11 March 2019

Cassiciacum? (1)

A brother priest very reasonably asked me whether my views on the present state of the papal office were not rather like those of the Cassiciacum Thesis. I am very shy about answering this. For more than one reason.

I do my best to confine myself to writing about subects in which I, perhaps over-boldly, consider myself to have some slight competence. I am not a canonist, and if I started trying to deal with the Cassiciacum, I would probably merely expose the degree of my own incompetence in that area. Which is enormous. Why should I make myself a laughing stock?

A second reason is that, in the present state of things, this thesis is ... so I believe ... espoused by a particular ecclesial group. I have no desire to attack them. They are very probably far better Catholics than I am. That wouldn't be difficult! But I would not want to create an assumption that I was one of them, or that I was in agreement with their own canonical separation (as I understand it) from the Church Militant. We all have enough problems of our own without letting ourselves get tarred with other people's brushes. [However, I will admit to having some human curiosity about one particularly diagnostic question: do they name our Holy Father Pope Francis, Successor of S Peter, in the Canon of the Mass?]

But my main reason is that I prefer to do theology, not in terms of what is sometimes called the (neo-)scholastic method, but in a way more rooted in historical actualite. I would like to describe this as "more English", but I won't, because, if I did, I know what would happen: you'd all start jumping up and down and screeching "But what about Doellinger?!" "What about Hefele!?

I will elucidate later.


Robert Clair said...

Which group do you suppose to hold the Cassiacum Thesis? A brief look indicates it's also called sedeprivationism, which appears to only be held by some isolated heresiarchs in the United States. The SSPX don't hold this position, but rather recognize the true Pope and resist his command, which makes them hard to square as in a particular state (hence the "irregular" designation). The so-called "SSPX Resistance" have dropped PF's name from the Canon, though, while still not saying the See is vacant.

Grant Milburn said...

I had to google the Cassiciacum Thesis. Phew! This is way above my pay grade.

Joshua said...

I see no danger - pace Manning - of "the old Anglican, patristic, literary, Oxford tone transplanted into the Church": on the contrary, may God grant a solid return to the whole Church of precisely that dutiful obedience to Scripture and Tradition that today's fawning papolaters forget.

As for Manning, I recall one exquisite vignette from a curious book about Victorians in Purgatory (a narrative portrayed as a dream fallen into while asleep in a side chapel at Brompton Oratory): Manning's Purgatory is to sit in an armchair in a beautiful drawing room, gazing uninterruptedly at a portrait of Newman. For one thousand years.