Sunday, July 18, 2021

Pope Victor redux?

The Quartodeciman controversy of the second century A.D. had to do with the date on which the resurrection of Christ ought to be observed.  Churches in Asia Minor preserved the custom of tying this observance to the date of the Passover, whatever day of the week that happened to fall on.  The Roman practice was instead to observe it on a Sunday, since that was the day Christ was resurrected.  The eastern practice was defended by St. Polycarp, who appealed to the authority of none other than his teacher St. John the Apostle.  Pope St. Anicetus tried unsuccessfully to convince Polycarp to adopt the Roman practice, and they agreed to disagree.

Pope St. Victor I, who came along a few decades later, was not so accommodating.  He tried to convince the eastern bishop Polycrates to adopt the Roman custom, just as Anicetus tried to convince Polycarp, and was equally unsuccessful.  But unlike Anicetus, Victor decided to force the issue by excommunicating those who refused to conform.  Whether the excommunications were ever rescinded is a matter of historical controversy.  But Victor was criticized at the time for his intolerance even by some who agreed with the Roman practice, such as St. Irenaeus.  Victor did what he did in the name of unity, yet the practice he forbade had a long precedent (indeed, one going back to the apostles themselves) and had been tolerated by his predecessors.  So why act with such severity?  Though they did not deny that Victor had, as pope, the right to do what he did, his critics questioned the wisdom and charity of his exercise of that right.

A pope who, in the name of unity, gravely offends much of his flock by needlessly and harshly curtailing ancient and legitimate liturgical practice that had been permitted by his predecessors.  Sound familiar?

Catholic teaching has always acknowledged that popes can make grave mistakes of various kinds when they are not exercising the fullness of their authority in ex cathedra decrees.  Usually, errant popes exhibit serious failings of only one or two sorts.  But Pope Francis seems intent on achieving a kind of synthesis of all possible papal errors.  Like Honorius I and John XXII, he has made doctrinally problematic statements (and more of them than either of those popes ever did).  Like Vigilius, his election and governance have involved machinations on the part of a heterodox party.  The Pachamama episode brings to mind Marcellinus and John XII.  Then there are the bad episcopal appointments, the accommodation to China’s communist government, and the clergy sexual abuse scandal, which echo the mismanagement, political folly, corruption and decadence of previous eras in papal history.  And now we have this repeat of Victor’s high-handedness.  Having in this way insulted a living predecessor, might Francis next ape Pope Stephen VI by exhuming a dead one and putting the corpse on trial?

Probably not.  But absolutely nothing would surprise me anymore in this lunatic period in history that we’re living through.

Related posts:

Aquinas on bad prelates

Do not abandon your Mother

The Church permits criticism of popes under certain circumstances

Papal fallibility

Two popes and idolatry

The strange case of Pope Vigilius

Some comments on the open letter

Popes, heresy, and papal heresy

Denial flows into the Tiber

147 comments:

  1. I've followed much discussion by all "sides" for a while re:Modernism in many online venues, including commenters here.

    The absolutists on any "side" - whether the side of sole acceptance of the Vatican II liturgy in the Roman Rite to the exclusion of all others, or the FSSP side, or the SSPX side, or the SSPX Resistance/independent chapel side, or the sedevacantist side, or the subcategory of pre-Vatican II "validity" absolutists which overlap some of the above - strike me as deserving perhaps a reminder of the graveness of the matters on which they write.

    If it be that in their haste to squabble online, and denounce each other, they are occasion to sins of pride by their own commission of such, or if even worse, they drive those quiet readers within the faith away by the confusion they create with their authoritatively written opinions denouncing each other - "a god would not allow this sort of confusion and strife to happen among ostensibly well meaning people on different 'sides', therefore I can no longer pretend to believe in one", or "I was interested in tradition but they seem as fractured as Protestants so I'll make my home with the Orthodox" et cetera - then I don't think what awaits them in the afterlife is what they think awaits them. And be reminded, that a priest must answer for every soul under his care. Likewise, would the loss of faith, or the particular sins of pride, by even one person inspired by such a commenter, be accounted for most severely on that "Day of Wrath" for the culprit. You may be playing with fire and not know until too late.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems Francis is not going to let anybody outdo him in pride.

      His actions will ultimately help to unite the traditional faithful.

      Delete
    2. Everybody should just chill and realize that the best way to clear up confusion -- and thus quite possibly avoid hellfire -- is to dishonestly pretend there isn't any.

      Delete
    3. Everyone should just chill and realize that if there were sufficiently good people in any of the aforementioned "sides", God would not permit this confusion to be happening in the first place.

      It can plainly be inferred, then, that there are not sufficiently good people on any "side". That is your fault and that is my fault. End of story.

      Time for people on all sides to put their heads down and to look inward and worry about their own prospects of facing the inferno instead of boorishly and proudly announcing their "care" about others' souls.

      Instead of bloviating online, such people are better off selling everything they own to live near a church to attend daily Mass, wearing the Brown Scapular and fulfilling the daily Little Office requirement or abstaining on Wed/Fri/Sat, praying their 15 decades of the rosary daily etc.

      And if there be commenters who already live out such a spiritual life, then in polemically and neurotically commenting here in defense of their "side", it is clear they have succumbed to pride, for they should be concerning themselves with converting as many lukewarm fellow Catholics at their parish to their own prayerful way of life.

      Delete
    4. "Everyone should just chill and realize that if there were sufficiently good people in any of the aforementioned 'sides', God would not permit this confusion to be happening in the first place."

      Where do you get that idea, given that it is so obviously wrong? That is merely a slight generalization of the idea that if the people in the World Trade Center had all been good Catholics, God would not have allowed them to be killed, so of course they deserved it. Seriously, go back and read John 9 -- "And his disciples asked him: Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered: Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." Or read the book of Job. Or read Church history.

      Delete
    5. I don't know whether some of these comments are serious, or just overly-clever snark.

      Re: "Everybody should just chill and realize that the best way to clear up confusion -- and thus quite possibly avoid hellfire -- is to dishonestly pretend there isn't any."

      Isn't any hellfire? Or isn't any confusion? (Not sure what the poster is getting at, in either case.)

      Anyway, the Church denies firmly that confusion leads inevitably to hellfire, whereas a deception about important matters held unrepentantly to the end certainly does. So obviously the best path is to admit confusion has occurred...and I'm not aware that any serious observer says otherwise.

      Re: "Everyone should just chill and realize that if there were sufficiently good people in any of the aforementioned 'sides', God would not permit this confusion to be happening in the first place."

      Not so. Just like war, rape, and a variety of other human interactions, aggression one side is entirely sufficient to make an unwished-for event happen, even if the other side didn't want it. You may not be interested in doctrinal confusion; but sometimes doctrinal confusion is interested in you.

      Delete
  2. C'mon, Ed, don't be so shy about it. If you don't like the guy, you could just say so!

    Actually, I'll say it for you. This is perhaps the cruelest thing I have heard of a Pope doing since the Medici wars. Didn't think I would see that sort of thing come along in my lifetime.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or the cruelest since 1970...

      But I agree. Very cruel nonetheless. Can you imagine the de facto schismatic German hierarchy being treated in such a cruel manner?

      Delete
    2. Well, it really is very simple. The Germans are not hostile to the novus ordo religion,to vatican2 etc (certainly not its famous 'spirit'), but catholicism is. Is Bergoglio wrong that around TLM groups are formed that basically to one degree or another oppose vat2 and novus ordo? No, he is perfectly right, and deserves credit for calling a spade a spade.

      Delete
    3. GreenR:

      I deny that TLM groups "oppose Vatican 2," full-stop. The FSSP groups I'm most familiar with fully and unambiguously describe the council as valid and authoritative, allowing for certain ambiguities which were no worse than the parallel ambiguities present in Trent or Nicaea.

      Now, the Novus Ordo is distinct from Vatican II, and the details of implementation of the Novus Ordo in a particular parish are different from the Novus Ordo as such. And the laxity or neglectfulness of a bishop in doing his duty to ensure that his priests implement the liturgy fittingly is yet another distinct thing.

      In my own parish, the Novus Ordo is beautiful. Lots of Latin (including the Agnus Dei, the Mortem Tuum, the Gloria, the Sanctus). Lots of incense. Lots of chant. No treacly mid-20th-century bad hymns. St. Michael prayer after every Mass. Communion received on the tongue, while kneeling, is optional but strongly welcomed, with rail-attached kneelers to facilitate. Consequently, about 40% of all parishoners receive that way, and 60% of the younger ones. (The elderly with bad knees understandably don't.) If it weren't for certain "tough" passages having been excised from the scheduled readings, and the elimination of certain beautiful seasons from the liturgical calendar, I'd call it ideal. More importantly, I think it meets exactly what Vatican II calls for; it's obedient to the council.

      I mention that because the FSSP and other traditionalist groups I have contact with -- and I guess I'm a traditionalist, too -- hold the view that IF the bishops had compelled all Novus Ordo celebrations to be similar to that in my parish, THEN those celebrations would have been more obedient to Vatican II, not less. And they'd like that because (again, a few bits of ambiguous language aside) they like Vatican II.

      What they dislike is the imprudent excision of so much that was good and beautiful from the calendar and the rite by Bugnini, and the fact that Paul VI didn't call him on it and tell him to go back to the drawing-board. But that's not Vatican II; the council didn't tell Bugnini to rip out liturgical seasons and imprecatory prayers during exorcisms. And even Bugnini's liturgy didn't authorize clown-Masses and such like; that's just a failure of individual bishops to laicize priests who did such nonsense.

      Again: Vatican II is not the Novus Ordo; the Novus Ordo is not the worst implementations of the Novus Ordo, and the worst implementations of the Novus Ordo are not the same as the failures of the bishops to (ecclesiastically) behead bad priests that need (ecclesial) beheading.

      The better part of the traditional movement (which means excluding know-nothings, sedevacantists, and, much as I like some of what they say, the SSPX) favor Vatican II, strongly criticize parts of the construction of the Novus Ordo but don't deny its validity or its potential beauty when done rightly, and roundly condemn the sillier and uglier implementations of the Novus Ordo as silly, ugly, anti-Catholic, anti-Vatican II, likely to destroy the faith of the congregants, and nigh-upon Satanic.

      I make those distinctions, and offer those nuances, because I'm not aware of any FSSP priest or layperson who criticizes Sacrosanctum Concilium with anything like the harsh language he'd use for his zip-code's nastiest clown-Mass. Yet I think this distinction is elided, such that traditionalists are (wrongly) painted as saying the same thing about the council fathers that they say about Father Lispy McModernist on the other side of town.

      Delete
  3. I try to be as faithful to the magesterium as I can, but for the most part I ignore our current pope. Half the time, nobody understands what he is saying anyway. It's better to stick with established tradition.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sometimes it seems that the average catholic a few centuries ago that did not even knew who the pope was or the political and doctrinal battles happening were more lucky that us.

    Well, the thing that no one promissed was that life on the faith is easy. It is time to pray!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think the issue is, while the Catholic Church has had previous bad popes, Francis is the first bad pope she has had with the West being in a post-Christian age. And Francis' bizarre actions are driven by the fact that he essentially subscribes to the ideology of the West's post-Christian secular elite (a mix of modern and post-modern secularism), and seeks to attenuate or even stamp out orthodox Catholic belief.

    For a really comprehensive precedent to the current situation, I think you need to go back to before the instantiation of the Papacy to the time of ancient Israel, and specifically to those times when both the Israelite people and the priesthood had fallen into the pagan idolatry of the nations around them, and were persecuting the faithful remnant.

    And if I'm reading the tea leaves correctly, it looks to me that God is likely fixing to resolve this situation the same way He resolved it then: By subjecting the West and the Church of the West to societal collapse, conquest, and/or subjugation which only the faithful can withstand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. this is on the money- good post

      Delete
    2. Man, imagine if China gets to be the new Babylon. That is quite a scary possibility, i can see it happening.

      Delete
    3. I would argue that Matthew 23 is about making access to god open for sinners, and not closing it off by fixed ideas of tradition. Scripture and the law are timeless, but the heart of the law and scripture is mercy, reaching out to the lost sheep and welcoming them.

      Of course that doesn’t mean becoming like the world around, and it’s not an easy balance. However I suspect an argument at the pearly gates along the lines: “I attacked the body and the head because it had cuts and sores, and chose not to wash in the way I was used to” will sound fairly hollow…

      Delete
  6. Although I expected some restrictions, I was surprised how harsh it was. Nevertheless, let me quibble about "insulting a living predecessor". Benedict was clear in the SP that although he expected SP to create unity rather than division (and for the two forms to enrich each other) he did want a survey of some sort taken after a number of years to see how it was actually going in the field. And that was done. Just from my own following of this issue (I don't attend a TLM but a very reverent Reform of the Reform couple of parishes since 2010 with many traditional options and plenty of Latin chant) since 2006 on social media, I do think, survey apart, there is plenty of evidence on social media of the unfortunate divisive effects it has had. And also I hear this from friends who attend FSSP and other TLM -only groups. Not everyone , not most (yet) but an increasing number that has achieved critical mass and influence. I have followed and generally admired the New liturgical Movement blog since 2006. Which is a "leader" in harkening of increasing reverence and tradition in the Latin Rite. But I have noted its devolution over the years (since SP) from a blend of reform of the reform with restorational aspects, to an "absolutist" restorationist site which views the OF as not just shabby/sloppy/theologically poor but de facto spiritually harmful while de jure conceding its validity. And one of the 3 primary authors has published essays supporting some of the reject V2 /Two churches /Vigano narrative. I just say that because it was one of the more balanced sites. There is plenty more stuff that was never balanced on social media (youtube has plenty). Again, perhaps this is too strong a medecine. Certainly hoping my favorite parish (don't live there but visit when I can) in Chicago, can weather this MP. They were always faithful to the spirit of what Benedict wanted from SP. They are St. John Cantius, run by the Canons of St. John Cantius - a group of priests whose vocation is the beauty and reverence of all things Liturgical. They offered an English OF (but with Gregorian chant in Latin for certain sung chants), a Latin OF (but readings in English); A low mass EF and a Solemn EF. Every Sunday. Just watch any of their masses. I love them. I wish they would have led the field in the US instead of FSSP and ICK (not that FSSP/ICK with a few exceptions didn't generally do good work with their EF only vocation. But a refusal to make an exception to concelebrate with your bishop once a year , as in Dijon, is going to be a problem. How could it not be?) The statement from St. John Cantius on the MP can be found on the FB Page below - a far cry from the reaction on NLM or Rorate Caeli. Even though the Canons Regular as an order will apparently be impacted as they had been expanding parishes recently. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1427851870813731

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it is, apparently, impossible for the two forms to co-exist peacefully, isn't this just evidence for the traditionalist thesis that the Novus Ordo does promote a spirituality and doctrine at odds with those of pre-1960s Catholicism?

