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« The Species Of Angels | Main | The Anti-Luther? »

September 25, 2006

Comments

Hippo354

Can you define 'formal adherence'? I've been told that even if one (say SSPX for example) goes to their services exclusively, supports them financially, sends their children to the school, etc. that this does not qualify as 'formal adherence.' Does one actually have to be clergy to qualify?

Brother Cadfael

Hippo354,

Can you define 'formal adherence'? I've been told that even if one (say SSPX for example) goes to their services exclusively, supports them financially, sends their children to the school, etc. that this does not qualify as 'formal adherence.' Does one actually have to be clergy to qualify?

Here is what the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts had to say on the matter.

Matt McDonald

What about a priest that obstinately refuses to obey the Pope's orders on liturgical rubrics, such as the use of liturgical dancers, glass chalices, excessive use of extraordinary ministers etc.? What about a priest who refuses to submit to the teachings on contraception, or some other moral matter, and counsels people that they can do as their conscience dictates, what about those members of the US tribunals who obstinately refuse to apply the Holy See's interpretation of canon law with regard to annulments?

And what of those bishops, who despite holding orthodox views personally, foster such disobedience by their lack of action despite repeated admonitions by the pope to do so? What about the refusal by most bishops to accept the authority of "Ecclesia Dei"? The resistance they showed to the authority of "Liturgiam Authenticum"?

It seems to me that far more damage is done by those who are in material schism, but apparently in communion with their bishop and the Pope than those misguided souls, who, sincerely believe that they are doing what is right in an emergency situation.

I suggest that the vast majority of obstinate refusal to submit to the Roman Pontiff is committed by the "wolves in sheeps clothing".

Hippo354

Thanks, Brother Cadfael!

Matt, are you suggesting that because there are other problems in the church we should ignore the SSPX problem?

Brother Cadfael

Matt,

Is the best defense a good deflection?

John

To shoot a gaping hole into this theory, if the Church after Vatican II now teaches that Protestants (are they not schismatics or as I understand after a certain number of years you no longer are considered as such), the schismatic Orthdox, Moslems and even Jews can now, per Vatican II be saved

So I wonder why the church and on many blogs have this hatred for those that only want to adhere and worship as Catholis have done for CENTURIES and not reform as the church has after Vatican II and in itself move more closely to the protestants (has anyone ever read the cover of their missalette (as they now call them) with regards to Holy Communion and the Protestants???)-why are the SSPX always singled out?

Here you have the Pope backpeddling to a group of Moslem clerics, invites them to his summer house, and, we have an entire division with Kardina Kasper leading the charge-but when it comes to Traditionalists, the church has much fear.

I read in one of Cardinal Ratzinger's books that the biggest threat to the church is not the Moslems, Protestants, Homosexuality, etc-IT is the TRADITIONALISTS. Is it because the brand of Catholicism being sold today really is not true Catholicism and over time like everything else gets exposed as such?

Hippo, I don't think anyone is suggesting that SSPX's disobedience be ignored, but SSPX is what? maybe 400 priests worldwide? Practically the entire Church in North America is in disobedience right now. Which is the bigger problem? So why has there been more effort expended in bringing SSPX back into the fold without reigning in AmChurch?

SDG

To shoot a gaping hole into this theory, if the Church after Vatican II now teaches that Protestants (are they not schismatics or as I understand after a certain number of years you no longer are considered as such), the schismatic Orthdox, Moslems and even Jews can now, per Vatican II be saved.

To shoot a gaping hole into this theory, the possibility of non-Catholics being saved is not an innovation of Vatican II.

Sean S.

Dang, John! It seems Christ was telling us tales when he said that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church....

Mark

John,

Why are you so hard on the Protestants? By rejecting the Vicar of Christ, You have taken a Protestant position yourself!

Brother Cadfael

So why has there been more effort expended in bringing SSPX back into the fold without reigning in AmChurch?

I would disagree with your premise. I know many, many faithful Catholics who are struggling non-stop to cure liturgical abuses in their parishes and in their dioceses, and who would not spend a moment's worth of time on SSPX and their ilk.

Andy Nowicki

In defense of the SSPXers and SSPX apologists posting here (and for full disclosure, I will admit that I might be one myself; I'm simply not sure at this point), it does seem as though a lot more of a fuss has been made about people who insist on Tradition than on those who insist on Innovation in these post-V2 days. I blogged on this issue recently: http://andynowicki.blogspot.com/2006/08/2-v-or-not-2-v-that-is-the-question.html

Bro. Cadfael,

I don't disagree that among the laity, liturgical abuse and heterodox teaching does indeed get a higher priority in being addressed, but among bishops and the Vatican, it seems as though the issue has taken a back seat. I know that Rome doesn't want to encroach upon the responsibility of the American bishops to have control over their own dioceses, but they are routinely failing in this, and I think Rome really does have to finally step in and do something tangible.

Brother Cadfael

Anonymous poster,

I don't disagree that among the laity, liturgical abuse and heterodox teaching does indeed get a higher priority in being addressed, but among bishops and the Vatican, it seems as though the issue has taken a back seat.

I haven't done a numbers count, but I would guess that there are far more documents coming out of the Vatican dealing with liturgical abuse and heterodox teaching in recent years than with SSPX or sedevacantists. As to what individual bishops are doing with them, that's another story.

Chris Molter

The sins of the left do not create justification for the sins of the right.

One group says: "Well, we may be material heretics, but at least we're in communion with the Holy See!"

The other says: "Well, we may be schismatic, but at least we have good liturgy!"

As much as I sympathize with the folks that are frustrated by the heretical Priests and crappy liturgy, going into schism is NOT the answer. You don't leave the barque if it's taking on water, you grab a bucket!

Andy Nowicki

Sorry, the above link doesn't appear to work for some reason. If you're interested, go to www.andynowicki.blogspot.com and scroll to my posting on August 11, "2 V or not 2 V, That is the Question."

Andy Nowicki

As for the "grab a bucket" metaphor-- with due respect, it seems a bit glib. Kinda like the whole "Vatican 2 wasn't bad in itself; it's the way it's been ABUSED that's bad" line.

