15 March 2022

More grave questions

 After the announcement of Anglicanorum coetibus, signifying the erection of the Ordinariates, the senior Anglican in Argentina ... so he narrates ... received an invitation from H E Cardinal Bergoglio. He "called me to have breakfast with him one morning and told me very clearly that the Ordinariate was quite unnecessary and that the church needs us as Anglicans."

Archbishop Venables later "clarified" this by saying that the cardinal's comments were more an affirmation of Anglicanism than criticism of the Ordinariate.

Some years later, after election to the See of S Peter, PF said to Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (Pembroke College Oxford and 'Foreign Minister' of the Moskow Patriarchate): "Before you I would like to reiterate--in a special way before you, my dear brother, and before all of you--that the Catholic Church will never allow an attitude of division to arise from her people. We will never allow ourselves to do this, I do not want it. In Moscow--in Russia--there is only one Patriarchate: yours. We will not have another one. And when some Catholic faithful, be they laypeople, priests or bishops, raise the banner of Uniatism, which does not work anymore, and is over, then it causes me pain. The Churches that are united in [sic] Rome must be respected, but Uniatism as a path to unity is not valid today."

Surely, quite a number of questions arise here.

(1) PF is speaking of matters which have doctrinal aspects. But he is not, apparently, speaking Magisterially. 

(2) What did PF mean by "Russia"? I understand that His All-holiness the Patriarch of Moskow enjoys the title " ... and of all the Russias". Does this phrase include, in Muskovite understanding, Byelorussia and the Ukraine? The current breach of communio between Constantinople and Moskow would suggest that it does.

(3) Do PF's words indicate that he does not accept the assumption that all Christians should be in full communion with Rome? Or, at least, that such a state is highly desirable?

(4) Does he take the view that it is improper for groups of Christians ... or entire churches ... to enter into unity with Rome while still retaining those elements of Culture, Spirituality, Liturgy, Patrimony which they have enjoyed in separation, and which are not contrary to the defined doctrine of the Catholic Church?

(5) Is PF's attitude expressive of his dislike of Liturgical Traditions which differ from what he has claimed to be the unicus usus of the Roman Rite? Is it his belief that, if such regrettable phenomena must exist, it is better that they should stay well out of communion with the See of S Peter so that he can keep his Latin Church free of ancient Tradition and Usage, a Sartrian tabula rasa, pliable and malleable so that he can mould it to conform to his personal whimsies?


(1) would give rise to confusion. The more emphatically PF spoke, the more the exchange is, in my view ... improper, confusing, and a skandalon.

(2) would imply that PF is 'siding' with Moskow against Constantinople.

 (3) and (4) appear to me haeresi proxima. They certainly indicate attitudes directly opposite to those inherent in the actions which PF's papal predecessor embodied in an Apostolic Constitution.

(5) suggests that PF does not really see himself as shepherd of the Universal Church, but only of its Latin portions. Such a self-understanding would mean, in effect, that he does not truly understand himself to be Pope. So is he, constructively, a Sedevacantist?



Fr Edward said...

It's not that bad, you know, when you get used to it. All you have to do is keep repeating, "Black is white" 100 times before breakfast. You are then faithful, obedient, flexible without hubris or any murmur of self-will. Although it is important to remember that "Black is white" is manifestly wrong, and that "Black is white" is also manifestly right too. [I don't mean this in any sense of the 'coincidentia oppositorum' of Cusanus, et al.]

It's all very complicated, you know. Thank goodness we have great teachers who have guided us through these tricky alternative facts. Imagine the mess we would be in without the wisdom of the wise; the Supreme Leader, Big Brother, Comrade Stalin or Pope France. It doesn't bear thinking about.

“Oceanic society rests ultimately on the belief that Big Brother is omnipotent and that the Party is infallible. But since in reality Big Brother is not omnipotent and the party is not infallible, there is need for an unwearying, moment-to-moment flexibility in the treatment of facts. The keyword here is BLACKWHITE. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to BELIEVE that black is white, and more, to KNOW that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary.”
- George Orwell, '1984'

Chris Jones said...

With respect to point (2), the Patriarch's title is "Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia" (not "All the Russias"). I suspect that you are conflating his title with that of the Czar ("Czar of all the Russias").

Whatever the title says, the canonical jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate has included Ukraine and Belarus (and a lot of other places) for centuries. That is not only "the Muscovite understanding" but that of the whole Orthodox Church. The point at issue between Moscow and Constantinople is that Constantinople purports to have the authority to change these jurisdictional arrangements (and to have done so with respect to Ukraine); Moscow denies this.

Prayerful said...

