SSPX/Holy See talks

Here is a story from Reuters about the theological talks between the SSPX and the Holy See:

October 13th, 2009
“Return to past” is SSPX motto for doctrinal talks with Vatican

Posted by: Tom Heneghan

As planned negotiations between the Vatican and the ultra-traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) near, the group’s Swiss leader, Bishop Bernard Fellay, has spelled out his view of what the Roman Catholic Church must do to resolve the crisis he believes it is in. “The solution to the crisis is a return to the past,” he has told a magazine published by the SSPX in South Africa. [You can pretty much hear that this is taken out of a larger context, can't you.  Still... it is an unfortunate phrase.]

Fellay said Pope Benedict agrees with the SSPX on the need to maintain the Church’s links to the past, but still wants to keep some reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). “This is one of the most sensitive problems,” he said. “We hope the discussions will allow us to dispel the grave ambiguities that have spread through the Catholic Church since (the Council), as John Paul II himself recognised.”  [That would be fine.]

Benedict has, in fact, listed SSPX acceptance of Vatican II reforms was a Vatican conditions in the talks.

In the same interview with the magazine Tradition, he also indicated the [two interesting items here...] SSPX was ready to add several new issues to the agenda of the talks that could drag on the sessions for years. The talks are due to start later this month.

Fellay, who was readmitted into the Roman Catholic Church in January with three other bishops after two decades of excommunication, said the Church was in such a crisis that it would take more than one generation of “constant efforts in the right direction” and possibly as long as a century to overcome it[?!?]

He said he had no idea how long the SSPX’s doctrinal discussions with the Vatican would take.  “This will certainly also depend on what Rome expects. They could take quite a long time.”  [You get the sense that he is speaking to the "money".]
  
Fellay then indicated the SSPX could also contribute to dragging out these talks as much as possible. “The issues are vast,” he told the magazine. “Our principle objections to the Council, such as religious liberty, ecumenism and collegiality are well known. But other objections could be posed, such as the influence of modern philosophy, the liturgical novelties, the spirit of the world and its influence on the modern thought that holds sway in the Church.”

Vast is certainly the way to describe that agenda. The questions are so broad they could take years of debate before agreement is reached, if at all. And the SSPX would presumably want to have these issues discussed and agreed on before negotiations about the Vatican II reforms could start. Does this amount to what is known in their beloved Latin as putting off something ad kalendas graecas (to the Greek calends), i.e. forever?

 

A very good question.

However, I suspect that the writer himself wouldn’t be displeased if that were the case.

I wrote repeatedly on this blog that the two sides need to come together with good will and not be afraid to be challenged by the other sides position.

Furthermore, the talks don’t have to resolve in perfect agreement.  There is room for questions in all of the issues they are going to discuss.

They must come to sufficient agreement so that greater unity can be formalized.

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41 Responses to SSPX/Holy See talks

  1. Sedgwick says:

    What exactly is an ultra traditionalist?

  2. Baron Korf says:

    Father, I’m confused. What do they hope to achieve by prolonging their ‘canonically irregular’ status. I just don’t get how they think they are helping build up the Church by their actions.

  3. Agnes says:

    Why would it take a century? Don’t you think after a certain amount of time for discussion the Church would finally make a call?

  4. You wrote: “I wrote repeatedly on this blog that the two sides need to come together with good will and not be afraid to be challenged by the other sides position.”

    Father, I’m afraid that phrasing the situation in this way can create the impression that this is a negotiation between two equal parties, each with their own interest in a common enterprise, not unlike management and labor in a contract renewal.

    But to parse the situation in this way is a grave error. The Holy See is not a “side” in this matter. [Good point.]
    One the one hand there is the Roman Pontiff, and the other hand is a society of clerics who are in disobedience to the Roman Pontiff and have been for over two decades. They are celebrating sacraments illicitly every day and continue to do so without the smallest sign of compunction, as witnessed by this summer’s priestly ordinations.

