A mordant observation about the Week for Christian Unity

I missed this on the great Fr. Blake’s blog the other day.  Fr. Blake is the P.P. of St. Mary Magdalen in Brighton.

About the week of Christian Unity:

Strange that it should be more acceptable to welcome into one’s pulpit or lead prayers in one’s church the local female liberal Methodist minster but trying to invite a priest of the Society of Pius X would throw up all types of problems and worst, suspicions!

Spot on, Fr. Blake.

In the meantime, Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Pope of Christian Unity and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to A mordant observation about the Week for Christian Unity

  1. Mike says:

    While I agree with Fr. Z’s take on the comment, reading Aidan Nichols’ “Rome and the Eastern Churches”, we find the assertion that Rome has historically been more tolerant of heresy than schism. Isn’t that the truth!

  2. Geoffrey says:

    “Rome has historically been more tolerant of heresy than schism.”

    That would indeed make sense. Those in heresy almost have to be pitied, whereas those in schism should know better.

    And I have doubts that an SSPX priest would accept such an invitation!

  3. I think Fr. Blake’s comment only makes sense if you sympathize with the SSPX. I don’t. Inviting a Methodist minister during a service for Unity Week isn’t that problematic. It’s a gesture to a community that is not united to us in theology, ecclesiology or worship but which is still Christian. The SSPX claims to be Catholic and is, in its way, far more divisive (and, kind of “suspicious” to use Fr.’s word) than those who’ve already been separated from us. The Scriptures tell us, “There are six things the Lord hates…and a seventh His soul detests: he who sows discord among brothers”.

    Protestants don’t sow discord among Catholics. The SSPX is seen by many to do just that.

    [Well... that'll get things going.... ]

  4. basilorat says:

    I wouldn’t want to be too harsh on this one. I think the FSSP is a different story because they KNOW and UNDERSTAND what they are rejecting.

    Funny I was in an elevator in my apt. building across from St. Louis Cathedral Basilica after a Mass was letting out. There was the usual hussle and bustle and Abp. Rigali was greeting people outside. I remarked to the woman in the elevator about what a good man he is. She said, maybe so but he can’t be that nice! I asked why. She said, well, he’s agains women’s ordination! I said, well the Church doesn’t believe women can be ordained priests. She said, “well I’m ordained! (she is a Methodist bishop apparently)” And I simply said, “but you’re not a priest!” It was a long ride to the 15th floor!
    Then,

    I recall a classmate in seminary who, after ordination was sent to a parish with the intent (of the bishop, at least), to help the pastor “modernize”. He told the pastor before his first Thanksgiving (US Holiday, that is!) that there was an Ecumenical Gathering the night before Thanksgiving and it might be a good idea to attend, and that afterward there was going to be a nice reception afterwards. Monsignor simply replied, “we’re right, and their wrong, and no donut is going to change that!”

    There’s my Ecumenical Stories!

  5. Katherine says:

    This has inspired me to take action. I’ve spoken to my pastor and suggested that for next year’s Christian Unity prayer service, we invite BOTH a female liberal Methodist minister AND a FSSX priest. Father’s response was “Kate, feel free to send out the invites.” I will report back with the results. Stay tuned!

  6. everett says:

    If we think from the perspective of who needs it more, the Methodist or the SSPX, I’d argue that at least the SSPX are working towards unity and don’t need to be invited to mass nearly as much as the Methodists. If the point of Christian Unity is ultimately reunion with the Church, then inviting Protestants is excellent, so long as it doesn’t actually involve them standing at the altar for the consecration (which I’ve seen) or giving homilies at a mass (which I’ve also seen).

  7. albizzi says:

    I suggest our Holy Father to invite SSPX to the next Assisis interfaiths meeting…
    Just joking.

  8. paulbailes says:

    Fr. Selvester (and others of his ilk):

    Q. by what sort of “many” people is the “SSPX … seen” to “sow discord among Catholics”?

    A. by those who think that “a community that is not united to us in theology, ecclesiology or worship” can somehow be “still Christian”, or (if this can mean anything) be more Christian than SSPX-ers.

