My old pastor, the late Msgr. Schuler used to say that “You can go into the ditch on either side of the road, left or right. Either way, you are still in a ditch.”
This has been my concern about some members and followers of the SSPX. Can they wind up stuck in the ditch, but on the opposite side of the road from where the LCWR and NCR and Tablistas are mired? I think that is possible, yes.
I don’t think it is all that easy to get yourself into the ditch, since Holy Church is pretty flexible when it comes to some things. Not so much in others, of course. And it is easier by far to go off the road to the left. The shoulder tilts over there and the Enemy of the Soul, it seems to me, is generally ignored on that side, to the peril of all who stray thither.
When in December 2005 the Holy Father spoke to the Roman Curia about a “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture” – one of the most important acts of his pontificate, by the way - he was actually talking about modern theologians, not the traditionalists who refuse it the “left”, to stick with the political label for brevity. In fact, I think the Pope was actually carrying on a polemic against Rahner and his allies and legacy. But the fact is, discontinuity and rupture can also take place with the refusal of new authentic magisterial teachings. The road has a ditch on both sides.
From the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald, comes this, with my emphases and comments.
Prefect of the CDF says seeing Vatican II as a ‘rupture’ is heresy
By Carol Glatz
Traditionalist and progressive camps that see the Second Vatican Council as a “rupture” both espouse a “heretical interpretation” of the Council and its aims, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has said. [That's sure to win hearts far and wide! But it is refreshing to see the word "heretical".]
Archbishop Gerhard Müller said that what Pope Benedict XVI has termed “the hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity” is the “only possible interpretation according to the principles of Catholic theology”. [I can see now what some on the left are going to do with this. They will say that Muller says that if you don't agree with the Pope on Vatican II, then you are a heretic. They won't make any distinctions about the actual texts in question. Thinking they have scored a point against traddies, they will lose sight of the fact that they themselves are pretty far from the Pope's view of Vatican II. Moreover, the Holy Father's interpretation of Vatican II texts isn't right merely because it is the interpretation of the Holy Father. That helps, of course, when it comes to revealed truth. But there are sound ways to interpret the Church's documents and bad ways. This Pope is right because he grasps the correct way of interpretation apart from the fact that he is also given the graces of the Petrine Office.]
“Outside this sole orthodox interpretation unfortunately exists a heretical interpretation, that is, a hermeneutic of rupture, [found] both on the progressive front and on the traditionalist” side, the archbishop said.
[And now what I have been saying for years here...]What the two camps have in common, he said, is their rejection of the council: “The progressives in their wanting to leave it behind, as if it were a season to abandon in order to get to another Church, and the traditionalists in their not wanting to get there”, seeing the council as a Catholic “winter”. [Sadly, heresy and other problems creep in through stressing points that are true. In a sense, we have to get on with things, a liberals want. But in truth that is because Vatican II, over now for close to 50 years, wasn't nearly as important in the list of Councils as they think it was. On the other side, since the Vatican II wasn't nearly as important as many think, those on the traditionalist side must absorb it, stop insisting that it either isn't a Council or that it must be interpreted in the most negative light possible, and move along with the rest.]
A “Council presided over by the successor of Peter as head of the visible Church” is the “highest expression” of the Magisterium, he said, to be regarded as part of “an indissoluble whole”, along with Scripture and 2,000 years of tradition. [That doesn't mean that everything issued by the Council is of equal weight or value.]
The doctrinal chief’s remarks were published in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, to present the seventh volume of The Complete Works of Joseph Ratzinger. The volume collects both published and unpublished notes, speeches, interviews and texts written or given by the future pope in the period shortly before, during and just after Vatican II.
Archbishop Müller specified that by “continuity” Pope Benedict meant a “permanent correspondence with the origin, not an adaption of whatever has been, which also can lead the wrong way”.
The term “aggiornamento” or updating – one of the watchwords of the Council – “does not mean the secularisation of the faith, which would lead to its dissolution”, but a “making present” of the message of Jesus Christ, he said. [Hear that, Fishwrap?]
This “making present” is the “reform necessary for every era in constant fidelity to the whole Christ”, he said.
“The tradition of apostolic origin continues in the Church with help from the Holy Spirit,” he said, and leads to greater understanding through contemplation and study, intelligence garnered from a deeper experience of the spiritual, and preaching by those who through the “apostolic succession have received an assured charism of truth”.
To my mind, just as deadly, if not more deadly, is a ignorance of the Faith of which Pope Benedict spoke to French bishops during their “ad limina” visit. HERE. This is something of which the people in the left-side ditch are far more guilty than those in the right-side ditch.
If we want the Holy Father and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to correct liberals who are going into the ditch on the left, then we must also want correction for those straying to the right side of the road as well.
That is the trend I am seeing since the new Prefect has taken up his office at the Holy Office.
Moreover, were I a liberal, I’d be far more worried than any traditionalist needs to be.