John

SBG

Please show me proof where the church taught before Vatican II that even those who reject Christ such as Buddhists, Hindus and Moselems should be "revered" and saved

Please show me an infallible document which proves this as well as the church participating in these false worships as well as allowing the descration of our church's, like at Fatima where non-Catholic pagan ceremonies were allowed to be performed on the sacred altar by pagans

Please show me-I am waiting.....

Brother Cadfael

John,

Please show me proof where the church taught before Vatican II that even those who reject Christ such as Buddhists, Hindus and Moselems should be "revered" and saved

Shall we deal with your mischaracterization of what the Church teaches, or shall we deal with what the Church actually teaches?

It seems to me that you need to at least get that part right before you start comparing it to the Tradition (of which it is a part).

SDG

Please show me proof where the church taught before Vatican II that even those who reject Christ such as Buddhists, Hindus and Moselems should be "revered" and saved

"Revered and saved"? What on earth are you talking about? Where does V2 teach that non-Catholics should be "revered and saved"? By whom are they supposedly meant to be "revered and saved"? Only God can save, and only man can hold in reverence. You aren't even making sense. Please communicate more clearly.

As regards the salvation of non-Catholics, I already provided you with evidence of the pre-V2 church teaching on this point. Please refer back to it and then return to the discussion when you have done so.

Please show me an infallible document which proves this

Ah, the old "non-infallible = non-authoritative" fallacy.

Michael

The sins of the left do not create justification for the sins of the right.

But isn't the reverse also true? The reality is that for much of the church heirarchy the SSPX is biggest boogeyman out there. Though I do not believe that political terms like left or right are appropriate to describe traditionalist or modernist leanings, they do lend themselves to one maxim from the political world. "No enemies to the left and no friends to the right."

Ry

They would still have sinned gravely, but the sin would not be mortal.

That does not sound right to me. Isn't a "grave sin" synonymous with "mortal sin"?

I think a more accurate way to express what Jimmy is saying is that a person who sins without "sufficient knowledge of the moral character of what they were doing" would still have sinned gravely, but their soul would not incur the guilt of that grave sin.

Brother Cadfael

Michael,

The reality is that for much of the church heirarchy the SSPX is biggest boogeyman out there.

What makes you say that?

SDG

That does not sound right to me. Isn't a "grave sin" synonymous with "mortal sin"?

I think the precise way to express this is that the sin would be materially grave (i.e., would involve grave matter), but would not be mortal in its effect on the soul due to the lack of one of the other preconditions for mortal sin (viz. sufficient reflection, i.e., moral understanding).

It is true that "grave sin" and "mortal sin" are used interchangably, but not every sin that involves grave matter is a "grave sin" in that sense.

DWB

I once attended a Latin Mass advertised in a publication of the--ahem!--Archdiocese of Los Ángeles. I then found out that it was SSPX, but a priest of my parish assured me that I had not committed a sin, thus no need to repent. A couple of weeks later the LA publication printed a "mea culpa".

Michael

The reality is that for much of the church heirarchy the SSPX is biggest boogeyman out there.

What makes you say that?

I could list examples where Catholic clergy are far more charitable to protestants or even Muslims or Jews than they are to the SSPX. Yet many bishops are loathe to allow indult masses even when such a simple act could bring some of the SSPX'rs back. But it is all anecdotal.

Matt McDonald

http://andynowicki.blogspot.com/2006/08/2-v-or-not-2-v-that-is-the-question.html


Hippo354 and Brother Cadfael:
are you suggesting that because there are other problems in the church we should ignore the SSPX problem?
..
Is the best defense a good deflection?

My statement is here:
It seems to me that far more damage is done by those who are in material schism, but apparently in communion with their bishop and the Pope than those misguided souls, who, sincerely believe that they are doing what is right in an emergency situation.

What part of it says that we should ignore one problem in favor of the other? I clearly indicated that I believe those souls who are adhering to SSPX are misguided. I believe most are sincere in their belief that what they are doing is right, although there is a significant amount of pride floating around. I have always been clear that regardless of sincerity they are objectively in error.

In my opinion the major damage that SSPX does to the Body of Christ is in denying us their assistance in fighting the blatant that are going on by hiding in their little sanctuary. I completely agree with Chris:

As much as I sympathize with the folks that are frustrated by the heretical Priests and crappy liturgy, going into schism is NOT the answer. You don't leave the barque if it's taking on water, you grab a bucket!

If that's not clear from my statement, then I apologize.

Matt McDonald

I read in one of Cardinal Ratzinger's books that the biggest threat to the church is not the Moslems, Protestants, Homosexuality, etc-IT is the TRADITIONALISTS. Is it because the brand of Catholicism being sold today really is not true Catholicism and over time like everything else gets exposed as such?

John, care to post a citation?

Tim Brandenburg

SDG,

Thank you for your link to the 1949 Decree Regarding Leonard Feeney. This document seems to leave no doubts about either the validity of the doctrine of invincible ignorance or the fate of those Catholics who refuse to submit to the Vicar of Christ.

Brother Cadfael

Matt,

Perhaps I misunderstood your post. In light of your explanation, I am still not certain that I understand it. I was simply referring to the fact that the first two paragraphs of your original post appeared to have nothing to do with the original post by Jimmy. I apologize if that was not the case.

Hippo354

Matt, thanks for the clarification! I have seen damage done by both extremes (I have both SSPX relatives and flaming liberal nun relatives), and I think they are equally damaging in their different ways, so I guess I'd disagree with you that the biggest fault of SSPX is omission, but that is based on personal experience so I probably shouldn't generalize.

Mary

I could list examples where Catholic clergy are far more charitable to protestants or even Muslims or Jews than they are to the SSPX.

Why do I suspect that from your vantage point, you have far more chances to view impoliteness to the last group than the others?

John

SDG

You obviously could not produce such that said that non Catholics could be saved pre Vatican II because the church followed true to scripture that taught

The Holy Gospel of JesusChrist, according to st. Mark CHAPTER 16.
15 And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues.
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover.
19 And the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God.
20 But they going forth preached every where: the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.

The following are obvious contradictions

"It is almost impossible to happen that Catholics who mix themselves with heretics or schismatics in any act of worship might be worthy to be excused from this shameful crime."
Pope Benedict XIV, De Synodo Bk. VI, Chap. 5, Art. 2, 1748.
Vatican II taught:
"It is allowable, indeed desirable, that Catholics should join in prayer with their separated brethren."
Decree on Ecumenism, #8.