    More generally, your testimony that NOM-ers seem to prefer the ecclesiastical company of non-Catholics over traditionalists speaks volumes about how far from Catholicism the revolution has led souls.

    “Cheers”
    Paul

    PS not all “discord” is bad … separating the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the cockle, etc.

  9. Precentrix says:

    @basilorat

    Just to clarify, you did mean the FSSPX, right?

    **********

    Whatever happened to just praying that everyone would come home?

  10. paulbailes says:

    Mike, Geoffrey – well past time that you dropped the terminological inexactitude about SSPX-ers being in schism. Even Fr. Selvester seems prepared to concede we’re Catholics (maybe). [If I am not mistake, the SSPX is actually a Fraternity/Society of priests. If you are not ordained for them, I don't think you belong to them. Perhaps there is some lay association, but that would not be the SSPX.]

    OTOH, those who despise and would overturn the Church’s ancient teachings and traditions don’t seem much Catholic to me. Seeing as they are more at home with non-Catholics, they might as come out as Methodists or whatever. Many of them probably already are in spirit.

    God bless
    Paul

  11. Supertradmum says:

    Fr. Selvester,

    Respectfully, Protestant means one who “protests” and one who protests is one who
    dissents from others. I cannot think of a more fitting word for heretics. We are much more fussy about the schismatics in our midst, as they are closer to us in form and content-such as the Orthodox. I believe that our continued preoccupation with the so-called stubbornness of the SSPX is owing to the fact that we are actually closer to them in belief and stance, and therefore, as we are with family members with whom we disagree, more strident in our disagreements.

  12. Daniel Latinus says:

    I suspect an SSPX priest would not accept an invitation to preach at a parish in which the Novus Ordo is used, if it would mean attending an OF Mass. (They might accept a speaking engagement in a non-liturgical setting, and if they didn’t find the venue otherwise offensive.)

    Actually the correct answer is to invite neither the SSPX priest nor the feminist Methodist bishop. Each, in their own way represents a divergence from Catholic truth. Only those properly authorized to preach, and whose orthodoxy is at least not suspect, should preach in a Catholic church.

    FWIW, I remember that when Catholic priests used to visit the SSPX chapel in St. Marys, Kansas, they were invited to sit in the sanctuary at Mass. I remember one monsignior showed up for the Holy Thursday evening Mass wearing cassock, surplice, and a really garish modern stole.

  13. paulbailes says:

    Dear Fr Z: Re the SSPX and your “If you are not ordained for them, I don’t think you belong to them” – acknowledged and understood. My use of “SSPX-ers” (rathar than “SSPX”) is meant to include humble followers of that priestly fraternity as well as its members.

    I am assuming that people who think SSPX priests are in schism make the same mistake about their lay followers.

    Thanks for helping me clarify
    Paul

  14. Mike says:

    I didn’t mean to trash the SSPX. Actually, I’m very sympathetic. I have different takes on, say, following the universal, full, and immediate authority and jurisdiction of the Vicar of Christ, but like Pope Benedict, I say let’s get ‘em all back.

  15. tonbo says:

    More acceptable where exactly… I know that in my parish neither SSPX nor Methodists have ever preached or ever will, and it is a previously described “NOM” (or, to put it another way, the Ordinary form of the Catholic Church) church.

    I believe that no one who is not a catholic priest in good standing should ever preach in a liturgical setting, though I don’t know what Canon Law says about that… Because it seems that preaching from the pulpit gives the preacher an authority and legitimacy which should not be given to heretics, schismatics or lay people.

  16. paulbailes says:

    Dear Tonbo

    May I respectfully correct you … the NOM is not “the Ordinary form of the Catholic Church”. It’s the (pardon me, so-called) Ordinary form of the Latin rite. Big difference! The NOM was not promulgated with applicability to the universal Church, hence not infallibly.

    Cheers
    Paul

  17. Pete says:

    Still waiting for a precise definition of “Christian Unity”. What exactly does it mean?

