5 April 2016

Good Reading during a Crisis, if there is a crisis

This is really a footnote to my recent piece on the status of episcopal conferences.

I commend to those desiring a close understanding of this subject the following three Magisterial documents, and, in particular the third:

Communionis notio (CDF 1991/2)
Dominus Iesus (CDF 2000)
Apostolos suos (S John Paul II Motu proprio 1998).

Dominus Iesus was much derided by the heterodox; the hysterical; those who had not read it; and persons falling into more than one of those categories ... in fact, a surprisingly large number of people.

For a commentary on Apostolos suos, I strongly recommend The Teaching Authority of Episcopal Conferences, Francis A Sullivan S.J., in Theological Studies 63 (2002). This is an important piece because Sullivan, as those who recall his interventions over many years will recall, is not sympathetic towards ecclesiology as expounded by Ratzinger/Benedict XVI. That makes his conclusion all the more significant: " ... these requirements are consistent with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's opinion that the teaching authority of bishops belongs only to individual bishops, and to the entire college with the pope".

This is the highly important truth which we must stick to; which it is our duty to explain to others.

Any attempt to ascribe to episcopal conferences qua conferences any competence in the field of doctrine is a very grave doctrinal error and a source of enormous practical dangers, and needs to be resisted, whoever may propound it, in every possible way.

Not least because it is those who are certain to misuse it who are the ones most likely to use it.

[In the Ordinariates we might have some (albeit small) degree of protection. The Complementary Norms accompanying Anglicanorum coetibus say that "The Ordinary follows the directives of the national Episcopal Conference insofar as this is consistent with the norms contained in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus". And the Constitution itself makes clear that "The Catechism of the Catholic Church authentically expresses the Catholic Faith, which the members of the Ordinariate confess".]

9 comments:

Gregkanga said...

Whole heartedly agree with this post Fr Hunwicke! I am aware that this is now the second time you have raised and questioned the status of Episcopal Conferences in the Church. This is what I wrote about it in Australia in Into the Deep at www.stoneswillshout.com/wp, January issue 2015: ".....The real problem for the Church in the West lies in the fact that the crisis of leadership has led to a crisis of faith, to the point where many dioceses are in decline and some are facing the real prospect of extinction. And the reason the gravity of this calamitous situation has not impacted many local bishops individually, is that they have been insulated by the toxic culture of denial, dysfunction and failure which pervades many episcopal conferences.
If Rome is serious about saving the shipwreck the Church is fast becoming in the West, then it is high time it dissolve all episcopal conferences and revert to the traditional way of communicating and dealing with local bishops individually before Vatican II. After all, these shepherds were appointed to lead by holiness and not to ape the ideologies of the prevailing culture."

NO Deceased said...

God bless you, Father Hunwicke, you remain as always a voice of right reason, good practice, common sense .. and seemingly limitless light-heated (i.e. angelic) humour .. amid so much that can tempt the soul into confusion.

I realise that you have had your cross to bear in witnessing to the Truth (our Way and our Life), not least in having your priestly orders validated and fulfilled within the Roman Rite. So, if it means anything (to anyone - other than me), I apologise to you (and not a few other great souls like you) who had to go through a rather more bumpy time than was absolutely necessary in having your fidelity to the Holy See, and the Faith, affirmed; that trial only further proves the sanctity of your call .. were this fiery trial in fact required of you, here or hereafter. But now down to brass tacks; I wonder if you recall the spit-fire-ish witness to the Faith of Fr Malachi Martin, and his insightful factions (and other works), or kept up to date with a series of interviews now being rolled out by the equally feisty Michael Voris and his St Michael's Media, in particular, the interviews with Bishop Rene Gracida?

Both emphasise the time to say a big No to the Tempter and his wiles - especially his willing or fellow-travelling servants. If you could, in your own good time, and with you own sound judgement, view these witnesses and (somehow) offer advice or opinion or some other lead-in to them, I'd (for one) would be grateful. Links below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kY6EthZri2g

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViqoAUFMUJg&ebc=ANyPxKqP5OnO4CXHj-X-fMgQ8zuRIt9e08WkhK7dV85sKI0YDQTwbnqx8740U5gSSIXraT-Y8DIFTu9e98uf-4eKoWaUleaXMw&spfreload=1

Many thanks.

Simple Simon said...

A most decisive act of all orthodox shepherds,a most noble act, a most courageous act, a most necessary act of service to the flock, will be the act of quitting forthwith one’s episcopal conference, with the firm purpose never ever to return thereto.

UnanimousConsent said...

It seems to me that the Nota Praevia attached to Lumen Gentium in the Appendix is critical in understanding the role and function of the College of Bishops. Yet it is so often overlooked, or dismissed because of the associated comments that went along with it.

√Čamonn said...

For those who would like to read it the article by Fr Sullivan SJ can be had in PDF here.

Ben of the Bayou said...

Honestly, Father, I hope you are getting all geared up over nothing...I hope.

Remnant Clergy said...

"Any attempt to ascribe to episcopal conferences qua conferences any competence in the field of doctrine is a very grave doctrinal error and a source of enormous practical dangers, and needs to be resisted, whoever may propound it, in every possible way."

You will get to practice this soon. Of course it will sold as merely being pastoral.

Gregkanga said...

Whole heartedly agree with this post Fr Hunwicke! I am aware that this is now the second time you have raised and questioned the status of Episcopal Conferences in the Church. This is what I wrote about it in Australia in Into the Deep at www.stoneswillshout.com/wp, January issue 2015: ".....The real problem for the Church in the West lies in the fact that the crisis of leadership has led to a crisis of faith, to the point where many dioceses are in decline and some are facing the real prospect of extinction. And the reason the gravity of this calamitous situation has not impacted many local bishops individually, is that they have been insulated by the toxic culture of denial, dysfunction and failure which pervades many episcopal conferences.
If Rome is serious about saving the shipwreck the Church is fast becoming in the West, then it is high time it dissolve all episcopal conferences and revert to the traditional way of communicating and dealing with local bishops individually before Vatican II. After all, these shepherds were appointed to lead by holiness and not to ape the ideologies of the prevailing culture."

Ben Trovato said...

Father, thank you for these reassuring and clarifying words. However, my question is: if the Sovereign Pontiff delegates some of his authority explicitly and formally to the National Conferences of Bishops (as I fear he may) do they then have collective authority, on the authority of the Holy Father?