12 April 2018

Ephphatha! Engiken ho Kairos!

Oh dear! Some of you must be getting tired of this; irritated that you're no longer getting your moneysworth from the blog in terms of perpetually fresh stuff. But here, again, is a piece from a couple of months ago. I just happen to feel that The Time Is At Hand.

Soon after Amoris laetitia, Cardinal Farrell hinted heavily that Episcopal Conferences should consider that document and ... even more heavily and helpfully ... hinted exactly what the Holy Spirit (needless to say) required them to come up with. But quite a number of Conferences have still not broken the bonds of taciturnity. The Cardinal's aperient spittle and his potent ephphatha  have not yet been effective. There are now signs that pressures ... if I may mix my metaphors ... are afoot. Has the Secretariate of State been dropping hints?

It is no secret that the English and Welsh bishops have not been able to come to a common mind and, on present showing, appear unlikely to do so. I believe Cardinal Nichols' phrase was "We're not there yet". One of the Diocesans, clearly having in mind the teaching of Benedict XVI about the magisterium of diocesan bishops, had the proactive good sense to issue his own ambiguity-free diocesan guidelines very soon after the emergence of AL. Strangely, he has been given very little credit for being so quick off the mark in responding to a Bergoglian initiative.

It is my personal and completely unevidenced hypothesis that his Eminence's rather flowery letter to PF last year, informing the latter that his election was the work of the Spirit and that the Spirit guides him daily (very Cupichiste!), was an attempt to buy time and to assure PF that, despite the apparent delays of the English bishops, they are all to a man enthusiastic and hyperpapalist supporters of this pontificate.

What next?

What is new is the (albeit risible) suggestion of Cardinal Cupich and others that the dubia which abound in this area have now been all authoritatively resolved by a rather strange and far from clear paragraph or two in Acta Apostolicae Sedis. Punto, or whatever it is that Italians say.

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself the Chairman of your Episcopal Conference in these circumstances?

Pushy as ever, I will reveal to you what I, as a strong Bergoglian, would do in order to breath new wind into the faltering sails of Amoris laetitia.

I would circulate my Venerable Brethren in my Conference with documents, to be discussed at the Eastertide Meeting of the Conference, explaining what in my view the current situation demands of them. Or I would agree with another like-minded and 'senior' member of the Conference for him to do it instead, so that it didn't seem that everything was my doing.

[A chance lecture by a visiting Bergoglian Cardinal to one of my country's newer universities would be a bonus, a real godsend!!!]

At the meeting, if one or two bishops still remained recalcitrant, I would express my regret that my colleagues had not been able to come together around a formula which could secure the unanimous majority encouraged by Apostolos suos. I would then remind them that a document with a non-unanimous but large majority could still be sent to Rome and, if approved there, would have thus acquired full authority. To help them negotiate the hoop, I would introduce a minute suggestion of a hint of an ambiguity into one sentence in the draft (or get one of my friends to propose it), like throwing a bone to a dog, so that they could use that to salve their consciences and save their faces.

If this still failed to inspire the troublesome minority to see sense, I would go for the nuclear option of sending such a resolution to Rome, at the same time making clear to 'Rome' which of my brethren constituted the non-juring minority. Possibly I might also drop some quiet words into the Nuncio's ear about "how difficult it is to work with" X, Y, and/or Z.

But ... dreadful thought ... suppose there were to be a change of pontificate right in the middle of all this pro-Amoris activity ... After all, to adapt a witticism of Dom Gregory Dix, even the most single-minded pontiff eventually has rest from his labours, and it is surprising how often the lance of his successor delivers the Church from the dangers posed by some quite different windmill.

What's that phrase about creeks and paddles ...


Joshua said...

I was assured by one of their number that the fact that nearly all the world's bishops have remained silent is hugely important, because their silence does not betoken consent, but on the contrary strongly testifies to their refusal of assent, and also to their sure and certain confidence that this Pope, too, shall pass.

Ignatius, Cornwall said...

I hope you don't mind Fr but I've quoted your re. Card Farrell, Bishops Conferences and AL post on Facebook's "The British Traddy-trad Latin Mass Catholic group", where I imagine it will evoke some discussion and recourse to your splendid Blog. I'm afraid I have little sympathy for our hierarchy in this and similar nonsense related to PF' disgraceful waffling instead of the clear guidance he, as our Father in Christ he is supposed to give. Thank you for your inestimable Blog.

Fred W. said...

