Saturday, 30 October 2010

Schism and Heresy...

Canon Law defines schism as the ''withdrawal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him,'' and heresy as ''the obstinate denial, after baptism, of a truth which must be believed by divine and catholic faith.''

Some, and mostly Traditionalist Catholics of the most ignorant and bigotted kind, have accused me, of all people, of schism and heresy, and open dissent from Catholic teaching. I could well understand accusations of schism if I went frequently to communion in the churches of non-Catholics, but not if I choose to reject such recent magisterial rulings as Maxima Redemptionis or Cum Nostra, which supplanted the Tradition of the Church with the will of the Roman Pontiff in matters liturgical. Perhaps my aversion to post-'56 Holy Week arises from my own, utterly correct, understanding of Catholic Tradition rather than blind obedience to the wayward tendencies of the modern Papacy. If the Pope is wrong, he is wrong, and you are wrong by being obedient to him - just as much in the case of Holy Week, the Assumption, Joe the Communist, Evening Mass, the destruction of the Eucharistic Fast (not much going for the ''venerable'' Pius XII is there?) etc as if the Pope suddenly decided one day to start ordaining women...and he will - when there is a Modernist Pope on the throne, mark my words! The current Pope, Lord love him, simply won't budge - for all the right reasons, of course. Yet methinks that Catholic Truth is rather tenuous when the Pope is involved, all that power and authority of binding and loosing truth etc; just look at Mediator Dei and Munificentissimus Deus - all supposedly binding, doctrinally, on all Catholics and yet even I, so rustic and untutored, can spot errors in them, and very serious ones. My own opinion is that the Pope is no longer to be trusted when he has departed from the Tradition of the Church, and the liturgical reforms of the current Pope are, to put it mildly, simply ridiculous. Why are the liturgically astute shouted down in this respect when they have the temerity to point this out? It is mostly Catholics of the neo-Conservative kind, the obedience-is-everything sort, who do this - more on obedience later.

Now heresy...the Trads have brought this big gun into the battle (where exactly do I stand in this conflict in the Church, which reminds me, and not in a wholesome way, of a political difference? I am not an avant-garde liberal, but neither am I a Traditionalist, since they are ignorant...I just see myself as a simple, unassuming Catholic just amused to see so much lack of charity, and taste, on both sides, and hope that both sides obliterate each other...). Now heresy is more difficult to explain away convincingly than schism, but I'd like to know what sort of heretic people think I am. To my knowledge I do not deny any ancestral point of Catholic doctrine, but would accept remonstrance in this matter, of course. I simply point out the excesses and abuses of the Papacy, and its monopoly over the Sacred Liturgy these last 450 years, and satire not-very-tasteful Catholic devotions as foreign and rustic; totally beneath me. Liturgy is more important than devotions, something the Second Vatican Council endeavoured to define, and Catholic devotions ought to be ordered towards the Sacred Liturgy and flow from it. I fail to see how devotion to the Sacred Heart or the Rosary comes from the Sacred Liturgy, but again I may be mistaken.

Now obedience...this is the flash point, I think; and perhaps my personal understanding of obedience is slightly different from others'. Today, in the usus antiquior, that is, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite as defined, and authorized, by Summorum Pontificum, is a ''fourth class'' feria of St Mary in Sabbato. In the Old Rite, however, it is the anticipated Vigil of All Saints, abolished by Pius XII. Now, to what extent are we, as Catholics, to obey the Roman Pontiff when he says that there are two ''forms'' of the Roman Rite, the one (the common one, the one which Trads look down their noses at) as contained in the liturgical books promulgated by Paul VI and published again under John Paul II in 2002; the other, the uncommon one, as contained in the liturgical books of 1962. Now if my understanding is correct, deviation from these two designated forms of the Roman Rite would be disobedience. So why are there certain Catholics out there who take Summorum Pontificum as the yardstick of liturgical orthodoxy in the last 40 years and yet don't really take much notice of it themselves? My point is simply this: to deviate, in even the slightest point, from the liturgical books of 1962, and yet claim to be fulfilling the precepts of Summorum Pontificum, is simply hypocrisy and falsehood. I perceive Summorum Pontificum as part of the problem of modern Catholicism, and evidence enough that Pope Benedict XVI knows nothing whatsoever about Liturgy. Now I have no real problem with disobedience in this matter (as in other matters pertaining to the modern departure from Tradition at magisterial level in the Church) - I think that sell-outs to '62ism (like the SSPX, the Latin Mass Society and the rest of Una Voce) are the worst enemies of Tradition. But please, if you want me to take you seriously, don't hide behind Summorum Pontificum as justification for celebrating the Divine Office, the Mass and the Sacraments according to the Old Roman Rite - and think yourself superior to the avant-garde liberals who are being just as disobedient. Have the Old Roman Rite by all means - and good luck to you if you do, but don't justify it by Summorum Pontificum; if you do, and you continue to consider yourself superior to the Modernists who are equally disobedient, I might just grass you up to certain people (I don't know, the Archbishop, the Papal Nuncio, Ecclesia Dei...) who might impose the actual precepts of Summorum Pontificum...