    (cue for American nauseating slapstick humour to reprint “Christian Unity”)

    Anyway the SSP is already on the Assisi road:
    http://www.sspx.org/news/assisi_iii/is_st_peters_on_the_way_to_assisi.htm

  18. JimGB says:

    Dear Paulbailes, may I respectfully suggest that you owe Father Sylvester an apology for use of the derogatory term “ilk”? I think that we can state our views in a charitable way without the use of such terminology.

    Father raises a valid point (although I depart from him in that I would not invite the lady Methodist minister either). What will it take for the SSPX to be reconciled with the Church? They could be a powerful force for accelerating the return to tradition in the liturgy and evangelization. They have in Pope Benedict a man who is trying to restore the Catholic identity that the Society was ostensibly founded to preserve. Their refusal to be reconciled seems wilful and obstinate.

    As to the lady Methodist minister, good woman though she may be, giving her the right to preach from the pulpit of a Catholic church could send a message that her status is equal to that of an ordained priest, which is of course not the case.

  19. Fr. Basil says:

    But would an SSPX priest accept an invitation to such a ceremony in a Catholic Church?

  20. Traductora says:

    It could be worse. I just read that the Bishops’ Council in Poland has named today “Islam Day” and is having a special Muslim prayer service at St Florian’s in Warsaw. I’m not sure what part of “Christian” they don’t understand in this “Christian Unity” week, but obviously, to them it’s all one big ball of feel-good.

  21. paulbailes says:

    Dear JimGB, equally respectfully:

    1) my OED defines “ilk” as family, class, set – perhaps you have some idiomatic usage of which I’m unaware, in which case thanks for the opportunity to make clear that I’ve no offensive intensions towards Fr. Selvester (and if he was offended, it’s clear that he’s “big enough and bad enough” to have taken me to task himself); but to be honest I do deprecate his characterisation of the SSPX

    2) re the SSPX, as far as I can see they in fact are a “powerful force for accelerating the return to tradition in the liturgy and evangelization”. The sort of “reconciliation” you urge would entail an abandonment of principle on liturgical and doctrinal matters which would do none of us any good. If any of Pius XII, XI, X, IX, VIII, VII, VI, V were to come back to Earth, it’s clear that they’d find the liturgies and doctrines they recognised more in Econe than Rome these days.

    Cheers
    Paul

  22. paulbailes says:

    Dear JimGB

    Further re. “They have in Pope Benedict a man who is trying to restore the Catholic identity that the Society was ostensibly founded to preserve”: actually, I am not so sure. The HF sadly seems to have quite different views compared to that of e.g. Pius XII, XI, X, IX, VIII, VII, VI, V whose views are the ones the SSPX was founded to preserve.

    For example, the HF
    - wants to blend the TLM and the NOM (that’s my take on the “mutual enrichment” story)
    - is OK with Communion in the hand, altar girls, etc?
    - seems to believe that the state in principle should not have a position on religious matters
    - etc.?

    These are examples of how the “Catholic identity” in the mind of Benedict XVI is tainted by the revolution.

    God bless
    Paul

  23. JimGB says:

    Paul, on point #2 I do not disagree with you and unfortunately in the U.S., the liturgies that are inflicted upon many Catholics every Sunday are clearly lacking. In my own parish, we have a pastor of about three years tenure who continues to experiment with the liturgy in ways large and small and who has never met a Marty Haugen “song” (as we now refer to the hymns sung at Mass) he didn’t like. Often I now walk out of Mass after the final blessing because I cannot stand to hear “City of God” one more time. But would not the Society be more effective in preserving traditional Catholic worship by working from within?

  24. paulbailes says:

    Dear JimGB

    Thanks again. But what do you understand to be the conditions for reconciliation which the SSPX rejects please?

    More generally, to those who think the SSPX is “outside” the Church: if the situation in your parish is too awful to tolerate (I remember how you feel), I think that validates the “state of emergency” argument used by the SSPX to argue that its ostensible disobedience does not in fact, under these circumstances at ts point in history, place it outside the Church.

