Rome abuse “summit”, an SSPX video, and an @fatherz Jeremiad

On the brink of the commencement of the sex abuse “summit”, which is organized to speak to a dreadful problem in the Church, but is designed to avoid the root cause, I received this morning a video produced by the US seminary of the SSPX [end of post].  In the video SSPX former Superior Bp. Fellay gives some thoughts about the minor orders against the backdrop of men formally receiving the cassock and being tonsured.

While the 1983 Code of Canon Law changed the moment at which a man becomes a cleric to ordination to the diaconate, Fellay speaks about the clerical nature of the rites and minor orders.  Those who want to avoid the true causes of the affliction of sexual abuse today constantly raise the smoke screen of “clericalism“, in which they wrap all the ills of the Church.

As the “summit” revs up, all sorts of carefully crafted statements are being released.  The video has good production values, with fine liturgical images and wonderful chant from the seminary schola.

In any event, it was the juxtaposition of the two events, “summit” and video, which struck me.

I range back in my memory to the horror show that was my US seminary experience, knowing that so many other men endured it as well, and very many didn’t make it through their modernist, heretical and perversion-rife gauntlet.   So many of the deficient and the wicked were promoted.  So many good and earnest men were “deselected”.

We must make reparation for so many sins that have been committed, injustices perpetrated.

This morning Jeremiah comes to mind, the great lament of the prophet in Ch. 8.

In Ch. 7 the prophet, standing at the gate of the Lord’s House, the Temple, gives an oracular sermon about its destruction in 587 BC.  He says that the Temple liturgy will not save them if they continue to break God’s commands and even engage in child sacrifice… that’s how low the People had sunk by the time of Solomon.  Solomon had taken lots of foreign wives and he caved into their alien religions, including that of Moloch.  Other kings  in Judah would also throw children into the demon-god statue’s flaming maw.

Jeremiah begins a kind of chanted lament with:

“You shall say to them, Thus says the Lord:
When men fall, do they not rise again?
    If one turns away, does he not return?
Why then has this people turned away
    in perpetual backsliding?
They hold fast to deceit,
    they refuse to return.”

When someone finds himself on the wrong path, taking him away from his desired destination rather than his true goal, he stops, turns around, and goes back to where he made his mistake and then goes on the correct path.  There is a stopping, a turning, a returning, an exitus, a conversio, a reditus.  Jeremiah uses Hebrew shûwb: a turning around, turning back from evil, conversion.

Jeremiah is relentlessly negative and chiding, because the people have so dreadfully violated the covenant which Moses sealed for the people with God.  However, Jeremiah also uses language which predicts a new covenant.  He returns to the phrase, “I will be your God, and you shall be my people.”  If he is grim, he is also hopeful.

But first, there must be a great stopping, a turning, and a returning.

Thus endeth the jeremiad.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Clerical Sexual Abuse, Cri de Coeur, Si vis pacem para bellum!, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Peter Stuart says:

    May God reward Bp. Fellay and the late Abp. Lefebvre. If it wasn’t for them and men like them, my struggling BS-weary SSA self would probably have bounced out of the Church again about 6 months ago and never come back.

  2. Spinmamma says:

    What a wonderful example of obedience (if sometimes reluctant) and courage is Jeremiah. I have alway felt a deep empathy for his anguish and tremendous admiration for his steadfast truthfulness. I felt sadness that in the end, his own carried him away from his beloved Jerusalem, burned and pillaged though she was. I see Archbishop Vigano in a similar way. (nnd you also, Father Z)
    “For whenever I speak, I cry out, I proclaim violence and destruction. For the word of the LORD has become to me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, “I will not mention Him or speak any more in His name,” His message becomes a fire burning in my heart, shut up in my bones, and I become weary of holding it in, and I cannot prevail. For I have heard the whispering of many, “Terror is on every side! Report him; let us report him!” All my trusted friends watch for my fall: “Perhaps he will be deceived so that we may prevail against him and take our vengeance upon him.”…

  3. Therese says:

    Thank you, Peter, and God bless. I have seen your reply on another thread and was reminded to pray for you (and all those like you, who are under a terrible attack these days). Please keep speaking up; you never know when someone seeking hope may be listening.

  4. Lurker 59 says:

    Red martyrdom is much easier than white martyrdom, for red is but an instant, but white will take perseverance and fortitude to make it through the long years and the constant drip drip drip of the pressure to acquiesce to that pinch of incense.

    Biblically, we speak of God being in the mountains and the devil in the low places. It is easier to move downwards, harder to ascend to the mountain of the Lord. Turning around and climbing back up is difficult, especially if one’s life appears to be a Sisyphean ordeal. Easier to be accompanied ever downward. This is perhaps the wretched clericalism of our age — not those that act as iron princes but the velvet-gloved hand of the one who coos and coxes the encountering downward path.