      Delete
    2. You are right, the survey was done. That was just like the 1969 survey on communion in the hand or the survey on the 1950 definition of the Immaculate Conception. Except we know exactly what the results of those were, in precise detail, because they were published. This one? Not a single digit. So, we don't know on what basis the Holy Father is making his decisions but we have a pretty good idea given his established animus. If the survey really favoured his wanton cruelty, why would he not have published it? Anyway, he has the power but he can't control unintended consequences, so things will play out as the Good Lord wills, ultimately.

      Delete
    3. "If it is, apparently, impossible for the two forms to co-exist peacefully, isn't this just evidence for the traditionalist thesis that the Novus Ordo does promote a spirituality and doctrine at odds with those of pre-1960s Catholicism?"

      Of course not. Catholicism is a religion of grounded in perennial truths. The post-Conciliar Missal is such a perfect expression of those perennial truths that it has been deemed the ONLY expression of the Roman Church's lex orandi, even to the exclusion of that very Missal which, although it has been restricted, has not been forbidden, and may still be validly and licitly celebrated with the authorization of the Holy See, in many cases, by the same priest that celebrated the Novus Ordo the day before.

      Do not be fooled! The means of doing what we call "The Reform of the Reform" (chant, ad orientem, beautiful vestments etc.), all of which have always been available to everyone, have been taken up with enthusiasm by HUNDREDS of churches. Well, ok, not hundreds, but DOZENS! Well, ok, not dozens, but A dozen. At least. Maybe...

      Delete
    4. Todd, Francis not only misrepresented Benedicts intent (saying that SP was only for old people and not the young), he refused to commemorate his 70th anniversary as a priest (the first time a pope has ever reached that milestone). JP II's major contribution to the Church was his teaching on the theology of the body, and Francis destroyed the JPII institute by kicking out all the professors who actually believed Veritas Splendor. Francis has now attacked Benedict's most impactful contribution to the Church (and one that has inspired more vocations than Francis could ever dream of attracting). To say that Benedict hasn't been insulted is false and naive.

      Delete
    5. Instead of suppressing the TLM, Francis could far more effectively heal the divisions he cites by doing something - anything - to reign in the rampant and widespread liturgical abuse in the Novus Ordo. He doesn't because he doesn't really think it's a problem.

      Delete
  7. Here's a real radical thesis:

    The Pope, in restricting with a view to supressing the Roman Rite, is acting altogether ultra vires.

    The NOM of 1969 is not the Roman Rite, but a new creation specifically designed for the modern man of the 1960s, with a new calendar, music, mens (spirituality) and theology (seeing as many doctrines are not present in it, like the sinfulness of man as a result of the Fall.)

    Since the Pope is not the master of the the Church's liturgical rites, but only a caretaker, he has no power to simply do away with any of them. The Motu Proprio is, therefore, an abuse of power and not to be followed.

    I have to say I am highly unimpressed with the commentary here in the combox. Where is the love for tradition, as manifested concretely in the liturgy? Indeed, not only there, but in the Divine Office, traditional devotions, the sacred languages (Latin, Greek, etc), pilgramages, hymns, blessings - the whole set of customs which the traditional Roman Rite inspires and nourishes. There appears rather a pervading rationalism, which is perfectly content with continuity only in the abstract: with a 'reverent Novus Ordo', or the mere fact of having priests, Bishops and a Pope.

    I'd ask such individuals this: which is more consonant with the truth of the Incarnation: the thoroughly embodied vision of Catholicism just averted to, or yours?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Greg - this is not a novel thesis. Heard it all before and very well articulated by Peter K. Your summary was an admirable synthesis of the view . I am not compelled . Been following this in detail for 15 years

      Delete
    2. It's true that the Pope is caretaker of the rites and spiritual goods of the Church. As such, he answers to God for that. However, to imply this entails he doesn't have the juridical power to do what he has done doesn't follow. Just ask St. Pius V after his standardization of the Roman Rite.

      Delete
    3. ccmnxc, St. Pius V did not deny millions of Catholics access to their patrimony, a liturgical rite of apostolic derivation. He suppressed liturgical variants within that Roman Rite that were less than two hundred years old.

      The Mass of John XXIII is the only extant faithful representative of the Roman Rite which goes back to antiquity. The Novus Ordo is not in continuity with said Rite. It is the start of a new rite, for better or worse. Suppressing THAT would be similar to what was done at Trent.

      Delete
    4. Todd, thank you for your kind words. You'll notice though I did not say it was novel; I said it was radical, in the sense of being outside mainstream thought.

      What about it do you find unconvincing? I really think the key to understanding is my last point. It is closer to Catholicism, which teaches the Incarnation, to hold that the continuity of the Church must be maintained at the small scale, rather than merely at the large scale. Even as though a man might, conceivably, be identified over time only by his DNA, he ought rather be identified by his face, hair, mannerisms, hobbies and interests, and memories; in short, the whole ball of wax. The Church must not be reduced to her Apostolic teaching and succession only, but all the things that go with it.

      Delete
    5. Kyle,

      Thanks for hitting the nail on the head. Between Pius V and Francis I, there exists a difference of kind, rather than degree. Pius V mandated a particular version of the Roman Rite. Francis wants to get rid of the rite completely.

      Delete
  8. Is it *really* the case that Saint Irenaeus and company "did not deny that Victor had, as pope, the right to do what he did"? The actual history of what happened strongly suggests that they believed this was an example of unlawful Roman overreach, not a legitimate act that was nevertheless imprudent. There's no evidence that the rest of the Church took Victor's "excommunication" seriously and believed that the Churches of Asia Minor were actually outside the Catholic communion for as long as they were ostensibly "excommunicated" by the Diocese of Rome. And while there is no evidence that Pope Victor's excommunication was ever "rescinded" by a specific juridical act, there's plenty of evidence that his action was simply ignored by all the rest of the Church's saints and fathers, which strongly suggests they believed he had acted unlawfully.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Francis is supposedly reigning in (pardon the pun) the 1962 Masses because, as he claims, Summorum Pontificum has failed to be the uniting influence Benedict had thought it would be. Maybe that’s true. But I do think it’s interesting that that same rationale could just as easily be applied to Vatican II itself, and the liturgical reform that followed. Of course, it won’t be. The council and the NO have to be held as unassailable. They can’t be questioned. Get rid of Summorum Pontificum on the grounds that it failed to unite the church. What can’t be allowed is to question what it was that brought about the divisions in the first place. Allow for that and there is no longer any rationale for denying anyone to go back to the pre-conciliar liturgy.

    John XXIII and his successors have created a hybrid church that is trying to be home to two irreconcilable religions. Even if this was genuinely not what any of them wanted, by allowing liberals to run loose wreaking havoc on doctrine and liturgy alike with no repercussions throughout the 1960’s and 70’s while treating conservatives like enemies in parishes their families had built and paid for over generations, the division in the larger church was a forgone conclusion. Until people in the Vatican are finally willing to accept that the council itself is a failure at a fundamental level, and by extension the New Mass, this situation will never be resolved.

    I don’t know why Benedict issued SP at all. Maybe he began to understand that the revolution he himself had championed and helped steer into being in the 1950’s and 60’s had, at least for some part of the church, been nothing but a cross to bear and not at all what he imagined. Perhaps his intention with SP was to salve the consciences of Catholics who only wanted to attend Mass as their ancestors had and not have to endure the ad experimentum ad nauseum at the local NO parish. So the unity Benedict was thinking of was one of love for and devotion to the church, not necessarily the rite. I certainly can’t guess what kind of unity Francis is thinking of to justify his belligerence. But if he thought allowing people to attend the 1962 Mass was going to lead them to migrating over to their local NO Masses, he’s delusional. So even Francis’ justification for this action is flawed. And no one can claim the FSSP and ICK didn’t make good faith efforts to show their loyalty to the modern Vatican II church. They and the SSPX have basically been made to grovel and beg for a little crumb of approval from Rome. Liberals in the modern church are never treated thus. This is the thanks they get.

    ReplyDelete
  10. English CatholicJuly 19, 2021 at 4:51 AM

    Essential background reading:

    https://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2010-Brian-Novus-Disordo.htm

    I think it's quite plausible that he's acting ultra vires. I'm amazed there hasn't been more discussion of this possibility.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Greetings from Rome, caput mundi.
    We are simply but tragically without a Pope. Whether or not he is a legit-elected Pope, in actual fact, the world is without.
    Along with the covid-induced further aggrandizement of the State, I shiver when I think this is one of the darkest hour in history.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think the Quartodeciman controversy can only carry us so far as an analogy. What is missed is that both methods of calculating the date of Easter are arguably Apostolic. The Eastern method descended from at least St. John and Rome from Peter and Paul.

    What we are seeing today is not the application of one Apostolic tradition over the other. Rather we are seeing an attempted supplanting and erasure of a liturgy that can trace its roots directly to at least Apostolic Constitution VIII (4th century) and by that way-point arguably all the way back to Christ himself. The TLM is a stabilization and formalization of 2 millenia of Roman church contemplation on what the Eucharistic Liturgy ought to be. The 1970 Missal, on the other hand, is an amalgam of many different rites (e.g. a priest can use the Roman Canon or a wholecloth anaphora with a claim to an anaphora of Hippolytus but unused in the West for literally centuries or an anaphora that was made up in the 1960s by a council drawing on Alexandrian sources or more or less a rip of the anaphora of St. Basil) and pure fabrication (the offertory). This preferred mass has a birth day (Advent 1969) and authors (Abp. Annibale Bugnini et al.) who are decidedly not apostolic (as they lived in the 20th century).

    A better analogy would be if the Roman Church changed the way they calculated the date of Easter to be April 7 because Easter was on April 7 in 233 or some such and then tried to impose that method on the universal Church, thereby wiping away all apostolic tradition that governed this particular piece of the Church.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Couldn't the people who attend the Extraordinary form just celebrate the Novus Ordo in the same reverent way? One can still use incense and chant and have the priest facing away from the people. I'm Byzantine rite, so it's not my battle. However, it is hard for me to believe that it is possible for the Novus Ordo to somehow be inferior, especially since the Pope who promulgated it, and one who celebrated it for three decades, are now both canonized.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reverence isn't the issue. That the new mass was created by a committee led by a likely freemason in collaboration with protestants to be a mass from which catholic doctrine was removed so as to allow protestants to pray it without compromising their own doctrine is the problem. It removed explicit mention of sacrifice for living and dead, much of the mention of the intercession of the saints, the hierarchical differences between clergy and laity, etc. It resembles what cramner and luther wanted more than the roman rite or any catholic rite.

      Delete
    2. Couldn't the people who attend the Extraordinary form just celebrate the Novus Ordo in the same reverent way?

      No, because the spirituality of the two is completely different. The NO is very much oriented towards promoting "active [i.e., verbal] participation" among the congregation, whereas the TLM is much more contemplative in nature.

      Delete
    3. Of course they can and should.

      Delete
  14. Miguel CervantesJuly 19, 2021 at 8:34 AM

    The Pope isn't just a caretaker. All jurisdiction in the Church is just a participation in his. Church authority has from the earliest times heavily intervened in the ordering of the liturgy, which is not some kind of democratic folk culture. The issue was never what the Pope can or can't do but whether Paul VI's reform of the Roman rite raised theological issues that could justify rejecting it.

    Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize of the SSPX has responded to the recent motu poroprio saying that Pope Francis is more logical than Pope Benedict: liturgical cohabitation was never going to work. The NO reflects the mentality behind some of the errors at Vatican II, and the conservatives who hoped they could have thew old liturgy while not questioning those well-known texts of Vatican II were always going to be disappointed.

    I think we are all grateful to Pope Benedict all the same for allowing the Traditional Mass to expand somewhat. This has been the catalyst for many positive things.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Bergoglio’s suppression of the 1962 version of the Latin Mass is a great grace for Catholics. One can hope that a deep theological reflection will take root in some of them on the property of infallibility in the Sovereign Pontiff as well as the Universal Church.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yes, Greg. Well said.

    And Ed, Bellarmine, Liguori, both Doctors of the Church, and countless theologians, say that there was no error in Honorius's letters. I know that the Protestants held out against him, but why are Catholics resurrecting these myths? Marcellinus is an even more outrageous case, an invention out of whole cloth by his enemies - the Donatists.

    As for Victor, he wad criticised, of course, but he suppressed a local custom against the ancient practice of Rome. How this is even similar to suppressing arguably the oldest liturgy of all, and certainly the most authoritative, as Paul VI did, and which Francis is hinting he will do, is beyond me.

    Today's semi-trads are getting a faint taste of what happened, with phenomenal violence, in 1970 and after.

    ReplyDelete
  17. They are getting a slight taste of what happened in 1970...

    The true mass really was actually, really, almost totally, banned in 1970. And the few, the very few, didn't raise any fuss, they merely failed to go along and found priests who continued to offer the old mass. Was that a crime? Well, yes it was, according to the Vatican and their neocon defenders: schism. So the gaslighting began immediately.


    Now the descendants of the original gaslighters are suffering the threat that their mass might be taken away. Maybe it's time they learned some actual history and changed their minds about the people who saved the mass for them.

    As for blaming Francis's action on a few intemperate chatterboxes, well... That's gsslighting too, and it's despicable.

