (since, apparently, some gay priests are retiring or finding other things to do,) they\’re devout, focused, and holy. They may pray the Novus Ordo, but they take it seriously.

    Nevertheless, in the majority of places I\’ve been to, I\’m not even sure the Eucharist is validly consecrated. In Santa Fe, for instance, at the Cathedral, the chief organist is being investigated for child porn.

    On the other hand, I know traditional priests I would trust my kids with, but the Church is in a sad–a very sad–state, and I know this from very firm, first-hand, evidence and experience.

  65. “With all due respect, Fr. Z, without SSPX, you would…”

    …find something else to talk about.

    True or false, this is not a response, other than to repeat that which the good Father just got done refuting. He maintains that “we should reject that premise, or at least scrutinize it closely.” Now, what YOU should be saying, is not THAT it not be rejected or scrutinized — but WHY.

  66. Michael says:

    More about validity of Williason’s own consecration.
    Louis E., The question is whether the authority in Rome knew about the Williamson’s letter; and in any case, Tissier and Galaretta were nor bound by it, and the two, if they received episcopacy, would have been sufficient to validly consecrate Licinio Rangel. The minor point: Rangel, with the end of his life approaching, might have asked the authorities to consecrate him conditionally – we do not know.

  67. Deusdonat says:

    With all due respect, Fr. Z, without SSPX, you would not have FSSP

    Malta – no disrespect, but you are dead wrong. I know several FSSP priests who had little or no knowledge of what was going on with SSPX, yet they were inspired (as was the Society of St John) to keep the faith, as it were. The SSPX has done far more harm than good for our cause. It’s sad you can’t seem to see this.

  68. Charles Goldsmith says:

    Matt Robinson stated:

    Collegiality – which has transformed the Pope into a mirror
    of the Archbishop of Canterbury – basically a symbolic figurehead
    who is not obeyed even by his own Bishops, nevermind the SSPX!
    This policy is a direct result of Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium.

    This statement could not be further from the truth. Lumen Gentium explicitly reaffirmed the teachings of Vatican I on the pope’s universal authority over the entire church. The authority of the bishops in an ecumenical council (a traditional concept, by the way), can only be exercised with the consent of the pope. The following is from Lumen Gentium itself:

    But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head. The pope’s power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power. The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head.(27*) This power can be exercised only with the consent of the Roman Pontiff.

    This is not remotely similar to the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Anglican Communion. I would have responses to your other points, but suffice it for now that your point on Lumen Gentium and collegiality cannot stand unchallenged.

  69. Malta says:

    btw, all, I have been reading B.XVI’s “Jesus of Nazareth.” It’s incredibly good, and devout. BXVI, make no mistake, has a brilliant mind.

  70. Deusdonat says:

    Malta – I just realised the link you put up was to a repugnant, foul, amoral and utterly evil Sedevacantist website. Are you saying you ally yourself with their ilk? Just trying to clarify here.

  71. Charles Goldsmith says:

    Matt Robinson said:

    The only major Council Father still living, whom we can ask what the Council actually meant is Hans Kung, and we all know what we will say!

    Why would Hans Kueng be an authoritative interpreter of the magisterial documents of the Vatican II Ecumenical Council? He is not the Magisterium, i.e., the pope and the bishops in communion with him, who are the only authoritative interpreter of magisterial documents. The Vatican II documents can all be interpreted in an orthodox fashion and in continuity with the deposit of faith in Scripture and Tradition as expounded by the Church’s teaching office through the centuries. Williamson would seem to reject the legitimate authority of the Church’s teaching office, or at least he seems to think it magically ceased to exist round about 1960. </p

  72. Charles Goldsmith says:

    Malta said:

    It’s a sad fact that Vatican II praised false, pagan religions without even hinting at their error

    Vatican II did not state other religions were not false religions, but merely said that there will be elements of truth in other religions, which of course is true insofar and only so far as as those religions teach the same thing as the Catholic Church (who of course possesses the fullness of truth). One can state what one has in common with someone else without accepting or compromising with their errors. The former is true ecumenism while the latter is false ecumenism. It is very Catholic to find and value what is good and true and in accord with Catholic teaching anywhere one can find it. Thus I find it reprehensible that Bishop Williamson cannot even bring himself to consider that anything done by the Pope that is positive from the viewpoint of Catholic tradition, like Summorum Pontificum, to be a good thing or to say anything in the least supportive of it, because he with a broad brush dismisses a priori everything and anything done by the authentic magisterium of the Catholic Church.

  73. Patricia Kenyon says:

    Who cannot help but feel extreme sadness reading of the divisions represented here. I just wonder if St. Francis or St. Patrick were able to comment at this time, if they would not be advising all parties involved(Pope, His Cardinals and Bishops, priests and religious, laypeople both academic and just plain folks) to discontinue the verbal battles and instead engage in fierce and unrelenting spiritual battle by encouraging one another to perform serious fasting, prayer, and penance… penance… penance. It’s this spiritual kind of laboring for the unity of the Church I would so much like to see, publicly as well as privately, exemplified by the leaders of all sides! Surely we are called to follow Christ’s example. He went so far beyond what was merely necessary to show us in His own Person the perfect Way of fighting the evil spirits of confusion and disunity attacking us. Everything else is just back and forth, back and forth.

    I think it is not unimportant that Our Lady’s appearances, especially at Fatima, always point us to the way and work of prayer and penance. Never has She suggested that we all try to argue each other into a right disposition, for quite obviously none of us is right. As the above comments point out, there are problems on every side.

    I’d ask prayer for Our Lady’s Intentions which merely mirror those of Her Son for the good of the Church, ourselves and the world. Or are we all just too sophisticated be meek and humble of heart and apply the simple remedy God gives us?

    -Patricia

  74. Malta says:

    deusdonat,

    thanks: I did not know that that web link was linked to sedes. But think about this, how many papers or web links do you read which are linked to protestants or Jews?

    It strikes me as ironic that some Catholics react in utter horror when one reads a book published by Angelus etc., but everyday they read their daily newspaper, published by, well, you know….

  75. Malta says:

    *Vatican II did not state other religions were not false religions..*

    Charles, nor did it say that they were false. Therein lies the ambiguity and the problem. Instead, Vatican II heaped false praise on them; a thing that no other council has ever done, and that, arguably, Christ would have been horrified by…

  76. Dominic says:

    Absolution can be valid without faculties, in some circumstances.

  77. Ancilla says:

    [Is the SSPX pushing also for a declaration of Our Lady as \”Co-redemptrix\”?]

    Indeed.

    You have btw noted the battle hymn for the Tridentine Mass http://wdtprs.com/blog/2007/02/revisiting-and-revising-the-tridentine-battle-hymn/ which was written in the German District of the FSSPX and holds the clear line of declaring Mary Co-Redemptrix.

  78. Dougall says:

    Malta–

    That text you cited bothers me.

    “Vatican II did not state other religions were not false religions..

    Charles, nor did it say that they were false. Therein lies the ambiguity and the problem. Instead, Vatican II heaped false praise on them; a thing that no other council has ever done, and that, arguably, Christ would have been horrified by…”

    Why didn’t they just put a few clarifying statements in that document? Just one could have put it into perspective.

  79. Nick says:

    I grew up in the 50’s and early 60’s, within walking distance of my home there were at least 180 nuns — Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary; Sisters of Providence Servants of the Poor – ran a 300+ bed hospital; The Cabrini Sisters – ran another hospital a few blocks away; Carmelites; and sometimes Maryknoll sisters back from the mission lands. Also within walking distance of my house there were two boys high schools — one Jesuit and one Christian Brothers, five grade schools with a nun in every classroom. One of the girl’s high school contained a music department with a national reputation. The sisters, brothers and priest were not ashamed to teach us (in charity, of course) to be the very best at everything. And we were.

    As for priests, I estimate there were at least 125 priests — not counting diocesan — in my neighborhood. Of the non diocesan priests at least 60 were Jesuits assigned to a Jesuit University. Four to six Jesuits were also ran my parish. There were in fact so many Jesuits around that one (an Irishman right off the old sod) was assigned in my parish to oversee afternoon sports and weekend teen dances (I am not making this up — 18 years scholastic study assigned to watch over grade school soccer, baseball, boy scouts and of course the children’s spiritual well being.) Other priestly orders I remember were Maryknoll, Carmelite (what an eye-catching outfit they wore), and Franciscan. (I went to high school at a nearby Benedictine Abbey.) The diocese completed 350 major building projects when I was a boy.

    Because our bishop at the time began calling boys to the priesthood starting about the fourth grade, 10-plus ordinations of diocesan priests per year was not uncommon. And this area was then (and still is) considered un-churched mission land!

    All of this is largely gone now, but still when I visualize the Church, I visualize the Church of my youth. It is my Catholic vision.

    Bishop Williamson on the otherhad never experienced the blessedness of Mother Church in its fullest. How could he? His experience is rented halls, and converted garages. Long flight to say Mass, followed by another long flight somewhere else. What he experienced was a confused Church in crisis, a Church without nuns, without vocations, a church of dieing institutions. How these young bishops and priests of SSPX managed to accomplish as much as they have is a marvel. But for them to come in from the cold they must be given a new vision of the Church from inside the Church.

    If I were to advise the Pope I would suggest that he lift all excommunications and especially the excommunication against Abp Lefvebre unilaterally if necessary. Then give one of the bishops a red hat (and I mean that), appoint another to the board of rites; then give the other full jurisdiction over the Pius X Mass centers everywhere. If they believe they have power inside the Church and part of the hierachy their rhetoric will be much diminished and their vision will be renewed. And his Holiness and the Church will benefit greatly from their unique knowledge of hard-scrabble parish building, and harnessing the idealism of the 400 or so younger priests of the order.

  80. The interviews with the SSPX Bishops
    have been an eye-opener for me.
    I used to have a lot of time for the SSPX but
    it is clear to me that they are really just
    crypto-Protestants.
    Pope Benedict is our Pope, and as Catholics we must
    submit in filial obedience to him.
    Better to drown whilst clinging to the Barque of Peter than to be washed up onto a desert island full of fruit-cakes who happen to have nice liturgy.

  81. Peter says:

    RE: “Vatican II did not state other religions were not false religions..

    Charles, nor did it say that they were false. Therein lies the ambiguity and the problem. Instead, Vatican II heaped false praise on them; a thing that no other council has ever done, and that, arguably, Christ would have been horrified by… …. Why didn’t they just put a few clarifying statements in that document? Just one could have put it into perspective.”

    I have a priest friend who holds that the Catechism of the Catholic Church provides the clarification to this issue.

  82. QC says:

    If one reads each document promulgated by the Council, it\’s unambiguous that there is one true religion–the Catholic one. One can make it ambiguous like one can make St. Paul ambiguous by focusing only on the place in Acts where he praises the pagans with the altar to the unknown God and quotes their poets. Each text has a specific purpose, it is not meant to be something all encompassing. So often, if another text deals with a specific topic, it may not be in yet another text.

    As an aside, I\’m sure people here had experience bringing others into the Church–finding common ground to build upon is the first step in this process almost every time.

  83. QC says:

    Those who say without SSPX (and their illicit consecrations we would not have FSSP are correct–however, what we would have is the SSPX still in good standing in their place. It is wrong to say their evil actions themselves have brought good–even if God may bring good out of the evil he permits. The FSSP exists as a replacement to the SSPX. We shouldn’t praise the SSPX for the existence of the FSSP because we would never have needed the FSSP if the SSPX had not placed themselves in their irregular situation.

    If anything, their actions have attached a negative stigma to the extraordinary form.

  84. Steve Jones says:

    Williamson’s views are not that much further “right field” than those of Pat Buchanan or William F Buckley. His great hero is Malcolm Muggeridge and here too one sees similarities. Williamson is a self-hating Englishman (of the Muggeridge school) – deeply suspicious of all forms of authority. Ironically, of course, he attended Winchester a school which traditionally equipped young men with the tools necessary to run an empire.

    Williamson has also grasped (like Buchanan) what really happened in the 20th Century in respect of the wars. His argument that another is about to insue is logical. For without an American presence in Europe post-1945, there would have been more trouble anyway. Even atheists could grasp this reality (especially Cambridge eduated ones) but the theologians and apologists of Vatican II totally failed to.

    It is this failure which angers him more than any. Why? Because it offends his intelligence.

  85. Andy says:

    Dear Matt,

    Thank you very much for your comment.

    “Isn’t the whole “reorientation of the Church” a direct cause of Pius X’s Oath Against Modernism going from being mandatory for all priests and teachers to swear to being dropped altogether in 1967?”

    OK. But this was after the Council. This is not part of the Council. And I do believe that the reintroduction of the oath would be a good idea. However, you would run the risk that many priests and bishops would not be prepared to take this oath. It is just too early. Maybe over 10 years or so.

    The same is true for the Council. The Holy Father cannot say: “Well we got it wrong.” I think it is not possible to discuss the validity of the Council. This is not realistic. This is not an option. What we can do is to discuss the interpretation of the Council texts. These texts can only be interpreted “in the Light of Tradition”.

    All the visitors of this forum generally belong to the traditionalist “camp”. Although some would probably not want to be called “tradtionalist”. However, I have read no comment that defends the convictions of Hans Küng. This is a sign of hope.

    So, it seems that the picture painted by the secular media is wrong. There, only modernist-priests get the chance to fulminate against the Pope and the Church. Serious priests are never invited. But times are changing. Many modernists have already left the Church and by doing so they have compromised their salvation.

    It would be a great mistake when the SSPX would leave the Church. The Church needs the SSPX and the SSPX needs the Church. Because, how could you be Catholic without the guidance of the Holy Father?

    It would be a mistake of the SSPX not to come to an agreement with Pope Benedict. He was also present at the Council. He knows the situation of the SSPX. This man radiates faith, hope and happiness. This man will be proclaimed a Saint and a Doctor of the Church. No doubt about that. So, now is the time for reconciliation and healing! You can only fight the crisis in the Church from within.

    In my own parish, I can also see the faithful faitful come back home sick from church. Although I am not the one who can judge that, I have the impression that our modernist priest hasn’t said a valid mass for the last 10 years. But leaving the Church is not an option.

    I think that we were just unfortunate to be born in a time like this. On the other hand, we could do something good for the Church. Jesus needs our hands! Pope Benedict needs our hands! We should love and respect our enemies. But, we should also pray for them and try to convert them. We just need to be patient. “The martyrdom of patience” as Cardinal Casaroli would call it.

  86. Calleva says:

    I too would like to know the circumstances of Williamson’s leaving the London Oratory. Not only has Williamson never experienced Catholic life as someone of his generation would have, but he’s not experienced it very much at all. I find it extraordinary that he was catapulted into priesthood four years after converting (as Fr Z noted).

    His antagonism towards ‘feelings’ makes me wonder if this is not a residue from boarding school – boys of his generation were sent as young as seven years old, which is known to cause emotional difficulties later in life for some (OK, I am generalising, but I am British and have known people like this). I saw the same You Tube video clips that Malta mentions but was rather less impressed. Williamson refers snidely to Card. Castrillon Hoyos as touchy feely and he blows sarcastic kisses in the air. Why, when the Cardinal is trying to hard to bring about the unity we all want so much? He is a conspiracy theorist and subscribes to the idea that the attacks of 9/11 were caused by American intelligence forces, not middle-eastern terrorists. Elsewhere, he speaks of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as if it were a genuine text.

    As a college graduate Catholic woman who takes the orthodox line (ie: Women for Faith and Family and Assoc. of Catholic Women rather than Wimminpriests) I find Williamson’s views on women somewhat disturbing. In the past, mothers with large families weren’t expected to homeschool them as well. Traditionally, unmarried female relatives used to come to help out and it wasn’t unknown for wealthy relatives to undertake the education of a child. In short, I don’t think there was a time in the past when women were expected to produce nine children in ten years, homeschool them and do all the cooking, cleaning and mending unaided. A writer on another thread spoke of her time in the SSPX when a woman was expected to come home from hospital and immediately start waiting on her husband and family.

