Friday, December 1, 2006

An Ecumenical Paradox

As a young boy growing up in the Society of Saint Pius X, I loved many things about it. The historical Mass of the Roman Rite, priests clad in biretta and cassock certain of the doctrine they preached, large families, and a strong sense of community are among the many elements of my upbringing that I look back upon with heartfelt joy and thanksgiving.

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Our separated SSPX brethren at Econe, Switzerland.

I remember being carefully instructed by my Dad as to why we took such great lengths to attend a church so different from my local Catholic parish. Many of them made great sense to me, for the beauty of Gregorian chant, sacred polyphony, kneeling for Communion during the Holy Sacrifice offered ad orientam all resonated in my soul, and do to this day. There was no greater sense of mystery and transcendence than, as an altar boy, kneeling at the high altar as I heard the Priest whisper intently the words of consecration: "HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM."

There was, however, one discordant note among all that beauty and order that never made sense to me. If there was anything my father and other ‘traditionalists’ like him were clearly against, it was Vatican II’s insistence on ecumenism. If one thing was consistently demonized, it was the possibility that a Bishop, or even the Holy Father himself, would ‘compromise’ the one true Church by praying with our separated brothers and sisters. The thing is, though, they weren’t called ‘separated brothers and sisters.’ Rather, they were referred to by the much more definitive term ‘heretics and schismatics,’ and this unfortunately made them more easily objects of derision.

I remember when the Dalai Lama came to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to pray Vespers with Cardinal Cooke, I wanted to ask my Dad what was so wrong about Catholics praying with those separated from us. After all, didn’t Christ desire that all his followers would be one? Didn’t that mandate require all of us to actively ‘seek that which was lost?’

Well, one day I got my answer, and even though it wasn’t completely correct, there was an important element of truth in it. “Look”, said Dad, “they have no intention of bringing these ‘heretics’ back to the Church. What they really intend to do is start a new, one-world religion, where it really doesn’t matter what you believe”. Needless to say, that was all a little much to swallow. Yet, twenty-five years later, I wonder if my tough, right-wing, John Bircher Dad was not all wrong after all.

After all, let’s be honest. Even if the Holy Father carefully and correctly delineates the fact that as Catholics we must never fall into what he calls ‘a false irenicism’ , we must ask ourselves an important question. Does your ‘average man in the pew’ believe that? Does your Catholic neighbor next door believe that the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation, and that “he who knowingly fails to enter into it cannot be saved,” to quote the Second Vatican Council? If not, why not?

But here’s the rub: Now that God has brought me back into full communion with the true Church, I have noticed a strange phenomenon, which bespeaks a conflict between praxis and belief.

The very ones who admirably proclaim the necessity of active and earnest ecumenical relations with Protestants, Orthodox, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs, are the same ones who are strangely silent when it comes to dealing with our brothers and sisters of a traditionalist orientation,

This latter group, it seems, has been relegated to the ecumenical status of ‘non-personhood.” For instance, if a cleric issues a public account of his positive experiences dialoguing with our Jewish brothers for a week in the southern hemisphere, wouldn’t it be equally beneficial for him to make similarly gracious public overtures to our separated Catholic friends in the SSPX and SSPV movements?

I have seen countless instances where our separated traditionalist friends have gladly offered their time and hospitality to ‘dialogue’ with those of us who are in the official Church. The reason is because, in spite of their sometimes harsh approach, they sincerely care enough about souls to attempt to bring them into the truth as they see it.

On the other hand, those in the official Church (we are speaking only of our experiences on the local level) seemingly have little or no interest in extending themselves to these brothers and sisters, let alone manifesting any outward concern for their needs and difficulties. The traditionalists are treated simply as some invisible ‘fifth column’ who, if ignored long enough, will hopefully just fade away.

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Are the Holy Father's wishes in Ut Unum
Sint being followed?

Here’s the paradox:
Those who seem to be the most ecumenical with every other separated body, display no outward concern for those separated traditionalists who are actually the closest to us in belief, whereas, those who are least ecumenical in their outlook, are the most outwardly zealous to bring back anyone separated from what they believe to be the true Church.