    I note that nobody who appeals to unity shows the slightest concern for the unity of faith, upon which the unity of charity is built. What is that but an open admission that the rule of law is gone and they accept the tyranny that has replaced it?

    ReplyDelete
  18. We are living in End Times
    I fear worse is yet to come

    ReplyDelete
  19. Prof Feser, wish you would tackle the question of whether a pope has been deposed. Not if he can be, but if in fact it has taken place and what that might tell us. I find the issue to be full of historical obfuscation.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have been kvetching about Pope St Victor for decades. This is an awesome post! Stop on!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Meanwhile why not do a search on the topic The Criminal History of the Papacy by Tony Bushby the full text of which is available on a reddit posting.

    Its really why simple power always sooner or later corrupts those who exercise it. Such is especially the case when those who wield it presume to have almost absolute power granted to them by their cultic "God" and via the grotesque self-serving process of apostolic succession.

    That having been some of the popes were obvious psychopaths and/or not in any sense suitable for any kind of positive social company.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Well, you guys need to make up your mind.

    1) The Novus Ordo is, even if in some respects accidentally deficient compared to the TLM, essentially a proper and Catholic form of worship. In which case, there's no option but to suck it up and obey. The Pope has supreme jurisdiction over everything in the Church, including the liturgy, and no one can judge the Pope. Denying this is schism.

    2) The Novus Ordo is not essentially a proper and Catholic form of worship. Which is to say, it is a sacrilege. In which case, the organization promulgating it cannot possibly be the Catholic Church as understood in traditional theology. Since there is no other organization in the world that can lay claim or does lay claim to being the Catholic Church (understood, essentially, in Catholic theology as the diocese of Rome) the Catholic Church does not exist now, and therefore never did exist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Obedience to the Holy Father, like obedience to any father, does not preclude pointing out when the father has done things that are destructive even though he has the authority to do them.

      Delete
    2. Yes, but if the Novus Ordo is not evil then a command to assist at it is not an evil command and must therefore be obeyed. It is only destructive per accidens and not per se.

      Delete
    3. One problem, Anon1, is that according to many sources, the pope never said "you cannot use the old mass". Not, that is, in a form legally binding. The old mass is an immemorial custom, and when abrogating an immemorial custom the pope must point out SPECIFICALLY that he is abrogating that custom in spite of its immemorial status. No pope has done so for the old mass.

      There is, indeed, a lot of argument about this point. But as high an authority as Benedict XVI pretty near confirmed the above position, in Summorum Pontificum. Funny enough, Francis seems to have been mildly aware of "some difficulty or other" regarding customary rights, but didn't deem it worth his while to look up exactly what the problem was and address it directly. Which he could have, of course. But...he said it himself, "I'm careless."

      Delete
  23. Pope Honorius supported officially the heretical doctrine of monothelitism. All attempts to exonerate Honorius that this was not ex cathedra are as desperate as unconvincing and untruthful. The doctrine of Papal Infallibility is a form of an idolatry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope! That is a dead end and it's been answered since Newman.

      https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/the-truth-about-pope-honorius

      Delete
    2. Oh my.

      Yes, it has been answered, but nobody was waiting for Newman to do so! My goodness, Honorius's own secretary, who outlived Honorius, answered it when the controversy first erupted, and Bellarmine (for example) answered it in the sixteenth century.

      The only reason anybody in the nineteenth century needed to address it was because the heretics wouldn't let it die, and kept asserting that it hadn't been answered...

      Oh, hang on, now it's CATHOLICS who are resurrecting the dust, of that skeleton, of that body, that was laid to rest countless ages ago.

      What a mess.

      Delete
    3. Are none of those discussing the case of Pope Honorius aware that he was condemned posthumously as a heretic by an ecumenical council (the Third Council of Constantinople in 680-81) and that this condemnation was endorsed, ratified and promulgated by Pope St. Leo II in 682. Whether he was truly "guilty" of endorsing the heresy of Monothelitism (a good argument can be made that he didn't understand the point at issue) he was condemned as such and the pope at the time ratified it. It was only later, in the late 11th Century, that the acknowledgement of that council's condemnation of Pope Honorius as a heretic which thitherto had been part of the profession of faith of each newly-elected pope (cf. Liber Diurnus, formula lxxxiv) was stricken from it.

      I should add that while the Sixth Council condemned Pope Honorius by including his name within a list of proponents of Monothelitism condemned for that reason, Pope St. Leo II, in his ratification of the council's decrees and in the letters which he sent out throughout the West (the one to the Visigothic King of Spain and the Spanish bishops survives) stressed Pope Honorius's failure to oppose Monothelitism, rather than labelling him a Monothelite.

      Delete
    4. In brief:

      The heresy of "Monoenergism" (the idea that there was one "energy" or "operation" in Christ) was invented by Patriarch Sergius of C'ple and supported by the Emperor Heraclius around 622 as an attempt to reconcile the Monophysites with the Chalcedonians, particularly the Monophysite Armenians, whose political support was vital to the Byzantines in their life-and-death struggle with the Sassanian Persians (a war that lasted from 602 to 629). It worked, kind of, and once the war was over (the Byzantines won, but the war so weakened both parties to it that once the Arabs, energized by their new religion of Islam, began to attack from Arabia beginning in 634 they were able to destroy the Persian Empire within ten years and overrun much of the Byzantine Empire within that same period) Heraclius and Sergius strove to get the Syrian Monophysites and the Copts to reunite with the Chalcedonians on the same basis.

      Some Monophysites accepted the "reunion;" others didn't. Among the Chalcedonians, likewise, there was both acceptance and opposition, opposition led by Sophronius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. To deal with the opposition, Patr. Sergius wrote to Pope Honorius in 635 to solicit his opinion. Sergius claimed that the idea that Christ had two "energies" could lead to the erroneous view that He had two conflicting wills. Honorius replied that since the Logos had assumed an unfallen human nature Jesus had one will, since his unfallen human will would always be in accord with his divine will. Is this really Monothelitism? (I could claim that while Pope Honorius may have "invented" Monothelitism, there is no evidence that he "professed" it.)

      Honorius died in 638, and in that same year, having realized the vaguenesses and inconsistencies inherent in Monoenegism, Sergius and Heraclius withdrew their endorsement of it, and in its stead issued the Ekthesis, in which the incasrnate Christ was stated to have one "theandric" will. Honorius's successor, Pope Severinus, rejected the Ekthesis and its monothelitism, as did all succeeding popes, save for Pope Eugene I (654-57), the successor of Pope Martin I, who had been arrested and exiled to what is today the Crimea due to his opposition to Monothelitism; Eugene managed to avoid taking any stand on the issue. The controversy went on until it was resolved - although the Monothelite came once again to power in C'ple from 711 to 715) - by the Third Council of Constantinople (the sixth ecumenical council) which met in 680-81 (as I mentioned in my previous comment).

      Delete
  24. If I may cause some trouble? My buddy David Armstrong (who I opposed in terms of his criticism of Dr. Feser which I thought & still think was unjust) has posted this on his blog.

    SKOJEC LOATHES TRADITIONIS illustrates why it was necessary.

    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2021/07/skojec-loathes-traditionis-illustrates-why-it-is-necessary.html#disqus_thread

    It has a point. In my time my encounters with "Traditionalism" have usually been negative. In my travels I found many Traditionalists to be Holocaust deniers and militant anti-Semites, conspiracy theorists, schismatics, Geocentrists, taught heterodox concepts such a claiming the St Paul VI Mass is invalid.etc etc

    Let us face it. Trads have a terrible reputation and I remember how Trads during the reign of St John Paul II where synonymous with schism and they spend much of their energy attacking "Neo Catholics" (i.e. Pro Vatican II Conservatives) rather then go after Modernists and Liberals. Books like the GREAT FACADE didn't fill me with confidence. So have they brought all this on themselves to some extent? Well an argument can be made they did. Granted I can think this and still conclude what Francis has done with the TLM was irrationally imprudent. But.....

    Call it blame the victim but reason dictates if I walk threw a bad neighborhood waving around a wad of cash I should expect to be mugged.

    There are enough lunatics in the trad movement to give cover to Francis reigning holy heck down on them. That is just a sad fact.

    Discuss.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Son of Yakov,

      I don't think that even that qualified defense of the pope works. First, yes, there are most certainly nuts and cranks among trads, as there are in every group. But most people who are interested in the old form the Mass are not like that. And it is gravely unjust to judge, and punish, a whole group because of the flaws of its worst members. It is also contrary to the attitude of mercy, accompaniment, etc. that the pope constantly insists should be shown everyone else. Hence, it is perfectly reasonable for trads to judge the pope's action to be unjust and to evince a special animus toward them. Hence it is perfectly understandable if some of them react intemperately. They shouldn't do so, but the provocation was grave. If a bear is just lying there and you poke it and it comes after you as a result, it is quite ridiculous to say: "Look how badly that bear reacted to me poking it! See, it deserved to be poked!" But that's exactly the kind of silly response the pope's defenders are now giving to the negative reaction to the motu proprio.

      Second, the mercilessness and lack of charity shown to trads -- bad as that is -- is not the whole story, and not the most important part of the story. Pope Benedict made it clear that the preservation of what he called the Extraordinary Form was by no means a matter merely of being pastoral to a certain group within the Church. It had to do with re-affirming the Church's links with its own past in the liturgical context. That is why, though he too hoped that there would in future be a single form of the rite, he wanted the older form to exert an influence on the new no less than the new would exert influence on modifying the old. This was part of the general "hermeneutic of continuity" project.

      Francis shows no sensitivity to that dimension of the issue at all, and wrongly treats the whole question merely as a matter of whether and how to appease some eccentric group. Hence his move is gravely problematic even apart from the uncharitable and unmerciful treatment of trads.

      The liberal/modernist faction rejoices in what has happened precisely because they despise both the trads and Benedict's hermeneutic of continuity.

      Dyspeptic hacks like Dave don't care about any of this, because they don't think but only ever react. Their question is not "What is actually true?" but rather "How can I spin this so as to defend Francis?" They are useful idiots for the modernist/liberal types and for Protestant critics of the Church alike, because their shrill defense of even the most manifestly unjust actions and unwise statements reinforces the disastrous caricature of papal authority as the voluntarist exercise of raw power.

      Delete
    2. This^ Thank you Ed. It means a lot.

      Delete
    3. Mr. Feser,

      I know it's not the subject, but could you talk about proposition 33 of Exsurge Domine? Some say it is not infallible because the censure is of an unspecified (i.e. disjunctive) nature. However this is not a good answer because the last censure ("against Catholic truth") applies to all propositions without equivocation. And since this is the case, it seems that it is indeed infallible, and shows a major contradiction with Dignitatis Humanae.

      Delete
    4. But Ed, how can you characterize this as anything but the voluntarist exercise of raw power? You yourself call it unjust and injurious to the Church's liturgy, or at least liturgical continuity. You're not going to defend this as actually for the common good, like Armstrong.

      If your answer is that no true Papal authority is the voluntarist exercise of raw power, that sounds an awful lot like a No True Scotsman answer to me.

      Delete
    5. Anon1,

      Insofar as I can understand what you are talking about, you seem to be confusing the descriptive with the normative.

      Normatively -- that is to say, when we are considering what the Church teaches popes ought to do -- they ought never to treat their authority as if it were a voluntarist exercise of raw power.

      Descriptively -- that is to say, when we are considering how some popes have in fact acted -- some have, regrettably, treated their authority as if it were a voluntarist exercise of raw power. That sort of error can happen when a pope is not speaking ex cathedra.

      (It's parallel to every other moral failing. We ought not to commit adultery, steal, murder, etc. But sometimes people do in fact do these things.)

      So there is no "No True Scotsman" fallacy.

      Delete
    6. Ed, if in the civil sphere, regardless of whether the government is a monarchy or a democracy, an unjust law is no law at all it is only up to prudence whether to obey the "law" or not. Can't that be the case here? Is there no such thing as an unjust ecclesiastical law Catholicism? This Motu Proprio is such a case, if there ever was one.

      Delete
    7. "Dyspeptic hacks like Dave don't care about any of this, because they don't think but only ever react. Their question is not "What is actually true?" but rather "How can I spin this so as to defend Francis?" They are useful idiots for the modernist/liberal types and for Protestant critics of the Church alike, because their shrill defense of even the most manifestly unjust actions and unwise statements reinforces the disastrous caricature of papal authority as the voluntarist exercise of raw power."

      Preach!

      Delete
    8. English CatholicJuly 21, 2021 at 6:34 AM

      @Dr Feser, I have the same question as Kyle. I think many would be grateful to hear your thoughts on the question. The MP affects us on a practical, day-to-day level (unlike Francis's other questionable actions), and strikes directly at our duties of state: sanctifying ourselves and our families. It's hugely important to know whether we need to obey in justice or not.

      Delete
    9. Professor Feser's response here is exactly right. My wife and I converted in 2018 and we attend a TLM that might be ended because of the recent Motu Proprio. That would be a catastrophic blow to my wife and I and our children, and to countless other families as well. I was on the verge of tears when I realized the possible implications us all.

      And the "rad trad" trope is really frustrating and almost entirely false. Our parish is huge and growing every month, full of young families (like mine) and young people in general. WE DON'T reject V2 or the Novus Ordo. It's two things: we just love the TLM and have a hard time finding any Novus Ordo masses that are licitly and reverently celebrated. Besides abuses to the liturgy, who wants scripture read from the NAB (total garbage translation), alter girls, too many (and too many irreverent) eucharistic ministers, rampant reception on the hand, milquetoast (at best) homilies, Protestant-style rock band or folk music in during mass, etc. I could list more. We don't reject reject the Novus Ordo. It's just a free for all at 99% of parishes, whereas at the TLM it's, well, the TLM. It's incredible.

      Delete
    10. Edward Feser: Hence it is perfectly understandable if some of them react intemperately.

