30 March 2022

Pope, Liturgy, and Authority (4) GIVE US BACK PETER!

 The idea that Liturgy rests upon papal diktat, and upon the personal fads of each passing pontiff, is not just rubbish; it is poisonous rubbish.

Cardinal Ratzinger listed Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople. And he pointed out that 'Rites' "are forms of the apostolic Tradition and of its unfolding in the great places of the Tradition". The great Apostolic liturgical traditions are part of the Apostolic datum; the Depositum fidei; the Tradition which comes through the Apostles; they sit beside the Canon of Scripture, the Creeds, and the Ministry. The Lex orandi which takes pride of place over the Lex credendi ranks beside ... perhaps even above ... the doctrinal  Decrees of the great, dogmatic, Ecumenical Councils. It lies far beyond the whimsies, prejudices, and personal antipathies of each pope.

In concluding this four-part survey, I remind readers that we have met no examples of liturgically-preoccupied popes hunched over desks in Rome, micromanaging what every insignificant curate anywhere in the World can be allowed to do at the Altar. 

We have met no pope who believed that doctrinal unity could only be secured or expressed by rigid uniformity of worship.

But there is an even broader point to be made than the merely liturgical question: the 'papacy' which at this moment we are so painfully enduring is a Novelty; it is not found in Antiquity and no more is it found in the admirable teaching of Vatican I (or the subsequent clarifications by Blessed Pius IX) nor in the texts of Vatican II. In the sometimes-derided high baroque period of the Roman Primacy, the writings of that admirable pontiff, Prospero Lambertini, Benedict XIV, give no countenance to it. 

It is because this style of papacy is a Novelty that it needs to be unambiguously rejected. 

Catholicism with Novelty is not Catholicism with something exotic added. One you embark upon nailing alien matter onto the Faith, what you get is not Catholicism-plus. Catholicism, with the authentic Papal Ministry subtracted from it, has ceased to be Catholicism at all.

The authentic Petrine Ministry is neatly exemplified by Sixtus III (Pope 432--441) "Let nothing further be permitted to Novitas because it is appropriate that nothing be added to Vetustas; let the transparent Faith and Belief of our forebears be disturbed by no admixture of filth." And by Pope Caelestine (422-432) "Let Novitas cease to attack Vetustas." Pope Honorius I, the First Heretic Pope, was condemned by an Ecumenical Council and his own Successors in the See of S Peter for heresy by being listed among the "novi erroris inventores". More about him later.





Prayerful said...

Thank you Fr for your learned entry on this but Pope Honorius was not a heretic. A Council said he was, but more importantly, Pope St Leo II said not, condemning him, but not putting an anathema on the late Pope for rather for his excessive searching after compromise. This can be sourced in both Fr Alban Butler's 'Life of the Fathers, Martyrs and Principal Saints (https://catholicsaints.info/butlers-lives-of-the-saints-saint-leo-ii-pope-and-confessor/) and also Fr Ott's Fundamentals (I have to find my copy, it also testifies that Pope St Leo II condemned the weakness of Honorius but not his orthodoxy). Compromising with heresy if not heresy itself is the modern standard operating procedure post V2.

Paul in Melbourne, Australia said...

Off topic, Father, but Päivi Räsänen and Bishop Pohjola have been acquiited by the Helsinki District Court in the past hour.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. Psalm 88 and Pope Francis

Is this a foreshadowing of the Papacy of Franciscus?

40: Thou hast overthrown the covenant of thy servant: thou hast profaned his sanctuary on the earth.

"Overthrown the covenant": All this seems to relate to the time of the captivity of Babylon, in which, for the sins of the people and their princes, God seemed to have set aside for a while the covenant he made with David.

41: Thou hast broken down all his hedges: thou hast made his strength fear. [42]All that pass by the way have robbed him: he is become a reproach to his neighbours. [43] Thou hast set up the right hand of them that oppress him: thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice. [44] Thou hast turned away the help of his sword; and hast not assisted him in battle. [45] Thou hast made his purification to cease: and thou hast cast his throne down to the ground.

[46] Thou hast shortened the days of his time: thou hast covered him with confusion.


Part of this beautiful Pslam could fit with the idea of a suspension of the teaching authority of this Papacy


frjustin said...

The earliest historical example of the Lex orandi taking pride of place over the Lex credendi is in the 3rd-century hymn Ὑπὸ τὴν σὴν εὐσπλαγχνίαν, "We fly to thy patronage, O holy Theotokos". Early Christians were addressing Our Lady as Theotokos well before the doctrinal Decree of the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431, that Mary is truly the God-bearer, or Mother of God.

Russell Snow said...

Well, you could join us in the Orthodox church but we have irritating bishops too.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...


Thank heavens for that!!


PM said...

And as for the pretence in TC that 'doctrinal unity could only be secured or expressed by rigid uniformity of worship', this is a sick joke. The 'progressive' forces habitually treat the Missal of Paul VI with far greater contempt than any RadTrad by their abuses and make-it-up-yourself improvisations, about which the Cupiches of the world do absolutely nothing. Rigidity applies only to restricting the traditional liturgy or tradition-friendly celebration of the modern one. You can do whatever you like as long as you don't celebrate the Traditional Mass or a Novus Ordo that looks and sounds too much like it.

Prayerful said...

Authorise my comment or not, but Pope Honorius was not the 'first heretic Pope.' I take St Leo II over any council.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Dear Prayerful

I would rather have left the First Heretic Pope until Rogation Sunday, for which I had an already drafted post which examines the interesting terminology with which S Leo II anathematised him. But I wouldn't want you to feel that I am censoring you ...,

I am uneasy about your claim that a Pope, even when not demonstrably speaking ex cathedra, trumps a Doctrinal Ecumenical Council. Sounds a bit Bergoglian to me.

For now, this debate is closed.