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China, Petition & Fellay
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Since your site is the only traditional Catholic one that’s reporting on Benedict’s concessions [see recent article here] with the China Patriot (Communist) Church, I thought you’d want to know the latest news. The Vatican just held a meeting studying to dialogue with the above-ground (Communist) church in China.
Well, they couldn’t help but recognize that all their concessions have led to failure. At the end of the meeting they issued a complaint about new arrests of Catholic Bishops (the real underground Catholic Bishops). Beijing authorities have been cracking down harder recently on underground Bishops and Priests. Reconciliation with Beijing is supposed to be a priority of Benedict’s papacy. But despite the grand concessions – even telling the underground Church to come up and join the Patriot Church in his letter of 2007 – Beijing thumbs its nose at the Vatican. [Read the news here]
So, we have another failure of Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy.
May I add that I believe the 2007 letter also records a stupendous failure on the part of traditionalist Catholics to recognize the concessions Benedict made to Communism. His action was a direct affront to Our Lady who said at Fatima that Communism will overtake the whole world. And why not, if the Pope is making concessions to China’s Communism, giving the Communist Patriot church money and aid and support and putting restrictions on the underground FAITHFUL Catholic Church? And why shouldn’t the world make similar concessions with this bad example from the TOP of the Catholic Church?
Worse yet, the traditionalist leaders - even including Fr. XX and ZZ (newspaper) who I expected more from - are afraid to denounce this terrible betrayal. Well, the reckoning will come for all, and I think there will be a lot to answer for on this serious omission.
KUDOS to TIA for having the courage to report on the topic.
In the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Petition Supporting Benedict XVI
I called today and ordered the two new books TIA has introduced [The Great St. Joseph and The Manual of Civlity] and am looking forward to receiving them. …
I did not see your names on the M. Matt letter [petition in support of Benedict XVI] and was wondering if you planned on adding your names or not. Please explain either way.
I was also wondering how this new document can be relevant to "We Resist You To Your Face" signed by M. Matt (and TIA)? The Remnant and its supporters appear to no longer be a true remnant but another addition to the Vatican II collection of various religious beliefs. Perhaps it should be called the Remnant II to stay in step. It was interesting to note that nearly all the names on the letter were either "professional", clergy or esquires - but apparently no simple traditionalists.
Since I had to respond by e-mail, I took some time to view your website. TIA has a lot of good valuable information to help traditional Catholics keep informed on current events. However, it would be good to print some encyclicals from previous Popes to support TIA reasoning for some of the conclusions that you make on various topics versus editorial conclusions.
That would be T History IA.
Thanks for your time,
Thank you for your suggestion to post encyclicals on our website to substantiate our affirmations. We will certainly consider it. Right now, you can find encyclical and papal documents on the Holy See website and on various other sites such as Papal Encyclicals online or The Voice of the Magisterium that offer credible English translations.
We did not sign the petition in support of Pope Benedict XVI because it seemed to be part of a sentimental stratagem to induce traditionalists to cross the bridge that separates them from the acceptance of the errors of Vatican II, endorsed by the present day Pope. The letter of Fr. Jean de Morgon recently posted on our site explains the compromised sources of that petition.
It is not possible to offer support for Benedict XVI without specifying the restrictions that traditionalists have regarding countless points of his teachings and gestures - think only of his two visits to synagogues (here and here), one to a mosque, his speech at the U.N. and his comming trip to the Holy Land. Without any clear limit specified, one can hardly avoid the impression of a support given to the ensemble of his pontificate.
Indeed, when one generically declares to Benedict XVI, as did those who signed that petition - "we wish to build with You the Church of tomorrow," or "with You, we want to build Christendom for the generations which will follow us" or "we prayed for Your intentions" - one may well be supporting his ecumenism with Protestants and Schismatics, inter-religious dialogue with Buddhists, Hinduists, inculturation, adaptation of the Church to the modern world and so on.
You are right in affirming that by signing this petition, one seems to be de facto annulling his previous position of resistance and preparing to merge with the post-conciliar Church.
It seems to us that the present day Vatican is doing all it can to finish with the traditionalism based on resistance to conciliar teachings opposed to the previous Magisterium. Further, it appears that it is a sign of either naiveté, opportunism or complicity to join hands with compromised traditionalists in order to jump in the bandwagon and fit in.