Methinks that cafeteria Catholicism is just as much a part of Tradworld as it is in other parts of the Church.


  1. "Canon Law defines schism as the ''withdrawal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him,'' and heresy as ''the obstinate denial, after baptism, of a truth which must be believed by divine and catholic faith.''"

    Quite... so when Pio Nono instituted a new heirarchy in the Netherlands [1853] ignoring the existing Canonical dispute with the extant heirarchy - how could the original heirarchy be said to have effected "schism"? It was not by any action of their own, but the uncanonical action of the Pontiff (ignoring the declarations of his esteemed predecessors). Similarly, how could a "dogma" that wasn't "defined" until 1870 accuse the same Dutch Church of "heresy" for not submitting to a definition of "the Truth" otherwise unheard of until 1870 (similarly the Immaculate Conception 1854 and the Assumption 1950)?

    There are two definitions of "Vicar of Christ" - one means to pastor vicariously the flock on behalf of the Good Shepherd - the other means to replace the Good Shepherd on earth...

  2. Don't you understand? 1870 was the New Pentecost. You are a heretic for not going along with the Spirit of Vatican I.

  3. "Perhaps my aversion to post-'56 Holy Week arises from my own, utterly correct, understanding of Catholic Tradition rather than blind obedience to the wayward tendencies of the modern Papacy."

    This is a good example of where you go wrong. Do ANY of us really have an "utterly correct" understanding of big T tradition such that we can sit in actual judgement of the Magisterium or even the Pope himself? When does proper criticism of the hierarchy (which, of course, is legitimate) become mere lashing out or ivory tower whining? With some of your posts of Pius XII, I'm sorry, but you just come off as a pouting child. He might have made some less than perfect decisions (popes, even, are human after all) but he was our "sweet Christ on earth" and was, at the very least you must admit, by all accounts personally pious and holy.

    Most of your criticisms are on the mark, but you have to realize that there is principle and then there is reality. In the real sloppy, messy, illogical world those of us who have seen beyond will always be frustrated with having to put up with the burden of the gift of a certain knowledge of things (i.e. liturgy) while seemingly the whole world happily chugs along with markedly inferior things we know should never have happened and yet they are tickled pink that they have their little scrap of "tradition" or whatever it may be. Its frustrating on any end, those who are tickled with the '62 books, those who are tickled with a "traditionalized" NO, etc. etc.

    I've been very much in favor of going "beyond '62" but at least with that we have some sanity. We sometimes have to accept what we have in the moment knowing that it could very well be worse and also that it could very well be better in Perfectland. There is a point when even legitimate grievances pull you away from our real task on earth. Are there some special indulgences I am unaware of available for hating lace and Low Mass and bashing Pius XII?

  4. Why do posts such as these always attract the most comments whereas the one I wrote yesterday is left alone...I thought it was very thoughtful.

    Canon Jerome, neither the Immaculate Conception nor the Assumption are Papal novelties in the proper sense. My objection to Munificentissimus Deus is the fact that Old Pius reversed the Lex Orandi by proclaiming the dogma, and created new propers for the feast - thereby divorcing himself, and the rest of the Catholic Church, from the ancestral Liturgy for the Assumption - the whole doctrinal clarity versus ancient Liturgy scenario strikes again. The notion of Papal Infallibility is indeed an innovation, unbeknown to the Early Church (even the Medieval Papacy), but the ''development of doctrine'' just explains that away. Roma locuta est, causa est finita...

