31 January 2015

RORATE does it again.

I think it was the Tablet which cheerfully and with apparent relish informed us last autumn that the Battle Lines were being drawn up. This was not terribly good news for members of the Ordinariates who had thought that they could now just get on with living the Christian life and a spot of the New Evangelisation, rather than manning barricades as they had to in their former residence. We had no desire to have all this argy-bargy thrust upon us ... but perhaps, as someone suggests on one of the threads, it is all part of a Great Realignment, redistributing both those who follow Christ and those who obey the Zeitgeist. The Ordinariates as one of the spearheads of Providence! The future will tell. Anyway, Duty Calls. Let's update the Quartermaster's Inventories.

Two very important pieces on Rorate a day or two ago. Firstly, an admirable Statement by the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy making clear that nobody ... not even any "religious leader" or "Synod" ... can change the Church's teaching on those matters which are currently in contention. Please do read it. Is your pastor a member of the Confraternity? If a cleric, are you?

Secondly, a piece of quite extraordinary importance by the great Italian intellectual and historian Professor Roberto de Mattei about a Pope teaching Error, and how to navigate in such a situation. You should never miss reading a piece by de Mattei. You never know when, in some future pontificate, you might need the back-up he provides. [I have a curious premonition that the next Conclave may be quite long and, as some people say, 'fraught'.]

It could profitably be read alongside Cardinal Pell's fine sermon to Juventutem last year, in which he drew some most valuable lessons from the darkest days in the history of the papacy.(Rorate November 1 2014.) I think that, in particular, the need for a 'broad consensus' before the next Synod needs to be emphasised.

I have a piece of news for everybody. The Holy Spirit was not given to the Roman Pontiffs so that they might disclose (patefacerent) new doctrine, but so that they might guard and set forth (exponerent) the Deposit of Faith handed down from the Apostles. 

This cannot be said often enough.

Anybody who denies the truth of that proposition has lapsed into heresy.

If you don't want to keep reading it, you will need to find another blog to read.


Highland Cathedral said...

Those in favour of repositioning the Church are too clever to call for an out-and-out change in doctrine. They know that that’s a total non-starter. They would get absolutely nowhere adopting that strategy. No, they are much more subtle. Their strategy is to say that they totally accept Church doctrine but just want it to be administered ‘more compassionately’. I know that what they are saying is totally contradictory but it helps to know the line of your enemy’s attack if you are going to mount an effective defence.

Konstantin said...

Thanks for the reminder, Father. God bless!

Woody said...

If I can be allowed to paraphrase our Lord Jesus Christ, He never said it would be easy to follow Him. It is His Church and we have a great Tradition to show us the way and the path to follow. As always, thank you Father for your insights. Let us now gird up our loins and do battle for the Church.

Ben Trovato said...

Yes, Highland Cathedral is onto something.

I am reminded of CAFOD's saying they promote abstinence and being faithful (so as to sound Catholic) and then re-defining them:

"abstinence can be used to mean:
Delaying the age of first sexual encounter..." etc. (see http://ccfather.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/lenten-alms-but-not-to-cafod.html for further shocking details).

It is a more subtle and more dangerous strategy than clearly denying doctrine, and it does great harm.

dontex said...

Your comment about the Holy Spirit dovetails very nicely with the Reading from Morning Prayer of 31 Jan.

Michael Gormally said...

Dear Fr Hunwicke

Thank you for this latest piece of wisdom. I'd be very grateful if you would let me know the source of this "The Holy Spirit was not given to the Roman Pontiffs so that they might disclose (patefacerent) new doctrine, but so that they might guard and set forth (exponerent) the Deposit of Faith handed down from the Apostles". Michael Gormally (gormallym@gmail.com)

Pulex said...

Speaking about R. de Mattei's article, the esteemed author fails to show how the views of Pope John XXII could be heresy. According to Denzinger, not a single previous Magisterial document has dealt with this question. It means that pope did not contradict previous Magisterium and intervened on a question freely disputable by theologians. It seems he did not dispute the teaching by Innocent IV and 2nd Council of Lyons that souls of the just immediately enter heaven.

Jason W. said...