    To the writer above who thought that Williamson didn’t expect only young girls to be shown the mechanics of home management – I beg to disagree. You can find Williamson’s writings online which stress his disapproval of women wearing trousers (“if your great grandmother couldn’t do it, nor should you”) and going on to higher education (“unibrothels”). Women’s minds are not geared towards logical thought, they are only ‘emotional’ (and we know what he thinks about emotions, don’t we?).

    However, much else of what Williamson says is true – the church is in a bad way and modernising and progressive bishops still cause scandal and grief. But his voice is a counsel of despair.

    PS: Query: If Andy’s parish priest ‘hasn’t said a valid Mass in 10 years’ does that mean that Andy hasn’t received the Eucharist for some time as well? Or is the sacrament still valid?

  87. Mark says:

    I completely agree with Father Z’s observation that SSPX sounds apocaliptic. Ironically, this sect’s leadership continues to think they and their followers are spiritually safer outside the Barque of Peter. They seem to be oblivious to the increasingly clear signs that their Maginot line of defense has been overrrun by our common enemy. One can only pray and hope they regain a clear view of their true state soon.

    This interview reminded me of an old joke (paraphrased):

    “Just yesterday we, the leadership and the SSPX faithful, stood on the very edge of a precipice. But today we took a decisive step forward!”.

  88. Brian Mershon says:

    GSK: “Nine children in ten years is well-nigh abusive.”

    I know friend of mine whose friends were married in their early 30s, and by design, have had 10 children in 11 years. They are not traditionalist Catholics. She never breastfed, so they could have children every 12 months or so.

    I’ll call and let them know that you, and I’m sure many of the NFP movement stripe, believe that she is being abused by her husband.

    And you’re right… The times of Faith of St. Catherine of Siena are far over. Sort of like deconstructing the obvious meaning of Sacred Scripture by the modernist historical-critical method of Scripture Scholarship.

    The off-the-cuff judgmental nature against large families goes far beyond the secular “culture of death” people. It is obviously ingrained at least in many of the so-called NFP, “conservative” crowd, which quite well explains why so many traditionalists have moved beyond their limited worldview–and naturalist, might I add.

  89. RBrown says:

    Michael,

    1. It is important not to analyze Intention as if it’s Sacramental Form.

    Minimal intention is always general and always the same for every Sacrament. The minimal intention for celebrating mass is “to do what the Church does”. The minimal intention for ordination is the same “to do what the Church does”. Nothing else is required–not cleansing from Original Sin

    The specificity is found in the Sacramental Form–which is why the minimal intention (To do what the Church does) is sufficient for validity.

    2. To say that the ordination of a priest is a manifestation of jurisdiction contradicts the essence of the Power of Order (Potestas Ordinis). When a priest is consecrated bishop, he receives the fullness of the Sacrament of Order, which gives him the Sacramental Power to ordain priests, regardless of whether or not he has jurisdiction. It can be compared to the Sacramental Power a priest has to confect the Eucharist.

    3. I do not much care for the contemporary interchangeable use of the word “governance” and “jurisdiction”. Governance is found not merely in jurisdiction, as, for example, a priest celebrating mass can deny Communion to a public sinner.

    Jurisdiction, however, has a more precise meaning.

  90. Joe says:

    to accuse Pope Benedict I of being a modernist would certainly be anachronistic of Bishop Williamson.

  91. gsk says:

    Brian: I’m not sure if you’re being willfully obtuse or not, but you call me judgemental in a post filled with judgement about me and others. That is the nature of such people. We on the outside say that marriage is sacred and decision-making between husband and wife (apart from sin) is legitimate according to needs and circumstances. You on the inside say that anyone who doesn’t do it your way is a modern deconstructionist. Who has the “limited world view?”

    Just as I don’t judge your friend for not breast-feeding her children (although physiologically it is far better than any other nutrition — how on earth do I know her circumstances or reasons?) I hope she doesn’t judge me for using NFP in the first year of marriage because of extreme circumstances.

    Please read my lips: I have NEVER denigrated large families. I am simply appalled that women have zero choice about their vocation in your communities. Choosing God’s will is far better than having someone else’s version of it thrust upon you (for your own good). And that goes for religious freedom as well. Perhaps everyone here might benefit from an occasional twelve-step meeting for good measure.

  92. Brian Mershon says:

    GSK: I don’t know what you mean by “my” communities? I have frequented SSPX as necessary while traveling on occasion and have also done so in my neck of the woods occasionally when we have not had the TLM available.

    My wife and I have practiced NFP on and off, both for conceiving and for spacing our children. However, I have found the NFP propaganda off-putting and have seen many in the NFP inside denigrate those who allow God’s will to determine the size of the family–as Pope Pius XII so nobly recommended. It was even denigrated in posts on the previous SSPX bishop interview.

    The “modernist deconstructionists” accusation is for those who dissect a clear dogma–EENS. It had nothing whatsoever to do with NFP or “providentialism” as some have called it.

    I am merely trying to point out that many “non-traditionalist” Catholics who are part of the culture of life denigrate those who have large families and who practice “providentialism.”

    I don’t know why you think that women in traditionalist communities (I actually regularly attend a diocesan church and attend the Novus Ordo far more often (unfortunately) than the TLM “have no choice about their vocations” because of some short answers by two SSPX bishops.

    I’m still interested if you think that housekeeping skills and reading and education are “below” young women or not.

    Conservatives often do not realize how condescending they come across to the traditional Catholics who often would prefer to have nothing but to be left alone so we can effectively accomplish our states in life–without the peanut gallery comments. I’m certain there is more than enough junk to be thrown at traditionalists as well; we have all experienced it, unfortunately. It is all the more disconcerting when it comes from “conservative”, “orthodox” Catholics when the modernists are the ones who have attempted to destroy our Church all these years.

    In any event, sorry for the misunderstanding on the deconstructionism.

    I pray every day for the full canonical regulariztion of the SSPX and the lifting of the decrees of excommunication of the SSPX bishops.

    As I have recently told a prominent priest friend. We are not going to agree on the liturgy and especially the absolute importance of the traditional liturgy, and we’re not going to agree on the nuances of religious liberty and the Second Vatican Council “in light of Tradition,” but we’re fundamentally, I guess, on the same side, so let’s work at building the kingdom of God and work within the framework that the Faith allows, and be charitable in our methods and techniques, which are not articles of Faith. Like NFP, which is not an article of Faith.

  93. cathguy says:

    As a father and a husband, I am disturbed both by Bsp. Williamson’s comments and by many of the comments in this blog.

    I believe EVERYTHING the Church teaches. I LOVE tradition. Humane Vitae is easily my favorite encyclical because, in my vocation, it leads everything I do.

    We ought not measure orthodoxy based upon how many, or how few, children people have. Nor should we make assumptions.

    Consider the following story:

    A young orthodox Catholic goes to a party and meets a Catholic woman who explains that they only have one child. The orthodox Catholic goes into a (relatively gentle) spiel about the dangers of materialism, making sure one is open to life, and the beauty of having a large family.

    The conversation goes on, and the woman eventually leaves the party in tears. She, for medical reasons, has been unable to conceive again, and she feels now that God is punishing her by denying her a large family.

    Preaching the TRUTH: that artificial contraception is evil and that we should be radically generous with our fertility, is difficult enough. Lets focus on that. And let us share this truth with fearless abandon, because it is beautiful and affirming.

    Let us not be pharisees and heap heavy burdens on folks by telling them if they do not have 13 children they are not generous and are not living their vocation.

    Likewise, let us not attack those wonderfully generous families that have 13 or more children.

    Humane Vitae clearly leaves family size and the definition of grave reason to the conscience of the married couple, in prayer, with the Holy Ghost as their guide.

    Conversations about exactly how large (or how small) a family ought to be is largely outside scope for anyone EXCEPT the married couple in question. Humane Vitae says:

    Artificial contraception is intrinsically evil. We have recourse to NFP for GRAVE reason.

    Let us leave it at that.

    When we veer off to one extreme or the other we ALWAYS fall into error. As the traditionalist scholar Michael Davies said, all heresies are truths exaggerated to the point of falsehood.

  94. Andy says:

    Re. “the great advances of evil in the past 20 years” I’ve just came across a nice example: a catholic monk as the lead singer of a heavy metal band. Complete with screaming and satanic hand gesture. TV material (English), excerpt from a concert (Italian). If he is a catholic friar in good standing and no action is taken to correct him (or exorcise him) then FSSPX bishops do have a point about “modernism in the Church”, don’t they?

  95. gsk says:

    Thank you sincerely, Brian, for the clarification. Because “some” have said such things doesn’t mean that I have–and you heaved their mis-statements at me.

    “I’m still interested if you think that housekeeping skills and reading and education are ‘below’ young women or not.”

    I’ve never said such a thing, I have stressed that I myself am a stay-at-home mother knee-deep in house-keeping, and I also promoted Edith Stein, who believed (PhD notwithstanding) that care of the home was an essential component of women’s education.

    Rather than “throwing junk” at traditionalists, I am simply throwing up red flags at the comments by their shepherds combined with the similar judgements coming from their flock. The net message seems to be “leave us alone to do it our way; and btw our way is the only holy way.” What are we to think?

    I join you in prayer for unity around the One True Shepherd and pursuit of charity as a beacon to draw others to the One True Fold.

  96. Xpihs says:

    From above: (3rd comment)

    “It is always problematic to me when I see comments like this. As a mother who gave birth to 6 children and had two miscarriages (that’s 8 in all) in 12 years and did homeschool some of the time, 9 children in 10 years would have proven fatal to me. How much time has Bishop Willamson spent speaking with women, hearing their Confessions, [Without the faculties to give a valid absolution. – Fr. Z] etc. I wonder?”

    Fr. Z, is it true that he does not have the faculties to give a valid absolution?

    Can. 967 §1. In addition to the Roman Pontiff, cardinals have the faculty of hearing the confessions of the Christian faithful everywhere in the world by the law itself. Bishops likewise have this faculty and use it licitly everywhere unless the diocesan bishop has denied it in a particular case.

    From this single canon it would seem that his epicsopal dignity and that alone gives him the faculty to absolve validly anywhere in the world. It would seem that it would be an illicit use of the power and one prohibited by the excommunication that was declared. (Canon 1331)

    So is it by law that Bishops have a universal faculty to absolve, or is it a faculty that is essential to the episcopacy?

    [The problem is that we are talking about a bishop who is not in union with the Roman Pontiff, is excommunicated and suspended a divinis.]

  97. mpm says:

    “But oh yes, we still have Hans Kung, so we could ask the big guy what
    hermeneutic inspired him to write Gaudium et Spes?
    Comment by Matt Robinson — 27 July 2008 @ 8:59 pm”

    Matt,

    I’m no fan of Kung, but Gaudium et Spes is not his document, whatever input he may
    have had. There exist the Acta of Vatican II, and I have read them for all the sessions
    dealing with Gaudium et Spes. There was a young Polish archbishop who had a great
    deal to do with correcting the drafts of tendencies toward embracing socialism,
    communism, etc., and with placing Christ at the focal points of its “message”.

    I don’t mind hearing criticism of VCII documents, but do your homework, please.

  98. Jason says:

    Regarding the “apocalyptic” discussion, I just want to quote something from St. Luigi Orione, who lived in the early 20th century. He envisioned some sort of renewal in the near future, and I agree with his reading of the “signs of the times.” I do think God is preparing us for something. Our Lord spoke to St. Faustina of a “spark from Poland.” We don’t know for sure that this was Pope John Paul II, but was it just a coincidence that he was elected Pope? He was also the subject of the third secret of Fatima, and was a greatly beloved Pope, who inspired millions of youth to live their faith. I also see the election of Pope Benedict XVI as a sign from providence. He was the right man to be elected Pope at that time in history. I think God has been preparing us for something. We had to go through much violence and turmoil first (world wars, dissent in the Church, etc.), but the tide is turning. Our Lord told St. Faustina that the spark from Poland would prepare the world for the Second Coming. Perhaps that is near, but haven’t there been some propechies of an age of peace before the Second Coming?

    Anyway, here is the quote from St. Luigi Orione:

    We are the Sons of Divine Providence, and we shall not despair, but instead, we shall put our trust unreservedly in God! We are not among those prophets of doom who believe the world will end tomorrow. Corruption and moral evil are great, it is true; but I firmly believe that the ultimate victor will be God, and God shall win with His infinite mercy.

    God has always won in this way! We shall have “novos coelos et novam terram.” Society, restored in Christ, will reappear on the horizon, more brilliant. It will reappear reinvigorated, renewed, and firmly guided by the Church. Catholicism, replete with divine truth, charity, new youth, and supernatural strength, will rise in the world, and place itself at the head of the reanimated era leading us to a restoration of faith, civilization, happiness, and salvation.

    A great epoch is about to begin! This will be due to the benevolent mercy of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and the heavenly maternal intercession of Mary Most Holy. I envision a resplendent monument, not based in sand, rising as a luminous column of love and founded upon revealed charity, upon the Church, upon the only rock, eternal, unshaken: “petra autem erat Christus.”

    Courage then, my dear ones: Let us cast ourselves among the children of the people. Let us draw the young generation to ways of the good. Let us demonstrate, especially with our Festive Oratories, how the Church is fertile with moral force, beneficial religious influence, and a redemption force, always a lively source of that charity which Jesus Christ came to bring upon the earth. May all our lives be irradiated by a great love of God and love of neighbor, especially for the poorest of the poor and the most abandoned of youth; and God will be with us always!

  99. Deusdonat says:

    MALTA – But think about this, how many papers or web links do you read which are linked to protestants or Jews?

    I am EXTREMELY aware of my news sources, and I make no pretexts or excuses for them. I generally get my news from 3 sources: CNN (liberal Protestant owner), BBC (liberal, secular establishment) and Zenit/L’Osservatore (Catholic all the way). Now, if I’m going to quote one of them about an issue relating to my religion to support my argument, take a wild guess at which one it’s going to be. I would not quote the Jew-run Boston globe regarding what the church teaches, nor would I quote abortion-supporting CNN on issues relating to population statistics, neither would I quote a heretical, hate-spewing abomination such as the sedevacantists on issues concerning whether or not a church council was or wasn’t legitimate. What they think is as relevant as what a Jew or Protestant thinks on the matter. (hint: it’s irrelevant).

  100. CPKS says:

    It has been very good to give wider exposure to the thinking now current in the SSPX. It helps us to understand why so many bishops perceive the traditional Mass as a “divisive” issue. Indeed, it would be interesting to examine whether those areas where the traditional Mass is most marginalized in any way correspond to those areas where the SSPX has been most active (or whose bishops have been most exposed to the rhetoric of the SSPX).

  101. Patrick says:

    “I wonder if these strongly apocalyptic tendencies in the SSPX leadership are not, in part, a compensation for a shaky ecclesial position”

    If you don’t have a crisis, you need to manufacture one. Bp. Williamson is certainly beset by worries. I am wondering what sort of man can be so negative and still purport to serve The Lord, especially when The Lord, his apostles, disciples and many of the holy men and women throughout history had such positive outlooks, even when faced with persecution and the headsman’s ax or hangman’s rope.

    Movements lacking a basis in truth need to compensate for the lack of truth as foundation. Hence, the inordinant rleliance on things apocalyptic, or streams of neverending crises.

    Rgds

  102. RBrown says:

    I live in the diocese of Rochester. Here the problem is not the words of the bishop, but the fruits…Bishop Clark is a lovely man (according to everyone who knows him), gives good sermons (I’ve heard a few), says all kinds of right things. After all, he was rector of the North American College in Rome – he knows how to talk the talk.
    Comment by Michael Tinkler

    He was not rector. He was Spiritual Director after having been Asst Spiritual Director. (Who else but Americans could come up with the idea of having assistant spiritual directors at seminaries?)

  103. Tominellay says:

    …wondering if Williamson ever considered the POSSIBILITY that Archbishop Lefebvre might have jumped at the chance to reconcile at this time, with this pope…

  104. Deusdonat: I know several FSSP priests who had little or no knowledge of what was going on with SSPX ….. The SSPX has done far more harm than good for our cause.