      This is all quite true, of course. But then, it’s also understandable — no more justifiable, perhaps, but understandable — that Pope Francis could have a bad attitude towards traditionalists. After all, (despite what some people seem to think), the Pope does not spend his days perusing websites and popping in to TLM parishes to get to know “ordinary” traditionalists; when he wants to know what’s going on with those Latin-mass folks, he has lackeys to tell him. And (even assuming they are ignorant rather than malicious — an assumption I do not necessarily endorse, by the way) said functionaries will very readily find so-called “traditionalists” who mock Pope Francis, who call him a heretic, who call him the antichrist, who do hate V2, etc., etc. Yes, the nutcases are a minority, but empty vessels make the most noise. So it is at least understandable that Pope Francis could make bad decisions without having to be a bad man (let alone an antipope! (pace, any nutters out there)).

      And then it is further understandable that some people would rush to Pope Francis’s defence, even with foolish arguments. And understandable that others will react poorly to that, and so on. Personally, I’d much rather see bad defences of the Pope or others because at least they tend to spring from some degree of understanding that Catholics and Christians should always strive to be charitable — but of course that assumes that a “charitable” defence of one side does not come at the cost of being uncharitable to the other side. Which of course it all too frequently does. Which is also “understandable”, because we all understand that we live in a fallen world, and that world is a mess, and it always will be until the Second Coming. There’s not a lot we can do about that, other than bear our crosses patiently and pray.


      That is why, though he too hoped that there would in future be a single form of the rite, he wanted the older form to exert an influence on the new no less than the new would exert influence on modifying the old

      ’Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. Perhaps this latest move provides a silvery-lined opportunity to push for better N.O. masses? After all, the Pope explicitly stated how he is “saddened by abuses in the celebration of the liturgy” — if bishops are going to clamp down on the TLM, then surely we have duty to, er, enthusiastically support them in trampling down abuses in the ordinary form. (How many bishops do you think will react by announcing a compromise to shut down Tridentine masses, and instead stipulate that the N.O. be said in Latin, ad orientem? (with altar rails!) … what, no takers?)

      Delete
    11. @Prof Feser

      >Dyspeptic hacks like Dave don't care about any of this, because they don't think but only ever react.

      I realize yer justly put off because of the unjust way Dave treated you but.....this statement is nonsense IMHO. My personal experience paints a different picture.

      I was there in 90's with Dave & I saw first hand how destructive the Reactionary Traditionalist faction was up close. Also they unjustly attacked Pope St John Paul II harder than they now do Francis, who is justly criticized these days IMHO. It divided orthodox Catholic opposition against the modernists and that was because those who should have been on our side spent most of their energy stabbing us in the back. Why? Because we didn't buy into their neo-Protestant view of V2.

      >I don't think that even that qualified defense of the pope works.

      At this point I give feck all about defending Pope Francis. He shot himself in the foot here and I await the day he is off the job one way or another. This is a criticism of Traditionalism. So you missed my point.

      >First, yes, there are most certainly nuts and cranks among trads, as there are in every group.

      Except they are the leaders. Bishop Williamson for decades ran around preaching holocaust denial not a word of condemnation from the REMNANT till the International Press exposed him then the SSPX kicked him to the curb. Indeed when I called out Bob Sungenis for holocaust denial and slandering the Talmud the REMENANT suggested BenYachov is attacking Bob Sungenis for becoming a Traditionalist. WTF!
      SKOJEC is spot on about why they are toxic and they kind of are and ignoring that problem isn't gonna make it go away and yeh it gives a stick to their enemies in which to beat them.

      >But most people who are interested in the old form the Mass are not like that.

      No doubt but I fault the leaders of Traditionalism and in my experience to many of those people where sympathetic to the SSPX.
      Which is another problem. Trads complained when JP2 allowed altar girls saying "He was rewarding disobedience". Yet didn't JP2 & B16's indulgence of the Old Mass reward the disobedience by Archbishop Lefebvre?
      No matter what concessions they gave the Trads it was not good enough and they would settle for nothing less than the Pope abrogating Vatican II. That is a bridge to far....

      >And it is gravely unjust to judge, and punish, a whole group because of the flaws of its worst members.

      Sure it is but it seems to me the group does little to reign in these people. Especially in leadership.

      Anyway my point is no group is without sin and I think the Trads should take this time to reflect on their movement's sins. Of course all Catholic moments and groups should do so.

      Trads should confront the toxic nonsense in their movement. Correct it then turn around and fight like Heaven to get their rights and old liturgy back. I'll help. Why not?

      Anyway my point was "have they brought all this on themselves to some extent?" and I think the answer to that is yes. Yer free to disagree.

      But it still doesn't mean Francis wasn't also in the wrong.

      Those are my thoughts. Cheers

      Delete
    12. PS This is what is wrong with Traditionalism. Written by a Traditionalist.

      https://www.tumblarhouse.com/blogs/news/problems-in-the-traditionalist-movement

      Delete
    13. Sometimes I wonder who is ghostwriting for the pope. I mean, how could he be saddened by liturgical abuses, when he himself is guilty of them?

      Delete
    14. @Son of Ya'Kov, a few thoughts.

      "Except they are the leaders." - I mean this with no disrespect, but you really don't know what you're talking. Your examples are ex-SSPX Bishop Williamson and Robert Sungenis. They're not leaders of anything. My TLM parish is not SSPX; it is massive with tons of young families and I guarantee you that less than 1% even know those names; and those that might know the names, most of them don't know anything else. They're not "leaders" and the majority (people like me and my family) should not be punished because of them.

      "Sure it is but it seems to me the group does little to reign in these people. Especially in leadership." - Again, there is no leadership. Literally. Read my message above for why people flock to TLM. They're not following anyone. There are no leaders. If you are thinking in terms of "reign in your leaders", you don't understand.

      You can't pick a few edge cases and then project onto the massive movement as it exists right now. I would invite you to my parish. It's way more complicated than "SSPX stuff happened way back when and there are some tendencies, so therefore they (as a whole) brought something on themselves."

      You're referring to "trads" generally as if it's some unified group with enough people doing what you allege. That's false.

      Delete
    15. Yak, I am not a "traditionalist" by anyone's measure: I go to the NO mass 99% of the time, and I have always maintained the validity and legitimacy of that mass.

      But I have to take issue with a couple things you said.

      Except they are the leaders.

      Other than the leaders of SSPX, FSSP, and ICKSP, there aren't any "leaders" of the "movement" or of "traditionalism". Bishop Williamson was never the head of SSPX, and (for good reason) they dumped him to the curb - though it took them too long. And you don't find the heads of FSSP and ICKSP being all anti-pope.

      The problem you are noting is the with the loudest voices, not the LEADERS. There aren't "leaders" because there is just a bunch of people who want what they have a right to expect: a good, solid mass. Lots and lots of them.

      For every loud-mouth like Williamson there is an equal and opposite humble traditionalist, like Micheal Davies, or Roger McCaffrey. The point is that the decent people don't have any AUTHORITY to put Williamson etc down. There is nothing they can do to stop up their mouths. So, being loudmouths, they get more visibility and publicity.

      But there's way more of the decent sort. At every trad mass I have been to (which is quite a few, even though I don't go regularly), the large majority just want a good, holy, reverent mass.

      THEIR rights are not negated by Williamson's type. People have a right to a faithful mass even if OTHER people are unjust.

      I don't have any major problem with Dave, except that he is a little to ready to run off into attack mode instead of being reticent to ascribe wrong-headedness where it doesn't exist. And his over-readiness to allow his willingness to defend the Pope (where he CAN be defended) from allowing him to see the Pope's defects (where he can be legitimately attacked - not as "attacked" so he is not considered "the pope" - but criticized as "did something imprudent, foolish, cruel, etc" for which Catholics have LEGITIMATE criticisms, even though such criticisms don't deny the pope's authority.)

      In this case, the Pope took a small problem (the continuing resistance of far, far out traddies to admit papal authority to reform the mass), and (a) mis-judged the nature of the problem (it is NOT true that the Church must eventually settle on just one "use" under the Latin Rite), (b) mis-judged the cause of it (he refuses to admit that this WHOLE DAMN THING is a self-inflicted wound, starting all the way back to 1966 or so), (c) and employed positively unjust and cruel means toward his goals. Even though the Pope has the authority to issue regulations of the sort that restrict practice in some ways, he doesn't have the moral right to do it in unjust ways. Pointing this out does not deny his papal authority over liturgical practice. Again: the even if some people have - in a sense - "brought on themselves" some negative treatment, the OTHERS who have done nothing wrong have not deserved such treatment. Francis's action is, effectively, holding all traditionalists hostage to the actions of a few whose behavior they have no control or responsibility for.

      Francis (and before him, Benedict, JPII, and Paul) could have unwound roughly 80% to 90% of the heat from this whole problem by (1) correcting the BAD changes from the TLM to the NO, the changes that contradicted what the Council Fathers said, and (b) reining in the abuses. In 50 years, the effort to rein in the abuses has been so pitiful as to be nearly untraceable, and the effort to correct the errors of Bugnini's committee has been ZERO.

      Delete
    16. Trads complained when JP2 allowed altar girls saying "He was rewarding disobedience". Yet didn't JP2 & B16's indulgence of the Old Mass reward the disobedience by Archbishop Lefebvre?

      There are 3 important reasons why it was not just "rewarding disobedience." (1) There were plenty of people who wanted the old mass back who were not being disobedient. I know lots. (2) There was (and remains) a legitimate question that Paul VI had never abrogated the old mass, and if so SSPX weren't technically being disobedient to keep saying it. (Benedict as much as declared this view correct, in Summorum.) (3) As long as the NO continues to be unsound in widespread practice, the faithful have a legitimate right to redress through some other means, if the Pope can't correct the faults. As long as JPII and Benedict could not find a way to quell the insanity that bishops have allowed at NO masses, giving widespread license to the trad mass is just such "other means" for the faithful to have good masses that they have a right to - not a response not merely to "disobedience" of SSPX, but to the disobedience of priest and bishops about the NO.

      This is nothing like either Paul VI giving in to allowing communion in the hand, or JPII permitting girl altar boys. (Talk about gender confusion.) In these, there was never ANY legitimate reason to permit the practice in the first place, and the priests (and bishops) who allowed it were violating NOT ONLY canon and liturgical law, they were violating basic principles of customary usage, and were (at least by omission) promoting bad theology and bad affective response to the mass. And, they knew it was both illegal and had no just basis - which cannot be said of the SSPX priests, because of aforesaid abrogation issue.

      So, not only were these two papal decisions unnecessary, they were also imprudent. For example, JPII explicitly hinged the permission on a bishop "finding that the practice was already widespread", and he insisted that keeping cadres of boys-only altar boys was to be preferred and maintained. NOT ONE IOTA of effort was made by the Vatican to oversee whether a bishop actually had a widespread problem before he approved it; nor did any diocese make efforts to retain boys-only cadres of altar boys, where girl-altar-boys were allowed by the bishop. JPII's strictures were ignored out of existence.

      While I stop short of encouraging bishops actively and directly disobeying Traditionis Custodes, I would encourage them to do every thing in their power to rob it of its intended effects that stay within the letter of the law. Because Francis was (as usual) more than a little sloppy, there is, actually, a lot of room for that. Just one hint: in a Church law that restricts otherwise just acts, it is to be read narrowly. Francis said priests who want to say the old mass "should" ask for authorization. "Should", under legal interpretation, does not mean "must".

      Delete
    17. Ed,

      "..their shrill defense of even the most manifestly unjust actions and unwise statements reinforces the disastrous caricature of papal authority as the voluntarist exercise of raw power."

      But then how can you call this a "disastrous caricature" when you admit that at least some of the time papal authority ACTUALLY IS the voluntarist exercise of raw power (e.g. manifestly unjust actions and unwise statements).

      Delete
    18. Anon1,

      I already answered that above. Perhaps you did not see my earlier reply to you:

      http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2021/07/pope-victor-redux.html?showComment=1626827383524#c5677153636699516598

      Delete
    19. @Tony

      >While I stop short of encouraging bishops actively and directly disobeying Traditionis Custodes, I would encourage them to do every thing in their power to rob it of its intended effects that stay within the letter of the law.

      I think you have this in mind? I am not against it.

      https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/let-s-study-the-impact-of-the-traditional-latin-mass

      QUOTE"Father Tim Ferguson, a canon lawyer, explains, “The norms of this motu proprio are disciplinary laws — they are not procedural or substantive. Any diocesan bishop, for the good of the faithful, can dispense from them. He can dispense priests from the apparent obligation to ask his permission to use the old books; he can dispense from the apparent prohibition against offering the old Mass in parish churches; he can dispense from the requirement that the newly ordained seek his permission. Whether a diocesan bishop will do so is another thing, but he has the canonical authority to do so.”END

      Basically it is up to the Bishop.

      Delete
    20. Ed,

      I did see that answer and that's exactly the point. Descriptively, you admit that papal authority is (regrettably, sometimes) the voluntarist exercise of raw power and yet you claim others who say the same thing are caricaturing.

      Delete
    21. Anon1,

      No, you are entirely missing the point. Yes, some popes have sometimes acted as if papal authority was like that, as have misguided Catholic defenders of such actions. But that does not entail that papal authority ever can justifiably be exercised in that way.

      Compare: U.S. presidents do not in fact have the authority to break the law, but that does not mean that none of them has ever acted as if they had that authority. Again, you are confusing the normative and the descriptive.

      Delete
    22. <> - Son of Ya’Kov

      Skojec is into all things Space and Rorate Caeli believes man has walked on the moon.

      A Rorate Caeli tweet in 2019: <>

      The earth is not a spinning ball corkscrewing through the infinite vacuum of space - many things to unpack here even with their own science. 70% of the earth’s surface is connected waters. Large bodies of water lay flat - hence “Sea Level” - and require a container, the earth MUST be flat and, there is a firmament above.

      My view on self-styled Trads is that they are other side of the coin of the crisis that the evil one whipped up in the Church; temptations come in twos. The other side being modernism.

      To Rorate Caeli, the crisis in the Church is directly from the Vatican II Council.

      Delete
    23. That is what is wrong with Traditionalism. They still have a faction that wars against Vatican II and "Conservative" or "Neo Catholics" (i.e. the REMNANT's pet name for orthodox Catholic who accept & submit to the council).