    When we look to the Liturgy of the Church, especially in the daily reciting of the Liturgy of the Hours, what we find again and again is that priestly and pilgrim path of turning again and again to ascend the Mountain of the Lord. Day in and day out, that constant turning in repentance — the embracing of that arduous climb and the sweet weight of the cross.

    There is a need to accept true clericalism, that is the prophetic nature of the call to turn to climb, the kingly nature of leading others in the climb, and the priestly nature of the sacrificial nature of the climb.

  5. LeeGilbert says:

    Father, you write: “But first, there must be a great stopping, a turning, and a returning.”

    This suggests that far from a thing to be despised, servile fear is itself a gift of God, for St. Thomas Aquinas writes: “Nothing evil is from the Holy Ghost. But servile fear is from the Holy Ghost, since a gloss on Romans 8:15, ‘You have not received the spirit of bondage,’ etc. says: ‘It is the one same spirit that bestows two fears, viz. servile and chaste fear.’ Therefore servile fear is not evil.” It is then worth cultivating both in oneself and others. “The fear which is a beginning of love is servile fear, which is the herald of charity, just as the bristle introduces the thread, as Augustine states.”
    It would not be at all difficult to establish that eliciting servile fear has ever been the practice of the greatest evangelists in the Church:
    St. Paul of the Cross: “In Hell, never to see God, ever to be deprived of God! O what a dreadful necessity, to hate Him eternally who has loved us from all eternity!”
    St. Bernardine of Siena: “He giveth unto thee that part which thou dost choose in thine own way, or life everlasting, or hell. Dost thou choose hell? Take thou the penalty thereof. Either to paradise or to hell thou must go; if thou didst not wish paradise, the worse for thee.”
    St. Vincent Ferrer: “Therefore, the Church in the person of every Christian makes petition in the Office for the Dead: ‘Deliver me, O Lord, from everlasting death, in that
    tremendous day when the heavens and the earth are moved, when Thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.'”
    St. Paul: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6: 9-10; see also Gal 5: 19; Eph 5:5).
    John the Baptist: “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Matt 3:12).
    Our Lord: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” Also, Matt 7:23; 10:28; 13: 40-41, 50; 25:41; Lk 14:24; Jn 3:36.
    Of our Lord’s method St. John Chrysostom writes,
    “But why does He dwell so constantly on these subjects; judgment, resurrection and life? Because these are the most powerful arguments for bringing men over to the faith, and the most likely ones to prevail with obstinate hearers. For one who is persuaded he shall rise again, and be called by the Son to account for his misdeeds, will, though he know nothing more than this, be anxious to propitiate his judge.”
    The Church today is very reluctant to make similar arguments and it clearly shows in our sacramental practice. “As of 2008, according to CARA, 3 out of 10 American Catholics
    reported making a sacramental confession less than once a year, with another 45% saying they never receive the sacrament at all. Only 2% reported going to confession monthly or more often.” In short, unless and until the priests of the Church take up once again the powerful arguments Our Lord and his evangelists of old used and address them to those who already profess themselves Catholic; it seems beyond absurd to speak of a New Evangelization. To put it more positively, it would appear that the very first step in the New Evangelization needs to be the rehabilitation of the sacrament of Penance and the preaching needed to effect it.

    (The above is from from a paper I wrote for a class in Biblical Theology, with references deleted)

  6. TonyO says:

    In short, unless and until the priests of the Church take up once again the powerful arguments Our Lord and his evangelists of old used and address them to those who already profess themselves Catholic; it seems beyond absurd to speak of a New Evangelization.

    This is exactly what I would reply to those high clerics who constantly sound the clanging cymbal of “new evangelization”: “Physician, heal thyself! If less than 5% of nominal Catholics go to the sacrament of confession, less than 5% of Catholics actually try to practice what they “believe” and you pretend to preach. First heal the self-inflicted wounds of a very nearly total internal collapse of practicing the faith by your own people, THEN you can attempt evangelizing those who are not yet converted to the Faith.”

    By contrast, the small communities and orders whose behavior and works are much the same as they were in 1900 and 1950 are going strong AND are making converts. Preaching the eternal TRUTH as if it were TRUE makes converts. Preaching everlasting “process” and “dialogue” does not. Meaningless gibbers like “time is greater than space” does not.

  7. Ave Crux says:

    Is there a link to the video, or am I missing it in the article? I could use something edifying right now….
    Thank you.

  8. Ben Kenobi says:

    Reward?! Ugh. This is no different than Bishop Cupich speaking on marriage. Please, Father. It grieves those of us in the pews who specifically made the decision to turn AWAY from schism and obey the Church to see Fellay honored. He needs to repent, openly for the sins he committed against the Church. Please sir, don’t join them. Don’t go where I can’t follow.

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