    I am a strong supporter of the FSSP, and have no association of any sort with the SSPX. I have been a member of an FSSP parish, and essentially every TLM I have attended — other than when traveling — during the past twenty years has been celebrated either by an FSSP priest or by one trained by the FSSP. I was one of the initial members of the Confraternity of St. Peter, the lay association of the FSSP, have published in its periodical, etc.

    Obviously, there is some gulf between the FSSP and the SSPX at the present time, and there are some on both sides who feel strongly about it. I myself believe the SSPX could now help more inside the tent than outside, and with its recalcitrance is close to or already doing the “harm for our cause” that you probably have in mind. In my opinion, Bishop Williamson himself falls squarely in this category.

    However, I must admit to my own assessment of historical events and causality — that if the SSPX had not existed, there would have been no motu proprio “Ecclesia Dei” in 1988, and it is hard for me personally to see a historical path to Summorum Pontificum not leading through Ecclesia Dei.

    Although there certainly are (as you suggest) younger FSSP priests with no SSPX familiarity, it is a fact the FSSP was formed by a dozen SSPX priests who were dismayed that Archbishop Lefebvre had rejected the protocol offered by Pope John Paul II and then proceeded to consecrate the four current SSPX bishops. It might be informative to consult their “declaration of intention” (www.fssp.org/en/declfond.htm) issued on the same day as Ecclesia Dei. Plainly then, without the SSPX existing then, there would be no FSSP celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year.

  105. Deusdonat says:

    Henry – but your (and Malta’s) assessment of the situation is based on one sole premise: that everyone who wished to retain the TLM went over at some point (the early years) to the SSPX. This just isn’t so. And the priests I am talking about are in no way “young” or newly formed.

    Yes, Ecclesia Dei was most likely created due to the SSPX situation (a lot of fat good that did for us). But I in no way believe the Motu Proprio of Summorarum Pontificum had anything to do with it. I attribute that to the fact that there ARE and REMAIN traditional Catholics within the church who seek to right the wrongs. I honestly believe the SSPX had absolutely nothing to do with that. Meaning, the Motu Proprio was a gift for US, the faithful; NOT appeasement for the SSPX (those clearly OUTSIDE the church presently).

  106. QC says:

    In Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich’s “Dolorious Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ” she forsees a time in the Church that seem similar to our own. She deplores some who “passed on in disgust at the wounds of His Church, as the Levite passed the poor man who had fallen among the robbers. Like unto cowardly and faithless children, who desert their mother in the middle of the night at the sight of thieves and robbers, they fled from His wounded Spouse.” I think the SSPX either seem to have this attitude or are dangerously close to it.

    And the debate over the canonical status of the SSPX is irrelevant here, because Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich says the people in this vision were only “sometimes separated from the True Vine.”

  107. Deusdonat: Henry – but your ….. assessment of the situation is based on one sole premise: that everyone who wished to retain the TLM went over at some point (the early years) to the SSPX.

    Not so. I am probably the oldest continuing WDTPRS “member” (other than Father Z himself), and nowhere in my many hundreds of posts here during the past three years can you find any suggestion of the “premise” you state here. Essentially everyone I personally know (including me) who has retained a desire for the TLM for forty years through thick and thin is an example of someone who did NOT “go over” to the SSPX at any time, and is therefore a counterexample to the premise you state.

    However, it remains my best — though still uncertain — guess that, had no one played the historical role that Ab. Lefebvre and his SSPX played, the progression from 1984 to 1988 to 2007 probably would not have occurred in the same time frame, and that those of us who were forlorn TLM supporters through the darkest years might still remain in a similar situation. At the very least, I would be at a loss to convincingly describe an alternative sequence of events that might plausibly have led us to our present happy situation. However, I would be happy to see someone else attempt to do this.

  108. Brian Mershon says:

    Henry. As usual. You are right.

    I just wish that conservative Catholics were as fervent and zealous about converting schismatic and heretical friends and “ministers” and “bishops” with whom they work every day, as they are about converting the “schismatic” traditionalist laymen and SSPX priests and bishops.

  109. Deusdonat says:

    Brian – to whom are you referring? which ministers and bishops, specifically?

  110. Jason Keener says:

    What strikes me most about these SSPX Bishops’ interviews is the Bishops’ lack of balance. Everything they opine about is phrased in terms of absolute black and white. The SSPX can’t even give credit to Pope Benedict for the good things he is doing.

    How can Rome hold fruitful doctrinal discussions with people who are unwilling to engage in charitable, balanced, and rational dialogue? How can Rome engage in fruitful discussions with people who admit no possibility for the Church to understand Herself in more complex and nuanced ways as the centuries go on? Certainly, dogmas and doctrines cannot change in their essentials, but our understanding of those doctrines can deepen.

    Those who ignore the principle of doctrinal development seem to think the Catholic Faith was delivered to us in the fully fleshed out form of St. Thomas Aquinas’s “Summa Theologica.” That is not reality, however. There was a lot of doctrinal development that got St. Thomas Aquinas to where he was, and there will be development after him. The Church is a living organism, not a fly stuck in amber. If St. Thomas Aquinas could flesh out the Faith beyond what was understood by Christians in the First Centuries, who is to say that the Church of today cannot also deepen understanding of Herself in ways that add to what St. Thomas understood?

    Moreover, in their unbalanced view, the SSPX would have us believe that every nuance in understanding of doctrine somehow becomes a total contradiction of past teaching perpetrated on us by “Modernist Rome.”

    The Second Vatican Council is not without problems, but I don’t see the SSPX Bishops making any attempt to acknowledge the principle of authentic doctrinal or liturgical development. If they do acknowledge this, why don’t they ever point out anything positive about Vatican II, JP2, or Benedict XVI? Is it all rubbish? Is theology of the body rubbish? Is it rubbish that Vatican II taught the laity about their call to sanctify the temporal order?

    All we ever hear from the SSPX are the ridiculous polemics. It’s getting old, and sadly, the SSPX is drawing close to formal schism and heresy, if they are not already there.

  111. Michael B. says:

    Here is a timely essay from Dr. Brian Sudlow, English translator of Bp. Tissier’s Biography of Archbishop Lefebvre entitled: Confessions of a Nobody or why I quit the SSPX milieu.
    http://thesensiblebond.blogspot.com/2008/07/confessions-of-nobody-or-why-i-quit.html
    Whether one agrees with him or not, he emits much more light than smoke.

  112. I entirely agree with Bishop Williamson’s apocalyptic view. And I agree also with his overall worldview. Now while I don’t agree with his harsh rhetoric concerning the Pope, it is refreshing to hear a Bishop speak with a little fire in his belly! And quit complaining about his view concerning women. He is simply trying to rebuild society as a traditional Catholic would expect to. He’s not asking women to have more children than they are physically capable of having. If you read his Rector’s letters, they are very encouraging to the family. Just because they are shocking to our modern ears doesn’t mean they aren’t right. And his comments about society degenerating in the past 20 years are spot-on. If you don’t agree with that statement, it means you are probably too worldy yourself.

  113. Deusdonat says:

    Jason Keener – How can Rome hold fruitful doctrinal discussions with people who are unwilling to engage in charitable, balanced, and rational dialogue?

    Aye, there’s the rub.

    Greg – And his comments about society degenerating in the past 20 years are spot-on. If you don’t agree with that statement, it means you are probably too worldy yourself.

    More gloom and doom from wayward fanatics who fancy themselves as prophetic. People have been saying society is degenerating since society began. Saying “society has degenerated in the last 20 years” is hardly profound, an cloyingly unoriginal. To make this sweepingly general statement, you would have to first identify the “society” in question (are you talking about the US, Western Civilization, East Saint Louis?) then pick the specific component of society you feel has degenerated (morals, values, religion, science etc) then qualify that with statistics or other proof to show how one period of history was better than another.

    Without qualifications, such statements sound like simple minded blather to me.

  114. Bud Norbert says:

    A few brochure is avilable frm Janet Smith on how nfp can be more spiritually enriching than a lifestyle like wreckless rabbits

  115. Brian Mershon says:

    Deusdonat asked about which “ministers” and “bishops” I was referring to.

    Protestant “ministers” and “bishops” who dress up like they are more than laymen, when in reality, they are not.

    My point is that if everyone spent as much ink evangelizing their Protestant friends and workmates as they do lampooning and castigationg the SSPX, we might actually have some converts.

    But then again, we would have to believe EENS, wouldn’t we–just like the North American Jesuit martyrs did. And since very few priests and laymen actually believe their schismatic, heretical friends and workmates are going to hell, we don’t evangelize.

    The “fruits” of the “New Evangelzation,” I guess. And the fruits of “ecumenism” and “inter-religious dialogue.”

    Very few conversions. But we sure can pour it on the SSPX, can’t we?

  116. prayatmass says:

    Why so many threads obsessing over the SSPX? Wouldn’t our time be better spent praying for the Bishops of the United States to come into “full communion” with Rome?

  117. Brian Mershon says:

    GSK: Bud Norbert said, “A few brochure is avilable frm Janet Smith on how nfp can be more spiritually enriching than a lifestyle like wreckless rabbits.”

    This is exactly the kind of filth and B.S. that traditionalists have to put up with everywhere we go. “wreckless rabbits”…

    Looks like Mr. Norbert has his own conscience and lack of generosity to assuage and a very LOW understanding of the “dignity of the human person.”

    Not Janet Smith’s fault. Perhaps just Mr. Norbert’s odd sense of humor???

  118. Michael B. says:

    Brian Mershon,
    I am and have been sympathetic to the SSPX’s work especially as it is manifested at Mass in their Chapels, where not only is Mass dependably Catholic, but where every homily I have ever heard is intended to help the faithful get to heaven and grow in virtue, both supernatural and natural. The Church could learn a great deal from that.

    However, I don’t think it is fair to Rome or to the SSPX to go along with the argument that they are being picked on to the exclusion of the radicals, many of whom have no more claim to the Catholic Faith than Thomas Cramner. There is a real problem with the SSPX’s recognition of the Church as the Church, and that is a huge problem. Some say that they have moved from Archbishop Lefebvre’s call to understand the Second Vatican Council in light of tradition to a position that it is impossible to reconcile the Council with tradition. For the sake of the SSPX this should be addressed as soon as possible, so that their good work will not be wasted by a misguided conception of the Church and tradition.

  119. Connie says:

    +
    Father,
    Until you realize and/or admit how Humanistic the Catholic Church today is, you will never understand the SSPX who have studied more St. Thomas Aquinas than you, admittedly, and other modern priests, have had in your entire seminary training. When one reads Aquinas, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile today’s Catholicism with his, which in turn is the Caholicism of the SSPX, i.e. the Catholicism of the Catholic Church. For one cannot be both a Humanist and a Catholic. But sadly many Catholics today do not realize this. I have only just begun to realize it in myself.

  120. Deusdonat says:

    Brian – Protestant “ministers” and “bishops” who dress up like they are more than laymen, when in reality, they are not.

    The key difference here is that Protestants don’t claim or believe they are Catholic, nor do they condenscend to speak for the church or our religion. Meanwhile, the SSPX certainly do. Get it?

    My point is that if everyone spent as much ink evangelizing their Protestant friends and workmates as they do lampooning and castigationg the SSPX, we might actually have some converts.

    You are assuming you can’t do one without sacrificing the other. There are people who can actually chew gum and walk at the same time.

    But then again, we would have to believe EENS, wouldn’t we

    EENS is of course an infallible statement. It’s meaning is deeper than simply “every non-Catholic is going to hell”. That is not what it says.

    —just like the North American Jesuit martyrs did.

    Yeah…remember when the Jesuits were actually Catholic? Good times…

    And since very few priests and laymen actually believe their schismatic, heretical friends and workmates are going to hell, we don’t evangelize.

    I don’t know if they are going to hell or not. And if you do, then you are in severe need of beatification or psychiatric treatment, since that would mean you have some divine direct knowledge on the subject from God, since even the church clearly states it does not know who goes to heaven due to the major fact of God’s divine mercy.

    Very few conversions. But we sure can pour it on the SSPX, can’t we?

    Actually, it depends on where you are geographically. In some places (i.e. Guatemala and El Salvador) the conversions are definitely going away from Catholicism to Evangelical churches. Yet in others (Netherlands, East Germany) it is definitely the other direction.

    In the case of the US, well, America is just a Protestant country. The infrastructure, economy, government, foundation etc is just based on it. It’s easy to be a Protestant. Not so easy to be a Catholic. Basic human nature at work here. Regardless of the amount of Evangelization at work, you will only bear fruit if the person is willing to listen.

    Comment by Brian Mershon

  121. Deusdonat says:

    Sorry…my above statement should have read “even the church clearly states it does not know who goes to HELL due to the major fact of God’s divine mercy.”

  122. Matthew M. says:

    Bud Norbert,
    In the face of a contraceptive, abortive society obsessed with planning and controlling every aspect of life, the advocates of Natural Family Planning have constructed a lot of good arguments. This is, in general, a worthwhile project and supports a moral alternative to the worldy, modren misunderstanding of sexuality and marriage.

    That being said, NFP is not part of the deposit of faith. It is not necessary for a Catholic to use NFP. For many Catholics, it may not even be desirable.

    There is still a styrong element of ‘planning and control’ involved, for one thing – and in that case, NFP can absorb too much of the destructive ‘contraceptive mentality’. That is one danger. Bear in mind that the Church holds (and has always held) that grave reasons must exist for a couple to take steps to avoid conception whatever the means. There is a strong temptation to turn ordinary selfishness into ‘grave reasons’.

    Second of all, many feel thatt the supposed benefits of NFP are oversold. Do I really need to discuss the consistency of mucus with my wife to improve our communication and bring us closer in the spiritual bond of marriage? The idea is, frankly, laughable. If so, what did everybody do before the recent medical knowledge behind NFP? Were married couples emotionally distant and spiritually alienated? The mind boggles at such an ahistorical presumption.

    Not only are the benefits too often oversold, but there is a negative side as well. Intimate discussion of the physical details of fertility on a daily basis can rob the marriage bond of its mystery and romance, turning it into more of a medicalized, scheduled chore.

    NFP is a good and useful means of preventing (or ensuring) fertility, when used within carefully drawn grave circumstances. It is not a lovely new sacramental, or obligation for married men and women

  123. Joe Horan says:

    “However, it remains my best—though still uncertain—guess that, had no one played the historical role that Ab. Lefebvre and his SSPX played, the progression from 1984 to 1988 to 2007 probably would not have occurred in the same time frame, and that those of us who were forlorn TLM supporters through the darkest years might still remain in a similar situation. At the very least, I would be at a loss to convincingly describe an alternative sequence of events that might plausibly have led us to our present happy situation. However, I would be happy to see someone else attempt to do this.”

    Henry Edwards,

    At the very heart of your post is an awful despair of Holy Mother Church. If the SSPX had remained in full communion (as you did) the Church would be in a far better position at this time, and not in a worse predicament. The “happy situation” that you assert is actually one that has been deeply wounded by the SSPX. Let us not make light of the grave most horrible sin Archbishop Lefevbre committed by illicitly ordaining these Bishops in disobedience to Peter, the rock of Christ. Sin comes forth from sin, and Satan reaps a harvest of only DEATH from disobedience! Can grapes come forth from thornbushes or figs from thistles? By causing schism and dissention in the Church these bishops, wolves in sheep’s clothing, have caused more souls to be taken from the Church than any ignorant liberal could. A horrible wound has been made only worse by the separation of good traditional Catholics from the fold. It is the presence of these Catholics within the fold for the past 40 years that would have brought us back from liturgical oblivion at a far more speedy rate than the current pace. It is the purely orthodox and obedient Catholics with the greatest zeal for Mother Church who have always kept Her from the gates of hell and always shall. The sin of Archbishop Lefevbre has worked to Satan’s favor not to that of the Church. This is because his sin has led to a horrible vilification of the Old Right and all that has come to be associated with it by separating it (at least in people’s minds) in disobedience from the leadership of Peter. Because of this disobedience many Catholics came to see all things associated with SSPX as those things perpetuating schism, and the rift between “left” and “right” grew.

