28 September 2017

Episcopal Update on Fear

Since I wrote yesterday's post about Fear, the online Catholic Herald has published two commendable pieces on the Correctio filialis. The second, by Fr Andrew Pinsent, a young priest of striking erudition, is one of the most cutting analyses of Pope Bergoglio's style of papacy that I have yet seen.

And I particularly draw your attention to one phrase in the piece by Bishop Gracida, Emeritus of Corpus Christi.

"Perhaps naively, I thought my signature might encourage more bishops to make their views public, and perhaps some will. Many are timid and fearful of retaliation by Rome".

How remarkable. Timid and fearful! Vatican II, we all thought, had raised the dignity of the Episcopate. No longer should a bishop be thought of as a mere Vicar, errand-boy, of the Roman Pontiff. No; they are Successors of the Apostles; big bold men. My goodness me, you should just see their muscles!

Accordingly, certain canonical powers which in the old system had to be periodically regranted to diocesan bishops in their "quinquennial faculties", henceforth became powers inherent in the status of a diocesan bishop. So the old method by which Rome had been able to ... er ... inconvenience recalcitrant bishops, is no longer available. And quite right, too.

But, so a very experienced retired bishop now tells us, in this Pontificate of Mercy bishops are "timid and fearful of retaliation by Rome".

Well, well, well. Who'd have thought it. What exactly are they afraid of? Where exactly does "retaliation" feature in the Lord's teaching? Luke 22:32, perhaps? ("Simon, Simon ... I have prayed for you ... and when you have turned again, retaliate upon your brethren").

I am reminded of the dear old Anglican joke ... stop me if you've heard it before ... yes, we old men are such bores ... about the laying on of hands during Episcopal Consecration.

"What" asks the ubiquitous Tiny Boy, "are they all doing to him?"

(I should explain here to Cradle Catholics that the Anglican tradition most happily preserved the ancient ritual whereby all the Consecrators - they might be a dozen or more - imposed hands simultaneously. It looked rather like a rugger scrum, with the Consecrand submerged in the middle.)

The child's Father explains to him: "They are removing his spine".


Marko Ivančičević said...

Well, in order to touch the untouchable, you need a demigod on earth, a demigod who is in constant contact with God and whose every move is inspired by the Holy Spirit. Such a man is believed by many to be the pope of Rome. He mustn't be restrained, not even by Divine Scriptures and Apostolic Tradition. No, he is God on Earth, extension of Incarnation, arbiter of the world. He has the highest ground and unfalsifiable claims. He can do whatever he wants.

We, Catholics have created this monster... We haven't written it on paper, but we have very much inspired it with breath of our own lives.

The Bones said...

The reforms of VII, collegiality and subsidiarity depend on bishops having faith and being apostolic, it doesn't work if they lack zeal.

neilmac said...

One can learn about the sort of fear that parish priests now experience in this pontificate by reading Fr Ray's blog. And very sad reading it makes, too.


Woody said...

Good one!

Deacon Nicholas said...

You could flee to the Orthodox Church, leaving one set of problems for another (but still better off).

KaeseEs said...

Two thoughts: the first is that, when the English bishops rolled over for Henry VIII, they at least had the excuse that a bunch of their brethren or predecessors had recently been poisoned for opposing him.

The second thought is that, in concordance with Marko, this is what we get for using the Roman pontiff as our only stick with which to beat heterodoxy for the last few decades. We should have stuck to our guns saying their novelties were contrary to the Gospel and the Apostles and the Councils instead of just repeating "Roma locuta" with increasing volume. They would of course have said that we were wrong and that their absurd contortions of scripture were right, but it's not like sic'ing JPII on them worked either.

Chris said...

Father, what perchance were those quinquennial faculties. This is one of the rare areas in preconciliar praxis I am unfamiliar with.

Pastor in Monte said...

I would be most interested, Father, to learn how the Anglican tradition of the simultaneous laying of hands of all ordaining clerics were preserving what you call the 'ancient ritual'. Do we actually know that?

Richard Malcolm said...


"this is what we get for using the Roman pontiff as our only stick with which to beat heterodoxy for the last few decades."

Amen to that.

William Tighe said...

"... they at least had the excuse that a bunch of their brethren or predecessors had recently been poisoned for opposing him."

This is sheer fantasy. An attempt had been made, in February 1531, by a disgruntled household servant, the bishop's cook, to poison Bishop Fisher, but since the bishop forwent the meal he escaped unscathed; around the same time a gunshot from the house of the Earl of Wiltshire (Anne Boleyn's father), across the Thames from Rochester House, damaged the bishop's study. I know of no other such attempts, however, on any other bishops.

The cook, by the way, was condemned by Bill of Attainder to be boiled alive; cf.:


Sue Sims said...

I'm sure, Father, that you've seen Fr. Blake's recent post on this, but perhaps you'd allow me to share the link? The sense of sheer agony which comes through is terrifying. http://marymagdalen.blogspot.co.uk/

Stephen said...

Pity that the old structure of smaller dioceses being linked to a metropolitan diocese was discarded for these national conferences. But was this change ever formally endorsed canonically? I seem to recall that that venerable hierarchical structure was in place pretty much from Nicea to Vatican II and actually in the Canons of a Council or two. Where they dumped formally by a follow Council's decree? Or just simply ignored?

But then, the promulgation of the Code of 1917(18) pretty much did away with the election of ordinaries by the local canons, in favor of Rome making all the appointments. If memory serves, it was the young clerical star of the Secretariat of State Pacelli who drove that change home. Ah, always best to be careful what one wishes, and gets! The legal machinery of the Papacy in the hands of progressives was doubtless never foreseen (but centralization itself is progressive by nature.)

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Not "we" Marko.

It's the ultramontanists who could not accept defeat at Vatican I. Now they are attacking the Correctio:

"Stephen Walford finds the insignificant "filial correction" which falsely condemns Amoris Laetitia with seven accusations of heresy, doesn't actually quote it to support its case. Its 25 pages seem to critique a fantasy document that doesn't exist. Meanwhile, how does Pope Francis actually compare with his predecessors? Stephen has produced a filial correction of the signatories, calling them to see the Holy Spirit at work..."


Zephyrinus said...

"And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it."

Be assured.

Unknown said...

Deacon Nicholas mentions fleeing to Byzantium a journey that accomplishes very little, other than exchanging one cesspool for another. But at least in Rome we are closer to our own tradition, and do not have to pass water on the graves of our ancestors, who are considered by the Byzantines to be unbaptised and lacking in grace. It also helps that Rome does not consider our traditions to be baggage that must be cast aside.

PM said...

Apologies if I've passed this on before, but there is also a Roman joke about episcopal spines. What is the purpose of the zuchetto? To cover the hole left by the extraction of the spine.

neilmac said...

As I heard it many years ago:

...removing his spine and his brain.