Mickens of The Tablet: more bitter fear about continuity and true unity

The Tablet is dedicated to attacking the Holy See on the matter of the unity of the Church if that unity includes traditional Catholics.

For The Tablet and some of its contributors, the Church is for the liberally pure. Continuity is not welcome, even in the back of the bus.

An example of The Tablet‘s agenda was produced by Rome-based Tablet correspondent Robert Mickens’s recent offering about the Fraternity of St. Peter, or FSSP.  The FSSP is approved and in harmony with Rome.

My emphases and comments.

Kudos to Vincenzo for the photoshopped shot, below.

14 February 2009 | THE TABLET

ROBERT MICKENS

Rome’s demand that all SSPX members recognise Vatican II and the Magisterium of all the Popes from John XXIII to Benedict XVI could turn out to be little more than window dressing if the experience of other traditionalist groups already under papal patronage is anything to go by

Already inside the tent  [From this headline, take an important key for reading the following: liberals want a smaller tent.  They prefer to exclude rather than include.]

The controversy over Bishop Richard Williamson’s views on the Holocaust has dominated much of the coverage of the lifting of the excommunication of him and his fellow Lefebvrist bishops by Pope Benedict. But grotesque and embarrassing as Williamson’s views are, they have in a sense distracted attention from the central issue that continues to keep the Society of St Pius X outside the fold.

It is actually their unwavering refusal over the years to accept key doctrinal developments and ecclesiological changes introduced by the Second Vatican Councilmost conspicuously the liturgical reforms – that has cut them off from Rome. Pope Benedict XVI’s desire to heal fully this “rupture” – the only major “schism” since Vatican II – speaks clearly of his wish to bring unity to the Roman Catholic Church.  [Mickens obviously knows that the Holy See does not say that the SSPX is in schism. He knows that Card. Castrillon says they are not now in schism but, rather, are at risk of true schism.  Mickens has asked the reader to accept as a premise something which he himself knows is not true.]

In an effort to allay fears that the council could become a casualty [How dramatic.  How could any serious person think that the Second Vatican Council would be a "casualty" were there to be a reconciliation of the SSPX?  What progressivists are really afraid of is that they might have to start viewing the Council in a more realistic way, abandon their view of the Council, actually the "spirit" of the Council and then read the documents in continuity with the Church’s past teachings.] in talks aimed at healing the Lefebvrist schism, the Vatican’s Secretariat of State on 4 February issued an unsigned “note” of clarification. It said “a full recognition” of Vatican II and the “Magisterium” of all the popes from John XXIII to Benedict XVI would be an “indispensable condition for any future recognition” of the SSPX. The note appeared to say: “You recognise the Council, and we’ll recognise you.”  [NB: If acceptance of the Church’s past teachings is a sine qua non for being in manifest harmony with the Holy See, then also progressivists had better make an examination of conscience.]

But what exactly would “a full recognition”of Vatican II entail? What would life in the SSPX look like if the group were to “recognise” the Council?  [This is where Mickens wants to create fear in The Tablet’s readers.]

More than likely, virtually nothing would change. And that prediction is based on the existence of several “traditionalist priestly societies” currently in communion with Rome that – while they would forcefully deny this – are, in almost all ways, [but not in some very important ways] indistinguishable from the SSPX. In fact, these groups have been officially operating under the Vatican’s patronage for the past 20 years, thanks to the support and encouragement of a small number [You see, Tablet readers?  This is a minority of wrong-thinking clerics.  But it is still small enough to be stopped!] of cardinals and bishops and the present Pope.  [And what follows is the real point of Micken’s article…] And they appear to be growing{insert scary pipe organ music here}

The first of these groups to be established was the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter – the Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Sancti Petri, or FSSP, a direct offspring of the SSPX that now includes some 350 members in 17 countries and more than 100 dioceses. The FSSP began with a tiny group of 15 “former Lefebvrists” back in July 1988, immediately after Archbishop Lefebvre provoked schism with his illicit episcopal ordinations.

The fledgling FSSP was not set up, nor has it flourished, all by itself. [An admission that it has flourished?]  The Vatican actually formed it in order to help Lefebvre’s followers enter into full communion after accepting a few basic conditions. These were contained in a protocol that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Vatican’s chief interlocutor with the SSPX) and Archbishop Lefebvre signed on 5 May 1988. 

The agreement did not last. Lefebvre eventually broke it by ordaining his four bishops.

But, originally, he had accepted the Vatican’s demands that SSPX members would “recognise the validity” of the reformed Roman rite [I think most members of the SSPX do think the newer rites are valid.  They simply don’t like them.] and “commit [themselves) to have a positive attitude of study and communication with the Holy See” regarding questions surrounding Vatican II. And he had promised that they would do this by “avoiding all polemics”.  [Wait a minute.  If the "positive attitude" was lacking in the years after 1988, it wasn’t lacking only on the part of the SSPX.  If polemics were not avoided by the SSPX, neither were they avoided by others.  Now we are seeing from the SSPX the grow of a far more positive attitude and a change from the earlier polemical style of rhetoric.  The atmosphere is definitely changing.  THAT is what terrifies writers like Mickens and those who embrace The Tablet‘s rupture agenda.   The SSPX is expressing a positive mesage about serious "study and communication", and the liberals are frightened.]

Key requirements that Marcel Lefebvre eventually rebuffed boiled down to obedience to the Pope, no public criticism of Vatican II and least some recognition that the post-conciliar liturgy was not invalid. But at no time had the Vatican demanded that the SSPX actually use the new rite.