    What we too often fail to see is that many Catholics who were and are neither of left (heretical progressives) or right (schismatic so-called “conservatives”) might have been open to the message of liturgical reform (as well as other concerns) if it were not for the miserable and outrageous disobedience to Peter practiced by the SSPX. The SSPX Bishops have only led to a deepening of the crisis by separating the Church’s traditional liturgy form the Church itself through schism. This happened because everything Tridentine and Traditional became associated (in the minds of the faithful) with schismatics instead of remaining available to many Catholics who otherwise might have been open to seeking liturgical reform sooner.

    This is not to say that there is not a great deal of fault shared by the Bishops that led to the crisis of schism and the vilification of many of the traditional things of Mother Church, but obviously the direct disobedience practiced by the Archbishop wins the prize for the worst possible thing that anyone could have done for the Church in crisis. There have always been crises, and mistakes have been made by the Hierarchy going all the way back to St. Peter and the Apostles, but what makes the SSPX schism so horrible is that they abandoned Mother Church when she most needed them all for the sake of a puffed up pride, and an arrogance that reeks of satanic influence.

    Henry, I assure that if these faithful Catholics had remained within the fold in prayer, obedience, and persistent humble petition to the Bishops that their supplications would have been heard, by both Christ, and His Vicar. But, as it is, their grave sins have wounded the Church deeply, and our Blessed Mother’s tears are shed at the foot of the Cross for the souls turned cold because of this evil. Make no mistake about it, evil brings forth evil, and sin brings forth sin. Satan has reaped a harvest of death because of the sins of these men. I hope all Catholics everywhere will call them to repentance and not condone their sins either directly or indirectly. It is high time that Mother Church be healed of this rift. Please pray as I know you do for Benedict, for the SSPX bishops, for reconciliation, and for the success of the renewal that is already long underway, with SSPX or not.

    The Lord has built his Church on Peter’s Rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Though wounded, it will stand through the storm no matter how strong the winds and the waves become.

    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.
    16
    By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
    17
    Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.
    18
    A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.
    19
    Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
    20
    So by their fruits you will know them.
    21
    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
    22
    Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’
    23
    Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. 11 Depart from me, you evildoers.’
    24
    12 “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
    25
    The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
    26
    And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
    27
    The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”
    28
    13 When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching,
    29
    14 for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

  124. Deusdonat says:

    Joe – we agree here. I already stated my case and didn’t feel the need to repeat it. I’m glad you did : )

  125. Brian Mershon says:

    Matthew M., Very well stated. Very well done.

    Despite the length of the post that was supposed to be an “apologetic” against Henry Edwards, I fail to see the point–quite frankly.

    Henry Edwards proposes a thesis. What is your counter? Quoting long Scripture passages without commentary? I’m certain Henry Edwards agreees wholeheartedly with the Church’s interpretation of the passage. But what does that have to do with his thesis?

  126. Michael says:

    RBrown, I have no issue with your no.(1), save that it deals with less important point, I mean the point on which I do not insist but suggest that is worthwhile considering, i.e. whether the ABP had a minimal intention. But the issue is the intention of candidates (recipients), for which other principles apply.

    I have illustrated it with two examples, and here is the third: you want to baptize an adult in necessity: however valid administration of the sacrament might be from your side as a minister, the person concerned would not receive the sacrament if somebody force the rite on him against his will.

    So, if Fr Williamson rejects the LG doctrine that the consecration confers the episcopal Character the constitutive elements of which are teaching, government and sanctification, but accepts only the latter, he cannot be forced to receive the teaching and governing “functions” (which are in his view the elements of the “power” of jurisdiction – I am adding this only for clarification, it is not really essential; the essential is that he rejects to receive one “power” – in his view, or two “functions” – so the LG) which he rejects. As these functions (or this “power” if you wish) are essential elements of the Character, he couldn’t have received the Character, and if he did not receive the Character, he could not have received the sacrament of the episcopacy because the Character is essential for the latter.

    Ad no. (2), in which you refer to what I said in my third paragraph. I am not disputing what you say as it stands, nor did I say anything contrary to it. But what is overlooked in your statement – and what I have explicitly said – is that if the new “bishops”, or bishops, not the ABP, received the sanctifying power only, they wouldn’t have been able to pass it on, because the very acceptance of candidates by a the ordaining bishop is a condition for the ritual to go through, and, ultimately, this act of acceptance is an act of jurisdiction, not of sanctification. So, the consecration would have defied its very objective: the perpetuation of “traditional” priesthood.

    Ad no. (3). The Vatican II three ecclesiological “functions” are an extension of Christology: the bishops are acting on Christ’s behalf, and he is the Teacher (Prophet), Governor (King) and Sanctifyer (Priest). There was some reason why the word “Power” was abandoned, I read about it, but did not understand. The basics are: A) what the things are, which requires Teaching faith and morals; B) how the things are to be done, which requires Government inclusive of legislation and jurisdiction, C) Sanctification itself (celebration of liturgy, other devotions etc.). My point was that the acceptance of a candidate for consecration/ordination, distinct from the consecration/ordination as such, is not itself an act of sanctification, nor is it a teaching, but some kind of exercise of jurisdiction/government.

    If the ABP did pass on – it is impossible, but let us suppose it for the sake of argument – the sanctification only, the new bishops wouldn’t have been able to perpetuate the priesthood, because nobody but an ordaining bishop himself can, ultimately, accept a candidate whom he is going to ordain, and that act of acceptance comes under jurisdiction. If, on the other hand, he did pass on the jurisdiction, he would have created a new Church, and this is exactly- so we were told by Fr. Black – he did not want to do. In my view he probably did pass on the episcopacy validly, incl. all three functions, from his side; but whether the four have actually received anything is another matter. I do not think that Fr. Williamson did.

  127. Jason Keener says:

    Brian Mershon wrote,

    “But we sure can pour it on the SSPX, can’t we?”

    Yes, in a sense, we should pour it on the SSPX Bishops when they are acting in ways that are unbalanced and over the top.

    All of us here already know the long litany of errors embraced by the liberals in the Church, so there is no need to repeat them again.

    As Traditional Catholics, we aren’t going to do the SSPX leadership any favors by coddling them and encouraging them in their unbalanced hostility towards Rome. We need to encourage the SSPX when they are right (which is often) and challenge them when they are wrong.

    I wonder how many people here who have written letters to our liberal bishops about their errors have also taken the time to write the SSPX Bishops about theirs. How many of you have written to the SSPX Bishops condeming their basic lack of respect for the Roman Pontiff? How many letters to the SSPX about their conspiracy theories that make Traditional Catholics look nutty? How many letters to the Bishops of the SSPX about their untenable “hermeneutic of rigidity” that can admit no authentic development in doctrine?

    Again, you can go off into the ditch from the right or left side of the road. The SSPX “hermeneutic of rigidity” is just as erroneous as the liberal “hermeneutic of rupture.”

  128. Brian Mershon says:

    Jason Keener,

    Please let’s not venture down the road of the false dialectic of right and left again, shall we? Hegel’s theories are plain wrong when it comes to the Catholic Faith, so let’s not use them, ‘K?

    There also comes to mind the logical fallacy called the false idea of a middle way between two extremes.

    The Holy See and PCED, apparently, are in the throes of considering lifting the decrees of excommunication. When the same degree of attention and excommunication is paid to the modernist prelates who deny the Faith as was paid to Archbishop Lefebvre, then perhaps it will be time to “write the SSPX bishops” and call them to task.

    Let us begin the excommunications:

    Bishop Matthew Clark
    CARDINAL (for crying out loud!) Roger Mahony
    Archbishop Rembert Weakland
    Bishop Adamec
    Bishop Fishperson (Trautman)

    and on and on and on…

    Please…

  129. Baron Korf says:

    Pointing out others who do wrong does not exonerate the SSPX bishops.

    Believe you me, there are several of us who would love to see Phoney Baloney Mahony and his ilk brought in line. However disciplining bishops is not my charism, not do I wish it to be. As such I will leave those matters to the Holy Father and those in communion with him.

  130. Suzanne M. says:

    “Nine children in ten years is well-nigh abusive.”

    “Abusive”? Who does the abusing? Who grants the gift of life? God does. God does not, in the words of Barack Obama, “punish” us with babies. They are gifts. Not every couple is called to such a large family. But please, let’s not start being abusive to our sisters in Christ who have made the choice to be completely open to life by scoffing at her for “breeding like a rabbit.” The very thought that fellow Catholics could make such comments makes me want to cry.

    The answer is not like Margaret Sanger to tell her to have fewer children. The answer is to offer her real and tangible support. I think the Bishop’s suggestion that young women spend a year of their lives helping out such families a marvelous idea, particularly for a society where we are separated from natural extended family. Kimberly Hahn started a group in Steubenville called “Ministry to Moms” where young women from the University would volunteer three hours a week to large, homeschooling families. We need more of this and less: “It’s your own fault, use NFP.” That’s the mindset of the anti-life, secular world.

    I don’t agree with much of what the Bishop has to say about women as it pertains to book learnin’ — being a good homeschooler requires a woman to read and to be informed. I don’t think the answer for women is either-or. It’s both-and. Our vocations as wives and mothers are demanding, and what we need is more support — particularly from those who are supposed to be “on our side.”

    We need to re-create a culture that supports St. Catherine-sized families if we are to have St. Catherine-sized saints.

  131. Deusdonat says:

    Baron – agreed. I hate the whole, “Oh yeah??? Well, look at Hitler!” defense.

  132. Jason Keener says:

    Brian Mershon,

    I’d rather leave Hegel out of this.

    Contrary to what liberals and some traditionalists think, there often is a middle way or an explanation for a phenomenon that isn’t exactly black and white. For example, this dispute between the SSPX and Rome is a perfect case in point. Reconciliation is being prevented from errors made on both sides. Rome has been entirely too lax in the last 45 years and unwilling to admit its own mistakes in bringing about the crisis in the Church. On the other hand, the SSPX refuses to give Rome credit for anything or even acknowledge any positive doctrinal developments at all. Everything to the SSPX is horrible, horrible, horrible.

    As for Bishop Clark, Bishop Trautman, Cardinal Mahony and others, I’d be happy to personally hand deliver their decrees of excommunication.

  133. Patrick T says:

    Deusdonat,

    It’s the old “But Dad, Dad, he did something REALLY bad!!!” defense. It’s BS. Another person’s sins don’t excuse your own.

    Note to Mershon and Korf: It really doesn’t help your arguments when you say things like “Fishperson” and “Phony Balony Mahony”. I notice neither one of you ever uses “Archbishop Johnny LeFever” or “Stupid-face Williamson.”

  134. gsk says:

    Suzanne: If you think about God’s perfect plan, it would entail nursing babies–which provides an opportunity to space children just a little, and to establish eye contact with the infant–which is key to their psychological and neurological development. Artificial birth control was attractive to many mainstream American women because they had eschewed nursing for bottle feeding. (It was a “class thing,” with nursing being shunned as unsophisticated.) Then these women were faced with the constant possibility of pregnancy and looked for “chemical assistance.”

    I find it ironic that some reject NFP as “unnatural” when they also avoid nursing, which is completely natural. Now, you’ve given the impression that the more children you have, the more holy (generous) you are, when indeed, the infants hardly have any bonding time with their mothers. Instead, they are passed to the older siblings to bottle feed (or propped on the sofa).

    I am not a nursing nut, but bottle feeding is far different than the use of wet-nurses, allowing for “Saint Catherine sized families.” At least those infants had dedicated mother-substitutes for a few months.

    The thought of evangelising women (who realise that they may have missed the boat on their vocation to motherhood) and only offering them the option of uninterrupted pregnancies seems as though it would be unrealistic and unreasonable. One doesn’t have to be “Margaret Sanger” to think this way. Why not show them the authentic face of conjugal love which gives the couple a little more control while the graces can take time to work on their generosity. To try to tempt a woman from her job in exchange for “nine babies in ten years” will be counter-productive. And to judge people who cannot “keep up” is uncharitable.

    (Btw, last I checked, saints are not gauged according to the size of their family of origin.)

  135. Brian Mershon says:

    Jason Keener, I agree with your post. I simply do not think that now is a good time to be doing anything other than offering prayers for the reconciliation of the SSPX. I have my “favorites” of their priests and bishop(s) and wish they would/could moderate their tone–or perhaps be more scholastic in their argumentation. However, the personal opinions of bishops outside of their official teaching on
    Faith and Morals might interest some; it does not interest me. The Holy See will not care about their personal views outside of the Faith and Morals (and discipline of course) of the Catholic Faith.

  136. Jason Keener says:

    Thanks, Brian. By the way, I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed many of your articles on the RenewAmerica site. Keep up the good work.

    Pax Christi

  137. Suzanne M. says:

    GSK — I never said that holiness is gauged by family size, nor would I ever. I am a woman who has struggled for years with infertility and am finally expecting my first at age 33. And, I am not guaranteed ever to have another.

    The relationship I am looking at is the one between holiness and openess to God’s will for one’s life and one’s family. For a few women, that has meant 9 children in 10 years. I thought the reaction of Catholic men and women on this blog to the idea that someone might be in such a situation deeply offensive and hurtful.

    I repeat: Not every couple is called to have such a large family. I simply plead that we not scoff at women who are heroically nurturing such families and help them when and where they need help.

    I find deeply offensive NFP advocates who dare to judge that some other woman has been victimized by her God-given maternity and judge her circumstances for her from the outside — She thinks she’s holier than thou; or she can’t handle that because I couldn’t; or her husband just won’t give her a break; or large families who have any sort of difficulty as a result are “irresponsible.” Maybe they don’t use these exact words, but the sentiments practically jump off the pages of the Couple to Couple League instruction manual.

    These folks don’t think of suspending their judgments, trusting these couples’ senses of God’s will for their families and offering help — they just wag their fingers, tsk and say: “NFP!”

    Bsp. Williamson is not saying that 9 children in 10 years is the ideal, or that this is every couples call with regard to family. He’s acknowledging that large and generous families need help. That’s all.

    “To try to tempt a woman from her job in exchange for “nine babies in ten years” will be counter-productive.”

    No one is trying to do this. All women need to understand that we are called to unfailing obedience to God and unflagging trust in His care — whether that means He sends 12 children or 2. And that there are rewards in secular work, but the greatest of those rewards cannot compare with immortal souls.

    Bishop Williamson says enough silly things we could make valid criticisms of — what he has said here about helping large families is not one of those things.

  138. Oliver says:

    All this praying Brian Mershon does for his SSPX ‘friends’! What he means though he lacks the backbone to match his own views with those not afraid to air them … publicly. And so he uses the ‘magisterium’ escape route that excuses him from having to choose. This seems a common condition on here; a temporary liturgical papal respite before Ratzinger pops his clogs and Rome degenerates further hardly impresses the Society. The core ideological stance of modern Rome is something no true Catholic should stomach and Bishop Williamson is the only English-speaking bishop voicing this.

  139. gsk says:

    “I don’t agree with much of what the Bishop has to say about women as it pertains to book learnin’—being a good homeschooler requires a woman to read and to be informed. I don’t think the answer for women is either-or. It’s both-and. Our vocations as wives and mothers are demanding, and what we need is more support—particularly from those who are supposed to be ‘on our side.'”

    The horse is officially dead, so I’ll stop flogging him. The original point has consistently been that the poor relationship of Bridegroom (bishops/priest in SSPX’s hierarchy) and the Bride (Holy Mother Church) results in disorder in the lay understanding of mutual submission within marriage. I have never disparaged large families, only tried to show the bishops’ words on this topic to be illustrative.

    I wish you every blessing with your baby, Suzanne. What joy!! I am completely “on your side,” please believe me. (Btw, CCL has strayed from its original mission, which was the very support for large families that you are recommending. There is a new “movement” pulling the strings. I would no longer recommend them or their materials. The founding couple has been pressured out and since moved on.)

  140. Suzanne M. says:

    Thanks for your good wishes for our baby!

