Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Return Of The King

What Christopher Ferrara says Traditionalists need is the return of a real King.
Traditionalist and Catholic writer Joseph Ferrara has posted an article on the ordinations of SSPX priests on the Remnant website.
It's an interesting piece in that he makes the case that it is not Pope Benedict that is frustrating progress with the SSPX, it's the Vatican bureaucracy. He is waiting for the return of the Pope as King. The following extract which is from the end of this extensive article expresses this point. This seems to be his way of maintaining union with the Papacy by differentiating the person and office of the Pope from the Vatican.

“The Vatican” and the Uncrowned King

In The Great Façade I presented the truth that traditionalists have always known: for more than forty years this thing called “the Vatican” has maintained the false impression that the entire practice of the Faith must be “adjusted” to suit a “new orientation” supposedly dictated by the Council, when in fact the Council did not oblige Catholics to believe or to practice a single thing they did not believe or practice before the Council. When Pope Benedict declared in his letter to the world’s bishops in conjunction with Summorum Pontificum that use of the 1962 Missal “was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted,” he revealed the Great Façade for what it is. And yet, despite the Pope’s stunning admission of this immense fraud upon the faithful, and despite his courageous acts in favor Tradition, it seems “the Vatican” remains firmly in place as de facto ruler of the Church, with the Pope subsisting more or less as the prisoner of an ever more complex bureaucratic machine and its disastrous deviations. (It's amazing how people can view the same things so differently. I don't exactly see things the same way.)

In candor, however, it must be said that if Pope Benedict is a prisoner of “the Vatican” it is because he has declined to exercise to the fullest the power of the Keys that Christ entrusted to Peter and his successors. Perhaps Benedict has been deterred by the great outcry against the “unilateral” decisions he has already made in favor of Tradition, which even the world knows are but a glimmering of what a Pope can accomplish if he is determined to reform the Church. We cannot forget that he himself asked us to “pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.” (I must be reading a different version of Acts because I don't see Peter exercising near the authority of James. Peter seems to be stuck in the middle between the Pauline and Jerusalem Churches. Hmmm, maybe Benedict is exercising his entrusted authority.)

By the power of the Keys, Benedict could open the door of the labyrinthine bureaucratic dungeon to which the Popes’ own subjects have effectively confined them since the Council, slam the door behind him, regain control of the Apostolic Palace, and put his subjects back in their proper places—where they were before Vatican II, when Popes were feared as well as loved and the Secretary of State had not yet been elevated (by the curial “reform” of Cardinal Villot) to the status of a virtual vice-pope. (Except that Pope Benedict has a Secretary of State whose main qualification seems to be his long friendship and collaboration with Benedict in the CDF, not the Secretariat of State.)

Pope Benedict will remain prisoner of the ascendant Vatican bureaucracy to the extent he declines to assert that supreme monarchical authority signified by the triple tiara surmounting the Keys in every papal coat of arms before his own—yes, including those of John Paul II and Paul VI. As “the Vatican” explains on its website, while even those two tragic Popes “left the ‘tiara’ and the crossed keys as the emblem of the Apostolic See,” Pope Benedict “decided not to include the tiara in his official personal coat of arms. He replaced it with a simple mitre…” The Pope has symbolically renounced the papal crown.

Yet it will take nothing less than an exercise of the crown rights of a king to undo all the harm the ministers of “the Vatican” and legions of modernists abroad have inflicted on the commonwealth of the Church over four decades of insurrection. But, to recall Archbishop Lefebvre’s famous words concerning the doctrine on the Social Kingship of Christ in the post-conciliar epoch, “they have uncrowned Him.”

