15 March 2016

It's A la Carte for some!

Back in the 1990s, when we made our first, unsuccessful, attempt to secure a Corporate Solution to our desire to enter into Full Communion with the See of S Peter, Cardinal Basil Hume (rightly desiring to make clear that opposition to the 'ordination' of women was not the only doctrinal requirement imposed by the Catholic Church) said that the Church's Doctrine was Table d'hote rather than a la Carte. Personally, as someone who had spent his entire ministry advocating Unity on precisely that basis, I found this a trifle condescending, but I could hardly deny that he was right.

Then we entered the Pontificate of Benedict XVI, and he gave us everything we needed. In the following months, we were 'formed' by being drilled in the 'post-Conciliar Magisterium' and little else ... endless large yellow books produced by Maryvale. If you estimated the matter by plain bulk, it would have to suggest that the post-Conciliar Magisterium is infinitely more important than Holy Scripture and the Fathers or School-men. When I suggested that we needed teaching on Scripture, because, coming from a Protestant environment, that was where we were really weakest, the suggestion was treated as a joke. We got just one lecture, from Fr John Hemer; every sentence in it pure gold ... but only that one session.

And, clearly, the post-Conciliar Magisterium was seen as vastly more important than the Fathers.  Patristics was so poorly done that we were told that the teaching promulgated to Chalcedon by S Leo I in his Tomus ad Flavianum was heretical! Whatever would B John Henry Newman have made of that?

And, at my very entertaining 'Faculties Exam', I was comprehensively quizzed about my willingness to be very firm indeed if a nun ("or even a Reverend Mother") ever tried to preach a homily. The restriction of the homilia intra Missam to Bishops, Priests, and Deacons is of course based upon the strict teaching of the Catechism and Canon Law. Now, apparently, Osservatore Romano has recently raised in elaborate detail proposals to allow layfolk of both sexes to preach the homily.

And our 'psychometric' evaluation sessions in Manchester appeared to be designed to concentrate on the Church's current Magisterial teaching on sexual matters. I had to tell one interviewer that my relationship with my wife was not his business. But, despite all this emphasis in 2011-2 on those areas of Church teaching, it appears that, only half a decade later, the Magisterial teaching of S John Paul II and Benedict XVI, on, for example, the readmission of 'remarried' divorcees to Communion, and the disordered state of the homosexual lifestyle, is now all up for grabs.

Moreover, it is my recollection that, at least at one stage, the Vatican asked the Bishops and priests of the SSPX to accept, not only the texts of Vatican II, but also the "whole post-Conciliar Magisterium".

Does all the above read like dyspeptic rambling? Sorry. But I can now come to the question I am asking, with some brevity.  

Why are the Catholic Faith and the post-Conciliar Magisterium Table d'hote for Bishop Fellay and me, but a la Carte for other more Eminent people?


philipjohnson said...

Fr.Dont despair!The dreaded 2nd vatican council,or its spirit ,so to speak is still influential with the modernists.However it has run out of steam and the ageing hippies are pushing zimmer frames and dreading the march of Tradition and the truth of The Mystical Body of Christ.God Bless.

Josephus Muris Saliensis said...

Dear and Venerable Father, (the second adjective earned not honorific),

I should far gladly sit with you, be we just two souls, eating fried eggs and beans and a cup of tea from the Table-d'Hote, that with the crowd of Beautiful People in the next room feasting on lobsters and Meursault from the Carte!

To paraphrase Our Lord's words, by their Food ye shall know them.

Fr PJM said...

And yet, when the baptized person is received into full communion he professes to "believe everything which the Holy Catholic Church believes, teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God" and not whatever is contained in the post-conciliar magisterium at no matter what level.

mark wauck said...

Short answer: because Francis. Easy.

I'd be interested in Newman's views of the current situation. One could hardly blame him if were inclined to say, I told you so. He knew that, however meritorious on its face, "infallibility" was bound to be misunderstood by most people--as it is. And Francis is flogging that nag for all it's worth, with men who should know better seemingly paralyzed as they watch in dismay.