Pre Vatican II it was taught:
[It is an error to say that] "in the worship of any religion whatever, men can find the way to eternal salvation, and can attain eternal salvation."
Pope Pius IX, Syllabus of Errors, Error #16, Dec. 8, 1864.
Vatican II taught:
"The brethren divided from us also carry out many of the sacred actions of the Christian religion... these actions... can be rightly described as capable of providing access to the community of salvation."
Decree on Ecumenism, #3.


On the "Modern World", Pre Vatican II taught:
"It is not fitting that the Church of God be changed according to the fluctuations of worldly necessity."
Pope Pius VI, Quod Aliquantum, Mar. 10, 1791.

Vatican II taught:

"the Church... can and ought to be enriched by the development of human social life... so that she may... adjust it [the Constitution of the Church] more successfully to our times."
Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, #44.
"
Pre Vatican II taught:
No man can serve two masters, for to please one amounts to contemning the other...It is a high crime indeed to withdraw allegiance from God in order to please men."
Pope Leo XIII, Sapientiæ Christianæ, #6&7, Jan. 10, 1890.
Vatican II taught:
"Christians cannot yearn for anything more ardently than to serve the men of the modern world."
Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, #93.

Pre Vatican II Popes taught:
"About the ‘Rights of Man’ as they are called, the people have heard enough; it is time they should hear of the rights of God."
Pope Leo XIII, Tametsi, #13, Nov. 1, 1900.

Vatican II taught:
"The Church proclaims the rights of man."
Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, #41.


On Religious Liberty, the Pre V2 church taught:
"They do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, especially fatal to the Catholic Church and to the salvation of souls...namely that ‘liberty of conscience and of worship is a right proper to every man, and should be proclaimed and asserted by law in every correctly established society.’ "
Pope Pius IX, Quanta Cura, #3, Dec. 8, 1864.

Vatican II taught:
"The human person has the right to religious freedom...this right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed. Thus it is to become a civil right."
Declaration on Religious Freedom, #2.

Pre V2 taught:
[It is an error to say that] "in this age of ours it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be the only religion of the state, to the exclusion of all other cults whatsoever."
Pope Pius IX, Syllabus of Modern Errors, Error #77, Dec. 8, 1864.

Vatican II taught:
"a wrong is done when government imposes upon its people...the profession or repudiation of any religion...government is not to act...in an unfair spirit of partisanship."
Declaration on Religious Freedom, #6&7.


Pre Vatican II it was taught:
"Men who really believe in God must... understand that differing modes of worship... cannot all be equally probable, equally good, and equally acceptable to God."
Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, #31, Nov. 1, 1885.


Vatican II taught:
"The right of all... religious bodies to religious freedom should be recognized and made effective in practice."

SDG

Last chance, John.

Do you know how to read, or not?

Clearly you don't understand logic, if you think that "The brethren divided from us also carry out many of the sacred actions of the Christian religion... these actions... can be rightly described as capable of providing access to the community of salvation" equates to the error that "in the worship of any religion whatever, men can find the way to eternal salvation, and can attain eternal salvation," or that "The right of all... religious bodies to religious freedom should be recognized and made effective in practice" is contradictory to "Men who really believe in God must... understand that differing modes of worship... cannot all be equally probable, equally good, and equally acceptable to God."

This is not theology. It is logic. Statements that are contradictory or equivalent can be determined to be such by individuals who possess the necessary language and reasoning skills. If you think that the first two statements above are equivalent, or that the latter two are contradictory, you either don't know how to read or you don't know how to reason.

The (pre-V2) link above may be of some help to you in clarifying your understanding of the post-V2 quotes you provide. Beyond that, if you can't or won't understand, I can't help you.

Michael

Why do I suspect that from your vantage point, you have far more chances to view impoliteness to the last group than the others?

Perhaps because you are prone to jump to conclusions?

J.R. Stoodley

Well said, SDG. I actually found it rather edifying to read John's last post. Lots of good Magisterial teachings both in Vatican II and pre-Vatican II, helping to clarify each other.

I did have concern over this one part though

"Christians cannot yearn for anything more ardently than to serve the men of the modern world."
Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, #93.

I will try to look up the context of that perplexing quote which isolated like that sounds intensely unchristian, but can someone help us out on it? What should we yearn more ardently for than God? This quote would suggest to me that even love for God must at most be equal to love for man. Is not love for God by far the primary and central thing to direct our attention to, with the love for and resulting service to men derrived from it? Probably this is a context issue, or I am just misinterpreting the words.

Niko

WORST. RULE 3. VIOLATION. EVAH.

WORST. RULE 3. VIOLATION. EVAH.

Pius V

WORST. RULE 3. VIOLATION. EVAH.

WORST. RULE 3. VIOLATION. EVAH.

Matt McDonald


Hippo,

I didn't say the biggest fault of SSPX is omission, it is clearly disobedience to the Vicar of Christ and so to Christ Himself. I said the damage they do is by denying their ministry to the members of the Church who are in such need of the guidance of Tradition which they could provide if they regularized their status. An analogy might be that the house is burning, some of the firemen are standing outside arguing about how bad it's burning and who lit it. Of course they are causing damage by not doing their jobs, but the fact is the arsonists are truly responsible.

Br. Cadfael,

I'm not disagreeing in any way with Jimmy's post, just wanting to point out that there are many who are in material schism and heresy who pretend to be in full communion (wolves in sheep's clothing). I'm also urging compassion for those misguided souls who sincerely believe they must be involved with SSPX to find the Catholic faith, they are being chased out by the true Church by aforementioned wolves. I would add that there is an element of pride in the SSPX and other traditional elements that ought to be purged.

J.R. Stoodley

I doubt all that cut and pasted stuff above will be read by anyone, and it may well be deleted for violation of "Da Rulz." If our friend had limited him/herself to a few points he/she may have been more successful getting his/her message across.

bill912

Amen, JRS. That was an awful lot of typing for nothing.

Tim J.

Rama Coomaraswamy -

KNOCK IT OFF with the cut-and-paste combox cramming.

NO ONE IS LISTENING.

Get your own blog to promote your wacky theories.

