Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Confirmed- Bishop Williamson Is Out

Rorate has the story.

Sad. I don't think anyone would be surprised if he went full-bore sede at this point. If you're at all familiar with his comments the last couple of years, he sounds like he's been there for a while without having made a formal declaration. Of course, he'll take many souls down this path with him. Read the Rorate comments. That so many Catholics would take pleasure in a bishop flaunting the virtue of obedience is repulsive.

All the more reason to pray.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

SSPX News- +Williamson out?

If you want to know where the talks are, you can check out Rorate and the interview with Fr. Pfluger. In a nutshell, things are back to "square one." Damn shame.

All of that pales in comparison to this report I saw from Tancred wherein it appears that Bishop Williamson and the SSPX are about to split.

The break, indicated since October 2011 between Bishop Richard Williamson and the Society of St. Pius X has come to an end phase. The General Superior of the Society of St. Pius X, Bernard Fellay, should have issued an ultimatum to his English colleague in the office of Bishop. With the document he demanded that Msgr. Williason, within ten days, accept the legitimate authority of the General Superior. This was reported by Andrea Tornielli. Should Bishop Williamson continue to maintain his disobedience,separation would be the logical consequence.

Less trustworthy sources are indicating that Bishop Williamson is already gone. This is all very weird. I remember all the wailing and gnashing of teeth during the talks about Bishop Fellay opting for reconciliation and how it would fracture the SSPX, with +Williamson leading the exodus. Since then, we are back to the aforementioned square one, and the latter is still failing to acknowledge the fact that the former is his Superior.

How many saints have praised the virtue of humility as the bulwark of all the other virtues? When was the last time we saw +Williamson exhibit this virtue?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Church In Italy Is To Be Taxed

The Telegraph has the latest story, which we had initially discussed here back in February. Nothing too surprising. Just another element of the Church vs. the World.

The Church currently pays tax on several properties it owns that are commercial enterprises but is exempt if at least some of the activities on the property are "non-commercial" - for example a chapel in a hotel.

"The regulatory framework will be definite by January 1, 2013 - the start of the fiscal year - and will fully respect the (European) Community law," Prime Minister Mario Monti's government said in a statement late Tuesday.

In February, the government had amended Italy's property tax law to end the Church's privileges amid rising calls for the Vatican to share in debt crisis sacrifices and in the face of intense scrutiny from the European Commission.

On Monday the Council of State, Italy's highest ranking court for administrative litigation, rejected the decree. But the government insisted everyone would pay property tax, Church included.

I'm sure President Obama, et al are taking notes. What will happen if the Church can't maintain all its charitable enterprises as a result of this new financial burden? Do you think that the EU cares?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Vatican II's Real Birthday

What most folks don't realize is that, while Blessed John XXIII did formally open the Council on October 11, 1962, the initial working session was October 13. On that day, the whole thing came unraveled. You can read the full account of what happened at our prior posts here and here.

The gentleman in the picture above could probably be regarded as the Godfather of the Spirit of Vatican II. He's Cardinal Achille Lienart of France. Most folks don't understand how Blessed John's original vision of the Council was shattered, largely thanks to this guy and his allies. As mentioned previously, the whole story is above, but for those looking for the nutshell version, a group of prelates, mostly from the Rhine area of Europe, essentially desired to change the Church's teachings on a plethora or issues. They knew that they would be unable to do so. With that in mind, they met in advance of the Council and formed a plan to overthrow all of the initial preparatory work initiated by Pope John.

In a blatant violation of the Council's rules of order, Cardinal Lienart took the microphone and demanded that all of the individual schema commissions be revisited and that new members of each commission be appointed. This was quickly seconded by Cardinal Frings and enough bishops followed along to pass the motion. The Rhine group block voted their way to power on the commissions, meaning they controlled the draft language to be submitted to the approving votes by the bishops as a whole. The plan at this point called for obfuscation and ambiguity so that, in the words of Dutch theologian Ed Schillebeecx:

We have used ambiguous phrases during the Council and we know how we will interpret them afterwards.

Hence the Spirit of Vatican II was born.

This is all very important, though. There is a tendency to claim that the documents of Vatican II have nothing to do with the current crisis and that the "Spirit" promoted by the current crop of modernists is somehow a total fabrication. What we know from the actual conciliar events is that the documents are indeed part of the problem because they were drafted with the purpose of muddying the waters and making the "Spirit" defensible to the masses. Does this mean that the entirety of Vatican II is somehow bad or that there is no orthodox reading thereof? No. It means that the difficulties we've had with the interpretation of the Council was intentional and, as a result, we should be cautious in reading it.

Moreover, it calls us to focus on the fact that Vatican II lacks dogmatic character and infallible content except in the cases when it repeats content previously identified as infallible. If we were being objective, we'd have to acknowledge that VII is on the bottom rung for ecumenical council importance.  Yet somehow it is heralded by some as a "New Pentecost" and other such superlative titles. This is the perception fostered by the re-interpreters who must de-emphasize what came before and exalt what they are using as the foundation of their novelties.

