SSPX Puzzling Response to Abuse Crisis

From The Remnant

On September 15, an article quietly appeared on the Society of St. Pius X website which acknowledged, for the first time, what some are calling the Scandal of the Century—new and devastating revelations of the full extent of the clerical sex crisis which has been rocking the Church for decades.

Though this article commented in depth on the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report, oddly enough it makes no mention of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s bombshell 11-page testimony which in many ways stole the thunder of the Pennsylvania report, and I can’t figure out why they omitted this.

On the Vatican’s reaction to the revelations in Pennsylvania, the Society report quotes Greg Burke’s defense of Francis, claiming that, “Victims should know that the Pope is on their side.”

To my knowledge, the author of this Society brief is among only a handful who still take the affidavits and assurances of the Vatican’s damage control agent, Greg Burke, at all seriously.

The Society report is useful since it collates the reactions of others to this biggest crisis since the promulgation of the New Mass. For example, it mentions that “in the US, over 140 theologians, educators and lay directors called for all the American bishops to resign” in an open letter of provocation. But then it also highlights Pope Francis’ (the “Sovereign Pontiff”) words in his Letter to the People of God:

“In his letter, the successor of Peter considered that one of the sources of these ‘ecclesial wounds’ is a ‘peculiar way of understanding the Church’s authority.’ ‘Clericalism’, he accused, ‘supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today,’ such as ‘the thirst for power and possessions’ and spiritual corruption.’” (Whether or not the SSPX concurs with this papal diversionary tactic is not obvious to the reader.)
The report moves on into the general reaction to the Pope’s letter, citing the issues raised by journalist Aldo Maria Valli, LifeSiteNews, unavox.it, and Carlos Esteban, a Spanish journalist. But the report does not here add any of its own critique, which I find frustrating since the Society should be in a position to hold a hard line on this. Confusion and ambiguity are tools of the Vatican. Let’s not do that.

In the final section, entitled: The Hypocrisy of the World and the Statistical Reality, the Society report states: “The fact that men invested with the priestly dignity could have committed such acts is indeed a shame.” And then moves on to suggest that much of this is the work of anti-Catholic media:

“The media attacks the Church furiously while pretending to forget that these cases, as scandalous as they may be, are only a tiny minority compared to the abuse committed by adults on children in schools, sports activities, or stepfamilies, not to mention the shady circles of fashion, the show business and the media.”

The report then lists stats which appear to show a higher number of abuse cases in families and among peers than those which originate from priests and religious. No doubt, this may be the case. But what is the Society report getting at?

To my thinking, for even just one Catholic priest to abuse a child or engage in homosexual acts is infinitely worse than for a hundred pagans who don’t know better to do something similar. And the fact that so many dioceses have lost lawsuits and had to pay out millions of dollars is itself proof that this problem cannot be dismissed as mostly the concoction of Catholic-bashing media.  Click here to read entire Remnant article…

Comment:

Since the SSPX holds claim to being the “lifeboat” sent by God to see us through this horrendous time of crisis and scandal, surely the Society Superiors, bishops and priests should be right at the forefront of exposing and correcting everything to do with this crisis? Providing the Traditional Latin Mass and sacraments is crucially important, of course, but nobody, absolutely nobody can remain silent – or appear to makes excuses for – any aspect of this crisis, least of all the homosexual activities of priests, including the sexual abuse of children and young people.  I’m afraid my own first thoughts on reading the above Remnant report was not just “too little, too late” but “not remotely enough, and FAR too late.”

Or am I over-stating the case?  Is the Society right to have maintained silence, and remain non-confrontational in the face of the increasing horror at the questions being raised about Pope Francis’ response(s)  to abuse cases – what he knew, what actions he took/did not take, denials, etc.  Surely Catholics have a right to expect a tad more in the way of leadership from the Society, if it really is a Heaven-sent “lifeboat”?   Surely, certainly for anyone wielding moral authority,  it is itself a form of abuse to fail to call to account all concerned – and that publicly.   Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Ephesians 5:11)  

SSPX: Lifeboat in Danger of Sinking?