    This is not a negotiation at all. It is a conversation begun by the Roman Pontiff in the hope of bringing back into full communion with the Church a society of clerics who are, whatever the merits of their cause and the justice of their complaints, in disobedience to the supreme authority of the Church. In this conversation, the Holy See is not a “side.” [Well... it probably is effectively a negotiation, no? When it comes right down to it?]

  5. wchoag says:

    Having followed this dance for over a quarter century now, I really do not believe that the FSSPX is approaching this dialogue with any good will or openness. For them this is a zero-sum game: Rome capitulates and the FSSPX wins! No give and take, no compromise or nuancing. Just the Society way or no way.

    An area of the dialogue that particularly interests me is the nature of Judaism. Here I am convinced that the FSSPX carries the day. In good will, Rome would have to concede to the Society’s position. But is Rome willing to stand up to the public furor that would result from such concession? The USCCB is already trying to back step into a “Two-Covenant” approach that had to be removed from the U.S. Adult Catechism.

    In the other direction, Rome had better hold firm on the Council’s ecclesiology!

  6. wchoag says:

    “In this conversation, the Holy See is not a ‘side.’”

    AMEN!!!

  7. 4mercy says:

    Add another “amen” to Fr. Jay’s post! Word to FSSPX… OBEDIENCE!!!

  8. Fr. Newman: I always enjoy when you jump in! You wrote:

    Father, I’m afraid that phrasing the situation in this way can create the impression that this is a negotiation between two equal parties, each with their own interest in a common enterprise, not unlike management and labor in a contract renewal.

    Sure.  You are right about that.  They are not, in fact, equal sides.

    However, even while the Holy See pressed its position with the list of “pre-conditions” which were sent to the SSPX, the Holy Father has also made some other gestures which indicate that that superior position is not what they are at the moment choosing to stress in an aggressive way.  The Holy Father did not have to lift the excommunications, but he did.  He did restructure the Pont. Comm. Ecclesia Dei to make it more apt for these talks.

    But you are, of course, correct to remind everone… and I think the SSPX needs to be reminded as well… that this is not a discussion between equal parties.

    Practically speaking, however, if there are going to be discussions, then there are going to be two sides in the discussions.  The sides have different roles, but they each present their own “sides”.  While those who sit down at the table for the Holy See must be willing to deal with the SSPX side’s arguments seriously, so to do the people from the SSPX need to understand that, ultimately, they are not in a position to instruct Peter.  Peter will eventually instruct everyone.

  9. mpm says:

    What exactly is an ultra traditionalist?
    Comment by Sedgwick — 14 October 2009 @ 10:26 am

    Facetiously, a trad who is way beyond the pale!

  10. Geoffrey says:

    “Our principle objections to the Council, such as religious liberty, ecumenism and collegiality are well known…”

    Collegiality? Then be a good example and submit to the Vicar of Christ! :O

    To be honest, I am tired of the SSPX drama. Things are turning around in the Church. We have Summorum Pontificum with its positive affects (i.e., “gravitational pull”) on the Ordinary Form, the “biological solution” is dealing with a lot, a better batch of bishops, and the up-and-coming “John Paul II priests”. “Brick-by-brick”, the future looks bright. The “Springtime of the Church” is upon us. Laudetur Iesus Christus!

  11. Sid says:

    At the very least one ought hope that the negotiations will:

    1. clarify what is ambiguous in V2,

    2. clarify that V2 is to be interpreted by that Magisterial teaching that came before and after, and

    3. accelerate the gravitational pull of the Traditional Latin Mass upon the Ordinary Form.

    As for the question of “equal parties”, they are not. Yet may not any Catholic ask from the Holy See the above three points?