We hope these considerations will be of some assistance to you.
TIA correspondence desk
Hermeneutic of Continuity
I'm forwarding you an e-mail I sent to Mr. Michael Matt of The Remnant a couple of days ago regarding just this very subject of "rumblings" from the SSPX pews. Well, here's mine!
Please pardon any emotionally charged expressions and uncharitable or out-of-place references in my e-mail. I found it very difficult to contain my feelings writing about these very puzzling developments. I wouldn't be having these feelings if I weren't so attached and invested in the success of the SSPX and ultimately the Church.
Thanks for your excellent work, as always!!!
Dear Mr. Matt,
As an SSPX adherent, I can't say that I am not bothered by the recent developments following the "lifting" of the excommunications. Namely:
1. The firings of Frs. Basilio Meramo (from his position as pastor at an SSPX priory in Mexico) and Floriano Abrahamowicz (from the SSPX altogether) for speaking their minds against the sudden change of tune on the part of the higher ups at SSPX.
Why the thought-policing, the silencing, and the booting out if what these priests are saying is so absurd and out-of-touch with the truth? Why not simply embrace their concerns in a fatherly manner and work with these good priests (who have, no doubt, dedicated a good chunk of their respective lives in the service of the SSPX, and ultimately the Church), re-earning their trust, cooperation, and loyalty in the process? What's with this witch-hunt?
Don't modernists in positions of authority show just as much "loving care" when they discover a traditionalist amidst their fold? We can't afford to lose gifted men like Fr. Meramo and Fr. Abrahamowicz at a time like this! Harness their zeal? Yes! "Re-direct" their zeal, if we must, or make slight course corrections? By all means! But cast them out as though years of their sacrifice and service meant nothing? Absolutely not!
2. The de facto "quarantining" of Bishop Williamson and this apparent new-found obsession over presenting a positive, "politically correct" PR image of the SSPX.
I'm no fan of Bishop Williamson's revisionist views, but leave him out to be mercilessly ravaged by the wolves who couldn't really care less about the so-called "new and improved" public image of the SSPX? That, I find even less acceptable! The SSPX would not let this good man and servant of God be so treated if all it was really concerned about was the "truth." The truth is, Bishop Williamson's views on a matter of secular history appear quite off, but the man himself has rendered an invaluable service to the SSPX over the decades. What "positive" public image, then, is ever worth the sacrifice of one of your own? Don't common street thugs exercise more loyalty amongst themselves?
3. Bishop Fellay's shocking and uncharacteristically "conciliatory" sounding response to the Pope's recent letter to the bishops, wherein Bishop Fellay apparently concedes to the "hermeneutics of continuity" and to the ever over-used and tiresome phrase, "interpreting Vatican II in the light of tradition."
Before I proceed, I admit to not knowing "everything" about the aforementioned situations. I am also not a theologian or someone extremely well versed in these matters to allow me to write in the capacity of a C.F., to give an example. I also signed your two petitions in support of our Holy Father, so no beef there!
As I said, I am simply quite confused and even disturbed by this apparent change of tune in the SSPX. Yet, my voice is not one of hostility or ridicule - and I have read some real mean-spirited commentaries on this very matter. I go for none of them! I don't care how "Catholic" or "traditional" these folks try to sound. The moment they mess with the Holy Father or call him by any other name unbecoming of his holy title and God-given dignity, they lose my respect and credibility.
A change in position
Moving on, Bishop Fellay's response to the Pope's letter to the bishops is the most disquieting to me of the three above-mentioned developments.
As I recall, it wasn't too long ago when the SSPX rejected the notion of "interpreting Vatican II in the light of tradition," along with the "hermeneutics of continuity."
Bishop Fellay's words ...
