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.