  12. Sedgwick says:

    The Holy See may not be a “side,” and these meetings may not be between “two equal parties,” but a comparison of the health of the SSPX with the health of the rest of the Church (viz. Cardinal Schönborn processing with balloons) is where the rubber meets the road. If the Holy Father didn’t think the SSPX was vital to the Church, there would be no meetings. If the Holy Father didn’t think there was substantial merit to the SSPX analyses of various documents of Vatican II, there would be no meetings. If the Holy Father didn’t think that tradition, and the traditional Mass, were the keys to correcting the chaos of the past 40 years, there would be no meetings….and there wouldn’t be any Summorum Pontificum either.

  13. Sedgwick: What exactly is an ultra traditionalist?

    Good question.

    It think it might be what fans of the National Catholic Reporter call people who aren’t fans of the National Catholic Reporter.

    Seriously, I think this has to do with liturgical preference as a marker of your ecclesiology, etc.

  14. Aaron says:

    He didn’t say these talks would take a century; he said recovering from the crisis in the Church could take that long. Given that the modernist heresy was first noticed at least a century ago (and only accelerated in the 1960s), it’s not unreasonable to think it would take a century of diligent work to recover from it.

  15. MichaelJ says:

    Sorry Geoffrey, but we’ve been told for 40 or so years now that “the Springtime of the Church is upon us”. At this point, I’ll wait until Summer before getting my hopes up.

    On a related note, for those alarmed by the societie’s statement that “The solution to the crisis is a return to the past”, how is this different from the Holy Father’s “hermeneutic of continuity”? I’ll concede that one may be considered more politically charged, but isn’t this simply two ways of saying the same thing?

  16. fateagk says:

    I read the entire interview elsewhere, and I certainly didn’t conclude that the SSPX or +Fellay was in any way trying to draw out these discussions. I think those are Mr Heneghan’s thoughts, not +Fellay’s. I would recommend reading the interview in its entirety without the commentary from a Reuter’s reporter.

    The comment +Fellay made about it taking a century was not regarding talks with the SSPX, but about how long the affects of the upheaval within the Church may continue to be felt. I see nothing different in that statement than I do statements frequently written on this blog – there is now an entire generation from which a Catholic identity has been robbed, and it will likely take at least another generation to completely restore that (i.e. biological solution of those who brought about the upheaval, followed by restoration and deepening Catholic identity).

    I do think that +Fellay is acknowledging that there are significant issues affecting the Church in the world today, and ones for which clarification may be slow in coming as the issues are dove into, but that are necessary. Remember, that this clarification will be helpful for the salvation of many souls, as the SSPX, no matter how downplayed their size by liberal Catholic media may be, is still a significant number of souls. I don’t think quick solutions like the ones given to IBP and Transalpine Redemptorists will bring about the clarification needed here. Just my opinion.

    I pray for a quick resolution to the SSPX’s canonical status, and agree that they would be well served by demonstrating a stronger desire for restoration and obedience (but I think the past year saw much good will on their part). However, I also pray that this will be used as an opportunity to clarify, once and for all, all of the outstanding misconceptions regarding Vatican II and the developments since then, however long that may need to take, and finally bring about the hermeneutic of continuity we all desire.

  17. Jason Keener says:

    Fr. Jay Scott Newman,

    I agree with you that the Holy See is definitely going to be the party that eventually makes a final decision about the meaning of the Second Vatican Council. The Roman Pontiff is the successor to Peter, not Bishop Fellay.

    Also, I am of the opinion that the Holy See has to humbly accept responsibility for their own grave negligence over the last 45 years when they have let liturgical and doctrinal errors run nearly unchecked throughout the Church. How could Pope Paul VI have ever approved a Missal that was so inorganically constructed? What was Pope John Paul II doing as these ruptures in the Church’s life were allowed to harden?

    As I have also written on this blog numerous times, it seems highly unlikely that Rome will ever admit that there are any serious flaws in the Council’s documents on ecumenism and religious liberty. In fact, scholars like Fr. Brian Harrison have already demonstrated how the documents themselves are in continuity with the Church’s Sacred Tradition. The CDF has also aptly clarified issues like how we are to understand the phrase “subsists in” in Lumen Gentium. With Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict is doing his part to clarify and improve the liturgical situation.

