Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Thoughts on the SSPX, The Church and the Crisis of The Faith

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SSPX AND OF ARCHBISHOP LEFEBVRE
Those who know me know I am grateful to God for the presence of the SSPX in the world in that I believe they have promoted Tradition and thus been a thorn in the side of Rome for several decades. It is my personal belief that Archbishop Lefebvre was an instrument of God in the forming of the Society, and I do not underestimate the courage this great man needed to stand against the might of the Church of Rome, Mother and Mistress of Truth, when she veered from her true course.

Bishop Fellay, the current Superior General of the SSPX, is one of the few courageous, sound, balanced Episcopal voices of today, and I am delighted he holds the office he does in the Society, since I think he continues very much in the mould of the great Archbishop.

The priests of the SSPX whom I have met have been, on the whole, very balanced men very much in the mould of Bishop Fellay and Archbishop Lefebvre, with one or two slips that have disturbed me (such as a homily in which a priest said, “N, whom Rome today would have us believe is a saint…” –which suggests a rejection of the legitimacy and authority of the post-Vatican II Papacy and is thus a contradiction to the said priest offering Holy Mass and praying for ‘Francis our Pope, and N., our Bishop’ (that bishop being the Ordinary of the Diocese in which their Mass centre is situated).

CONCERNS ABOUT THE SSPX AND ITS LAY ADHERANTS
I do however, have serious concerns about a number of SSPX lay adherents whose positions seem to me to be more reminiscent of Bishop Williamson than of the Society per se. these concerns arise from the fact that from a number of the SSPX laity I hear convictions that 'the Novus Ordo Missae is evil', and that 'the priestly ordinations and epsicopal consecrations according to the post-Vatican II Pontificale are invalid' (sadly, Bishop Tissier de Mallerais has all but aligned himself with this latter position, if reports of his sermon during the ordinations on June 29th 2016 are correct).

My concerns is that there is a growing attitude among SSPX laity that the Catholic Church no longer exists except in the SSPX, since the Church of Rome and all those in Communion with her have lost valid Orders over the last 50 years by use of a invalid Rituals. If the Rituals are in fact invalid, there can be no valid Bishops and priests in the Roman Church, but that leaves the SSPX laity heading toward a sedevacantist position since only a validly consecrated bishop can in fact hold the See of Peter and there are, they say, few if any valid bishops left in the Catholic Church. Thus, very soon there can be no Pope. This begs two questions: first, if the Papacy has been lost, why are the SSPX seeking union with Rome at all? Second, if Rome is the Rock of the Church and it has been destroyed, in what way can they claim to have faith in Christ who declared that His Church would NOT be overcome? They follow a Christ who is either too weak to protect His Church, or a Christ who has not bothered to keep His promise.

THE CRISIS OF THE FAITH
Yes indeed there is a deep and profound crisis in the Church of today that we cannot deny: there is little or no Catechesis worthy of the name in Catholic schools today; we celebrate a liturgy that focuses on affirming man and are part of a dying post-Vatican II Church, as indicated by a precipitous fall-off in baptisms, marriages, Mass attendance, religious vocations and ordinations -all of which has Bishops the world over establishing projects focused on the ‘renewal of structures’ that are really about managing decline rather than promoting the Faith, no matter how they dress it up (and it is usually dressed as ‘the Holy Spirit providing us with the opportunity to utilise the gifts of the laity in ecclesial ministry’, yet Vatican II -the Council on which they purport to base their changes- clearly stated that the laity were to be engaged as the leaven in the world. Vatican II never once used the term ‘lay ministry’ (a term which is an elephant in the room that the contemporary Church never acknowledges), the Council only spoke of lay mission.

Of great concern to me is how a number of people I have spoken with, and this includes young people, are losing their faith. One reason why their faith is being lost is that they see the Church is in a woeful situation and that the bishops appear to refuse to acknowledge this, either because they have not the humility to admit they were wrong; are too blinded by error to see that they are wrong, or are wilfully following their own designs rather than the direction of Vatican II (which stands in direct contrast to today’s man-centred liturgy, religious indifferentism and use of the laity as ministers). We are certainly in a time of crisis; a crisis that is pushing people to opposing extremes: a large portion of the official Church pushing its distorted application of Vatican II further and further while the SSPX appears to harden in one limited understanding of the pre-Vatican II Church. A second reason that faith is lost is that many are fighting a political corner in the Church, be it liberal or Traditional, when they should be fighting to overcome their personal vices; to acquire personal virtues and to promote social virtues.

