Monday, September 10, 2007

Catholica Australia Editor Brian Coyne condemns "Sentire Cum Ecclesia" as "Obsequious"!

Deary me, I seem to have upset Brian Coyne, the editor of Catholica Australia and a supporter of "that Petition".

In a post on the Cathnews Discussion Board, Brian defines the differences between his "perspective" and that of "Expat [a regular commentator on the CDB], or these girls and boys who put together the Cooees in the Clois[t]er blog or David S[c]hutz and his blog."
I think the difference is this: these guys are "in love" with a culture. They love the music, the liturgical forms, the rubric, even "the laws" but not the laws for what the laws tell us but the language and music of "the laws". And above all they seem to just lerv this idea of certitude and having a fixed point of reference rooted in the here and now in the personage of a pope, magisterium or call it what you will.
You will recall, of course, from my previous blog, that Bishop Geoffrey Robinson has similarly divided the whole world into two types of people, those who are "seekers after truth" and those who are "proclaimers of certainties". Brian seems to agree. In fact, I think he rather nails it when he speculates:
I like a lot of those things too but to me all those things are, as it were, "the decoration" to what is really important. They are all the symbols or pointers which are meant to point us to what is important. They would, of course, absolutely deny that they are being idolatrous and they would deny that they elevate the symbols above what the symbols are meant to be pointing to.
He may have something there. Magisterial Catholics generally do not separate the "symbol" from the "reality symbolised", for eg. we tend to think that it is not idolatry to worship the bread of the Eucharist because it really IS the Body of Christ and not just a symbol of it. Ditto for the Church. Ditto for that stuff about the Pope being the Successor of Peter and the Vicar of Christ and all. I guess we're just funny that way... We never did catch on to this fad for reducing all ecclesial realities to "symbols" for the intangible mystery of the unknowable beyond. But then I remember that years ago during the Council, one Lutheran commentator (Herman Sasse) said prophetically that the Catholic Church had elevated Zwingli as its patron saint.

Brian actually gives a lot of his hand away in this posting. Remember that he is one of these loyal members of the Church who is petitioning the Australian bishops for "reform". Now read what he says here:
I believe the Church has made two massive miscalculations in the last 200 years. They are the two essential ideas it needs to go back and re-examine. One was the whole concept of infallibility. The other was Humanae Vitae — and, in this instance, it is better articulated why it was a mistake by using its English title "on Human Life".

But enough about Brian's opinion on all manner of things--let's get back to the important stuff: his opinion of me and my blog!
Go look at S[c]hutz's blog: what is the most immediate thing that strikes you when you open his website: the highest commandment is loyalty is [to?] what he proposes, isn't it — "to think with the Church"; this almost obsequious sense of obedience to the Pope whatever the Pope might say or think? It's a commandment virtually higher than importance than the first commandment God himself gave us through Moses.
Actually, its "Sentire Cum Ecclesia" not "Cum Papa" but perhaps it amounts to the same thing. John Weidner, in a comment on a post below, cited a book by Joyce Little called "The Church and the Culture Wars". She dedicated that book to her mum who told her that she would always be on safe ground if she stuck with the pope. Little's book is a demonstration of and a witness to that wisdom, and it convinced me to become a Papist. Anyway, I have always thought that "to think with the Church" was the highest ideal for an ecclesial theologian.

Brian is convinced that the Church is just a "cute and comfortable little construct we'd built for ourselves" that takes us away from "the original thrust of Jesus Christ's original message was all about". There's not really much you can say about an attitude like that, except to ask how he has any better information on or insight into Jesus' original message than the rest of us. He is convinced that the Popes of the last two hundred years (with the exception, of course, of John XXIII) have all been guided by "the forces of darkness", which especially today are mounting an "enormous and at times underhand and brutally dishonest campaign to subvert Vatican II". I think we may count that as Brian's vote against the "hermeneutic of continuity", don't you?