The conditions that Lefebvre rejected were the same ones the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter eventually accepted. In fact, the excommunication of the SSPX marked the birth of the FSSP. Its midwife was the papal commission established by Pope John Paul II on 2 July 1988 in his motu proprio, “Ecclesia Dei”. This soon became known as the “Ecclesia Dei” Commission and its purpose was to facilitate “full ecclesial communion” with those followers of Lefebvre who wanted “to remain united to the Successor of Peter in the Catholic Church, while preserving their spiritual and liturgical traditions”.

Pope John Paul selected German-born Cardinal Augustin Mayer OSB to be president of the new commission, relieving him of his previous duties as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship. Cardinal Mayer and his fellow German cardinal at the CDF moved quickly to bring in Lefebvre’s followers.  [What is Mickens trying to accomplish by stressing the German nationality of Card. Mayer and the Holy Father?]

It took less than three weeks from the day the motu proprio was issued for Cardinal Mayer to sign a declaration stating the Vatican’s readiness to recognise the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter as a “Society of Apostolic Life”. The 15 disaffected Lefebvrists had only formed their fraternity four days earlier and they were already being promised full canonical status. Cardinal Mayer signed the decree officially “erecting” the FSSP on 18 October 1988, conceding the society “use of the liturgical books in force in 1962”.

Since then, other neo-Tridentine [a curious phrase] priestly societies have been erected with the approval of the “Ecclesia Dei” Commission. The “Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest” was established in 1990 and has its headquarters near Florence. It claims to have some 50 priests and more than 60 seminarians in 10 countries. Archbishop Raymond Burke, head of the “Segnatura Apostolica” (the Vatican’s highest court), is a key patron.  [And I imagine the writer dislikes Archbp. Burke too.  That is just a guess, of course.  What other reason would he have for bringing in his name?]

There is also an entire “diocese” of former Lefebvrists in Campos, Brazil, that was reconciled with Rome in January 2002 as the Personal Apostolic Administration of St Jean Marie Vianney. And there are several groups in communion with Rome that have been inspired by the traditionalist movement championed by the late Archbishop Lefebvre.

The Society of St Pius X has no great love for them and the sentiment is mutual. Take the Fraternity of St Peter. Most people in the SSPX have tended to see the FSSP as traitors or as “modernists” cloaked in traditionalist garb.

And while the Fraternity of St Peter may be particularly more focused on the aesthetics of the Tridentine rite, [Mickens reduces this to "aesthetics", a common liberal slam.  He is suggesting that those interested in these things are either shallow or effete.] students at its two seminaries – one in Germany, the other in the United States – are given a similar classical training based on apologetics and St Thomas Aquinas as the SSPX, with little or no proper treatment of the Second Vatican Council.  [Really? Are the Council documents not studied in FSSP seminaries?  Also, the 1983 Code of Canon Law requires that seminaries provide training in the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas, who is named in the Code.  So how is focusing on Thomism in a seminary bad?]

However, some in the FSSP would argue that they are not opposed to ecumenism or religious liberty

One official in Rome said his fraternity was particularly open to the Orthodox. [And Pope Benedict, and Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul VI were open to the Orthodox "particularly".  The Orthodox Churches, real Christian Churches and really in schism (whereas the SSPX is not so formally), are more and more open to Rome.  Also, being "particularly" open to the Orthodox doesn’t mean that they are not open to other Christians.  On the contrary.] And he said the very existence of FSSP as a modern apostolic society connected to the Tridentine rite was in itself an “example of religious liberty” and the “spirit of tolerance”. [And he is right.]

That is not exactly an example of religious freedom that one would find in the Vatican II declaration Dignitatis humanae[Is that a fact?  Robert Mickens knows what religious freedom is according to Dignitatis humanae.  That’s sorted, then.]

This official was also quick to point out that the FSSP was motivated not so much by the political and sociological ideologies he claimed were at the heart of the Lefebvrist movement, rather by their love for the “old” Mass, which was the heart of their “charism”.  [Keep in mind that the SSPX in France has rightly or wrongly been tied up with "right wing" politics.]

But others, especially former members and associates of the FSSP, refute that. [Now we turn to the dissatisfied.] One of the group’s former seminary professors said that while the FSSP “was supposedly created to be an instrument that might contribute to restoring a certain depth and richness to the liturgy”, experience has shown that “ideological fixation on the 1962 rubrics is in no way going to promote attainment of this end”. He said groups like the FSSP saw themselves as an insulated “elite” within the Church and world at large.  [Earlier Mickens used the term "aesthetics", which is code for "elite".  That aside, I know several FSSP priests who hope that the Novus Ordo will be celebrated well and in continuity with the Church’s liturgical tradition.  I have had long conversations about this point with more than one FSSP priest.  The fact that there has been some internal tension in the FSSP over the Novus Ordo suggests that the picture Mickens is painting is incomplete at best.]

The former professor added that they “do not particularly concern themselves with anything or anyone outside their ranks, since they identify being a recipient of salvific grace with mastering and maintaining rubrical and ritualistic integrity in an atmosphere often tainted with traces of Jansenism and a rigidly neo-Platonised, clericalist vision of the dispensation of divine grace”. [Sounds like some sour grapes are being shared there.  But more importantly, the FSSP has actually made it a point of their apostolate not train priests to say the older form of Mass.  They are not cutting themselves off to those outside their ranks.  They are actively opening up and supporting priests who are not in their ranks.  BUT!  They are helping priests learn the older Mass, which is the unforgivable sin for the Tablet crowd.  As for the traces of Jansenism and Neo-Platonism,… I think we can easily counter with the observation that most liberals are tainted with the far more serious Arianism and Docetism, along with a whole raft of other heretical notions.]

“It is also worthy of note that the laity supporting these institutes often think of their ‘clerics’ as a privileged caste, while all others occupy a markedly lower grade of status before the Church and God,” the FSSP professor said.  [This is, in some cases, a fair observation.  I have encountered a measure of snootiness among traditionalist Catholics.  Even a strong measure in some cases.  But shall we talk about the smug superiority of the liberals for a while?  If you want elitism at its worst, an elitism without the support of sound doctrine, tradition, law, or true aesthetics, let’s cast the net from the left gunwale.]