Many folk seem to have forgotten that there have been times huge crisis before in the Church before. One thinks of the Arian Crisis, of Augustine’s battle against the Donatists, of the split between East and West, and of the Protestant Revolt. Today’s crisis is not something that has no precedent -and just as Rome has always triumphed by the hand of God in the past (since He is indeed faithful to His promise that the Church will not fail) we can believe that Rome will triumph again today (it may not be in our lifetime –and I doubt it will be during the Pontificate of Francis- but it will come).

OVERCOMING THE CRISIS
It is my firm conviction that the Church must [1] restore the Penny Catechism (the English equivalent of the Baltimore Catechism) to schools (since unless the faith has been changed this cannot be objectionable to the Bishops), and [2] order that the Novus Ordo be celebrated according to the directives of Vatican II (Latin for the Ordinary with Gregorian Chant as its proper music) and according to the rubrics approved by Pope Paul VI (which favour ad orientem for the Liturgy of the Eucharist and presuppose Holy communion received on the tongue); rubrics he saw as embodying the reforms required by Vatican II. Until these are restored we must pray for grace for the Church, and challenge respectfully wherever we see Rome and the Bishops making pastoral, liturgical or teaching errors. As an encouragement to readers who are dismayed by the state of the Church and consider leaving the Faith I want to conclude with part of today’s second reading from the Novos Ordo Divine Office. It is a reading from St Augustine:

Our Holy Scriptures do not promise us peace, security and repose, but tribulations and distress; the Gospel is not silent about scandals, but ‘he who preservers to the end will be saved’…
You find men complaining about the times they live in, saying that the times of our parents were good. What if they could be taken back to the time of their parents, and should complain? The past times that you think were good, are good because they are not yours here and now…
have we forgotten those burdensome times of famine and war [of the Arian Crisis, of Donatism, of the Protestant Revolt? –Fr GD]. What times those were!

22 comments:

  1. Thank you for that Father Gary, you have put into words that which I was unable to. I pray that we might have renewed unity in the Church but am concerned that we, like the Anglicans, could end up with 'High' & "Low' sides of the Church. Whilst, as you know well, my personal preference is for the Usus Antiqiour I still accept the Novus Ordo as a valid Mass. My difficulty is that when said by some priests it doesn't always seem to be.
    If there is acceptance of the SSPX by Rome will they be expected to celebrate both Forms of Mass? If not will this not help create the Anglican situation? Having listened to what the SSPX says I really cannot see them accepting having to celebrate OF Mass, can you?
    Another concern would be the position of other priests who, often to their personal detriment, celebrate the EF Mass in addition to OF. Would the acceptance of the SSPX not be likely to decide the hierarchy that life be made even more difficult for them? It has (I am told) already been said that the EF Masses are permitted "under sufferance".

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    1. Thank you, David.
      Some interesting questions raised here.
      God Bless.

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  2. A great post. Thank you Father we need to hear these things said especially in my part of the world.

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    1. Thank you, Paul.
      God Bless you and yours.

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  3. I have just seen your post Father and would like to comment on the concern of David O'Neill regarding the exclusive use of the EF by the SSPX.

    He may be unaware that there is currently significant precedent for such usage in the UK.

    The ICKSP (Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest have the supervision of Shrine Churches in New Brighton on the Wirral and also in Preston in Lancashire.

    The F.SS.P (Priestly Society of St. Peter) similarly are granted the use of a former parish church in Warrington. All this is accomplished with the positive co-operation and encouragement of the relevant Ordinary.

    We are indeed fortunate in this bit of NW England in the local provision of the traditional liturgy.

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    1. Thank you, Gerald.
      I not sure the FSSP and ICKSP are granted the right to use the EF exclusively, though I cannot imagine a sound priest of either the Fraternity or the Institute celebrating the N.O. happily.
      God Bless.

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  4. Extreme situations beget extreme situations in response. We were lied to regarding abrogation of the 'Old Mass' and clergy were persecuted who protested. Even clergy who Celebrate the NOM but protest at modernist trends are cast into the outer-darkness as it were - including two of my own acquaintance.

    My own connection with SSPX must go back to the halcyon days of the late 1980's - when SSPX had cordial relations with not only diocesan clergy, but also(real) Anglo-Catholics. I am fully aware of SSPX failings, in particular when the mimic diocesan church excesses.

