General Discussion (10)

cartoondiscussion10If there’s something of interest in the news that’s not covered in one of the topic threads, or you have a question to ask, a comment you’d like to  make about anything under the sun, more or less, this is the thread for you. However, please check first, to ensure that you haven’t missed a topic thread or another thread where it would be appropriate to post your comment.  Readers have occasionally gone straight to the General Discussion thread to post news that is already the topic of a thread or to ask a question that is already being discussed elsewhere. So, do your Sherlock Holmes before posting here, please and thank you!

Feel free, also, to share your favourite spiritual reading books, prayers and devotions. Whatever.   Enjoy! 

To read previous 9 General Discussion Threads, click on the links listed below.
(1)
click here  (2) click here  (3) click here  (4) click here  (5) click here
(6) click here 
(7) click here  (8) click here  (9) click here

Bishop on Unbelievers in Hierarchy

LAST WEEK, Rorate Caeli interviewed His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider, one of the most visible prelates working on the restoration of the traditional Latin Mass and faith, on numerous topics.

In this wide-ranging interview, His Excellency thoughtfully expounded on issues critical to the Church in this great time of crisis. Read the entire interview so you don’t miss His Excellency’s thoughts on the current status of the SSPX, women’s participation in the Mass and the washing of women’s feet, whether Russia was ever truly consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Summorum Pontificum and anti-pastoral bishops and much, much more. 

For several past generations until our days there reigns in the life of the Church a kind of 'pope-centrism' or a kind of 'papolatria' which is undoubtedly excessive compared with the moderate and supernatural vision of the person of the Pope and his due veneration in the past times. Such an excessive attitude towards the person of the Pope generates in the practice an excessive and wrong theological meaning regarding the dogma of the Papal infallibility.

For several past generations until our days there reigns in the life of the Church a kind of ‘pope-centrism’ or a kind of ‘papolatria’ which is undoubtedly excessive compared with the moderate and supernatural vision of the person of the Pope and his due veneration in the past times. Such an excessive attitude towards the person of the Pope generates in the practice an excessive and wrong theological meaning regarding the dogma of the Papal infallibility.


POST-SYNOD CHURCH & UNBELIEVERS IN THE HIERARCHY

Rorate Caeli: In the recent Synod, we will not know the legal impact it will have on the Church for some time, as it’s up to Pope Francis to move next. Regardless of the eventual outcome, for all intent and purposes, is there already a schism in the Church? And, if so, what does it mean practically speaking? How will it manifest itself for typical Catholics in the pews?

H.E. Schneider: Schism means according to the definition of the Code of Canon Law, can. 751: The refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with those members of the Church who are submitted to the Supreme Pontiff. One has to distinguish the defect in belief or heresy from schism. The defect in belief or heresy is indeed a greater sin than schism, as Saint Thomas Aquinas said: ‘Unbelief is a sin committed against God Himself, according as He is Himself the First Truth, on which faith is founded; whereas schism is opposed to ecclesiastical unity, which is a lesser good than God Himself. Wherefore the sin of unbelief is generically more grievous than the sin of schism’ (II-II, q. 39, a. 2 c).

The very crisis of the Church in our days consists in the ever growing phenomenon that those who don’t fully believe and profess the integrity of the Catholic faith frequently occupy strategic positions in the life of the Church, such as professors of theology, educators in seminaries, religious superiors, parish priests and even bishops and cardinals. And these people with their defective faith profess themselves as being submitted to the Pope.

The height of confusion and absurdity manifests itself when such semi-heretical clerics accuse those who defend the purity and integrity of the Catholic faith as being against the Pope – as being according to their opinion in some way schismatics. For simple Catholics in the pews, such a situation of confusion is a real challenge of their faith, in the indestructibility of the Church. They have to keep strong the integrity of their faith according to the immutable Catholic truths, which were handed over by our fore-fathers, and which we find in in the Traditional catechisms and in the works of the Fathers and of the Doctors of the Church.

Rorate Caeli: Speaking of typical Catholics, what will the typical parish priest face now that he didn’t face before the Synod began? What pressures, such as the washing of women’s feet on Maundy Thursday after the example of Francis, will burden the parish priest even more than he is burdened today?

H.E. Schneider: A typical Catholic parish priest should know well the perennial sense of the Catholic faith, the perennial sense as well of the laws of the Catholic liturgy and, knowing this, he should have an interior sureness and firmness. He should always remember the Catholic principle of discernment: ‘Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus’, i.e. ‘What has been always, everywhere and from all’ believed and practiced.

