... is reported to have spoken in a very relaxed and civilised way about the blessing of sexually irregular relationships.
Splendid stuff. This is the way ahead. Before genocides, for example, or murders in general, one should always baptise or absolve (perhaps conditionally) those about to be terminated. Thereby, one would be giving them the supreme good of immediate everlasting life. How could such an admirable End fail to justify the Means? And, before the sexual abuse of the young or vulnerable, one should always sprinkle them with Holy Water.
Every paedophile should always carry some with him. It is a very important Sacramental.
All of that was what is called technically 'irony'. I think I was inspired by a particular 'modest' writing of my hero the late Dean Swift. Since he got into trouble because the po-faced took his Proposal seriously, I had better make clear that I am not really offering such advice ... far from it. Such conduct would be abhorrent.
I would add two points. We all of us, in our respective avocations, have our own professional dirty little tricks. Bishops are no exception. And, according to the accounts, the Ecclesiastic concerned has just played the very nastiest such Dirty Little Trick. He has left the decision about blessing such relationships to the parish clergy. He will now be the Mr Nice who has been generous and 'inclusive'. Poor Fr X who adheres to the teaching of the Catholic Church will now be Mr Nasty, attacked on the grounds that he is so much 'less inclusive' than the Nice Ecclesiastic and Fr Alsoverynice in the next parish.
It sounds so reasonable, doesn't it; mumble mumble case by case mumble mumble local pastoral decision mumble mumble. In fact, as well as being an abdication of episcopal responsibilities, it is a viciously nasty method of creating problems and then unloading them onto other people whose position you have already fatally undermined. From the Ecclesiastic's own standpoint, what's not to like?
We experienced that sort of management-style when we were back in the Church of England. The map ahead is already published and it is very clear. The next stage, 'pastorally', is: "My dear boy, I am so very sorry about all this. I wish so much that I could help. But, y'know, this major pastoral breakdown in your parish leaves me with no choice ... I am thinking about your happiness every bit as much as that of your parish ... ".
And, by stealth, step by step, the corruptions of the Evil One are multiplying and spreading. They grow with generous rapidity from being a tiny seed of the exceptional and the unusual and the 'pastoral' to being the norm and the iron rule. Time, as the Evil One is aware, is so very much more important than Space.
Secondly: who does the Ecclesiastic think he is to speak, apparently, on behalf of his national episcopate? I think I may be right ... I'm not sure ... in saying that he is Chairman of his Conference, but, all the same, have they discussed the matter and come to a unanimous conclusion? Apostolos suos, I think, laid down that in doctrinal matters, a unanimous vote was necessary. Surely there must be just one orthodox bishop in that country? Otherwise, this is an uncanonical piece of dictatorial arrogance.
Cardinal Mueller spoke very well about the problem of what, with justifiable sarcasm, he called these 'vice-popes'. He had an extremely sound instinct for what was going on. Perhaps that is why ... er ...
Next time you meet a Great Ecclesiastic who is probably Chairman of his Conference, make sure you keep your wits about you. Keep a sharp eye open for vis sine lege.
7 February 2018
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Back in the bad old Dark Ages, Bishops had the duty to Teach, Rule, Sanctify but in our more enlightened times that Bishop merely Wink, Smile, and Nod.
On the bright side, Archbishop Chaput put out a statement against all this junk.
"....there is no truth, no real mercy, and no authentic compassion, in blessing a course of action that leads persons away from God.
"This in no way is a rejection of the persons seeking such a blessing, but rather a refusal to ignore what we know to be true about the nature of marriage, the family, and the dignity of human sexuality."
Well said, Father. No, I doubt there are any orthodox prelates left in that unhappy land. At this point one rejoices to encounter a bishop who's willing to insist upon orthodoxy on this or that particular point. We pretty much know the names of those insisting on orthodoxy across the board -- contra mundum, as it were.
Well, there are some things I want to say since they directly concern me as a theologian in Germany.
1) Cardinal Marx is known to voice heretic opinions. He is the epitome of everything wrong in the Church today (together wird Kasper and Lehmann). They are the triumvirate of the Modernist hierarchy. I would suggest to always take whatever they say cum grano salis. This is not the craziest idea either of them had. However, he poses a real threat.
2) There are faithful bishops in Germany. Yes, really. I would like to mention Bishop Oster of Passau. He is quite "unorthodox" in his methods, but he is not in line with the Modernist main stream. He very clearly stated that homosexual blessings are something he strongly opposes, and that he wants to protect the faith. Unfortunately, he lists Rahner as one of his influences, but as far as I know, this bishop is more or less okay. There are other bishops voicing opposition, and many other orthodox voices joining in.
3) The big, big problem is that those damned Bishop's Conferences are not lead by the bishops. They are lead by secretaries and bureaucrats. And they bully. And they pressure. And they do whatever pleases them. Bishops have no actual say. Especially not when it goes against the opinion of the president of the BC. Marx, Lehmann, and Kasper are extremely influential men. Marx is deeply involved with big pharma. Bishops don't have the chance to do something on their own, because they get blackmailed, and pressured into compliance. This is all no speculation, but has been admitted by numerous bishops (among them Cardinal Degenhardt of Paderborn, or Bishop Oster of Passau).
4) It has always been the German episcopate working against Rome. This is no different. Rome should give a strong answer, but it never does, it never did, and it never will do that.