    I crossed swords with +Williamson long before his elevation. aLetting him loose in America fed his psychosis allowing him to exploit the anomalies of the American psyche - to the detriment of English speaking clergy. I have also encountered clergy and district superiors who are covert +Williamson men and attempt to misuse their (assumed) power over the laity - one, as a result, costing SSPX several tens of thousands of pounds. A major example of abuse being at Post Falls in Idaho - where they missed $800,000 of Damages by the skin of their teeth, on a technicality.

    The difficulty with the NOM, apart from a general banality compared to its predecessor, is that you could now predetermine what you would encounter when going to a new church. In one parish, in Somerset, you would witness the PP and 'Supply' preaching against the Magisterium - not to mention the posturing Permanent Deacons.

    The problem with some SSPX laity is lack of Charity and not understand that you convert people by example not showing how clever and righteous you are.

    I attend an Oratory Mass, but have great affection and trust for my (usurped and ill PP). SSPX laity say I should not attend NOM's but stay at home and say my prayers - what rubbish. When I stated I find priests I could trust, I was villified.

    What is now needed is for the Traditional Orders to
    co-operate.

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    1. My connection to the SSPX goes back to the early eighties when I occasionally attended their Mass in a hotel room. The priest serving us at that time offered to put me in touch with Econe as I was considering priesthood, but I thought it best to stay with the Church authorised by Rome. I have often regretted that choice, but I remain unhappy with the extremism I see among some of the SSPX lay adherents. I have no doubt that there are some +Williamson supporters among the SSPX clergy, but I have never been aware of meeting one. let me say this: I get the same feeling from some of the SSPX laity that I got from those engaged in the Charismatic Renewal (whose prayer groups and seminars I have also attended over the years): both have an attitude of 'we have it, and one day you will catch up to us.' There is a striking arrogance in both here positons demonstrated here: the SSPX laity with their 'only our orders are valid' trajectory, and the 'baptism in the Spirit' ideology of the Charismatics who by proclaiming baptism in the spirit thereby demonstrate that they see sacramental baptism and Confirmation as not conferring the spirit. What is required, if we are honest, is for Rome to return to orthodoxy and stop trying to reconcile the (willful or otherwise) misapplications and misinterpretations of Vatican II.
      God Bless.

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  5. It is crucial that the Catholic Mass of St Gregory the Great continues at the core of Catholic prayer and therefore belief.

    The SSPX grasped this and we must be grateful to them. I have never been inside any of their churches, incidently. Eccentricity no doubt lingers but compared with the rampant heretical heterodoxy now widely accepted even in Rome, it is minor.

    The pendulum will swing back, slowly it seems. But the FFSP, in existence now for only 28 years will soon be the main order in some countries. Together with other orders and priests who are prepared to say the Gregorian Mass, the recovery will come.

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    1. Amonf the SSPX, FSSP and ICKSP, the FSSP are my preferred society. One only hopes they do not engage in defending Vatican II uncritically in order to remain on good terms with Rome, but take up the stand of the SSPX who demand the right to question and to stand in contradiction to some aspects of Vatican II.
      God Bless.

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  6. No SSPX priest has ever said in my 12 years of attending mass in their chapels,that the new mass is evil. What they say is the novus ordo has led to the loss of faith because of the novelties it contains. Also regarding the canonization of saints since Vatican 2, there is doubt over the new rite that is now used. by the way this new rite is also used in baptisms and the blessing of holy water leaving out the exorcism part. One novus ordo priest I know never ever uses the new rite to bless holy water. He always uses the old rite saying the new rite makes happy water not holy water.
    The SSPX refuse to compromise and because of this they prick consciences and God Bless then for this.

