Tuesday, 24 August 2010


I am just about to disappear on holiday until next Monday. It's a dirty trick to play on you, I know, after starting blogging again only last week. But there you have it.

Still, I cannot leave without passing a remark on the news that the pope might issue a Motu Proprio to try to shoehorn the SSPX into a settlement. Rorate Caeli reported the news this week, after Bishop Richard Williamson, peace be upon him, mentioned a possible Motu Proprio in his now rather dull and predictable weekly Dinoscopus newsletter. We can probably be forgiven for casting an ironic eye on most things coming from that quarter, but what should we make of it all, and of the prospect of a reconciliation soon?

First, I don't believe it. It sounds like the kind of thing invented to make a bit of a splash in an otherwise uneventful month for news. I'm not saying +BW invented it; only that this sounds like talk, doubling as discussion, doubling as possibility, doubling as prospect.

Second, even if I did believe it, I don't think for a moment that the SSPX would agree to sign up to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and I don't think Pope Benedict would think he were offering any kind of solution by merely asking them to do so.

Last, I don't actually think the SSPX will ever make an agreement with Rome until they can recognise two salient and unassailable realities:

1) The endgame of the division will not be Rome coming to recognise that the SSPX were right all along. It won't, so stop assuming that right now! The endgame will be when Rome has given due consideration to all the argumentation and come to a decision about it. That is how all ecclesiological division has to be settled, at least in the Catholic Church. Even if the SSPX believe they have played a prophetic role, they cannot place that role above hierarchical authority. Or, they can, but then they will end up like every schismatic wound on the body of Christ.

2) They will have to accustom themselves to current conditions: that the Church is a big, bad place with a lot of nastiness going on inside it, that things cannot change overnight, that papal decrees change little on the ground without willing, holy, humble work among the clergy and the laity, that no Catholic group can hold itself competent to judge of all the manifestations of Catholicity, etc., etc.

Hands up all those who think the SSPX will ever recognise those things?

We live in hope of course. Break not the bruised reed.

Kyrie eleison, indeed, your Lordship.


Russell said...

You're a 'Smart-arse' but I love you. Yours is clever writing. It is amusing and witty in its way and I thank you for it. It is a rainy afternoon, dull and boring, and you've provided a little light relief. I believe you are right when you say 'The endgame of the division will not be Rome coming to recognise that the SSPX were right all along. It won't, so stop assuming that right now!' Bishop Fellay should take serious note, as would have Archbishop Lefebvre. 'Schismatic wound on the body of christ', you say? I am no 'schismatic'. I am no Modernist, no intentional heretic, no liberal protestant, no Anglican...just a Catholic who by the Grace of God and nihil meritis meis holds and believes what he learned as a child and young adult and in my Seminary. If I am a schismatic for that then so were my very erudite and educated parents and grandparents. My mother's family (RIP) received the Grace of giving two Bishops to Holy Mother Church. My maternal grandmother's ten siblings included two Bishops, a Holy Ghost Father and a Mother Superior of a Convent of the Sacred Heart. I think they believed as I do, now. If I am wrong, then they were wrong. If they were right, then, how can I be wrong now? Schismatic? In schism from what, I pray you? From the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Faith, do you say? I think not, brother. I think not. Oremus et pro invicem et Kyrie eleison, brother. Have a lovely holiday!

Ches said...

My point, Russell, was that if the SSPX do not submit what they see as their prophetic mission to correct the Church to the hierarchical authority which Christ placed in the Church, they will ultimately be incapable of unity with the concrete historical Church he founded.

When they have made their points and their points have been considered - as they are now in the process of being - that is the end of it. NO ONE INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP is a guarantee of their own Catholic orthodoxy.

That is a point which all your ancestors would have understood implicitly.