      With all due respect to Tony's opinions and Feser and others...I was there. They have been IMHO a divisive faction. So in some ways they have brought this all on themselves. Granted that doesn't absolve Francis for his grave imprudence here. God will judge him.

      But had Lefebvre not gone into schism I don't think JP2 would have granted the Indult or offer to make the SSPX a personal prelateture.

      It does smack of rewarding disobedience. But there is nothing to be done.

      We will have to agree to disagree.

      Delete
    24. If the SSPX were treated duplicitously and unjustly to the point where Lefebvre saw his best option as disobedience to evidently corrupt authority... well, who are we to judge? God will judge all of them (and us). The reward after the fact is perhaps a case of trying to coax the daughter, who has been repeatedly beaten, to come back after she finally decides to leave. Small wonder if she's wary.

      In the meantime, I think the locution "submit to the council" is hopelessly vague and thus quite useless and should be shunned by anyone interested in constructive discussion of the issues.

      Delete
    25. Rather not submitting to the council and "resisting" it is hopelessly vague. The radtrads complain the council is "hopelessly" ambiguous. Really? So what you are saying is V2 doesn't teach any clear doctrinal error? So how can you not submit?

      The Council of Ariminum denies the Deity of Christ and was condemned by the Pope. The Augsburg Confession teached clear error on the doctrine of justification. It is not hard for this Catholic to not submit to their nonsense.

      So what is taught by V2 that is error? Nothing clearly erroneous so the SSPX sympathizers and Sedes are without excuse here.

      You must return to the True Church.

      Delete
    26. @SoY: So you're suggesting that "submit to the council" means "submit to ambiguity" (because as long as it contains no clear doctrinal error, it's fine, man!)? Like I said... The point is, mere submission to I know not what (i.e., the normal kind of submission of ignorant/dishonest priests/pewsitters who cite VII to justify all sorts of wicked nonsense) is purely rhetorical, not true religion, and has no merit in the eyes of God who judges the heart, who shows himself to the pure of heart, and who spews the lukewarm from his mouth.

      "Submit to the council" is akin to "sola scriptura" -- it just misses the point and/or deceptively sidesteps the real issues. Submit, rather, to the necessity of honest, substantive discussion of real issues. Just insisting "submit to the council" doesn't advance the discussion for anyone, except for those who just want to obfuscate and keep people in the dark.

      Delete
    27. Understand that I don't reject V2, but I think it's pretty obvious that just telling serious people who have serious beefs with the council, "submit to the council!" is simply not helpful. Nor is it just or charitable. You have to help people to see their way through difficulties (like Thomas Pink, for example, or Dr. Feser), not just insist on blind assent. Sometimes these people are just a-holes, maybe; but mostly they're asking for bread, and they're being given stones.

      Delete
    28. @David McPike

      > So you're suggesting that "submit to the council" means "submit to ambiguity" (because as long as it contains no clear doctrinal error, it's fine, man!)?

      Yes and there is no rational reason not too. When I was arguing the Death Penalty with the "Hereispeter" crowd they accused me of not submitting to the Pope's teaching "the death penalty is inadmissible". I told them the teaching was ambiguous and of course I submitted to it! Since has no clear meaning there is nothing to resist & I challenged them to tell me what doctrine was I transgressing calling ambiguous? If the Pope had clearly said "the death penalty is intrinsically evil" well that would be clear heresy and we would have a problem. But it doesn't have a clear meaning so it cannot in principle be teaching error. So why would I not submit?

      I am sorry but heresy must be clear.

      >The point is, mere submission to I know not what (i.e., the normal kind of submission of ignorant/dishonest priests/pewsitters who cite VII to justify all sorts of wicked nonsense) is purely rhetorical, not true religion, and has no merit in the eyes of God who judges the heart, who shows himself to the pure of heart, and who spews the lukewarm from his mouth.

      Horse poop! Submission to clear error is wicked. Submission to an authority I owe my allegiance too is virtuous. If I am not being asked to submit to something that is clearly wrong and the one demanding my submission has the right to do so then I sin if I don't submit. Yer statement makes no sense to me?

      >"Submit to the council" is akin to "sola scriptura" -- it just misses the point and/or deceptively sidesteps the real issues.

      As I recall the Sola Scriptura people refused to submit to a council(Trent). I am advocating the SSPX and their fellow travelers have no rational excuse not too submit to V2. Their "ambiguity" objection puts them in the wrong. At least the Old Catholics could object to a clear doctrine in Vatican One. The Prots can object to Session VI on Justification. The SSPX and their fellow travelers have no excuse.

      >Just insisting "submit to the council" doesn't advance the discussion for anyone, except for those who just want to obfuscate and keep people in the dark.

      By the law of God they owe that submission. It wasn't hard for the FSSP? The SSPX are being proud.

      > it's pretty obvious that just telling serious people who have serious beefs with the council, "submit to the council!" is simply not helpful. Nor is it just or charitable. You have to help people to see their way through difficulties (like Thomas Pink, for example, or Dr. Feser), not just insist on blind assent.

      My argument is aimed at the "ambiguity" people. If there are persons who claim V2 teaches specifically a bunch of clearly false doctrines that is another matter.

      So I hold to my original point. Submit! EENS! If V2 is unclear a future Pope or a V3 or Trent II or Lateran VI whatever can clear it up.

      There is too much of a Protestant mentality in much of what is falsely called Traditionalism.

      Delete
    29. David, that's right: the people who are troubled (not "resisting", that's a loaded and unnecessary word to describe the condition of most of those who were tradition-leaning after 1970 - including most who go to the old mass) by certain pieces of the docs of the Council are difficult to understand. In addition, elements of them give at least the appearance of being incompatible with declared doctrine from tradition. (E.G. Dignitatis Humanae on religious liberty.) So, the proper response of the Magisterium is not to yell ever louder "SUBMIT, D*MN YOU!", but to explain how the documents are to be read properly, and to show in detail how to harmonize the new teaching with the old. That IS the proper role of the Magisterial office in this situation, and - especially - the pope's. It is incredibly unreasonable of Paul VI and Francis to complain about the lack of submission of those who have been troubled, when they haven't fulfilled their own proper role.

      At the same time, the proper attitude of the laity in these difficulties is to assume, for the time being, that there IS SOME WAY to resolve the apparent problems, not to run off jumping from the appearance of a problem to a settled certainty that the problem is real and unresolvable. So, when people like Pinker comes along, you can listen with an open mind and accept even more that the appearance of a problem is more probably JUST an appearance and not a real contradiction. (Not that I like Pinker's solution for the religious liberty problem - I happen to think that he is (slightly) wrong, and that there is a better solution elsewhere, but that's not germane here.)

      So we can admit that there have been mistakes on both sides. But the first (in time) mistake was by Paul VI and the bishops who attempted to foist a shoddy product on the Church without also attempting to properly teach, prepare, and roll it out in a sensible way, and compounding that mistake with hands over their ears when initial complaints came in, yelling "la la la la I can't hear you". That's when you get people digging in their heels in resistance - mostly not to "the Council" but to these particulars, which are quite definitely accidents of historical accretions in response to the Council.

      Delete
    30. @SoY:
      Well at least Tony gets what I'm saying!

      "Horse poop! Submission to clear error is wicked. Submission to an authority I owe my allegiance too is virtuous. If I am not being asked to submit to something that is clearly wrong and the one demanding my submission has the right to do so then I sin if I don't submit. Yer statement makes no sense to me?"

      You're not far off here. But the point you're failing to see is that blind submission to apparent error is also wicked. And mere submission to ambiguity as such -- as in an ambiguous teaching that admits both sound and erroneous interpretations -- is itself at best ambiguous. We have a positive duty both to seek the truth and, concomitantly, to avoid falsehood. Ambiguity can corrupt the truth just as effectively as straight falsehood. And when an ambiguous teaching has been actually received mostly in an erroneous sense, then it is certainly wrong (and wicked!) to merely insist that people "submit" to it.

      Your fundamental error seems to be thinking that submission to the divine authority of the Church (good and necessary) entails the possibility and obligation of an unquestioning submission to every statement in any way issuing from that authority (in this case, the carte blanche "submit to V2!"). But notwithstanding the real divine authority invested in the Church it's obviously just not that simple. That's what I was alluding to with the sola scriptura analogy: a heretic can insist all day long on the authority of scripture and the necessity of submitting to the authority of scripture. He's right about the authority of scripture, but he's just missing the point, because the issue is about his (erroneous) interpretation of scripture, not scripture's authority. And so his insistent appeal to the authority of scripture to defend error can perversely end up undermining the authority of scripture; and the same thing can happen if you merely insist on submission to the V2 without qualification, without addressing the erroneous mainstream reception/interpretation of the ambiguous teachings of V2.

      The other issue is that ambiguous but authoritative teachings can be and have been turned into a pseudo-authoritative teaching of ambiguity, where the law of non-contradiction is dismissed and the foundations of sound doctrine (and of justice and morality) are undermined, usually under the guise of "development of doctrine," or "openness to the Spirit (of V2)."

      Delete
    31. @Tony: So what about Pink? Where's the flaw? I do think John Lamont offers an impressive alternate analysis and solution: https://www.academia.edu/877072/Catholic_teaching_on_religion_and_the_state (I'm not sure about his critique of Pink.)

      Delete
    32. Sorry but the one in error here is you David not moi. I do not agree and I do not find yer arguments sound.

      >You're not far off here. But the point you're failing to see is that blind submission to apparent error is also wicked.

      There is no such thing as "apparent error". There is only clear error vs what is not clear.
      If it is not clear then it is not error.

      >And mere submission to ambiguity as such -- as in an ambiguous teaching that admits both sound and erroneous interpretations -- is itself at best ambiguous.

      But then you are morally obligated to assume the sound interpretation and submit to it. Which is what the FSSP does with Vatican 2 and the schismatics do not do and they have no excuse.

      >Ambiguity can corrupt the truth just as effectively as straight falsehood.

      What does that have to do with anything? Unless you are being asked to submit to clear unambiguous error you have no cause to withhold submission.

      > And when an ambiguous teaching has been actually received mostly in an erroneous sense, then it is certainly wrong (and wicked!) to merely insist that people "submit" to it.

      Where have I said you should submit to any ambiguous teaching (mis)interpreted in an erroneous sense? Nowhere, I think yer the one not getting what I am saying David?

      I can tell the Francis fans I submit to "DP is inadmissible" because it doesn't clearly mean anything and any interpretation of it contrary to dogma I can never submit to it. So what is the problem? Other than I have the moral authority to resist the modernists and the SSPX wannabes do not since they will not submit.

      >Your fundamental error seems to be thinking that submission to the divine authority of the Church (good and necessary) entails the possibility and obligation of an unquestioning submission to every statement in any way issuing from that authority (in this case, the carte blanche "submit to V2!").

      That is error? That is merely being Catholic. Using my private judgment to resist is Protestant nonsense! I refuse to submit to yer private error here David.

      Unless there is a clear unambiguous rejection of doctrine or blatant statement of heresy I will submit always without fail.

      All ambiguity will be interpreted according to the known clear teachings of the Church and in harmony with it and that is the end of it.

      So the Germans and the SSPX can take their Protestant nonsense and go climb a tree. I am nor having it. I am a stubborn Scot forever by the Grace of God and a Catholic!

      > if you merely insist on submission to the V2 without qualification, without addressing the erroneous mainstream reception/interpretation of the ambiguous teachings of V2.

      I never said that? Yer not listening to me.

      Delete
    33. SoY, you're neck deep in sophistry here.

      "There is no such thing as 'apparent error'. There is only clear error vs what is not clear.
      If it is not clear then it is not error."

      Are you sure about that? By what argument or criterion do you determine and establish that "what is not clear error" cannot be "apparent error"?

      (Do you remember Feser discussing "heresy" vs. related categories like "proximate to heresy"? That's a closely related issue. See here, for example:

      https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2019/05/some-comments-on-open-letter.html

      A quote: "when defending the doctrinal soundness of a statement, it does not suffice to come up with some strained or unnatural interpretation that avoids strict heresy. That is a much lower standard than the Church herself has applied historically, and would rule out very little.")

      Delete
    34. @SoY:
      "But then you are morally obligated to assume the sound interpretation and submit to it."

      That's nice, for those who already know the sound interpretation. But for them the teaching is essentially irrelevant anyway; it's certainly not helping them to know the true mind of the Church. And such people are NOT merely submitting, they are actively interpreting a teaching which in fact isn't really teaching them anything, since in itself it's ambiguous.

      But for those who are actually depending on the ambiguous teaching in order to know the mind of the Church in the first place, merely submitting isn't helpful, since the point of teaching is to convey the truth and distinguish it from what is false, and an ambiguous teaching does not do that. In this case submission comes to be not about acknowledging the demands upon us of divine truth, but only about acknowledging the demands of authority; which might seem very righteous to you, but is not if the nature of that authority and its necessary relationship to the truth is subverted, as when you insist on submitting to an ambiguous teaching as such, a teaching which of its nature doesn't effectively teach truth rather than error.

      Delete
    35. >SoY, you're neck deep in sophistry here.

      No sir that is nonsense.

      >Are you sure about that? By what argument or criterion do you determine and establish that "what is not clear error" cannot be "apparent error"?

      I don't know sir how do Trad Reactionaries determine wither a statement is "ambiguous" or not? This is a tedious question and a diversion. I known my dogma sir. If an anti V2 trad can judge "ambiguity" then I can judge using my developed knowledge of Catholic doctrine and dogma.

      >(Do you remember Feser discussing "heresy" vs. related categories like "proximate to heresy"?

      Yes and as I recall he thought the letter that charged Pope Francis with being a heretic was "overstates things in its main charge and makes some bad arguments". I agree. It may have had some good point he want on to say but that IMHO has nothing to do with V2 or submitting to it.


      > "when defending the doctrinal soundness of a statement, it does not suffice to come up with some strained or unnatural interpretation that avoids strict heresy. That is a much lower standard than the Church herself has applied historically, and would rule out very little."