That was not exactly the vision presented by Vatican II. The irony is that by establishing these so-called “Ecclesia Dei” communities, the Vatican has also helped perpetuate and even legitimise the schismatic movement founded by Archbishop Lefebvre.  [If a group is in harmony with the Holy See, as is the FSSP, then it is not in schism, right?  Unless Mickens really means de facto schism, rather than de iure.  But if that is his point, it is even more ironic that liberals who are in de facto schism are savaging those whom they claim to be schismatics.]

 

Another hit piece from The Tablet.  This time directly attacking the Holy Father.

Mickens of The Tablet: more bitter fear about continuity and true unity
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65 Responses to Mickens of The Tablet: more bitter fear about continuity and true unity

  1. Paul Haley says:

    If a group is in harmony with the Holy See, as is the FSSP, then it is not in schism, right? Unless Mickens really means de facto schism, rather than de iure. But if that is his point, it is even more ironic that liberals who are in de facto schism are savaging those whom they claim to be schismatics.

    Great closing comment, Father. God bless you.

  2. Nathan says:

    Oh, goodness. What a mess of innuendo and unsupported assertions. Can’t the “progressives” do any better than this?

    When do their actual arguments against the Holy Father’s program come out?

    In Christ,

  3. Joseph says:

    “And while the Fraternity of St Peter may be particularly more focused on the aesthetics of the Tridentine rite”

    He wouldn’t think that if he read Rorate Caeli on a regular basis.

  4. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    Screams of a dying breed.

    “And” “what’s” “with” “liberals'” “love” “of” “quotation” “marks?”

    Lots of this going on in recent publications and it’s annoying. Is it, perhaps, a secret code, telling the reader that something is bad/good/discouraged/approved according to the writer’s preferences? Do they mark words that should be sniggered at? Are they encouraging the reader to chose one of several possible meanings for these words? Perhaps it’s a sinister attempt to profess outward loyalty to approved terms while quietly mocking. Maybe they indicate the intellectual poverty of liberals who can’t be bothered to find an accurate word and assume that everyone will take their meaning. Maybe the writer doesn’t know the meaning of the marked word. Or do they simply indicate a lack, nay fear of, good grammar and prose?

  5. Martin says:

    It grieves me that this garbage is available to the innocent and the ignorant every month in my Church. I wonder would it be a sin to put this garbage in a more fitting place? I’ve often thought about it.

  6. Joseph says:

    in an atmosphere often tainted with traces of Jansenism

    If he’s referring to certain personality traits, I could probably agree with him. However, regarding the liturgy, I have read the post-conciliar reform described as Jansenistic because the Jansenists, in addition to being simply rude, were notoriously bland in the practice of the Christian religion, despising devotion to Our Lady and other traditional expressions of Catholic piety.

  7. Choirmaster says:

    From Fr. Z’s comments:

    {insert scary pipe organ music here}

    Now honestly, Father, where is a lib like that going to find a pipe organ? [touché]

    Maybe we just found the only use for the pipe organ that the author finds acceptable: creating an eerie atmosphere around evil traditionalist priestly societies.

  8. Nathan says:

    Choirmaster, I would submit that, if it’s scary music he’s after, he would be better served by a Wurlitzer than a pipe organ.

    In Christ,

  9. brendon says:

    …with little or no proper treatment of the Second Vatican Council.

    What we see here is a common typo. What Mr. Mickens seems to have meant to write, as best can be deciphered from context, is, “…with little or no treatment of my understanding of the Second Vatican Council.”

    I do hope the editors of The Tablet are more careful in the future. Such typographical errors can lead to the spread of false information. And no newspaper worth anything would want that. Right?

  10. Corleone says:

    Truly dispicable. But some observations:

    a) “Keep in mind that the SSPX in France has rightly or wrongly been tied up with “right wing” politics.” What is wrong with this? “right wing politics” in Europe usually mean 1. strong nationalism 2. pro-tradition 3. anti-abortion Yes, there are always extremists who call for the “glory days” of Vichey/Fascism/Nazism etc. But every movement has its wackos. I don’t think it’s fair to demonise “right wing politics” in Europe, or the SSPX for their perceived support or ties.

    b)“It is also worthy of note that the laity supporting these institutes often think of their ‘clerics’ as a privileged caste, while all others occupy a markedly lower grade of status before the Church and God,” the FSSP professor said. Then the FSSP professor is not as schooled or educated as he should be, since you must be born into a caste. Unless he is saying traditionalists are urging the reinstatement of the priestly Kohanim (and in Catholicism I don’t know how we would do this since priests cannot sire offspring) then what he MEANT to say was a “priveleged CLASS”, in which case he may have a point.

    Personally, I take any priest I meet at face value. I have met several who I can tell joined for the WRONG reasons (no, I cannot read their minds, but it is quite obvious and let’s just leave it at that). In other words, I give them the respect their office is due, and leave it at that until I can get a good sense of his true nature. And honestly, there are SO MANY BAD PRIESTS around, that I honestly don’t care if the priest in question is a Novus Ordo only type or not. As long as he is orthodox in his teaching and doesn’t commit scandal, that is good enough for me at this point. Maybe I’ve set my expectations too low. But that is the environment I have been presented with.

  11. Henry Edwards says:

    Martin: I wonder would it be a sin to put this garbage in a more fitting place?

    Or whether (under the usual conditions) you might hope to obtain a plenary indulgence by doing so? As I’ve sometimes wondered regarding a copy of Annibale Bugnini’s autobiography “The Reform of the Liturgy” that one morning at Mass I was surprised to find sitting right beside me on the pew.