    I’m afraid what keeps the SSPX hardened in their positions against Rome’s explanations and clarifications is the SSPX’s fundamental theological vision for the Church that does not sufficiently take into account the developent of doctrine and the difference between changes in doctrine and changes in the application of a doctrine. For example, the Church has always believed in the right of people to be free from coercion in matters of religion, but how that doctrine has been applied in specific cases over time has varied. The SSPX sees the Church applying the doctrine of religious liberty differently at this point in history than it has done in the past when monarchies were in vogue, and the SSPX has falsely concluded the Church has changed the essentials of the doctrine itself. The essentials have remained the same.

    Moreover, people often have a hard time with change, and I unfortunately know a lot of people in the SSPX who just do not feel comfortable with any sort of newer developments in the Church’s thinking or in the Liturgy. That seems like an improper approach to the Catholic Faith because the Holy Ghost is still working in the Church and deepening our understanding of the Sacred Deposit of Faith. We can’t close ourselves off to the Holy Ghost just because we are afraid and because change is uncomfortable. Having said that, we also cannot have a total overthrow of the past as the liberals are advocating. As Pope Benedict has said, “What was sacred then, REMAINS sacred and great for us, too.”

  18. TNCath says:

    wchoag wrote: “Having followed this dance for over a quarter century now, I really do not believe that the FSSPX is approaching this dialogue with any good will or openness. For them this is a zero-sum game: Rome capitulates and the FSSPX wins! No give and take, no compromise or nuancing. Just the Society way or no way.”

    Agreed. Despite his cordiality, Fellay’s saying “the issues are vast” belies a reluctance to reconciliation.

    As to the “ultra-traditionalist,” I’m not so sure what that means, either. While I am never sympathetic to the National Catholic Reporter, I do think there is indeed a “more Catholic than the Pope” category that could be called “pseudo-traditionlism.”

  19. MichaelJ says:

    Jason,
    I agree that the Church has not actually changed the doctrine of religious liberty, but that is not quite the way it has worked out, has it? There is a difference between a right to be free from coercion and a “right” to choose any (or no) religion. This distinction has been (some would say deliberately) lost.

    Ask any Catholic if a person has the “right”, for example to be a Baptist and you may be surprised by the answers you get – nearly all of them citing the Council’s documents.

  20. Agnes says:

    Fr Z said, “…ultimately, they are not in a position to instruct Peter. Peter will eventually instruct everyone.” And isn’t that one of the great qualities of Benedict? Make known the truth in charity!

    He has bent over backwards to bring SSPX to the table. Pray they will have the ability to “listen to the ear of the heart” and understand the Magisterium is still, and always will be, guided by the Holy Spirit. They owe their assent.

    And as for processing in with balloons – the frustration SSPX vents against liturgical schizophrenia is understandable – why else are we all here bemoaning this and that on WDTPRS? I keep telling the kids, if you just do as you’re supposed to, it’s not going to be such a big stink! We all know the rules – where are the consequences for (and in some cases, rampant) disobedience?

    “Do whatever He tells you,” Mary says. Ecclesiology according to Mom.

  21. Childermass says:

    “While those who sit down at the table for the Holy See must be willing to deal with the SSPX side’s arguments seriously, so to do the people from the SSPX need to understand that, ultimately, they are not in a position to instruct Peter. Peter will eventually instruct everyone.”

    Indeed, but complications arise when the SSPX does not use their own arguments but simply (and effectively) quotes from pre-conciliar Peters.

    That is what the Holy See needs to clarify in the midst of the doctrinal and liturgical chaos.

