Card. Castrillon interview: “we are moving forward … the Pope has stopped a schism”

Our friends at Rorate found and interview with Card. Castrillon, President of the Pont. Comm. Ecclesia Dei, on a Colombian radio network RCN. 

The story on RCN.

There is an interesting quote.

    "I have always had truth as a rule. The Holy Father knows this. We are moving forward, ensuring that this unity of the Church be rebuilt, and that this schism be completely ended." ["…y termine totalmente este cisma…"]

    "[W]hat is important at this moment is that the Pope has stopped a schism. ["… el Papa ha parado un cisma… "] The charity that Christ wanted to exist in the Church has been remarkably reestablished, and paths of hope are opened."

In the first quote, it seems as if there was a state of schism.  In the second, it seems as if the schism was prevented before it happened.

In an interview, a person can speak somewhat imprecisely.

I think the intent is clear.  The point is that the Pope acted to avert a real schism, a profound schism too hard to heal.

The clock is ticking on the Pope (precisely the correct man at this time to heal this rift), on Card. Castrillon (the first president of the PCED in a while actually to have gotten anything done), on the bishops of the SSPX (they aren’t getting younger), the followers of the SSPX (a whole generation has grown up among their followers who have never known unity with Rome).

The Pope’s enemies understand the clock.

There is an old phrase… cunctando regitur mundus.

They will try to block him,… just slow him down.

They must wait him out and try to get their man in next time.  Watch whom they groom.

Action was required.  

Did the Vatican bungle this?   Sure.

Why did that happen? 

There are bunglers there.

On the other hand, every Pope is at some point confronted with the reality that not everyone around him wants to implement his visions. They find ways to block or complicate his efforts.  This Pope, as all Popes have been, is beset by enemies.  Not only enemies, but bunglers.. bunglers with that unbeatable fusion of ignorance and arrogance.

I think if I were being contained in that way, I might also resort to the fait accompli to get things done.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Brian says:

    To all those clucking about this and that momentary, dramatic distraction; our Holy Father and Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos just reminded us of what really matters here

  2. Woody Jones says:

    I agree with Brian here. As Fr. Z is saying the clock is ticking: a fact I am sure the Holy Father is well aware of. It looks to me as if the SSPX are ready to do this deal on the basis of some formula that may very well already have been worked out, and the Williamson matter is only acting as a roadblock to the rapid conclusion of the regularization. I think that for the good of the Church and the Society, as he himself indicated in the Der Spiegel interview, Bishop Williamson should submit his resignation from the episcopal ranks, which could be accepted simultaneously with the placing into force of the regularization decree, and the parties should get it done. Now. Before Ash Wednesday. Or make that: on Our Lady of Lourdes. What better day?

  3. Woody Jones says:

    And do the TAC by Ash Wednesday.

    In Anglican Use circles, it is not forgotten that Paul VI had on his desk a more robust provision than the Pastoral Provision, and to all appearances, it is said, he was ready to sign, but he died before actually signing it.

  4. Thomas says:

    I echo the sentiments here. Funny how those who call themselves “liberal” are being so illiberal while the “archconservatives” are showing the true openness and unbounded love. Our Holy Father is demonstrating how the Bishop of Rome is a sign of unity in the Church while the mushy “ecumenical” crowd is trying to thwart our Lord’s prayer that we all may be one.

  5. David says:


  6. schoolman says:

    “We are moving forward…”

    It would seem that no man-made obstacles will deter the Holy Father.

    “The charity that Christ wanted to exist in the Church has been remarkably reestablished, and paths of hope are opened.”

    The great irony is that the manufactured media frenzy may have helped to create this atmosphere favorable to a renewed charity. What was meant to de-rail the process may actually have helped to save it. Only God can bring a greater good out of this.

  7. Athanasius says:

    Maybe I’m naive for believing this, but the change in tone in Bishop Williamson’s most recent interview with that idiot at der spiegel seems genuine, maybe he really is reconsidering the issue and will in the future speak more prudently. Perhaps, more people will see that the Holocaust industry manufactured on the backs of millions of Jews and Catholics and Protestants who suffered and died under the Hitlerist regime needs to be laid to rest, its history remembered for what it is and avoided in the future, but not tied to these idiotic things. Maybe people will see that it is being used to attack the Pope and the Church, the only institution which called Nazism for what it was years before the war.

