Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wolves in the sheepfold: The worst enemies of the Church are within her

I highly commend A Reluctant Sinner's post yesterday, which reports his reaction to a re-reading of St. Pius X's Encyclical letter 'Pascendi Dominici Gregis' in which he warned of the dangers of Modernism. The subject of Dylan's post chimes with my own concern, expressed here in an earlier piece about the 'division' in the Church, which 'imho', and contrary to some liberal charges, is not caused by Pope Benedict's 'Summorum Pontificum'. That present division began when the reformist/modernists were able to influence the conduct of Vatican II and deepened when that group took control of the 'correct' interpretation and implementation of the Council documents.

From my own experience in England, I would suggest that ordinary Catholics had very little idea of what was going on in Rome and how it would affect them. During the 1960s we were reliant on 'The Universe' and 'Catholic Herald'. At least until the Council 'The Tablet' was still regarded and respected as 'the priests' paper'.  My oh my, what a difference the Internet has made, and thank God for that.

During the Council years and those immediately following, the current Pope, had been counted, by those who knew,  as a member of the reformist lobby. In 1972, in company with Hans Urs von Balthasar and Henri de Lubac, he broke away from it and began the magazine 'Communio' as a steadying counterweight to the progressivist 'Concilium' to which he had originally contributed with Hans Kung and Edward Schillebeekx. In fact I would say that this was the first public act that should have drawn attention to the 'division' between progressive and orthodox . The details of this period, which through the Internet, are now fairly common knowledge were not so at the time. There has been a considerable amount of catching up to do. And very strange it has been to find out the truth of what was really happening during a period I had actually lived through as an adult Catholic.

The fact remains that the Church is full of progressives, who do not accept her social, ethical and/or sacramental teaching. As I said earlier, they stay in the Church because they are allowed to, and think that by so doing, they will eventually be able to alter that teaching officially. The last 40 years have  shown how successful they have already been unofficially. I also said earlier that if there is a schism, we should call it schism. On reflection, I confess that I was wrong. By all means we should privately acknowledge its existence, but naming it publicly does not help the Holy Father. However much we write, however much we fret and argue, the fact remains, that the best way to help him is to pray for him and with him. He is after all  the only one who carries the burden and responsibility of decision making, and who knows far, far more than we do about the intricacies of each problem that is set before him. At any given time, there is only one man on earth who really knows what it is like to be Pope. The only other one who could possibly approach an understanding is the Pope's own confessor.

Some on the traditional wing of the Church expected Pope Benedict to take more drastic and punitive action and are disappointed in him that he has not. And yet, if he were to dismiss all these dissenters from the Church, how small would the Church actually become, and how would this affect her materially? How many priests would we lose? That is why I wanted to track down his remarks about the possibility of a 'smaller' Church. When the idea first came to my notice I took it to mean that he thought it may happen organically, simply by people taking themselves off. (Perhaps he thought that some may do that because of his own election!) There was no indication that he would do anything to make it happen. His inaugural homily pointed to an intention to mend the torn net, not to rip it apart even further. As early as 1968 he had written in 'An Introduction to Christianity' that a Pope has the duty to listen to all voices within the Church before making a decision. This too was mirrored in that first homily.

By keeping the dissenters on board, there is still a chance that they will listen to him, as he is willing to listen to them, and that through the charity of reason in his teaching they will undergo a true conversion. Of course dissent within the Church is dangerous. It has done, and continues to do, untold damage. That I believe is one of the reasons why our Holy Father is so tirelessly impassioned and effective as a preacher and teacher. He knows what is at stake. Noone who listens to him could ever be led astray. In spite of the crushing weight of his office, he convinces us when he tells us that he is a joyful and grateful  friend on the One whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light.



Anonymous said...

Oh Jane, how I wish I could print the whole of this post and pin it to our church noticeboard! Our bishop has now asked for a report on the "work in the community/involvement" which goes on in our parish, people who do voluntary work etc. Should he not rather be asking: how many so-called Catholics in my parish believe in the Real Presence or even know what it is; how many so-called Catholics come to Sunday Mass when they feel like it [Anglicanism!] and receive Communion despite the fact that not coming to Mass, without a serious reason, is and always has been a Mortal Sin? Did our Lord suffer and die in vain! You know who my bishop is, Jane. Should I write to him? Someone has been deputed to write regarding all this nonsense about voluntary work, etc. I am feeling just a little bit jaded at the moment! And tomorrow's forum about the new translation isn't going to help. So many have commented that the language is "awkward" and "too much like the Latin". That's what it's supposed to be! I'm going armed with my new CTS Order of Mass, but I feel I should take a vow of silence, for fear of exploding!
Mary Hoka

Jane said...

As you describe it,(here and privately to me in the past)the situation in your parish is dire. I'm not sure that writing to the bishop would make any difference, whatever the nature of his response, if indeed you get one!

If you decide to write to the bishop, I'd tell the parish priest and make it plain that your letter will not constitute a complaint against him. (The reason things are as they are is not his fault, but that of his predecessor.) The bishop should know of the present difficulty and should support his priest. If there is no satisfactory outcome, then consider writing to Rome - copies to CDF; C. for Clergy; C for Bishops; CDW ; and the Holy Father himself.

Even then, I'm afraid there is no guarantee of a proper or satisfactory answer. We have to pray about it first and we can discuss it when we next speak.

Love and prayers always,
xxxx x