Just go figure.


Veritas of Humanae Vitae said...

while true there are differences in the way Holy Mother Church has dealt with the traditionalist groups as opposed to for example Protestants, there are reasons therefore. First religions like Islam, and Eastern Orthodox faiths are very different from the Catholic Faith. There is also the issue of time having elapsed. Also, in what may seem like a paradox, its the seeming coldness towards Traditionalists (those away from the fold) that has the biggest hope in drawing them back. Look at the Society of Saint Peter, who came back immediately following the excommunication of Lefevere. But Ecclesia ad aflicta can hardly seem like a happy go lucky document. I think JP II was deeply hurt and did not want to have to do what he did. It was only the deliberate, stubborn, completely unbending in any fashion attitude of the SSPX that led to the schism and leads it today. The Wanderer has detailed the comments of the "bishops" of SSPX stating their "conditions" for a return. With all due respect to them, who the h, e, double hockey sticks do they think they are? This is Mother Church. SSPX doesnt issue "conditions" to the Church. Last I checked, it wasnt a democracy. Plus the fig leaf has been extended to them many times by JP II (by means of joining societies like St. Peter) and Benedict by the means we have all witnessed over the last year or so. The Church is never going to allow them to return without accepting Vatican II and all its teachings as valid. And the Church has been equally staunch in defending any attempts at returning for example Lutherans. The Church in the 80's did not sign a document that would have removed some of the differences because she did not want to compromise the faith, despite pressure otherwise. The schism of SSPX is caused and maintained by them. Say a father locks his son out of the house for doing something very wrong, like for example defying him publically and completely disrespectfully. The father's action is discipline designed to get the son to repent and return to the fold. Is it simultaneously wrong for the same father to invite a neighbor over for dinner with whom he may have had a falling out over years ago (and still has issues with) over say where to place a border fence? Is the father favoring one over the other? I say no, the father is doing the best towards both of them.

Mater Catolica and Jasna Gorak said...

Dear Veritas,

It is a joy to read your comments, for you obviously love the Holy Father very much! May I state how deeply I loved the Polish pope and have studied
his life for many years.

The point of our article is in no way to criticize the patient and
benevolent approach of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI to our SSPX brothers. Their generous offers to the SSPX should have then, and shculd now be accepted without further delay.

We have no disagreement, Veritas, on that score. The point of our article was to state that there is a dichotomy between the generous attitude of the Holy See towards these brothers and the attitude of elements of the clergy
on the local and national levels.

If those ecclesiastical entities were to imitate the generous outreach of the Holy See towards the SSPX, we would be much further along on the desired path to reconciliation and peace.
---Jasna Gorak

Veritas of Humanae Vitae said...

I agree. The local and national authorities on this point have been resistant to these groups. Thankfully they (the local and national authorities) are not the ones who make the decisions for The Church. While they (local and national auth.)should be continually encouraged to follow the example of The Magesterium, if they continue to resist, we are only left to prayer for their conversion of heart; provided they implement any changes out of obedience coming from Rome. I applaud your article for its thought-prevoking nature. A certain priest I met recently said "If you stay with the Pope, you can't go wrong" The current Pontiff I believe will be much more agressive in making sure his instructions are followed at the local and national level. Its a style of leadership that Our Lord may have been holding off on till the present pontiff, to allow our local and national authorities to be given every opportunity to come on board, specifically regarding the "open and generous" use of the Latin Mass, which may now be coming back in a much more concrete way.
Ave Maria

Veritas of Humanae Vitae said...

