I am sick to death of having my worst fears proved right ... daily. Just a few days ago, I wondered on this blog what Bishop Fellay, of the SSPX, faced with a decision about the offer Rome has left on his desk, must be making of Pope Bergoglio's petulant and vindictive onslaught upon the ancient and venerable Order of Malta and its Grand Master (please remember to pray for him and for the Order). And we all know of the suffering inflicted on the young and vibrant Franciscans of the Immaculate. It seems that whether you are a 'military' order fortified by a centuries-old tradition of Catholic loyalty and service, or are a brand-new group inspired by a new charism of the Holy Spirit, there are people Out There who just can't wait to Get you. I also had reason, a few days ago, to mention the way in which the intransigence of some bigoted Latin bishops in America in the 1930s led to Ruthenian Byzantine Rite communities in the USA departing into schism. Going back earlier, I might have mentioned the damage done to ancient Christian communities in India after their reintegration into the Catholicon.
And now the Parish and Academy and Pastor of our Lady of the Atonement are getting 'the Treatment'. A peaceful, happy, united community whose only sins have been to have a distinctive spirituality and to have flourished and to be financially very sound; to have fed thousands of Catholics with the Sacraments and the Word of God and to have taught generations of children Christianity and Prayer and traditional Catholic culture.
The bully-boy culture which is such an evil corruption in some members of the hierarchy of the Latin Church is all the more unsavoury when its persecuted victims are Christians who have made sacrifices (in some cases, great) to enter into full Communion with the See of S Peter. I once spent a pleasant and instructive afternoon reading through in his Bullarium the wise and sensitive provisions made by Prospero Lambertini, Benedict XIV, for the protection of the diversity represented by Byzantine Rite Christians in unity with Rome. And Benedict XVI did everything he could to defend, by the creation of protected structures, Anglicans returning to the Seat of Unity. Not to mention his careful provisions in Summorum Pontificum for the protection of those who use, or desire to use, the authentic liturgical Patrimony (never abrogated) of the Roman Church. (Needless to say, the Wolves have now got these dispositions in their sights. We were fools if we ever thought they wouldn't.)
But not every Roman Pontiff is endowed with the same clarity of vision and the same plain good sense as the Two Great Benedicts. Nor is every Latin Bishop ... or every Archbishop. It's not so much, nowadays, that they resent 'Eastern Rites'. Painfully, gradually, unwillingly, grudgingly, most of them have finally accepted that the Catholic Church can, in S John Paul's words, be allowed to have Two Lungs. Now, the inclination to 'Give Them a Good Stomping' kicks in mostly with regard to Latin Rite Christians who don't knuckle under to the liturgical monoculture of badly corrupted post-conciliar rites performed in accordance with the silly and illiterate fads of the 1970s.
And, as we are increasingly seeing day by day, any priest who shows any signs doctrinally of resisting the modern equivalent of what Blessed John Henry Newman neatly if ferociously called an Aggressive Insolent Faction, runs the risk (depending on the varying whimsies of different bishops or religious superiors) of being badly beaten up. Don't contradict me because I have been closely associated with victim clergy.
Some of us thought that in joyfully embracing full Unity with the See of S Peter and with the Saints of all the Ages, we would become part of a Catholic whole which was less culturally narrow-minded and parochial than the separated communities we were brought up in; a pluriform and rich family of diversity-within-orthodoxy. As far as this pontificate has, so far, shown itself, how wrong we were. As far as the current management of the Archdiocese of San Antonio is concerned, how wrong we were.
May God soon grant us a pope -- whether Bergoglio or someone else -- who will give us back our joy and gladness, and gently, wisely, guide his Venerable Brethren, starting with the Archbishop of San Antonio, back to understanding the true diversity (always subject to the Church's authentic Magisterium) of many traditions in the One Tradition.
If such welcomed Diversity is not an integral ingredient in what is meant by "Ecumenism", I would like to know what is. Surely "Ecumenism" cannot mean the sort of mind-set which animates the Archbishop of San Antonio. Is the Invitation to Separated Brethren simply a demand "Submit yourselves and come close so that we can kick you"?
The 'case' of our Lady of the Atonement is another litmus paper testing the honesty, or lack of it, with which the Catholic Church professes to engage with the Lord's call to Unity.