  8. Syriacus says:

    The clock is ticking also for the creation of new cardinals! Remember!!

    E.g.: A liberal successor of Benedict might even refuse to give Abp Burke the galero!!

  9. jj says:

    Good point schoolman. It will actually help I think.

  10. EDG says:

    Schoolman is right, I think. This whole episode is actually having exactly the reverse effect from that desired by the press. I have always thought that Bp Williamson didn’t really want to come back under Rome and had come to enjoy his somewhat special status. Maybe he had, but he certainly sounds genuinely desirous of reunion now, and I’m not sure we would have gotten such an unequivocal demonstration of it without this press feeding frenzy. I suppose we’ll have to see what actions follow this, but at the moment, it seems to be another one of those remarkable demonstrations of God’s ability to bring good out of evil.

  11. Michael says:

    EDG and Schoolman are right, I think. It seems that the probability of a Williamsonite split has now dropped to zero with his public contrition and reassignment. There may be little left to stand in the way of a quick regularization now.

  12. Prof. Basto says:

    The Pope’s enemies understand the clock.
    There is an old phrase… cunctando regitur mundus.
    They will try to block him,… just slow him down.
    They must wait him out and try to get their man in next time . Watch whom they groom.

    Exactly. That’s the point I have been trying to make in some of my recent comments. The Pope’s enemies are indeed trying to stall this pontificate. They also want to influence the choice of the next Pope and to try to discredit the Ratzingerian views. Ultimately, its a fight on their part to preserve the hermeneutics of rupture.

    That’s why, in order to resist, the Pope needs to continue taking bold steps, and also, with regard to his enemies that are within the Hierarchy, he needs to take strong action against them (remove them, impose sanctions, etc).

  13. jwsr says:

    You forget the clock ticking for an existential decision by the SSPX. Illness, and possible demise of one of their “bishops” would imperil their Apostolic Line, and necessitate a new “ordination”. A major escalation of the existing quasi-schizm. I think this statement by Cd Hoyos reaffirms the rumours of Msgr Williamson’s illness.

  14. Liam says:

    Of course, by relying on fait accompli, one then invokes more and more a positivist approach to papal governance, which can just as readily be undone by the same. That’s the paradox too many people ignore, but I don’t think this pope does – I think he’s far more sensitive to it than many of his erstwhile supporters, and in that he is seeing the forest while they are seeing the trees. A tradition (especially of the Roman type) cannot be organically revived by fiat – fiats invite further counter-fiats down the road.

  15. little gal says:

    At the risk of sounding like a ‘nut’, I think that our good & holy Pope Benedict is setting the stage for something to happen…I am watching things that are happening in Chicago and I get the sense that there is an impetus that was not there before. It also seems as if something has been unlocked at the USCCB with their recent activities vs a vs FOCA. At times, even though I have another intention in mind when praying the Rosary,it comes to mind to pray instead for the Holy Father and Bishops. Is anyone else sensing the same thing???

  16. MarkF says:


    I agree that some good can come out of this. Once the evil that +Williamson supports is exposed, people will be forced to make a choice. Is unity with Rome more desirable than unity with Williamson? Even if the SSPX decides to jettison Williamson yet stay out of communion with Rome, this act itself will make unity more possible down the road.

    I’ve thought a lot about how to deal with the radicals in the Church that the media call liberals. When we are in the public space – when we write letters to the newspaper, or write on the more secular websites – don’t argue the specifics of the matter of disagreement. For example, don’t argue that homosexuality is destructive (which it is) or that abortion is murder (which it is) The secular world is not ready to accept this. When we do this, the radicals make us seem intolerant. What we have to do is to argue that the Church has a right of conscience to teach what she believes. The radicals will argue for “openness” and “tolerance.” Yet we know that they are anything but tolerant of those they disagree with. When we are in the public square to to speak, please, just argue that the Church has the right to her opinions and to employ as teachers those who teach her message. The secular mainstream will support that idea, even if they disagree with our teachings. The radicals want us to to get mad. Don’t get mad. We need a strategy that exposes the radicals as being the ones who are intolerant, which they are.

