Thursday, July 19, 2012

Well, That's Over With

By now you've heard that the SSPX-reconciliation thing appears to be over. Rorate has published the reports on this. In a nutshell, nothing is happening. The door isn't completely closed forever, but whatever was in that last missive from Cardinal Levada appears to have effectively ended what I guess could be called this "round" of talks.

Now, this is all very disconcerting, but I wanted to focus on a viewpoint that I've seen expressed in a couple of different places, Fr. Z being the most prominent.

It would be a mistake to think Benedict’s patience is endless...

I used to talk with Card. Ratzinger pretty frequently, years back. I’d pick his brains. I’d talk to him about horrible things written about him. I would challenge and disagree and demure. I never saw him angry. I haven’t really heard of him showing strong anger either. I know people who know Papa Ratzinger better than I. Everyone who knows him affirms that His Holiness is kind, and calm, and patient and sweet-tempered guy. He has the level-head and level-spirit that allows the workings of the theological virtues and the fruits of the Holy Ghost.

I can imagine, however, that if he got to the point where he was actually angry at someone or about something, there could be instant and sharp consequences.

The fact is, even level-headed and holy men get angry...

The Holy Father is about the last man on earth who would need anger management. I fear, nevertheless, that the SSPX will manage to make him angry.

I read statements from the SSPX leadership and watch the temporizing and listen to their musings about “Eternal Rome”, as if they were the lone true ones, being truer to a thruthier Church than Pope Benedict could ever fathom, and I can well imagine Pope Benedict getting more and more annoyed...

I long to say to them, “If you vex Benedict enough - BAM! You guys are going to learn what it means to on the business end of schism.”

I hope they don’t slap Benedict’s outstretched hand away. The other hand won’t be so nice.

This actually gets to the heart of the Church's problems far better than the indirect manner of the "doctrinal discussions." Consider all the other things that the Church is, and has, gone through in the last several decades. You can pretty much do a quick survey of this blog or any Catholic news site or just about any mainstream news site, and you'll find plenty of stories reflecting the "auto-demolition" of the Church (as Pope Paul VI described it). Let me just venture to say that, if this stuff isn't enough to tap the sort of angry response envisioned by Fr. Zuhlsdorf, then nothing will. Take the most recent Assisi fiasco. It's not like what happened was a major shock. It was standard operating procedure for such events. Yet the Pope went ahead and did it anyway. Or just take any of the stories mentioned above. There is a huge irony here that seems to be utterly lost on everyone.


This strikes me as pretty obvious but overlooked at every angle. What exactly would it mean if Pope Benedict lashes out at the SSPX, while these other bodies are left alone? Even the LCWR investigation has been little more than an extended dialogue. If the Pope -BAM- declares the SSPX to be in schism, what will follow for others, who are doing far worse? I'm not sure we can affirmatively say that the Society has been leading souls toward damnation since we can't even say they're in schism. Take a look around at what bishops, priests, and religious are saying all over the world that is most definitely placing souls in danger. Who is committing the greater offense? And yet the SSPX might be the ones to suffer some kind of canonical penalty? It sounds absurd.

This post isn't about the SSPX being right or wrong or whether the Holy Father is handling it correctly. It's about this new wave of speculation regarding Pope Benedict getting fed up and bringing the hammer down. It wouldn't make a lick of sense. If the Pope can handle the NeoCatechumenal Way with patience, the SSPX shouldn't be all that taxing.

No comments: