Month: May 2012

Pope Benedict and the SSPX

The U.S. District of the Society of St. Pius X has asked Catholics to join in a special Novena starting May 8 (tomorrow) and ending May 16. According to the SSPX, “[t]he intention of this novena will be that the Holy Ghost may give the graces of light and strength to the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, and to the Superior General of the Society, Bishop Fellay.” The Novena consists of reciting the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus and the Memorare prayer to the Blessed Virgin. A full text of both prayers, along with a note explaining the purpose of the Novena, is available online here.

As La Stampa‘s Andrea Tornielli (“Vatican Insider”) reports, “The week ahead is going to be crucial for relations between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X”. This Wednesday, Cardinals and bishop members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will discuss the response to the doctrinal preamble sent last 17 April by the Fraternity’s superior, Bishop Bernard Fellay.

This is a delicate moment, particularly after the publication on the Web of the letters exchanged between Fellay and three other Lefebvrian bishops, which Vatican Insider reported on last Thursday. Fellay has been leading negotiations with the Holy See and is prepared to accept Benedict XVI’s proposal; the three bishops, however, are not.

But the words used by Mgr. Fellay in his response to his fellow brothers Tissyer de Mallerais, de Gallareta and Williamson, illustrate the decisive role Benedict XVI has played in the process. “The Pope – Fellay wrote in the confidential letter he sent in response to the criticisms – told us that the eagerness to legalise our status for the good of the Church was at the heart of his pontificate; he also said he knew it would be easier for him and for us to leave the situation as it is at the moment. The willingness he has expressed is therefore determined and fair.”

A Roundup of Recent Events

  • Traditionalist leader says group could divide over unity with Rome, by Francis Rocca (Catholic News Service) 5/11/12. The leader of a breakaway group of traditionalist Catholics spoke in unusually hopeful terms about a possible reconciliation with Rome, but acknowledged significant internal resistance to such a move, which he said might lead to the group splitting apart.
  • Lefebvrians: The internal battle Following the exchange of letters addressed to the leaders of the Society of St. Pius X in recent weeks, three bishops have expressed their opposition to the agreement. 05/10/2012:

    A website has reported on the letters exchanged a month ago between bishops Tissier de Mallerays, Alfonso de Gallareta, Richard Williamson and the leader of the Society of St. Pius X, Bernard Fellay. The letter which the three bishops sent Fellay on 7 April contains a final appeal asking the superior not to sign the doctrinal preamble or accept the agreement proposed by the Holy See. As readers will recall, the agreement aims to assign the Lefebvrians a personal prelature.

  • Letter of the General Council of the Society of Saint Pius X Rorate Caeli 5/11/12. A translation of the internal letter sent by Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX /SSPX), and the other two members of the General Council, First Assistant Fr. Niklaus Pfluger and Second Assistant Fr. Alain-Marc Nély, on April 14, 2012.
  • Some historical context: Abp. Lefebvre recalls his July 14, 1987, meeting with Cardinal Ratzinger. Rorate Caeli 5/13/12:

    In his long sermon, given one year after the first Assisi meeting took place (Oct. 1986), Abp. Lefebvre summarized the problem and expounded with greater detail the July 14, 1987, meeting with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger, that he had already presented partially in other occasions, including a conference for a priestly retreat held on September 4. In this sermon, he expands and completes the general thoughts regarding negotiations and the relationship of Traditional Catholics and the Supreme Pontiff in the post-conciliar reality.

  • Important: Fr. Pfluger speaks on recent developments Fr. Niklaus Pfluger, FSSPX, is the First Assistant of the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) gives account of the most recent developments.
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Democrats, meet Gianna Jessen.

Planned Parenthood Celebration Jolted by Abortion Survivor, by Ted Harvey (2006):

I was leaving the House chambers for the weekend when our Democrat speaker of the House announced that the coming Monday would be the final day of this year’s General Assembly. He went on to state that there were still numerous resolutions on the calendar which we would need to be addressed prior to the summer adjournment. Interestingly, he specifically mentioned that one of the resolutions we would be hearing was being carried by the House Majority Leader Alice Madden, honoring the 90th anniversary of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

As a strong pro-life legislator I was disgusted by the idea that we would pass a resolution honoring this 90-year legacy of genocide. I drove home that night wondering what I could say that might pierce the darkness during the debate on this heinous resolution. …

(HT: Mark Shea).

(In a Denver Post story on the 2006 incident, we learn that Ted Harvey received a rebuke on the House Floor for his introduction of Jessen, and the head of the Planned Parenthood sniffed, “There’s no statistical evidence that cerebral palsy has been caused by failed abortions.” Missing the more important point that Jessen wouldn’t even be alive today had the execution been carried out to completion.

Ted Harvey would go on to be elected to the Colorado State Senate in 2006, and re-elected in 2010.

Gianna Jensen.

Stalin? — REALLY?

Visiting the political blog Zombie‘s latest photographic coverage and commentary of the “Occupy Wall Street” protests in OWS-Oakland and similar demonstrations across the nation, I’m struck by the myriad t-shirts sporting images of Communist icons — of course, there is the ubiquitous Che Guevera, but these days even Stalin, Lenin and Ho Chi Minh are making quite the comeback. That kids would find such figures worth emulating and adoring is a testimony to their historical ignorance.