The categories ‘always, everywhere, all’ are not to be understood in an arithmetical, but in a moral sense. A concrete criterion for discernment is this: ‘Does this change in a doctrinal affirmation, in a pastoral or in a liturgical practice constitute a rupture with the centuries-old, or even with the millennial past? And does this innovation really make the faith shine clearer and brighter? Does this liturgical innovation bring to us closer the sanctity of God, or manifest deeper and more beautiful the Divine mysteries? Does this disciplinary innovation really increase a greater zeal for the holiness of life?’

As concretely to the innovation of washing the feet of women during the Holy Mass of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday: This Holy Mass celebrates the commemoration of the institution of the sacraments of the Eucharist and the Priesthood. Therefore, the foot washing of women along with the men not only distracts from the main focus on Eucharist and on Priesthood, but generates confusion regarding the historical symbolism of the ‘twelve’ and of the apostles being of male sex. The universal tradition of the Church never allowed the foot washing during the Holy Mass, but instead outside of Mass, in a special ceremony.

By the way: the public washing and usually also kissing of the feet of women on the part of a man, in our case, of a priest or a bishop, is considered by every person of common sense in all cultures as being improper and even indecent. Thanks be to God no priest or bishop is obliged to wash publicly the feet of women on Holy Thursday, for there is no binding norm for it, and the foot washing itself is only facultative. 

PRIESTLY FRATERNITY OF ST. PIUS X (SSPX)

Rorate Caeli: A non-typical situation in the church is the Priestly Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Why does Your Excellency think that so many Catholics are afraid of the SSPX or anxious about any association with it? From what Your Excellency has seen, what gifts do you think the SSPX can bring to the mainstream Church?

H.E. Schneider: When someone or something is unimportant and weak, nobody has fear of it. Those who have fear of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X ultimately have fear of the perennial Catholic truths and of its demands in the moral and the liturgical domain.

When the SSPX tries to believe, to worship and to live morally the way our fore-fathers and the best-known Saints did during a millennial period, then one has to consider the life and the work of these Catholic priests and faithful of the SSPX as a gift for the Church in our days – even as one of the several instruments which the Divine Providence uses to remedy the enormity of the current general crisis of the faith, of the morals and of the liturgy inside the Church.

In some sectors of the SSPX there are, however, as it is the case in every human society some eccentric personalities. They have a method and a mindset which lack justice and charity and consequently the true ‘sentire cum ecclesia,’ and there is the danger of an ecclesial autocephaly and to be the last judicial instance in the Church. However, to my knowledge, the healthier part corresponds to the major part of the SSPX and I consider their General Superior, His Excellency Monsignor Bernard Fellay, as an exemplarily and true Catholic bishop. There is some hope for a canonical recognition of the SPPX.  To read the entire, very outspoken interview click  here

 

I consider [the SSPX] General Superior, His Excellency Monsignor Bernard Fellay, [pictured] as an exemplarily and true Catholic bishop. (Bishop Schneider) (Bishop Schneider)

I consider [the SSPX] General Superior, His Excellency Monsignor Bernard Fellay, [pictured] as an exemplarily and
true Catholic bishop.
(Bishop Schneider)

 

Comment:

Bishop Schneider is to be commended for speaking out. Will any UK Bishops follow suit?  If not, why not? 

East-West, Rome’s Best!

 

VATICAN CITY (AP) — In an historic step to heal the 1,000-year schism that split Christianity, Pope Francis and the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church will meet in Cuba next week in an attempt to begin bridging the church’s East-West divide.   Keys of Peter

The Feb. 12 meeting between Francis and Patriarch Kirill was announced Friday by both churches. It will be the first-ever meeting between the leaders of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, which is the largest in Orthodoxy.

Francis is due to travel to Mexico Feb. 12-18. He will stop in Cuba on the way and meet with Kirill at the Havana airport, where they will speak privately for about two hours and then sign a joint declaration, the Vatican said.

“This event has extraordinary importance in the path of ecumenical relations and dialogue among Christian confessions,” said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi.