    I completely agree that Bsp. Williamson has a frighteningly skewed perception of Christian marriage and the vocation of women. He sees feminine intelligence and education as the nasty results of the “feminist movement.” Once women are educated — they begin to give their husbands problems — kind of thing. Bleagh! Most men want to be able to have interesting conversations with their helpmates!

    I’ve heard that about CCLS materials recently — good to know!

    Blessings to you!

  141. Rachel says:

    Suzanne,

    I am also appalled by the attitude that Williamson and Tissier has shown when it comes to women. Geesh, what are we…robotic incubators who don’t have a brain? I have been a bookworm since I was a little girl. I LOVE learning weather it is history, theology, classic literature, etc. Does this make me any less a Catholic woman? Does this make me a feminist? Seriously, I don’t know where these guys are living but this bunker mentality that they have truly blind them to what real radical feminism is or modernism for that matter. I have seen it first hand at the university that I attended. Did that stop me from getting an education? No. I just had to be savvy..picking and choosing which courses to take as much as I can.

    I am going to be married in less than 3 months. I am looking forward to being a wife and hopefully a mother. I think that I have a lot to offer my future children. Who end up being the primary educators in especially a homeschooling family? It certainly isn’t the husband…its the wife. She must be educated too so that the children will get a good grounding in the Faith as well as get a decent education.

    I am disturbed by the attitudes exhibited on some traditional sites when it comes to marriage and family. The husband and wife need to work together. St. Paul exhorts husbands to love their wives and to NOT be a tyrant toward them. There is a good reason why Our Lord took a rib from Adam, not a bone from his foot. We are to complement one another which means..the wife should also have imput in the running of the family. Also, it is good for the husband and wife to be able to relate to each other on a spiritual as well as intellectual level. Keeping a woman from doing that will only hurt the marriage and especially the children.

    As for as NFP. My fiance and I would not have taken a course in it if it wasn’t for the bishop of my diocese requiring EVERY engaged couple who is getting married in the diocese to take a class..which means more money that we were not expecting to spend. I am using the Creighton method and the teacher has stressed the importance of communication between the husband/wife when it comes to fertility. My impression of this method in particular is that they stress the importance of using it to either achieve or avoid a pregnancy and especially the health aspects. Charting helps the woman to notice changes that should or should not be there. It does help the woman to know what her body is doing. That aspect of the system is important for a woman to know. Does the man need to know all of this? Honestly, I don’t think they care…or at least my fiance doesn’t. It can help to facilitate communication between the spouses but I can also see how it can be abused. I wouldn’t knock NFP though. It is needed sometimes.

  142. Malta says:

    re: NFP

    I have four kids and only one was planned, I have “in vino” fertilization and NFP (ie Vatican roulette) to thank for the other three! And what a blessing they are! (We swore we were following NFP to the T when they were conceived, but I simply can’t imagine life without them.)

  143. Matt Robinson says:

    No Catholic is oblidged to accept any novelty in the Council unless was formulated in one of the following:

    a Condemnation
    a Canon
    a Definition

    Somce there are 0 of these in Vatican II, I reject the novelties.

    What is ecumenism? What is collegiality? What is this ideal
    secular state we are to strive for?

    Please tell me something from the new approach of the Council which is not total fluff.

  144. Rachel says:

    Matt,

    Questioning all of these “novelties” is fine but only if it is done in the Church with the respect due to the Holy Father and the Magisterium. The SSPX’s #1 problem is that they are criticizing all of these things from a tenuous position at best. They can claim it till they are blue in the face but they are acting like another “Church.” In fact, they are operating with the idea that they can better interpret Catholic teaching, tradition, etc. They are acting like protestants who place their own private judgment over the judgment of Holy Mother Church. I don’t like the ecumenical movement, collegiality, etc as it is practiced now. I think there needs to be serious debate about it and there can be but ONLY within the fold of Holy Mother Church. She has been abused so much. Now, more than ever, Her children need to rally around her and defend the Faith in their own ways. Constantly harping about how terrible everything is and how the Holy Father is a modernist this or that, etc, etc is not helping anyone. I have to come to the sad conclusion that the SSPX does not want to be back completely into the fold. They will go the way of so many other schismatic/heretical groups through history.

    The fight is in the Church…not outside of it. True, there are dioceses, bishops, etc that are in VERY bad shape and they cause scandal to the Faithful. I understand that some families do not want to subject their children to it but….hunkering down in a bunker is not the way to do it. We are Catholics. We are called to be salt and light. This starts with ourselves. In our own lives, in our own families. It is not in the nature of the Catholic Church to be held up in a fortress. That was one of the many problems that plagued the Church in this country prior to the council. The problems that we see now started in 18th-19th centuries.

    You state that the approach of VII is almost all fluff. Granted, I have not studied the documents however, I don’t think that is fair to state that it is total fluff. Have you taken into consideration, at least concerning the Church and the modern world, that the Church was trying and still is trying to find out what Her place is in the post-imperialist, royalist world that was in place up until the mid 20th century? The empires are not coming back. Neither is the Papal States. We are still called to further the reign of Christ the King but please…lets be realistic. Gone are the days that we could have confessional Catholic states and even in those times, the rulers of those states defied Rome since the Middle Ages.

    So, we live in the age..probably the twilight of the secular nation state. I believe that Vatican II was trying to answer or at least formulate the response of the Church in regards to Her place in this present socio/political situation. Vatican I was not able to address that due to unforseen circumstances. It is a bit difficult to carry on a council when you are being invaded. The council also had to address in some fashion the horrors that had just occurred a little over 20 years before. The experience of living through two world wars with their horrific atrocities and a depression would influence anyone to try to not only put the nightmare behind them but also to make an effort, however small, to improve relationships with other people long considered to be enemies.

    For some reason, I do not see any of this brought to light on any of the traditionalist sites or writings. They criticize Vatican II for all the “novelties” but they never actually get at the reasons why the fathers of Vatican II felt that these issues were worth writing documents about. I maybe wrong on this but I sense an anti-historical/intellectual strain among some that only see a very, very narrow view of history, theology, and tradition, etc. It hinders the strength of their arguments. Sure, you can quote line after line from Pascendi or from the Syllabus of Errors, etc but that doesn’t help to explain the approach that was taken at the council.

  145. Rachel says:

    “No Catholic is oblidged to accept any novelty in the Council unless was formulated in one of the following:

    a Condemnation
    a Canon
    a Definition”

    Says who? When the Church speaks, we are bound to listen to what She, our Mother, has to say. This statement is very dangerously close to being private judgment based on opinion, nothing more.

  146. Malta says:

    *How ‘bout 18 in 23 years.*

    LOL! At least there are plenty of in-family baby-sitters!

    Btw: I’m sure this homeschooling mother is raising some great people.

  147. James says:

    “Says who? When the Church speaks, we are bound to listen to what She, our Mother, has to say. This statement is very dangerously close to being private judgment based on opinion, nothing more.”

    Sorry Rachel, what you’re doing is what most pious (not to mention impious) catholics do – engaging in do it yourself theology.

    Why not check out what the popes have actually said about the status of the documents?

    Please do not try to multiply mortal sins by attempting to bind people’s consciences under pain of sin when the church herself does not do so.

    If the church doesn’t tell us that we are to hold something with the certainty of faith, we are simply not obliged to.

    I think Aidan Nichols O.P. makes a good point about all this in one of his books.

    Can’t remember which one.

  148. Gerard says:

    From reading the original interview and Fr. Z’s comments, it’s quite apparent that Fr.Z’s goal is to create tension and doubts in the minds of traditional Catholics who are supportive of the SSPX position.

    Fr. Z seems to be confused that “the language of battle” is being used. That’s understandable when someone doesn’t believe in the “Church Militant,” but rather the soft-compromise of neo-modernism.

    Fr. Z, Anyone with any experience listening to Bishop Williamson knows that he is a first class intellect and from your comments you are either being coy or you are simply not in his class.

    1) It is not arrogant to say that the Holy Father needs to see clearly, especially when He obviously does not see clearly enough to quash liberals who are doing enormous damage with eternal consequences. John Paul II and a number of bishops obviously didn’t see clearly enough the need to address the rape of children by clergy. And now Benedict has to run around the world apologizing for it.

    2)Your conclusion that, because the bishop says that if LeFebvre had not consecrated the bishops then God would have brought another marvel to save the Church somehow obliged the SSPX to do the immoral thing namely be compliant in the destruction of the Church, is basically tempting the Lord. Had Elijah given up under the tree, God would have undoubtedly have worked another marvel. Had the Blessed Virgin said, “No” God would have worked another marvel. How many marvels had he prepared for the Popes who said “No” to the restoration of the Church before he raised LeFebvre? Interesting speculation, no?

    3) You do not know what Williamson means when he talks about “too much love for Rome” simply because you have probably never set foot in an SSPX chapel. Go and find out. You’ll also see some of that tranquility that you are quizzical about.

    4) Calling traditional Catholics who support them a “base that is extreme” is simply your own admission that you are a liberal. Living a Catholic life as it was lived prior to the Council for centuries is not “extreme.” Our Grandparents were not extremists and it’s offensive to try and pull that progressive stunt. To paraphrase Fr. Vincent Miceli to Fr. Joseph Fessio, You are liberal, you obviously always were and always will be unless you eventually understand that “battle” is appropriate, the Convert’s zeal that the Pope is impeccable and irresistible is a neo-ultramontantism and you really obviously indulge in and you shouldn’t comment on people that you don’t know.

    5) Have the guts to call Williamson yourself and interview him.
    He will make his positions crystal clear for you and he will make your position crystal clear for you.

    And he has several times over the years analyzed the Holy Father’s letters as Pope and Cardinal and shown himself to be more than able to spot their confusion and lack of clarity.

    Your longed for doctrinal discussion between him and the Holy Father would be a discussion that the Holy Father who admitted he doesn’t “get” Aquinas would suddenly find out he’s not too old to learn older things if he’s open to hearing them.

    That’s why the heirarchy wants “unity” and “full communion” before doctrinal discussions. They will get their “full communion” and never engage in the discussions honestly. 20 years of LeFebvre trying to pry out the truth proved that.

  149. Amy Horan says:

    Brian Mershon — I would ask you to reconsider your abrupt dismissal of the arguments made by Joe Horan. Your objection to the length of quotation is no reason to reject the point of the argument.

    Henry Edwards’ “thesis” (which he, himself, only claims to be his “best—-though still uncertain—-guess”) is simply the one that Fr. Z has cautioned us to either reject or carefully scrutinize: that the development and choices of SSPX was necessary to the preservation of the old Mass. Joe Horan rejects it upon the recognition that such a belief can only arise from despair of the Church and of God’s action in it, in His own immaculate time. The nearest thing to an “alternative sequence of events” that could have led to the present status of the Latin Mass (for who can measure the Mind that plans such events?) is more than answered by Joe’s post: “Henry, I assure [you] that if these faithful Catholics had remained within the fold in prayer, obedience, and persistent humble petition to the Bishops that their supplications would have been heard, by both Christ, and His Vicar. But, as it is, their grave sins have wounded the Church deeply, and our Blessed Mother’s tears are shed at the foot of the Cross for the souls turned cold because of this evil.”

    One cannot answer a rejection of tradition with a rejection of one’s authorities in that tradition. Whether or not certain mistakes made by the Hierarchy had a part in leading to the crisis in the Church, the affected members of the Church have no right to cut themselves off from the body and declare themselves not subject to its head. Would you advise a wife who disagrees with her husband about some weighty matters regarding the raising of their children to leave her husband and issue him an ultimatum that she will not return to her vocation and role until he sees his way back into the fullness of truth, as she sees it? Then, if this husband were to comply with her simply to ensure her return, would you commend her for showing him the light? Of course not. Nor would St. Peter, the first to hold Papal authority, who writes, “Likewise you wives, be submissive to your husbands, so that some, though they do not obey the word, may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, when they see your reverent and chaste behavior,” and, “So once the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves and were submissive to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are now her children if you do right and let nothing terrify you” (1 Peter 3).

    If the bishops and other SSPX members believe their bridegroom, our Holy Father and Vicar of Christ, to be mistaken in this case, by what authority do they disobey HIS word? They did not hope in God to bring about His work in the heart of our bishops; they have established themselves as arbiters, as Father Zuhlsdorf indicates, and removed themselves from the authority they would not have faith in. They have done so not out of an intellectual monopoly on doctrine, as they seem to hold, but out of pure, unbridled emotion: fear. They would not be the children of Sarah, they would not do the right and submit their authority to that of Peter; they chose and continue to justify the choice to consecrate bishops illicitly, in order to preserve an authority not subject (nor submissive) to our dear Papa, because they feared he would never see the truth they believed they saw. But all we must do is have faith in God’s own working-out of time, have faith in the authorities he established over us as ones who will return with all their hearts and minds to love of Him, and “let nothing terrify you.”

    So, could there have been no other order of events that led to the preservation of the Traditional Latin Mass? Could not the concerned bishops, clergy and laypeople simply have submitted themselves in earnest prayer, offering their lives as an obedient sacrifice for the crisis that the Church found itself in? Such an offering could have won great grace for the Church; instead their embattled act of defiance has engendered pride and obstinacy. The only good fruit that could come of such an act, as Joe says, is through the suffering that it inflicts on the Church. Our most Sorrowful Mother wins us those graces through her silent, prayerful love, and we must cling to her example, and ever more fervently to that of her Son, to keep us humble and obedient to our loving Holy Father.

  150. Malta says:

    Gerard,

    I think the paradigm has shifted under Benedict. Michael Davies said that Benedict is on the side of traditionalists, but it is not surprising that he is working slowly (maybe he doesn’t want to end up murdered like some of his predecessors; remember the progressive modernists have their people in the curia, as well). I think SSPX needs to shift their position from defensive to offensive; they could work more offensively within the Church. I don’t think Benedict will require adherence to Vatican II–wherein which, of course, there is nothing new that a Catholic, within his moral concience, is required to adhere to, and within which there is much room for debate, vis a vis the novelties…

  151. SARK says:

    A little balance is needed in the debate on the SSPX and women. Yes Bishop W has some rather “interesting” theories but these are not SSPX ‘doctrine’, and many SSPX faithful and priests (in fact most from my experience)disagree with the extreme position he adopts on this and other issues.

    For a counter-balance to his position we have the “Ecoles Dominicaines” affiliated with the SSPX who provide what is probably the most rigourous and challenging classical education for girls and young women avialable in Europe. They are simply superb – acompletely Traditional order that take seriously the intellectual formation of girls. Many girls from SSPX schools go to University and some to the very best in Europe.

    Here is a link to footage of a Mass during their recent pilgrimage to Lourdes to give you a taster.

    http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/2008/06/multicultural-youth-mass-at-lourdes.html

    JMJ

  152. Bud Norbert says:

    Michael:
    NFP represents the spiritual median that exists between the extremes of the Culture of Death in Planned
    Parenthood and the wreckless procreating our ancestors engaged in before the Industrial Revolution when
    infant mortality rates were high. It’s that simple-Full Stop!

  153. Brian Mershon says:

    Oliver, Get a life.

    The SSPX is not in schism, per the PCED, the official teaching authority on this subject.

    If you have a beef with something, write them. I’m sure they really care about your opinion about the inter-nicene arguments about the SSPX.

    I will obey the Church’s authority on this matter. If you choose to dissent, be my guess.

  154. Brian Mershon says:

    Suzanne M., Exactly!

  155. Brian Mershon says:

    Bud Norbert, “NFP represents the spiritual median that exists between the extremes of the Culture of Death in Planned
    Parenthood and the wreckless procreating our ancestors engaged in before the Industrial Revolution when
    infant mortality rates were high. It’s that simple-Full Stop!”

    WOW! Never read Genesis about “being fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” and that children are God’s blessings. Nope! Never!

    Bud Norbert thinks God is limited to a “spiritual mean.” Whatever, Bud. Go read a Bible!

    Your views are stangely similar to one Margaret Sanger, at least in philosophical roots.

  156. Brian Mershon says:

    Amy Horan, you wouldn’t perhaps be related to Joe, would you?

    So many questions. So little time.

    “If ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candies and nuts, we’d all have a merrier Christmas.”