There's been a lot of work done to fix all this, but the genie doesn't go back in the bottle so easily. For anyone reading the documents on their own, we can only recommend sticking to the text and considering the footnotes. If you think something sounds hope-and-changeish, consider why you think that and what other interpretation might be possible.

What are we left with at the moment? We are left with the inescapable conclusion that the Council is a failure. Sure, you can always point to some undefined period in the future when we'll all look back at the now and laugh because the conciliar fruit is so awesome. Until then, all we have seen is an enormous loss of faith, withering vocations, disco liturgy, etc. A good synopsis was furnished by Kenneth Jones back in 2003. And he's an ND grad.

Anyways, what makes the Vatican II situation so unique is that the content of the Faith and its attending disciplines are painted as their opposites. Nobody has ever said that Nicea said that Jesus wasn't of the same substance as the Father. Or that Chalcedon said Christ wasn't Divine. With Vatican II, you have folks saying the Council said things like:

1. Any religion can save you.
2. Latin should not be the language of the liturgy.
3. The Mass is just a communal meal.
4. Lay folk are the same as priests.
5. Personal conscience dictates morality.

These are the exact opposites of Catholic teachings. This is completely different from anything we've faced before. We know how it happened. The question is whether or not the "decomposition of Catholicism," as Fr. Bouyer called it, that was wrought in the post-conciliar era will be reversed anytime soon.

Not necessarily.

Luke 18:8

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

50 Years Later

No, we aren't going to talk about Vatican II. We'll talk about the opening of the Council on the day the Council really opened.

That wasn't today, no matter what folks want to remember.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sacrosanctum Concilium, Pt. 11

Picking up where we left off, we continue with the specific things that are actually brought up for revision by the liturgical constitution. Of course, none of these things call for a whole new Mass.

Both the rites for the baptism of adults are to be revised: not only the simpler rite, but also the more solemn one, which must take into account the restored catechumenate. A special Mass "for the conferring of baptism" is to be inserted into the Roman Missal.

Recall that the catechumenate was discussed here.

The rite for the baptism of infants is to be revised, and it should be adapted to the circumstance that those to be baptized are, in fact, infants. The roles of parents and godparents, and also their duties, should be brought out more clearly in the rite itself.

The baptismal rite should contain variants, to be used at the discretion of the local ordinary, for occasions when a very large number are to be baptized together. Moreover, a shorter rite is to be drawn up, especially for mission lands, to be used by catechists, but also by the faithful in general when there is danger of death, and neither priest nor deacon is available.

In place of the rite called the "Order of supplying what was omitted in the baptism of an infant," a new rite is to be drawn up. This should manifest more fittingly and clearly that the infant, baptized by the short rite, has already been received into the Church.

Notice that baptism is still considered a big deal, unlike today when you can go to an RCIA class and be told that baptism isn't really that big of a deal and that it's a shame that we still baptize babies. Even though Vatican II thought enough about it to mention explicitly a new rite for infants.

And a new rite is to be drawn up for converts who have already been validly baptized; it should indicate that they are now admitted to communion with the Church.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! What is this? Let me get this straight. There needs to be a new rite for folks already baptized. Why? To show that now they are admitted to Communion with the Church. Now, meaning, after they become Catholic, right? Which would mean that before they are Catholic, they excluded from communion with the Church. Right? Maybe someone should tell folks like Fr. McBrien about this, since he clearly thinks this is the sort of badness that Vatican II addressed (allegedly).

Except during Eastertide, baptismal water may be blessed within the rite of baptism itself by an approved shorter formula.

The rite of confirmation is to be revised and the intimate connection which this sacrament has with the whole of Christian initiation is to be more clearly set forth; for this reason it is fitting for candidates to renew their baptismal promises just before they are confirmed.

Confirmation may be given within the Mass when convenient; when it is given outside the Mass, the rite that is used should be introduced by a formula to be drawn up for this purpose.

I think it's pretty safe to say that if the new rite of Confirmation was help clarify what the sacrament is and does that it has been a colossal failure. How many times have you heard about Confirmation as the sacrament of "mature commitment" or some other such nonsense? I'm sure that would come as a surprise to Karl and our other Eastern brethren who confirm/chrismate infants. Either the rite failed miserably in its stated purpose or only about 1 in every 100 Catholics actually pay attention to what is going on, which would also, I think, be an indictment of the new rite.

The rite and formulas for the sacrament of penance are to be revised so that they more clearly express both the nature and effect of the sacrament.

Ditto what I wrote about Confirmation. If it were otherwise, one would expect the lines for confession to be much, much longer. Or just existent, for that matter.

"Extreme unction," which may also and more fittingly be called "anointing of the sick," is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as any one of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.