    Cheers
    Paul

  25. Pete says:

    JimGB,

    I replied to you at 9.54pm but my comment has been given a “Your comment is awaiting moderation. ” label which, in the past meant, “we will publish your comment so you can’t accuse us of censorship or an anti-SSPX bias, but 36-48hrs later so that most or all viewers have moved on to another topic and therefore will not see your reply buried in the middle of the comments list”.

    And this reply will probably get me band (and you will not see this) but there you go: Ce la vi! Viva la tradicion! [If that's the way you want it, I will happily oblige you. o{]:¬) ]

  26. skellmeyer says:

    There is a plenary indulgence associated with the close of the week of Christian Unity.

    More information is available in the Handbook of Indulgences or via Bridegroom Press.

  27. skellmeyer: There is a plenary indulgence associated with the close of the week of Christian Unity.

    A good reminder! I had forgotten that one.

  28. Precentrix says:

    @Pete

    Christian Unity = being in full communion with the successor of St. Peter. Surely?

    Personally, my prayers have been focused for a long time on sorting out this nice mess we’ve gotten ourselves into with regards to the Orthodox. Aside from politics, it’s been solved multiple times in the past, but the immediate jurisdiction thing is a sticking point. Just want to see the faces on our Protestant neighbours when the apostolic churches reunite.

  29. Sixupman says:

    When I first had access to SSPX, Preston, UK, they had cordial relations with the diocesan clergy and even the [later] next door Anglo-Catholic vicar, who was invited to dine and discuss with them.

    In the UK a somewhat different, American afflicted regime holds sway, so I am not aware of the position.

    As to exigency and the emergency claim, I am having to move house because I can longer attend, in good faith, my local parish church. I will be located in an area where I can benefit from both NOM properly Celebrated, the TLM, and have access to bendediction, et al – not to mention Confessions.

  30. Sixupman says:

    Mea Culpa for typos!

  31. robtbrown says:

    Fr Selvester wrote:

    The Scriptures tell us, “There are six things the Lord hates…and a seventh His soul detests: he who sows discord among brothers”.

    Protestants don’t sow discord among Catholics.

    If you’re interested in pointing fingers at the sower of discord among Catholics, the correct answer is the papacy of Paul VI. While Paul VI was gloriously reigning, good Catholics who wanted Latin mass were persecuted. Good theologians like Piolanti were forcibly retired, and those with ideas for the destruction of the Church (Schillebeeckx, Rahner, Boff, Kung) were left alone.

  32. kat says:

    Fr. Selvester apparently has never had Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses come to his door to create discord in Catholics’ souls…along with the oft-heard statement, “I was a Catholic once, too!”

    To try to take someone away from the true Faith …THAT’S discord!

  33. asophist says:

    The SSPX does not depart one whit from the doctrines and dogmas of the Church. The faithful who attend their masses are not, according to Vatican officials, outside the church. The bishops and priests of the SSPX, together with the faithful who attend their masses, are not, according to the pope, excommunicated. So, what’s the problem? Vatican Council II promulgated no new doctrine of its own. Even Paul VI admitted this. So, again, What’s the problem? The problem is there are a lot of modernist bishops who want no traditionalist presence, no TLM, no benediction, no public recitation of the rosary, in their seminaries or in their dioceses. Therefore, in order to remain faithful to the legitimate traditions of the Faith, the SSPX has exercised a degree of disobedience toward those bishops (by establishing centers in their dioceses, uninvited) and toward the pope (by continuing to ordain and offer masses for the salvation of souls, whilst canonically suspended). That’s all. How does that make them such bogey-men?

  34. Centristian says:

    “If I am not mistake, the SSPX is actually a Fraternity/Society of priests. If you are not ordained for them, I don’t think you belong to them. Perhaps there is some lay association, but that would not be the SSPX.”

    Although only tonsured clergy and professed brothers and sisters (and I suppose Third Order members…yes…the SSPX actually have a Third Order) are actually considered members of the Society of St. Pius X, I noticed that many of the laity who attend Mass at their chapels week-to-week or who are otherwise actively associated with the Society often fail to comprehend this distinction and mistakenly refer to themselves as “members”.