  22. kgurries says:

    There is good reason to be optimistic, however, much depends on which “camp” within the SSPX will show up to the discussions. I think there are many open to the idea of continuity and this is the key. Others are fixed on a theology of “rupture” where discussion is bound to go nowhere. The big question is which side will represent the SSPX in the discussions…

  23. kgurries says:

    MichaelJ, you may be interested to check out Bishop Ketteler of Mainz (1811-1877)on the question of Religious Freedom. His analysis is the best I have come across — and it happens to demonstrate the perfect continuity with DH — 100 years before the council.

    http://opuscula.blogspot.com/2008/07/on-religious-freedom-part-i.html

  24. robtbrown says:

    Fr Jay Scott Newman,

    I disagree with your analysis, which seems to have oversimplified the matter by merely considering the talks juridically: “One the one hand there is the Roman Pontiff and on the other a group of clerics disobedience.”

    The Truth is that anyone who embraces the doctrine of the Church is in some sense on the side of the Roman Pontiff. And so there have been many priests and bishops who have been publicly within the juridical structure but in fact are not on the side of the Roman Pontiff.

    Further, we have a situation in which the SSPX, for all their considerable warts (based mostly on the univocal approach to theology of the Counter Reformation) for years have continued to use the historical Roman Rite–while the Bishop of Rome (excepting BXVI) was de facto suppressing it.

    Further, a strong argument can be made that since Vat II the Roman Pontiff has sponsored a vision of the Church that was heavily influenced by Protestantism, not only by the suppression of Latin but also by employing the Eucharist as Meal concept.

  25. ssoldie says:

    Once knew a very smart priest, Fr. Cashin, Crosby, Mn told me it would take a hundred years to straghten out this mess( Vatican II ),well it’s been 50yrs, and I’am still lookin for the ‘fruits’ of it ( Vatican II), and will totally agree that ‘grave ambigutities’ have spresd thru the Church since the Council and because of it. As to agendas, let’s take a look to the pertiti, progressives, modernist’s, agendas (shemas) that were forced on to the Council. Which has lead to confusion, disunity, chaos, distruction, nonsense, half truths. I do not call these ‘fruits’. I also believe that this is possably the worst ‘crisis’ in the history of the Church. I also do not accept all the reforms of the Council, the fabricated mass, religious liberty, ecuminisem, collegiality. What are the fruits of these? No I’am not an “ultra traditionalist”?, nor am I a neo con, or neo cath, I’am a thinking Traditional Catholic who loves the Church, and who has common sense enough to see and read what has been happening since 1962.

  26. joan ellen says:

    Thank you Fr. Z, Fr. Jay, & Jason Keener.

    More prayer for the Holy Fr. & the FSSPX. Saying the name of Jesus at noon & My Jesus Mercy at 3:00 pm daily for help in these talks, & for everybody & everything in the world. Those able, daily Mass, one extra Rosary & one holy hour a day would help also. We need a critical mass of prayer.

    Actually, repeating the 2 short prayers above over & over since many of the 6.6 billion of us won’t be praying.

  27. Jason Keener says:

    ssolide,

    Could you share with us what your specific concerns are about the actual documents of Vatican II? Where exactly did the documents on religious liberty and ecumenism go wrong?

    There are clearly errors being made by those doing the work of ecumenism today. Often, people making these errors are ignoring what the documents of the Council actually say. Even Pope John Paul II fell into the trap of making all religions seem equally true when he showed up at the scandalous Assisi prayer meetings. Popes can make mistakes in judgement like that, but that doesn’t mean everything the Council did was a disaster.

    The Church is in a period of crisis to be sure, but can we blame everything on the Council’s documents? Look at how hard the liberals have worked to subvert the actual content of the documents. Look at all of the other radical social changes that have taken place, which also have weakened the Church’s ability to carry out Her mission today. I don’t think we can see the crisis in the Church as happening solely because of the Council itself.

  28. joan ellen says:

    robtbrown & ssoldie,

    I hope I’m not too far off here, so Fr. Z, please correct me if need be.

    Because of Summorum Pontificum, the ordinary form of Mass, (Novus Ordo Missae) & the extraordinary form of Mass (Traditional Mass, Tridentine Mass according to the 1962 Missal) are both valid Masses.