I know a lot of folks who really get in a twist about this part, but like with so many other things, I think they are usually thrown off by how it's been implemented rather than what the constitution actually says.

Note that it still requires that there be a danger of death, albeit not necessarily imminent. In other words, the wholesale provision of this sacrament to the masses isn't what was envisioned. If this wasn't the case, why would it indicate that the name "extreme unction" is still an appropriate name for the sacrament? True, "anointing of the sick" might be more fitting, but if it can also be called "extreme unction," doesn't that mean that there should be some, you know, extremeness going on?

In addition to the separate rites for anointing of the sick and for viaticum, a continuous rite shall be prepared according to which the sick man is anointed after he has made his confession and before he receives viaticum.

The number of the anointings is to be adapted to the occasion, and the prayers which belong to the rite of anointing are to be revised so as to correspond with the varying conditions of the sick who receive the sacrament.

This was just asking for trouble. Putting in the possibility of variation is a recipe for abuse, especially when left as vague as this. If someone might die, isn't that all you need? I'm reminded of a bit from A Few Good Men. Jack Nicholson is asked if the deceased Marine was in "grave danger." His response: Is there any other kind?

I will say this. At least they didn't mention that the new rite of anointing was supposed to clarify what was happening or the purpose of the sacrament. If they had, it would have been yet another epic fail, since the new rite de-emphasizes the principle goal of the sacrament, namely, to heal the soul from sin and prepare it for death.

Both the ceremonies and texts of the ordination rites are to be revised. The address given by the bishop at the beginning of each ordination or consecration may be in the mother tongue.

When a bishop is consecrated, the laying of hands may be done by all the bishops present.

By "revised," they must have meant "eviscerated" if you look at what actually happened. Let me be clear that I think the new rite of ordination is absolutely valid. Look at what it says, though, or perhaps doesn't say. Multiple references to the sacrificial aspect of the priesthood are gone, along with those relating to absolution of sins. I highly recommend Michael Davies's book The Order of Melchisedech on this point. The differences are quite shocking.

Next up: Marriage (to be cont.)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Prayer For Parishioners By Parishioners

Something for us all to remember, courtesy of Rorate:

Prayer of a Parishioner 

Thank you, Lord, for the shortcomings of our Priests! If they did not have them, they would not be able to understand our own weaknesses.

I forgot that, when outside, they must greet everyone. I also forgot that they always have to welcome others with a smile on their lips, even when they are somewhat dead inside.

I ask you, Lord, that I may practice charity with our Priests, that I may understand that I have only one Priest to suffer, while he has to suffer us all.

And who would ever want to put up with all of us?

Saturday, October 6, 2012


So the Pope's butler has been sentenced to an 18 month prison term for his role in the whole Vatican leaks "scandal." Take a look at these comments:

Before the verdict was announced, Gabriele, wearing a dark gray suit, a white shirt, and a blue tie, insisted he was not a thief and that he had acted out of concern for the Catholic church and the pontiff.

“What I feel strongly inside me, is the conviction of having acted out of exclusive and visceral love for Jesus’ church, and for his visible leader. I repeat, I don’t feel like a thief,” he told the tribunal.

Arru (the defense attorney) had argued there was no theft, as Gabriele photocopied the documents and did not remove the originals.

She said he was driven by his faith, high morals and by motives that she hoped one day would be “recognized and rewarded” as he was pushed to do what he did by the “evil” he saw around him.

Reflect on that a bit and on some of the other things that we've reported on this incident and the Curial hijinks brought to light recently. Now, consider this report from the Telegraph:

Officers from the Vatican Gendarmerie found thousands of papers when they raided Paolo Gabriele’s apartment on May 23, acting on suspicions that he was the mole who had leaked highly compromising material to an Italian investigative journalist, who published it in a book.
The massive haul showed that Mr Gabriele had a keen interest in secret services, espionage, the occult, scandals involving the Vatican bank and the P2, a shadowy Masonic lodge whose members included prominent Italian politicians.

The encoded documents were sent from the Vatican Secretariat of State to papal nuncios, or ambassadors, around the world.

There are other claims, including that some of the documents had been marked for destruction. Oh, and allegedly these reference stuff far enough back that even Roberto Calvi is mentioned.

The point is that you've got a guy, who by all accounts seems very loyal to the Holy Father. This man is going to prison, still claiming that what he did was for the Pope and the Church. The contents of the documents he was copying showed where his main interests were. It stands to reason then that there were lots of documents actually referring to these topics. It's also fair to assume, I think, that these are the things that Mr. Gabriele felt were so dangerous to the Pope and the Church.

Recall that, sometimes, there really is a conspiracy, then draw your own conclusions.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Here's A Question

Since we're letting all these married Anglicans come over and be ordained without a whole lot of problems, does this mean we can dispense with all the foolishness about keeping Eastern rite priests from being married?