First Vatican Council, Session Three, Chapter 4, On Faith and Reason:
13. For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated.
14. Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by Holy mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.
May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along, and greatly and vigorously flourish, in each and all, in the individual and the whole Church: but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same sense, and the same understanding.
First Vatican Council, Session Three, Canons:
3. If anyone says that it is possible that at some time, given the advancement of knowledge, a sense may be assigned to the dogmas propounded by the Church which is different from that which the Church has understood and understands: let him be anathema.

Pope St. Pius X:
“It is an error to believe that Christ did not teach a determined body of doctrine applicable to all times and to all men, but rather that He inaugurated a religious movement adapted, or to be adapted, to different times and different places.”
“I absolutely reject the heretical doctrine of the evolution of dogma, as passing from one meaning to another, and different from the sense in which the Church originally held it. And likewise, I condemn every error by which philosophical inventions, or creations of the human mind, or products elaborated by human effort and destined to indefinite progress in the future are substituted for that Divine Deposit given by Christ to the faithful custody of the Church.”

St. Thomas Aquinas – Doctor of the Church:
“Hold firmly that our faith is identical with that of the ancients. Deny this, and you dissolve the unity of the Church.”

Pope Paul VI (Mysterium Fidei):
"They can, it is true, be made clearer and more obvious; and doing this is of great benefit. But it must always be done in such a way that they retain the meaning in which they have been used, so that with the advance of an understanding of the faith, the truth of faith will remain unchanged. For it is the teaching of the First Vatican Council that ‘the meaning that Holy Mother Church has once declared, is to be retained forever, and no pretext of deeper understanding ever justifies any deviation from that meaning.’”

Eduardo Kortright said...

Father, can you clarify the conclusion of de Mattei's article? He ends with two consequents, whose antecedent seems to be the application of _Donum Veritatis_ of 1990. Does he mean that today we would not be able to oppose a heretical opinion expressed in ordinary, fallible magisterium, but would have to give our assent to it and a later pope would not have to correct it? This makes no sense to me, but that is what he seems to be saying.

Highland Cathedral said...

On the subject of women priests there is an article about altar servers which has some very encouraging words to say about Pope Francis, although the author did not mean them that way:

S. Armaticus said...

Dear HC:
The people you refer to are what passes for being "Jesuitical" these day. They are being Jesuitical in an age where my seven year old is Jesuitical. Actually, he is more Jesuitical than they are.

Jacobi said...


I too, as well as the Tablet, feel a certain degree of relish that battle is joined. It has to be, sooner or later!

As for the Ordinarate, forget about just getting on with leading the Christian life. It has never been thus. Remember what Lieutenant John Chard said, “ we need you dammit, we need you.”.

We should all remember the role of bishops and the Papacy it is to protect and preserve the teaching of the Church, of the Magisterium. That cannot be changed. Neither the doctrine nor the interpretation thereof, directly or by any process of “Gradualisation”.

This whole question of a pope or bishops teaching error, accidentally or otherwise, is something which I for one would not have dreamt of even considering say, three years ago. Now I have to!

But as I have surprisingly found out, it is a subject that has frequently been considered throughout the history of the Church, including by several Councils.

This matter has been well dealt with by that great lay Apologist, Michael Davies, a writer we lost at a tragically early age in 2004. His work will come to the forefront again in the coming years.

His article, A Heretical Pope, Michael Davies, 1992?, is well, worth reading!

William Tighe said...

"His article, A Heretical Pope, Michael Davies, 1992?, is well, worth reading!"

Here it is:


Sadie Vacantist said...

The Hebdo affair has damaged the papacy in the eyes of the World. A reliable tell will always be CMOC granting a TV interview. In the pre-Hebdo one I saw, Cormac jettisoned people, places and things beneath an omnibus in order to maintain the Francis cult narrative. A slip lay in wait from the "God of surprises".

John the Mad said...

"If you don't want to keep reading it, you will need to find another blog to read."

I shall read on for I want more. It is indeed time to assess the state of our defences.

My "forward operating base" lies within Upper Canada (Ontario). Not in a forward place you say? But the beast called Heresy is everywhere on the prowl.