8 July 2019

Rosica lives

Readers will recall the splendid exposition of Bergoglianity given by Fr Thomas Rosica (some months before he felt that the disgrace of plagiarism merited early retirement).

"Our Church ... is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture".

PF himself recently reaffirmed the accuracy of Rosica's analysis. He gave away some relics of S Peter.

In doing so, he explained that he himself no longer said Mass in the chapel in which they were kept. He could easily, of course, have moved them to the chapel in Santa Marta, where he does often say Mass. So the message clearly is that PF sets little value on saying Mass before the relics of the Apostle whose Successor he is.

That is, he does not value the symbolism of demonstrating liturgically his daily adherence to Apostolic Tradition.

I am surprised that the Orthodox recipients of this gift see it as a move towards Unity. The policy of this pontificate, of setting aside Holy Tradition, would, you might have thought, put thoughtful Orthodox off the idea of Unity. Aren't they supposed to be quite keen on Tradition? And a bit less keen on having the Church ruled by an arbitrary individual?

And if PF had any genuinely political sense, he might have wondered what the occupant of the other Petrine See, Antioch, would think of this prioritising of the 'Andrean' See. And he might have suspected, given the current schism between Constantinople and Moskow, that the Third Rome might see his action as a taking of sides with the patriarch whom Moskow accuses of the heresy of papism. Giving Bartholomew relics of S Peter is hardly going to diminish the temptation to 'papism' of the Church of Constantinople, is it? Or am I missing something?

I wonder how widely and prudently PF consulted before taking this decision.


vetusta ecclesia said...

There is a way in which tradition points forward. As regards things he has abandoned, like eg the Apostolic Palace and Castel Gandolfo, PF behaves as if binding all future Popes to his preferences.

Tom said...

Not without precedent - by the very Pope who collected the relics of St. Peter, which FrankenPope gave away:

Where is Saint Andrew’s Head?
by Dr Taylor Marshall

Recently in my Church History class, I have been discussing the Photian schism and the events leading up to the Cardinal Humbert’s delivery of a papal excommunication on the altar of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. All this formalized the growing tensions and produced a formal schism between the Catholic Church and what became the Eastern Orthodox Church. Humbert previously warned the Patriarch of Constantinople “Either be in communion with Peter or become a Synagogue of Satan.”

Since today is the Feast Day of Saint Andrew, I taught the class how Constantinople claims Saint Andrew as the “founder” of the see of Byzantium, that is Constantinople. We discussed the traditional relationship between St. Peter (Rome) being estranged from his brother St. Andrew (Constantinople).

We also discussed the lifting of the excommunications that occurred under Pope Paul VI before the close of the Second Vatican Council and the “handing over of the head”.

Few people know about the “handing over of the head”. There are four shrines surrounding the high altar in St Peter’s Basilica. Under the high altar are the bones of St. Peter. The four shrines surrounding the altar house Christendom’s four most coveted relics and are adorned with the statues of corresponding saints:

1. the largest portion of the true cross (St. Helena)

2. the miraculous veil of St. Veronica (St. Veronica)

3. the lance that pierced the side of Christ (St. Longinus)

4. the skull of St. Andrew (St. Andrew)

The skull of St. Andrew is no longer housed in the shrine to it.

The skull originally made its way to Rome when it was to Pope Pius II in 1461 by Thomas Paleologos (brother of the last Byzantine emperor). It was placed in the shrine depicted above when the new Basilica of St. Peter’s was constructed. As an ecumenical gesture of good will, Pope Paul VI in 1964 had the skull removed from its place in St Peter’s and returned to the Greek Orthodox Church in Patras where it remains to this day. Thus, one of the four column shrines surrounding the high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica is without its relic. This is because the head has been handed over to the Orthodox.

Father Stephen Schumacher said...

It is very frustrating to see such behavior from our Pontiff. He acts, as this example shows so clearly, as if the things that happen to be in his custody are therefore also in his possession, to dispose of as he pleases. Those relics don't belong to YOU, Holy Father! They belong to the Church of Rome, whose sanctity they have promoted from the founding of the Petrine See. They are not yours to give away at a whim (or even, probably, at a deliberation).

Bill Murphy said...

"I wonder how widely and prudently PF consulted before taking this decision."

Excellent point, Father John. Somehow I don't think that Pope Francis is that keen on hearing genuinely impartial and balanced advice. There was the time in 2013 that he described Islam as a Religion of Peace. (Evangelii Gaudium, para 253). The Vatican's in-house expert on Islam expressed reservations, but seeing that he was also a Jesuit, he was hardly able to take a vigorously dissenting line in public. After Father Hamel had his throat cut in 2016, Pope Francis refused to accept (in front of dozens of journalists) that the Religion of Peace might be less than 100% peaceful.

And, prior to the publication of "Laudato Si", scientists who disagreed with the consensus on climate change could not get a hearing at the Vatican.