DODGY DOCTRINE, versus ...
Monday's great and glorious feast of the Annunciation ... when, as our exquisite Anglican Patrimony puts it, Immensity was cloistered in Mary's dear womb ... had its lustre marred for me some fivish years ago, when we were being cleansed from our supposed Anglican errors by a series of lectures at Allen Hall (a bit like, I suppose, the Denazification processes in Germany after 1945 or the Cultural Revolution under Mao tse Tung.). One of the speakers informed us that we should tear up all the sermons we had ever written and delivered as Anglicans about how the entire Divine work of Incarnation and Atonement had, at one moment in History, hung upon a Jewish Girl giving her free assent to the call of the Angel.
Mary, he carefully explained to us, was not Free.
I think he was the same gentleman whom I have several times mentioned to you before, who told us that the teaching of the Latin Fathers, the Tridentine Breviary, and the Anglican Patrimony that the Lord is equal to the Father as touching his Godhead and less than the Father as touching his manhood, was a heresy, and that we should write to (the now late) Mother Angelica, whose website, so he told us, promoted this heresy, and explain to her that she was a heretic. (I'm pretty sure none of us did that, thank God.)
This sort of nastiness can be difficult to clear out of one's mind. I felt it again as the (English) text of PF's latest 'Exhortation' flickered down (up?) my computer screen. Is it easy to take seriously the teaching of someone who has in a brief pontificate given so much irrefragable evidence of his unreliability? I am pretty sure that a lot of what he has just published about Sanctity was perfectly splendid and would have been for my own much-needed edification. But it is so uncomfortable to read when one feels that one is obliged to check each statement carefully to be sure that there is not some error wrapped up or implied in what one is reading. And indeed, the preoccupations of this pontificate, encapsulated in such characteristic abuse as the Rigidity stuff, do duly make their appearances. No, I shall not print it off and take it with me on retreat. I suggest that you, too, might have better things to spend your time reading ...
... AUTHENTIC DOCTRINE
... such as a limpid lecture delivered last Saturday in Rome by Cardinal Brandmueller. Although his Eminence is not, I think, a member of the Ordinariate (indeed, the poor chap may not even have had any 'Anglican Previous' at all, so he would not qualify for admission), he gave a fine exposition of the teaching of Mr Patrimony Himself, aka Blessed John Henry Newman, about 'consulting the Faithful in matters of doctrine'. Newman is, indeed, the antidote to most of the ills of this pontificate.
You can find Brandmueller's paper, in an elegant translation by Diane Montagna, at Lifesitenews.
NEWMAN AND OUR TIMES?
And, while I am talking about Newman and still reeling from the idea floated by the Graf von Schoenborn, about the need, in his view, for an Ecumenical Council to agree the Ordination of Women, I commend to you Dr Ker's fine biography of Newman (I have before me the 1990 paperback reprint), especially the Chapter on Papal Infallibility; and, if your time is terribly short, at least pages 653-659. It contains phrases which any wild firebrands there may be among my readers might deem uncannily up-to-the-moment: the ultrahyperpapalists are "an aggressive insolent faction" ... " the present Pope cannot live long - he has lived too long [Pio Nono was then 78]" ... "we have come to a climax of tyranny ...". He deplores the fact that the Archbishop of Westminster, aka Mr Archdeacon emeritus Manning, has made statements vastly and improperly exaggerating papal authority. At a time when converts were reverting to the Church of England and foreign intellectuals were toying with the "Old Catholic" option, he explains carefully and most lucidly why Catholics should on no account allow themselves to be driven out of the Church. At a time when many bishops were afraid to get their heads above the parapet, he assures his close friend and ally, Bishop David Moriarty of Kerry, that he is one of a "special band of confessors". (Moriarty was one of the Four Bishops who put a stop to hyperultrapapalist excesses by threatening to walk out of the Council and blow the gaffe on the intimidation being perpetrated.)
But most importantly and most gravely, Newman discusses (page 655 in Ker) how one should discern whether a particular Conciliar Decree is in fact valid ... ... ... ... ... or alternatively (yes, you've guessed) not valid. Quantus et qualis Doctor; quam huic nostro tempori aptus! Intercede Beate pro nobis.
Let us pray we never come to having to make such judgements, with all that this could mean for the Unity of the Church Militant. 'Avignon' is already one Great Western Schism too many. And that did not even have a doctrinal basis.