Pius IX and Piux X are both written off as "basicall[y] frauds who have done enormous damage to the original and core messages of Jesus Christ". Maybe that should make me feel better!
His [Pius X's] canonisation I think has been part of this whole "cult worship of the institution and the office of the papacy" that a significant part of Catholicism has been reduced to and which you see fairly graphically on these myriad of websites set up around the world these days which begin with their new "first commandment" as does David Shutz's website — above all else, even God himself, I worship the Pope or the Church. I access God through my loyalty and obedience to the Pope or the Church.
Golly. For the record, I don't "worship the Pope or the Church", but Brian is right to the extent that I do regard personal loyalty to the Church and submission to the magisterium "out of reverence for Christ" (Eph 5) as a way of "accessing" God--or at least accessing God's Word and will for my life. I guess I take seriously what St Paul said about the Church being the "pillar and bulwark of the Truth" (1 Tim 3:15). I do not see loyalty to the Magisterium as a goal in itself, nor can I share Brian's belief that such loyalty is "subverting us from the true objective of our religious or Catholic spiritual quest". Rather, I see loyalty to the teaching authority of the Church as the path on which to travel to the Goal.
Sorry to be so harsh on the people I have mentioned in this post. [apology accepted. No offence taken, I assure you--although I would like you to spell my name properly.] I sincerely believe they need to sit down and take a serious look at themselves and their beliefs. [Been there, done that. See Year of Grace] I fully appreciate they are unlikely to do that because of anything I write though. ...They will be incapable of believing Jesus, or God the Father, if Jesus or God the Father made an appearance and said to them, "stop a moment, guys, you need to think all this stuff through again!" N-o-t-h-i-n-g will convince them just as nothing in the whole of Creation, or outside it...
Not quite nothing, Brian, old chap. I have always found Truth fairly compelling.

I read what you had to say, Brian. Thanks for taking the time to say it. But you are right. I will be sticking with "Sentire Cum Ecclesia" as my motto for the time being, I think.


At Tuesday, September 11, 2007 12:32:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Great post, David. Your reflections are spot on.

At Tuesday, September 11, 2007 1:03:00 am , Blogger Jeff Tan said...

Excellent responses, David. His tirade reminds me of my own angry fits when, in the heat of indignation, I would pretend that the other side is claiming something (silly) that it isn't. It's an argumentative tantrum. Worshipping the pope indeed! The funny thing -- and this might have been as the Lord had intended -- is that people who insist on setting aside the pope and the Magisterium ultimately back themselves into a corner where they have to offer themselves as alternative authorities instead.

At Tuesday, September 11, 2007 8:39:00 am , Blogger Schütz said...

Yes, Jeff, ultimately there must be some authority guiding you on your spiritual journey--yourself, the Bible, the Pope, the Zodiac etc. The only real question is: is the authority trustworthy?

I've just corrected the link to the original Cathnews Discussion Board post.

At Tuesday, September 11, 2007 1:30:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

And above all they seem to just lerv this idea of certitude and having a fixed point of reference rooted in the here and now in the personage of a pope, magisterium or call it what you will.

Funny how "progressive" types love their "uncertainties." They're a bit selective, though. They're "uncertain" about traditional western morality, particularly that which pertains to the pelvic area, but are pretty certain of all their own spurious beliefs e.g. gay marriage, orthodox Catholics are "bigoted" and/or "judgmental," abortion is okay etc. No uncertainties there.

At Tuesday, September 11, 2007 2:38:00 pm , Blogger Peter said...

Brians crude responses can most often be summed up as "if you agree with me you are a broad minded thinking Catholic, but if you disagree with me you are a closed minded bigot who is driven by a deeply psychological insecurity." He rarely address opposing arguements, rarely affords his opponents in debate the proper courtesy or charity.

What surprises me is not that his pet project produces this rubbish, but that you and others continue to take him seriously.

At Tuesday, September 11, 2007 8:27:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

I take Brian seriously enough to want to know and love him as a Brother in Christ. For that reason, I made contact with him today, and his reply held the promise that we will be sitting down for a glass of red wine and pipe together soon.

At Tuesday, September 11, 2007 8:30:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

And in answer to Louise, there was a great entry on the First Things blog the other day about the paradox involved in the phrase "dictatorship of Relativism" ( The conclusion was that there is a little bit of the absolutist in all of us!

At Tuesday, September 11, 2007 10:13:00 pm , Blogger Athanasius said...

Regarding Brian's problem with the papacy (shared by many) I cannot do better then quote the Pope himself:

"After the Second Vatican Council, the impression arose that the pope really could do anything in liturgical matters, especially if he were acting on the mandate of an ecumenical council. Eventually, the idea of the givenness of the liturgy, the fact that one cannot do with it what one will, faded from the public consciousness of the West. In fact, the First Vatican Council had in no way defined the pope as an absolute monarch. On the contrary, it presented him as the guarantor of obedience to the revealed Word. The pope's authority is bound to the Tradition of faith, and that also applies to the liturgy. It is not "manufactured" by the authorities. Even the pope can only be a humble servant of its lawful development and abiding integrity and identity."---Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy. My emphasis.