The attitude of Francis to Greek Rite Catholics in Ukraine and Russia makes even clearer that he is no spiritual father to anyone, but instead a wolf. Every Christian, like 'Uniates' so called, must be in union with Rome. His performance over this war where he switched from pandering to Russian schismatics to a weak boilerplate statement of condemnation, where Pres Putin refused his phone call, has been lamentable. Putin likely has better things to do than have his feet verbally licked by Francis in a phone call, for he has plenty of flatterers at his Kremlin court. I do not wish to be too radical, but the only thing papal about Francis is his white cassock and usual geographic location, and his role as monarch of Vatican City. Francis does not exercise the spiritual side of the Office.

John Vasc said...

It sounds like a not inappropriate adherence to the principles of Groucho Marx, who famously refused to be a member of any club that was prepared to accept him as a member.

dunstan said...

So PF holds to the 'Branch Theory' of the 'Church Catholic'. Orthodox, Anglicans and Catholics are all supposed to be branches of the one Church. Presumably, in view of his enthusiastic participation in the celebrations in 2017 of the beginning of the 'Reformation', PF would regard Lutherans as a branch of the tree too.
PF needs to read Newman. The 'Branch Theory' was - and indeed remains- a shibboleth of Anglo-Catholicism. But, as we know, St Augustine's anti-Donatist slogan, 'securus judicat orbis terrarum', convinced him otherwise.
Fr Simon Heans

Josephus Muris Saliensis said...

The comments box is not the place to criticise one's host, so one hesitates, momentarily...

The mistake is to look for patterns, and structured thought; to be fair to the Holy Father we are getting what he promised, a mess. The comments on Rite and Universality you quite legitimately interpret through the eyes of logic sit ill with the announced consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart on the upcoming Lady Day, and not just by him, but around the world, even if not as widely as Our Lady had directed. But the Pope would see no conflict in his positions.

Little Black Sambo said...

When the giant of the Moscow Patriarch awoke from sleep and began to assert control over its parishes established in Britain by Metropolitan Anthony, it was made clear to those that resisted that they and all their property were ecclesiastically part of Holy Russia. Is that part of the meaning of All Russia?

coradcorloquitur said...

Pope Francis could not have made it clearer by now that he does not believe the so-called "hard doctrines" of the traditional Church (which is not his church). Among these it seems clear he harbors special animus against any doctrine that conflicts with the new, "infallible" dogma of the New Church: ecumenism. Anyone who did not see this coming, even in the fading love fest of facile ecumenical kumbayaism (my neologism), was blind, naive, or on board with the suicidal program of "unity at all and any costs" because the Lord prayed that "all be one" (conveniently overlooking the doctrine of "extra ecclesiam nulla salus" taught by St. Cyprian of Carthage, Doctor of the Church, the Council of Florence, and numerous magisterial pronouncements). Even Benedict XVI is on record saying that the "outside the church" doctrine "has been abandoned"---just like that. And, of course, the scandalous "witness" of John Paul II at the pow wow of Assis is also a historical, practical refutation of the that defined doctrine (one which one does not need to be a Feenyite, as I am not, to hold). Imagine that: a casual, off-the-cuff dismissal of a defined church doctrine by the Church's highest authority! No wonder we are witnessing these irenicist horrors, for the age of doctrinal relativism, where casual dismissal of immemorial ecclesial teaching is nothing to lose sleep or waste ink over. Francis's pronounced indifferentism was ushered in by his predecessors and even by the equivocal innovations of Vatican Council II. Let us not behave as if we are terribly surprised: doctrine now in effect is not solid rock but shifting sand, and so the dissolution of Catholicism continues apace, propelled even by those solemnly called to defend it. We now live in the age of Karl Rahner's "anonymous Christian" (at best, if that), and honesty demands that we should concede to the enemies of Christ and His Church a resounding, if temporary, victory.

coradcorloquitur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
coradcorloquitur said...

Correction to my last blog contribution:

The doctrine "extra ecclesiam nulla salus" was infallibly, dogmatically defined not by the Council of Florence (as far as I know) but by Fourth Lateran Council, 1215, by Pope Innocent III. The doctrine was also pronounced ex cathedra by Pope Boniface VIII in the Bull "Unam Sanctam" (1302) and by Pope Eugene IV in the Bull "Cantate Domino" (1441).

armyarty said...

The Moscow Patriarchate asserts jurisdictional claims that have never been recognized by either Constantinople or Rome. All of the early evangelization of the Slavs was conducted before the schism, and under the direction of the popes. The Russian Orthodox Church has been an instrument of the state for hundreds of years, even after the revolution. It has continually persecuted the Catholic population.

Its pretentions are Hilarious.