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  7. Thank you, Mary.
    Indeed, I have not heard a priest member of the SSPX say the Novus Ordo is evil, but I have heard it from some of their lay adherents. Apparently, however, Bishop Fellay has described it as evil, cf. http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=19372 If this report is correct, I lose some confidence in the man.
    That said, it is not a ‘new Mass’: there is only one Mass with the same Sacrifice and same Victim; it is the liturgy surrounding the moment of the Mass (surrounding the consecration) that is new. I agree that the new liturgy has led to a loss of faith; not because it contains novelties (though I find the prepration of the gifts a novelty) but because many of the traditional prayers which specifically announce the Doctrines of the Faith are dumbed down in the N.O. or even omitted altogether (The Offertory). I do not like the Novus Ordo Missae; I find its ethos man-centred: the priest is front and centre, and there is a feeling that it is designed for enjoyment by the people and the affirmation of the people, rather than the adoration of God and propitiation for our sins. The novelties that occur are to be found mainly however, in the additions to the N.O.M. that occur in its concrete celebration (extraordinary ministers, Communion in the hand, versus populorum etc) and which have been given official approbation by a prudential judgement that they are consistent with the Catholic Faith. It is altogether very lacking in its texts and its concrete celebration. I do not believe we can doubt the validity of the N.O.M. or of any of the Rites approved by the Supreme Pontiff (who alone has the power to promulgate a rite) but we can doubt the goodness of a Rite approved by him, as happened with the New Rite of Baptism which had to be substantially modified after complaints from around the world. Still, I think you and I are saying the same thing: you say ‘the SSPX prick coonskins’; I said they are ‘a thorn in the side of Rome’ -we can both say ‘God bless them for that!’
    God Bless.

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  8. Dear Fr. Dickson,

    I read with interest your commentary on the SSPX and your comparison between the Traditional and Novus Ordo rites of Mass.

    You were absolutely right to state that Archbishop Lefebvre was a great man of God, for that is precisely what he was. I think it reasonable to state, in fact, that had it not been for the brave stance he took for so many decades there would be very few, if any, Traditional priests or Masses now available to the faithful universally. I fully expect this great Archbishop to be canonised once the Church is restored to her former faith and glory.

    You were also correct in your assessment of Bishop Tissier de Mallerais. Sad to say His Excellency has displayed a tendency to lean more towards the mindset of Bishop Williamson than Archbishop Lefebvre. I do not think this has gone unnoticed in the SSPX.

    It is absolutely beyond question that the New Mass and Sacramental rites can be valid. I say "can be valid" because their construction, unlike the traditional rites, makes them susceptible to abusive innovation by celebrants who may deviate from the rubrics or may not have the intention to do what the Church intends.

    This brings me to the proper definition of the word "evil," as applied by some Traditional Catholics to describe the New Mass.

    You may recall that in their famous 'Critique of the Novus Ordo', Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci described the New Mass as representing "in its individual parts and as a whole a grave departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as codified in Session XXII of the Council of Trent".

    Since its introduction the new rite has opened the Mass up to unprecedented liturgical and sacramental innovations and abuses, many of them sacrilegious. It has also decimated the sacred priesthood, massively destroyed vocations and caused millions to lose the faith. This is why Archbishop Lefebvre adamantly refused to celebrate it, observing that validity was not the main issue. The main issue was the eroding effect that heavily Protestantised liturgy has on Catholic souls over time, what some might term as the drip, drip effect of indifference.
    From this viewpoint a description of the New Mass as "evil" is not as extreme as some believe, unless of course Our Lord was mistaken when He admonished that the tree is known by its fruit. If the fruits of the New Mass are not evil, then what are they? Are they good?

    We know that a valid priest can validly consecrate during a Black Mass. Do we then argue that this Mass cannot be evil because it is valid? Now I am not for a moment comparing the New Mass with a Black Mass, I am simply making the point that "evil" can be applied to describe something that is detrimental to the good. The New Mass is certainly detrimental to the good of souls when compared with the ancient Mass of the saints and martyrs. Having said this, I would prefer that the word were not used at all to describe the New Mass, if only to avoid any misunderstanding of its application.
    There were one or two other matters I wanted to address but I fear I have gone on too long already. Suffice it to say I strongly disagree with your insinuation that a sizeable number of lay Catholics associated with the SSPX are of a schismatic mindset. I have been associated with the SSPX for 30 years in the UK, with many contacts abroad, and I can assure you that extremists of this kind are relatively few, though they are there.

    Anyway, I'll leave it at that for now, Father. May God bless your work for souls. You are clearly a priest of integrity and fidelity to the faith, if somewhat mistaken in some of your observations.

    I visited your blog because one of your contributors used your observations to come on to a pro-SSPX blog to vilify it and its contributors. I don't blame you for that, such are the sad times we live through.

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    1. Dear Martin,
      I agree that without the SSPX being, as I put it, a thorn in the side of Rome we would probably not have access to the Traditional Mass today. Thanking God for the SSPX is not without merit, I think.
      On the question of validity, what the Church intends does not have to mean knowing what the Church intends; as long as the celebrant intends to do what the Church intends the sacrament is valid, be it Orders or Eucharist. I do not think we can easily say they ‘can’ be valid if they do not have correct belief; it is not their belief that counts but their intention.