John

Consilum Secretary Fr. Bugnini prior to the drafting of the Rite states:

"We must strip from our Catholic prayer books and from the Catholic Liturgy everything that can be a shadow of a stumbling block to our separated brethren, that is, for the Protestants" [L’Osservatore Romano, 19/3/65].

So how can one even contend that the form of worship which has transpired is organic and in line with the past teachings of the church when the chief Architect of the mass, the central form of our worship, is on record with statements as such?


Bishops seem to need continual reassurance that Traditionalists are not a threat to the Post-Vatican II Church, for they continue to refuse access to the Old Rite despite the desire of the Supreme Legislator that the 1984 Indult be applied "widely and generously" in view of our "legitimate aspirations" (cf. Ecclesia Dei Afflicta, John Paul II - motu proprio - 1988).

Let us be blunt: Traditionalists can only be a threat to the Church if Her own Tradition is a threat to Her.

SDG

Well, John, you just blew your last chance. Either you can't read, can't reason, don't know how to hold a conversation, or some combination of the above. I don't care which.

Matt McDonald

Let us be blunt: Traditionalists can only be a threat to the Church if Her own Tradition is a threat to Her.

A true traditionalist knows that there is no hope for salvation for those who knowing the Catholic Church is the one true Church of Jesus Christ, refuse to make themselves subject to the Roman Pontiff. Being subject means being obedient.

Those traditionalists who refuse to be subject, and especially those who encourage others to do so are doing damage to the Body of Christ.

Again I will reiterate, I think the modernists who remain in apparent communion do much worse.

Andy Nowicki

Matt or anyone else with an answer,
If the Roman pontiff decrees something that is against what has always been the perpetual teaching of the Church, must one still obey the pontiff in order to be a good Catholic? If, for example (speaking hypothetically) a pope suddenly decreed that abortion and contraception were okay, would faithful Catholics have to do a "180" on these issues?
I know the stock answer is that Christ set up the Church and prophesied that "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it," i.e., that such a hypotehtical case as what I have cited would never take place. But I am asking hypothetically, what if it did? Would faithful Catholics have to obey the teachings of the pope, if the pope suddently taught things that were objectively evil?
It seems to me that for the SSPXers, Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI both violated the traditional teaching of the Church by fostering the destructive changes brought about by Vatican II. For them, in other words, it was like what it would be for us if the next pope became an abortion advocate. For them, disobeying the pope doesn't amount to the same thing as being unfaithful to the Church; rather, they would still see themselves as obedient to the pope, but would say that the pope overstepped his bounds in making changes that he had no authority to make.

SDG

I know the stock answer is that Christ set up the Church and prophesied that "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it," i.e., that such a hypotehtical case as what I have cited would never take place. But I am asking hypothetically, what if it did?

You mean, hypothetically, what if the gates of hell did prevail against the church built on the rock of Peter? In other words, what if Catholicism, and ultimately Christianity itself, were false?

Obviously, in that case (per impossibile), Catholics should cease to be Catholics. I can't see myself that Orthodoxy or Protestantism would be more viable under such circumstances, though the one most obviously false option still seems to me to be radical Traditionalism of the sede-vacantist/SSPX sort. Either Catholicism is true and I follow the Roman pontiff, or not.

As it is, though, Catholicism is true, and all should follow the Roman pontiff, including the rad-trad/sede-vacantist/SSPX types.

Andy Nowicki

SDG,

But would it necessarily be TRUE that the gates of Hell had prevailed against the Church if such a hypothetical were to occur? In other words, might there be a way of being obedient to the pope's authority, while dissenting from an innovation he introduces, as the SSPX claim to be doing?

Brother Cadfael

Matt,

I agree with you. Thanks for clarifying.

Brother Cadfael

Andy,

In other words, might there be a way of being obedient to the pope's authority, while dissenting from an innovation he introduces, as the SSPX claim to be doing?

No. And the ironic thing is, the SSPX'ers would know that if they'd read St. Pius X and take him at his word.

Brother Cadfael

Rosemarie posted this on an earlier thread, and it seems to me that it is worth re-posting:

In his Allocution of May 10, 1909, Pope St. Pius X said:

"Do not allow yourselves to be deceived by the cunning statements of those who persistently claim to wish to be with the Church, to love the Church, to fight so that people do not leave Her...But judge them by their works. If they despise the shepherds of the Church and even the Pope, if they attempt all means of evading their authority in order to elude their directives and judgments..., then about which Church do these men mean to speak? Certainly not about that established on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone."

Love for and fidelity to the Pope is a basic characteristic of Catholics. If you don't believe me then believe Pope St. Pius X.

Matt McDonald

Matt or anyone else with an answer,
If the Roman pontiff decrees something that is against what has always been the perpetual teaching of the Church, must one still obey the pontiff in order to be a good Catholic? If, for example (speaking hypothetically) a pope suddenly decreed that abortion and contraception were okay, would faithful Catholics have to do a "180" on these issues?
I know the stock answer is that Christ set up the Church and prophesied that "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it," i.e., that such a hypotehtical case as what I have cited would never take place. But I am asking hypothetically, what if it did? Would faithful Catholics have to obey the teachings of the pope, if the pope suddently taught things that were objectively evil?
It seems to me that for the SSPXers, Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI both violated the traditional teaching of the Church by fostering the destructive changes brought about by Vatican II. For them, in other words, it was like what it would be for us if the next pope became an abortion advocate. For them, disobeying the pope doesn't amount to the same thing as being unfaithful to the Church; rather, they would still see themselves as obedient to the pope, but would say that the pope overstepped his bounds in making changes that he had no authority to make.

There's a major distinction between reforming an irreformable position, such as that abortion is murder, and reforming something which is reformable, even though it may not be prudent, such as participation in the ecumenical movement. This sort of error has happened in the past (yes, even before Vatican II). It is also possible for a pope to issue an instruction that is immoral (as long as it's not "ex cathedra"), I don't know of any instance where this has occurred.

If we are subject to the Roman Pontiff and he issues what we believe is an imprudent order, we have to give a due degree of assent. An example might be the request to participate in ecumenical prayer. There are conditions around the request that allow us to bow out if we don't consider any particular activity to be prudent. We can be obedient to the order without taking part. If he gives us no leeway, we should participate to the minimal degree necessary in submission to him as the Vicar of Christ.

