The conservatives are winning the day. I know that because conversations around the globe concerning the lifting of the excommunications of the four SSPX bishops have everyone using the language of the right. Words like heresy, excommunication, invalid, illicit, schismatic and infallibility. The language of the conversation is being conducted primarily in the terms of Canon Law.
I could kick myself sometimes when I find myself giving legitimacy to terms I truly know have no legitimacy. Excommunication is an impossibility. No one can be cut off from the quantum truth that all are connected to the Divine. Given that truth, the rest of the terminology is tantamount to an elaborate fantasy constructed around a primary false assumption.
JPII excommunicated the four SSPX bishops and BXVI has reinstated them. I'm sure both popes felt perfectly justified. Good for them, neither proclamation has any legitimate meaning. God will determine the state of these four men's souls, and God has always retained that final judgment irrespective of what either one of these Pope's think.
The Vatican under Benedict is forcing people to look these issues in the face, and this may turn out to be the biggest mistake he will have made in his entire Vatican career. When faithful Catholics come to the determination that words like excommunication have no validity, a carefully constructed house of cards starts to come crumbling down. Paul VI most assuredly tried to avoid this when he issued Humanae Vitae. All the retrenchment since then has not stopped huge numbers of people from coming to the obvious conclusion. Excommunication has no validity. No pope and no council has the inherent ability to send one to hell for one's opinions.
Traditional conservatives will dispute me. Fine, I will retort that any of them who actively participated in the SSPX is exactly like me. They didn't believe they were risking their souls by participating in a de facto schismatic church, or being damaged by receiving sacraments from illicitly ordained clergy. Their personal consciences reigned supreme over Vatican authority.
The irony is that they were exercising personal religious liberty, something Archbishop Lefebvre felt to be a major theological failing of Vatican II. How deliciously ironic.
Over on Creative Advance, Gerald Floyd has written a letter to Pope Benedict. It's well worth reading. In it he asks Benedict how it is that Benedict can ignore the critical teaching of Vat II that authority rests not only in the Papacy, but is shared with Bishops through out the world, and also resides in the entire Body of Christ. Good question since Benedict didn't even consult with his own Cardinals in lifting the excommunication, much less bishops or laity. Archbishop Lefebvre would have been proud. How deliciously ironic.
Here's some more delicious irony from Gerald's letter:
Perhaps you could explain where you get the authority to lord it over the other bodies by which the Spirit has chosen to lead the church. Perhaps you could explain what gives you the right to make common cause with those who have spent decades denying the very legitimacy of Vatican II. Perhaps, in short, you could explain how your behavior and actions are anything other than "a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one's own ego and desires."
The sentence in quotes is taken verbatim from Benedict's famous homily of April 25, 2005 which pretty much secured his elevation to the Papacy. It's a good question, when does Papal authority become a dictatorship of relativism whose ultimate goal consists solely of one's own ego and desires? I think we've found the answer in Benedict. And the truth is neither the right nor the left takes his pronouncements over the dictates of their own personal consciences. Viva Religious Liberty, the Spirit of Vatican II lives on even in it's opponents. How delicious the irony.
Oh, Colleen, how delicious the irony!ReplyDelete
The conservative SSPX has dined in liberty of conscience for all these years. Now the Pope invites them to supper with him in liberty of conscience as the conversation rolls around about their mouths of indigestible words to dish out to others who in liberty of conscience will not eat the hypocrisy.
The Body of Christ is substantially and proportionally much larger than the meager and exclusive worldly table that the Pope is setting. Besides that, the edibles the Pope prepares in his Vatican kitchen are half-baked and lacking in the ingredient of salt.
One's daily bread, if not baked in the fires of faith, hope and love by the main Chef, Jesus Christ, such bread does not come from Christ, and it shall provide nor offer any real nutrition.
word verification: mudgermReplyDelete
Whew! There are so many double binds and switch backs on this one it might of come up from the mud?. .
Not you Colleen, but the irony of what is in and what is out, and why is it in and why is it out?
It all reminds me of some of the stuff my mother threw out for dinner.ReplyDelete
It was never left overs, it was goulash.
Colleen, why for you go and insult a perfectly good and nourishing, although somehat ecclectic dish by comparing it to a bad seed that is sprouting according to its kind?ReplyDelete
I was wondering why I was so angry about this whole fiasco, but also uncomfortable about opposing the move. You put your finger on it by pointing out the pointlessness of "excommunication", and hence of its lifting.ReplyDelete
Wise voices have advised against taking the Vatican bureaucrats too seriously, and I agree. The leadership and teaching authority of the Papacy are important and valuable, but meaningless unless they can also win our consent in the 'sensus fidelii'.
If the brouhaha does indeed weaken the position of the Pope, I for one will be thankful.
Thanks, Colleen, for your insightful analysis and your favorable comments on my blog posting, here and on my blog. I am adding your blog to my list of those I plan to read on a regular basis.ReplyDelete
If you read more of mine, you'll find this is not the first time I have challenged Benedict's departures from Vatican II. I believe the council was a solumn exercize of authority by the bishops with the pope (Paul VI at the time) and that when Benedict over-rides it gratuitously his behavior is the equivalent of apostasy.