When asked about what the Catholic faithful ought to think of the recently concluded “Extraordinary Synod on the Family,” this is what Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, had this to say:
There is nothing to expect. There is no need to wait. The direction has been given, and it is clear. We must simply say: it is clear. It is obvious that they wish to trivialize the situation of those who live in adultery, truly in a state of sin. They wish to trivialize it, and that is very, very, very serious. When we play with morality, we are playing with God’s commandments. To have dared, for two weeks, to leave up to opinion questions that leave no room for opinion! It is God’s word. All we have to say is “Amen.” We must, of course, think about how to help these people; we must always think about that. But we certainly do not help them by telling them there is an open door when there is none. The door that is being opened is a door to hell! These prelates who have received the power of the keys, that is, of opening the gates of Heaven, are closing them, and opening the gates of hell. It is unbelievable! It is crazy! Absolutely crazy! And as I said, the direction has been laid out. It is true that this synod was not supposed to make a decision; it was supposed to be a first step, but the first steps have been taken, the direction has been laid out, and it is not hard to guess what the following synod will do. Unless there is a much stronger reaction than the one we see today, and unfortunately, I doubt that there will be. Alas, there will not be!
As I discusses in several posts last week (here, here, and here), what will we do during the next year? Can we provide Bishop Fellay wrong with “a much stronger reaction than the one we see today”? Heaven help us if we do not.
Better late (in the day) than never, perhaps.
I am pressed for time, so you get another “whimsical” post.
My contributions to this web-log may be a bit spotty this week. As such, let me take a moment to highlight another corner of the blogosphere where you can direct your reading time: Professor Adam DeVille’s Eastern Christian Books. (You can read a brief profile on DeVille over at the Ochlophobist’s blog here.) Whether you’re trying to keep tabs on the latest Eastern Christian scholarship or looking for suggestions for your Christmas wish list, ECB is the place to go. ECB contains not only reviews of new Eastern Christian titles, but also interviews, commentaries, and pieces of DeVille’s own scholarship. Go forth and spend hours there.
Given the heavier nature of the previous three posts, I thought I would post something more relaxed while also striving to answer a question that several people have posed to me over the years, namely, “Don’t you miss the Orthodox liturgy?” (Admittedly, this question has been pitched in various ways, some more “polemical” than others.) That question, when it comes from the Orthodox, is usually bound up with their not-incorrect sense that the Church of Rome, at this point in her storied and sometimes tumultuous history, is by and large a liturgical wasteland with only a handful oases to sustain the faithful.
In two recent posts (see here and here), I discussed the present situation in the Church facing faithful Catholics and what, if anything, they ought to do about it. Part of that discussion focused on what I will broadly call “disarmament,” that is, the end of polemics and counter-polemics among various conservative-to-traditional “factions” or “camps” within the Church in the interest of combatting the greater malady: liberalism (also known as “progressivism”). This means, for the time being, setting aside or suspending important and reasonable disagreements concerning liturgy, spirituality, and theology in the interest of both defending and promotion the Catholic Church’s authentic teachings on marriage, sexuality, and the family. Let’s be clear: all three are under vigorous assault from renovationists within the Church and their cheerleaders in the wider, secular world. Some, I suspect, will interpret such a calling as a “selling out” of what not only I, but many other traditional Catholics, claim to stand for. Not so. Traditional Catholicism is not a foreign religion; it is not, in and of itself, a “new church” which fails to be intimately connected with Catholicism’s 1.2 billion adherents. If we are truly part of the Corpus Mysticum, then we are part of it with those who read First Things and Communio, regularly (if not exclusively) attend the Novus Ordo Mass, and believe the Second Vatican Council was both important and necessary. If that makes your blood boil, then let me suggest you find a new ecclesial haunt. If, however, that reality fills you with a refreshed sense of mission to promote the traditional apostolate in a spirit of charity for the betterment of the Church and, above all, the greater glory of God, then you are in the right place. For the time being, however, we have a more immediate work to tend to.
To all of my readers, I wish a blessed Feast of Christ the King. On this day many of us are accustomed to exalting Him as all of the Angels and Saints in Heaven do continuously. Perhaps, given the times, it would be wise for us to meditate on how the world saw our King when He took the form of a servant to deliver us all from the bondage of sin.
Below is a prayer to Christ the King which, prior to the disciplinary reforms of the 1960s, carried a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions.
O Jesus Christ,
I acknowledge Thee as universal King.
All that has been made,
has been created for Thee.
Exercise all Thy rights over me.
I renew my baptismal vows,
renouncing Satan, his pomps and his works;
and I promise to live as a good Christian.
In particular do I pledge myself to labor,
to the best of my ability,
for the triumph of the rights of God and Thy Church.
Divine Heart of Jesus,
to Thee do I proffer my poor services,
laboring that all hearts may acknowledge Thy Sacred Kingship,
and that thus the reign of Thy peace
be established throughout the whole universe.
I am sad to report that until recently (very recently), I have not been an avid reader of The LMS [Latin Mass Society] Chairman’s Blog, written by one Joseph Shaw. There is no good explanation for this other than the fact I have a hard enough time keeping up on the handful of other blogs, magazines, and websites that everyone tells me I “need to read.”
Update 10/24, 8:06pm: Though completely unrelated to this entry, Michael Matt, editor of The Remnant, posted a new video addressing some of the issues discussed below. It is well worth viewing.
There is, I believe, a somewhat reasonable discussion currently underway in various social media circles and corners of the blogosphere concerning the prudence of publicly criticizing Pope Francis for various actions (or inactions) he has undertaken over the past 18 months, including his choice to remain silent — until the very end — of the recently concluded “Extraordinary Synod on the Family.” Two slightly interrelated incidents of unequal magnitude have refreshed, even amplified, this debate. The first incident was Cardinal Raymond Burke’s statement that Francis “had done a lot of harm” to the Church by not stating “what his position is” with respect to the Synod. Even after the Pope’s speech which closed the Synod, many remain perplexed over what Francis is thinking and what he plans to do next. Many Catholics were shocked that Cardinal Burke would choose to be so candid with his remarks, though many were willing to give Burke a pass on the grounds that his position as a Prince of the Church provides ample latitude for frank commentary on the state of the Catholic Church and the actions of the Holy Father.
For those interested, my latest article, “No Light from the Orthodox East on Christian Marriage,” is available in the newest issue of The Angelus — the flagship English-language publication of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Though the article is currently behind the publication’s online paywall (see here), let me take a moment to encourage you to acquire a print subscription.
Since undergoing a design and format overhaul two years ago, The Angelus has become one of the most aesthetically pleasing and edifying Catholic publications available. While Catholics — even traditional Catholics — continue to have reasonable disagreements concerning some of the positions of the SSPX, the fact remains that The Angelus provides a rich variety of content which speaks to all Catholics everywhere. In any given issue you will find important articles on Church history, art, music, social teaching, and the lives of Saints. You can find more details on subscribing here, or purchase individual issues from Angelus Press here.