Unfortunately, while justifiable, that sort of response would probably be an oversimplification, as I suspect Newman would be among the first to recognize. His views on the spirit of liberalism and those that Benedict expressed at Regensburg (especially re bl. Duns Scotus) have much in common and get closer to the real problem. It is, of course, a crisis of faith. Yesterday Fr Hunwicke referenced the concept of a "teaching church." But the very strong impression I have is that at least many bishops aren't truly interested in teaching the modern world. Rather, they simply want a respected "seat at the table" of secular society, to be part of the discussion, to be counted among "the boys." And in return they're quite willing to forgo any awkward questions, objections, observations.

Tamquam said...

"Why are the Catholic Faith and the post-Conciliar Magisterium Table d'hote for Bishop Fellay and me, but a la Carte for other more Eminent people?"

Orwell answered that: "But some are more equal than others." It's all in supporting the ever more flexible doctrines of our sub rosa Neo Modernist masters and the Gospel of Progress! Forward!

KaeseEs said...

Perhaps I am the only one who sees things this way, but I think the nonsense L'Osservatore Romano is peddling wrt. laymen and laywomen preaching the homily is the nastiest form of clericalism out there. This goes way beyond the practical question of "why have an ordained ministry (and why did our Lord institute such) if we're going to dole out their roles one-by-one over time to persons who are not ordained?".

In brief: in the past, it was taught that the laity did something worthwhile by attending Mass. In fact, their contribution was so valued that it was commonly termed "assisting at Mass". There are a lot of forms that this took - some prayed the rosary, others followed along with the priest and servers in a hand-missal, others followed along with the choir - but all could implore God to unite whatever they had offered up during the week, meager as it was, to the perfect sacrifice being offered at the altar by Christ through His priest, and all could stand with our Lady and St. John at the foot of the cross as Calvary was made mystically present, and those who were properly prepared and disposed could partake in the sacrifice by receiving holy Communion (following the pattern of the OT sacrifices which were types of the Eucharist wherein the sacrifice is offered to God, returned by God in its transformed state demonstrating that He has accepted it, and then consumed).

The new teaching of L'Osservatore Romano (and the many modernist clergy who have been illicitly doing what they suggest for years) says politely that that's a piety suited for another time, and after it's had a few drinks and made sure the bishop isn't listening says more straightforwardly that it's a load of nonsense. The new theology asserts that nothing the laity do at Mass as laity is actually worth anything, and seeks to give them a worthwhile role the only way it can imagine to do so - by usurping a variety of things proper to the priest and handing them out to certain favored laymen and laywomen. This is in concert with the separate strain of theology (taught by the same people) which knocks the priest down, downplaying (implicitly denying) his true identity as an alter Christus, consecrated by God to minister to Him and to intercede for the "plebs sancta Dei" through the medium of sacrifice. And we wonder then why we have a priest shortage, when we've devalued half of the priest's job and parceled out the other half!

Deacon Augustine said...

But, Fr., that was then and this is now. The new springtime arrived in 2013, along with the new CEO, so everything is to be "interpreted" anew in order to take account of the changed world in which we live. If you had studied harder you would also have learned about the 8th sacrament - the Crossed Fingers. This renders every promise and statement of belief possible, while at the same time having no intention whatsoever of abiding by them. It is a sure-fire cure which is guaranteed to achieve a clear conscience every time.

On a less sarcastic note, but probably more ridiculous, I was told in a clergy meeting last week that the problem we were currently facing, and which is causing such disunity among the clergy, is that we all have such very "different ecclesiologies." When I responded that surely the bishop in a diocese should have some say regarding the ecclesiology which prevailed there, I was told: "But that is exactly the problem - that is an ecclesiology which I don't accept - the idea that the bishop is a king in his diocese." My interlocutor could not define for me exactly what kind of ecclesiology he did accept, but it sounded more like Presbyterianism than Catholicism.

It really does seem like the current direction (or lack of it) is allowing all kinds of madness to manifest itself. If any kind of coherence of belief is to be restored, either a great schism or the Lord's return will be required.

Paul-A. Hardy said...