      Which is theoretical and at best & could be applied to some statements by Pope Francis. But I taking issue with the extremists who refuse submission to Vatican II. I read the council there is NOTHING in the text that requires a stranded unnatural interpretation. I know I argued with Radtrads about this for decades and I remain 100% unimpressed. Their arguments are god awful to non-existent to ambiguous (which is fecking ironic there)

      >That's nice, for those who already know the sound interpretation.

      This shows the need for better religious instruction. The stupid will always find ways to misunderstand even doctrinal statement we can all say are unambiguous.

      >But for them the teaching is essentially irrelevant anyway; it's certainly not helping them to know the true mind of the Church.

      You accuse me of sophsitry? HA! Mate what are we talking about? The theologically illiterate average Catholic pleb who can't understand even
      "clear" doctrine because his religious education is crap or a Trad who does know Traditional Doctrine at minimum making lame excuses for not submitting to V2 over some claim of "ambiguity"?

      Make up yer mind and get back to me.

      >when you insist on submitting to an ambiguous teaching as such, a teaching which of its nature doesn't effectively teach truth rather than error.

      Here you contradict yerself. Are we discussing ambiguity or clear error? Make up yer mind.

      God you are ambiguous ladd and I am a short tempered Scot so that won't end well.

      Delete
    36. "God you are ambiguous ladd and I am a short tempered Scot so that won't end well."

      It's too bad we're online. Some good old-fashioned fisticuffs would get this sorted out pronto.

      "You accuse me of sophsitry? HA! Mate what are we talking about? The theologically illiterate average Catholic pleb who can't understand even
      "clear" doctrine because his religious education is crap..."

      No, ye stubborn old Scot, we're talking about folks like Jacques Maritain, Paul VI, John Courtney Murray, Martin Rhonheimer, Bishop de Smedt and those who helped him draft Dignitatis humanae, and probably the vast majority of NO bishops and priests and catechists. THat's who.

      Delete
    37. "This is a tedious question and a diversion."

      And yet it's a crucial one. If you can't answer it, then it seems your position is nonsense. And clearly you can't answer it, because your position is nonsense.

      Delete
    38. @David

      No mate it is the equivalent of me asking you "By what argument or criterion do you determine and establish that a statement is ambiguous?"

      Which is some sophistry on yer part. I can tell "the DP is inadmissible" is wee ambiguous and V2 not so much.

      Also how does one prove a negative? "What is not clear error?" is by definition an absence of clarity or in clearly making a statement that is clearly doctrinally erroneous. Like claiming "the Person of the Incarnate Word is created" is clear Arian heresy. Saying "Jesus is in some sense a creature" is vague at imprecise but not clearly heretical since the human nature of our Lord is a creature.

      >No, ye stubborn old Scot, we're talking about folks like Jacques Maritain, Paul VI, John Courtney Murray, Martin Rhonheimer, Bishop de Smedt and those who helped him draft Dignitatis humanae, and probably the vast majority of NO bishops and priests and catechists. THat's who.

      That doctrine is rather clear. It is true error has no rights but erroneous people do. It's not 'ard unlike non-Scots who are nor 'ard.

      BTW I dina do fistcuffs. I do Claymores! Alba Gu Brah! Charlie Will Come Again!

      Delete
    39. BTW if I may post this disclaimer. We are joking about fists and sword fighting gentle readers(assuming anybody is paying attention).

      I don't want Dr. Feser to think we are gonna shiv one another over a theological argument. It is all in good fun.:D


      Cheers David. Peace.

      Now back to our regular program.

      Delete
    40. No mate it is the equivalent of me asking you "By what argument or criterion do you determine and establish that a statement is ambiguous?"

      And is that supposed to be a difficult question? So is DH significantly open to more than one interpretation (i.e., ambiguous)? Well look at the text, then look at the reception (among not just rubes, but all sorts of apparently well-qualified people). Both rationally and -- more importantly and conclusively -- empirically one should conclude that it is ambiguous. In any case, you conceded that it was ambiguous, and we were arguing about the implications, so if you want to change the premise of your argument now...

      Anyway, I guess this argument isn't going anywhere. Peace, brother.

      Delete
    41. I will say this.

      >And is that supposed to be a difficult question? So is DH significantly open to more than one interpretation (i.e., ambiguous)?

      But in reconciling DH to previous teaching how is the interpretation a strained or unnatural one that avoids strict heresy? I haven't heard a convincing argument. Wither it is Pink or the late Fr Most. I think DH is sound. It is not on the level of "the DP is inadmissible".

      As a general principle, if you "conclude that it is ambiguous" by a rational process then how can you conclude it teaches even "apparent error"?

      That seems to be two different things..

      Delete
    42. Apparent error (I would distinguish two main species): Subjectively AE: when someone reads it, it appears to that person to teach a teaching that is in error. Objectively AE: when most people (rubes and otherwise) read it, they conclude it teaches a teaching which is in fact erroneous. In both cases, what is necessary is clarification, not submission. Submission to SAE (as such) is contrary to love of God. Submission to OAE (as such) is contrary to love of neighbor.

      Delete
  25. Hey Ed,

    It's been a long time. Remember me?

    So sorry to see that old Jorge has turned out to be such a disappoint for you. But cheer up, he can't live forever, and maybe you'll get a better fake pope next time.

    Talk to you again soon, maybe.

    sede vacante!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. George, I am curious about something: if we grant, purely hypothetically, that the papal office is currently empty, in what way would that vacancy by validly, licitly, and manifestly filled by one who is truly pope? Would it necessarily take a direct intervention by Christ appearing in his human flesh to seat a new pope?

      Not one cardinal now living was appointed cardinal by a person you recognize as pope. So (I presume) there can be, on your basis, no valid election by cardinals. But there is no other mechanism in place, there is no "fall back" law for if all the valid cardinals are dead. So, without cardinals, no pope can be selected by men. That's the only conclusion I can see - which made me propose Christ coming back in the flesh to do it. Yes, Christ always has the power to appoint his vicar on Earth...but unless he does it VISIBLY, that man cannot take the helm of the visible Church.

      Delete
    2. Yes, Tony, I pretty much agree with you. Except I would not say that Christ Himself would have to make an appearance. Some visible and unmistakable manifestation of his power would be sufficient. Until then, we must hold the Catholic Faith whole and inviolate, and reject all heretics.

      Delete
    3. Given a 2000 year history in which such a situation has never happened and about which no high Church authority has ever stated a doctrinal position, it is extraordinarily unlikely that Christ would have allowed the Church to land in such a position without prior clear warning that "you will just have to wait it out until I appoint a pope myself". Especially because, like in the case of men determining who shall govern nations, the BASIC constitution of the Church does not explicitly dictate how the next pope shall be determined. It has (a) happened under historically contingent circumstances, and (b) altered, over time, according to dictates of men.

      In the resolution to the Great Schism, the cardinals who finally elected pope John were NOT merely those cardinals who had clearly been appointed cardinal by that "one claimant who had been the true pope", but all of the cardinals who had been appointed by any of the 3 claimants to the throne. That is to say, it is unreasonable to think that the Church militant in its visible persons cannot resolve the problems of an open office or an uncertain holder of the office through human determinations.

      Delete
  26. When Pope Francis was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina ( a country he has not visited since becoming Pope ... hmmmm ), he did two things I know of. 1. He washed the feet of women at the Holy Thursday liturgies. 2. He instructed priests of parishes in the "barrios" (poor areas) to give Holy Communion to all, regardless of their irregular marital/non-marital arrangements. Thus he flouted liturgical and canon law. So I'm minded to encourage bishops and priests to say to Pope Francis: "We'll observe T.C. in the same manner as you observed liturgical and Canon Law in your time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Thank you for your inspiring example, Holy Father!"

    ReplyDelete
  27. Ed, I have a question I'd really appreciate your thoughts on if you see this. Perhaps it's only tangentially related, but I think it's related enough.

    When I was in high school my philosophy teacher - a young Protestant veteran but fond of Realism, Aristotle, and Aquinas and a seemingly honest person - once raised a question his own professor posed to his class once. If a Catholic is defined as "someone who submits to the Pope", then what is the Pope?

    I suppose it's relevant because the answer to that may implicitly justify the position of bishops/priests operating outside the Church hierarchy. If that paradox implies that a Catholic is not one who submits the Pope, but one who submits to something greater, to the Faith or Tradition or something, then perhaps in principle at least this would seem to vindicate those groups which see, in this crisis, justification for operating outside the authority of the hierarchy in obedience to a higher obligation. So, what is a Catholic? If it's "one who submits to the Pope", then what is the Pope? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  28. To be Catholic you must do both. You must submit to the pope and to Catholic Faith and Tradition. This is why the position of the SSPX and of those who sympathize with them corresponds to no possible reality. For Francis either is or is not the pope. If he is, then they should submit to him. If he is not, then they should not recognize him as such. In this way, they are similar to a man standing with one foot on the dock and the other in a canoe -- a position which is allowed to someone in transition, but one should not remain there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then my question remains: what is the Pope? He cannot submit to himself, so he fails the requirement.

      If you say the Pope is the exception, and he alone is permitted to merely submit to Tradition, I find that a thoroughly unconvincing resolution to the paradox, and so would any reasonable person, I think.

      The Trinity is a mystery, the Papacy isn't supposed to be one. There must be a reasonable resolution to the paradox which doesn't resort to special pleading and a shoulder shrug.

      Delete
    2. Yer a Protestant heretic buddy. Francis is Pope. There is no other Pope and if you don't submit to his authority you could likely be going to Hell since Outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation.

      Sedes are NOT CATHOLIC.

      Delete
    3. Anon,

      Yes, a Catholic must be subject to the pope, but this, it should go without saying, presupposes that there actually be a pope to be subject to. Now a pope cannot be subject to the pope, for there is no other pope to whom he might submit. Therefore, he is subject to Faith, Tradition, and Christ directly. We Catholics today are also not required to be subject to the pope, because there is no pope; for the guy everyone believes to be the pope is subject to neither Faith, nor Tradition nor Christ, which is obvious to all who have eyes to see.

      Delete
    4. Those who believe that Pope Benedict did not properly resign are not "Sede" -- the question of whether Francis is an Anti-Pope will be settled at some later date but there is evidence and those who say otherwise are ignorant or lying. Pope F's Abu dhabi actions/declarations that religions are equal/the same was flat out heresy. Archbishop Vigano has written on this in depth so you can read that -- there is no way any valid "pope" not a heretic would ever say such a thing.

      Delete
    5. If a Catholic is defined as "someone who submits to the Pope", then what is the Pope?

      That's not what defines what it is to "be a Catholic." You won't find that definition in any CATHOLIC source. You should not use a non-Catholic's theory about what defines Catholicism - it's obviously likely to be distorted.

      A Catholic is required to (not "defined by") obey lawful COMMANDS of the pope (and other lawful authorities), and he is required to assent to DOCTRINAL TEACHING by the pope (and other bishops). A Catholic who disobeys a pope's lawful commands is a disobedient Catholic, not a "non-Catholic".

      A pope, obviously, is unlikely to disobey his own lawful commands to himself. And he is unlikely to refuse to assent to his own doctrinal teachings. And since "submission to the pope" is not the core, definitional meaning of what it means to be a Catholic, these are facts are not dispositive. "Submission to the pope" is required of Catholics on account of a still higher standard, that of submission to Christ, and to the Catholic Church. The pope, in order to be a Catholic in good standing, must submit to Christ and to the Catholic Church, as must all other Catholics. When a Catholic refuses to obey the Catholic Church, he is a bad Catholic, if his refusal does not utterly separate him from the Church's life, such as apostasy would do. But even if someone who has been baptized Catholic apostacizes, he remains with the indelible mark on his soul rendering him forever ordered to obedience to the Catholic Church, so in that extremely limited sense he remains "a Catholic" still. (Which is unlike pagans, who also ought to join the Catholic Church, but who are lacking that indelible mark of being adjoined to and ordered toward the Church.)

      Delete
    6. Hi Tony, thanks for the response. I'll preface by saying I'm not trying to be pedantic, just searching for clarity.

      I'll address the parts I think get to the crux of the matter, and which I find muddled, piece by piece.

      'The pope, in order to be a Catholic in good standing, must submit to Christ and to the Catholic Church, as must all other Catholics.'
      Ok, so we have here a definition of being a Catholic which circumvents the need for special pleading. In what, precisely, does the pope's "submission to [...] the Catholic Church" consist? If there is an X such that X constitutes submission to the Catholic Church for both the pope and the laity, what is this X? "submission to [...] the Catholic Church" is extremely vague on its own. I think maybe the 2nd paragraph was an attempt to answer this, but a close examination shows it is muddled and vague as well. Or maybe I'm thick and you could spell things out more clearly for me. In any case, I get the feeling a lot of what you write is a muddled attempt to deny there is such an X. In other words, you're simply hiding the special pleading. I've read and reread your comment but I can't seem to wrap my head around parts. Moving on:

      'When a Catholic refuses to obey the Catholic Church, he is a bad Catholic, if his refusal does not utterly separate him from the Church's life, such as apostasy would do.'
      Let's pretend you've supplied an account of X by which both the pope and laity may claim the title "Catholic". What you are really saying here, then, is obedience to the pope really doesn't matter. Because the pope is bound to this X himself, therefore this X is owed obedience over any obedience to the pope. Therefore, the whole notion of "disobedience" to the pope is irrelevant, and in fact confusing because it implicitly and erroneously asserts its own importance. Moving on:

      'But even if someone who has been baptized Catholic apostacizes, he remains with the indelible mark on his soul rendering him forever ordered to obedience to the Catholic Church, so in that extremely limited sense he remains "a Catholic" still.'
      Now, maybe this is the X. That is, the pope and the laity are both Catholic in virtue of baptism. Fine. Then we're back the previous points mentioned - that obedience to the pope is totally irrelevant.

      Muddled as it is, it seems to me this attempt to define what a Catholic is, leaves the hierarchy in a tenuous state, if not in shambles. It leaves the door wide open for both disobedience (e.g. SSPX) and sedevacantism.

      Once again, merely searching for clarity and looking forward to seeing where I'm wrong in my understanding of things. Thanks.

