Card. Cordes on the SSPX reaction in Germany

NB: In case you didn’t see it, there is an interesting article about the SSPX controversy and the role of the press by His Eminence Paul Card. Cordes, the German-born President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum

It was published in 13 March, but it is worth going back and reviewing.

It is on the website of The Catholic Herald, and is translated from the German by the splendid and persistent Anna Arco.  It was originally in Der Spiegel.

Card. Cordes focuses on why the reaction to the lifting of the SSPX excommunications was so ferocious in Germany.

Read the article and discuss (meaning, if you are going comment, read the article first).

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  1. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    Some great thoughts in here, but one phrase, not the Cardinal’s, struck me:

    Pope Benedict having a “abstract fanaticism for truth”. So should we all.

  2. Luigi says:

    I agree with the Cardinal that the attacks against Pope Benedict were truly attacks against the Petrine office and all that it represents; Tradition – the enemy of progressivism.

    Williamson was little more than an excuse for many of the protesters and their sympathetic media partners. With liberal Jews and progressive Catholics sharing a fundamental loathing for the traditional beliefs of their respective faiths, their coordinated attacks against the Holy Father are far less the product of an impromptu marriage of convenience than they are the carefully orchestrated assaults of familiar comrades whose alliances were forged decades ago in the geopolitical arena.

    These two groups are brothers-in-arms who oppose traditional beliefs; most notably as it concerns abortion, homosexuality, an all-male rabbinate / priesthood and the sanctity of marriage. This is why they attack.

  3. Ed Francis says:

    Interesting article, but I still go cross-eyed at rhetorical strategies. For example, as the Cardinal notes in these selections:

    “the early Church already suffered from the problems entailed by the power to lead and interpret what belongs to the Church’s shepherds.”

    “Those responsible for the community are also ultimately those who are obliged to guard and conserve it.”

    “‘for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfil their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be of no advantage to you’ ([Heb] 13:17).”

    we see a variety of tasks assigned to shepherds: to lead, to interpret their entitlements, to guard and conserve the community, and to watch over us. This list is enough to inspire a sense of being protected, held and upheld, and carefully guided; to grant me a measure of inner ease and safety.

    Yet in the disagreements over Vatican II among clergy, we see these tasks dichotomized into basic agons by positionality: who gets to lead, who constitutes “community”, who the “you” is in that verse from Hebrews, i.e., is it a generic signifier or does it mean “me,” Ed?

    SO much talk, so much impact, so much danger of blithe rhetoricity.

    Yet, it’s utterly personal to me. How much trust is expected of me, of us, all things considered? Faith in Our Shepherd, and trust in his shepherds, are not a priori equivalents.

    I get that Pope Benedict XVI understands this, and is working for us.

  4. Tominellay says:

    “…the majority of the media attach themselves all too gladly to…rancour”…
    “…some of their commitment…goes beyond a duty to report”…

    Cardinal Cordes is right.

  5. John Fisher says:

    The saddest spectacle of the recent “Williamson” affair was to see some bishops immediately side with the media and their wild distortions at the expense of the Holy Father. This was particular pronounced among those bishops who constantly emphasise the importance of collegiality. Surely, Collegialty means supporting the Holy Father as well as claiming one’s right to “power” as a member of the college.

    Cardinal Cordes is to be applauded for his intelligent support for the Holy Father and his lucid theological analysis of the current crisis of authority in the Church. It is refreshing to see an anaylsis that is genuinley theological rather than to read every situation in the Church through a Marxist-lite anaylsis of power; who’s got it and who’s using it.

    We often write to complain. Let us write to Cardinal Cordes and thank him for his support of the Holy Father and for his theological analysis.

  6. Franzjosf says:

    “the unquestioned inheritance of a narrow-minded Enlightenment”

    Excellent. Never thought I’d see a current Curia member make a statement like that. Good for His Eminence. The necessity of the Cardinal’s statement shows the poor state of catechesis today and the ill health of the West in general. So many Catholics don’t know the most basic things about the Faith. I don’t blame them so much as their leaders, the Successors of the Apostles. They should, like WFB (RIP), be standing athwart history yelling, “Stop!”