    Han, the spirit of Vatican I has another name you know - Catholic Traditionalism.

    Andrew, as far as sitting in judgement of the Magisterium goes - it maybe the part of lay people to rebuke the folly of those who go astray and take a sizeable portion of Catholics with them. Were it not for lay people under Henry VIII, who salvaged many liturgical instruments and works of art, Queen Mary might not have been able to restore Catholicism so speedily as she did. It is very often the case that lay people have more savvy than those in charge. I am such a person, of course.

  5. 'Sweet Christ on Earth'- you didn't manducate this sweet one on sundays, did you? Cf. the Khlyst sect in Russia- each local chapel had its 'christ' and 'mother of god' and held spiritual orgies near horse stables. Which reminds us of the excesses of the Sedevacantists, nay of the Conclavists- at Palmar de Troya in the sultry Andalusian wasteland. Rasputin was apparently no stranger to khlysti spirituality and fleshly practices.

    'Sweet Christ on Earth'- good gracious!!! What sort of faith is this! Not the Catholick assuredly which professeth One Lord, One Baptism and One Church.

    We've been living under Papal emergency(not unlike political emergency) since the 10th century up to now...

    Cato(erstwhile F.G.S.A)

  6. Patricius,

    There is certainly room for legitimate criticism, but it has never been the part for anyone to judge as heretical or erroneous what the Magisterium has authoritatively judged upon. Disciplinary matters, certainly. Opinions and tentative positions, sure, but not the actual teachings.

    Comparing the role of the laity during and after the time of Henry VIII is an apples and oranges comparison. The monarch has absolutely no part in the Magisterium.


    Certainly you've heard of St. Catherine of Sienna, no?

  7. @ Andrew
    Certainly, so what? Catharina locuta est, causa finita est? (excuse me, Cicero, my namesakes and Patricius for the atrocious doglatin...)

    Find me a single Church Father, East or West, who had the temerity to call the Pope, 'Sweet Christ on Earth'...Even the Doctor of Aquino did not use such 'abusively' hyperbolic language. And i bet you suscribe wholeheartedly to the visions and heresies of Maria of Agreda,

    The actual teachings of the Church are found in the Canons of the Councils(at least the first seven/eight ones), the Church Fathers and the authentic Liturgy of the Church, not the 1950(i'm tempted to say 1700's)books. The Magisterium cannot add, nor substract, nor 'invent', but preserve, protect and propagate faithfully, being the Custodian(that's a truly vicarial function) not the Censor, nor the Redactor of the Depositum Fidei.

  8. If anything qualified as a "Creepy Pseudo-Trad Blog" I would suggest it is that forum to which you refer us Patricius.

    People who can hardly write English, one poor dear who is clearly so lacking in understanding of liturgical history to understand old Pius XII made any changes and erroneous statements about evening Masses. With regard to the latter there are indults going back to the sixteenth century for various afternoon celebrations. An excellent source is the article De Jejunio Eucharistico in Ephemerides Liturgicae (1945) pp. 64 - 69 written by the esteemed Mons. Bugnini himself.

    Still why bother about history and the truth when you can have a nice lace-filled world of fantasy like Traddieland?

  9. Cato,

    St. Catherine is a Doctor of the Church and a saint and you are who exactly again? Somebody who only seemingly recognizes the first 7/8 Councils, the Church Fathers, and "authentic" liturgy. I'd rather take what a Doctor says than from someone who sounds like a closet "Old" Catholic.

    As to Ven. Mary of Agreda, I really have no idea what she wrote about. I haven't read a book written by her and quite frankly I'm not that terribly interested in doing so because I'm not terribly big on visions and such.

  10. I prefer the silence of the Church Fathers to the doubtful utterances of a nun, however sainted, who was declared 'doctor of the church' in 1970...Anyway even the Canon of the Mass does not refer to the Supreme Pontiff in that way. By the way, ever heard of consensus patrum? I suppose even Bellarmine does not refer to the Pope as 'sweet Christ on earth', and why sweet in the first place? Alexander Borgia must have been sweetest to some lassies in Rome, perhaps.