What if the pope gave an order to do something intrinsicly immoral without any possibility of being excused? In that extremely unlikely event, one would be morally obligated to not obey. If this were to happen, the pope would still be the pope, and we must remain his loyal subject. If he subsequently issues an order which is not immoral, we are bound to obey.

This is where the SSPX et al fall down. Even if one were to accept their specific criticisms of some of the acts of the post-concilliar popes as valid, they are being disobedient to pretty much all the popes have ordered. This is completely different from how St. Paul resisted St. Peter when he was in error, or how St. Athanasius dealt with the pope ordering him into exile. He submitted himself to the authority, this is pleasing to God and reaped great benefit to the Church.

Andy Nowicki

Brother C,

So if (again, speaking hypothetically) the pope says abortion is okay, we have to discard 2,000 years of tradition which says otherwise?

Andy Nowicki

Matt, I think I see your point-- although you seem to be saying that it's possible to disobey the pope and still be loyal to him under certain extreme circumstances. The question is, is it appropriate under the circumstances of the SSPX? You say no-- my mind hasn't yet been made up on the matter.

SDG

So if (again, speaking hypothetically) the pope says abortion is okay, we have to discard 2,000 years of tradition which says otherwise?

Hypothetically, if (per impossibile) the pope committed his teaching office to the proposition that abortion is okay in a way comparable to the commitment of the recent popes to the validity of the current rite of Mass, such that one had to choose between following the pope and maintaining the historic Christian teaching on abortion, then in the imaginary world of this hypothetical, impossible scenario Catholicism would be a false religion.

What is more, in such an imaginary world, both those who followed the pope into error on abortion and those who attempted to maintain a "more-Catholic-than-the-pope" alternative form of Catholicism would be fundamentally wrong.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the gates of hell have not prevailed against the church built on the rock, those who follow the pope have not been led into error, and only those who attempt to maintain a "more-Catholic-than-the-pope" alternative form of Catholicism are fundamentally wrong.

AnotherCoward


Italics off.

SDG

Thanks, AnotherCoward, I turned off my own italics. I used the Deep Magic. :)

Tim Brandenburg

I like the distinction between an imprudent directive and an immoral directive.

I'm thinking this would be like the use of the Traditional Latin Mass in a diocese where the Bishop does not permit it. Although the Pope stated that permission for the Traditional Latin Mass should be granted liberally, the permission is still up the the bishop of the diocese (until B16 grants a universal indult, which I hear might be in the works). Refusal to allow such Masses is certainly imprudent and will push away those Catholics that have a more traditional outlook. However, refusal to grant permission is not immoral. Therefore, Catholics must obey the directive of the successor to the apostles the Pope has set as their shepherd, and cannot attend an unauthorized Traditional Latin Mass, the way the SSPX does.

Now if the local Bishop said the words of institution should be changed to "Jesus, Jesus, he's our man, if he can't do it, no one can!" this would be an immoral directive, contrary to the Magisterium, and Catholics would not (could not?) have to go to such Masses (perhaps they would be required to go outside the diocese... I don't know if they would be allowed to have unathorized licit Masses within that Bishop's diocese). Then, the Bishop would be disciplined by Rome.

Now the diffetrence between that Bishop and the Pope is that, as the Vicar of Christ, the Pope, by virtue of who and what he is, could not and would not ever issue such an immoral directive. The Holy Spirit would not allow it. I imagine if a Pope insisted on making such an immoral directive ex cathedra, God would strike him dead before allowing the Church to be destroyed.

Does this make sense?

SDG

I like the distinction between an imprudent directive and an immoral directive.

This is good, but perhaps even more to the point is the distinction between bad guidance that does not do violence to the essence of the faith and bad guidance that does do violence to the essence of the faith.

For example, in principle I expect it would be possible for a bishop of Rome to issue an immoral directive such as "Good Catholics should support war effort X" where in fact war effort X is not a just war. Whether a given war is or is not just is a question of moral discernment about which equally orthodox believers can and do disagree; in principle it seems possible that bishops of Rome could get a particular case wrong, and issue erroneous or even morally blinkered guidance on that basis.

OTOH, I reject outright the notion that a bishop of Rome could possibly commit himself to a normative order of Mass that is in fact invalid. The Mass is the center of Catholic worship and spirituality, and its guardianship and administration is among the highest and most critical duties of the hierarchy. I cannot escape the conclusion that if there is anything whatsoever to Catholic belief regarding the successor to Peter, it is absolutely impossible that the Mass should be massively and systematically invalidated all over the world with the explicit sanction and active participation of the Vicar of Christ.

If (per impossibile) this has happened, the SSPX/sede-vacantists/Lefebrites/rad-trads are as wrong as non-dissenting Catholics. If (per impossibile) this has happened, there is not and never has been any such divine institution as the papacy.

Brother Cadfael

Andy,

So if (again, speaking hypothetically) the pope says abortion is okay, we have to discard 2,000 years of tradition which says otherwise?

You must be the lawyer who came up with the "are you still beating your wife?" question.

I could spend all day trying to figure out, (hypothetically, of course) what I would do if 2+3 suddenly = 7, but there would be far more productive uses of my time.

Matt

Andy,

So if (again, speaking hypothetically) the pope says abortion is okay, we have to discard 2,000 years of tradition which says otherwise?

...

although you seem to be saying that it's possible to disobey the pope and still be loyal to him under certain extreme circumstances. The question is, is it appropriate under the circumstances of the SSPX? You say no-- my mind hasn't yet been made up on the matter.

First of all, it's ridiculous, but if it were to happen it seems that he couldn't possibly make it "binding" on the faithful without being struck dead by the Holy Spirit. It's not a very good example.

It is true that one can disobey the pope if he gives an immoral order, and still remain loyal, loving and subject to him. In the same way that a wife is not permitted to sin under her husbands authority. This does not release one from the obligation to obey orders which are not immoral. That's the problem with the SSPX. They are not following any orders from "Rome", they are completely disobedient. When I say one can disobey an immoral order, that is not the same as "dissenting" in my opinion.

In 1 Kings 25, Abigail is disobedient to her husband and seeks to appease David. She did so to save her husband and family and did so while remaining loving and loyal to him.

SDG,

I think your analysis with regard to the mass is bang on. One can reasonably argue the prudence of the Novus Ordo, one cannot say that it does violence to the essence of the faith.


