Friday, March 23, 2007

Chaos is Preferable to Blindness...

I haven't commented much on the Sobrino case. My general opinion is that John Allen's take is probably more accurate than Sandro Magister's, ie. it is really about Christology and Pluralism rather than about Liberation theology and Marxism.

Nevertheless, I was intrigued by the comment on the newsletter.
The latest liberation theologian to earn Vatican censure is Jon Sobrino, SJ. See the full text of the admonition on While you're at it, consider that it took over fifteen years after the publication of one of his major errant theological works for Fr. Sobrino to be thus admonished.

Consider also that Fr. Sobrino is a member of the Society of Jesus, an order which is in many respects in rebellion against the authority of the pope whom it exists to serve, or, at the very least, cannot bring its own members to heel. If you consider these things, you'll be no more impressed with Catholic discipline than you have been in the preceding fifty years.
I have friends who often ask me why the Catholic Church doesn't just excommunicate the dissenters in its ranks (those who call themselves "the Loyal Opposition". I commented recently somewhere that (contra Monty Python) we don't have Church Police--more of a sort of "Neighbourhood Watch" (The Catholic Blogosphere).

But doesn't all this dissent just prove that the Catholic Church is in no better state than any of the protestant denominations when it comes to disunity and heretical teaching and behaviour? Not at all. There is a major distinction to be made between the role that dissenters try to play in the Catholic Church and the role that the heterodox play in the ecclesial communions. went on to comment:
But at least we have this document [the CDF judgement]. While we are right to be concerned about the lack of discipline in the Church, we should still be very thankful for the clarity of her teaching. Few Christian groups have this consolation. The nature of modern individualism makes the disciplinarian appear evil. As a result, we live in chaos, but not, thankfully, in blindness.
In short, our dissenters don't get a vote at Synod!


At Sunday, March 25, 2007 8:41:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Herr Schuetz!

Partly because the post of our original communication is about to go off the page and into archives, and partly because the "somewhere" you mentioned the church has no Monty Python Church Police was in a comment there to me, I'll continue here -- well, I can't resist a little something on the How Catholics Pray too.

I get your point about "our dissenters don't get a vote at Synod." And there are many of my fellow confessional Lutherans -- another of those terms which seems unnecessary except due to the madness of the age, as if there can be a true Lutheran who is not confessional -- who on that basis yearn for an "episcopal polity".

Frankly, and I realise this would not agree with the self understanding of those who have done it, I think this yearning is at the heart of what impels or propels those who head to Rome or Constantinople or Cantebury. Personally I like the swimming metaphors: I swam the Tiber in the opposite direction, out, came ashore on Lake Superior, then swam the Mississippi -- which in case your American geography is a little fuzzy is to say I was RC, became WELS, then LCMS, although my experience has been the rest of the world knows a good deal more about us than we do about them, which is another issue altogether.

From that perspective, is doing what everyone and anyone really has to do to maintain the fantasy that the Catholic Church is still the Catholic Church -- relying on a difference that exists only in documents, and that in the actual world is making no difference whatever. "Catholic" dissenters don't need a "vote at Synod" because they function as freely as if they had one and carried the day.

It was in a Catholic university that I learned Scripture is simply an expression of the believing community's consciousness at the time, and we follow in their footsteps not when we merely repeat their consciousness but express the believing community's consciousness now.

It was in a Catholic university that I learned that when the church takes action such as the Sobrino case she is acting not in accord with the Gospel of Christ but models drawn from mediaeval, patriarchal society, the very thing of which the church should be rid and which can be ignored.

I could go on and on, but before this turns into an anaphora built on "It was in a Catholic university that I learned ... " ending in a repudiation of every single article of faith I was taught in the Catholic Church before Vatican II, I'll come to the point.

When you can teach for years at university and seminary, even hold a commission to teach in the Church's name, and be at variance with what even the current Church teaches, when you can function as a pastor or even bishop for years and be at variance with what the current church teaches, you don't need a "vote at Synod" because the silence -- and as St Thomas More might remind you, silence implies consent -- of the bishops allows you to pursue the destruction of souls just as surely and effectively.

Now, I understand sometimes it is confusing which hat I am wearing, because there are four. I am an ex Catholic from the current Catholic Church because I think to see it as continuing to hold and teach the Roman Catholic faith is an illusion that can be maintained only by extreme wishful thinking and in the absence of that extreme mental gymnastics. I am an ex Catholic from the current Catholic Church because it is manifest that even if it is the same Church, authentic Vatican II Catholicism exists on paper and in rarefied circles but is not what is experienced by the vast majority of Catholics. I am an ex Catholic from the real Catholic Faith because for it to have been forced underground by Rome itself shows, desite the valiant efforts of brave souls such as the SSPX, it could not have been the true faith guaranteed by Christ against the gates of hell which surely would include, to hark back to the river thing again, the pollution of the Tiber by the Rhine. Finally, I am a Lutheran because Deo gratias I was given to see before my end of days in the Book of Concord that Christ has conserved his one, holy, catholic and apostolic church in the Lutheran Reformation, within which I am in no other church than I have ever been, the only church there is, in a parish of it where the Gospel is rightly preached and the Sacraments rightly administered.