    For example, a pet slogan of the pro-homosexuality crowd is “all are welcome.” What they really mean is all active homosexuals are welcome. Ask them if all are welcome, then is +Williamson welcome too? Of course he’s not welcome by them without repentance. That gives us a entry to talk about how repentance and conformity of views is what all groups want. Get it? Stay away from areas where the secular mainstream does not agree with us. Instead argue for our right of conscience, which they will agree with.

    I hope this makes sense, because lets face it, the Church is losing the PR battle in the media. Key point – don’t try to explain to the secular world teachings they are not ready to accept. Just get them to agree to let us teach what we want. That will force the radicals to be in the position of saying that they don’t want us to have the right to teach what we want. Expose them to be the intolerant ones, which they are.

  17. Simeon says:

    Syriacus: “The clock is ticking also for the creation of new cardinals! Remember!!”

    Presently there are 115 Cardinal Electors i.e. only 5 vacancies. Between now and the end of 2009 only 3 Electors will reach the age of 80. Therefore there is unlikely to be a Consistory until Spring 2010. But then look what happens. The vacancies for the succeeding years will be:
    2010 #11
    2011 #9
    2012 #13
    2013 #10
    2014 #9
    a total of 52 plus 8 from 2008 and 2009 makes 60. Half the College of Electors will change within 5 years!

    Holy Father. Ad multos annos.

  18. RBrown says:

    I hope this makes sense, because lets face it, the Church is losing the PR battle in the media. Key point – don’t try to explain to the secular world teachings they are not ready to accept. Just get them to agree to let us teach what we want. That will force the radicals to be in the position of saying that they don’t want us to have the right to teach what we want. Expose them to be the intolerant ones, which they are.
    Comment by MarkF

    I could care less whether the Church is losing the PR battle in the media.

    Right now the Church needs to attend to internal affairs, i.e., reform.

  19. chironomo says:

    Little Gal;

    I also feel like a bit of a “nut” in that respect… and have been called so by some over the past year or two. There is definitely SOMETHING happening, and it is more than what we are seeing on the outside so far. I don’t think it is something hidden though… I think it is as simple as a reclaiming of the catholic identity and a restoration (re-assertion?) of Tradition (capital “T”). This includes the public forum (FOCA, communion to politicians, etc…), liturgy (Summorum/ new Translation/ Music/ Vatican II etc..), Ecumenism (SSPX, TAC, Orthodox Churches) all of which I believe is for the purpose of fighting back against modernism which is, in the end, the real enemy. I hope that doesn’t sound like too much of a nut.

  20. Nathan says:

    Little Gal, you are no “nut.” Something is happening. Like you, I’ve noticed a significant change in the “atmosphere” of prayer, especially in the past year. Can I venture to say, there’s a large supernatural element to the battle that’s going on?

    In Christ

  21. Maureen says:

    I’m not at all sensitive to that sort of thing; but logic tells me that praying for the Pope and the bishops is always a good plan, and probably never a better plan than right now.

    You are not nuts. You are paying attention to God and being wise. That’s no more nutty than feeling what’s coming in the weather by the feel and smell of the air.

  22. MarkF says:


    We all should care about winning over and changing the culture, and we will lose that struggle as long as we don’t realize that the radicals are employing some good tactics against us.

    I am all for the reforms of Pope Benedict. I am fully in support of the discipline taken against this Fr. Kennedy in Australia, or Fr. Farrow in California. I would be all for denying communion to Nancy Pelosi and VP Biden. But I’d rather see them change their views really.

    But as the Church presses on with this, we have to be mindful of the wider culture. Do we just give up on this culture that is hurting to much? Don’t we have an obligation to make sure they see the truth?

    Right now, the radicals want to portray the Church as intolerant just because we don’t agree with them. That’s a key point to hammer home again and again. When the radicals use the word “intolerant”, what they really mean is that we don’t agree with them.

    When we argue in public about matters like homosexuality or abortion, where the public, who we are called upon to evangelize, does not agree with us, we are only going to lose. What I’m saying is that we have to get to that first step with the public first, and that is that they have to like us in some sense. Right now, the radicals are painting the Church in their own colors, i.e., intolerant.