And so have they uncrowned His vicar, reducing him to the dean of a “college of bishops” that governs the Church collectively—especially within “the Vatican”—according to the conciliar pseudo-doctrine of “collegiality.” Surrounded by collegial advisors and confronted by collegial bishops’ conferences that openly reject the very idea of a monarchical papacy, the Pope has consented to his own uncrowning. This is precisely as demanded by the spirit of an age that hates kings as much as it hates the Church whose earthly head nonetheless remains a king by the will of its kingly Founder, even if a Pope should willingly lay down the crown he has been given to wear. For as Dietrich von Hildebrand observed at the very beginning of the post-conciliar crisis, “the spirit of our epoch is slowly seeping into the Church herself, and many have failed to see the apocalyptic decline of our time.” (Jesus rejected the idea of temporal power quite explicitly, so it's hard to imagine the idea of a monarchical papacy is what He had in mind for Peter---or his successors.)

Pope Benedict XVI gave glory to God and made history with his liberation of the traditional Mass from its criminal captivity by “the Vatican.” In ordering remission of the excommunications of the Society’s bishops, His Holiness rectified a grave injustice likewise perpetrated by “the Vatican” (whose Congregation for Bishops, not the late Pope, imposed the penalty ferendae sententiae). With these brave deeds, for which the world despises him, Pope Benedict has at least begun the inevitable restoration of the Church that will culminate with the consecration of Russia and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart. Nevertheless, only a king can restore a ruined kingdom. Like the denizens of the troubled realm of Tolkien’s Middle Earth, the members of the Catholic Church still await the return of the king.


It looks to me that this is going to be the new strategy of the SSPX. They've never been at odds with the Pope, only with the 'criminal captivity' of the Pope by the apostate legions of the Vatican bureaucracy. It's not that this is a novel strategy in that progressives are pretty sure Vatican II was hijacked by conservative elements with in the Vatican such as Cardinal Ottaviani. It's probably indicative of just how little control the Pope actually has over the Vatican in that both sides are employing the same strategy. Or maybe it's just a matter of perception and all Popes deflect criticism of their actual power by letting everyone think they are 'prisoners' of their own bureaucracy.

Earlier in the article Christopher Ferrara makes a much more cogent case for the SSPX. At least it's more cogent than his final argument in that he compares the status of the SSPX with the official Chinese Catholic Church. Ferrara maintains that Pope Benedict's constant capitulation to the demands of the Patriotic Catholic Association with it's illicitly ordained bishops is in direct contrast to the way the Church has historically treated the SSPX and their illicitly ordained bishops. He has a point. I too have thought it interesting that the Vatican is seemingly bending over backwards to the PCA at the expense of the underground Chinese church. To this date these efforts have not resulted in any meaningful forward progress between the PCA recognizing the primacy of Rome over the state of China. In the meantime the persecutions of the underground Church with their validly ordained bishops continue.

In the article Ferrara cites the recently retired Cardinal Archbishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Zen, who fears continued compromise will only result in a situation in which Catholics of China will be in a position where their bishops are using Rome to justify Communist dictates, while the underground Church continues in persecution. He's probably correct.

Ferrara has a good point here, but the problem is endemic to his whole argument about a monarchical Pope. Once the Papacy started down the political road, it was doomed to play politics. In the interests of political recognition from China it's much easier to turn your back on the minority underground Church than take on the approved if canonically illicit official church. Doing so could actually result in even more persecution of the underground Church. Canonically Mr. Ferrara has a point, but in the real world, no one is actively physically persecuting members of SSPX. Most of the persecution SSPX receives is of their own making.

In the meantime SSPX has motored on and ordained more priests. These are considered illegitimate ordinations as opposed to illicit or invalid. Apparently Benedict chose to reiterate his letter of March 10th which stated that SSPX has no canonical standing and there for do not exercise legitimate ministries. The Vatican also stated that there would be no interdiction in the ordinations in the interests of rapprochement. What ever any of this means, it's beyond me. I only know if it were women or married men being ordained, there would be no such murky double speak. In that respect SSPX is getting some of the China treatment.

Reading Mr. Ferrara's entire missive really does give one a sense of just how far apart Traditionalists and progressives really are. This isn't just a difference of opinion, it really is about living on two different planets with two completely different world views. What's a Vatican and a Pope to do?