Those on the local/national level who appear to be ecumenical can sometimes be not actually acting so for ecumenical reasons but rather for popularity and to seem politically correct. Even if they are doing so for true ecumenical reasons, they dont have the authority to bring anyone back by their efforts. Individuals yes, but as groups, i.e., Protestants, Muslims, Traditionalists etc.. the local/national efforts can at best be said to trying to foster an attitude of equanimity with Rome's efforts on a grass roots level. But true, they are not as willing to be open to reaching out to SSPX members and such. But in their defense, the SSPX is a lot closer in time in terms of their dissent then say the Protestant Reformation. I have much less sympathy towards the SSPX members who were born into the true Church (correctly catechized) and then left and continue to defy today as opposed to say younger SSPX members who were born into the society and know nothing else. Much like I have sympathy towards Protestants who know no other belief and may not have been given the full light of revelation. It should be brought to the local/national authorities attention that the younger members of SSPX bear no direct culpability for this schism and in fact they have a lot in common with conservative elements within the Church, and that bringing them back could weaken this schism, so that maybe they should be treated in a kinder fashion then the oldtimers. But a lot of bishops mentally just lump the SSPX young and old and conservative Catholics all into one class. Hopefully as the people in this last generation who subscribed to "Vatican too much" as one priest recently called it, as opposed to Vatican II as others rightly viewed it, leave the surly bounds of Earth then more can be done to have concrete ecumenical efforts towards the younger SSPX generation.

Mater Catolica and Jasna Gorak said...

Dear Veritas,

You are indeed correct when you state that you can't go wrong with the Holy Father, for you are reiterating the wisdom of St. Ambrose, "Ubi Petrus, Ibi Ecclesia.

As far as our separated SSPX friends, I do agree that the newer adherents generally take refuge at first not so much for ideological reasons, but for more practical reasons such as doctrinal and liturgical surety and stability.

Sadly, with the passage of time, some come to accept the various dissenting attitudes toward certain conciliar documents as well as questioning the doctrinal liceity of other officially promulgated Latin liturgical texts.

I feel a great sympathy for not only these newer adherents, but for the 'old timers' as well, for my father was one of them. Only the good and merciful Lord can judge the effect that the revolution of the 60's and 70's had on these good people. So I think it is far better to judge more leniently whenever possible, for as you know, Veritas, on the day of judgement we will all be pleading for the mercy of Him who is Dives in Misericordia.


Veritas of Humanae Vitae said...

True, one should not judge lest one be judged, and as to the status of one's soul and whether they are in a state of grace, that is entirely up to God. I cannot make no such judgements nor could I. But with that said, even making the statement that someone is judgemental is a judgement. We all make judgements via any declarative statement. Is it raining outside, yes or no, that is a judgement. Is the light green or red? That is a judgement. We have to make certain judgements as to people's actions. This is with no disprespect or particular judgement directed towards your father or any other person. But one can say in one's limited ability, that it appears that one who was properly catechized in the faith and then left the faith for whatever reason has appearingly more culpability then one born into such a family and who has known no other situation. With that said I hope all people young and old come back. I just believe it will be harder as time goes on to bring back older people. My sincere best wishes for you and your family and I will pray for all separated brethren.

NCTradCatholic said...

Veritas said, "the fig leaf has been extended to them many times by JP II... and Benedict." What fig leaf has Benedict extended to the SSPX?

Mater Catolica and Jasna Gorak said...

Dear Veritas,

As always, you are correct in saying that we do have to make certain judgements regarding the subjective choices of others.

In this case, those that leave the Church coming from a well catechized background certainly have a greater subjective responsibility than those poorly catechized who leave.

Yet that is only part of the story, for only God can judge the subjective state of anyone's soul (i.e. knowledge and intention).

Secondly, it is very difficult to form any judgements as to what effect the liturgical/doctrinal/moral eccleiastical revolution had on the emotional and psychological state of souls, especially because, in many instances, these things were promoted from within the household of faith.

This we can say for certain. One may never leave the Church (Extra ecclesia nullus salus). We must love and pray for those who have, hoping they will accept the generous hand of the Holy Father, and in the case of our Traditionalist friends, take advantage of what is being offerred.

In this case, the Traditional Mass and Sacraments, freedom to interpret the Council in the light of Tradition, and considerable juridical autonomy.

Veritas of Humanae Vitae said...