    What I’m suggesting is that as the Church purges herself of these radicals, that it’s a better strategy to leave aside the specifics of why they are being purged – “gay” rights, abortion, lack of faith in Jesus as our savior – and concentrate on asking the wider public to accept that the Church has a right to ask those who teach in her name to teach what she believes.

    We have to first find areas of agreement with the wider public, and to isolate the radicals as much as possible. The wider public will accept that the Church has a right to employ as teachers those who teach what the Church believes. That will force the radicals to admit to one of their core beliefs, and that is that the Church has no right to teach that homosexuality is a sin, that abortion is murder, etc. Do you see what I’m saying?

    I’ve done this in the past, and I’ve seen it work. I’m talking about how we present the Church to a secular public that is not where we are yet. The question is how do we draw them in? And we don’t do this if the radicals are allowed to paint us as being intolerant.

    I’m fully aware that this is a strategy, and as such at some level it is a bit of trickery. The trick is to get the radicals to be exposed in public with how intolerant they are, with how angry they are, with how well, radical they are.

    What I’m saying and doing now is to write in to as many mainstream media outlets as possible to defend the Church in these times. And because I’m writing to a mainstream audience, I temper my remarks. I leave out the specifics of why these radicals are being disciplined. What I try to do is to get the wider public to see that when these radicals talk about “freedom of conscience” and “tolerance” they are talking about only THEIR freedom of conscience, about toleration of THEIR views, but that these radicals are very intolerant of the Church’s views.

    Take this Fr. Kennedy in Australia. He’s in the media decrying the Church for being only about rules and regulations and the media is eating it all up. What we need to do is to point out that in his own way, Fr. Kennedy is just about rules and regulations as he claims the Church is. Fr. Kennedy wants the Church to have his rules. He’s not against all rules and standards. The regular mainstream public will understand that, even if they don’t agree with Catholic doctrine.

    Pope Benedict has called on us to evangelize. This is all new to us. We have to talk to people where they are at now, not in terms that they won’t understand. Remember the key advice: don’t win an argument but lose a soul.

  23. Laura Lowder says:

    Since the combox is closed where I want to post, I’m going to tuck it here:

    The interview, above says, “Bishop Williamson was seen in an interview denying the gassing of 6 million Jews at about the same time that his excommunication was lifted.”

    That is the video clip I saw. Bishop Williamson was specifying “gassing” as a logistical impossibility.

    I’d agree with him. He isn’t denying that six million Jews DIED during the Holocause – he isn’t denying the Holocaust in this video! only the claim of gassing.

    Jews were gassed. They were also shot to death; I wouldn’t be surprised at all if more Jews were shot than gassed. Jews also were beaten to death, starved to death and died of typhus and other illnesses in deplorable prison camps.

    Do my assertions cause me to be evil? Remember – I voiced doubt that six million Jews were gassed –

    I want to propose that our beloved Holy Father has been attacked by the mis-statement and mis-representation of Bishop Williamson’s remarks as part of an overall attack on Mother Church.

  24. Jan Rogozinski says:

    (1) the entire silliness was not a blunder; it was a set-up plot agings Williamson. See the entire story on Rotate caeli.

    (2) The question of whether or nor there was a “holocaust” is a matter of historical science. It is a scientific matter and NOT a matter of faith and morals. Thus, even if some pope opined about the matter, his statement would be merely his own private opinion, binding on no open and most definitely not authoritative or infallible.

    Nevertheless the Politically Correct have decided that one must shout out one’s obedience to their theories. Despite the fact that 99.9% of those complaining know nothing about the “holocaust.” They have never studied the historical documents. Well, of course, how could they, since they can’t read German or Polish or any other of the linages in which the original sources and documents are written.

    Indeed 99.9% have never even read an objective secondary source about the question.

    Their ignorant arrogance in criticizing Williamson surely is an extreme example foe the mortal sin of Purdue.

    And, of course, the entire matter is a reenactment of the Roman Church’s hounding of Galileo and Copernicus and other scientists. The pope finally apologized for that crime aainst Galileo recently…. now here we go again.

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