  12. John Polhamus says:

    I say again: Now is the time for our instance on orthodoxy to be as loud and public as their filthy ankle-biting. [Let’s tone this down.] WE must be organized. We must be public. WE must insist as loudly as they resist. If we don’t, we have no one to blame but ourselves. Works AND faith…that’s what it takes.

  13. Choirmaster says:

    Nathan:

    Why stop at Wurlitzer? To me it\’s scary enough with a guitar, several tambourines, and frustrated, clipped-haired women in sundresses wagging their elbows to the tune of \”Alleluia Ch-Ch.\”

  14. Fr A says:

    I never cease to be amused at how blissfully unaware such folks are at the supreme irony in some of their diatribes. They are incessantly droning on about “key doctrinal developments and ecclesiological changes introduced by the Second Vatican Council – most conspicuously the liturgical reforms”. And yet few — if any — seem ever to have actually read any of the documents promulgated by the Council, let alone a single document from start to finish, let alone actually take the time to study them.

    …most conspicuously the liturgical reforms

    Oh, puh-leez! If there’s anyone who is either ignorant of or willfully disobedient to the liturgical reforms called for by the Council, it’s writers just like Mickens: they’re some of the worst offenders I’ve ever encoutered.

  15. While it might be the case that a secret memo was sent out via the Underground Fifth Column Progressivist “Catholic” Movement’s email list that the time has come to savage Tradition (not just traditionalists, meaning everyone more traditional than that Chittister woman), I think another thing is likely. In times of shrinking subscriptions, it’s common practice for editorial decisions to be made to “preach to the choir.” You can see this happening now with other magazines of formerly vast subscription bases, which are shrunken and have changed direction: Newsweek, Time, etc. What happens is they try to lock in a subscriber base by telling them exactly what they want to hear. You can expect “The Bitter Pill” to become only more bitter, and more easily flushed away, as time goes on. The Tablet is becoming the tabloid of choice for the progressivists. (And might I interject: what absolutely poor taste these people have! The writing is atrocious. It’s the production of juvenile writing skill.)

    Turnabout’s fair play, though. Someone should set up a blog that fisks the contents of every single issue, just as Fr Z regularly does for selected articles, while also providing content to the contrary in support of Tradition. There are undoubtedly any number of fine contributors to be had for such a thing.

  16. Sam says:

    “…liberals want a smaller tent. They prefer to exclude rather than include.”

    This is absolutely the case. I’m a minister inside the United Church of Christ, a denomination that was started to provide a big tent for Christians of all kinds. Indeed, our motto is, “That they may all be one,” echoing the prayer of Christ. Yet a year ago, our president, John Thomas, said that the UCC will probably need to stop seeing itself as a big tent and more as a small tent moving in a particular direction. Apparently this sentiment is not limited to UCC liberals.

  17. Brian Mershon says:

    “‘students at its two seminaries – one in Germany, the other in the United States – are given a similar classical training based on apologetics and St Thomas Aquinas as the SSPX, with little or no proper treatment of the Second Vatican Council.”

    The seminarians of the FSSP study the key Vatican II documents IN LATIN. Remember, the documents f the Second Vatican Council have no official translations into foreign languages yet.

  18. RichR says:

    WDTPRS = What did the Pope really say?

  19. Mark M says:

    This article is purely disgusting. I hope the Tablet is wound up soon – of course one would hope the Holy See would declare The Tablet to be heretical (or insert appropriate word), but Fr Blake has a good and practical suggestion about writing to the charitable trust which owns it…

  20. Dan says:

    “’students at its two seminaries – one in Germany, the other in the United States – are given a similar classical training based on apologetics and St Thomas Aquinas as the SSPX, with little or no proper treatment of the Second Vatican Council”

    I have been told, by an SSPX priest, that during his priestly formation at St Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona, the seminarians read and studied the Vatican II documents extensively.

  21. Vincent says:

    “tainted with traces of Jansenism and a rigidly neo-Platonised, clericalist vision of the dispensation of divine grace”

    Neoplatonism? Heavens, no. We wouldn’t want people reading the Neoplatonists … like, say, Augustine.

  22. Tomas says:

    Christopher Ferrara has utterly demolished this argument that there were any new “doctrinal developments” at Vatican II that need to be “accepted” by the SSPX. Malachi Martin has also pointed out that there was nothing new in those documents: “All was affirmed.” Pope Benedict has previously pointed out that this was a pastoral Council and not binding on the faithful since it promulgated no new dogma. So what exactly is this all about? Smoke and mirrors.

  23. LCB says:

    Diversity means uniformity.

    Preserve a sacred place for Latin means abolish all Latin.

    Being divisive is unity.

    The newspeak continues.

  24. big bertha says:

    Tomas – ”Pope Benedict has previously pointed out that this was a pastoral Council and not binding on the faithful since it promulgated no new dogma.”

    When exactly did Pope Benedict make such a statement (either in his capacity as pope or formerly as Cardnal R???
    Hasn’t he just said that the SSPX must accept in full the VC2 (i.e. it is binding)?
    Weren’t there four dogmatic statements from VC11, most of them titled ‘Dogmatic Constitution on….’ etc?
    VC2 may not have promulgated new dogmas but it certainly did develop doctrine.

  25. Jacques says:

    Tomas, you are right: Who is able to list the VATII’S teachings that are binding the Catholic faithfuls? The answer is: Nobody since no dogma was issued.
    Then what? 40 years of mess in the Church because some liberals wanted to enforce the idea that the so called “spirit of the council” was in itself a super dogma that superseded the bimillenarist Tradition of the Church. What an imposture!
    Now the abomination of the desolation for the progressivists is that, like said our Pope, Vatican II needs to be re-read IN THE LIGHT OF TRADITION.