The "fig leaf" I meant was the meeting between Pope Benedict and "Bishop" Fellay and other members of SSPX at the Vatican about a year ago. As well as the creation of the Tridentine Rite group in France recently. At the meeting it was widely reported that the society has established at least 2 criteria for reestablishing relations, (1) removal of the excommunication imposed on Lefvebre and the 4 bishops he ordained and (2) a statement that the Latin Mass can be said by anyone without permission from the local Ordinary. Since then, it has also been widely reported that Pope Bendedict is working on a document that would allow for the second condition. The first one has also been bandied about but less concretely then the second. I understand the Traditionalist view that believes there is no need to have permission due to the papal bull of 1571. But with that said, for better or worse, the current situation is that a priest is required to seek the permission of the Ordinary. How, that came about, etc...I dont know (noone has been able to give me a concrete explanation to date) and is seemingly and likely not going to address/solve the current situation of the society. One can pray and urge a change in this procedural policy, but when it comes down to it, one must always remain faithful to the Magesterium. And when a writ of excommunication is issued against one, one should seriously reexamine ones position. This is not to judge them personally. Only God can do that. They personally may have nothing on their consciences that would convict them, I dont know, only God does. But their actions (as a group/leadership) do not appear to motivated by anything but their own will. It may be better for the Society to reconcile and then try and change things from the inside then to live in their current state. It is a confusing situation in terms of what Vatican II said about the Latin Mass (as far as I know in my limited knowledge of this) and how the Novus Ordo liturgy has been promulgated in America over the last 30-40 years, to the large absence of the Latin Mass in most parishes. I know there must be some straight forward response to this question that I havent gotten yet, (that isnt full of conspiracy theories). But It raises my ire to think of the society stating "conditions" for their return. There current situation is not one of a quick, unreflected impulsive response of the Vatican. Its more of a deliberate sustained diobedience by themselves. Frankly I dont understand the reason Lefevbre felt it necessary to ordain Bishops w/o Rome's ok. But he knew what that meant without a shadow of a doubt. Any logic that seems to justify that has to go through a pretty long, windy road of proportionalistic reasoning that is nebulous at best. I dont buy it. I wonder if Rome does comply with these conditions, whether the society would then reconcile. But all in all, Rome has been very willing to discuss these issues. Lets hope and pray the society finally takes them up on it and this hurt is removed from The Church.

Mater Catolica and Jasna Gorak said...


There's much to ponder in your response. I must say that what you say strikes a chord with my own native instincts.

I never had much sympathy with the SSPX after the episcopal consecrations, though, I have come to believe that Abp. Lefebvre was more than justified in doing all he did to found a new order, considering the really whacked-out condition of the Church then in Europe.

I have actually come to believe that he was directed by Providence to help restore sanity and tradition to the Church before it was irretrievably lost. All the good traditional orders we have now can be traced directly to his intervention, so he was a real gift to the Church.

However, the consecrations were a big mistake, though it was a mistake any of us could have made, in the same situation, especially given what must have been intense provocation by his fellow radical French bishops (we all have a better idea what they're like after their unedifying display of outrage at the prospect of a new Motu Proprio!).

I do hope this dialogue continues. It is good to thrash these things out and try to make sense of all these events.

By the way, wasn't it an olive branch and not a fig leaf?

---Mater Catolica

Veritas of Humanae Vitae said...

Quite true,
An Olive Branch. I agree with the fact that the Consecrations were a mistake, and as always, I dont know what personal culpability he has in that, only God does. But I disagree that he was guided by Providence, which by the capital "P" I take to mean God. A house divided cannot stand, Our Lord said. How can one say that he was "justified" in doing what he did? As whacked out as the members of The Church may have been in France, it was still THE Church. Preforming an excommunicating act, that he knew would cause a schism, can hardly be said to be Gods Desire or Will. As for all of the good traditionalist orders stemming from his acts....hmmm. Wasn't it John Paul II's act of creating the Society of Saint Peter and Pope Benedict's act of creating the new traditionalist order in France that brought us these orders? True this was a response to woo back some of the SSPX, but perhaps these societies could have been formed by personal appeals from clergy seeking to avoid a schism. Actually as I understand it, correct me if I am wrong, the St. Peter Society didnt ever schism but was created after the schism to respond to priests who wanted to avoid leaving? Jasna, it appears you love the Church very much and long for (as do I) a return to a less "banal" (as per Cardinal Arinze) Mass. This is laudable. But it appears your statements contradict each other. How could the espiscopal ordinations be wrong, but then at the same time guided by Providence? My "personal" thoughts are that Bishop L. was in a very hard situation. He must have been under pressure. But you just dont leave, no matter how bad it gets. Because then that is saying that our Lords statement "The gates of hell shall not prevail against It" was wrong. The Church will survive. Breaking off can't help or ever be motivated by God. Our Lord prayed in Matthew 17 that we would all "be one". Are there big problems? Of course. Is it hopeless? never. Where there is Peter, there is THE church. I want every single one of the SSPX back, asap. They are Gods children as are you and I. I dont judge them personally. I dont know what is in their hearts and souls. By the way, have you ever tried organic wine? Ughh I say give me the sulfites! Best wishes and Ave Maria!


