Friday, 18 March 2011

Blogging scandal

Sorry not to have been putting in the hours here this week. I'm off to a conference this morning to give a paper and that has had the priority in the last few days.

The paper addresses two late pamphlets of Georges Bernanos Scandale de la vérité and Nous autres Français. More about them next week when I'm back, although I will have another conference to prepare for as well. Typical really. I speak at no conferences for about eighteen months and then two come along together ;-)

I note that Bishop Williamson's Dinoscopus letter this week made an attempt to answer objections to the SSPX 'sbeing in the driving seat of the Church 'for all practical purposes'. His argument is that it is not a matter of truth claimants but of truth tellers. I've no time here to go into this very much but this is something of a smokescreen. If one advances a thesis which the Church not only does not propose but is positively averse to, you are surely a 'claimant' of a kind until your position is judged. Unless the SSPX is saying that their position on the New Mass is definitive: is it definitive? And if not, what is it?

Anyway, it's a scandal to blog à la hâte like this. My hearty apologies. Call it a wave through the window!

Back soon.


J. Christopher Pryor said...

Bishop William's latest Dinoscopus leads me to believe what I suspected before, he reads The Sensible Bond. On another note, Rorate Caeli linked to fantastic talk given by Cardinal Burke. Would love to see it discussed by you.

ben ingledew said...

Sensible Bond,

I'm a bit of a simple fellow and I like simple explanations.

Would it be possible to give a simple analogy of what the disagreement is vis-a-vis Bishop Williamson and the Magisterium.

Here is mine to get started. If it is part or complete rubbish feel free to correct me?

Jesus gave Peter the keys. He gave a guarantee that the gates of hell would not prevail against him and the subsequent holders of the keys (Popes).

Is this what "the Magisterium" refers to? Is the Magisterium just a way of referring to the holder of the keys. Is it the Pope in a sort of collective capacity but that collection must include the Pope or there is no guarantee or prevailing against error (the gates of hell).

Is the argument basically this?

1. The truth is guaranteed in the Magisterium (which includes Peter).
2. The truth is not guaranteed otherwise. It might be true but it's not guaranteed.

Therefore, somebody may speak the truth but they will not be protected from messing up - unless they are the Magisterium - because they have not got the guarantee.

Much more problematically, if one asserts that one he has the truth and that the Magisterium does not then one is in a bit of a dodgy position since one is essentially undermining the very thing (the guarantee) that you need in order to assert what you are saying is true.

This whole situation seems to have come about because of incidents in the past which may make one question (incorrectly) what sort of guarantee this guarantee is. It seems as if the Magisterium has been on the edge of a cliff a number of times and has just pulled back (a bit like Peter denying Our Lord 3 times I suppose).

Is my understanding correct ?



Anonymous said...

Bp. Williamson wrote in the penultimate paragraph of his preceding letter:-

It follows that whoever is faithful to the fullness of revealed Truth is in effect -  not in principle, but in practice -- in the driving-seat of the Church (See "Letters from the Rector" Vol. IV, p.164). Furthermore, whoever has that Truth and pretends he is not in the driving-seat would be what Our Lord would have called himself, had he denied his Father, "a liar" (Jn.VIII, 55).

This was written and published before TSB published a blog question to his Lordship.

In his next letter Bishop Williamson began:-

To affirm, as did last week's  "Eleison Comments" (190, March 5), that whoever possesses the fullness of Catholic Truth is in the driving-seat

In short, his Lordship was merely expanding on a what he had written previously and not in response to any request on TSB.

Seems to be a rather misplaced assumption that the Bishop reads this blog or that he feels the need to respond to its owner's questions.

Ches said...


I'm not sure if I have understood what it is you don't understand, but the basic rule of thumb is that we believe what the Church teaches us on her pastoral authority, while the authority of theologians is one of expertise. There is also a real distinction between the teachings of the Church and whatever application some theologians make of them (e.g. those who claim the New Mass is contrary to the faith).

Ches said...



J. Christopher Pryor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. Christopher Pryor said...


I intended to express a hunch, not make an "assumption." I do not claim certitude as to Bishop Williamson's reading habits. I suppose it would have been less clumsy to state that: "Bishop Williamson and Ches appear to be answering one another, although there is no proof." It was really my intention to praise this site and not to accuse Bishop Williamson of reading any particular current scholarly work before writing on his blog.

That being said, this site is a gem, and although Ches will never admit it, I am sure that you and I can agree that Bishop Williamson would do well to read this blog and delete his own.

Anagnostis said...

Interesting. Is Williamson feeling his way towards towards an Orthodox understanding of Matthew 16:18?