SSPX PRESS RELEASE:

Election of the Superior General

Father Davide Pagliarani, 47, center, was elected July 11 as the new superior general of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X during the society’s general chapter in Econe, Switzerland. Father Pagliarani is pictured after his election with his assistants, Bishop Alfonso de la Galarreta, left, and Father Christian Bouchacourt. (CNS photo/courtesy fsspx.news) See SSPX-SUPERIOR-GENERAL July 12, 2018.

The new Superior General is 47 years old and is of Italian nationality. He received the sacrament of Holy Orders from the hands of Bishop Bernard Fellay in 1996. He exercised his apostolate in Rimini (Italy), then in Singapore, before being appointed Superior of the District of Italy. Since 2012, he was Rector of Our Lady Co-Redemptrix Seminary of La Reja (Argentina).

After accepting his office, the elected pronounced the Profession of Faith and took the Anti-Modernist Oath at the seminary church. Then, each of the members present came before him to promise their respect and obedience, before singing the Te Deum in thanksgiving.

Ecône, July 11, 2018

Election of the General Assistants

Just as the day was coming to an end, the new Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, Father Davide Pagliarani, and the 40 other capitulants have decided to proceed to the election of the two General Assistants.

The 1st Assistant elected is Bishop Alfonso Galarreta, auxiliary bishop of the Society, of Spanish nationality. Aged 61, he was ordained priest in 1980 at Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he lived for a certain time. In the past he has held the roles of Rector of Our Lady Co-Redemptrix Seminary at La Reja, Argentina, and superior of the Autonomous House of Spain and Portugal. He was 2nd Assistant of the Society from 2002 to 2006. Until now, he resided in Geneva, Switzerland.

The 2nd Assistant elected is Father Christian Bouchacourt, of French nationality. Aged 59, he was ordained priest in 1986 by Archbishop Lefebvre. For a long time he was stationed in Paris, especially at Saint-Nicolas du Chardonnet, before becoming District Superior of South America and then, in 2014, District Superior of France.
Now that these elections have taken place, the General Chapter will be able to address the numerous questions which have been proposed for discussion, until July 21st 2018.

Ecône, the 11th of July 2018

From the Remnant Newspaper…

SSPX NEWS: Two New Assistants General Announced– Bishop Fellay and Father Schmidberger
Written by Michael Matt | Editor

SSPX PRESS RELEASE:
The General Chapter of the SSPX has elected two additional Assistants General to serve on the Council of the Superior General, Father Davide Pagliarani, in accordance with the common law of the Church.
They are Bishop Bernard Fellay, former Superior General (1994-2018) and Father Franz Schmidberger, former Superior General (1982-1994) and currently Director of the Herz Jesu Seminary in Zaitzkofen (Germany).

Comment from Michael Matt, the Editor of The Remnant Newspaper… 

While this development [the election of the two additional General Assistants] may well prove to be a good thing, at first glance it is somewhat confusing. From the vantage point of an outside observer, it looks something like a general manager of a baseball team announcing his intention to keep his two previous baseball managers knocking around the front office to “advise” the new guy on how to establish a different style of leadership. Bit awkward for everyone. Keep them around if you want, but why make the big announcement that seems to send mixed signals?

Without wishing to take anything away from the good job done by either of these men in the past, I’m sure the SSPX leadership can appreciate why some traditional Catholics are a bit apprehensive over this announcement, since they were looking forward to the fresh approach of a ‘new coaching staff’ rather than an apparent reshuffling effort that may mean ‘business as usual’ when it comes to a whole host of problems blamed, fairly or not, on the previous ‘coaching staff.’ And this includes ardent supporters of Bishop Fellay, who only want what is best for the Society.