    I have recently been able to look at the Novus Ordo Missae as helpful/necessary for when the Protestants return to the fold. And the Traditional Mass is helpful/necessary for those who worship Our Blessed Lord best offering that Mass, as well as for the Traditional people who will return to Mass in the future.

    Also…I view the ordinary form as a Mass that is a Mass that promotes unity thru diversity, while I view the extraordinary form that promotes unity thru uniformity. Maybe I have not got this right. Please let me know.

    Of course, the diversity has been off base plenty of times.

  29. Childermass says:

    Jason Keener,

    Documents are not worth the paper they are printed on if the shepherds of the Church are not teaching what is in them. And not just by word but also by action.

    What we have is a Council used as a vehicle for auto-destruction of the Church. Can the Council really be salvaged these many decades later? I have my doubts—sometimes you just need to move on and leave it behind you.

  30. MichaelJ says:

    Jason,
    How hard was it, really, to “subvert the actual content of the documents”? I have read the documents and compared them to various erroneous interpretations and can only conclude that while these various interpretations were clearly wrong, they were not unreasonable.

    You may be wondering how I know that the interpretation was “clearly wrong” and yet remain reasonable. The answer to this is that it was not the documents of the Vatican II council themselves, but prior Church teaching, that identified the inerpretation as in error.

    It is only through the use of secondary or tertiary definitions of common words and phrases or redefinitions of those phrases to be something different from what they commonly mean (take “Religious Liberty”, for example) that one can hope to arrive at the correct interpretation.

    I am unaware of any other Council that produced documents that could not be taken at face value and correctly understood by an average person of reasonable intelligence.

  31. Tradster says:

    How long the reconciliation process takes depends not so much on Benedict XVI but on his successor. I fervently pray to be wrong but time under this pontiff is not on the SSPX’s side. And while His Holiness cannot be accused of being a conservative by any stretch of the term, the libs will stop at nothing to try to elect someone who will happily scuttle the talks.

    Lord, we could sure use a miracle right about now!

  32. moon1234 says:

    Jason Keener

    The council documents also do not call for the Novus Ordo either. Would you be willing to dump it for the TLM? Most liberals would not. They would see the TLM as “evil” and “out-moded”.

    The biggest difference here is the way “modern” theologians view the church vs traditional theologians. Modern theologians look to the past thru the lens of the present. If the past does not conform to present theology then it is considered out-moded and no longer relevent. This is the dominent method of thinking today.

    Traditional or Thomoistic theology looks at the present thru the lens of the past. Whatever is being propised in the new must be in conformance with past theology. Only those things which enhance the past teaching, not divert from it, should be considered. This is the view of the SSPX and was traditonally the method of theology used by the church.

    Modern theology from the secular world has crept into the church. This is one of the root causes of so many of the errors in the modern church.

    A very good talk on this exact point was given by Fr. Chad Ripperger, Ph.D FSSP. This is a wonderfully devout priest who also has deep reservations with modern Rome. FSSP is in full communion might I add. Take a listen and be inspired: http://uvcr.catholicam.org/mp3s/FatherR_TraditionandLiturgy.mp3

  33. robtbrown says:

    Because of Summorum Pontificum, the ordinary form of Mass, (Novus Ordo Missae) & the extraordinary form of Mass (Traditional Mass, Tridentine Mass according to the 1962 Missal) are both valid Masses.

    Both are valid masses–before and after SP.

    I have recently been able to look at the Novus Ordo Missae as helpful/necessary for when the Protestants return to the fold. And the Traditional Mass is helpful/necessary for those who worship Our Blessed Lord best offering that Mass, as well as for the Traditional people who will return to Mass in the future.

    Of course, Protestants have not returned to the fold.

    The purpose of liturgy is the worship of God, not some fantasy about conversions of Protestants.

    Also…I view the ordinary form as a Mass that is a Mass that promotes unity thru diversity, while I view the extraordinary form that promotes unity thru uniformity. Maybe I have not got this right. Please let me know.
    Comment by joan ellen

    I am unaware of any unity promoted by the present way of saying mass.

