Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Good reading on the Lefebvrite issue

We will, one day soon, get sick of talking about this, and once again the Bark of Peter will sail on into calmer waters having negotiated (not without some damage to the hull) the reefs hidden below the surface of ecclesiastical politics and the storms raging around it from secular politics.

But in the mean time, there are four main essays that one should read to get an accurate handle on what happened in the Curia over the last few weeks.

Louise cited this article in one of the comboxes - but it is not one of the four I wish to recommend.

I judge the four most important essays on the topic to be:

John L. Allen Jnr. The Lefebvrite case: What was the Vatican thinking?
Sandro Magister Double Disaster at the Vatican: Of Governance, and of Communication
George Weigel Rome’s Reconciliation: Did the Pope heal, or deepen, the Lefebvrist schism?
And last, but by no means least,
Spengler Benedict's tragedy, and Israel's

Which journalist, in your opinion, got the best handle on this story, or helped you to understand the crisis in its proper light?

(I must also give an honourable mention to Andrew Rabel who wrote in Inside the Vatican - a clear and incisive understanding from the very beginning).


At Wednesday, February 11, 2009 3:57:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

All four of the articles have excellent insights into the matter; none of them help to understand the crisis in its proper light.

The simple fact is, were it not for Williamson, the lifting of the excommunications would barely have made the news. Instead, the whole matter has become about what it is nothing about -- the Jews, Israel, the Holocaust. And all four article in varying degrees point out that Williamson in this regard could hardly have been unkown unless one were just not looking. He has been a loose canon in the "traditional" movement for years, and not just on this issue. The only thing not clear is whether this not-looking was intentional or simply incompetence.

Indeed, as Spengler I think it was mentioned, the "liberal" side has much the same issues with Benedict, just the other side of the coin. Any German pope will be vulnerable on Jewish issues; there is a German pope, and there could be no better way to attempt to derail him by setting him up this way. Brilliant, really. The only thing to argue against that being what happened here is if it were simply incompetence.

The crisis in its proper light is reflected through all four articles, in the background of the discussion of the Jewish related issues. Which is, that the faith and practice that was once Catholicism is now the Lefebvrist movement, a traditionalist schism.

That is the real issue. Let me be as clear as I can, given the confusion about me insisted upon on this blog from my first post. I am not now nor have I ever been part of or materially supported the SSPX or any other part of the "traditionalist" movement. I have nothing to do with them, have no contact with them, and have no interest in defending them, any of them. Over twenty years after leaving the Catholic Church, I made another profession of faith, in something which at the time I left the Catholic Church I saw as an untenable Christian option, and were I to leave that profession this day, the reasons why I left the Catholic Church would remain unchanged and intact, only minus the later better reasons I found not to be Catholic but what I am, which I am not here to promote.

Spengler hits it squarely on the head, albeit with his decided spin in favour of post-conciliar Catholicism: "The central issue to be affirmed at the Second Vatican Council, which ended in 1965, was the abandonment of Christianity as a state religion in favor of a religion of personal conscience."

Vatican II was a massive shift in Catholicism, there can be no dispute about that, only about whether it was a good thing or bad, and related to that, what the shift was really all about anyway. But that there was a monumental shift is the real and only issue. The further discussion continues, in such things as the lifting of the excommunications, or the "reform of the reform" etc within the postconciliar church.

And that is wherein none of the articles understands the crisis in its proper light. Williamson aside, as well he should be, and as Bishop Fellay has made clear, is, the SSPX teaches nothing other, nothing less, and nothing more than Catholic practice and faith as it was taught to me by the Catholic Church, which is now at best a "movement", and one must swear fealty to the new religion now taught as the faith and practice of the Catholic Church as the absolute precondition or remaining in it. After which, as the liberal experience shows, anything is tolerated.

The whole sorry affair shows whatever the other issues loose canons may attach to it, that the schism of the Catholic Church from the Catholic Church in the religion of Vatican II is final and irrevocable and nonegotiable on the part of the victors, whatever their intramurals about how the victory shall proceed.

At Wednesday, February 11, 2009 10:14:00 am , Blogger Schütz said...

Spengler hits it squarely on the head, albeit with his decided spin in favour of post-conciliar Catholicism: "The central issue to be affirmed at the Second Vatican Council, which ended in 1965, was the abandonment of Christianity as a state religion in favor of a religion of personal conscience."

So, the question is then, which do you think Christianity should be? "A state religion" or "a religion of personal conscience"?

At Wednesday, February 11, 2009 3:00:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

No, that is not the question then. You propose a loaded question biased toward the desired answer. As in: oh of course not a state religion, personal conscience, to which the reply is, well since Vatican II accomplished that, what is the problem, come home.

The truth is, what I think Christianity is does not matter. What matters is, what does Christ think Christianity should be, or more accurately, what did he establish as "Christianity"?

Your move. Predictably, that will be, and how do we know what he established? Why, from the true church of course, which we know is Rome because the true church, Rome, says so (even if no-one else does).

At Thursday, February 12, 2009 5:35:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

May I suggest another piece on the matter:


not by way of endorsement of everything said, but a credible anaylsis of what happened and why.

This is as close as I will come to "Have you read this about that" and "Have you read that about this" or otherwise having to change my abstinence date for Academics Anonymous.

(Note: the last paragraph is a joke. There is no such thing as Academics Anonymous.)


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