    I would suggest reading Michael Davies’s books on “Pro Apologia Marcel Lefebvre” 1, 2 and 3, and read the context of what Archbishop Lefebvre was dealing with at the time.

    I do not know whether the consecrations of bishops were truly “necessary.” Only God knows.

    What I do know is that we should all be praying for full unity and for the lifting of excommunications for an order of priests that will do much good within the heart and soul of the Church when canonically recognized.

    Ut Unum Sint! And evangelize your errant Protestant schismatic/heretic friends as much as you lecture everyone here on the SSPX.

  157. Tomas Lopez says:

    Is the SSPX pushing also for a declaration of Our Lady as “Co-redemptrix”?

    The SSPX is not the only group advocating a declaration of Our Lady as Co-Redemptrix. Luis Cardinal Aponte Martinez, from here in Puerto Rico, together with four other Princes of the Church (Toppo and Vithayathil of India, Vidal of the Philippines, and Corripio of Mexico) have been at the forefront of a similar movement for the past few years (Cardinal Aponte since 2001). For more, see:

    http://www.zenit.org/article-21749?l=english

    http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/marian/5thdogma/aponte.htm

  158. Manrique Zabala de Arízona says:

    To lighten up the spirit, some Argentinean friend calls la Reja the \”dark tower of Mordor\”… No wonder any traditional order wants to go near that. Between Bishop Bergoglio (of Buenos Aires) and Bishop Williamson (from… er… La Reja) there is indeed light years.

    But I think the bottom line is clear: no argument with Papa Ratzinger would be won by Williamson.

  159. Joe Horan says:

    Brian Mershon,

    Before the SSPX priests are welcomed back they should offer repentance for their sins. My Protestant, heretic, and liberal friends are not justifying the illicit ordination of Bishops like your SSPX friends are. SSPX’s sins are just as grave as the sins of heretics and liberals, and I would argue even more damaging to Mother Church for reasons I have already stated (because they have led to the alienation of the Church’s tradition from itself).

    It is easy to loose site of the fact that Archbishop Lefebvre committed a grave sin, but it is the simple fact, no matter what historical circumstances he found himself in. If the root of a tree is sinful the tree does not bear fruit. Can grapes come forth from thornbushes or figs from thistles? So many questions, one simple answer; the ordination of illicit Bishops was totally unacceptable, and a sin for which SSPX must repent. Once they offer their penance they should be welcomed back, just as the Church has always welcomed backed schismatics, heretics, liberals, and the like, with open arms and in the Mercy of Christ.

    Joe Horan

    PS Amy Horan is my wife. She put up a pretty awesome post, huh? It shows the SSPX position for what it really is, one that comes about from pure unbridled emotion (fear), and not the supposed intellectual superiority that they claim over everyone else.

  160. Michael says:

    Bud Nobert, you have addressed your comment to Michael, but unless there is another Michael in this post, it would seem that the comment should have been in the post about Bishop Tissier.

    As for the content, there is nothing there that I can recall of having said.

  161. Steve Jones says:

    Joe Horan: “because they have led to the alienation of the Church’s tradition from itself”

    I have no idea what this means?

  162. Joe Horan says:

    Joe Horan: “because they have led to the alienation of the Church’s tradition from itself”

    I have no idea what this means?
    Comment by Steve Jones — 29 July 2008 @ 10:29 am

    Steve Jones,

    That is explained in my previous post.

    Joe Horan

  163. Angelo says:

    “The tail of the devil is functioning in the disintegration of the Catholic world. The darkness of Satan has entered & spread throughout the Catholic Church even TO ITS SUMMIT. Apostasy, the loss of the faith, is spreading throughout the world & into the HIGHEST levels within the Church.”
    (This fellow really sounds apocalyptic!)

    Are these the words of some disgruntled “traditionalist”? Do they have a certain ring to them? Perhaps a SSPX bishop? No. Sorry to disappoint.
    Those words were uttered by Pope Paul VI, in His address on the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Fatima Apparitions, October 13, 1977.

    Was Pope Paul VI just “whistling Dixie”? Or was he, in his final day, trying to tell us something important.

    The above demonstrates the similarity between the sentiments of Bishop Richard Williamson & Paul VI. In fact, it appears to me that Bishop Williamson was just paraphasing His Holiness.

    Regarding the sacred cow Vatican II: One cant help recalling our present Holy Father’s words: “Not every valid council in the history of the Church has been a fruitful one; in the last analysis, many of them have been just a waste of time” and “the last word about the historical value of Vatican Council II has yet to be spoken.”

    Considering all of this, I thin Bishop Williamson was spot on.
    Wouldn’t you say?

  164. Michael says:

    RBrown,
    I looked again at your comment on the ABPF’s consecrations, and merely for information, here is my understanding of what Fr. Leeming, ex Professor of Dogmatic at Jesuit Heytrop College, London says in his books Principles of Sacramental Theology, on Intention. While it is true that a minister does not have to intend what the Church “intends”, say, cleansing from Original Sin, confer the strengthening grace of the Holy Ghost, effect Transubstantiation etc, he nevertheless must have intention to baptize, confirm, ordain a priest etc. and this is the minimum for the intention of what the church “does”. It is in this sense that the “Minimal intention is always general”, nevertheless different for each sacrament rather than “always the same for every Sacrament”. The minimal intention in celebrating mass is to celebrate the Eucharist, not merely “to do what the Church does”. The matter is subtle, I find it fascinating, and thank you for bringing to my proper attention that the “specificity” I have in mind is in fact “found in the Sacramental Form”, although it would be more precise to say: mainly in the Sacramental Form: the Matter also expresses intention. Thanks for your comment.

  165. Jordanes says:

    Brian Mershon said: I’m sure they really care about your opinion about the inter-nicene arguments about the SSPX.

    I don’t recall ever reading about arguments about the SSPX taking place between A.D. 325 and 787.

    ;-)

  166. Joe: Perhaps you could clarify for us for your notably frequent usage of the word “sin”, so we can know what meaning you intend in different contexts, and better gauge for ourselves your ability to judge the sins of others.

    For instance, is it your understanding that every violation of canon law is a sin? That every violation of church discipline is a sin? That every illicit act is a sin? That every participation in an illicitly administered sacrament is a sin? That every schismatic act is a sin? And so forth.

    Perhaps some of these are sins, and some may be grave. But when publicly attributing sins to others — irrespective of whether this may in itself sometimes be sinful — it would seem good for both the writer and others to know exactly what sins are being alleged. Then the reader will know better whether he agrees with the judgment expressed, or in the propriety of its expression.

  167. Margaret says:

    To all of those who seem to think that having children close together means that one is forgoing exclusive breastfeeding, I must object. I have 3 children under 26 months. I exclusively breastfeed. We don’t use NFP, for my husband and I see no grave reason existing for it in our situation. We’re a happy, healthy, loving couple and I resent being called a “wreckless rabbit.” Thanks, Bud for your charitable approach to procreation.

  168. Dave Lewis says:

    A few years ago, neo-con writer H.W.Crocker III published an article in Crisis (of all places) titled: “Use NFP, it Doesn’t Work.”

    It left me in stitches but it sent Amy Welborn and Jimmy Aiken and crowd into a coniption fit.
    Anyone have the whole article?

    http://contraskeptic.blogspot.com/2007/01/use-nfp-it-doesnt-work.html

  169. Jason Keener says:

    Gerard,

    Father Z is absolutely correct in examining the claims and statements of the SSPX here. The SSPX is right about many things, but they are not beyond reproach. The sooner Catholics realize that, the sooner people can take a more realistic view of the situation in the Church. Rome is not entirely bad, and the SSPX is not entirely perfect.

    First, I wonder why the SSPX and those who attend their chapels are so afraid of being examined and questioned. I have my local SSPX’s chapel bulletin right here in my hand, and it even states on the top regarding the SSPX, “NOTHING IS TO BE QUESTIONED.” If the SSPX is so sure of their positions, why are they so afraid of questions and of dialogue?

    Second, you brought up the “Church Militant.” Being a member of the Church Militant means that you are a member of the Church on Earth who is struggling against sin. This militancy has nothing to do with some struggle against Christ’s own Vicar on Earth, the Supreme Pontiff.

    Third, you mentioned Bishop Williamson’s first-rate intellect. Bishop Williamson is indeed a bright man on many matters, but he is also capable of serious intellectual errors. Have you heard any of Bishop Williamson’s outlandish conspiracy theories? He blames the tragic events of 9/11 on the U.S. government. In other places, Bishop Williamson talks about Jews in very un-Christian ways. How can you place so much trust in someone who says things that are so contrary to reality? Isn’t it possible that Bishop Williamson’s unbalanced outlook prevents him from accurately understanding everything about the crisis in the Church? How can you place so much trust in Bishop Williamson and hardly any in the Bishop of Rome? To whom did Christ make His promises of perpetual guidance? To Peter and his successors or to Archbishop Lefebvre and his?

    In all fairness, I’ve heard some of the best homilies I’ve ever heard in SSPX chapels. On the other hand, I’ve also heard some real doozie sermons filled with conspiracy theories involving the Masons and the Bilderberg Group.

    Fourth, you stated that “Living a Catholic life as it was lived prior to the Council for centuries is not “extreme.” No, you are right. It isn’t extreme. Traditional Catholicism is beautiful. What is extreme, however, is falling into the idea that the Church can never develop any aspect of Her liturgical or doctrinal life. How many first century priests were celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass as we have it today? How many first century Christians were discussing the Social Reign of Christ the King? How many first century Christians were reading St. Thomas Aquinas’s “Summa?” None. Just as the Church developed Her life before, the Church can develop it again. Don’t fall into an un-Catholic rigidity that prevents the Holy Ghost from opening up our understanding to the deeper realities and complexities contained in the Sacred Deposit of Faith.

    If we don’t understand how the Church is expressing a particular doctrine at a certain point in time, the answer is not always to cling to the past or make polemical statements about “Modernist Rome.” It would be better to give humble trust to Christ’s Vicar on Earth, and then work to correct the deficiencies in our own understanding of what the Church teaches. Our intellects are much more likely to be in error about a doctrine than an entire Ecumenical Council and the last five Supreme Pontiffs.

    I love the Traditional Latin Mass and Traditional Catholicism as much as anyone here, but we also have to be open to the full reality about the SSPX and how the Holy Ghost works in the Church.

    Pax Christi!

  170. Susan Peterson says:

    Margaret, if you are happy with the spacing of your children, I for one have no complaint about it. I must have missed Bud,s comment, because I didn’t see any comments using the “like rabbits” put down. I am surprised that anyone here used it. I think it is fine to accept all the children God sends you, and in fact that is what we are supposed to do unless there are grave reasons. I am the mother of nine myself.

    However, should you wish for a little longer spacing, there are certain nursing practices which in general prolong breastfeeding infertility. Each woman is different in the amount of sucking by the baby it takes to prevent ovulation, but it is always true that the more sucking, the less likely fertility is to return. Sheila Kippley wrote about this in her book “Breast Feeding and Natural Child Spacing.” Some of the practices she anticipated which prolong breastfeeding infertility are avoiding the use of a pacifier, no bottles at all ever, not introducing solid food until 6 months, sleeping with the baby, which leads to more and longer nursing at night without disturbing the mother’s sleep so much, and nursing for comfort, not just for nutrition. Some few women who do all this still have a return of fertility at 4-6 months, giving a spacing of 13 -15 months, and some few will do this and have a spacing of 3 years between children, but most will wind up with births at least 18 months apart. One still may wind up with quite a large family this way, of course. But each baby gets a few more months of nursing and mother gets a bit more time to recover from one pregnancy before starting another. This can matter more as you get older. (Good nutrition is important too, in being the healthy mother of a large healthy family.)

    God bless you for welcoming your little ones and may you indeed be the healthy mother of a large, healthy, happy, and holy family.
    Susan Peterson

  171. Matt Robinson says:

    Quote from Rachel – “You state that the approach of VII is almost all fluff. Granted, I have not studied the documents however, I don’t think that is fair to state that it is total fluff”.

    Why don’t you educate yourself then?

    Quote from Rachel – “Have you taken into consideration, at least concerning the Church and the modern world, that the Church was trying and still is trying to find out what Her place is in the post-imperialist, royalist world that was in place up until the mid 20th century? The empires are not coming back. Neither is the Papal States”.

    Neither are the 1960’s!

    Quote from Rachel – “We are still called to further the reign of Christ the King but please…lets be realistic. Gone are the days that we could have confessional Catholic states and even in those times, the rulers of those states defied Rome since the Middle Ages.”

    My response is that the Church stopped trying to “discern the signs of the times” and its place in modernity in 1965 by making Vatican II an “uber council” which trumps everything else. John Paul II was the most culpable in this regard by taking 80% of the quotes which from the New Catechism from Vatican II ( a non-dogmatic council! Think of the message this fact sends!). Also repeatedly calling my generation “the children of Vatican II”, as well as endless, literally endless, quotes and an inordinate emphasis on Vatican II in all of his encyclicals and speeches.

    Pope Benedict’s last encyclical, was thank the Lord, the first in 40 years which did not cite Vatican II at all! DEO GRATIAS!

    When something which is non-dogmatic: “the Church in the modern world”, is defacto MADE into something dogmatic and fossilized, vis a vis placing Vatican II as the definitive statement on the matter once and for all, the Church is in a blind alley.

    Where is the discernment at the fruits of this approach, and has this new orientation truly benefitted the world?

    By clinging, cult-like to Vatican II as veritable “Fifth Gospel” (I’m serious in saying that it really borders on collective idolatry at times) the Church remains stuck in a time-warp whereby we are relating to a “modern world” which nolonger even exists. In its place is a “post-modern” world which the documents of Vatican II cannot even begin to fathom, let alone address.

    This time-warp has led to the Catholic Church promoting and fostering ideas and modes of secular governance, whether it be the UN, the EU or any run-of-the-mill, post-modern secular humanist state, which become with each passing day, more at odds with Catholic morality, social participation, not to mention the Social Kingship of Christ. In many ways the modern state poses a greater threat to Catholic liberty than what confronted Pius IX.

    The modern state, has created unjust laws and totally immoral statues and worst of all made them into human “rights”. This began with abortion, and now euthenasia, gay marriage, and God knows what will come tomorrow. We are slowly seeing the noose close in around us, as Fr.Z. himself observes, yet the RCC is clueless as to how to stop it, even less, to condemn any of this in a philosophically consistent manner due to the Vatican II albatross.

    The RCC cannot at once praise the modern secular, laicized state, and then comment on the need to respect “the dignity of man” or “common values” both of which are logically used by seculars as the democratic justification for this ongoing attack on the faith.

    Simply put, one cannot have justice apart from Revelation. One cannot have morality or genuine values apart from the Gospel. The State cannot remain secular, and hope to retain its moral compass.
    Truth is not a matter of majority opinion!

    The RCC from Saint Augustine until 1960 understood this perfectly.

    The modern Church refuses to make this connection and goes about pretending that we can have our secular cake and eat it too.

    The State’s role according to Tradition is to get the soul to heaven. What does the modern state do but make this more and more difficult for the citizen. Since Vatican II, the states role is simply to “foster values” whatever this means and this is impossible.

    Basically, Dignatatis Humanae made it a right for the soul to violate the First, Second, and Third Commandments. Until the Holy Father reconnects the First Commandment with the other Nine, the “mission” of the Church in the world is futile.

    A license never amounts to a genuine human right. We did have tolerance in the past, but what becomes of tolerance once the “evil” is nolonger an evil in the Church’s eyes, but a “right”? i.e. the right to spread error, even when the person is not acting in good
    conscience! (Affirmed explicitly in Dignatatis Humanae) When societies become composed of a majority of such people, then of course it implodes with disastrous results.

    This is a battle of ideas, but ideas are the most powerful thing in this world. And in this battle, we have made a terrible mistake.

    In this we are stuck. And by the way I am fighting from within. I am not a member of the SSPX.

  172. James says:

    “The empires are not coming back.”

    How do you know?

    If anything’s not going to “come back”, it’ll be the masonic state as represented by the USA and France. Being societies not founded in accord with the wishes of Christ, they’ll eventually collapse for once and for all.