Anonymous said...

An interesting, yet sad situation.

I have noticed here in Scotland that there are many people who are very open to the traditinal Mass, but only under indult. SSPX isn't approved, where instead FSSP is considered okay. I think this is the crux of the matter - not ecumenism, not sharing different opinions, but instead when people instead of debating deliverately go against the will of their betters. Traditional Masses are encouraged it seems, just not secession and disobedience. The Ecône consecrations seem to be the Big Awkward Thing.

- Then again I could be wrong, because this is the view of a Catholic sympathiser looking from outside in.

Mater Catolica and Jasna Gorak said...

Mater Catolica speaking here:

Dear Veritas,

I just wanted to clarify my comment from before:

When I said I believed that Abp. Lefebvre may have been guided by Providence, I did not mean to include the unfortunate act of disobedience to Pope John Paul II in the l988 episcopal consecrations (or what Mark called 'The Big Akward Thing') in that statement.

His attempt to save Catholic Tradition from obliteration early in the 1970's was an heroic and admirable effort, and I believe we should be grateful to him for founding an order of priests that would try to accomplish that aim.

It is just very tragic that he went ahead and consecrated his own bishops at the end of his life, but, as I have said before, any one of us may have done the same thing if we had gone through all the aggravation and mistreatment that he did by some in the 'official' Church.

Archbishop Lefebvre should not be condemned completely for one act which in all likelihood was undertaken with the best of intentions.

Also, Veritas, what do you have against organic wine? I'm no wine connoisseur, but I think it tastes pretty good.

---Mater C.

Veritas of Humanae Vitae said...

Hi all
Re organic wine, It just doesnt taste very good to me, at least the bottled stuff. I have had home made wine and that tastes fine to me but the bottled store bought organic wine must have something else besides sulfites in there to keep it from spoiling and maybe that what I dont go for...just dont really like the ones I have tried, but it could be the one I tried wasnt good to begin with. Re the history of SSPX once again I have to admit ignorance. I didnt realize that it was created before the conescrations. I guess since it was created before this event that it then had papal approval? If so then it was fine up to the moment of schism. But if they left after the consecration then that should be the point of criticism as you so correctly point out. While I dont condemn Ab Lefebvre personally, who knows he could be completely personally blameless, only God knows, but the rationale of good intentions is as we all know can be pave the road to Hell. We have to judge objectively the act of consecration though, which was wrong, as we have all stated. There have been people in the past who have been mistreated and aggravated equally as much by members of the official Church but they remained in the Church. Thanks for the clarification and education on the Ab. I applaud any efforts he made while in the Church to keep the Latin Mass in use. The latest from Rome seems to indicate that we may see it come back soon.
Ave Maria

NCTradCatholic said...


It is inconceivable that any of the indult traditional orders would have been created, at least for a very long time, had the 1988 consecrations not taken place. To imagine otherwise is wishful thinking. There simply was no appetite in Rome for doing so, and no real demand for such communities outside of Lefebvre's followers. It was only when Rome could no longer ignore the SSPX that they used the new communities to try to draw the faithful away from the Society. The new institute in France is made up of 5 priests who had already been expelled from the SSPX. As I understand it, they are not even allowed to offer the Old Mass in public or offer any of the sacraments to the faithful. Hardly much of a concession.