The monarchical papacy that Brian and others imagine does not exist. Pretty clear, huh? Now why do so many people have so much trouble getting it?

At Tuesday, September 11, 2007 10:37:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

In fact, the First Vatican Council had in no way defined the pope as an absolute monarch. On the contrary, it presented him as the guarantor of obedience to the revealed Word.

My, that's a good quotation, Athanasius. Couldn't have said it better myself--of course. And of course, it therefore follows that obedience to the teaching of the pope is obedience to the teaching of the Word of God.

At Wednesday, September 12, 2007 8:06:00 am , Anonymous Hannah said...

Excellent post David, saw you recently in Albert Street. You were "distant" far away in thought I thought.

At Wednesday, September 12, 2007 11:03:00 am , Blogger Schütz said...

Thanks Hannah, don't ever hesitate to break through that "thought" barrier and tap me on the shoulder to say hi!

At Wednesday, September 12, 2007 11:04:00 am , Blogger Schütz said...

Welcome to all readers who have followed the link from Brian's article in Catholica to this post. I bear no ill will against Brian at all, in fact, I hope that one day we can meet, despite my confusion about where he lives. I now realise that he is not in Melbourne but in Linden, and that might make it a little difficult to get together soon for that glass of wine...

At Wednesday, September 12, 2007 11:16:00 am , Blogger Schütz said...

Julie, I hear that you are out there trying to post a comment on my blog--don't know why it isn't working. Keep trying. Just chose "other" under "Choose an identity" below.

At Wednesday, September 12, 2007 2:52:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Well, I'll tell you why at least some people don't "get it".

To put the idea that the pope's authority is bound to Sacred Tradition including liturgy, that it is not manufactured by authorities but humbly served in its development, integrity and and identity, against the phenomenological and modernist pile of crap called the novus ordo strains all bounds of credibility.

Ironically, when I was a "traditionalist" Catholic I could handle the position of "liberal" Catholics much better than that of "conservative" Catholics. At least the former are quite clear about what is going on and what is at stake, rather than trying to claim something different is the same.

At Thursday, September 13, 2007 1:10:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

I just re-read one of my most cherished books, The Desolate City by Anne Roche Muggeridge. She wrote the book, which I purchased about three or four years before I converted to Catholicism during the the post-conciliar years of turmoil in the Church (and she says, by the way, that it was not John XXIII's intent to radicalize the reform).

Considering, too, that the situation in Canada was even worse than in the U.S. nevertheless her husband, the famous Malcom Muggeridge also came into the Church through what his wife calls "the lives of dedicated Catholics who incarnated the faith."

Anyway, one telling passage in the book:

Meanwhile, the historic Mass, which had for fifteen centuries protected and conveyed a particular idea of the sacred, was everywhere proscribed; priests who celebrated it were suspended and persecuted, and people who attended it were told that they were not fulfilling their Sunday obligation.

Mrs. Muggeridge is a firm believer in the lex orandi, lex credendi principle. EWTN is presenting a roundtable tonight with priests from the Institute of Christ the King and the FSSP about the restoration of the Tridentine Rite and how it will be carried out.

Bugnini, Baum, Suenens, Rahner, Congar and Häring must be turning over in their graves.

As a people prays, so they believe. Time will tell. I see the Holy Spirit at work.

At Thursday, September 13, 2007 2:53:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Bugnini isn't. The 1962 texts are Bugnini, the novus ordo is Bugnini. Tweedle dum and tweedle dee.

The FSSP are miserable sell outs and traitors to traditional Catholicism, creatio ex nihil by the post conciliar church itself to deflect tradition. EWTN are the lost of the lost, miserable wretches caught in spiritual autism, excruciatingly demonstrating that if there is anything more inimicable to Catholicism and the Christian faith than the Spirit of Vatican II, it is Vatican II itself.

Fallen, fallen is Babylon!

At Thursday, September 13, 2007 4:15:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

As to St Mugg, well, I still like The (no longer Manchester) Guardian.

The dedicated Catholic who incarnated the faith must be Mother Theresa. To bad he didn't get to Something Beautiful for Man. I guess he didn't have to. God already wrote it, it's in all the stores.