Andy Nowicki

Hey "Bro," I'm a lot of things, but I'm certainly no lawyer...

And your mathematical analogy doesn't cut the mustard for me. Two plus three equals five, and it's not possible for it to equal a different sum. But no mathematical law makes it necessary for the pope to uphold traditional morality. It may be a matter of faith to hold that no pope could ever become an abortion advocate, but it's not impossible in the same sense that the statement "2 plus 3 equals 7" is impossible.

Matt, the difference between "disobeying" an immoral order and "dissenting" from an immoral edict seems to be a semantic one. And of course the SSPX would claim that they are only disobeying (if you prefer that word) Rome where Rome has begun to teach innovations that aren't proper, but remains obedient to Rome insofar as Rome has remained obedient to Tradition.

J.R. Stoodley

Andy,

What you are asking is "if your faith were proved wrong, what would you do?"

Loose the faith I guess, but it is a pointless speculation because it will never happen. I'm sure that is Br. Cadfael's point: if something impossible happened what would you do? Who cares!

Andy Nowicki

I just don't understand how it is "impossible" that a future pope could promulgate an immmoral doctrine. (I trust the current pope not to do any such thing, but then as we all know he's pushing 80 and won't be around forever.) It is certainly possible. If the argument is, "God would never allow that to happen," then that (as I wrote before) is an issue of faith. Having faith that something won't happen isn't the same thing as saying that it's impossible in the sense that 2 plus 2 equals 5 is impossible.

I think it's possible to interpret "and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against (the Church)" in such a way that provides an escape hatch in case such a circumstance were ever to befall us. That is, a way that we could be faithful Catholics and uphold Catholic tradition while still opposing the introduction of evil or immoral doctrine by a pope.

The SSPX, of course, believe that such a thing has already happened with the introduction of the innovations of Vatican 2, which have undeniably done considerable damage to the Church in nearly every way imaginable.

bill912

Jesus assures us it's impossible, Andy. If Jesus is wrong, then he is not God.

Tim Brandenburg

It is Church dogma that the Pope is infallible as to matters of doctrine when speaking ex cathedra. Belief in this dogma is mandatory for all Catholics.

Since the Pope is infallible when speaking ex cathedra, he cannot promulgate an immoral doctrine ex cathedra, because an immoral doctrine is, by its very definition, wrong.

To say that the Pope could promulgate an immoral doctrine ex cathedra is like saying God can make a rock so big He can't move it.

You see the point? Believing otherwise is in violation of Church dogma.

Also I do not agree that V2 has "undeniably done considerable damage to the Church in nearly every way imaginable." V2, as an ecumenical council, was also infallible, just like Nicea and Trent. Therefore, any "damage" resulting from V2 is solely caused by misapplication by fallen man. The blame for any "damage" rests on people, not the council.

Brother Cadfael

Andy,

I think it's possible to interpret "and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against (the Church)" in such a way that provides an escape hatch in case such a circumstance were ever to befall us.

That's not the way that the Catholic Church interprets it. You are free to interpret it however you like, but your interpretation breaks rank with the Church and 2000 years of Tradition.


That the gates of hell have so obviously prevailed against the Church, the only conclusion is that Christianity itself is proven false. We should all now convert to Buddhism.

Brother Cadfael

bill912,

I agree with almost everything you have said. However, I don't believe that it is technically correct to say that an ecumencial council is infallible. A council may teach infallibly, but only those teachings of a council that are clearly intended by the council to be infallible are so regarded. Other teachings would be authoritative, but not necessarily infallible.

J.R. Stoodley

Andy,

You seem to think that reason is the only thing that can determine what is possible or impossible. In fact both reason and faith can do so. Reason tells us that 2+3 will never equal 7. Faith tells us that the Pope will never lead the Church astray, particularly when teaching infallibly.

Faith shows that this is absolutely impossible, so it is just as impossible as 2+3=7.

About the phrase "the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church" using your logic one could justify any heresy or schism. That is why the good Christian does not become Protestant or SSPX. He believes that the Magisterium is the authentic interpreter of Scripture and Tradition, not you yourself or any other person or group.

Brother Cadfael

Sorry, my last post should have been addressed to Tim B., not bill912.

SDG

I just don't understand how it is "impossible" that a future pope could promulgate an immmoral doctrine. (I trust the current pope not to do any such thing, but then as we all know he's pushing 80 and won't be around forever.) It is certainly possible. If the argument is, "God would never allow that to happen," then that (as I wrote before) is an issue of faith. Having faith that something won't happen isn't the same thing as saying that it's impossible in the sense that 2 plus 2 equals 5 is impossible.

Andy,

There is absolute impossibility, and then there is contingent impossibility.

Absolute impossibility involves a self-contained contradiction (i.e., A and not-A at the same time and in the same respect). Contingent impossibility involves a contradiction to some point that is implicitly given or taken for granted.

For example, that 2 + 3 = 7, or that God (being a necessary being) should cease to exist, are absolutely impossible. The former is an axiom of reason, the latter is an axiom of faith, but both are held to be absolutely necessary, not contingent upon any other condition.

OTOH, that a baptized Christian man and woman validly married should dissolve their marriage and lawfully marry others is contingently impossible -- contingent upon God's decree that the matrimonial union is absolutely indissoluble. In principle, God could have chosen otherwise, but he did not, and his choice once made establishes the "absolute" or utter impossibility of a contrary state of affairs.

The possibility of the Christian faith being entirely expunged from the world of men, or of the Roman Pontiff committing the Church to a course of action gravely contrary to the essential charter of the Church and the charge entrusted to her by Jesus Christ, belongs to this latter sort of impossibility. It is not an absolute impossibility, but a contingent one; nevertheless, granted the divine decree, it is just as impossible as if the impossibility were absolute.

Matt McDonald

Andy,

of course the SSPX would claim that they are only disobeying (if you prefer that word) Rome where Rome has begun to teach innovations that aren't proper, but remains obedient to Rome insofar as Rome has remained obedient to Tradition.
...
I just don't understand how it is "impossible" that a future pope could promulgate an immmoral doctrine...I think it's possible to interpret "and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against (the Church)" in such a way that provides an escape hatch in case such a circumstance were ever to befall us.
...
the innovations of Vatican 2, which have undeniably done considerable damage to the Church in nearly every way imaginable.