The "whacked out" sector of the Church extends far, far beyond France, into seminaries, chancellories, episcopal conferences, the Pontifical Biblical Institute, etc., as you must know. Trying looking for any reference to Holy Mass being the Sacrifice of Calvary in the new Catechism. Read Rome's 1993 Ecumenical Directory and imagine it being faithfully carried out in your parish, if you have the stomach.

Remember that Saint Athanasius consecrated bishops outside his own jurisdiction when most of the hierarchy was Arian. He was even excommunicated in writing by Pope Liberius. Yes, the Church will survive (though perhaps not in Europe), thanks in part to Saint Athanasius and Archbishop Lefebvre.

Jasna, God bless your father!

Veritas of Humanae Vitae said...


Wow, you have it all figured out. You are obviously dissatisfied with Rome's methods of dealing with SSPX. Then again I am sure Rome is not too thrilled with your take on things either. I find your overt disdain for The Catechism and other official documents frankly disturbing. The Catechism is a magnificent accumulation of Catholic teaching. How you can with one stroke just dismiss it? Especially when you are incorrect in your statement. See below from The Catechism. As I once heard a judge said, "Counselor, just cause you say it, doesn't make it so"

1330 The memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection.
The Holy Sacrifice, because it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior and includes the Church's offering. The terms holy sacrifice of the Mass, "sacrifice of praise," spiritual sacrifice, pure and holy sacrifice are also used, since it completes and surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Covenant.

The Holy and Divine Liturgy, because the Church's whole liturgy finds its center and most intense expression in the celebration of this sacrament; in the same sense we also call its celebration the Sacred Mysteries. We speak of the Most Blessed Sacrament because it is the Sacrament of sacraments. The Eucharistic species reserved in the tabernacle are designated by this same name.

568 Christ's Transfiguration aims at strengthening the apostles' faith in anticipation of his Passion: the ascent on to the "high mountain" prepares for the ascent to Calvary. Christ, Head of the Church, manifests what his Body contains and radiates in the sacraments: "the hope of glory" (Col 1:27; cf.: St. Leo the Great, Sermo 51, 3: PL 54, 310C).

While your specific random choice of the phrase "the Holy Mass being the sacrfice of Calvary" is not expressly stated altogether in one spot verbatim, as my cursory search noted, the first quote shows that the Catechism obviously teaches that the Mass can be called "The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass" and the second quote especially where it says "the ascent on to the 'high mountain' prepares for the ascent to Calvary. Christ, Head of the Church,manifests what His Body contains and radiates in the sacraments" obviously tells anyone in their right mind as they should already know, first of all that the Catechism does support this idea and does teach it clearly. One can come up with any combination of words to find them "missing" from the Catechism, but I doubt if you asked the writers and editors of The Catechism whether they wished to exclude that phrase they would honestly say no.

Re the consecrations, the ends do not justify the means, even if Lef had known somehow that this would definitely restore the Latin Mass, it still would have been an immoral act. The Latin Mass is a beautiful rite but when are people going to learn that until people know what is actually occuring on the altar, it doesn't matter if you say The Mass in Swahili it still isn't going to change anything. We should be focusing on deepening our faith, not clinging to the letter of the law, which as Scripture says, kills.

The Church is perfect because She is Christ's Bride. Individual people in The Church may or may not be immoral, excluding the Pope when he acts in matters of Fatith and Morals, but this cannot be equated to The Church being wrong.

Re your final statement re St. Athanasius, what do you mean by outside of "his jurisdiction"? From a cursory investigation it seems Athanasius was never excommunicated by Liberius, only condemmned mistakenly by a bad decision from Arian bishops. What is your source for this statement?

I think Ab. Lef. was aware of the below when he did what he did. Come on NC TRad lets not make a hero out of a schismatic. One could live his whole life in virtue and God could condemn him if he knowingly commits a mortal sin as his last act. Hitler got the trains to run on time.
Can. 1382 A bishop who consecrates some one a bishop without a pontifical mandate and the person who receives the consecration from him incur a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.

Mater Catolica and Jasna Gorak said...