From that total perspective, anything calling itself Catholic appears to me like the passengers of the Titanic, passing up the lifeboats thinking the ship won't sink (real Catholics) or the ship isn't sinking (true Vatican II "Catholics")or simply asleep and unaware because the crew hasn't told them (everybody else). I don't primarily post on this blog from that total perspective or the Lutheran one. Although I suppose if the tote board at Ablaze! is looking a little thin I could issue a call to you to come home!

I am primarily speaking with the first and second hats here: This isn't the Catholic Church, and it isn't even the Church it now says it is. The saddest thing of all in the sad charade of the recent papal installation, for example, putting aside all other hats and taking it as the real deal of the Catholic Church, was the uniformly stupefied looks on the faces of the people, gathered at something for which their ordinary experience as Catholics no more allowed them to pariticpate in than if they were at a Hindu temple.

Catholic Culture's position, the position of authentic Vatican II Catholicism, would be sad if it were not so tragic beyond sad. A document! Clarity! Consolation! Totally a non event for the millions living in the chaos as I once did having neither pre nor post conciliar Catholicism except in isolated pockets, completely unaware that the chaos is produced by nothing other even by its own lights than the blindness from which it thinks it is delivered.

At Sunday, March 25, 2007 9:10:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Yes, I was wondering what you were going to do when the "Old Rite" blog when into archives!

Past Elder, you are almost as confused as Poobah in the Mikado with all his different hats rolled into one! ("Come over here where the ex-Catholic can't hear us..."). But I understand you to say that what convinced you that the Catholic Church (both pre- and post-Vat II) is not the Catholic Church was the stark and sudden difference in the "before" and "after" pictures. For this reason, you have chosen an alternative: Missouri Synod Lutheranism--although the reason for this choice and certainty is not entirely apparent to me.

Yes, episcopal governance is a strong attraction to the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Perhaps it has something to do with St Ignatius saying "Where the Bishop is, there is the Church". If it was true during the Gnostic heresies, it is so much more true now.

As for past periods when the whole Church appeared to have apostacised: Do you remember that after the Council of Nicea roundly condemned Arianism (in other words, "on paper" or "in a document") Arianism actually increased to the point that Athanasius was supposed to have exclaimed that the whole church had become Arian! Nevertheless, Orthodoxy finally prevailed at the Council of Constantinople--sixty years later!

Consider what you have done. You have left the Church which proclaimed the Truth because of the scandal of those who (within her walls) have opposed it. More than that, you have declared that because there are evil and wicked men within the Church, the Church cannot truly be the Church. You have desired to uproot the tares among the wheat, and lost patience with the landholder who said: "Wait until the harvest". You have ignored the gardener who said "Let me dig around the fruitless fig tree" and demanded that it be uprooted immediately. In short, you have despaired of the promises of God.

You are like Elijah out in the desert, despairing that all God's people have deserted him and that you are "the only one left". But God has preserved "7000 faithful among Israel", and has already made plans for the future of the Church.

Why do the dissenters at these so-called "Catholic" Universities define for you what the Catholic Church is rather than the Magisterium of the Church and those who faithfully follow it like the folks at, EWTN, John Paul II Institutes, and countless other organisations and bishops and dioceses throughout the world?

I trust the promises of God. I know that our Lord made promises about the Church guided by Peter and the apostles. I don't know anything about him ever saying anything about the Church the other side of Lake Superior or the Mississippi River.

At Monday, March 26, 2007 12:25:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Three posts in one day to the same blog! If you'll pardon me another pre-conciliar expression, Bless us and save us Mrs O'Davis!

Well I offer the hats because earlier on you said it was hard to tell where I was coming from or what I expected or wanted the church to be. And I understand that, because sometimes I speak as an ex Catholic and sometimes as a Lutheran, and as an ex Catholic sometimes as one who does not beieve contemporary Catholicism is Catholicism at all, sometimes as one who doesn't believe contemporary Catholicism is contemporary Catholicism so zu sagen, and sometimes as one who no longer believes the Catholicism he was once taught.