I think it is always important to ask the question "cui bono?". And honestly, I do not know it.
This whole blessing ordeal is obviously not about God. If it were, those homosexuals would live according to the Gospel and the teachings of the Church, and not seek to fulfill their own wishes. It's quite the same as with woman priests: If the good of the Church, and serving God were their intentions, they would obey God's commands, and not seek to change the Church's teaching contrary to divine Truth.
The next thing that is very obvious is that the gay couples wanting to have such a blessing, I could count on my ten fingers. What active homosexual (homosexuals have always been liberal and atheist) would want to have the blessing of a "conservative, reactionary, archaic" Church? When in Germany the law for the "Marriage for All" (Ehe für Alle) was signed, there were like 5 gay couples that actually did have a marriage. Marriage is something homosexuals usually don't want. It's never been their lifestyle, and they're ok with that. They like it that way. Excklusivity and monogamy are also not widely shared values. Most gay couples have an "open relationship", which means sleeping with other men/women is allowed, and not seen as "cheating". Homosexuality always came equipped with other sexual depravities. Gay orgies are not a niche phenomenon; it's the very essence of it. Liberals have been working to change this image from the gross, hidden, AIDS infested niche, to the sassy, fabulous, incredibly cool gay guy, who is the moral authority in every TV series now on air (and who also gives quirky, charming comments on how much contempt he has for heterosexual, normal people).
Lastly, what good would the Church have from that? Of course, the Church is not an enterprise waging gains and losses. She has to be true to Her founder, whose body she is. The question thus is: Is the Church true to Christ's teachings and will? The answer is, very shortly, no.
My conclusion is that this must be a novelty for novelty's sake. Heresy for heresy's sake. It fits in the agenda to push for gay people's "rights" they don't even want. I cannot understand today's society's obsession with homosexuality. It seems to be the ultimative idol. Certainly satanic.
In the midst of the brazen betrayal of the Faith going on indisputably before our eyes and with expectation of even more monstrous betrayals for the future, just one innocent question for many orthodox Catholics out there with a mangled understanding of the great and indispensible virtue of obedience ( which we owe to the Truth, who is Christ, Tradition, and the defined magisterial teachings of the Church and those who uphold them, but never to heresy or to heretics): Are we still slandering the memory of the great Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre as "schismatic" and "disobedient"? Perhaps we should remember that many (perhaps most) of us are able to attend the immemorial Mass of the English Martyrs and of most Catholics throughout the ages because of his bold, manly, and noble effort. Aside from the complex teleological question of how God uses human instruments to achieve His divine purpose, it is doubtful, in my view, that the canonically approved traditional orders would be functioning as they are today had not the Society of St. Pius X first paved the way for the recovery of Tradition. Moreover, those who love Catholic Tradition but are still inclined to latch on to the old, unjust accusations of disobedience that have served the Modernists so well might want to brush up on their moral theology and re-discover that gratitude is to be counted among the noblest virtues, one essential to justice. Shakespeare certainly thought so: one of his greatest tragedies deals with the sinful and all-too-common problem of ingratitude in the human race. Perhaps a pertinent time to read again "King Lear" for its timeless and unsentimental observation of the human condition.
His Excellency was not the "upholder of Tradition". There were also others you simply ignore. Le Barroux, Fontgombault, and many other communities have kept their traditional Rite.
Lefebvre has been excommunicated not for being faithful or traditional, but for illicitly consecrating 4 bishops without an apostolic mandate.
He was a schismatic, and he was disobedient. Whether that was justified or not, is another question (Augustinus says sometimes leaving the Church might be a virtuous thing to do, and Aquinas says that the unity of the Church is a lesser good than the protection of the faith). But he certainly was not this heroic martyr who single-handedly saved the entire Church.
Outstanding piece. Thank you once again.
Randolph Crane asks, "cui bono?"
But rebellion against lawful authority is often not about benefit, but about resentment, or jealousy, or similar. So the 'benefit' is in wounding the authority, Our Lord and His Church.
Le Barroux and Fontgombault went traditional much after Archbishop Lefebvre founded his society and began, with Bishop Castro Meyer of Campos, Brazil, the restoration of tradition. I did not say that the archbishop was the only upholder of tradition, but he certainly was the most courageous and prominent. Many other great priests (but no other bishops!) were indeed in the fight, and you are quite mistaken to say I ignore them; if not mentioned it might be good to remember this is a blog comment and not an exhaustive dissertation on the defenders of tradition. Consecrating bishops in the case of extreme need, for souls and the good of the Church, is not a schismatic act but one of supreme charity to souls and to the Church at large. The ingrates can continue to slander him with the legalistic calumnies propagated by the Modernists, but the great archbishop was indeed---obviously so to men of good reason and good will---a dry martyr for the Catholic Faith and "disobedient" only to those who haven for half a century been brazenly disobedient themselves to everything that is Catholic. He had good company in St. Athanasius (himself unjustly excommunicated at one point), and God knows best the integrity of that truly pastoral bishop that we can only know imperfectly and partially. Marcel Lefebvre was neither schismatic nor disobedient, but a true pastor of souls that many of us would be fortunate to have as our local ordinary. But, then again, often the great men and women of the Church have been slandered and maligned---it seems that that putrid "tradition" continues today, even among those who claim to be defenders of tradition.
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