  26. Dan says:

    “Hasn’t he just said that the SSPX must accept in full the VC2 (i.e. it is binding)?”

    Big Bertha,

    No, he did not.

  27. Aine says:

    Robert Mickens is an Anglican. The penney just hasn’t dropped yet.

  28. big bertha says:

    Dan – Yes he did!

  29. Henry Edwards says:

    big bertha: When exactly did Pope Benedict make such a statement (either in his capacity as pope or formerly as Cardnal R???

    Card. Ratzinger’s 1988 Remarks to the Bishops of Chile
    http://www.unavoce.org/cardinal_ratzinger_chile.htm
    “The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.”

    I myself have no problem with Vatican II, partly because I know of no doctrine newly developed by Vatican II. So I wonder whether anyone can name a single Catholic doctrinal belief entailed by “full acceptance of Vatican II” that wouldn’t have been familiar to a sufficiently informed pre-Vatican II Catholic.

  30. TJM says:

    I have a question for someone here who may know the answer. Is the Tablet under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Westminster? If so, a prudent
    appointment to replace the current Archbishop may have a salutory effect on this “publication.” Tom

  31. Woody Jones says:

    Reading of the “Pill” should be reprobated. Remember the Action Francaise? Actually I hope no one (not even me) is in a position to remember that far back (1926), and Pope Benedict, as dearly as I love him, is not Pius XI, either, for good or for bad, as they say.

  32. Corleone says:

    HENRY – I posted this on another thread. The only issue I have with Vatican II is what is says about Mohammedans. The former term for the followers of the founder of Islam was Maomettanos. Vatican II documents changed this term to “Muslimos”, which as I had asked the other day as well, I cannot think of any pre-Vatican II document that refers to them with this made up word.

    If you’d like, read what the document Nostra Aetate has to say about Mohammedans here. This really seems to contradict earlier church teachings in the belief about worshipping the same triune God.

    That’s really the only issues I have here, as it does seeem to conflict.

  33. Dan says:

    Big Bertha,

    Please cite the source where Pope Benedict himself said that the FSSPX must accept everything that the Pastoral Council Vatican II espoused.

    The Society have always acknowledged that Vatican II was a validly called Council of the Church and they accept 95% of its documents, which are just reiterations of what the Church always taught.
    It’s the noveltys they do not and should not accept and Pope Benedict would never force any Catholic to do so.

  34. Simon Platt says:

    Dear TJM,

    No, the Tablet has not been under the jurisdiction of any bishop for many years. It’s owned by a charitable trust. Ttony has been posting about the Tablet’s ownership and management e.g. see here http://ttonys-blog.blogspot.com/2008/11/tablet-who-owns-it-and-how-we-can.html

    A list of trustees is available here: UK charity commission website. Many of the names are well known in British and Irish public life – politics, journalism, government etc. Few of them inspire confidence in my old-fashioned, conservative and traditionally inclined breast.

  35. big bertha says:

    Father, I wish to make you aware that you are in breach of copyright by re-presenting the Tablet articles in full. You will notice that Fr F has been requested to remove these offences. My understanding is that their ‘fair use’ policy (& UK copyright law) allows you to qoute not more than 5% of the article. [LOL! So you are an agent of the Tablet. Excellent!]

  36. Henry Edwards says:

    Dan: The Society have always acknowledged that Vatican II was a validly called Council of the Church and they accept 95% of its documents

    Vatican II explicitly reaffirmed all previously taught Catholic doctrine and dogma, and in particular all definitions of the Council of Trent. That being the case, perhaps the only Catholics today who can truthfully claim to accept 95% of Vatican II are traditional Catholics — including, ironically, some who might deny that they do so.

  37. Steve K. says:

    I see, does English law hold sovereignty in the United States?

  38. Jordanes says:

    Big Bertha said: Hasn’t he just said that the SSPX must accept in full the VC2 (i.e. it is binding)?

    Kind of. In the Feb. 4 release from Cardinal Bertone’s office, which is presumed to have the Pope’s approval, it was stipulated that the SSPX must show “full recognition of Vatican Council II and the Magisterium of Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul, John Paul II, and of Benedict XVI.”

    Weren’t there four dogmatic statements from VC11, most of them titled ‘Dogmatic Constitution on….’ etc?

    No, Vatican II issued only two dogmatic documents. All other documents are of lesser authority

    VC2 may not have promulgated new dogmas but it certainly did develop doctrine.

    Yes, albeit not infallibly and irreformably. Nothing to be sneezed at, by any stretch, but still not matters to which Catholics are bound to give the assent of faith.

    Corleone said: The former term for the followers of the founder of Islam was Maomettanos. Vatican II documents changed this term to “Muslimos”, which as I had asked the other day as well, I cannot think of any pre-Vatican II document that refers to them with this made up word.

    It is held to be more respectful to refer to a group by the name they wish to be called by. Muslims have always been angered by the term “Mohammedan,” because they say it implies that they worship Muhammad. It is an accurate term, of course, since their beliefs and religion come from Muhammad, and that is the sense of the term “Mohammedan.” But since the Church wants us to forget past animosities “and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom,” she has decided to refer to Muslims by their name of choice rather than use a term that will unnecessarily provoke them.

    If you’d like, read what the document Nostra Aetate has to say about Mohammedans here. This really seems to contradict earlier church teachings in the belief about worshipping the same triune God.