  34. Jason Keener says:

    Childermass,

    I agree the documents are useless if no one enforces them in a correct way. That is why I said the leadership of the Church has to admit their negligence in allowing such a false interpretation of the Council to run wild in the Church for so many years.

    MichaelJ,

    I agree that the documents of the Council can seem ambiguous in places if one does not know how to interpret them or read them in the light of Sacred Tradition; however, the Bible is also ambiguous in places, and we should not be overly troubled by some ambiguity. We have a Magisterium guided by the Roman Pontiff to clarify those parts that are truly ambiguous. In any event, when we discuss matters of faith and morals in serious Church documents, not everything is going to be immediately understandable all of the time because these are difficult concepts and sometimes technical language is used. Studying the documents has to be done with the right method and approach.

    Also, the form of the documents of the Council were in more of an essay style, but that should not trouble us either. Magisterial documents do not have to be written in only one format. The great encyclical letters of Pope Leo XIII and Pius XII were written in an essay style, too.

    You will have to tell me which specific teachings of Vatican II you find to be in contradiction to something the Church taught earlier before I can comment on that part of your post.

    moon1234,

    I agree that the Council never called for the Novus Ordo. In fact, the re-writing of the 1962 Missal as done by the Consilium was actually a violation of what the Council taught in Sacrosanctum Concilium #23:

    “That sound tradition may be retained, and yet the way remain open to legitimate progress, careful investigation is always to be made into each part of the Liturgy which is to be revised. This investigation should be theological, historical, and pastoral. Also the general laws governing the structure and meaning of the Liturgy must be studied in conjunction with the experience derived from recent liturgical reforms and from the indults conceded to various places. Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.”

    Also, I am not saying that all of modern theology is good. Much of it is bad, but we cannot automatically think that all new theology is going to be terrible. The Holy Ghost is still working in the Church today as the Holy Ghost did in the day of Aquinas. Aquinas himself was extremely controversial at first. Can you honestly say that not one modern theologian has produced anything of any worth in the last 45 years?

    I’m very familiar with Fr. Chad Ripperger and the Traditional Latin Mass. I sing in a Gregorian Chant Schola/Polyphony Choir that provides music for the Traditional Latin Mass.

  35. MichaelJ says:

    Jason,

    Apparently you are one of the very few who know “how to interpret them or read them in the light of Sacred Tradition”. Look around to see how the intent of the Council is widely mis-interpreted and tell me again that all of these people did so out of ignorance or ill will.

    At some point a teacher must take responsibility when virtually all of the students miserably fail to understand the material being presented. Normally, I would expect a teacher to abandon those materials and methods that have proven to be so disasterous but what do I know? I’m just an ignorant layman who is “overly troubled by some [apparent] ambiguity” and cannot comprehend “difficult concepts” that use “technical language”.

  36. Jason Keener says:

    MichaelJ,

    I’m not trying to be argumentative, but I’m not sure I understand your viewpoint.

    I agree that we can look around and see a huge crisis in the Church, but there is nothing in the documents of the Council that instructed Paul VI and Archbishop Bugnini to totally re-write the Missal of 1962. No place in the documents instructs that all religions are now to be considered equal. No place in the documents instructs governments to ignore the True Faith and the natural moral law. Personally, I’ve never found anything in the documents that is so ambiguous or outrageous that it could not be reconciled with Sacred Tradition. Yes, sometimes reconciling one or two elements of some of the documents with past teaching can take a bit of work, but it isn’t impossible.

    There are other factors that have contributed to the breakdown of the Faith that have nothing to do with the actual letter of the Vatican II documents. The breakdown of the Liturgy has been a disaster for the Church in our time. The breakdown in morals has been a problem. Liberals twisting the work of the Council and interpreting the Council it their own way has been a huge problem. Weak leadership in the Church has let the liberals run free to wreak their havoc. Satan is at work too trying to create strife in the Mystical Body.