      I agree the definition of evil might be applies by some to the Novus Ordo if such a one holds the definition that ‘evil is the privation of a good that ought to be present’ (St Augustine), since the good that lacks in the Novus Ordo is the clear enunciation of the Catholic Faith. If this enunciation were present the Missal could not be used by Protestants, which is sometimes is. It is for this reason as well as proper instruction of the faithful that I abhor the loss of the Offertory and its replacement by a grace before meals. Like you, however, I think the word evil ought to be left out of the discussion, for if the Novus Ordo Missae can make present the same Victim and Sacrifice as the Traditional Mass, it cannot be evil -and few deny the efficacy of the N.O. to effect a valid Eucharist.

      Can I say that I have not said a ‘sizeable number’ of lay adherents are of a ‘schismatic mindset’ but that a number of them hold some extreme views on what is valid and is not valid. I too have a (loose) association with the SSPX that goes back 30 years, over which time I have heard a number of laity express extreme views (most were very pro-Williamson until his association with the Society came to an end).
      Finally, I am sad about any vilification of persons that has taken place. I have no hesitation in criticising a position or point of view but I would not want to engage in an attack up the person or contributors who such a view. Judgement of persons belongs to God alone.
      God Bless you and yours.

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  9. Dear Fr. Dickson,

    Many thanks for your kind response. It seems we are pretty much in agreement, although I would have liked to explore the New Mass with you a little more. However, that would be a lengthy business, too lengthy for a blog, so I'll content myself by saying that since it was constructed to obscure the Sacrifice, many priests and faithful now no longer know what the Mass is. This obviously has a knock-on effect when it comes to intending what the Church intends. One has to know what the Church intends before one can unite oneself with that intention. When questioned, a surprising number will call the Mass all kinds of things from celebration of the Eucharist to commemoration of the Lord's Supper. What you will rarely, if ever, hear them speak of is "The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass". This is hugely worrying.

    As one who attended the Novus Ordo for 20 years before finding the SSPX, I can state from personal experience how corroding of the faith the New Mass is. Hence, I made a decision that should I ever be deprived of the Mass of my birth right, that of the saints and martyrs, then I would sanctify myself at home rather than participate in the New Mass. The commandment of the Church is that we must fulfil our Sunday obligation under pain of mortal sin. But the Church must provide the Mass of our forefathers, the Mass codified in perpetuity by St. Pius V, if we are to be in a position to obey. Constraining us to either celebrate or participate in a hastily constructed rite that bears all the hallmarks of Protestant theology, is an abuse of power. No one, not even the Pope, can order the faithful to attend a rite that is dangerous to faith, even if the elements for validity are still present.

    Now I'm going on too much so I'll take my leave by saying that thankfully Bishop Williamson took most of the hard-nosed extremists with him when he was put out of the SSPX. I'm sure this was an act of God.

    I'll leave you with this declaration of intent made by Fr. Annibale Bugnini, the main author of the New Mass, prior to the commencement of his liturgical upheaval. In a March 25, 1965 interview with L'Osservatore Romano he stated: "We must remove from our Catholic liturgy and prayers all that can be the shadow of a stumbling block to our separated brethren, that is, to the Protestants." Later in 1974 he felt able to say that the New Mass was "A conquest of the Catholic Church".

    Knowing this and seeing the bitter fruits of his labour, we would have to say that validity alone cannot make the New Mass binding on the faithful, especially since the ancient Mass had been very sinfully suppressed by abusive bishops.

    God bless you Father, and sorry to have rambled on.