The SSPX General Chapter is still in session, by the way, and therefore this brief observation is meant only in a constructive sense– as merely the initial reaction of just one member of the Catholic press, while there may still be time to amend or clarify.
Whatever happens, let’s redouble our prayers for the SSPX–a crucial player in the Catholic restoration movement–and let us pray for the success of their General Chapter. ENDS

Comment from Editor of Catholic Truth…

There is certainly something in what Michael Matt says, in that a completely new team might find launching a fresh approach, with, perhaps, some necessary change(s) and new policies, easier to introduce, without the “previous bosses” looking over their shoulders.   However, one gentleman – who no longer attends an SSPX chapel – emailed the following comment, after reading the above over at The Remnant:  “[the above] highlights a serious problem with the SSPX (I know Michael Matt doesn’t attend an SSPX chapel, but this kind of thinking is typical of those who do);  this constant hand-wringing over the decisions of the Society leadership. The problem is caused by an environment where everyone thinks they know best, even better than the Church. It is a lack of trust, combined with a lack of humility and the schismatic mentality cultivated by their priests, IMHO. 

Well, do you agree? 

Archbishop of Glasgow Calls For “New Era of Reverence” – Rediscover Mass…

ARCHBISHOP Tartaglia has issued a clarion call to Catholics everywhere to rediscover the Mass. In a heartfelt message, the Archbishop calls for a new era of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, a deeper appreciation of the Mass and a new effort to encourage the lapsed to come back to Sunday Mass.

The Archbishop’s plea has been circulated to every parish in the diocese. It is a summary of the Church’s teaching on what the Eucharist is, how it should be received and why it needs to be rediscovered. In it he warns against “casual or banal” reception of Holy Communion, emphasises the need for care in taking communion in the hand and encourages a new appreciation of silence.

Speaking to Flourish, the Archbishop said: “This is what I long for people to read and understand and act upon. To receive communion is everything. The Eucharist is truly the source and the summit of our Catholic faith and we can never marvel enough at this miracle of God’s love.” 

To read the full text of the Archbishop’s message scroll to pages 6 and 11 here.

Comment: 

It’s certainly laudable that the Archbishop is seeking to restore reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, calling for “a new era of reverence… a new appreciation of silence [and] a deeper appreciation of the Mass”. Who could argue with those noble words?   However, it is certainly questionable whether or not any of these goals are achievable while we see lay people receiving in the hand, and the continued rejection of the traditional Latin Mass in favour of the Novus Ordo Missae. 

Shouldn’t the archbishop be pushing a root and branch reform, a restoration of the ancient Mass along with the discipline of receiving Communion on the tongue, kneeling, in the traditional gesture of adoration? Wouldn’t that be more likely to encourage the lapsed to return to Sunday Mass, rather than some noble sounding words which, sorry to say, are likely to be ignored, given that lack of reverence resulting from widespread diminution of belief in the Real Presence is now endemic in Scottish parishes? 

Orthodox Vs Traditional Faith…

 

Catholics will please God by holding to true beliefs and correct moral norms.   The Mass you attend is secondary…

Editor, Catholic Truth writes…

I keep finding myself in conversations with diocesan Catholics – defined simply as those who attend the new Mass  – who consider that being orthodox in doctrine and morals is the most important thing today, not which Mass we attend.  The point is always made that, for those brought up in the new Mass, with no alternative, it’s all they have, and therefore, surely the most important thing is to be wholly orthodox, stick to right beliefs and moral norms.  When I ask if they go along with ecumenical events, I get a variety of responses tolerant of through to positive about ecumenical activities. To date, I’ve never met with an outright denunciation of ecumenism. 

Ditto, these Catholics seldom denounce the false apparitions at Medjugorje, instead focusing on the adherents in their circles who have experienced “conversions” and vocations, including priestly ordinations.  All wonderful people. 

I’m told too, that “traditionalists” need to stop talking so much about the Mass and focus on God more.  Don’t go on the “attack” in conversation with diocesan Catholics right away, to ask if X attends the old or new Mass – speak about God first.

My answers to the above have not been successful in changing hearts and minds Help!

Why We MUST Judge Book By Cover

From LifeSiteNews…

April 3, 2018 – There is a strange tendency nowadays to think that the external aspects of a thing matter very little, while the “inside” is all that counts. For example: as long as you’re “a good person on the inside,” it doesn’t matter what you look like, how you dress, how you speak, what music you listen to, or even (taken to an extreme) what religion you profess.  