  7. Andrew says:

    Cardinal Cordes locates the source of the recent fury in the Germans’ traditional transalpine antipathy towards Rome. He may be right; its pedigree is ancient. I wonder if a more recent phenomenon might be just as important here: the modern German’s fanatical determination to prove himself more open, more tolerant, more liberal than anyone else because of his genuine loathing for his own Nazi history. That could explain everyone’s lining up to publicly scold the Pope: from the media right up the Chancellor, no one wants to look as if he doesn’t properly despise Williamson’s opinions or anti-semitism in general. Take away the Holocaust denial from the affair and I just don’t see it having caused quite the frenzy in the German secular mainstream as it did.

  8. Ruben says:

    Forgive me if I presume to preach to the choir. I have to be honest and say that I take personally the attacks on the Holy Father and upon the measures he has introduced toward reconciliation in the Church. I’m just a lay person with my own feelings and sense about the whole thing.

    Excommunication is not just punishment, but also medicinal. Medicine is for healing. The Pope’s actions are directed toward the healing of fracture in the church. In addition to the visible signs of fracture in the Church are the supernatural implications and consequences which may affect the eternal destiny of souls. This should be the bottom line. Without union with the vine the branch can inch slowly toward death. No Catholic should ever rest easy when there is even one soul separated from the Church or in danger of becoming separated.

    There is the terrible presence of the loss of the sense of the supernatural in the hearts and minds of churchmen at every level of the visible Church. The presumption of those who have criticized the Pope for lifting the excommunications excludes a holy fear or sense of loss of the immense graces which the Pope is fighting bravely to infuse into the Church through reconciliation.

    Those who oppose the Pope abandon the ground Christ left for us to stand in unity, the Papacy. The papacy is the visible sign and the ground for unity which if one dares to step out of becomes in danger of abandoning the Catholic faith altogether if even incrementally at first.

    The Pope is the deliverer of the message of the Gospel which is Christ himself and his redemption. He does not presume to be editor of Christ’s message. Those who oppose the Pope’s work toward the healing of the Body of Christ dare to presume to be editors of Christ’s message and his desire expressed in his prayer to the Father “that they may be one.”

    There are in the minds of some prelates those ideas they aggressively promote which are actually false alternatives. That either one abandons the Vatican Council or is forced to accept secularizing principles, which might help govern and build up an “earthly paradise”, but do little toward the building up of the God’s kingdom. Another false principle is that somehow progress in time is matched by progress in holiness. “Turning back the clock” is interpreted as the deconstruction of something which can only be obtained, not in the temporal order, but from God’s supernatural grace obtained through the timeless teachings of the Catholic Church and her sacraments. The timelessness of the Church should not be presumed in any way to have been lost if one views Vatican II through the lens of Tradition. The reaction to this false presumption by some churchmen is often the introduction of principles which might carry weight in the temporal order, but that are lacking the vivifying principles directed toward obtaining the only thing that really matters, which is our transformation in Christ and the obtaining of eternal life.

  9. q7swallows says:

    The “copyright” analogy as applied to the teaching magisterium of the Catholic Church is fantastic — thank you!

    Ya gotta love the bulls-eye hit on the transition of “We are Church” to “We are Pope.” These days, that phenomenon is a tad more widespread than just north of the Alps, though. Like quasi-global, maybe?!


  10. Tommy says:

    Cardinal Cordes is great…I was at a mass he celebrated on Nov 8 in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

  11. Patrizia says:

    Cardinal Cordes put great effort into this, but I think the best part is at the end, and I wonder if enough people would get that far. The part at the beginning about excommunication was, I found, difficult to comprehend any differently than before when the Holy Father explained. The word itself conjures up strange ideas in people’s minds. I wonder if journalism needs to be studied by our hierarchy.

  12. Deacon Augustine says:

    Interesting analysis and conclusion by His Eminence.

    Essentially, Luther’s (or was it Satan’s) “Non serviam” is alive and well in the Rhineland, both without and within the Church.

    Didn’t somebody write a book about the Rhine flowing into the Tiber?

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