8 April 2021


Readers will recall my own adoption of the methodology of S John Henry Newman in analysing this pontificate. The Roman Pontiff, while not in any way losing his God-given authority or any part of it, has, of his own free volition, ceased to use it. It seemed, and seems to me now, that the moment this act of self-denial happened was when PF ignored the cry of four Cardinals, the cry PETER, TEACH US! ... the moment when he decided not to answer the formal Dubia they put to him.

Now another four cardinals have spoken out!. This time, their subject is the scandalous prohibition of Private Masses in the Large Basilica near the Santa Marta. If no (satisfactory) reply is forthcoming to their appeals, I shall personally regard this as confirmation that PF is still keeping his Magisterium in Suspense. If, on the other hand, he does something to resolve this crisis, I shall regard that as a Good Sign, and look out for further indications that he is possibly toying with the idea of resuming the exercise of the Ministry and munera committed to him as Successor of S Peter.  I see all this as a sort of litmus test!

The Letter of Cardinal Sarah raises a question I have raised on this blog, concerning those who have certain canonical rights in the area of liturgical usage secured to them, which the Prohibition violates. 

The right to use the Divine Worship Missal is secured to me by the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. (Apostolic Constitutions are among the highest Magisterial documents a pope can issue.) And now, a bit of paper, without signature* or protocol number, pinned onto the Sacristy door in S Peter's, now purports, unlawfully, to strip me of some use of that right. (Members of the FSSP may, for all I know, be in an analogous situation.)

And Anglicanorum coetibus is in fact an Ecumenical document, a henotikon, marking and codifying the occasion when some groups entered into Full Communion and were given the formal canonical right to use rites which previously they had used de facto while in separation. By a typical piece of slippery Bergoglian Ultrapapalism, this liberty is now, apparently, partially abrogated. And such unilateral abrogation, apparently, does not need a formal document ... any office-worker equipped with a typewriter can do it! 

This gives specificity to the real meaning of Bergoglian "Ecumenism". A group not in full Communion with the See of S Peter can spend decades in discussion with Rome ... can negotiate, agree, sign and seal agreements with 'Rome' ... and 'Rome', if the whimsy takes her, can, less than a decade later, simply say "Forget about it all! Run away and be good boys and don't waste the Holy Father's time".

Frankly, I cannot see how any of Rome's "Ecumenical Partners in Dialogue" could possibly want to continue any sort of discussions, however low-level, with such shifty, dishonest, unreliable and capricious folk. (Perhaps the pandemic-generated shortage of money will help to kill off daft but expensive circuses such as ARCIC.) And I do fully understand the attitude of Moskow towards Constantinople: its condemation and excommunication of the Ecumenical Patriarch for 'the heresy of Papism'.

Ecumaniacs would be much better occupied doing the Latin Crossword in the Saturday editions of The Times or actually reading Sacrosanctum Concilium.**


* The bittapaper does have the impression of a rubber stamp, and within that impression are concealed manu scripta the initials of Edgar Pena Parra, Parolin's sidekick in Stato,who has recently been in the news because of the Vatican Financial Corruption Scandal. You can readallabahtit in places like Catholic Culture. Last week, an English Judge of Assize made some delightfully fruitty remarks about Vatican goingson. His lordship was particularly incensed by the Vatican request that the whole business should be kept quiet and well out of public view.

** PS ... and now Cardinal Zen ...  five Purpled Fathers ...


Archimandrite Gregory said...

Many of us in the Orthodox Church see this papacy as having set ecumenical relations into the realm of fantasy, with no possible good results apparent. So let us all move on as we can without this papacy, for it seems ecumenism is a dead issue.

Anita Moore said...

Since the Holy Father comes from a generation of clerics who don’t like the way Christ constituted the Church and her hierarchy (I have heard a member of that generation declare from the pulpit that the Church invented the hierarchy in later ages as the result of falling away from her mission to “follow Jesus” in order to chase after honors), we probably shouldn’t be surprised by the refusal to exercise authority that this generation of clerks think shouldn’t exist.

They do like the power that comes with the office, though.

Lady Jane Perdue said...

Dear Fr. Hunwicke, What you write rings true. Thank you for helping us keep the Faith in trying times.

Ryan Carey said...

If only the other patriarchs of the pentarchy would rebuke Peter to his face. They have nothing to lose.

Grant Milburn said...

This reminds me of the reservations that C S Lewis expressed about ecumenical dialogue sixty years ago.
Asking Catholics to agree with Protestants was like asking a man to agree with a debating society. Asking Protestants to agree with Catholics was like asking someone to agree in advance to whatever a man was going to say. As he saw it, Protestants had, by Catholic standards, no fixed doctrines, but the Papacy itself could (apparently) produce new doctrine.
Catholics of course respond (with Newman) that under the papacy, doctrine can develop but never changes in essence. But Bergoglianism complicates the issue.

Bill Murphy said...

Yes, ARCIC is still lurching around like a less intelligent version of Frankenstein's monster. Though it still has enough primitive instinct to lurch into very agreeable meeting places like Malta and Northern Italy. By the early 2000s,it had been running for over 30 years and most people could see it was going nowhere. Hence initiatives like Receptive Ecumenism devised at Durham University where Anglicans and Catholics could learn useful things from each other. But they could do that anyway by reading each other's newspapers, etc...