    Again, the CDF has already clarified some of the so-called ambiguities of the Council like how the Church understands “No Salvation Outside of the Church.” Scholars like Fr. Brian Harrison have demonstrated how the Council’s document on Religious Liberty is in continuity with the past. There are other works like Matthew Levering’s and Matthew Lamb’s “Vatican II: Renewal Within Tradition” that show how the Council is in continuity with Sacred Tradition. Moreover, Pope Benedict has also said over and over that the Council is in continuity with Tradition, even the document on Religious Liberty.

    Pax Christi.

  37. MichaelJ says:

    Jason,
    I suspect that this discussion has run its course. All I am saying is that the “Council Documents” cannot be given a pass as you seem to be advocating. Had they been written clearly, for example like the documents from Trent, none of the problems you describe would have been nearly as prevalent. Additionally, a strongly and clearly worded Vatican II council could easily have mitigated the social breakdowns you describe, at theast as far as a social defect can have an effect on the Faith.

    Had the Document’s purpose (as was the case for all previous councils) been to define what Catholics are to believe rather than to try to make non-Catholics feel better about themselves, the liberals, as you say, would not have been able to twist the work of the council and interperet it to their own ends.

    I am interested to note that even Paul VI “mis-interpreted” the council(otherwise, why would he have promulgated the new Mass?) Are you really still willing to say that there is no problem with the documents? That they are just “a little difficult” at times?

  38. joan ellen says:

    Thank you so very much robtbrown for your responses above.

    jason keener: “Personally, I’ve never found anything in the documents that is so ambiguous or outrageous that it could not be reconciled with Sacred Tradition. Yes, sometimes reconciling one or two elements of some of the documents with past teaching can take a bit of work, but it isn’t impossible.”

    michaelj:
    Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., (RIP), always was able to attach the Vatican II documents to Traditional Catholic Doctrine/Dogma. He had no problem seamlessly doing that. Why do others?

    Of course, he was a saintly priest as is Archbishop Burke who follows him as Director of the Marian Catechist Apostolate. Hmmm…two saintly holy priests in the ‘modern’ Church…amongst many others…including laity. So, if there are saints in the modern Church, how could it be so wrong???

    I think I’m saying that the Modern Church can still produce followers who are saints. Mind you, I pine for the TLM & the Traditional focus on the Sacraments.

  39. joan ellen says:

    robtbrown: Forgot to mention. So, we agree on the validity of the Masses. And we agree that the purpose of the Mass is the worhsip of Our God at the Holy Sacrifice, & the worthy reception of Our Eucharistic Lord. It is that Sacrifice & Our Eucharistic Lord, truly present in His Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity, that will bring our Protestant brothers to the fold. They will also welcome the unity of diversity since that is most familiar to them.

    And if the crisis in the world keeps moving quickly, the Protestants will be joining us en masse sooner than later. And is the Church, clergy & laity, prepared for this?

  40. MichaelJ says:

    joan,
    You mis-understand what I was saying. Rather than go into that, I’d like a clarification of what it looks like you are saying.

    Are you really saying that if two individuals are able to accomplish something, all individuals should also be able to, and that the resposibility for a person’s failure to accomplish said goal rests wholly on that individual?

    If not, your reference to Fr. Hardon’s ability to reconcile the Vatican II documents with traditional Catholic teaching really does nothing to answer the question.

  41. chironomo says:

    I have always felt that one of the central flaws with V-2 and viz-a-viz the documents from it is that it sets out to fulfill a set of aims that are never clearly defined, and as such the proposed actions are vague and necessarily ineffective. Phrases like impart an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithfulfoster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ and the ever useful strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church. Which of these aims is fulfilled in the use of the vernacular in worship? Does that promote union among all believers? Have any of the supposed reforms imparted increasing vigor to the life of Catholic Christians? It is something like defining one’s goal as “ending poverty” or “establishing World Peace”.