The problem for Mr. Ferrara is when Aragorn took up his Kingship in Middle Earth, he was also a certified healer, reader of souls, and a charismatic leader who treated all his subjects equally. This doesn't describe a Pope, it describes Someone else entirely. I think Mr. Ferrara has to wait before his concept of the King returns.


  1. One often wonders after reading things like this whether:

    a) Traditionalists live in some alternate universe & cannot perceive reality OR

    b) Much of this is an elaborate smoke screen.

    As to the SSPX, it has a very sordid history, with cogent links to neo-Nazi persons & groups (e.g. Vichy regime in France; Ustashi in Croatia), & like racist agendas, to BIG 'old money', & various Fascist entities.

    Rather like its founder, Lefebvre.

    Rather like Jose-Maria Escriva & his Opus Dei......., which covertly spearheaded the whole traditionalist movement, as an intentional conter-revolution to the (much hated by Escriva) Vatican II.

    There is NO.....I repeat....NO legitmate 'prophecy of a "Great Monarch/Holy Pope". For any prophecy to be legitimate it must have SOME correlation to Scripture. Perhaps even expounding on a previously unclear point. This does nothing of the sort.

    What Ferrara, the SSPX, and the Opus itself are hankering for is simply this: the Antichrist, which is at one with the False Prophet. Which is quite distinct from the False Christ......all of Revelations, Isiaih, Daniel, & Revelations.

    Simply put: because they crave Ceasaropapism, which necessarily involves a return to the 'good old days' of persecution, torture, & murder - all done (blasphemoushly) "in the Name of God".

    God is not incense. Nor is He a priest, bishop, cardinal, pope, dioces, nor the Vatican itself. Nor rich vestments. Nor 'pious music'. Nor church buildings, art, works, etc. ad nauseum. He is present in the which Traditionalists give bare lip service. As He is NOT the focus of their 'worship'.

    Jesus told us that God is within each one of us - and to see Him in our brothers & sisters. To see Him in 'the least of your brothers': the poor. Homeless, Widowed. Orphaned. Crippled.

    Traditionalism has nurtured a society of nations in which some 200 million children are in slavery - sexual & manufacturing. Millions die daily as they cannot afford to eat. Billions live in dire poverty.

    ...all because Traditionalists - who have ruled what they purport to be Holy Mother Church - have put all their effort to the care & feeding of their Golden Calf. And obviously do NOT GIVE A DAMN about the suffering of Christ, in the person of the poor. Now or in centuries past!

    I was once of their mindset, may God forgive me! I adopted their sneering contempt for the poor, to my shame. Thanks be to God that He has lifted me out of that trap of Satan, to see what Jesus truly was & taught. So I know.....I know exactly what & how 'they' think.

    Holy Mother Church? HA! More like 'evil whip lady'....or...."Mommie Dearest', in historical truth!

  2. Mommie dearest is more like it. There's never been anything quite like Catholicism is the history of mankind.

    For every monarchical traditionalist there have been many more who took the message of Jesus seriously, and by their efforts legitimized the Institution and all their excesses. It's such a paradox, but the energy around the Church is changing. Control,if you will, is shifting away from the institution to the people who practice the Way and live the love.

    The reason I write this blog is to further this shift. Verifiable information is critical to 'enlightening' people away from all the pretty talk and into the hard walk.

    The history of the Ustachi is sickening. It is the activity of the Ustachi which should derail Pious XII's sainthood all on it's own. It's probably why his apologists strive so hard to keep the focus on his relationship with Germany. There is some excuse for Pious with regards to Germany, there is none for his response to the Ustachi. The Ustachi were the poster children for the blend of militant fascism with Catholicism.

    Medjugorge, by the way, sits on some of the bloodiest soil with regards to the excesses of the Ustachi. There's a message there. A message about this very blend of militant fascism with it's perverting of Catholicism.

    I suspect that's one of the reasons the messages are constantly aimed at living love and places pietistic practice as a means to this end, and not an end in themselves.