    I sometimes came away with the impression that they felt that they were “members” of the SSPX the way Catholics are members of the Church. Many of them, too, would insist that they are not “Roman Catholics” but “Traditional Catholics”. In fact, the SSPX chapel in my area calls itself “Our Lady of the Rosary Traditional Catholic Church”. That’s what the sign on the front of the building actually says.

    Invite them all you want, just don’t hold your breath waiting for them to arrive. Just as some would rather invite a Methodist minister than a SSPX priest, rest assured they feel the same way about “Nuchurch”…their clever little monicker for what the rest of us would call the “Roman Catholic Church”.

  35. robtbrown says:

    Actually, with most of the homilies I’ve heard, there is very little reason to invite a Methodist minister.

  36. NCtrad says:

    Centristian-

    Your post doesn’t seem to serve any other purpose then to “pile on” and smear the characters and image of people who attend at SSPX chapels. The characterization you paint is highly inaccurate and, I suspect, willfully so. I have never met a Catholic of the traditional stripe that shuns the name Roman Catholic. Most “traditional” Catholics much prefer the simple name of “Catholic.” Sadly the moniker “traditional” needs to be used to distinguish between the Catholicism of the first 1965 years and the “neo-catholicism” that passes itself off as orthodox: (New Mass, New Doctrine, New discipline etc.)

  37. JonM says:

    Respectfully Fr. Sylvester, I have to concur with this:

    More generally, your testimony that NOM-ers seem to prefer the ecclesiastical company of non-Catholics over traditionalists speaks volumes about how far from Catholicism the revolution has led souls.

    I do not agree with this however:

    Actually the correct answer is to invite neither the SSPX priest nor the feminist Methodist bishop. Each, in their own way represents a divergence from Catholic truth.

    Methodists certainly diverge from Catholic truth. SSPX does not.

    As I alluded to in a previous topic, I’m not sure what kind of cataclysm is necessary to show that the Church is crumbling and that it will only be a matter of time (perhaps 15 years) before SSPX becomes the dominant Catholic voice.

    I would teeter on the brink of claiming ‘state of emergency’ but there is no SSPX chapel remotely close.

    What I do believe is incumbent on us is to not continue to throw stones at a fraternity that a) is not excommunicated b) may never have been excommunication (my reading events) c) clearly promotes the Faith better and more accurately than most dioceses, conservatives included (I doubt an SSPX priest would pal around with a Mormon conference and talk about mutual enrichment).

    Demography is not a branch of interpretive art: Parish membership is in decline, Baptisms are in decline, Catholic identity and practice is in decline, and birth rates are in decline.

    Part of my job is poring over data. As much as a client might wish his market audience is in a New Springtime, at the end of the day the buyers either exist or not.

    However well-intended the Holy Father is about promoting ‘Christian Unity’ though attending false worship services and pan-religious festivals, the fact is that we are in decline and it time that we man up and at least recognize this.

  38. JonM says:

    Many of them, too, would insist that they are not “Roman Catholics” but “Traditional Catholics”.

    You are implying something categorically untrue, that traditionalists view themselves as a different entity or body. Many on this blog refer to themselves conservatives or ‘Orthodox Catholics.’ It would be totally wrong of me to hint that ‘orthodox Catholics’ see themselves as a sui juris Church or prelature.

    In fact, the SSPX chapel in my area calls itself “Our Lady of the Rosary Traditional Catholic Church”.

    I think we’re really splitting hairs here. A huge number of mainstream parishes in ‘perfect communion with Rome’, despite intense heresy and poor practices, use the term ‘faith community’ in their parish name.

    While these might excommunicate themselves latae sententiae, there is no good reason to make a blanket argument that use of ‘faith community’ (however contemptible) necessarily indicates schism.

    And it is precisely the confusion in Conciliar times that prompts the modifier ‘Traditional’ – or for that matter ‘Conservative’ or ‘Orthodox.’