Mrs Mugg captures pretty well the openness and communitarian brotherliness of Vatican II's pogroms. It was actually a little worse than she describes.

Maybe Benedict as an old man will show the same courage in the face of spiritual Nazis that he did as a young man in the face of political Nazis and desert!

As I recall, Mugg wasn't too keen on Monty Python either. Gotta go with him there. Then again he wouldn't like my guy Benny Hill much either I suppose.

At Thursday, September 13, 2007 11:54:00 pm , Anonymous Christine said...

Hi Past Elder,

Mrs. Mugg (I like that !!) states in the final chapter that while she participates with eyes wide open she has no intention of leaving the Catholic Church because for her there is no place else to go.

The dedicated Catholic who incarnated the faith must be Mother Theresa. To bad he didn't get to Something Beautiful for Man. I guess he didn't have to. God already wrote it, it's in all the stores.

Nope, it wasn't Mother Theresa but faithful parishioners like Mrs. Mugg herself.

Here's a part I found particularly compelling:

In an earlier book on the post-Conciliar unpleasantness, I used a quotation that became the wry watchword of traditionalist circles - Don't let the bastards drive you out of the Church! The beloved friend whose irreverent motto this was has died since then, bravely in the faith of his fathers, after a dreadful illness.... Going to Mass was a real penance for him, but he went. The bastards didn't drive him out, and I expect that now he has forgiven them and been forgiven for the furious maledictions he fervently bestowed on them. He was buried with a Latin Mass, the Novus Ordo, but in a beautiful solemn celebration by his Oratorian friend. ("Pity a feller has to die to get a Latin Mass!" said one of his Irish mourners [I just love that comment!] And this past July, after we had got the old Mass back, we had it offered for him.") (I own the expanded version of "The Desolate City" -- at the time Mrs. Mugg wrote the original the old rite was not yet available.)

Mrs. Mugg has to be one of the most well informed, elegant and charitable Catholic authors I have ever read. Nothing escaped her. At the time she wrote this book she lamented that Charles Curran was still teaching at Catholic University. I am sure she is pleased that he was ultimately stripped of his teaching faculties and now teaches at a Methodist school.

She ended the book on a cautious note of optimism that the counterrevolution was beginning in pockets here and there. And it continues.

The EWTN roundtable last night on the Motu Proprio was very interesting with participants from the FSSP and the Institute of Christ The King. I am very grateful for the ministry they are engaged in for the wider Church (and didn't Msgr. Michael Schmitz have the most elegant German accent – sigh !!) One of the comments made by all the participants was the hope that the reverence of the Tridentine rite will spill over into the Novus Ordo in places where it is needed. I am a fortunate to be in a parish that is restoring more and more traditional practices. Our parish 130th anniversary celebrated by the Bishop was filled with Latin hymns, chants, incense and all the beauty of the Roman Rite.

Young people especially are open to the sense of awe that adults so often lose and it will be interesting to see how they respond.

Oh, and Benny Hill you say? Thank goodness we get the BBC on cable – at home we watch him as often as possible !!

At Friday, September 14, 2007 12:05:00 pm , Anonymous Christine said...

Oh dear, it's time to get out my favorite sweatshirt again, the one that says "Of all the things I've lost I miss my mind the most."

My post above regarding the Muggeridges made it sound like Anne Roche was married to Malcom, who is actually her father-in-law. She married his son, John. But Anne Roche was instrumental in bringing both Malcom and his wife into the Catholic Church.

She was also very scathing in her comments regarding Bugnini. The more I learn about him the more I understand why.

At Friday, September 14, 2007 1:27:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Why moan about the Bug? Fine to point out what a radical he was, but what's the point when 1962 or novus ordo you use the Bug Mass. Then again, I suppose it fits. In the Roman Church black is white and white is black.

The only thing I get from "faithful parishioners" is a sense of what a waste, people who want there to be a "Catholic Church" so bad that even the Catholic Church can be mistaken for it despite any and all factors.

The Roman Church does not have the Old Mass back. To celebrate it under the Motu one must recognise the validity of the novus ordo, which anyone who holds to the Old Mass out of anything but sentimentality simply cannot do. Except the FSSP, the novus ordo created pseudo traditionalists.

At Saturday, September 15, 2007 2:10:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Well, gee, the SSPX uses the 1962 Missal. If it's good enough for them by golly it's good enough for me and the FSSP (have I mentioned that I really like the FSSP?) I also eagerly await the new English translation of the Missale Romanum because yes, I do accept the Novus Ordo. If I didn't I would have remained Lutheran. As I keep pointing out, I *chose* the Church.