There is a grain of truth in this view: one’s height or build or skin color, for instance, are not moral qualities; sinners and saints come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. The problem is rather that we are too quick to forget how the outside wells up from within, how it often reveals to us just what is in the heart. A good person will dress modestly, speak respectfully, and listen to music that builds up a noble character instead of assaulting it—and all this, because of dispositions in the heart, invisible to men’s eyes but visible to God’s. The profession of a religion, while obviously done with external words and gestures, is rooted in the deep soil of the soul, and shows outwardly what a man’s most intimate worldview and priorities are.

The great British philosopher Roger Scruton comments:

There is truth in Oscar Wilde’s quip, that it is only a shallow person who does not judge by appearances. For appearances are the bearers of meaning and the focus of our emotional concerns. When I am struck by a human face this experience is not a prelude to some anatomical study, nor does the beauty of what I see lead me to think of the sinews, nerves and bones which in some way explain it. On the contrary, to see “the skull beneath the skin” is to see [merely] the body and not the embodied person. Hence, it is to miss the beauty of the face.

With perfect consistency, therefore, our medieval forebears would never have agreed with the platitude “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” For they spent enormous sums of money on Evangelaries or Gospel books with heavy bindings of gold, silver, and jewels, so that it was perfectly obvious that this book held the very words of God Himself, and deserved our utmost veneration.

The sacred liturgy, too, holds the very words of God—indeed, astonishingly, the Mass holds God Himself, the Word made flesh. It is utterly inconsistent with its inner content that the outward form of it should be anything but glorious, majestic, beautiful, solemn, reverent. We should be able to judge this book by its resplendent cover, that is, the Mass by its appearances, musical, textual, ceremonial; we should be able to see the heart in the actions. We should not “miss the beauty of the face.”

Nowadays we hear a lot of emphasis on not paying too much attention to externals in the Mass but just remembering that “Jesus is present.”

To lapse into a bit of slang: Sorry, this ain’t gonna cut it.

Throughout history, Christians have offered the best they can to God in the liturgy, especially the beauty attainable in the fine arts, in order that the souls of worshipers might be better disposed to adore and glorify the Lord. This is the sense in which St. Thomas insists that the liturgy is not for God’s sake but for ours. Of course it is directed to God; there would be no point in liturgy if God did not exist and if Christ were not our Redeemer by whose Sacrifice we are saved.    

But the liturgy does not benefit God or Christ, as if making them better; they are already as good, holy, and glorious as they can be. Rather, it benefits us who offer Him the sacrifice of praise, by ordering our souls to Him as our ultimate end, by filling our minds with the truth of His presence and our hearts with the fire of His love. These things are best accomplished by a liturgy that is impressive in its setting and furnishings, gestures and vestures, chants and ceremonies—one that is permeated from start to finish with manifestations of the nearness and otherness of God. A liturgy that is thoroughly sacral will be one that cannot be co-opted for secular purposes but compels the respect, wonder, and prayer of the beholder.

Put simply, man as a creature of intellect and sensation will not be benefited nearly as much by liturgy that is either verbal-cerebral or superficially flashy (as in the circus exhibitions of the Three Days of Darkness in Los Angeles) as he will by liturgy that is packed with rich ceremonial-textual content and saturated with sensuous symbols. This is exactly what all historic Christian liturgies are. Sadly, this is exactly what most contemporary Catholic liturgies are not.

A happy exception would be the growing number of places where the traditional Roman rite or “Extraordinary Form” [Ed: Traditional Latin Mass] is being offered, for this rite is saturated with sacrality and nearly compels one to pray, to go deeper into the mysteries of Christ through the outward appearances, just as the disciples at Emmaus “knew him in the breaking of the bread” (Lk 24:35). The liturgical rite is like bread miraculously multiplied down through all the centuries and placed in front of every king and pauper who seeks the food that will not perish. When we break this bread by entering into the rite, we come to know the risen Christ.