      Delete
    7. Incidentally, I might add, it's a bit ironic that it seems Ed, who esteems Aquinas whose philosophy is the pinnacle of measured common sense and the renunciation of categorical extremes unless warranted, seems to share a premise with sedevacantism - and of course, Ed would denounce them as "extreme",or perhaps use a more appropriate and less vague descriptor.

      That premise is simply, that a pope is first and foremost owed obedience no matter what.

      Ed takes that premise and goes one way with it, the sedevacantist simply takes the premise and goes the other way. There's really no difference in what they do, they both run with it, merely in opposite directions.

      Perhaps this is evidence the premise is flawed - that it could even allow for wildly different conclusions. Perhaps Ed's own position is actually extreme and not congruent with the measured reflection characteristic of the philosophy of Aquinas. Just some thoughts.

      Delete
    8. Benedict said Francis is now Pope. If "somehow" he is still Pope then this makes a schismatic.

      Francis is Pope. Get over it and Matt 16:18 renders George R a heretic.

      Delete
    9. SoY, was this directed at George R or at me? It's ambiguous and if it's not directed at me I'll ignore it. Thanks.

      Delete
    10. While I wait for responses to my questions, how does this sound as a proposal for the confusion we live in:

      The Vatican II liturgy is not the cause of problems, it is the symptom. Reread that if needed until it sinks in. Internalize the implication - even Catholics attending the pre 62 rubrics were already fallen away. The Vatican II liturgy is not the cause of the problems. The cause is loss of faith, which evil is anterior to the confusion today.

      In other words, we are being punished for loss of faith. The punishment is two-pronged. We are being punished by being given a (licit) Mass fit for an unbelieving people, lest the laity make a mockery of God by defiling the liturgy most pleasing to Him with their participation - that is, the Mass of Pius V. This Mass fit for an unbelieving people is the Vatican II liturgy. As for the old liturgy: Since those attached to the old liturgy are of the Phariseeic spirit, they do not in fact escape the loss of faith in their hearts, for they fail to live it out, and so they too are punished with the only option of carrying out their old motions like Pharisees, in robotic and cold disobedience to the pope and submission to the true Faith and Tradition in merely outward fashion. The Vatican II liturgy followers are disordered in allowing passion to overtake reason, and so their liturgy is fit for their defects. The old liturgy is most pleasing, but rendered unavailable to anyone licitly, even though reason dictates it is the true Mass. This is punishment for the Phariseeic spirit. So, God’s will is punishment, and nothing beyond that; there is no right choice, and we are meant to feel so. Follow your feelings and the approval of others by attending the Vatican II liturgy which is sacrilege, or follow your Phariseeic mind by attending, illicitly, the true Mass.

      I’ve left out the people who delude themselves about the confusion, they aren’t worth much mention eg Catholic Biden voters.

      Thoughts?

      Delete
    11. Anon, when you suggest "there is an X such that X constitutes submission to the Catholic Church for both the pope and the laity, what is this X? , I think you are oversimplifying and this makes it hard to respond.

      There are LOTS of particulars in which the Catholic is required to "obey the Church". Just to start, there are 6 general laws that apply: Go to mass on Sunday, support the Church, fast and abstain on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, etc. These are GENERAL laws, and apply broadly (though they have exceptions: children don't have to fast, and don't have to support the Church, etc). So, not only are lay Catholics bound by them, so is the pope. Now, the pope COULD change one of them to say "everyone but the pope is required to go to mass on Sundays..." But until he does something like that, notionally the law binds him too.

      Other laws he could alter some elements of, but not their substance, because their substance is decreed by a higher authority (i.e. Christ). The basic matter of baptism is such: you have to use water, and can't use wine or milk or dirt. The pope hasn't authority to change that rule, and if he tried to baptize with dirt, he would be violating the norm set by Christ. Similarly, the Church says people cannot commit adultery, and being pope would not allow the pope to re-write that law to make it OK for him to commit adultery. He would be acting disobeying the Church if he committed adultery.

      But not every sin which violates a Church law constitutes the act of schism. Schism requires: a baptized person who refuses submission to the pope or communion with members of the church

      It is a particular form of rejection of Church norms. Christ commanded his followers to "be of one mind" and prayed "that they be one as I and the Father are one". Therefore, a person who refuses to be "one with" the rest of the Church is schismatic. But it's not sufficient, for this sin, to refuse to be "at one with" a specific other Christian, or even with several of them. If you have an argument with your neighbor and can't speak to him in peace, that doesn't make you a schismatic.

      Delete
    12. So, there are two ways of deciding whether the "refusal to be one with" is large enough to be schismatic: if your refusal literally encompasses the WHOLE Church, or (alternatively) if it is directed to the pope himself. Why the latter? Because one aspect of the special office of the pope is that of being the caretaker and (visible) principle of unity of the Church: to keep us together. By rejecting unity with the pope, a person is effectively rejecting unity with the whole body of which he is the visible symbol and care-taker of unity.

      Nor is mere disobedience to the pope sufficient to constitute schism. A person might, for example, hate the pope as a person (e.g. back when the pope was a Medici and a person had been ruined by the Medici family), and as a result disobey specific commands, but still not act in such a way as to reject Christian unity with the pope AS SUCH. There are, however, significant ways of manifesting forth outwardly an interior disposition of fully refusing unity with the pope. One such would be to literally refuse an offer & order to assist the pope at mass. The mass is the sacrament of unity, and the Eucharist is, literally, "communion". Refusing to assist at mass with the pope, upon being required to do so, would seem (pretty obviously) to constitute "refusing submission to the pope". So, it's not merely the act of disobeying a papal command, it's the comprehensive refusal of submission to the pope manifested in a certain kind of disobedience. Often, then, "schismatic" acts will be those that manifest that the person wholly rejects that the pope has the supreme authority (on Earth) to rule the Church.

      Obviously, the pope isn't going to act in such a way as to manifest refusal of unity with himself. But the definition allows, also, refusal of fellowship with the members of the Church. If a pope were to (somehow or other) make it manifest that he repudiated belonging with everyone else, that could be schismatic. Maybe (grasping at straws, here) if he were to say to everyone "no, you cannot come to my mass, you aren't sufficiently 'one of us' to be part of the Church."

      Delete
    13. @Tony:
      I think it's useful to distinguish proving the crime of schism, from more general schismatic tendencies, which are sinful but not canonical crimes. An example from Edward Peters: "bishops working in close collaboration with the pope are [reportedly] instructing other bishops to avoid and, if necessary, to refuse manifestations of Christian unity due to a bishop [Burke] who is, beyond any question, in full communion with him and them." His comment: "prelates should avoid schism and even actions suggestive of schismatic attitudes."

      https://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/07/a-note-on-the-other-kind-of-schism/

      With Francis's latest, it is especially the apparent banishing of TLM communities from parish churches that seems redolent of a schismatic attitude.

      Delete
    14. David, I was indeed trying to illustrate the canonical crime of schism from the (interior) sin of schism, which can be a mortal sin but never prosecuted by the Church as a crime.

      With Francis's latest, it is especially the apparent banishing of TLM communities from parish churches that seems redolent of a schismatic attitude.

      Indeed. It would be extremely interesting if, in one of the pope's visits to other places, the local bishop invited him to a mass and then said a TLM. If the pope were to walk out, arguably that WOULD imply a schismatic act. (This being wholly hypothetical: I am not saying the pope WOULD walk out. But it seems likely that he would be tempted to, given his expressed attitude about trads. Being tempted is not a sin.)

      I think the problem you mention exists as a real and pressing danger to some ordinary bishops who are now quite willing to repress the TLM even more than is implied by TC (e.g. by giving 0 TLM masses to trads who, before now, have had a handful of parishes for mass). If such a bishop had been repeatedly requested to come and visit those TLM parishes for masses, and constantly refused, depending on his specific motivation, this could be schismatic. (As an example, if he always, every year and for every such TLM parish, sent an auxiliary bishop or the bishop emeritus (retired) to do confirmations, the steadfast and uniform determination to never participate at the TLM, in spite of the normal obligation of looking at those parishes at various intervals, would seem schismatic.

      I am not aware of any bishops who actually did something like that. But given the apparent hostility of some bishops toward trad persons and the TLM, it is worrisome that their attitude might have expressed itself in the specific action of refusing to allow TLM masses or parishes BECAUSE he did not want to ever attend at such masses. And, if that were so, those specific actions would have been schismatic in fact even though they were technically within his discretion to take.

      (Setting aside confirmation visits by the bishop): Arguably, especially before TC, a bishop could have been expressing a schismatic attitude by not even bothering to ever attend TLM masses with the trads in his diocese: they are part of his flock, with needs just like everyone else, including needs to see / hear their bishop. If there were enough of them, he should have been willing to make such effort as was proportionate to their need. Bishops make an effort to do mass for other groups (though not every day - they probably do it a half-dozen times every year. In many dioceses there are at least as many trads as there are of those other groups that get a mass with the bishop. While it is not inherently necessary that the bishop not bothering to make space for saying mass with the trads would be a schismatic neglect, it is far from unlikely that at least a few bishops were specifically asked and rejected out of hand PRIMARILY because the bishop could not countenance assisting at a TLM mass. (I assume he would be unable to say a TLM mass himself.) Such actions, too, would be schismatic in effect and intention.

      Delete
  29. English CatholicJuly 21, 2021 at 7:29 PM

    Magnificent commentary on the MP by a former student of Sir Roger Scruton:

    https://europeanconservative.com/articles/commentary/reflections-on-pope-franciss-motu-proprio-traditionis-custodes/

    I quibble with some of his slightly modern-y political premises, but the thrust of the article is right on target.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Popes have long since been involved in such diplomacy to help Christians under anti-Christian regimes like China. The Our Lady inculturation of pachamama symbolism, the abolition of the death penalty (which was only marginal different from St. JP2's), and the moves towards a more humane pastoral treatment of the divorced are developments all grounded in perfectly legitimate and traditional Catholic theology. It is simply embarrassing that you are your ilk are throwing tantrums over them and sensationalizing them as if they made for a defective papacy, just because they do not confirm to your personal theological views.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Pope St Pius X was considered as cruel in his dealings with modernists.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Source? Citations? Did he suppress anyone's writings on account of their being modernist? Did he excommunicate anyone for it? More importantly, did he do so unjustly - that is, did he do so when (a) the person was not manifestly teaching modernist stuff?, And (b) when the person's teachings were not of a nature to cause harm to the Church? And (c) when the person had not had adequate opportunity to revise their position, or more fully explain themselves? What was "cruel" about his actions?

      Delete
  32. Miguel CervantesJuly 22, 2021 at 8:10 AM

    Poor Morello's eighteenth-century conservative ideology is bad for civil society and downright heretical as he applies it to the Church's constitution. The Church is not a "nation", as he alleges, and the hierarchy does not exist to serve, represent and "express" the laity as government can be said to do for civil society. Any civil society lacking government can engender one. But the laity cannot, in a million years, engender a hierarchy or legitimate Church government, because such things are ordered by the form and soul of the Church, God.

    The liturgy isn't primarily some kind of folk tradition; the Church has always legislated as it saw fit on this matter. The only question here is not what Pope Francis can do but when the Church will clearly instruct us not to interpret those well-known verses of Vatican II the way we've been told to for the last half century, and clean up its aftermath (in liturgy as elsewhere).

    Morello must unfortunately be placed in the growing Skojec-Kwasnewsky school that has abandoned the traditional constitution of the Church as it was founded.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi Ed,

    Just a few quick pieces of friendly advice.

    1. Nearly twenty years ago, you returned to the fold. Had you known then about the state of the Church in 2021, would you have made the same decision? If your answer is still an unambiguous "yes" (as I assume it is), then it is your duty as a Catholic intellectual to smile and put on a happy face, no matter what happens inside the Church. By not doing so, you effectively convey a message to non-Catholic readers of your blog that the Church is a house divided that cannot stand the test of time. I know that's precisely the conclusion I'd draw, were I in their shoes. When I was a child, the Catholic Church's big selling card was its unity. We need to recover that unity, if we are to survive. Right now, it's hard to think of a Christian denomination that's more disunited than the Catholic Church.

    But if your answer to the question I posed above is more ambivalent than a straight "yes," then you should be up-front about that, too. (Full disclosure here: I'm now less sure about my decision to return than I was 16 years ago.)

    2. I think it's fair to say you're not a big fan of Pope Francis. Fair enough. But describing his papacy as "a kind of synthesis of all possible papal errors" is really over the top, and likening him to Pope John XII, a tenth-century Pope who was guilty of murder, adultery, incest and idolatry, is nothing short of ridiculous. You do yourself no favors when you make such comparisons.

    3. Whatever you think of the present Pope, you should not let him get under your skin. Don't like his recent decision about the Traditional Latin Mass? Fine. Either (a) find a TLM community whose diocesan bishop is happy to let them continue celebrating Mass as they have done in the past, or (b) find a parish where the Novus Ordo is reverently celebrated (hint: the masses as St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, which I watch online from Japan, are pretty reverent), or (c) find an Eastern rite Catholic parish near you. Whatever you do, don't let one man make you feel unhappy. Life is too short for that.

    4. The seesawing backwards and forwards between conservative and progressive Popes during the past few decades has convinced me of one thing: the Catholic Church, in its present form, is far too centralized. Instead of trying to get a Pope elected who'll advance whatever agenda you think is best for the Church, wouldn't it be better to get one elected who will give the Church's bishops more autonomy and in so doing, limit the Vatican's power to harm the Church as a result of its poor leadership? Just a thought. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vincent,

      1. Of course the answer would be an unambiguous Yes, because none of the reasons I became a Catholic have changed. And your “happy face” conclusion is simply a non sequitur. Papal errors of the specific kind in question are possible consistent with what the Church claims about the conditions for infallibility, and respectful criticism of such errors is consistent with what she says about the conditions under which the faithful must assent. This is manifest from the evidence I set out in posts like “The Church permits criticism of popes under certain circumstances,” which I linked to in the original post. (It is quite annoying how you, like some other readers – both uncritical defenders of the pope and Protestant and Eastern Orthodox critics of Catholicism alike – persistently ignore the evidence I set out there rather than offering any answer to it.)

