Pope fires those responsible for SSPX fiasco


John Allen has the scoop as usual!

Rome
In what could be seen as another piece of fallout from Benedict XVI’s January decision to lift the excommunications of four traditionalist bishops, including one who is a Holocaust denier, the pope today restructured the Vatican office that handles relations with the traditionalist world — and, in effect, gently fired the officials who presided over the earlier fiasco.

As a result of a document issued by the Vatican today, titled Ecclesiae unitatem, Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon-Hoyos, who had served as President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission since 2000, and Italian Monsignor Camille Perl, the number two official at Ecclesia Dei, are both out of work. The Ecclesia Dei Commission was created by the late Pope John Paul II in 1988 to manage relations with the Society of St. Pius X founded by the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

Both men played key roles in the decision to lift the ecxcommunications, including that of Bishop Richard Williamson, the traditionalist prelate who denied in an interview with Swedish television that the Nazis had used gas chambers and that six million Jews had died in the Holocaust.

The so-called “Lefebvrites” rejected many of the reforms associated with the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Most prominently, traditionalists clung to the pre-Vatican II Mass in Latin, but many also have voiced objections to the council’s teachings on ecumenism, inter-faith dialogue and religious freedom.

In broad strokes, the restructuring announced today is seen by most observers as a sign that the Vatican intends to take a more careful, and perhaps a bit firmer, hand in its dealings with traditionalist Catholics.

Issued as a motu proprio, meaning an exercise of the pope’s personal authority under canon law, Ecclesiae unitatem brings the Ecclesia Dei Commission under the supervision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s top doctrinal agency. That means ultimate responsibility for the church’s relationship with the traditionalists will belong to American Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the doctrinal congregation.

The Vatican also announced today that the new secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Commission will be Italian Monsignor Guido Pozzo, 57, formerly an official in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and deputy secretary of the International Theological Commission, an advisory body to the doctrinal congregation.

Levada released a statement today stipulating that as far as the Lefebvrite movement is concerned, “the doctrinal questions remain open. Until they’re clarified, Levada’s statement said, the ‘Society of St. Pius X’ cannot enjoy any canonical status within the church, and its ministers do not exercise in a legitimate way any ministry within the church.”

Although the Vatican issued a similar statement at the time of the controversy surrounding Williamson, today’s repetition from Levada makes clear anew that the lifting of the excommunications in January does not mean that the Lefebvrite bishops are fully “rehabilitated.”

Now for those of you offended at first glace at the Pope’s attempt at reconciling these folks–shout this move just as loudly as you shouted your outrage.

Why do I have feeling that I’ll only hear the words: “It’s about time!”

Pope Apologizes for Public Relations Fiasco


With regards to the SSPX public relations nightmare where Pope Benedict thought that the headlines would read “Pope Heals Schism” and instead got “Pope welcomes back Bishop who denies Holocaust” the Pope had the following very humble words to say. A hat tip to Deacon Greg this morning who beat me to the papers.

One mishap for me unforeseeable, was the fact that the Williamson case has superimposed itself on the remission of the excommunication. The discreet gesture of mercy towards the four bishops ordained validly but not legitimately, suddenly appeared as something entirely different: as a disavowal of the reconciliation between Christians and Jews, and therefore as the revocation of what in this area the Council had clarified for the way for the Church. The invitation to reconciliation with an ecclesial group separating itself had thus become the opposite: an apparent way back behind all the steps of reconciliation between Christians and Jews which had been made since the Council and which to make and further had been from the outset a goal of my theological work. The fact that this superposition of two opposing processes has occurred and has disturbed for a moment the peace between Christians and Jews as well as the peace in the Church I can only deeply regret. I hear that closely following the news available on the internet would have made it possible to obtain knowledge of the problem in time. I learn from this that we at the Holy See have to pay more careful attention to this news source in the future. It has saddened me that even Catholics who could actually have known better have thought it necessary to strike at me with a hostility ready to jump. Even more therefore I thank the Jewish friends who have helped to quickly clear away the misunderstanding and to restore the atmosphere of friendship and trust, which – as in the time of Pope John Paul II – also during the entire time of my pontificate had existed and God be praised continues to exist.