Dear NCTrad,

It is always good to hear from you, and I thank you especially for offering the blessing to my Dad, for he indeed has "travelled far" ecclesiologically these past years, perhaps farther than he ever envisioned.

The reason I say that, is that Dad probably never thought that he would end up following Msgr. Lefebvre, when he understandably decided "enough was enough" with the silly guitar Mass that came to our parish in the 1960's.

Yet, dear NCTrad, follow he did, and did enjoy many years of relative peace. Sadly, when some SSPX priests who should have known better decided to introduce the bizarre theory of "sedevacantism", Dad eventually went right along with it, for he figured that if you could reject the Council and the Mass, tossing the Pope overboard wasn't hard after all.

Yet, it didn't end there. After rejecting the Polish Pope, dad threw out Paul VI and John XXIII. Just recently, Dad shared with me that he has serious doubts about Pope Pius XII.

Sadly, the father of lies decided to tempt my Dad even further, conning him into believing that Msgr. Lefebvre himself was never validly consecrated, due to the alleged Freemasonic leanings of Cardinal Lienart, who was the principal consecrator.

So, in the end, what goes around, comes around, for my dear father ended up rejecting the very Bishop whose priests had first opened this ugly theological/ecclesiological can of worms.

Now in all fairness, Msgr. Lefebvre did throw these priests out because they went further than he,but I'm sure you realize that once you compromise the ancient principle of "Roma locuta, causa finita est", you're on a slippery slope headed down.

--Jasna Gorak

Veritas of Humanae Vitae said...


I also will sincerely keep your father in my prayrs. I agree with everything in your last post. Once one leaves the fold, the devil, can easily lead anyone astray. But hope springs eternal and I think your father has a great son to help him towards his return. If its any consolation, my father was raised in a communist country and is agnostic at best. I have tried getting him to go to Confession but he reacts pretty viotriolically. I only hope that he has a slow progressive decline and not a quick unforseen death, beacause I think if he gets to the end he has enough to possibily reach out to God. But its pretty depressing. My mother thank be to God is a good Catholic and thanks to her, even though I strayed in my younger years, I had the basics instilled so that when as the prodigal son I realized how low I had gone, I was able to stumble back to the Father.

NC Trad Cat- I apologize if I was overly harsh in my last post, I tend to get carried away sometimes and I mean no disprespect to you personally.

Veritas of Humanae Vitae said...

very nicely put. As you correctly point out, one could find any reason to justify immoral actions. Once that principle is broken, its a slippery slope into an abyss. Your precise quoting of documents is very clarifying. Are there any particular concilliar documents that you would recommend for reading?

I recently read a piece on Spirit Daily that told of a meeting between the head of Seton home school and several vatican cardinals, including Arrinze that was very successful. The cardinals seemed to support homeschooling very much.


Filius Mariae said...

On the matter of the New Catechism, I KNOW that the document IS clear and concise regarding the Mass, when it describes the Sacrifice of the Mass in #1356 and following. One need only reread it to dispel any doubts as to the authenticity of the way that the sacrifice of the Mass is expressed in the Catechism. I would be seriously alarmed if you did NOT have a copy of the catechism and Compendium in your home. I have (OCR) scanned the pages relating to the catechism's treatment of the Mass NCTrad, and I would be happy to post them since they clearly address the realities which you suggests are not in the catechism. They are best read in MS Word, however... for with the foot and margin notes... which point to Sacred Scripture and the patristic works... it makes for lousy formatting with plain text.

What is alarming is how someone who is Catholic can dismiss a document so important even if one does not agree with the way certain portions of it are phrased or put together. To not know this document through and through would be an act of intellectual cowardice (though surely unintentional).

Now, as to dear Archbishop Lefebvre. One can rightly argue that Marcel Lefebvre will some day be rehabilitated. For Pope Benedict and Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos surely will it so... and God and Our Lady will grant it. He was a man who was principled, loved our Lord, and His Blessed Mother, cared dearly for the salvation of the souls entrusted to him by his own episcopal ordination, suffered for the faith and was persecuted for it.