The two churches split during the Great Schism of 1054 and have remained estranged over a host of issues, including the primacy of the pope and Russian Orthodox accusations that the Catholic Church is poaching converts in former Soviet lands.  Read more here

Comment

Well?  What do you think will be in the signed “Joint Declaration”? Apart, of course, from the inevitable apology to the Orthodox – that’s a given. The Catholic Church got it wrong at just about every point in history, so 1054 is unlikely to be the exception to what has become the “let’s bash the Catholic Church” rule. There’ll be the apology, there’ll be a statement of praise and thanks to God for all we can and should learn from the Orthodox (schisms are just perfect for fine-tuning Catholic doctrine) and.. well… what else? 

Pope to Celebrate Protestant Schism

Michael Matt asks “what will it take” to waken up the “neo-Catholics” (we call them diocesan Catholics)  –  those in the pews who are going along with the “reforms” of Vatican II, albeit, some at least, less than willingly.

I ask the same question. Since the February newsletter has been dropping through letter boxes,  I’ve had calls from concerned Catholics here in Scotland, stressed out about what they are witnessing in their parish Mass, but still not joining up the dots. One caller actually said she had been so proud of the new Pope, that he was portraying a great image of the Church with his concern for the poor and so on, but now she was concerned about this Lutheran celebration.

“Proud” of this awful Pope? Gimme, I mean GIMME strength! Yet these callers are lovely people, genuinely concerned about the liturgical abuses they are witnessing – as a matter of interest, two of these callers who were unknown to each other, rang about the same priest.

Anyway, are Catholics right to be shocked at the news that Pope Francis will actually participate – indeed play a leading role – in the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s Protestant schism?  Or do we all need to “chill out” – it’s no big deal, really? Those of the latter view, remember, need to demonstrate how it came to pass that the Holy Spirit misinformed all the previous popes, prior to Vatican II, so that they condemned ecumenism and forbade Catholics from participating in ecumenical activities. If the Holy Spirit is truly leading the present Pope to do something which his predecessors have condemned, then we need answers. How can that be?  Over to you! 

Bishop of Portsmouth Supports Dissenters

Bishop Doyle of the Diocese of Northampton, will speak on the subject of the Synod on the Family, Saturday 27th February, 9.30‒3pm,  organised by the well known dissident group ACTA [A Call To Action] who describe themselves as committed to the reforms of Vatican II and  “anxious about the future of the Church”.  You can hear him, in the video below, speaking about “the anguish of the divorced and remarried” and “the upset of parents about the teaching of the Church regarding their gay son or daughter…”

So, it’s not a huge surprise that Bishop Doyle would agree to address an ACTA meeting.

What is a huge disappointment, however, is that he does so with ‘the blessing of Bishop Philip Egan…Bishop of Portsmouth’ – Click here to read the ACTA website.

So, this is Bishop Egan, widely lauded as a “traditional” Bishop, largely because he is supportive of the Traditional Latin Mass.  Here is a first class example of what we are always warning against: families attending the traditional Masses in his diocese may now be exposed to an advertisement  for an event organised by a well known dissident group of  Catholics, which is supported by at least two English Bishops.  How many others may advertise it or even attend, is anyone’s guess. This event, though, will not be advertised in any SSPX chapel. That’s a given. The Mass is important, of course, but it’s not the whole package. If you want to be certain of avoiding the poison of Modernism, and to protect the young people in your care from it, you really need to find an SSPX chapel.  

Contact Bishop Egan at  bishopspa@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk   All he had to do was have a private word with Bp Doyle and refuse him entry to speak publicly in the diocese. Please suggest that he do this now, albeit late in the day; otherwise, a lot of Catholics who have been delighted with his support for the ancient Mass, and considered him to be a faithful bishop, sympathetic to Catholic Tradition, will lose heart. Those of us who have already seen the advertisement are deeply disappointed. If he acts with courage to end this scandal, that would be wonderful.

However, don’t overdo the “traditional bishop” bit…   

Click on photo to hear Bishop Egan of Portsmouth reading his Christmas pastoral letter in which he refers to the challenge of climate change and the Holy Family as "refugees" ...