Another mishap which I sincerely regret, is that the scope and limits of the measure of 21 January 2009 have not been set out clearly enough at the time of the publication of the procedure. The excommunication affects persons, not institutions. Episcopal consecration without papal mandate means the danger of a schism, because it calls into question the unity of the Bishops’ College with the Pope. The Church must, therefore, react with the harshest punishment, excommunication, and that is to call back the persons thus punished to repentance and into unity. 20 years after the ordinations this goal has unfortunately still not been achieved. The withdrawal of the excommunication serves the same purpose as the punishment itself: once more to invite the four bishops to return.

You can read more here

var addthis_pub=”googlinggod”;
<a onmouseover="return addthis_open(this, '', '[URL]', '[TITLE]')" onmouseout="addthis_close()" href="http://wwwjavascript:void(0)
Publish Post.addthis.com/bookmark.php?v=20″ onclick=”return addthis_sendto()”>Bookmark and Sharehttp://s7.addthis.com/js/200/addthis_widget.js

When starting a blog..expect something like this


I “rejected” this comment but thought it merited some thoughts.

GOOGLER GOD YOU SURE SOUND LIKE GOD ALMIGHT, UR I HATE ORTHODOX CATHOLICS IS CSHOWING MAN, WHATCHA GONA DO WHEN SSPX IS RECONCILED IN TOTO WITH ROME, UR GONNA HAVE TO FIND ANOTHER NON HETERDOX BISHOP PRIEST AND OR SOCIETY TO KICK ASS . JEEEE WIZ U MAKE ME FEEL LIKE UR THE SAME ENTITIES THAT CRIED IN ANGER UPON HEARING THE NAME JOSEPH RATZINGER, RIGHT AFTER HABEMUS PAPUM. COULD IT BE THAT YOU REALIZD THE WATERED DOWN CUMBYA FEELY FEELY LEFTIST YUM YUM LIBERAL CATHOLICISM IS COMING TO A SCREECHING HALT AND BEFORE PEOPLE LIKE THE HALF BILLION STRONG EASTERN ORTHODOX WILL EVEN LOOK AT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH THEY MUST SEE THAT IT IS RETURNING TO CATHOLICISM, ORTHODOXY AND SHUCKING OFF IT’S PHONE WANNA BE A PROTESTANT CATHOLIC VERSION OF VAT 2. TIMES ARE CHANGING AND IF THE SOCIAL, LEFT, LIB THEOLOGY PC CATHOLICS DON’T LIKE IT, CAN’T STAND IT REJECT IT AND CONTINUE TO BE DISOBEDIENT TO THE POPE, MAGISTERIUM, THEN THE WATERED DOWN LIBERALS OF THE LAST 40 YRS CAN ALWAY JOIN THE “WHAT EVER U WANNA BELIEVE EPISCOPALIANS AKA CHURCH OF ENGLAND AKA ANGLICANS OR BETTER YET U MIGHT BE MORE COMFORTABLE WITH THE UNITARIANS

Um, no. I’m not an Episcopalian. I’m not a Unitarian. I’m not a Wiccan. I don’t like the song Kum-by-ya! But as I travel around the country I notice a few things about young adults, in particular, (people in their 20s and 30s who I minister with and to) that I found interesting.

a) The events of the world often shape their religious responses and participation. Columbine, 9-11, Katrina, the Indian Tsunami and Virginia Tech all have had a huge influence on them. Many think that because they have some desire for “traditional” worship practices and like some of the old-school traditions (like adoration, the rosary and even yes, the Latin Mass) that this means that they are harkening back to a time before the council, retrieving some of the ancient rituals from long ago and reviving them. But these people and even their parents in some cases have had no experience of the church before the council, so what is going on is different here. I claim that it is a reaction to a culture of insecurity. People long for security in a world gone mad with terrorism, violence and even natural disasters and they look for religion to provide what the world cannot. Our opportunity as ministers is not to mistake this longing for some kind of political affiliation with conservatism but rather to engage their longing and give them appropriate opportunities for worship that also explain and engages their minds as well as their hearts with these rituals.