While I believe in 1988 he performed an objectively immoral act in pursuit of a good end, I am comforted in knowing that God in his nfinite Mercy can take this act and bring good out of it by the virtue of His own infinite love, as well as the meritorious acts of others. The consecration was an objectively evil act because the Sovereign Pontiff (who posesses primacy of jurisdiction and is the final authority in the Church) declared that the state of emergency justification Msgr. Lefebvre claimed did not exist. This is made all the clearer by the fact that the Holy Father had lready agreed to the consecration of a Bishop to succeed the respected Archbishop, as well as providing the necessary canonical autonomy the Society needed to continue its good work. To perform an objectively immoral act in the pursuit of a good end contradicts the very first principle of Catholic moral theology, and as such can never be justified. Moreover it can be argued that the disobedience of Msgr. Lefebvre cast the shadow of a lack of credibility on the Traditionalist movement which set it back many years. Long Island is a clear example of this, for an approved Society would have garnered wide support among a wide circle of conservative laity and clergy alike, having by this time acquired a centrally located church and school for use by all those who desired it. It is painful to contemplate this, but it is a fact that must be stated. The unfortunate refusal by Msgr. Lefebvre to grasp the hand of friendship offerred him by the Polish Pope has done nothing to benefit the cause of Catholic tradition on Long Island. Sadly, it both gave the liberals the necessary cover to pursue their disordered programs, while giving the conservatives nothing to unite around.

One can even conclude that this even gave various members of the clergy and episcopate sufficient excuse to distrust ALL who love the old mass due to the problems that the Archbishop (albeit in good faith) exacerbated by his high profile rejection of full communion with a Pope who in a letter shortly before the consecrations begged him not to add another dagger through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of the Church.

Not only did this act deprive those who needed it of canonically approved traditional parishes to "hide-out" the revolution, but it secondarily deprived parishes of the fighting soldiers capable of challenging the "status quo, business as usual" heresies which were a
direct result of a falsely interpreted Council.

This theological mischievousness is not limited to the liberals, for it has has always disappointed me that when I sit down with either a
liberal OR traditionalist, rare is the one has actually spent much time reading the conciliar texts, each side being content to quote the
dissenting theological "periti" in their particular camps. This misplaced trust in those with no desire to adopt the traditional Catholic spirit of hermeneutical continuity has caused untold numbers of Catholics to lose the trust in the magisterium of the Church which has
always been the sign of fidelity.

The use of the memory of Liberius and Athanasius (though I've heard it before many times) is specious at best. This is because of the many conflicting and ancient historical accounts relating to both good men and their actions during one of the most confusing times in Christian history. The duress under which Liberius signed certain documents resulted in declarations which were in no way binding.

Of Pope Liberius it is said: "It should be carefully noted that the question of the fall of Liberius is one that has been and can be freely debated among Catholics. No one pretends that, if Liberius signed even the most Arian formulae in exile, he did it freely; so that no question of his infallibility is involved. It is admitted on all sides that his noble attitude of resistance before his exile and during his exile was not belied by any act of his after his return, that he was in no way sullied when so many failed at the
Council of Rimini, and that he acted vigorously for the healing of orthodoxy throughout the West from the grievous wound. If he really
consorted with heretics, condemned Athanasius, or even denied the Son of God, it was a momentary human weakness which no more compromises the papacy than does that of St. Peter. "

(Sources: The letters of Liberius, sermon: The consecration of St. Ambrose's sister to virginity (preserved by that Father, "De Virg.", i,
ii, iii), and the dialogue with the emperor (Theodoret, "Hist. Eccl.", II, xvi) are collected in Coustant "Epistolæ Rom. Pont." (reprint in
P.L. VIII). From MSS: The three epistles of St. Hilary, `Frag.' VI, in "Revue Bénéd." (Jan., 1910). )

This is not to say that there are not abuses or even heretics in curias around the world, including Rome. This is only to point out the fact
that resorting to an incomplete rendition of history can never serve to justify that which is never licit.

In cases where this is no reconciliation with Peter, there is no unity... hence no communion... and eventually there is loss of even

Filius Mariae said...

Pardon the placing of the previous comments, Veritas' comment came after Filius'.

-Filius' Daughter.