    Nostra Aetate based its statement that the Muslims worship the one God upon Pope St. Gregory VII’s letter to Anzir, King of Mauritania, in which he wrote, “This affection we and you owe to each other in a more peculiar way than to people of other races because we worship and confess the same God [literally, ‘the one God’] though in diverse forms and daily praise and adore him as the creator and ruler of this world. For, in the words of the Apostle, “He is our peace who hath made both one.”
    This grace granted to you by God is admired and praised by many of the Roman nobility who have learned from us of your benevolence and high qualities.” Further on, St. Gregory writes, “God knows our true regard for you to his glory and how truly we desire your prosperity and honor, both in this life and in the life to come, and how earnestly we pray both with our lips and with our heart that God himself, after the long journey of this life, may lead you into the bosom of the most holy patriarch Abraham.”

    That is the context against which we should read what the Church said about Islam at Vatican II.

  39. Jordanes says:

    From the Infallible Oracle Wikipedia, on the “fair dealing” exception to the U.K. copyright law:

    “Beyond non-commercial research, private study and incidental copying, another common exception to copyright is for criticism, review or news reporting. Fair dealing for the purposes of criticism or review only applies with sufficient acknowledgement and provided that the work being criticised or reviewed has been made available to the public. For news reporting fair dealing does not extend to photographs and acknowledgement is only required where reasons of practicality do not rule this out.”

    Sounds like Father Zuhlsdorf is covered. He has acknowledged that it is a Tablet hit piece, and he has republished and fisked it for the purpose of criticism. Ergo, no violation of copyright law.

  40. LCB says:

    NA is a cagey document, and it does a masterful job of not saying very much about the Muslims and their object of worship.

  41. Jordanes says:

    Much as St. Gregory, eh, LCB?

  42. Son of Trypho says:

    This is actually a very interesting article and a very telling insight into the “liberal” faction’s views on the conservative faction(s) and should be carefully studied. (Although the author is Anglican, there is little doubt that liberal Catholics would agree wholeheartedly with his views).

    The most notable point is that the author implicitly recognises that demography is destiny – the conservative faction is growing at a reasonable rate and slowly claiming influence over certain areas. This is a frightening reality to liberals, particularly Catholics, who have watched the Church decline in the last 40 years of their various innovations and (malformed) renewal.

    Simply put, the conservatives are having children who are adhering to faith, they are providing vocations to conservative orders – the liberal’s children have mostly abandoned the faith and very rarely provide vocations and many of the liberal clergy are declining through age attrition. Additionally, the conservatives and youth are taking up tradition and education and arguing from an informed perspective and rejecting many of the ideas that the liberals have been propagating for decades. The liberal youth are generally woefully informed and educated and will not be able to compete in the marketplace of ideas over the long term and the liberals around today know they wont be around to argue them in the future.

    Like all issues of legacy and identity, they are concerned that everything they have worked for in the last 40+ years is going to be discredited or lost and indirectly so will their reputation and historical memory.

    Unable and unwilling to acknowledge that something has gone seriously wrong (I have suggested before that if this was a private business it would be considered in serious crisis – Islam is now bigger than Catholicism for goodness’ sake!), they will now use whatever positions of influence they have (which are still considerable) to damage their opponents and particularly the Pope.

    The attacks on the Pope are two-fold IMO; to damage his credibility as a means to undermine his authority and the idea of papal infallibility and to put pressure on his successor – to alert whoever that may be that they will have a vicious fight on their hands if they continue these sort of actions. As it is, you are already seeing rumblings of national church ideas (Austrian bishops re Fr Wagner) which might be the last serious opportunity to rebel with significant numbers. Similarly, the pressure is on the Pope to avoid this sort of dissension – no one wants their legacy to include the breakdown of the unity of the Church.

    I would not be surprised if the militancy grows in the next few years – you might even have the situation where the most extreme liberals attend EF masses and demand communion in the hand, do the responses in the vernacular etc – based on their ideas of their rights and knowing that it will irk their opponents no end.

    Long term, conservatives need to continue to consolidate and grow in strength and numbers and try to avoid being ghettoized within the broader Church – remember, many extreme liberals harbouring malice would probably prefer to see their unused churches be provided to other religions than go to an EF parish/group. Similarly, the conservative groups (not merely confined to EF) probably need to do a bit more outreach and charity work in the public eye (soup kitchens perhaps?) – charity was what sustained the early Church and its faithful and the current times provide us with a great opportunity to help others.

  43. RML says:

    “tainted with traces of Jansenism”

    haha

    I can’t tell you how many times Fr. Berg, (at the time he was our parish priest,) and other FSSP priests have warned me AGAINST falling into the errors of Jansenism.

  44. mpm says:

    The only truly scary thought in all this for me is the possibility
    that these heterodox folks have absolutely no faith, just power, of
    a sort.

  45. Malta says:

    Since I have a good friend born a Muslim, I’m not casting judgement here but, rather, providing a counter-balance to Jordanes’ post, supra. One must quiery: if Muslims worship the same God as Catholics, why does the Koran say that those who worship the Trinity are terrible heretics?

    St. Francis Xavier, May, 1546: “The evil [of Islam] was introduced by some Mahometan caicizes (ministers of religion), who came from Mecca in Arabia, where the accursed body of Mahomet is honored with great superstition.”

    St. Francis of Assisi (+ c. 1210): [To the Muslims] “We have come to preach faith in Jesus Christ to you, that you will renounce Mohammad, that wicked slave of the devil, and obtain everlasting life like us.”

    St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Pt. II, Q. 12, A. 1, Obj. 2: “… if anyone were to… worship at the tomb of Mahomet, he would be deemed an apostate.”

    Well, here’s at least one Bishop who thinks Christians should PRAY to Allah!

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/aug/07081503.html

  46. Red Maria says:

    [Keep in mind that the SSPX in France has rightly or wrongly been tied up with “right wing” politics.]

    SSPX in France has not been tied up with “right wing politics” but extreme right wing politics of an Action Francaise Vichyite type. Fascism, in other words.

    Among other things, an SSPX priory in Nice harboured and so helped to evade justice, the Vichy collaborator, Paul Touvier, who was later convicted of crimes against humanity.