I would also say I notice something that a friend recently pointed out to me. At let’s say at a Catholic event focused on social justice–there are great things going on, great witness by people living out gospel values and even great community, but there seems to be very little regard for prayer, contemplation and personal piety.

At Catholic events that are more focused on family, life issues or even liturgy there seems to be only a contemplative focus and not much on social justice, community, diversity or culture.

Aren’t BOTH of these things important?

Now the writer above, claims that I hate “orthodox” Catholics. I say two things in response.

1) I am an orthodox Catholic. The Jesuits who I met at Fordham were orthodox. The Paulists I work for now are orthodox. As are anybody who are in the big tent of Catholicism. We are all in the SAME church and do the same things and are engaging the same tradition. Being orthodox means being part of the entire experience of our church. It also means that we don’t reject the Second Vatican Council which is the exact heresy that the “Bishops” who are running the Society of St Pius X were in fact, excommunicated for. Pope Benedict has already said without an adherence to all that the council has placed into our tradition there cannot be ANY reconciliation (this includes the holocaust in light of the document Nostra Aetate)

2) What I am not is a fundamentalist. I don’t read a literal translation of the bible. I don’t think that the Second Vatican Council was a bunch of hogwash. I don’t blindly toss away people’s questions when they ask them and tell them to simply read the bible or the catechism and that their questions will magically dissolve. I engage Catholicism with culture and with experience and try to help people navigate that path and show where they are less divergent than what they may think.

3) I also am not someone who thinks we should just ignore everything that the Second Vatican Council says, but rather we should be critical about what we didn’t do well after the council, namely Catechesis, explanation (one Sunday they just turned the altar around!) and a lack of ritual done with mystery and reverence at times. The Second Vatican Council provided some great things for the church that we should not blindly think about tossing away (the proverbial baby with the bathwater) in favor of a reversion to a time before the council. However, we did lose some of what was good about ritual and liturgy from before the council. There was a sense of mystery and rhythm that perhaps we don’t do as well currently. Something different and “other-worldly” was going on at mass which perhaps today seems more common to our experience. And yet, people don’t know what’s going on at mass even when it is in English! So going back to Latin mass may not do anything except serve to confuse even the most ardent mass attender. Perhaps we’re asking the wrong questions and I think many of our brothers and sisters who find value in the Society of St Pius X are onto something. Most of these people are not like the so-called Bishop Williamson who denies the value of the second vatican council and the holocaust. I think most of the people who follow the SSPX are simply people who long for a sense of mystery in liturgy and who are tired of having an experience on Sunday that is very much like their experience of daily life. They are looking to TRANSCEND daily life for an experience that brings them into a mysterious connection with the divine.

So no, “anonymous” (who didn’t even have the guts to write their name), I don’t hate those who use the title Orthodox. I’m actually one of the few people who actually looks at your experience and values it and doesn’t dismiss it.

I’m a Catholic. I love our Pope. I love Cardinals (see, here I am with Cardinal George). I love the church. And I hope our experiences can be less judgmental of one another and more focused on providing a window into where we all long for a connection for God.

And I also know how to write in complete sentences.

var addthis_pub=”googlinggod”;
Bookmark and Sharehttp://s7.addthis.com/js/200/addthis_widget.js

Cardinal Egan adds to SSPX outrage

Rocco has the scoop:

“Yesterday, the Vatican condemned in the clearest terms a statement made by an illicitly consecrated Bishop by the name of Richard Williamson in which the evil of the Shoah was questioned or at least minimized. As Archbishop of New York, I add my voice to that of the Holy See and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in rejecting Williamson’s words as hurtful, baseless, and outrageous…”

Head over to Rocco for more.

It’s good to see the Bishops speaking with some unity on this albeit a few days late.

var addthis_pub=”googlinggod”;
Bookmark and Sharehttp://s7.addthis.com/js/200/addthis_widget.js