Cradle Catholics are more equal than converts because we have the privilege of ignoring the current day Magisterium, especially if we were not raised in it. Catholic inculcation is basically one to five, when we have no say about anything. It is over by fourteen. All that I completed before Vatican Council 2, that is, before I was confirmed. I saw no need to revisit what I had learned, if it is true that Vatican Council 2 is in continuity with what went before. Some say it is. Other say it is not. The question for me at this point in life must and will remain moot.
I cannot imagine why anyone would want to become a Catholic, given its plethora of shady personnel. I was born to it and am immune. By the same token I cannot imagine what it must have been like for you to have grown up an Anglican. Although I went to Anglican schools and Oxford, I never understood what Anglican believed. Everything seemed a la carte as you say. But then I don't understand the post-Conciliar church. Is it more like the Anglican church? You'd be in a position to know. I understand that you use Anglican books.
It seemed to me that Benedict XVI provided eucharistic hospitality to a group of Anglicans. Now Francis I is going to offer the same thing to the Lutherans. Who next? The Orthodox? The Muslims? Whoever is willing to open his or her mouth?
Its all a la carte. I tasted the table d'hote menu. But it seems that the dishes being served a la carte are completely different. Maybe you can explain why that is. Has the menu been switched? Or Is it a different restaurant? Is the chief chef Christ or a stand in? I don't know and do not feel competent to say one way or another. Perhaps you can help.

Belfry Bat said...

There are actually two questions in the present note, (and, Mark Wauck, Rev. Mr. Augustine, et.c., No, this problem is much older than the intraregnum), the question of how and when to reintegrate Christians who have not been visibly Catholic, and what to do about Christians who appear to start out Catholic but go heretical or revolutionary.

And on the second point, His Emminence Francis Cardinal Arinze has been known to crack some delicious jokes; it's not like he could, when Prefect CDW, detail a unit of Swiss Guards and escort anyone to monastic seclusion under anathema! Even if bishops regularly did Formally Excommunicate everyone who ye others deem in need of this strong medecine, what are the faithful faithful going to do about it?

Unknown said...

Phil Lawler wrote a nice terse half-page back in 2010 which relates to your question Padre – can be read by clicking HERE.

When we speak of the “post-Conciliar Magisterium” in a more isolated sense, it tends to imply/magnify an element of discontinuity between the “pre-Conciliar Magisterium” and the “post-Conciliar Magisterium” ; yet, it remains all One Magisterium.

How so ? In my limited opinion, I see only two possibilities :

Either there have arisen certain conflicts -proportionate in consequence to an intervention of human error, or, the Holy Spirit quite simply made a mistake (much more than one mistake actually, if one were to count all of the apparent conflicts).

Together with mark wauck I also bemoan the fact that Blessed John Henry Newman is not available for comment today (save through the Communion of Saints) on the situation of the Church, and so neither would be the keen insights of what one would hypothetically consider to be Cardinal Newman’s pre and post-Conciliar views. What one wouldn’t give to read a similar present-day analysis by Chesterton as well (though his works are timeless) – sprinkled with just that right amount of Chesterton satire.

Personally, I have found the actual documents of the Second Vatican Council to be fairly sound when taken straight up the middle. But the careless way in which certain ( ahem) “others” chose to misinterpret those documents and to –snatch hold of them and to run with them -gleefully prancing around like some type of mindless gravy-coated gazelle unwittingly waltzing into a den of ravenous lions, frankly, boggles the mind. This, in turn gave rise to some truly lamentable innovations which have somehow been allocated space within what they would have us believe, is the present version of the Magisterium.

I like your analogy Padre, and, in this same vein, one might be reminded that à la carte always requires a higher price – whether it be paid in this life or the next (would our Blessed Lord’s own words be a appropriate here ?) :
Matt 5:26 [NAB] “Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

An analogy of my own as to what went down from back then until now:

The spirit of renewal was seduced by the spirit of rebellion , and they ended up having an illegitimate child whose name is Disorder. Even up until today – especially with the help of the fickle media and the glut of communication tools offered by modern technology, the pesky little b*gger Disorder is still running rampant continuing to seduce and deform consciences.