I respect what the SSPX is doing, but schism inevitably breeds more schism, from the SSPX, to the SSPV, to an innumerable number of sedevacantists who claim they celebrate the "traditional" Mass while electing their own popes.

No thanks.

There's also the treasure of the Divine Office (about which I didn't have a clue as a Lutheran). Wonderful way to sanctify time through scripture, prayer and the patristic readings.

I wish I could have met and conversed with Mrs. Muggs in her younger days. She strikes me as a lady of deep integrity.

As for the Bug, I blame Paul VI far more for his inability to take decisive action. When he fired Bugnini he could have reversed his directives but didn't. I suspect that had Pius XII still been in office things would have been very different in the afermath.

Paul VI was not one of the best administrators the papacy has ever seen, to put it mildly.

It's going to take time to reverse the damage certain factions imposed after the Council, but it will happen.

At Saturday, September 15, 2007 4:02:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

As a little sideline I remember reading that during the days of the Council a Catholic cleric (might have been Karl Adam) was musing that the Vatican at some point might consider a "Lutheran Rite" that would restore a married clergy and the chalice to the laity.

Us Romans don't yet have the married clergy but we have restored the chalice to the laity.

Of course there's already the beautiful Anglican Rite in use at Our Lady of the Atonement in Texas. Why not? The Sarum rite developed out of the pre-Tridentine liturgy and the Ambrosian rite is still used in the Archdiocese of Milan.

There's room for that kind of diversity.

At Saturday, September 15, 2007 6:01:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

From the UK Telegraph:

Pope Benedict attends a concert at the Sistine Chapel

1. Pope Benedict XVI boycotted a performance of “Christian pop music” in Loreto last week. The organisers of his pilgrimage had planned to subject him to it, just as they made John Paul II listen to Bob Dylan a decade ago. But Benedict stayed secluded in prayer at the shrine, missing all the groovy worship.

2. The Pope celebrated Mass in Vienna last Sunday to the accompaniment of a complete performance of Haydn’s Mariazeller Mass. John Paul (who was uninterested in music) presided at only one full liturgical performance of a polyphonic or classical Mass setting during his entire pontificate. Benedict intends to make a habit of it. That’s great news. Byrd, Palestrina, Haydn, Mozart, Bruckner – welcome back. You can find the details here, courtesy of Sandro Magister.

3. At long last, John Paul II’s master of ceremonies, Archbishop Piero Marini, is retiring. Hallelujah! In addition to encouraging the performance of elevator music at papal ceremonies, Marini is the man responsible for decking out the pontiff in draylon tents instead of fiddleback chasubles.

Byrd, Palestrina and Victoria. Anathema to the "Gather Us In" crowd.

At Saturday, September 15, 2007 12:57:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Had Pius XII still been in office there would have been no aftermath because there would have been nothing to produce such an aftermath like a council on the whim of a lunatic.

And again, I admire the SSPX but I am not with them. Yes they use the Bug 1962 Mass and other liturgy.

The absence of the Divine Hours (be careful, call it the Liturgy of the Hours or someone will call you to task as a closet pre-conciliar type!) does not indicate the Roman church was right, but that we were wrong in ignoring it. And we were. Very un-Lutheran of us, and slowly correcting itself, the LSB being a big improvement. You know very well how a misguided effort to be Lutheran translated to avoiding it if it looks "Catholic".

I remember the night Pius XII died. It came over the radio. No Internet or CNN or cable TV back then. My Dad, the Methodist convert, came in and prayed the pater noster (for real, in Latin) with me. Apparently it was not enough. We got a madman and a gathering of madmen and apostates, then Montini. His address to the United Nations, an utter contrast from the Apostles before wordly rulers let alone Peter his supposed predecessor, was one of my first clues that the whole Roman thing was bogus, past and present. But I will never forget the night Pius XII died and the scene in my room late at night. We had no idea the horror to come.

At Monday, September 17, 2007 11:02:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

(be careful, call it the Liturgy of the Hours or someone will call you to task as a closet pre-conciliar type!)

One could only hope !!

I agree with you that had Pius XII still been around things might have worked out very differently. He was a giant in my eyes.

But I was intrigued by the comments that Mrs. Muggs made about John XXIII, the darling of the progressives. Evidently had he lived long enough they might have found much of their agenda curbed.


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