These "hats" didn't come all at once, but over time, and the only one that actually matters to me now is the Lutheran one. I don't bother with things Catholic by any definition any more except in three scenarios. One is if someone gets married, gets baptised or dies and they are Catholic (as those of my wife's Lutheran family are who married Catholic, my family being dead or very far away except my cousin who is really like a sister, who is a post conciliar convert from the Methodist side of the family, all of them cafeteria Catholics at the church which welcomes them to pick and choose what they like). Another is if something Catholic hits the news big time, I will check Catholic sources because the media rarely gets accounts of anything religious right. I return from each of these grateful for the fresh air again, as one emerging from a public bathroom, or loo of you will, and hold the encounters as brief as possible so that, as with the public restroom, I don't slowly get used to the stink and eventually no longer notice it. (Bathroom, restroom, who actually bathes or rests in them?) You, highly esteemed brother, have created a third scenario, former Lutheran now Catholic bloggers -- you may have noticed the Lutheran blogosphere has certain former Lutheran now Orthodox bloggers, who generally either give the impression if not outright state that I don't understand twice over, once due to my present errors as a Lutheran and once due to my former errors as a Roman Catholic! Well, in your case it's someone who formerly accepted what I now accept, as with them, but who presently accepts what I have rejected.

My mother was a cradle Catholic, who while not always comfortable with post conciliar Catholicism took it in stride, saying the church has faced trials before and has changed before, will face trials in the future and will change again, and will weather the current storms just fine. I think you and all Vatican II Catholics are basically like that -- armed in some like your cases with better arguments like the whole world woke to find itself Arian thing. This just strikes me as a circular position -- the church is the church because she is the church therefore she is the church. It also stikes me as an ostrich position to avoid facing what has really happened. A church is no more a bad church because there are evil men, sinners, in it that a hospital is a had hospital because it is full of sick people. But we are not talking sinners, bad men, or tares, or the loyal opposition, but those who officially teach and proclaim the faith. The church used to hold councils to combat heresy, now it held one to promulgate it. The documents of Vatican II are nothing less than a casting of a religion of Man in the language and appearance of the religion of Christ. They, and those who formed them (some of whom were my professors) and those who now teach them have preserved the form of religion while denying its content, for which they certainly don't have to answer to me but will one day have to answer to the one in whose name they speak but who knows them not. EWTN and the rest can attempt to console themselves, as I did for a time, in what remains of the similarity in form, which only maintains the blindness to the change in content -- the most lost of the lost (I do not mean eternally, that is not my call to make). As John Paul II and now Benedict XVI make quite clear, what they teach, and uphold when they choose to do so, is not the Catholic Faith but the Religion of Man of Vatican II.

My father too was a convert from the Methodist side of the family, which is not to be confused with the Methodism of the present United Methodist Church here in the US. By my mom's account, it took a crack team of Jesuits to get him! God only knows what the Jesuits of to-day would have told him. He remained too after the council, but often saying the church was now just like the Protestant church of his youth but with the Pope at the top, or saying that driving home from Mass you sure feel like you ought to stop somewhere and go to Mass, yet he faithfully stayed, apparently in the hope that things would eventually staighten themselves out.

Much as I wanted to, not only to follow them but to follow myself, who too thought the Titanic could not sink, not knowing at the time that the unsinkability was a myth, not in itself but with respect to this particular ship, I could not follow suit. If the New Testament faith had dlipped under the waves, it did not invalidate the Old Testament, and from High Holidays 1973 on I as it were hid in the synagogue -- Orthodox synagogue I might add, Judaism no less than Catholicism and Lutheranism under assault by the religion of Man too.

When my wife and I were talking about gettin married in the early 90s, we were originally going to be married by the local Orthodox rabbi in a non Jewish ceremony, however he got booted by his congregation for not winking at certain parts of kosher observance they wanted winked at. I thought it might be possible to get married as Catholics, or for me as a Catholic and her as a non Catholic, which would be agreeable to all and preferable to some (my side)so I contacted not the local dissenters but the ruddy chancery itself, hoping possibly for a traditional Catholic wedding as was found in every Catholic church in the world at one time. The chancery informed me that this was no longer the rite of the Catholic Church, that I would need to have some sessions to make sure I understood what the Catholic church is since I appeared to be out of date on that, and should I choose to get married in the parish I mentioned in an earlier post where they teach and practice exactly what was taught and practiced in the church I grew up in, it would not be a valid marriage in the eyes of the church, would be acting apart from the church, though I could later ask to have the marriage recognised by the church. I told the sister that if the church cannot already recognise what it once taught and did it is not the church and I don't give a flaming damn for their approval and slammed down the phone! We were married by an LCMS minister in an LCMS service but not in an LCMS church. I was not Lutheran at the time. In fact we corresponded afterward, my telling him things like why do you guys even bother keeping a red candle around when you don't have what the candle is for!

So the Lutheran hat did not produce the others; they were already there. And now I don't have to wear them, though I'll put one of them on for a time to go blogging with an eminently nice fellow and an Aussieralian to boot (don't know if you saw my comment about five Aussies and me at a Norwegian Lutheran wedding in Minnesota!) who has apparently seen a solution where I see the problem.

You're right, Jesus didn't say a thing about churches on the shores of Lake Superior or the Mississippi -- nor do we claim he did, nor do we believe he had in mind a church on the Tiber either! There, now my Lutheran hat is back on!


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