Click on photo to hear Bishop Egan of Portsmouth reading his Christmas pastoral letter in which he refers to the challenge of climate change and the Holy Family as “refugees” …  

 

Managing Medjugorje: Vatican Cop-Out

THE EPONYMOUS FLOWER reports : ‘Cardinal Vinko Puljic, Archbishop of Sarajevo and member of the Pontifical Commission of Inquiry, which is mandated to study the phenomenon of Medjugorje, said to have “recommended” to the pope to come to a decision on Medjugorje only on “administrative” aspects, but not on the “phenomena” and messages. [The messages are obviously heretical, if words can mean anything at all.]   medjugorje_map

The Virgin Mary is alleged to have regularly appeared at a parish of Medjugorje for the past 35 years to six “seers”, which is under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Mostar. Bishop Ratko Peric, like his predecessor Pavao Zanic (to 1993), regarded the Medjugorje phenomenon with great skepticism. Bishop Zanic declared as competent ecclesiastical authority that the alleged apparitions were “not supernatural” in character ( non constat de supernaturalitate ). This decision was supported and confirmed in 1991 by the Yugoslav Bishops’ Conference and still applies today.

People have “the right to go to Medjugorje to pray and do penance,” explained Cardinal Puljic in December for the Turkish state news agency Anadolu Agency (AA). Medjugorje “is one of the largest confessional benches, not only the Balkans, but in all of Europe, and that has to be somehow taken into account when deciding which one will meet”.
Cardinal Puljic therefore recommended to the Pope a decision to “solely” address the “administrative aspects”, responding in “no way to the question of appearances.” “When it comes to visions and messages, which are still under consideration, the Church does not move quickly. The Church does not hurry, but always arrives at a conclusion. I’m not worried about the attitude of the Holy Father or those of the CDF. “
Concerning the pilgrims, the Cardinal, that which has already been said applies: “It is important that the people who go to Medjugorje, pray for the strengthening of their faith and are comforted in returning home.”

 “Solomonic” or “Educational” solution?

Behind the scenes there has been a tug of war for years in the Vatican around Medjugorje. The Vatican became increasingly cautious, while some Church officials, including the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Schönborn, are convinced of the authenticity of the phenomenon. [Not exactly a vote of confidence.] Since the 80s, however, there has been a negative decision on Medjugorje. Since then, it is argued by proponents that Rome had not yet decided. A decision of Rome, however, not canonically necessary to be provided. Among the supporters of Medjugorje, there is the claim that Pope John Paul II. and the then faith Prefect of the CDF, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger have commented positively about Medjugorje, which has been denied in writing by Cardinal Ratzinger 1998.

In 2009 the CDF confirmed the jurisdiction of the Bosnian bishops and thus the negative decision of 1991.
In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI. finally established a Vatican commission of inquiry to examine the phenomenon of Medjugorje and bring about the much-discussed decision in Rome. The signals emanating from the Commission were negative in the matter. At the turn of 2012, the final report was placed in front of the Pope.

Since then, a decision has been delayed by some church circles, helped along by the unexpected resignation of Benedict XVI. The Commission of Inquiry had completed its work, yet remained for another two years in office until 2014.
A postponement is argued for since it is concerned that a negative decision could unsettle many believers and shake in their faith. In fact, those in the know confirm that tension is very high among Medjugorje. The danger of divisions within the Bosnian Franciscans makes the regular rounds. An argument from experience- which is not taken lightly in Rome, confirms the reluctance of Pope Francis. Francis has expressed himself repeatedly against “an addiction to apparitions and messages.”

On 6 June 2015, the Pope had himself expressed the view of an early decision on the return flight from Sarajevo. But nothing has happened since then. At the end of June, Andrea Tornielli, the papal household vaticanist said that a decision would wait until “after the summer break”, perhaps would even be given “at the Synod of Bishops”.

An “administrative” solution has presented itself after months. A decree lays on the desk of the pope which has been formulated since the spring of 2015. Medjugorje is recognized as a place of prayer, entrusted to the pastoral care of the Franciscan Order, but is subordinated to the jurisdiction and supervision of Rome. There will be no light construction because it interferes with the rights of the Mostar diocese. Public appearances of the “seers” are also suppressed or completely prevented. As far as a non-decision on the “apparitions” and “messages” it is argued that the phenomenon is still ongoing and therefore, to make a final judgment prematurely was indeed impossible. There is talk in Rome of a “Solomonic” or “educational” solution. Source 

Comment:

This is just what we expected from the Vatican,  really.  Yet another dereliction of duty.  It’s patent nonsense to say that “the phenomenon is on-going” – that’s the blankety blank problem, for goodness sake. It WILL be on-going as long as the money keeps rolling in.  Whoever said: “Medjugorje is the Devil’s answer to Fatima” was on to something.  Or perhaps you disagree? Before you say so, watch one of the “visionaries” at work in the video below…