  173. Brian Mershon says:

    Jason Keener: Freemasonry and the IMF and other plans for one world govt. control are not “conspiracy theories” just because you have evidently not been educated on these subjects.

    Freemasonry, in fact, was the subject of multiple papal encyclicals and pronouncements that, looking back, are prophetic.

  174. Joe Horan says:

    Perhaps you could clarify for us for your notably frequent usage of the word “sin”, so we can know what meaning you intend in different contexts, and better gauge for ourselves your ability to judge the sins of others.

    Henry Edwards,

    The main sin I speak of in my posts is that of Archbishop Lefebvre. This sin was the ordination of Bishops illicitly by the Archbishop in direct disobedience to Peter. Other sins come forth from this sin such as the willingness, by the Bishops that he ordained, to be ordained illicitly, and the illicit ordination of Priests by illicitly ordained Bishops. All of these are objectively grave sins. Also, the participation of the SSPX faithful in this organization that came to be founded on these sins could also be sinful, but this is a more difficult question. For example, is it always sinful to attend an SSPX Mass? I believe (I’m not sure on this) the Church teaches that if there are no other Masses available that one can attend an SSPX Mass in order to fulfill their Sunday obligation. I’m sure there are many other difficult particular circumstances that are beyond the scope of my post, that I am unable based on my knowledge to discern, and that I leave to the appropriate Magisterial authorities.

    But the main point of my post is not to point out the sins of these men (the Bishops of SSPX), but rather to point to the ill effects of the sins that they committed (of course these two things are intertwined). My goal is not to ridicule them in a mean spirit either, but rather to call them to repentance for what they have done, and to ask them to accept the most loving Mercy of Christ.

    The ill effect of these sins is a tree that brings forth evil fruit, which I have already explained is the alienation of the Church’s tradition from itself effected by the vilification (within the Church) of many traditional things because they came to be associated with SSPX, that group whose root became evil by the illicit ordinations.

    In Christ,

    Joe Horan

    P.S. I am very disturbed by various mean-spirited ad hominem attacks on this comment strand, and I certainly have no desire to ridicule anyone. My purpose is to attempt to bring about healing through prayer, and to call for the repentance of those who have sinned. Lets not forget the first commandments, that we are called to love of God and love of neighbor.

  175. Brian Mershon says:

    Joe, Archbishop Lefebvre, RIP, is dead. Whatever the state of his immortal soul, it is with God now. I don’t know whatever his sins on earth have to do with the current state of the relationship (positive) between the Holy See and the SSPX.

    You said: “For example, is it always sinful to attend an SSPX Mass? I believe (I’m not sure on this) the Church teaches that if there are no other Masses available that one can attend an SSPX Mass in order to fulfill their Sunday obligation. I’m sure there are many other difficult particular circumstances that are beyond the scope of my post, that I am unable based on my knowledge to discern, and that I leave to the appropriate Magisterial authorities.”

    BCM: Many people have covered this multiple times, including myself, directly with the PCED, and thereby, the Holy See. They have repeatedly told Catholics that unless one is attending an SSPX specifically to separate himself from his local Ordinary, parish priest, or the Pope, there is no sin involved by fulfilling one’s Sunday obligation at an SSPX chapel. There may be other moral impediments that keep one from attending his parish church and attending the SSPX, and these are all considered valid also.

    Regarding the question of whether or not a Catholic, in good conscience, and without sin, can receive Holy Communion at an SSPX chapel, the PCED has repeatedly (twice in correspondence to me) avoided answering that specific question.

    Therefore, it was/is sinful, it surely would have been the duty of the PCED to tell me as much.

    Finally, the correspondence to questions a layman receives from the PCED, while not infallible, can be acted upon with “a moral certitude,” per the PCED.

    Bishop Fellay responded positively to the recent 5 points from Cardinal Castrillon, and per Fr. Z, Cardinal Castrillon accepted them in a positive manner and “was pleased” with the response.

    Let’s rejoice that it appears the decrees of excommunication may be lifted soon. Ut unum sint!

  176. schoolman says:

    “4. Religious Liberty. Benedict in his December 2005 address on the
    Council stated that by secularizing the State (i.e. no room
    for Christ in the State) we are getting back to the Gospel.
    He is condemning 1,750 years of Catholic history. The practical
    result today is 57 Muslim countries who dominate the UN and 0 Catholic ones. We had many only 40 years ago.”

    Matt, the issue is to understand Religious Freedom in the traditional sense. See this article on Religious Freedom from former TAR’s of Papa Stronasy:

    http://papastronsay.blogspot.com/2008/07/link-to-bishop-von-kettler-1811-1877.html

  177. Joe Horan says:

    “Joe, Archbishop Lefebvre, RIP, is dead. Whatever the state of his immortal soul, it is with God now. I don’t know whatever his sins on earth have to do with the current state of the relationship (positive) between the Holy See and the SSPX.”

    Brian,

    I am aware that the Archbishop is dead. Of course the state of his soul is in God’s hands. Only God can judge his culpability for his grave sin. The Archbishop’s sins on earth definitely have bearing on the main point of my posts, which is that the sin of the Archbishop led to the alienation of the Church’s traditions from itself in many cases. This came about because of the vilification of many traditional things because they were associated with the SSPX, which became associated with the sin of the Archbishop (illicitly ordaining Bishops against the will of Peter).

    “I don’t know whatever his sins on earth have to do with the current state of the relationship (positive) between the Holy See and the SSPX.”

    The positive effect that a recognition by SSPX of the Archbishop’s sin would have is that they could then easily be welcomed back to the Church. That is what I am calling for, a recognition by SSPX of the damage that SSPX has done to the Church. Also, there needs to be recognition by all Catholics of the damage that these sins have done, and we need to purge from our minds the idea that the action of the Archbishop has done any good, directly or indirectly. Can grapes come forth from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Justification of these actions is the last thing the Church needs. The excommunications should be lifted if SSPX repents. We should not pray only for the excommunications to be lifted, but more so for the repentance that would lead automatically to this reunification. May we all be one in the Mercy of Christ, and in his Body wounded by our sins!

    Thank you for all the information you posted in response to my question.

    May the souls of the faithful departed through the Mercy of God rest in peace.

    In Christ,

    Joe Horan

  178. Angelo says:

    Joe Horan said:

    “That is what I am calling for, a recognition by SSPX of the damage that SSPX has done to the Church.”

    Not so, Mr.Horan!

    John Paul II, concluding DOMINICAE CENAE (Item No. 12) asked for forgiveness of abuses & damage to the Church cannot be laid at the feet of the Archbishop.

    Here are the Pope’s words:
    “. . . I would like to ask forgiveness — in my own name and in the name of all of you, venerable and dear brothers in the Episcopate — for everything which, for whatever reason, through whatever human weakness, impatience or negligenc, and also through at time partial, one-sided and erroneous application of the directives of the Seond Vatican Council, may have caused scandal & disturbance concerning the interpretation of the doctrine & the veneration due to this great sacrament (of the Holy Eurcharist). And I pray the Lord Jesus that in the future we may avoid in our manner of dealing with this sacred mystery anything which could weaken or disorient in any way the sense of reverence and love that exists in our faithful people.”

    The Holy Father clearly acknowledges the damage to the Church & it is a travesty of justice to indict the Archbishop of the damage.

    Your unfounded charges, Mr Horan, boarder on calumnity & detraction, grave indeed since you have made it public here on this blog.

  179. Jordanes says:

    Angelo said: The Holy Father clearly acknowledges the damage to the Church & it is a travesty of justice to indict the Archbishop of the damage.

    That the Pope has acknowledged and asked forgiveness for “at times partial, one-sided and erroneous application of the directives of the Second Vatican Council” does not make it a “travesty of justice” for Catholics to observe that Archbishop Lefebvre’s schismatic act has damaged the Church. Or as the old saying goes, two wrongs don’t make a right.

  180. Joe Horan says:

    Here are the Pope’s words:
    “. . . I would like to ask forgiveness—in my own name and in the name of all of you, venerable and dear brothers in the Episcopate—for everything which, for whatever reason, through whatever human weakness, impatience or negligence, and also through at time partial, one-sided and erroneous application of the directives of the Second Vatican Council, may have caused scandal & disturbance concerning the interpretation of the doctrine & the veneration due to this great sacrament (of the Holy Eucharist). And I pray the Lord Jesus that in the future we may avoid in our manner of dealing with this sacred mystery anything which could weaken or disorient in any way the sense of reverence and love that exists in our faithful people.”

    Angelo,

    The fact that John Paul II asked for forgiveness in this case (according to the quote you provided) does not mean that Archbishop Lefebvre did not commit a grave sin (by ordaining Bishops illicitly in disobedience to Peter), and it does not mean, of course, that John Paul thinks (or anyone else for that matter) that the Archbishop’s sin was not grave or that it has not done damage to the Church.

    The Archbishop’s sin was in fact grave and has in fact done great damage to the Church. As I have already stated, this sin led to the alienation of many of the traditional things (not to mention many of its faithful children) of the Church from the Church itself because those things became associated with SSPX, the organization that was and is associated with the sin of Archbishop Lefebvre. Can grapes come forth from thornbushes or figs from thistles?

    In Christ,

    Joe Horan

  181. Jason Keener says:

    Brian Mershon,

    I’m merely pointing out that some Traditional Catholics have an unhealthy propensity to see an elaborate conspiracy around every corner. Not every unfortunate event in the Church’s history or Vatican’s workings can be blamed on the Jews, the Communists, the Freemasons, the Bildeberg Group, the IMF, the “real” Third Secret of Fatima not being revealed, or the fall of the French Monarchy.

    Whipping people up into an apocalyptic frenzy of paranoia is irresponsible. The Church’s problems can sometimes just be linked to mundane bishops and cardinals who act or fail to act out of normal human weakness. Sometimes Bishop Trautman and Cardinal Mahony may even just be honestly mistaken about what is in the best interest of the Church.

    I bring this all up because I think some Traditional Catholic leaders, knowingly or unknowingly, maintain a bit of control over their followers by setting themselves up as the enlightened ones who are able to rightly discern all of the conspiracies supposedly taking place around the world. I might be wrong, but it’s not out of the realm of the possible.

    Pax Christi!

  182. Matt Robinson says:

    Schoolman, the Traditional Catholic doctrine is that no one has the right to spread error: “Error has no rights”. God does not give anyone the right to take Catholics out of His Church via heresy. Nor does anyone have the right to disobey the First Commandment, otherwise there could be no Hell.

    Dignatatis Humanue can only make sense philosophically if it is part of a wider “dictatorship of relativism” that the Pope is trying to fight as much as he can. However, Vatican II formed a major pillar of this modern attack on the Catholic State and has greatly aided this dictatorship of relativism.

    Basically, this idea rejects Revelation as the basis of any society. In this view, religious truth, simply does not count for anything in the life of modern man. Hence, not only can one believe what one wants without persecution (the Traditional teaching), everyone must be free to spread their error throughout society without any “coercion”, simply because in a secular society, the idea of THEOLOGICAL ERROR is an absurdity (the practical consequence of Vatican II teaching).

    We recognize that the State has a right to “coerce” people to pay taxes, to drive the speed limit, to obey all kinds of ridiculous by-laws, but in the matter of most importance, religious Truth, the State can’t coerce its citizens. This is because Relativism is the defacto philosophy underpinning the RCC current view of the state.

    Of course in a pluralistic society, we must allow for tolerance of evil for the common order (again Traditional teaching). We will not seek to create a civil war for a minority of Catholics to create a Catholic State. However, the historic approach of the RCC was to always have the Catholic State as the perfect goal of society. The RCC did this for 1,750 years, unceasingly.

    The new teaching of Vatican II however, says a big “NO” to this, even as an ideal, even as a dream. There must NEVER AGAIN be a Catholic State in which the Church receives special status, and in which Catholic morality forms the basis of law.

    This is in reality, aiding in the creation of the Dictatorship of Relativism. Philosophy and morality now are at the mercy of public opinion in the democratic, laicized state, as we can all see for ourselves.

    The most bizarre and tragic application of Vatican II to the modern state was for Rome to forcibly laicize the remaining Catholic States in the world in the 1970’s and 1980’s. We are talking about countries with 95% or more Catholics! And yet, even they could not have a Catholic State. As I’ve pointed out before, protestants, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons ect hit the jackpot over this and sent their people into places like Latin American to reap the benefit of being legally able to spread their errors and built up there sects. The loss of the Catholic State contributed to the complete implosion of Catholic societies in places like Brazil.

    We are not talking castles in the sky, but a real change in orientation which continues to have disastrous ramifications for the future of the faith. For Catholics, the FAITH IS PUBLIC period. Vatican II wanted to change this, and has be all measures, achieved this change. Most Catholics have no clue about how protestant they have become in making faith a private affair.

  183. Jordanes says:

    Matt said: The new teaching of Vatican II however, says a big “NO” to this, even as an ideal, even as a dream. There must NEVER AGAIN be a Catholic State in which the Church receives special status, and in which Catholic morality forms the basis of law.

    I’m not aware of Vatican II ever saying any such thing.

    A Catholic confessional state can tolerate erroneous religions. Just look at the Church’s long history, sadly interrupted on various occasions, of tolerating Jews in Catholic countries.

  184. James says:

    Sadly interrupted, eh, Jordanes??

    Jews in Spain were infiltrating the priesthood, and simulating the sacraments (just to start with).

    They were a minority, behaving evilly, and the common good of society demanded that they be expelled.

    The rights of the innocent Christian majority takes precedence over the minority.

  185. Jason Keener says:

    Matt Robinson wrote,

    “The new teaching of Vatican II however, says a big “NO” to this, even as an ideal, even as a dream. There must NEVER AGAIN be a Catholic State in which the Church receives special status, and in which Catholic morality forms the basis of law.”

    That is simply not true. Paragraph #1 of “Dignitatis Humane” reads, “So while the religious freedom which men demand in fulfilling their obligation to worship God has to do with freedom from coercion in civil society, it LEAVES INTACT THE TRADITIONAL CATHOLIC TEACHING ON THE MORAL DUTY OF INDIVIDUALS AND SOCIETIES TOWARDS THE TRUE RELIGION AND THE ONE CHURCH OF CHRIST.”

    “Dignitatis Humane”#6 goes on to mention that recognition of the Catholic religion can even be included in a state’s written constitution if the people so desire.

    Matt also wrote,

    “The most bizarre and tragic application of Vatican II to the modern state was for Rome to forcibly laicize the remaining Catholic States in the world in the 1970’s and 1980’s. We are talking about countries with 95% or more Catholics!”

    Rome didn’t force Spain and Italy to re-write their constitutions! The Spanish and Italian people did that on their own. No where did Vatican II tell Spain and Italy they could no longer have the Catholic Faith as their official state religion.

  186. Jordanes says:

    James claimed: Jews in Spain were infiltrating the priesthood, and simulating the sacraments (just to start with).

    Or so it was alleged. Please acquaint yourself on the latest Catholic scholarship for that troubled period of Iberian history.

    They were a minority, behaving evilly, and the common good of society demanded that they be expelled.

    The common good of Catholic societies never demands of non-Catholics, “Convert to Catholicism or get out and forfeit your property.” And even if non-Christian Jews really were dressing up as priests and simulating sacraments, it still is unjust to expel the innocent with the guilty.

    The rights of the innocent Christian majority takes precedence over the minority.

    On the contrary, the human rights of a minority take precedence over the hysteria of a majority.

  187. Matt Robinson says:

    Jason that’s all fine and dandy, just like SC said that “the latin language will be maintained” and “Gregorian Chant should have pride of place” at the liturgy.

    We all know the problem is in the loopholes.

    DH has many such loopholes, and results in the teaching outlined in my previous post.

    I will find you my sources when I have the time, but it was the Vatican who made this laicization a universation condition of renewing concordats and maintaining diplomatic ties, even when it was not the nations themselves, vis a vis Italy or Spain that wanted this.

  188. Matt Robinson says:

    Jordanes, you fail to make the necessary distinction.