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    1. Dear Martin,
      I do not think you have rambled on at all. I can agree with all of your points: while in seminary only two of us in a class of 30 answered the question ‘What is the Mass’ with ‘Mass is the making present of the Sacrifice of Calvary’. The other 28 declared it a ‘commemoration of the last (or Lord’s) Supper’. We were in the fourth year of our studies at the time and doing Reformation History!
      I have long been aware of the quotes by Archbishop Bugninni; it is the reason some Protestants can happily use the Roman Missal. I cannot understand why those who hard-line support the NOM are not seriously disturbed by this admission: it is like a terrorist admitting he has poisoned a water supply and the Water Board extolling the taste. If Protestantism exists in protest against Catholic Doctrine and they can use our Missal, then how can our Missal be proclaiming our Catholic Faith adequately?
      Along with Bugninin’s admission of seeking a protestant-friendly liturgy, the novelties of Communion in the hand and the disastrous pro populorum orientation have brought about a huge loss of faith in the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence, while the introduction of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion has led to a loss of belief in the priesthood –even among priests (of both presbyteral and Episcopal rank) I think.
      I could never advise anyone not to attend the NOM if the TLM was not available though, because the Victim and Sacrifice are present and we ought not to deny ourselves Communion with the Lord no matter how his arrival among us is dressed (the surrounding liturgy) –but I do not think attending the NOM exclusively as some would have us do, is helpful to souls: unless its connectivity to the TLM is seen it has no root and rootless plants die. In order to recall its link to Tradition I have celebrated the N.O. ad orientem for 12 years and encouraged the folk to receive kneeling and on the tongue –which a number have done, with use of Latin for the Ordinary (Sanctus, Pater Noster etc) –all in complete conformity with the NOM and Vatican II. However, I much prefer the TLM for reasons of clear Catholic theology and better ritual.
      God Bless.

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  10. Thank you again, Father.

    I don't know if you have read this quotation of Pius XII, so here it is for your interest. I find it hugely prophetic. I included it in an article I had published in The Angelus magazine some two years ago, entitled "Fiddling while Rome burns".

    “I am worried by the Blessed Virgin's messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith in her liturgy, her theology and her soul…I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject her ornaments and make her feel remorse for her historical past. A day will come when the civilised world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God.” (Mgr. Roche, Pie XII Devant L’Histoire, p. 52-53).

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  11. Father, I had a dinner guest tonight, who told me that if I do not assent to Vatican II, then I am a heretic. I was told by my guest that Vatican II is at the same level of the Council of Trent, - both are councils - and our assent to them is required as Catholics.

    I had mentioned to my guest that I understand the Vatican II was pastoral in nature, and did not touch doctrine. As such, there is no need to give my assent to it, particularly because there are parts of it that are so ambiguous, that I would not know what I am assenting to. And if I must read Vatican II in light of Tradition, why not stick with Tradition? This is what made my guest say that if I don't assent to Vatican II, I am a heretic.

    Yikes! Any thoughts on this?

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    1. Thank you, GC.
      Not easy to respond in a few words but here goes:
      Vatican II requires the same obedience as every other Council, but not all of its documents require the assent of faith as infallible teachings. Cardinal Brandmuller stated as far back as 2012 that the two most controversial texts (those on Religious Freedom and On Non-Christian Religions) are only decrees and do not have binding doctrinal content, so we are free to disagree with them. Archbishop Pozzo of the Ecclesia Dei commission has recently reaffirmed this. There are Dogmatic Statement such as Lumen gentium which do develop doctrine, but which repeat previous doctrine without contradicting it, so these require assent. In that Vatican II can be read in an orthodox manner and a progressive (modernist?) manner, it can be criticised. My own criticism for years has been that it did a lot of beautiful waffling but refused to tie anything down with “Therefore, if anyone says…let him be anathema”. At first I truly regretted this, but I am overjoyed by it now because it may have tied us down to very poor teaching. If I want to see the Holy Spirit was working in Vatican II I can see it in that He prevented the Council from using the ‘Anathema sit’ formulation.
      I know the argument about Vatican II being merely a pastoral Council, but it can only go so far since the word pastoral has no specific meaning attached to it; I once heard the Council described as being “pastoral in the sense that the Gospels are pastoral”: they are teaching from the highest authority.
      Your dinner gust needs to be more specific; what in Vatican II does he say you must assent to? Not all of it requires assent under pain of heresy, as the CDF and Ecclesia Dei have confirmed!
      God Bless.

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  12. Thank you Father. ...on the confusing side though. You write: "Vatican II requires the same obedience as every other Council, but not all of its documents require the assent of faith as infallible teachings"

    So in this context, what is the difference between obedience [to the Councils] and assent? How can I be obedient if I do not assent?

    God bless

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    1. Thank you, GC.
      We give obedience in the sense of practicalities: "We obey, but we do not agree"; we can withhold assent to teaching that is not dogmatic: we do not have to agree to non-infallible teaching. Where we feel a teaching is very wrong we can not only without assent but actively seek its repeal or correction -as in the recent Amoris Laetitia request for corrections.
      God Bless.

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