An interesting notion

As I have been writing again and again, people of good will can disagree on really hard questions rising from the Council’s documents on points that are not clear.  We can argue about how to approach ecumenism or religious liberty.

There are somethings we really can’t dispute.

Keep in mind what Bl. John XXIII quoted in Ad Petri cathedram: "In necessary things unity, in doubtful things liberty, in all things charity."

So, I thought a comment of The Recovering Choir Director was spot on.

If the Church can handle Richard McBrien, she can also handle Richard Williamson.

If the Church is accommodating to Remi de Roo, she can also accommodate Bernard Fellay.


And it seems as if both Williamson and Fellay both stick to traditional Catholic teaching.

It comes down to discipline, I suppose.

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  1. schoolman says:

    Fr. Alcuin Reid has a great piece over at NLM where he points out:

    “…And the SSPX has continued this reaction – at times intemperately, without making the necessary distinctions between the Council’s pastoral policies and its articulation of Catholic doctrine.

    Now Bishop Fellay speaks of “reservations” about Vatican II. Reservations are not denials of doctrine, and anyone may have reservations about even an Ecumenical Council’s pastoral policies and be a Catholic in good standing.”


    This is right on target. I have always thought that the primary difficulty was over “pastoral policies” — not doctrine, per se. Pastoral policies have to do with the practical prudential order — not Faith and Morals, per se — and Catholics in good faith/standing can agree to disagree — with patience, charity, humility…and obedience to the Magisterium.

  2. Richard says:

    I know I shouldn’t say this, but…

    One of the best things about the last few months is that now Fr. Bourgeois is excommunicated, and Bishop Fellay isn’t.

  3. Angelo says:

    Those two were dealt with by The Church? I must have been asleep. I don’t get it. I went to the choir director’s page and didn’t get it even more. Will someone explain please what is trying to be said here?

  4. DavidJ says:

    At the risk of sounding uncharitable, hasn’t Fr. McBrien publicly repudiated doctrine? Is that comparison valid without some kind of attempt on his part of reconciling that?

  5. Cosmos says:

    While the Catholic Church has always allowed for variety of opinions on unsettled or purely accidental issues, I think that in the present postmodern context this statment is misleading and dangerous. For example, comparing the Church’s left and the right is like comparing apples to oranges. It is like saying, “if this city can handle STD-infected libertines, it can certainly handle mysophobic hypochondriacs.” Or “if this country can handle terrorists and foreign invaders, it can certainly handle anarchists and self-interested politicians.” McBrien and his ilk fundamentally attack the foundations of the Church; they go after the Church’s teachings, its authority, and its claims to truth. The Williamsons of the world don’t attack the Church directly; they attack its goverance, its practices, huamn interprestations, etc. In other words, they attack the Church, however misguidedly, on its own terms. The former are like secular skeptics, the latter like early Protestants. So while is room for Fransciscans AND Dominicans, there is not room for Calvinsts or Mormons. While there may be room for parts of Aristotilean philosophy, there is not room for Nietzchean nihlism just because it is also philosophy.

  6. Paul Haley says:

    A fried posted this in another forum and I think it puts to rest the idea that Archbishop Lefebvre and the bishops of the SSPX do not accept Vatican II:

    From an interview of Archbishop Lefebvre by Michael Davies:
    Michael Davies: It is frequently alleged that you “refuse” Vatican II, that you claim any sincere Catholic must “reject” the Council. These allegations are very vague. I presume that you accept that Vatican II was an Ecumenical Council properly convoked by the reigning Pontiff according to the accepted norms.

    Mgr. Lefebvre: That is correct.

    Michael Davies: I presume that you accept that its official documents were voted for by a majority of the Council Fathers and validly promulgated by the reigning Pontiff.

    Mgr. Lefebvre: Certainly.

    Michael Davies: In a letter published in The Times on 18 August this year (1976) I stated that your position vis-a-vis the Council was as follows. Would you please read this passage carefully and tell me whether it does state your position accurately?

    The reforms claiming to implement the Council were intended to initiate an unprecedented renewal but, since the Council, the history of the Church throughout the West has been one of stagnation and decline; the seeds of this decline can be traced back to the Council itself as those holding Neo-Modernist and Neo-Protestant views were able to influence the formation of some of the official documents by the inclusion of ambiguous terminology which has been used to justify the abuses which are now apparent at all. Thus, while accepting the Council documents as official statements of the Magisterium, we have the right and duty to treat them with prudence and to interpret them in the light of Tradition.

    Mgr. Lefebvre: That is precisely my position.

    Seems logical to me.

  7. schoolman says:

    I think the SSPX will grant — as ABL has already conceeded — that the council texts are “official statements of the Magisterium”.

    Therefore, the work to be done is to ensure a proper interpretation (hermeneutic) “in light of Tradition”.

    There is no question of error in the order of Faith or Morals, per se. We know this on Faith — because the Magisterium, as such, can’t defect in Faith or Morals. On the other hand, good Catholics can agree to disagree on “pastoral policy” insofar as this relates to the practical prudential order rather than Faith and Morals, per se.

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