The Conundrum of Catholic Schools

SCESlogoI’m always very surprised to learn of allegedly informed Catholics who continue to believe that Catholic schools are doing a great job.  It’s as if there were no crisis in the Church, as if everyone involved had the same objective of passing on the Faith. Having led a number of RE Departments in Catholic schools in England, I know differently. At the time of this writing I know of several RE teachers in various Scottish Catholic schools who are having a hard time of it when they uphold the Church’s teaching on sexual morality; in some cases, the same pupils who mischievously (in my view) ask a question about, say, homosexuality, will then lodge a complaint that the teacher is “homophobic ” for doing nothing more than repeating what the Church teaches, based on the natural moral law.  In some cases, parents, and colleagues also complain. Teachers who uphold the Faith are bullied. That’s a fact. So, I decided to check out the Scottish Catholic Education Service website, to see how they’re selling Catholic schools these days.  There was one surprise, showing that they’re paying some attention to the valid criticisms made by informed Catholics for years now, but there was also the usual blurb. More on the surprise in a moment, but first…

Here’s the usual blurb…

Central to Catholic Christian faith is the person of Jesus Christ whose invitation to all people to live life in all its fullness presents the challenge which lies at the heart of religious education. Ways of responding to this challenge are facilitated through regular reflection upon the impact of the message of Catholic Christian faith on learners’ understanding of life and on their personal response to their life circumstances. Such reflective consideration leads to the growth of knowledge and understanding and provides opportunities for the development of beliefs, values and practices which result in the making of religious and moral decisions and commitments in life. Contexts for such opportunities may include:

  • appropriate experiences and celebration of prayer, reflection, meditation and liturgy
  • consideration of relevant life situations which present moral challenges
  • experience of engaging with the community of faith in home, school and parish
  • participation in acts of charity and in service for communities, locally and globally.

Here’s the surprise…

While it is appropriate to include learning about other denominations and other faiths, the aim in Catholic religious education classes will always be to form young people who follow Jesus and to assist them to know, love and serve God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Hence, Catholic religious education is ‘confessional’ in nature. In particular, teachers should avoid taking a phenomenological approach, thus presenting all denominations or faiths as equally true. While respecting pupils’ opinions and faith backgrounds, teachers must propose Catholic beliefs and values as objectively true and eminently relevant. In this way, in the teaching of religious education, Catholic beliefs, traditions and practices must be seen as central: “. . . relativism must be avoided”.  Source 

WOW! Was THAT a surprise. When I did my teacher-training in Glasgow, it was the phenomenological approach all the way.  The very word “confessional” was expunged from the blurb, and we were forbidden to teach the Catholic religion as if it were true. We had to think about those from lapsed home, from Protestant homes, from non-Christian homes, from the cat & dog home – in fact we had to think about anything and everything except the reason for having Catholic schools in the first place which is, of course, to pass on the Catholic Faith – with conviction.

Here’s the conundrum…

 For starters,  the rest of the website is designed,  more or less, to ensure that the “surprise” paragraph remains in the category of “The Theory of Catholic Education”.

 The fact  is, too, that staff are often living in “relationships” which are a counter-witness to the famous Catholic “ethos”.  They are not, therefore, ipso facto  in a position to uphold Catholic teaching on key moral issues such as marriage. Hence the  hostility facing those teachers who do live in conformity with Catholic doctrine and morality, and who seek to pass it on to pupils – as is their duty, and for which they will be called to account before God.  It’s a scandal of monumental proportions, therefore, when Catholic teachers are forced to approach their professional associations/unions for help and support, or take sickness leave, or consider moving into the non-denominational sector or, in one case that I know of, decide to leave teaching altogether, and for what? For doing nothing more than their duty as Catholic educators.

The idea, too, that Catholic education requires not only the active support of teachers and parents, but priests in the parishes, brings problems. I’m losing count of the number of parishioners telling me the most shocking things that they hear from their priests and the liturgical abuses which are now endemic in the new Mass. How can pupils learn true Catholic doctrine on the Real Presence for example, when they are encouraged to receive Communion in the hand and even from a lay person,  or true doctrine on the priesthood if they see lay people distributing ashes, and giving blessings to those not receiving the Blessed Sacrament.

Conundrum? Catholic schools? What do you think? 

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