Michael Voris’ interview with E. Michael Jones

Paul Zummo and Mark Shea draw our attention to Catholic apologist Michael Voris’s recent interview with E. Michael Jones (CultureWars.com).

I would describe the first 30 minutes of the video, being Jones’ description of the sexual revolution within the Catholic Church (and Catholic academica) in the 1970’s, as fairly conventional — not to say that we shouldn’t be outraged, but rather that such an understanding of ecclesial history is shared by mainstream orthodox Catholics across the board.

It is in the middle of the video, however, where Voris engages Jones in a discussion of the premise of his book, The Revolutionary Jew, that they starts to venture into controversy:

32:15: Jones takes a stand against anti-semitism: “Antisemitism is very clear; every Catholic has to take a stand against antisemitism. Antisemitism says that the Jew cannot be trusted, is an evil person because of his RACIAL inheritance, because he’s got bad DNA.”

Well, yes. I would say that’s one kind of anti-semitism, narrowly construed. But thus defined, it leaves the field wide open for Jew-hatred and animosity of a non-racial variety.

Thus, having excused himself from “anti-semitism”, Jones is free to dispense his views on an Iranian television show peddling the forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and charging Jews with harvesting organs of Gentiles; can dismiss Judaism in general as possessing ““a particularly malignant spirit”, assert in a Culture Wars article that

“the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews was a reaction to Jewish Messianism (in the form of Bolshevism) every bit as much as the Chmielnicki pogroms flowed from the excesses of the Jewish tax farmers in the Ukraine”

and otherwise carry on his campaign against “Jewish modernity” (which he equates with 21st century civilization, since behind every modern-day vice, you’ll find a Jew).

But of course, this can’t be “anti-semitism, in any shape or form” — because Jones doesn’t harbor a shred of racial animosity towards the Jews. (As to other non-racial forms of anti-semitism, a reading of Fr. Edward Flannery’s The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of Antisemitism may be educational).

32:37: Jones describes his position as “the traditional teaching of the Church” — when Jesus Christ came to this earth, he came for one group of people: the Jews, who collectively had to make a decision: to accept him as the Messiah, or not. The Jews who accepted Jesus Christ as the Messiah now constitute the Catholic Church; the Jews who rejected Jesus Christ are known as “Jews” — and in so rejecting Jesus Christ, rejected logos, or “the order of the universe”, including the social order, and thus becoming revolutionaries, confirming said decision by choosing Barrabas over Christ. . . . and so the history of the world, is the history of the descendants of the Jews who rejected Jesus Christ vs. the Catholic Church (i.e., the Jews who received Jesus Christ).

This ongoing historical battle — of The Jews vs. The Church — is the same hermeneutic you’ll encounter in the likes of Fr. Denis Fahey, Fr. Charles Coughlin, SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson, down to Robert Sungenis. All of whom will be quite certain to deny that they espouse antisemitism, “in any shape or form.”

Those of us all too familar with the implosion of the apologetic ministry of Robert Sungenis will agree: this is dangerous “intellectual” territory.

And it only gets stranger as the video progresses:

34:50 Jones moves on to address the contemporary episcopal landscape — the sexual revolutionaries (Bernadin, Weakland) have been defeated, only to be replaced by an even more devious menace: neocon bishops. What happened? — Under the papacy of John Paul II, says Jones, the church was co-opted by the anti-communist crusade. “the Pope and Ronald Reagan made an alliance”, Communism was defeated, and the result was America’s elevation to a global superpower, a super-entity, “the paradigm of the state the Church wants to support.”

By way of illustration, Jones refers to the “Americanist” Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia and his appreciation of John Courtney Murray, “the architect of running up the white flag [of surrender].” Little did we know, but Fr. Murray, Henry Luce and the CIA were complicit in a “black operation . . . whose purpose was to cripple the Catholic Church.” A covert operation which has apparently achieved its propaganda victory right up to the papacy itself, “occupying the mind of [Pope Benedict XVI] and he doesn’t even know it“.

44:50 Here Voris cites a historical meeting at Hyannisport, MA in 1964 — where the Kennedy family assembled to receive coaching by liberal Catholic advisors and college professors on how to accept and promote abortion “with a clear conscience.” For a description of the meeting, see Anne Hendershott’s How Support for Abortion Became Kennedy Dogma (Wall Street Journal January 2, 2009).

At this point in the video, Voris incorrectly alleges Fr. Murray as “one of THE GUYS at the meeting” with the Kennedys — he wasn’t. Furthermore, although Murry is credited as providing inspiration to the Hynnisport Colloquium (Murray “distinguished between the moral aspects of an issue and the feasibility of enacting legislation about that issue”), Murray himself was reportedly perturbed by Kennedy’s attempt to sever any connections between one’s religious and political creeds. “To make religion merely a private matter,” Murray argued, “was idiocy.” (See: JFK’s Houston Speech at 50: Three Views, by George J. Marlin. The Catholic Thing 9/9/10).

If there’s one thing I’ve gathered from reading Murray, it’s that he is often appropriated by both ends of the Catholic political spectrum — and what Murray actually countenanced in his lifetime should be distinguished from speculation of what liberal Catholics like to imagine he would have, or might have, endorsed. (In What would John Courtney Murray say? On abortion & euthanasia Commonweal October 1994, Todd David Whitmore responds to attempts to marshal Murray as an advocate of abortion and contraception).

Voris closes with a recommendation to visit “CultureWars.com, and read everything on it.”