Of course SSPX could claim is only disobeying Rome insofar as they are teaching improper innovations, and remaining obedient insofar as Rome remains obedient to Tradition but that just couldn't be reasonably concluded.

First of all it's a misunderstanding of Papal authority as has been taught by Tradition. The pope is the authority to regulate all matters of discipline, even mundane bureaucratic matters. All of these instructions are completely ignored by SSPX. They ordain priests repeatedly in violation of interdict, they move into diocese without the permission of the local ordinary, they establish tribunals without any jurisdiction, they perform the sacraments even though they are suspended or excommunicated, they perform weddings and confessions without jurisdiction (rendering them INVALID). They completely disregard any obedience to the local ordinaries who have jurisdiction where they operate. There is no loyalty, there is no obedience, there is only protest.

Once again, I will reiterate, as grave as the SSPX situation is, the situation of the wolves in sheeps clothing who are teaching modernism in the Church is far more serious.

With regard to papal infallibility you are proposing an innovation which is completely contradictory to Tradition, an innovation which is not in Vatican II, and would not be considered orthodox by even the marginally orthodox theologians.

Innovations of Vatican II? Perhaps you could tell me which ones specifically? I've read the documents, virtually everything in Vatican II can be reasonably interpreted as an acceptable reform of discipline or rephrasing of doctrine, and not "innovation". The problems were caused by innovations in violation of Vatican II. Even the "Novus Ordo" missae bears little resemblance to the reforms called for by Vatican II.

I know this may be splitting hairs, but lay Catholics do not "become" SSPX. SSPX is a priestly fraternity. Laypeople may support SSPX, but they do not become members. The way some people talk about it, they make it sound like a parallel church. Practically, there may not be much of a distinction, granted. But there is a distinction, nonetheless.

J.R. Stoodley

I just have to mention this more specifically

in such a way that provides an escape hatch in case such a circumstance were ever to befall us.

Escape hatch from the Church? Right.

Andy Nowicki

JR,
No, I didn't mean an escape hatch from the Church-- I meant an escape hatch from the sin should sin overtake the Church. (And didn't Paul VI himself complain about the "smoke of Satan" having entered the Church? during his pontificate?)

Andy Nowicki

Tim, I understand your point about how the notion that the pope would teach something erroneous contradicts the understanding of faithful Catholics that the pope and the Magisterium are divinely inspired and could never teach error.

What bothers me about this notion is that it seems to put our faith on something rather precarious. If a future pope were to promulgate immorality, most of you posting here would probably lose your faith instantly. You'd want to die if such a thing should happen, because it would mean that everything you ever believed to be true has turned out to be a huge lie.

In asking about an "escape hatch," I am trying to see if faith can be rested upon something a little less precarious than the public statements of the guy who happens to be elected by the majority of the Cardinals gathered at a conclave in Rome. Should this happen in the future, the SSPX might provide a model to follow-- that is, a way to remain Catholic and loyal to the Church even if the "smoke of Satan" has indeed entered it.

SDG

And didn't Paul VI himself complain about the "smoke of Satan" having entered the Church? during his pontificate?

Yes. That is what he did. He complained about -- or rather denounced -- the "smoke of Satan." The Vicar of Christ did that.

Oddly enough, the Vicar of Christ did not formally institutionalize the smoke of Satan as the authorized new incense approved for normative use throughout the Church. Nor have his successors. That is why Jesus gave them to us.

Incense? Wow, you still have incense in the Mass by you? I haven't seen or smelled incense in a Catholic Mass in over 18 years!

Tim J.

"I am trying to see if faith can be rested upon something a little less precarious than the public statements of the guy who happens to be elected by the majority of the Cardinals gathered at a conclave in Rome..."

The Pope is not just "some guy", and our faith does not rest (ultimately) on his public statements, but on the public statements of Jesus Christ, who established the Pope as shepherd over His sheep.

Christ protects the Pope and makes it impossible that he should promulgate error in the name of the Church.

My faith is in the power of Christ to accomplish this. I believe in papal infallibility BECAUSE I believe in Christ.

let me amend that--

excluding the one SSPX Mass I attended... otherwise, no incense

Brother Cadfael

SDG,

There is absolute impossibility, and then there is contingent impossibility.

As cogent an explanation of this concept as I've seen. Thanks.

Tim Brandenburg

Andy,

The ex cathedra statements of the Pope are far more than "the public statements of the guy who happens to be elected by the majority of the Cardinals gathered at a conclave in Rome."

Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, gave the keys to the kingdom of heaven to Peter (and his successors), along with the power to bind and loose, both in Heaven and on Earth. This power was defined as the dogma of infallibility in the 1800s, and the belief in papal infallibility is mandated for all Catholics. No Catholic may deny this dogma or he/she is anathama.

Just as God cannot, by His very definition, sin, the Pope cannot, by his very definition, make an ex cathedra statement that promulgates immoral doctrine.

And you are correct. Were the impossible to happen (i.e. the Pope were to make an ex cathedra statement that promulgates immoral doctrine), my faith, and the faith of all Catholics, would be destroyed because this would prove that God does not exist, Jesus was simply a man, and the Church an invention of men.

Fortunately, Christ built his Church upon the rock of the papal office, first in Peter and then in the successors of Peter, so I don't have to worry about the impossible happening.

I know this is a "hard saying," one difficult to internaize. I was raised Protestant, then became Anglo-catholic, then came into the Church via the Pastoral Provision for the Use of the Anglican Rite.

Submission to papal authority and infallibility was my last holdout. All the rest of the Catholic doctrines I accepted. Finally, however, God granted me the faith to believe, and I submitted, because I recognized that all the rest was dependent upon papal authority and infallibility.

Tim Brandenburg

If you guys want the old time worship (High Mass, incense, bells, full vestments, mantillas, etc.) go to an Anglican Use parish if you have an opportunity (http://www.pastoralprovision.org).
Also, you might try one of the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches (though they typically use ethnic language as well as English). Finally, an indult Mass is nice if your Bishop permits it. All are permissible for Catholics and all meet the Sunday obligation.

John

I disagree, first, the gates of Hell will never prevail and this is true as Our Lord never intended to have the huge hierarchy that exists today with money going caching!