Isn't Creeks and Paddles a gourmet treat like Bubble and Squeak, Bangers and Mash, Toad in the Hole, and Spotted Dick ? Brussels Sprouts or large chunks of any vegetable (the rocks) in broth (the creek) with bread sticks (the paddles).....suitable for Fridays....

Around these parts we don't have creeks, instead we have "runs". As in "The Battle of Bull Run".

Donna Bethell said...

I recently heard, through a reliable source who spoke to an Eminence resident in Rome, that his Eminence said that the silence of Cardinals about the Dubia indicates that they approve of them. This struck me as piling ambiguity upon ambiguity. It's true that silence is generally taken as consent, but as consent for what? Maybe their silence is consent for Amoris. Maybe it is consent for the publishing of the Dubia. Maybe it is consent for the Pope's nonresponse to the Dubia. The more possibilities there are, the more reprehensible the silence is.

GOR said...

It is interesting to see the about-face being propagated by Pope Francis’ enablers. While this pontificate was kicked off with much fanfare about ‘Decentralization’ and “Power to the Episcopal Conferences!” it now appears to have devolved into Stalinist subjugation to the party line – as expounded by the latter-day dictator-du-jour.

The present atmosphere once again gives the lie to the erstwhile protestations of ‘mercy, ‘love’ and tolerance which have been manifest more in the breach than in the observance. Ask the Franciscans of the Immaculate, the staff of Cardinal Mueller’s former dicastery, the Knights of Malta and the victims of clerical abuse whose perpetrators were given a pass by this pontificate.

Rome was ever a cesspool of vice and debauchery. But, for the most part, that existed outside the walls of the Vatican. No more. The rot is inside the walls and there is little hope that things will change, or be rectified, during this pontificate. It will take time and an iron-willed pontiff to right the ship!

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

There are not a few Catholics who think the next Pope will be an improvement but do they consider who has been restocking The Cardinalate?

The family motto of ABS may, sadly, prove to be accurate; It is always darkest before the storm,

Tom B. said...


KaeseEs said...

"What would you do if you suddenly found yourself the Chairman of your Episcopal Conference in these circumstances?"

Well for starters I'd try and dissolve the body since I don't believe in episcopal conferences. Failing that, I would have a Long Think about how to explain to my wife that I had somehow woken up a bishop and whether my new status would require a certain sort of continence in our marriage that would preclude further children, in which case I would have to frantically google the least-serious sort of crime that one can commit that would get one defrocked.

In the meantime while awaiting ecclesial trial on account of misappropriation of diocesan funds to purchase Beanie Babies (a sound investment!), I would draft a letter to my brother bishops about the challenges facing the modern family. I would speak frankly about the damage done to our society by divorce, infidelity, and bastardry, and also about the alienation seemingly inherent to modern society. I would discuss the disservice we are doing to people by telling them comforting lies and leading them down a merry road to hell rather than preaching the Gospel in season and out of season; I would quote Saint Augustine about the fate of priests who fail to warn their flocks. I would discuss previous instances where the Church allowed various abuses to persist and the evil thus done both by the abuses themselves and by the inevitable over-reaction thereto from some quarters. I would finish by asking for proposals on how we can reduce the divorce rate in our churches given the apparent failure of our "pre-Cana" programs.

Then, I would have one of my cronies send out another letter rattling off the canons and decrees of Trent on the sacrament of matrimony.

pjotr said...

Italians say: "basta"

Mike Sheil said...

I suspect something underhanded is afoot.

mcgod said...

Rose Marie Silence means Silence , nothing more or less and we Anglophones have that explanation from none other that St Thomas More who had to remind his judges, learned men in the law, of that fact when those judged tried to interpret his silence during his treason trial

Louis Gasper said...

mcgod, while I appreciate what you relate about St Thomas More’s statements, which are solidly based in the Regulae Juris of Boniface VIII, we have to remember that these are juridical principles framed to help assure justice in the workings of law. What Rose Marie is complaining of is not a matter of operation of law but of how it is the hierarchy is or should be pastors.

Pertinent to that, I would endorse the statement attributed to the anonymous Prince of the Church that silence implies solidarity with the dubia. This on the ground that when tyranny stalks the land, swiftly and mercilessly striking down any who evidence dissent, but handsomely rewarding sycophants for nothing more than their toadyism, silence on a matter of great and dividing importance is unlikely to be mere silence. The toadies will bark for their reward; the others will not speak.