    So with respect, there was no rightly about it, only wrongly, disgracefully and insultingly. SSPX drank at the trough of fascism. There are many orthodox Catholics, not least those like myself who have family members who were murdered by nazis who object to them.

  47. Red Maria says:

    I’ve just seen this comment by Corleone which deserves a rejoinder, I think:

    a) “Keep in mind that the SSPX in France has rightly or wrongly been tied up with “right wing” politics.” What is wrong with this? “right wing politics” in Europe usually mean 1. strong nationalism 2. pro-tradition 3. anti-abortion Yes, there are always extremists who call for the “glory days” of Vichey/Fascism/Nazism etc. But every movement has its wackos. I don’t think it’s fair to demonise “right wing politics” in Europe, or the SSPX for their perceived support or ties.

    Corleone, as I pointed out above, SSPX didn’t deal in “right wing politics” in the ordinary sense of the term. It dealt in fascism. Bear in mind what fascism is: an attempt by the bourgeoisie to smash the organised working class. Bear in mind what distinguishes fascism: authoritariansi, militarism and racism. Bear in mind the methods fascists use to gain power: violence.

    Now, if that’s not persuasive enough, I’d like you to explain to the countless millions of Nazi victims and their families why SSPX should not be demonised for helping Paul Touvier evade justice.

    Paul Touvier worked under the “Butcher of Lyons” Klaus Barbie. He was on the run fropm justice when SSPX harboured him. He was later convicted of crimes against humanity for his part in the assassination of seven Jewish hostages at Rielleux La Pape. It also later emerged that Touvier had taken for himself the property of Jews he’d helped deport to death. So he wasn’t only a murderer in other words, he was also a thief.

    Would you feel the same way if SSPX helped, say, Osama bin Laden, evade justice? I doubt it.

    Would SSPX have given shelter to North African immigrants, do you think? Again I doubt it.

  48. Dan says:

    Muslims do not worship the same God as Catholics.

    Catholics worship a Triune Godhead.

    Muslims worship one god. Not Three Persons in One Divinity.

    It is impossible to worship One Person of the Blessed Trinity and not worship the other Two.

    So if you are not worshipping God, who is left to worship?

  49. Red Maria says:

    So if Moslems don’t worship the same God as Christians, what about Jews, Mr Smartypants?

  50. Son of Trypho says:

    Jews worship the Father but do not understand/comprehend/accept the concept of the Trinity.

  51. Mark says:

    The author of this article wrote of SSPX;

    “…their unwavering refusal over the years to accept key doctrinal developments and ecclesiological changes introduced by the Second Vatican Council…”

    The progressive faction still thinks that it posses a monopoly on the “correct” interpretation of the Vatican II documents. Regardless of what they think, the maturing Traditionalist movement within the Church will sooner or later present its own interpretation of this Council, in the context of the fullness of Catholic Tradition. I don’t see the Catholic left having the wherewithal to stop it.

  52. Dan says:

    “So if Moslems don’t worship the same God as Christians, what about Jews, Mr Smartypants?”

    Mrs Maria,

    How did you know my last name???

    The modern day Jews do not worship the same God either.

    If one says that they worship only God the Father, but not the Son and the Holy Ghost, then
    they are not worshipping the same God that Catholics worship.
    You cannot seperate the three Persons.

  53. Son of Trypho says:

    Dan
    I suggest you read “Nostra Aetate” on this.
    As I personally understand this, both Muslims and Jews worship God as understood as the Father – however their worship and understanding of the Divinity and God (understood from a Christian perspective) is imperfect as they do not acknowledge the Trinity.
    Instead of inferring that they worship the diabolical you should be reaching out to Jews and Muslims in an attempt to help them understand the Trinity and the Messiah in a more correct way.

  54. Dan says:

    Trypho

    “Instead of inferring that they worship the diabolical you should be reaching out to Jews and Muslims in an attempt to help them understand the Trinity and the Messiah in a more correct way.’

    I hope that I do in my own small way.

    I am in the process of teaching the Roman Catechism to a Rabbi friend of my family.
    He is making great strides in his understanding of the Blessed Trinity, praise God, and has actually told me that he has never really worshipped God before.
    I have not encountered any Moslems yet.
    God willing…
    I am trying.

  55. Corleone says:

    Red Maria – I guess this just shows that biggotry runs so deep in some people that they will invent and lie to prove their point.

    Malta – good points. However, in all fairness, while “Allah” to a Mohammedan is equivalent to “YWHE” to a Jew, “allah” to Arabic speaking Christians simply means “god” and they use it all the time to mean just that in spoken Arabic. Now, in their LITURGIES, they tend to use the word “Aloho” which comes from the Aramaic (since most Arabic speaking Christians were of the Syriac branch once upon a time before the Mohammedan conquests).

    Son of Trypho – if Satan came to this earth in the form of an angel and told you point blank, “God’s name is Bill and he has horns and a tail” then you spread this word to all your followers, saying “God is the creator, the god of Abraham and the prophets, the one and only, and his name is Bill and he has horns and a tail”. Just whom would you be following?

  56. Steve K. says:

    “Red Maria”?

    LOL

  57. Corleone says:

    Steve – as opposed to “Menace” apparently. But check around, she’s actually quite active on the blogger’s circuit. How does the old saying go? Commie see, Commie do?

  58. Fabrizio says:

    That aside, I know several FSSP priests who hope that the Novus Ordo will be celebrated well and in continuity with the Church’s liturgical tradition. I have had long conversations about this point with more than one FSSP priest.

