14 March 2009


I am profoundly worried by the conclusions some are drawing, to the effect that the integration of PCED into CDF might represent a criticism of the way in which PCED has been reintegrating Lefebvreists into full communion. This can only refer to such events as the treatment of the Good Shepherd Lefebvreists in Bordeaux, who were told that they need not submit to any diktat, or drop any of their views on Vatican II, as long as they continued the dialogue within the unity of the Church and did so respectfully. If there is any suggestion that this style of Ecumenism is out of favour, and that such returning groups should simply accept V2 hook line and sinker and without glosses, I consider this to be very bad news. Why?

Because it would represent a brake on some very attractive ecumenical developments, in which those participating attempted to get behind the formulae of Catholic doctrine so as to express , perhaps in new ways, the authentic meaning of those formulae.

Two examples. Firstly: ARCIC eventually ('Clarifications') presented Rome with an agreement on the Eucharist which Joseph Ratzinger's CDF declared to be completely satisfactory. This implied going 'behind' the actual terminology of Trent.

Secondly: Rome came to an agreement with oriental 'Nestorians' on Christology, which constituted going behind, or glossing, Chalcedon.

Unless such processes are now to be set aside and disowned, it is hard to see how it can be right to present SSPX with a take-it-or-leave-it choice with regard to V2. And I find it very hard to believe that this is what our Holy Father intends.

When Ratzinger gave the OK to the deals with Anglicans and Nestorians, I don't recall liberal establishments rising in a hysterical frenzy against the processes concerned. They did not angrily demand that Anglicans and Nestorians should just accept Trent and Chalcedon as they stand. So why are they so sold on a totally fundamentalist approach to Vatican II?

The answer to my question, of course, is the worst kept secret in the world. The liberals are not in the least concerned with the documents of V2; on the contrary. Does anyone seriously suppose that Kelly and Conry and Hollis and Budd really spend time every evening meditating on the joyless pomposities of Gaudium et Spes? Pull the other one. "Vatican II", for liberals, is just a mantra to give respectability to an agenda of pushing ahead with such programmes and such tendencies as they themselves find congenial. Look back at the questions Elena Curti put to Castrillon Hoyos when he came to Westminster. What, to her simple sweet girlish mind constituted "Vatican II" was lots and lots of women Eucharistic Ministers in the Sanctuary.

From one point of view, the smartest thing Fellay could do would be to accept V2 in toto and thereby call their bluff. But I suppose the poor chap does have his own Hard Men (and Women) on the look-out for a sell-out.


Fr Anthony said...

As always, the name of the game is containing the press. In January, it was all to go smoothly - but the problem was Williamson, who kicked up the hornet's nest with the press. Then you had Fr. Wagner in Austria and now the bishop in Brazil who excommunicated instead of finding a more pastoral way to deal with a poor family who did wrong but not without mitigating circumstances.

The Institute of the Good Shepherd largely passed under the media radar screen, so didn't have to go thruogh each and every article of Vatican II, and for everything to go as slowly and laboriously as a PCC meeting.

I think you have it right. If Bishop Fellay did "accept Vatican II" with the mutually agreed reservation of interpreting it in the light of Tradition, then Rome will have to find a way of proceeding without feeding the press sharks.

A good pragmatic analysis.

Fr. Anthony

Conchúr said...

Fr Zuhlsdorf has a good analysis of the media coverage of PCED here:


Anonymous said...

Yes, it would be interesting to see this bluff called; let them be hoist on their own petard.

The integration (elimination?) of PCED may have some negative consequences. One big one I see is weakening Cardinal Hoyos' (a good fellow, for all I know) influence and strengthening Cardinal Levada's (a very dubious operator, for all I know). What the world needs now is a "Tract 90" on V2 written by none other than the Pope.