I cannot answer “why” it is the way it as – as you ask, but I do know that our first response to the problem always has to be personal holiness. . . So please Father H, remove the speck from your own eye so you will see clearly to remove the plank from the eyes of those more Eminent . . . or perhaps a better fit might be from the eyes of those more imminent. :)

God bless you and those dear to you Father H .

Your blog is well worth reading. Thank you.

Gillineau said...

I'm beginning to wonder at those who say 'Don't fear!' with regards our current magister. Why? I spend my life attempting (badly) to walk the line. But now there may not even be a line. If anything it makes me feel like a perfect fool. What a waste of a life, when I could've been out there getting all lovely filthy concupiscent up to my eyeballs!

Seaneinn said...

Very well said Father.

Lepanto said...

I think the buffet may officially open on Saturday.

mark wauck said...

Are bloggers the 21st century version of Catherine of Siena?

Little Black Sambo said...

Was Benedict XVI thinking about founding an ordinariate for Lutherans?

Little Black Sambo said...

Was Benedict XVI thinking of founding an ordinariate for Lutherans?

Stephen said...

Haven't the Orthodox been asking the same question all these centuries?

RichardT said...

KaeseEs wrote: "The new theology asserts that nothing the laity do at Mass as laity is actually worth anything"

I fear that there is a deeper problem, that too many priests, bishops, liturgists, theologians and other influential Catholics have lost the belief in the practical efficacy of prayer.

How many of them would institute a Novena for a particular purpose, for example, or even take part in one? Even bidding prayers too often seem to be written more to hector the congregation than to request something from God ("Lord, make us more welcoming of refugees" and suchlike).

This would explain why they do not believe that the traditional lay participation in the Mass has any value - because they do not believe that prayer has any real value.

Jacobi said...

Much of my generation, the naive trusting pre-Conciliar lot, never noticed the degree of alteration of the post-Conciliar “Magisterium” What you say is sobering and explains the gravity of the problem to this day, the a la Carte approach of the mainly Germanic heterodox.

Leo 1 was a good Pope, the first to emphasise the concept of the Keeper of the Keys.
He dealt well with the Hun barbarians but less so with the Vandal barbarians, a German tribe. Today the Germanic Vandals are seen more as just wanting a sack or two to keep the troops happy. Leo did manage, however, to persuade them to preserve the three main churches in Rome. Sort of a la Carte?

Banshee said...

First off, the lay preaching thing is full of ingenuous lies. Medieval lay preachers (sometimes men, rarely women) were preaching on the platform in the marketplace on market days, in lieu of the usual edutainment by friars or monks or priests. They were never preaching in church!! It also wasn't usually preaching, per se, but just general Catholic edification (or urging people to go to Confession, or whatever). It was mostly an Italian thing, and seems to have only lasted a generation or so, because some bad things happened (like those women who appointed themselves priests and tried to take over an Italian town).

There were some unusual people involved with this, and some of them traveled around doing it (because the bishop thought it would be good), including some tiny Italian girl who later became a venerable or a blessed. But it still wasn't preaching in church. Sheesh. I hate all this lying to people.

Banshee said...

I agree that cradle Catholics may be a bit more used to ignoring or putting up with the stupid stuff, and paying attention to real Church teaching. But the flipside is
that "cradle liberals" take advantage of that sort of freedom, and ignore actual
Church teaching in the same way. (And I suppose that the mechanism is similar for traditionalists who go so far into an imagined past as to be un-traditional.)

Of course it is unfair to require rigorous training of converts, and yet not care about what cradle Catholics believe. Some of it can be attributed to filling in background (and many people raised Catholic do know quite a lot of theology and Bible stuff, albeit it is filed away eccentrically in their brains). But not all of it, and I would make it a lot more concentrated training.

Re: infallibility, I still think it's weird that a saint like Antonio Maria Claret was actually having a stroke at Vatican I over insults to papal infallibility, while another saint like Newman was practically having a stroke the other way. Theological disagreements are tough.

Trisagion said...

JHN was *not* "practically having a stroke" at Vatican I "the other way". He fervently believed it to be true and had done for many years by then. It wasn't the doctrine but the prudence of the declaration that he doubted. The one thing it wasn't was a "Theological disagreement".