Here’s a a surprise that came at me the other day. The folks who put out the SSPX newsletter in the USA asked for permission to reproduce one of my blog posts. Remember that post on 10 Points about prospective priests? It seems that the editor of the SSPX letter thought it worthwhile and positive. I had no idea what they were going to do with it, but I am happy to cooperate with and talk with those who give me a sense that they have good will and will be fair-minded.
Here are the 10 Points again. Keep in mind that in my original blog post, I said that a religious priest friend of mine sent them to me. They aren’t mine by composition, except where I edited a couple in a minor way, but I did embrace them.
1. Prospective priests (Religious or Diocesan) are not looking primarily for community life, as we live it. They are looking for a Church-related mission that they believe in.
2. Prospective priests want to know what the Pope teaches, not what the U.N. teaches.
3. Prospective priests do not want to sit around with older “veterans” and listen to the latter whine about the Pope, Rome and the bishops.
4. Prospective priests are not in favor of women’s ordination. Period.
5. Prospective priests do not want to attend Masses that resemble hootenannies, Quaker meetings, or Presbyterian services.
6. Prospective priests are not ashamed of the Pro-life movement, they’re for it.
7. Prospective priests do not want to hear their brothers mock the Pope and gripe about liturgical norms.
8. Prospective priests do not want to study at theological unions/seminaries that are embarrassed by Catholic teaching.
9. Prospective priests know that Vatican II was not the only, or even the most important, Ecumenical Council.
10. Prospective priests are not embarrassed by Marian devotion, and are seen praying the Rosary.
Here is what the the SSPXers wrote with my emphases and comments:
“Father Z” [Fr. John Zuhlsdorf] is a far cry from the neo-modernist pastors and prelates who are still suffering from the traumatizing effects of the revolution of Vatican II. [I suspect that not all the readers of the SSPX newsletter will agree. But go on…] His insights into contemporary priestly formation are literally rejuvenating.
New blood is running through the Church’s veins. There is now being formed a generation of seminarians and young priests whose outlook on the Church has raised neither taboos nor barricades around the “wonders of the Conciliar Church.” [Keep in mind that the formation has shifted a great deal in seminaries because both the seminarians have become more conservative and, necessarily, as the old guard passes the “formators” have too.] They are observers of a humiliated Church. [That is reading into a bit, but … go on…] They are simply trying to understand how we got where we are. They are objective, open to all sides, but they will not take some things for granted! Maybe now is the time for open dialogue. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]
The “10 commandments” [Hmmm… I was being descriptive rather than prescriptive, but I can’t help but agree that seminarians should want to know what the Pope teaches, should have a Marian devotion, etc.] of the modern day seminarian give a profile of the future Church quite distinct from what we have seen since the 1960’s. These men are serious about their spiritual and doctrinal training. They want to worship God, not man. And they are attached to Rome, not to Americanist leaders whom they judge to be virtually schismatic. [I don’t think I used the phrase “virtually schismatic”.] If this is not light at the end of the tunnel, it certainly shows signs of hope in an otherwise dark age in both the Church and world. [A positive ring.]
To finish, we may invite these promising seminarians—and “Fr. Z”—to read about the history of the changes in the Church in the 20th century. Vatican II merely opened the floodgates to a false liturgical movement and a watered-down doctrinal teaching. Compare the New Catechism to that of Trent; contrast the Old Mass to the New; read the writings of the pre-conciliar Popes in addition to those who came after the Council. [Not to mention during the Council. Right?] See if the Society of St. Pius X is justified in claiming that there is a discontinuity. Against the facts, there is no argument… [Openness goes two ways, of course. The SSPX has to be open to the idea that on many points of their concerns, there is adequate continuity and then starting moving towards greater obedience towards the Roman Pontiff.]
The USA District thanks Fr. Zuhlsdorf for his consent to publish this commentary about his blog post cited below. [I didn’t consent to their commentary. But I consented to the reproduction of the 10 Points.]
A nice surprise. I am rather used to being vilified by liberals, but also by some of the really hard-core traditionalists, too. It is nice to see that someone in the SSPX thought my offering had some merit. I don’t remember seeing anything like that from the other end of the spectrum. Sad. Maybe I’m wrong. In any event, as I said before, I am happy to cooperate with and talk with those who give me a sense that they have good will and will be fair-minded.
And bring on the open, fair-minded dialogue!