Matthew Schmitz has remarked:

It is amazing that the leaders of a ritual faith imagined that they could dispense with traditional forms of prayer. Among the few elites who saw the folly of this project, most were artists, naturally alert to the way supposedly superficial things can in fact be essential.

In like manner, aphorist Nicholas Davila observed: “When religion and aesthetics are divorced from each other, it is not known which is corrupted sooner.”

For all these reasons, then, a liturgy not only may but must be judged “by its cover,” by appearances—for, as Aristotle says, it is the appearances of a thing that point to its nature and substance. The Catholic Church has to care not only about realities but about appearances. Human beings come to know the truth through their senses; they cannot have concepts without phantasms. In religion, in the encounter with the God-man in His life, death, and resurrection, our senses, memories, imaginations, and emotions play as important a role as our intellects and wills. Source – LifeSiteNews

Comments invited…  

Scots Bishop: young must save Church

Does anyone seriously think that contemporary youth is equipped to “save the Church”?  Aren’t they kinda tied up saving the planet?  And doing Facebook and stuff? 

Some extracts from this Scottish Catholic Observer report follow [with editorial comment]

Bishop of Paisley calls on the [uncatechised] faithful to halt ’25 years of decline’. Yes, you read that right. He wants the blind to lead the blind. It’s the latest in pastoral practice.

The laity needs to take up more leadership positions in the Church to save it from a 25-year period of decline, the Bishop of Paisley has said.
[Notice, no mention of the nature of the “decline” or the cause of said decline – that would require facing some uncomfortable truths.]

Speaking as the diocese prepares to implement the next stage of an historic synod, Bishop John Keenan urged the faithful to decide for themselves how to shape the future and create ‘new skins for new wine.’ [A tad difficult when the poor kids have no experience of the “old wine”]

Paisley parishioners have been taking part in an ongoing synod in the diocese in recent years, discussing its future against a background of a 31 per cent drop in Mass attendance over the ten years from 2005-2015. [Getting close there – how many of the Paisley youth realise that the Mass they attend is a relatively new liturgy; that there is such a thing as “the old Mass”? And that there are young people who attend it? Young people who love it? I wonder why they don’t know that?]

Other dioceses in Scotland are struggling with similar issues, with Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh indicating this month that as many as 40 parishes in his archdiocese could close. [Ouch! Not exactly a sign of rip-roaring success, is it. Vatican II, please say “sorry, folks”! ]

Bishop Keenan said a small number of parish closures could be a part of his diocese’s future, but he stressed he would take his lead from parishioners. [Well, there’s a novelty. A bishop who refuses to lead.  A shepherd being led by his sheep. WOW. Original or what? Cool, man.]   Source – Scottish Catholic Observer

Comment

Vote in the very serious poll below and then share your thoughts…

Lent & Love of God…Join The Dots!

Comment: 

There can sometimes be a failure to understand the true nature of Lent.  It’s seen, rightly, as a time of prayer and penance, making atonement for sins, and reflecting on the Passion and Death of Our Lord. However, arguably,  the majority of Catholics pay insufficient attention to what should be the outcome of our Lenten prayers and penances – namely, an increase in our love for Our Lord.  It’s sometimes striking to reflect on the uncharitable way we behave towards others, sometimes even right after attending Mass or praying a rosary – indications that we are seriously lacking in charity, that charity which is the love of God, made manifest in our lives…  

I am ashamed to admit that I have never – ever – made a good Lent. My attempted penances over the years include the classics; giving up chocolate, crisps, soft drinks – and if I were fond of the less soft drinks, I would have, very likely, sacrificed those as well (pat on the back),  but I can’t , without fibbing, claim an increased love of God, manifesting itself in increased charity towards my neighbour, as a result.  The truth that no-one can stand still in the spiritual life – we either go forwards or back – terrifies me. I need help, therefore, and I’m hoping that this thread will do the trick…

As we mark the beginning of Lent today, Ash Wednesday, share your ideas for useful penances, and post any meditations, experiences, prayers, hymns and advice that you think will be helpful to us all this Lent, as we seek to grow in the love of God.