What he stated is that when he returns the saved will number few. Therefore, even if you have One Traditional Catholic whether in the church or without still adhering to what is CATHOLIC, then the gates of hell did not prevail. Infallability was only defined as late as 1870 as we have had some horrible popes

As far as what has happened after Vatican II, this is the first time that the schism has happened from within, except maybe the 4th century when 75% of the Bishops and there were 2 Popes and the faithful had to worship in the countryside (sounds like the Traditionals does it not?) as the heretics had possession of all of the church's and property and sanity was not restored for almost a century

SDG

Incense? Wow, you still have incense in the Mass by you? I haven't seen or smelled incense in a Catholic Mass in over 18 years!

Yes actually, we do on solemn occasions, but the larger point is that "incense" as a metaphorical conceit (suggested by the "smoke of Satan") here symbolizes something far more essential to the Church's being and nature than incense at Mass (incense at Mass being a humanly instituted sacramental that is not necessary to the Church's essential worship).

Perhaps the metaphor would be more evocative on this point if I stipulated that the Vicar of Christ did not inaugurate the "smoke of Satan" in the place of the "aroma of Christ."

Andy Nowicki

"all meet the Sunday obligation"

As do SSPX masses, provided that one does not attend them for the wrong reasons. Or so I have been told.

For the record, I don't attend SSPX masses, because there isn't an SSPX parish anywhere near I live. Thanks to the lack of generosity of the bishop of my diocese toward Traditionalist leaning folk, there is no Tridentine Indult Mass offered either, except on very rare occasions in out of the way places.

Brother Cadfael

John,

...whether in the church or without...

Let me get this straight. "No salvation outside the Catholic Church" is infallibly true...but one may be saved "whether in the church or without."

Got it. Impeccable reasoning.

Tim J.

I heard Father Corapi say this morning that (paraphrasing) Truth is not a "what", Truth is a "who"... that is, Jesus Christ.

The same is true of what is truly Catholic. It's not what you know, it's WHO you know. Catholicism IS union with Peter, through his successor.

"Our Lord never intended to have the huge hierarchy that exists today..."

And we know this how?

Whether there are many or few, where the bishops are, there is the Church.

bill912

"I disagree, first, the gates of Hell will never prevail..."

Then you believe our Lord was wrong when he said that they wouldn't. If you believe that Jesus was wrong, then you deny His Divinity.

"...this is the first time that the schism has happended from within..."

A schism (and we have had several) by definition happens from within.

"...this is the first time that the schism has happended from within..."

A schism (and we have had several) by definition happens from within.

Indeed; more precisely, a schism by definition is what happens when (some of) those "within" by their actions put themselves "without." There is no such thing as a "schism within," if by that we mean that the schismatics are simultaneously "within" and in schism.

Andy Nowicki

Regarding SDG's point about the "smoke of Satan" being discerned by the pope:

Well, at the risk of sounding glib or disrespectful, the phrase "he who smelt it dealt it" comes to mind.

Unfortunately, where I live, there is one indult Mass offered, and it is in a chapel that ordinarily caters to the hypercharismatics. And this is only offered on Sundays, not on solemnities. This despite the obvious demand for it. The SSPX chapel in our diocese (obviously not officially sanctioned by the diocese, but existing within its bounds) is very large and still can barely fit everyone who attends Mass inside. This is a heavily Catholic locality (~80% of the people who live in the two counties that make up the diocese are Catholic). But our Bishop has a modernist agenda. There are more diocesan programs for outreach to Muslims than there are for outreach to Traditional Catholics.

For many folks, their only options are 1) go to the "kumbaya" Mass at their local parish, 2) go to SSPX, or 3) stay home.

I don't know why Rome doesn't crack down on disobedient Bishops. For instance, our Bishop's directive on EMHC's is written so vaguely that it allows them in all circumstances and in all numbers. In our diocese, a ratio of 1 EMHC for every 10 congregants is pretty normal. I've even been to Masses where one Priest will celebrate Mass, and another Priest who is in attendance (not concelebrating) does not help distribute Holy Communion, but the 10 laywomen and 2 laymen EMHC's do! Also, girl "altar servers" are the norm, rather than the exception in our diocese. And sure, we have even bigger problems than these, but these are such glaring disobediences to Papal directives that I wonder why Rome doesn't intervene.

SDG

Well, at the risk of sounding glib or disrespectful, the phrase "he who smelt it dealt it" comes to mind.

"At the risk" is overly optimistic -- "glib and disrespectful" is putting it mildly. It would be hard to think of a comment ("argument" is far too dignified a word) more deserving of those two adjectives... although other adjectives come to mind including trivial, specious and self-defeating.

By the same principle, if we speak of sin as a stench in God's nostrils, we implicate God in sin.

actually, besides SSPX, we also have SSPV and some other sedevacantists in our diocesan territory.. it is a very Catholic region of the country... yet our diocese isn't interested in serving anyone who is not a modernist, charismatic, or radical ecumenist.. so literally tens of thousands of traditional Catholics in our diocese are left spiritually starved every Sunday.

Tim Brandenburg

Anonymous,

Rather than attend schismatic Masses (valid but illicit), I would say it is the Catholic's duty to attend the "kumbaya" Mass at his/her local parish. If there are liturgical abuses, bring it to your priest's attention. If your priest refuses to correct the problem, bring it to your Bishop's attention. If your Bishop refuses to correct the problem, bring it to the attention of the archdiocese. If your Archbishop refuses to correct the problem, bring it to the attention of Rome.

I know... easy for me to say. I have an Anglican Use parish I can go to (some distance away) when I need my High Mass fix.

Andy Nowicki

SDG,
Well... the metaphor can only go so far, can it? I had no design on implicating God for the sins of men.

But as far as efforts to win the glibness and speciousness sweepstakes go, how about the tired line, "Vatican II wasn't bad in itself; it's just the way it's been INTERPRETED that's bad." I'm really tired of hearing that one. It's not even clever, like my own glib statement (above) was.

Vatican II was bad in that the language used in many of its documents is imprecise. Anyone can read the same text and arrive at very different conclusions. Unfortunately, many people want to draw their own conclusions based on their own presuppositions rather than defer to the one person who is charged with authentically interpreting those documents!

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