    Father,

    in support of your 100% spot-on remarks (and a further proof of the Tablet’s underwhelming intellectual honesty or plain lack of accuracy in reporting) your readers who understand Italian will appreciate this Radio Vaticana interview with Fr. Joseph Kramer FSSP – our parish priest at SS. Trinità dei Pellegrini in Rome – and a group of young people of the parish. Among the interesting observations by Fr. Kramer, an insistence on the hoped for influence of TLM on the reformed liturgy (aka “gravitational pull”) so that it can be celebrated more reverently and in keeping with the rubrics and in continuity with the unchanged teaching of the Church.

    http://roma.fssp.it/testi/00147525.RM

    since they identify being a recipient of salvific grace with mastering and maintaining rubrical and ritualistic integrity in an atmosphere often tainted with traces of Jansenism and a rigidly neo-Platonised, clericalist vision of the dispensation of divine grace

    I wonder if the anonymous dissatisfied ex-member has ever spoken with an actual FSSP priest, let alone worked as one of their “professors”. Or maybe he’s met only one, and it was the worng guy to ask. Believe it or not, just recently I had a conversation with Fr. Fr. Kramer after Mass and at some point we touched on the state of the present crisis of religious orders (e.g. Jesuits) and how – and why – some extremely rigid neo-thomists turned ultra-modernists during the dark ages (1960’s-1970’s). I cited the enduring Jansenist poisoning of seminaries among the remote causes of the present crisis and he agreed like it was something obvious. Not that he needs my defense, but how dare these ever unhappy and bilious modernist rags accuse brave priests – who are doing a wonderful job worldwide – missions included – of heresy??

    As to the “ideological fixation” with following the rubrics, I have seen it neither at SS. Tirnità nor elsewhere and find it even hard to understand what such term means exactly. You either do the red or you don’t do it. If you (the priest) or your servers are learning, nobody will burn you at the stake for missing one detail or the other. What is “rigid” for the tablet? I would like to see how the red is done (and the black said) at a Mass the Tablet approves of, then we can talk “ideological fixations”…sheesh…

  59. Fr. Dennis Duvelius says:

    Back when I studied at the FSSP’s seminary at Wigratzbad, we spent a whole semester studying Lumen Gentium, the most important document of Vatican II, line by line. Not only that, our ecclesiology professor was Leo Cardinal Scheffczyk, who helped draft Lumen Gentium.

  60. Steve K. says:

    Corleone – exactly what I was thinking.

  61. Jordanes says:

    Malta said: One must quiery: if Muslims worship the same God as Catholics, why does the Koran say that those who worship the Trinity are terrible heretics?

    For the same reason that the Quran says all kinds of erroneous things. If the Quran can’t even tell the difference between the Blessed Virgin with Moses’ sister Miriam, there should be no surprise that the Quran would get the Trinity wrong.

    St. Francis Xavier, May, 1546: “The evil [of Islam] was introduced by some Mahometan caicizes (ministers of religion), who came from Mecca in Arabia, where the accursed body of Mahomet is honored with great superstition.”

    St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Pt. II, Q. 12, A. 1, Obj. 2: “… if anyone were to… worship at the tomb of Mahomet, he would be deemed an apostate.”

    Of course it should be noted that Muslim rites at Mecca are focused on the Kaaba, not Muhammad’s tomb. That is one of the old Christian misunderstandings of Islam.
    Well, here’s at least one Bishop who thinks Christians should PRAY to Allah!

    Christians have been praying to Allah far longer than Islam has existed, and will be praying to Allah long after Islam is gone and forgotten.

    Dan said: Muslims do not worship the same God as Catholics. Catholics worship a Triune Godhead. Muslims worship one god. Not Three Persons in One Divinity.

    Christians also worship one God. The Three Persons are one God.

    It is impossible to worship One Person of the Blessed Trinity and not worship the other Two. So if you are not worshipping God, who is left to worship?

    True. That means the Muslims, when they offer worship to the one God, are offering worship not only to the Father, but to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, even though they don’t think that’s what they’re doing and would become very upset if you told them they were doing that. There is no God but Allah, the Blessed Trinity, but Muhammad was not His prophet. Nevertheless St. Gregory was right that the Muslims worship the one God, even though they do not know Him as they think they do. There is a sense in which it is true that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, and there is another sense in which the God whom Christians worship is not the same as the deity the Muslims worship.

  62. Mike says:

    I loved the term “neo-Tridentine”. Can we expect endless gabbling about neo-trids in the near future? :-)

    Mike

  63. Dan says:

    Jordanes,

    Catholics are Christians.

    I was discussing the True Faith.

    “There is a sense in which it is true that Christians and Muslims worship the same God”

    This dichotomy is impossible, just as one cannot be in partial communion with the Church,
    one cannot partially worship God.

    One either worships God as He is, or he worships something else or nothing at all.

  64. TerryC says:

    Dan,
    Both St. Gregory VII and the Universal Church, through the document Nostra Aetate, seem to disagree with you.

  65. Red Maria says:

    Quick replies to some new members of my fan club:
    [Red Maria – I guess this just shows that biggotry runs so deep in some people that they will invent and lie to prove their point.]
    Corleone, are you suggesting that I’ve invented things and lied to prove my point? If you are then what’s with the coyness? Why don’t you address your allegation to me directly, eh, big boy? And while we’re about it, demonstrate how and where I’ve invented things and lied, or you’re duty bound to withdraw your comment.
    [Red Maria”?
    LOL]
    Inspired.
    [Steve – as opposed to “Menace” apparently. But check around, she’s actually quite active on the blogger’s circuit. How does the old saying go? Commie see, Commie do?]
    Sir, you’re really spoiling us with this scintillating wit of yours. But why do I get the impression that you’ve been fumbling around in my bins? Yeurgh! But how does the old saying go? Stupid is as stupid does.
    [Corleone – exactly what I was thinking.]
    Naah, geddaway. Great minds think alike, small ones rarely differ etc etc.