    These part of DH are perfectly Catholic:

    It follows that he (man) is not to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his conscience. Nor, on the other hand, is he to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience, especially in matters religious.”

    “The Church is wont to take earnest heed that no one shall be forced to embrace the Catholic Faith against his will, for, as St. Augustine wisely reminds us, ‘Man cannot believe otherwise than of his own free will.’”

    The problem stems from the following:

    “Therefore, the right to religious freedom has its foundation, not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature. In consequence, the right to this immunity continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligations of seeking the truth and adhering to it.

    Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered in their public teaching and witness to their faith, whether by the spoken or written word.

    In addition, it comes within the meaning of religious freedom that religious communities should not be prohibited from freely undertaking to show the special value of their doctrine in what concerns the organization of society and the inspiration of the whole of human activity.

    This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed; thus it is to become a civil right.”

    Get it?

  189. James says:

    Matt,

    One thing Jordanes doesn’t get is rational argument.

    “Scholarship”? Yeah, what, the typical, partisan, Jewish kind?

    You’re a joke.

    I’ve noticed your stupidity on one or two other blogs.

    Let’s see how you rate the eventual expulsion of Muslims from Europe – Hysteria??

    Bloody twit.

    By the way, E. Michael Jones and Michael Hoffman II are publishing block-busting works on germain topics right now.

    Jewry is in for an irreversible collapse of prestige the world over.

    [And you are banned from this blog. I suspect no amount of apologizing for these crass ad hominem attacks will suffice to convince me to let you back in here. I will leave this comment here, as I would a head on a spike. – Fr. Z]

  190. Jordanes says:

    You’ve given me every reason to believe that you aren’t interested in a handy precis of current Catholic scholarship on Spanish Catholic persecution of conversos, but in case you are, I would recommend Professor Thomas Madden’s “The Truth About the Spanish Inquisition.”

    http://www.storialibera.it/epoca_medioevale/inquisizione/articolo.php?id=255

  191. Jordanes says:

    Matt, you claimed that “the new teaching of Vatican II however, says a big “NO” to” Catholic confessional states, “even as an ideal, even as a dream. There must NEVER AGAIN be a Catholic State in which the Church receives special status, and in which Catholic morality forms the basis of law.”

    The passage of Dignitatis Humanae that you quote calls for the freedom of non-Catholic religions to be respected in law. However, it does not call for the Catholic faith never to be given its rightful preeminence in law and in the ordering of society. There is nothing in DH that forbids a Catholic confessional state. What DH forbids is the proscription, harassment, and persecution of non-Catholic religions. But there’s not a word in DH about the Church never again receiving special status in the State, nor does it say that Catholic morality is never again to form the basis of law. Rather, in light of DH, for a state to be an authentically Catholic confessional state, it must respect the rights of non-Catholics to practice their religions so long as doing so does not disrupt public order or interfere with the Church’s divine rights.

  192. Matt Robinson says:

    Yes, and that is all good Jordanes. Again, I am not arguing that concordates still guarantee many material benefits for the Church.

    Even here in Canada, the only publicly funded confessional school system is still the Catholic school system. However, it would be a far cry to say Canada is therefore a Catholic State because of a provision like this. So too Portugal, Spain ect. The Church still retains many “perks” in these old Catholic lands.

    The problem is with regard to philosophy. By saying that error now has rights, in contrast to past Church teaching, which said error has no rights, the RCC has thrown in the towel with regard to its credibility in claiming the truth of its religion.

    The reason protestantism, and later Enlightenment had an easier time with diversity, is that none of them really claimed to be the one true way to truth. They were all based already on a form of relativism. All that mattered is that you don’t claim to be the only way to truth. This is why, even today, one can join the Masons and swear on a Catholic Bible, or a Koran, or a whatever one wants during the ceremonies. The Masons only require that you do not claim to be the one true religion.

    Masonry railed against the RCC because it was the one major barrier to a truly pluralistic society based on relativism. It was the one religion (in the West) which claimed the fullness of truth.
    Voltaire and others say this as the source of all tryanny.

    Vatican II was, in the current Holy Father’s words back then, “a counter syllabus” and the “Church’s 1789″. Thus, it was a major effort to accomodate the RCC’s philosophy to that of the (Masonic inspired) Enlightenment. The Church would no longer claim to have the truth in religious matters in the public sphere. This ultimately indicates a loss of faith on our part. This was the Faustian Bargain the Church would argue that we had to make in order to participate in the modern world and be accepted.

    This concept is closely tied into the philosophy of Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialouge, as well as the “purification of memory” so often mentioned by the previous Pope. The end result, is that the Church condemns its historic past, and many of its greatest theologians and Popes in the process, leaving Catholics filled with “remorse for the past” – just what Pius XII warned about before he died.

    I would argue, that by backing off on the hard teaching of the Church, that is “extra ecclesiam nulla salus” we have sought to soften the Church’s role in the world to one consisting mainly of a “medicine of mercy”. That is, in John XXIII’s view, we don’t have to condemn error, even within the Church, because the truth is so resplendent that people will come to it on their own anyway.
    This is a noble idea, but collapsed with Humanae Vitae.

    Most people, on their own, simply will not come to the truth based on this approach. It fails. It also fails at the level of the State.
    Error must be condemned in the public sphere and not allowed to spread. Countries like Spain now have pornography, abortion ect gay marriage is next, all based on this false accomodation.

    A case in point. In Germany, scientology is illegal, period. This is a very Catholic approach, but one which is explicitly contrary to Dignitatis Humanae.

    One goes to jail for promoting scientology, hence there are few of these types in Germany today, because that State has decided that this error is so manifestly false. The Catholic State has even more capability to measure error, because it is measured against the truth of the Catholic Faith.

    Yet even in secular German society, they decided that this cult has no right to spread. They didn’t arrest Tom Cruise when he filmed there, or abuse him, but he couldn’t give talks on his religion. This is the proper balance in tolerance. This is something the RCC has lost sight of. Why should there be something like JW’s allowed in a Catholic country?

    By special status, I mean, the State making it illegal to prostheletize Catholics. Every confessional state does this (Muslims and Isreal for example) but no longer Catholic ones because of DH.

  193. Jordanes says:

    Matt, thanks for your comments and observations. I can only agree that the “disestablishment” of the Faith in formerly Catholic states has been a very bad thing. Also, though I don’t recall now where I’d read about this, I’m pretty sure you’re right about the Church after Vatican II calling for those states to laicise — “de-confessionalise,” if you don’t mind the monstrous non-word that is. Again, I agree that the “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative” attitude, the “counter-syllabus” approach, that the Church currently favors just doesn’t work. It’s unrealistic and culpably over-optimist in my opinion (and has never been fully implemented, because, well, it just doesn’t work). However, my point here has been to show that, whatever the intent of DH and whatever its application has been, the document itself is still compatible with the Faith.

    It’s a fine line we must walk. On the one hand, Catholic social doctrine has upheld the obligation of the state to recognise and abide by the Faith, and has upheld the right and obligation of the state to criminalise certain religious activity and to punish offenders. But the Church’s social doctrine also upholds the human right of religious liberty, the right to be free from coercion, to right to practice one’s faith even if in error — for although error has no rights, those who are in error do have rights. To use what most probably would see as an extreme illustration, Pope Leo X said pretty clearly and emphatically that it is erroneous to claim that burning heretics is against the will of the Spirit. But what a Catholic state has the authority to do is not necessarily the same thing as what a Catholic state ought to do, or what it would be best to do. I don’t disagree with those who say heresy can rightfully be punished with death — I just don’t want us ever to exercise any such right. I do think, however, that a state can and should get involved in cases of religious abuse and hucksterism. The case of new, manufactured religions such as Scientology is a perfect illustration here: it’s frankly not a religion at all, but more like a pyramid scheme. I’m not sure the civil right to religious liberty includes the a right to pull a new religion out of one’s rearend.

  194. RBrown says:

    So, if Fr Williamson rejects the LG doctrine that the consecration confers the episcopal Character the constitutive elements of which are teaching, government and sanctification, but accepts only the latter, he cannot be forced to receive the teaching and governing “functions” (which are in his view the elements of the “power” of jurisdiction – I am adding this only for clarification, it is not really essential; the essential is that he rejects to receive one “power” – in his view, or two “functions” – so the LG) which he rejects. As these functions (or this “power” if you wish) are essential elements of the Character, he couldn’t have received the Character, and if he did not receive the Character, he could not have received the sacrament of the episcopacy because the Character is essential for the latter.

    Lumen Gentium 21 does not say that the constituent elements of the character are the Triplex Munera. It first mentions the character, then the Episcopal roles (partes), i.e. the munera (functions). But the power given by the character is not the same as the functions.

    The text could possibly be interpreted as an endorsement of the German Theory of Episcopal Consecration. The Nota Explicativa Praevia was written in order to clarify this problem somewhat. The NEP does not endorse either the German or Roman Theory (the consequences of which are liceity vs validity in Absolutions and Marriage), but simply says the functions depend on hierarchical authority.

    Of course, the irony here is that according to the German theory SSPX absolutions and marriages could at worst be said to be illicit.

    Ad no. (2), in which you refer to what I said in my third paragraph. I am not disputing what you say as it stands, nor did I say anything contrary to it. But what is overlooked in your statement – and what I have explicitly said – is that if the new “bishops”, or bishops, not the ABP, received the sanctifying power only, they wouldn’t have been able to pass it on, because the very acceptance of candidates by a the ordaining bishop is a condition for the ritual to go through, and, ultimately, this act of acceptance is an act of jurisdiction, not of sanctification. So, the consecration would have defied its very objective: the perpetuation of “traditional” priesthood.

    I did not overlook it. In fact, I explicitly said that I think it is incorrect to hold that the validity of ordination is in any way a function of jurisdiction.

    LG 15 mentions the episcopal sanctifying power (virtute sanctificante). Then 21 groups it among the munera, which are not powers. IMHO, this is another example of VatII ambiguity that has caused so many problems.

    Abd no. (3). The Vatican II three ecclesiological “functions” are an extension of Christology: the bishops are acting on Christ’s behalf, and he is the Teacher (Prophet), Governor (King) and Sanctifyer (Priest). There was some reason why the word “Power” was abandoned, I read about it, but did not understand. The basics are: A) what the things are, which requires Teaching faith and morals; B) how the things are to be done, which requires Government inclusive of legislation and jurisdiction, C) Sanctification itself (celebration of liturgy, other devotions etc.). My point was that the acceptance of a candidate for consecration/ordination, distinct from the consecration/ordination as such, is not itself an act of sanctification, nor is it a teaching, but some kind of exercise of jurisdiction/government.

    The word \”power\” was not abandoned. See above. You will also find the phrase potestas regiminis in the CIC.

    Having said that, I much prefer the phrase \”potestas iurisdictionis\” simply because, as I said above, governance cannot be separated from potestas ordinis. Further, I know of no power of governance that a bishop has over any layman, apart from that which is found in either the Sanctifying or Teaching functions.

    If the ABP did pass on – it is impossible, but let us suppose it for the sake of argument – the sanctification only, the new bishops wouldn’t have been able to perpetuate the priesthood, because nobody but an ordaining bishop himself can, ultimately, accept a candidate whom he is going to ordain, and that act of acceptance comes under jurisdiction. If, on the other hand, he did pass on the jurisdiction, he would have created a new Church, and this is exactly- so we were told by Fr. Black – he did not want to do. In my view he probably did pass on the episcopacy validly, incl. all three functions, from his side; but whether the four have actually received anything is another matter. I do not think that Fr. Williamson did.
    Comment by Michael

    Earlier, you reference the Jesuit Fr Bernard Leeming. He was of the opinion that priests could ordain deacons and other priests. Thus, the only difference between a priest and bishop is jurisdiction. I think LG contradicts his opinion.

    One final point: The Triplex munera theology is a Protestant concept (cf Calvin) that theologians have tried to bring into Catholic theology. But, as I think I showed above, its use creates problems with the nature of episcopal power. Further, I am not aware of any power of governance not included in Sacramental and Teaching authority that a bishop has over a laymen.

  195. Jason Keener says:

    Matt and Jordanes,

    I also agree that the Church has been too optimistic in Her approach of late. Errors need to be condemned clearly and consistently. In fact, I wonder how many Protestants are prevented from embracing the Catholic Faith because Catholics are too busy pointing out only the good things we have in common.

    From what I understand, “Dignitatis Humane” never said that error has any rights; however, people have a right to immunity from coercion in propagating error under some circumstances. How the Church deals with the repression of error or tolerance of error seems to be more of a prudential matter that can change with historical circumstances. Some say it would be imprudent for Catholic countries to repress Protestant errors in today’s world because Protestant Christianity can serve the useful purpose of acting as a bulwark against something even worse–atheism or total secularism. Again, error has no right, but just how one goes about repressing error might vary with circumstances.

    Also, what about those countries that are not Catholic? Should they too be allowed to repress religions they see as erroneous? Should Muslim countries be allowed to prevent the practice of Catholicism? I don’t think we would want that. The Church then seems wise to insist on people’s right to religious freedom across the board.

    I’m going to look more into the Italy and Spain issue and DH.

    Also, I think the article by Father Brian Harrison entitled “Vatican II and Religious Liberty: Contradiction or Continuity?” does a good job of demonstrating how “Dignitatis Humane” can be reconciled with Tradition.

    Pax Christi!

  196. Daniel says:

    Bishop Fellay, in a couple of his conferences, said that the Crisis in the Catholic Church is on Doctrine.

    The SSPX is not against the Persons in the Hierarchy of the Church (i.e. Pope, Bishops, Cardinals). They’re against the Doctrine coming from Rome since the 2nd Vatican Council: Religous Liberty, Collegiality, False Ecumenism.

    The Catholic Church has Traditionally condemned these ideas, from the long succession of Papal Encyclicals before Vatican II.

    Perhaps these MP3s will explain:
    http://www.advancedchristianity.com/Mp3/MPC/Felley_2008-02-17_001.mp3

    http://www.advancedchristianity.com/Mp3/MPC/Felley_2008-02-17_002.mp3

    And to those who say that, the Traditional Latin Mass is the same rite as the Novus Ordo Mass, here’s a shocking Sermon by Archbishop Lefebvre: where he explained that the Novus Ordo is Shockingly close to Luther’s Mass!

    http://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/Archbishop-Lefebvre/Luthers-Mass.htm

    The SSPX is not against the Persons, their good name, but on the Doctrine

    God bless

  197. Matt Robinson says:

    Jason, religions you mention would have no right to oppress anyone, because they are not true. So the Church would never say Islam has a right to oppress anyone. In that type of State, religious liberty would be appropriate.

    The difficulty with DH is that we simply do not know, no one does, what situation would be inappropriate for coercion, or what religion we are dealing with. DH never says.

    There are no canons, definitions or condemnations here as in past councils. Not even the best scholar can decifer what exactly, a 15,000 word essay like this really says. I think this is the true Spirit of the Council…confusion…..they just didn’t wish to be clear and precise!

    Sadly our difficult history with the Jews is most tragic, since they are an ideal religious minority. They just aren’t interested in recruiting outsiders to their beliefs. Therefore they more than anyone should have been left alone to live as they pleased.

    I believe that had the RCC remained steadfast and uncompromising with Christ’s Social Kingship, we would have seen many more conversions from Protestantism / Evangelicalism than we have. The Church’s credibility would have risen substantially as the other churches imploded around it. I think that by becoming all sentimental and squishy, we did more harm than good.

    My opinion is that DH was part of a larger “feminization” of the Church. We are no longer a robust, fearsome masculine religion, but a pretty harmless one on the world stage. Many Americans in 1960 were genuinely terrified of what a Catholic presidency would mean. Today, it would likely be the Catholics who would be the most upset with a Catholic leader’s actions.

  198. DJ says:

    Some of the questions are pretty stupid. Having said that, some of the commentary is pretty stupid as well. This was an interview, not a complete discourse on the position of SSPX (which has been written about elsewhere) so accusations of being too vague with Vatican II references make me think the fellow writings the comments is not-so-bright.