"Far from wanting to stop Tradition in 1962, we wish to consider the Second Vatican Council and post-conciliar teaching in the light of this Tradition which St. Vincent of Lérins defined as “what has been believed at all times, everywhere and by all” (Commonitorium), without rupture and in a perfectly homogenous development. Thus we will be able to contribute efficaciously to the evangelization requested by the Savior (see Matthew 28; 19-20)"
... appear to stand in stark contrast to the words expressed in the Si Si No No article reprinted in the August 2008 edition of the Angelus magazine, entitled, "Two Interpretations of Vatican II? Myth or Reality," in which it is stated regarding the "hermeneutics of continuity" :
"A very high price must be paid by those who decide to adopt this strategy of interpretation, for the destruction of the Church is being brought about especially by churchmen themselves. By acting in accordance with this view, slowly, day after day, even doctrines and practices that are repugnant to a truly Catholic mind will be accepted ..."
If, in fact, it was simply going to come down to a matter of "interpreting Vatican II in the light of tradition" and going along with the "hermeneutics of continuity," what took them (the SSPX) 20 years along with countless exercises in mental gymnastics to come to this point? They could have simply just followed the lead of the Fraternity of St. Peter, because that's precisely what their traditionalism is predicated on: the fuzzy Hallmark Cards notion of somehow accepting Vatican II "in the light of tradition."
"If in the case of the hermeneutics of rupture, the danger is loss of faith, in the case of the hermeneutics of continuity, the danger is renunciation of the principle of non-contradiction, logical rigor, correct thinking, because one must convince oneself that two things placed in relation of contradiction are in fact the same thing ... This deterioration of thought cannot, in the long run, fail to have an effect upon the life of faith. Moreover, the proponents of the hermeneutics of continuity renounce, or rather, avoid addressing the crisis in the Church; they minimize it, they do not speak of it for the simple reason that they have excluded a priori that the crisis might have been caused by Vatican II."
To me, that sounds no different (at least in concept) than trying to interpret the killing spree of a serial killer "in light of" his "charming" and "endearing" qualities.
Then what of the thunderous words, "I accuse the Council!" spoken by none other than the Founder of the SSPX, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre? Would he have approved of such a response on the part of Bishop Fellay? I seriously doubt it.
How can this new ambiguity be explained?
Now, perhaps those who assisted Bishop Fellay in crafting his response (if any) may point out that I am quite mistaken and that Bishop Fellay actually meant something entirely different and completely in line with what Archbishop Lefebvre would have asserted himself under the same circumstances. If so, why not write with the unmistakable, blazing, black-and-white clarity of the good Archbishop instead of resorting to what reads more like a typical, vague, go-nowhere, say-nothing, conciliar document?
Whether I am right or wrong, to me, is not the biggest concern here. It's the vague wording of Bishop Fellay's response which has already given rise to some very mixed reactions. Some call his response a craftily worded concession to Vatican II and thereby a "betrayal" of the SSPX's original mission, not to mention its courageous Founder. Others, clearly more optimistic, call it right on target with kudos to boot.
My point is, a clearly worded response with intentions made as transparent as a glass of mineral water would not have created this "dual" reading of Bishop Fellay's response. I find it hard to justify such vagueness as being anywhere near worthy of a traditionalist, much less the head of the most reputable, uncompromised traditionalist order. If the SSPX goes, what's left but a bunch of nutty and bitter-to-the-core sedevacantists, conclavists, or whatever else creeps about in between, perhaps in an Elvis suit or an Area 51 baseball cap?
If anything, Bishop Fellay's words just don't sound right! They lack the crystal clarity and boldness we're so accustomed to in the Christ-like admonitions of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Let "yes" mean a "yes" and "no" mean a "no."
To recap, I am not here to pick an argument or to engage in polemics. I guess for that, one can just go to any blog site and "cathart" to one's heart's content. What would that solve?
No, I would simply appreciate it if you or someone else at the Remnant would address this specific concern about the SSPX. I know I stand in good company as far as my apprehensions go. Thank you for taking the time to read this e-mail. I am looking for answers like one who's been jolted off balance. But, I do know this much: whatever the disquietude and its degree of severity, God still remains in charge!
Related Topics of Interest
Fellay’s Decision to Merge Confronted by Intellectual Priest
A Bold Show of Dissatisfaction in the SSPX Ranks
French Capuchin Publicly Challenges Agreement with Rome
China’s Underground Church: Dismay over Vatican Betrayal
Reasons for Resistance and Disobedience
Traditionalist Marriage with the Vatican
Regarding the Agreement
SSPX acceptance of Vatican II
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