      The “happy face” attitude is not only not required of the faithful, but it is dishonest, and therefore does grave spiritual harm. It is an exercise in gaslighting – telling people to pretend that the plain evidence of their senses does not exist. Such cognitive dissonance is not possible for most people, and it mentally and spiritually damages those who do engage in it. (This is, in my opinion, why the pope’s defenders are often so bitter and angry and vituperative even when responding to respectful criticism of the pope. The evidence manifestly doesn’t support them, and thus they have nothing left to resort to but ad hominem attacks.)

      “Happy face” gaslighting would have been dishonest and harmful in the days of Honorius, Stephen VI, John XXII, the Western Schism, etc. and it is no less dishonest and harmful now. When things are bad, the right thing to do is frankly to acknowledge the fact but also to reassure people that such trials are possible and sometimes permitted by Christ, that the faithful need to ride it out and never give in to temptation to sins like schism or apostasy, and that the legitimate criticism of a pope that is justifiable in highly unusual circumstances like those we’re living through must always be carried out with reverence and restraint.

      2. Obviously I don’t think that we are literally living through a synthesis of all possible papal errors. I trust that my readers are intelligent enough to know hyperbole when they see it. The point, though, is that the number of errors that we are seeing now does indeed seem to be unprecedented, and there is no point in pretending otherwise. But it is important for people to know that if papal errors of types A, B, C, etc. are all individually possible and also have actually happened in the past, then it is also possible for errors of types A, B, C, etc. to occur together. Therefore, while people are right to be upset at what they are seeing, they would be wrong to draw the conclusion that it in any way falsifies the Church’s claims about the office of the papacy.

      (continued below)

      Delete
    2. (continued)

      3. Why you think the pope has “gotten under my skin” I have no idea. Perhaps you are confusing me with other people you’ve been reading this week. I have consistently insisted over the years both that (a) we must frankly and calmly acknowledge problematic papal statements and actions when they occur, but also (b) this must be done with moderation and respect for the Holy Father, trust in Christ to sort things out in his own time, and a willingness to suffer for the Church in the meantime rather than indulge any temptation to the grave sin of schism. That’s it. That’s what I’ve said many times before, and that’s all I’m saying now.

      4. Some people seem to be succumbing to a temptation to question the wisdom of the First Vatican Council’s emphasis on infallibility and papal authority. This is a grave mistake. What the First Vatican Council taught on those subjects was correct and necessary, and the centralization of authority was probably unavoidable given the nature of the crises the Church was responding to.

      However, at the same time it is true that it is possible for people to place too much emphasis on the person of whoever the current pope happens to be, and wrongly to identify Catholicism per se with whatever a current pope happens to be emphasizing. There is a resulting tendency to turn the faith into a kind of personality cult surrounding a current pope, both among conservatives (with respect to JP2) and liberals (with respect to Francis).

      And it is also possible for people to fail to keep in mind that the First Vatican Council was very careful in formulating its teaching about the strict conditions under which a pope speaks infallibly, and to forget the kinds of papal errors that can happen and have in fact happened historically when those conditions don’t hold. Hence they needlessly freak out when a pope says or does something questionable. And so what I do think is true is that the Church needs in future to emphasize the limits on papal power no less than its scope. Pope Benedict XVI in fact tried to emphasize precisely this. Unfortunately, like other things he tried to do, that has gone down the memory hole.

      Delete
    3. Ed,

      Sure, Popes can be evil men and make horrible decisions, without the claims of the Church being impacted.

      But if it is true that the Pope can, in fact, bind (or attempt to bind) the Church to assent to what is in fact false, even if such does not meet Vatican I's condition for infallibility (i.e. it's only what is called the Ordinary Magisterium), Catholicism is irrational and not intellectually credible. It is no more credible than the Ministry of Truth or the Politburo.

      Delete
    4. Anon1,

      But if it is true that the Pope can, in fact, bind (or attempt to bind) the Church to assent to what is in fact false, even if such does not meet Vatican I's condition for infallibility (i.e. it's only what is called the Ordinary Magisterium), Catholicism is irrational and not intellectually credible. It is no more credible than the Ministry of Truth or the Politburo.


      I've come across this claim numerous times in online circles. It never ceases to be false, and there doesn't seem to be a non-fallacious argument for the assertion. Even yours is a blatant non-sequitur. That Catholicism is irrational if the Pope can attempt to bind the Church to assent to what is in fact false is a big claim that you have to actually argue for, rather than merely assert.

      Delete
    5. Hi Ed,

      Thanks for printing my comments. Re the Church during the mid-tenth century and the Great Western Schism: I agree that putting on a "happy face" during those times would have amounted to gaslighting. By the same token, however, I'd argue that if you were living during those very troubled times, it would have been no longer possible to urge any seeker after truth to convert to Catholicism. You simply cannot tell someone with a straight face, "The Church on earth is led by an idolater and a murderer (Pope John XII), but I would still urge you to join it" or "I have no idea which of the three claimants to the Papacy is the true Pope, but it's still one Church, and you are still obliged to join it." The best you can do is acknowledge the scandal and pray that God will end it - and in the meantime, stop evangelizing until it blows over. Bad as the current state of confusion within the Church is, I do not think it is anything like that bad.

      On a more cheerful note, I think the following table, which compares the beliefs and discipline of those who attend the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) and those who attend the Novus Ordo Mass (NOM), might be of interest to some:

      https://www.fisheaters.com/traditionalcatholicismxyz.jpg

      Rows 5 and 7 are very interesting.

      Delete
    6. Vincent, that doesn't follow at all. All it shows is that at times when popes act badly, some people's emotions or inability to make subtle distinctions will get in the way of their seeing the power of the relevant arguments. But that's true of every argument for anything whatsoever -- there will always be circumstances or emotional reactions that make it harder for some people the see the force of the arguments.

      Delete
    7. Happy to, since you asked.

      When I say "bind", I mean bind in conscience, and that is exactly the power Popes claim to have. Meaning, if you do not submit and assent to this teaching, that is a mortal sin and you are going to hell unless you later
      change your mind. It is irrational that a requirement for heaven could be assenting to something which is false. Doubly so, when this very requirement comes from an institution whose very purpose is supposedly to lead souls to heaven.

      Moreover, it is irrational to say that one's obligation or reason to assent to a proposition is or even can be orthogonal to its truth value. The intellect is ordered to what is true. Now in the case of infallible teachings, yes it's true one should obey, but precisely because the authority is infallible and the intellect is assenting to certain truth. But in the case of fallible teachings, the intellect must at once assent to the truth of the teaching (through obedience) and also to the possible falsity of the teaching (because it's not infallible). That is irrational. A fallible authority is only a human authority (if it were Divine it would be infallible) and thus cannot claim assent merely due to being an authority; it will be evaluated on how good its arguments and reasonings are.


      Delete
    8. Anon1,
      I am not a Catholic so I may get this wrong and Ed or others can correct me if so.
      In a former post, Ed lists various categories of magisterial statement. The document in question, Traditionis Custodes, certainly does not fall into the category "Statements which definitively put forward divinely revealed truths, or dogmas in the strict sense" nor the category "Statements which definitively put forward truths which are not revealed, but closely connected with revealed truths." Nor does it seem to fit "Statements which in a non-definitive but obligatory way clarify revealed truths." The content of the document was about liturgy and liturgies vary according to time, location, and language. The highest level to which it might rise is "Statements of a prudential sort which require external obedience but not interior assent." If I am correct in this, while Catholics may be required to obey Traditionis Custodes, they are not required to assent to it.

      Delete
    9. The highest level to which it might rise is "Statements of a prudential sort which require external obedience but not interior assent." If I am correct in this, while Catholics may be required to obey Traditionis Custodes, they are not required to assent to it.

      Quite right, Tim. To clarify: they are required (within some limits) to obey the instructions to DO certain things. They are not required to think the instructions were wise, or prudent, or even half-way decent.

      (In fact, as far as I can tell, ALL of the instructions were to bishops, which is interesting. TC makes imposes no DIRECT commands on ordinary laity. Article 8 may (depending on how you read it) take away rights from certain priests, but that's not something the laity have to "obey".)

      Delete
  34. And of course, the pope has only spoken ex cathedra twice in 2,000 years. In 1854,Assumption of Mary and 1950, Immaculate Conception.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That there have been only two such ex cathedra papal definitions is a claim, not a fact; see:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_infallibility#Operation

      which lists seven such (arguably ex cathedra) statements

      Delete
    2. And there are other compilations, by far greater authorities than La Wik, that place the number above 10, and even above 20.

      I think it is clear that JPII did it in his Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. See here for my argument.
      http://whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2019/10/the_recent_zoo_synod_and_the_i.html

      Delete
    3. I agree with you about "LaWik;" I quoted only as a convenience, and to give a knock to the common but ignorant "only two ex cathedra definitions" notion.

      Delete
  35. Dr. Feser: sedevacantism is the true position. Defenders of this thesis are not "lunatics". It is the true position simply because it is the only poper conclussion based on the teachings of the Church: basically, Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, by Paul IV, and St. Robert Bellarmine's work "The Roman Pontiff". Bergoglio is a manifest heretic and there is no doubt about it.

    Remember or read what St. Basil said in his short letter #257 regarding the Arian heresy and their hostility. Also, this situation was prophesied, for example, by Our Lady of La Salette.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miguel CervantesJuly 23, 2021 at 7:06 AM

      Sedevacantism is false. No Pope in history has ever lost the faith. The First Council of the Vatican declared that the See of Peter would remain to safeguard the faith until the end of time. Nothing Pope Francis has done has proved it wrong. (Why aren't you happy?) La Salette's message does not contain the famous passage about Rome becoming the "seat of the antichrist" That was invented by one of the seers, Melanie, thirty years afterwards. She was ordered to stop publishing anything concerning the events, and this version was placed on the Index.

      Delete
  36. Is it possible to turn off the block-justification and leave text left-justified-only?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, the sedevacantist position conjures up extreme emotional responses in people; professors of philosophy are no exception. Calling people lunatics and similar labels doesn’t warrant a response. It is the true position. The argument from the papacy is really an auxiliary argument of the sedevacantist. He should, in my opinion, argue primarily from the substantial change of the church after V2 by means of the concept of infallibility and indefectibility.

      Delete
  37. Comment broken into 2 parts

    (1/2)
    It seems to me, in the current crisis, that Ed applies a general method in his analysis of enumerating what one ought not to do, and from such paring down of the options, arriving at the best course of action given the confusion.

    The attempt at such a procedural analysis is perhaps laudable for its attempt to claim reason as its ally, but his attempt is flawed from the outset. For an examination of what is properly the very first consideration, that Ed ignores, would preclude his embarking on such a journey of an analysis in the first place.

    This first consideration is his own status as a layman. This status, normatively, precludes his journey entirely.

    How can this be? Are not all equally endowed with reason, and therefore equally allowed - morally obligated even - to use such reason in attempting to reach truth? Why is Ed not permitted to use his reason to proclaim on matters about the faith?

    Of course, that last rhetorical question gives away the answer. Ed as a layman is not permitted to say anything about matters of the faith, unless he does so as a vessel for the faith. By this I mean saying things like “envy is a sin” or "Christ's Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity are present at the consecration" which no priest in the hierarchy would disagree with.

    Now, when there is disagreement among the ordained hierarchy - as in the case of validly consecrated bishops who are disobedient to the pope - it is clear that pronouncements by a layman on such matters are totally and unequivocally beyond his lowly purview, for such pronouncements cannot claim to made under the auspices of acting as a mere vessel for the faith. For if there is disagreement within the ranks of the hierarchy which are united in Holy Orders, the layman’s right to pronounce on the matters of disagreement, declaring one side in mortal sin and thus damned, never obtains. Quite simply, Ed is of a different category of thing altogether from the bishops, priests, and pope himself who are united in Holy Orders. This is what hierarchy means. He has no right to declare that every disobedient bishop and priest lives in a state of mortal sin - assuming by "grave sin" he means such.

    And so, when Ed makes a comment about disobedience to the pope being a “grave sin”, he is himself falling into grave sin, for he is making a pronouncement on something which God has not permitted him to speak with authority about in His Providence. To point out Ed is falling into grave sin, on the other hand, is a pronouncement I make as a vessel, and so it is just. Or perhaps Ed was called to be a priest and missed his calling. It matters not. What matters is his pride in making such a pronouncement of grave sin, on matters which he has no right to make such a pronouncement. It matters not whether he is “correct” or not.

    Now, suppose Ed has investigated the matter with all his effort and intelligence and truly believes it is a grave sin to be disobedient to the pope. Is it reasonable that his reason can be thusly limited, such that he is not permitted to make a pronouncement, even of opinion, without falling into the sin of pronouncing on disputed matters of Faith outside his lowly capacity (as a vessel, and only a vessel) and, ironically, mocking the entire hierarchy? That Ed should be restricted in making such a judgment?

    I believe so, for that is the point of the existence of those who have Holy Orders within the hierarchy - the preservation of the Faith. That these members of the hierarchy may be in conflict does not negate this falling under their sole domain.

    ReplyDelete
  38. (2/2)

    Reason’s limitations alone, I think, were implicitly declared by Aquinas when he remarked on his work as being so much straw. He said such of all his work, every part of it. He did not confine his comment to the aspects of his work which sought to explain God; that is, it is clear he did not wish to merely mean that his words failed to capture the majesty of God - a triviality any man, especially in his time, would have internalized. Rather, he meant that the sort of faith his works would inspire, paled in comparison to the faith of the lowly man who has not seen and yet believed; the man who has not made use of his reason owing to circumstance limiting his time to do so (war, famine, hardship etc.) and yet has faith, a more pure and superior faith to Aquinas's own faith derived by reason.

    Aquinas stopped writing. He didn’t stop saying Mass.

    On a final note, I make a speculative diagnosis of the origin of Ed’s error. Ed himself previously has written about the importance of understanding Aquinas in the context of the entire system of philosophy in which he was educated. He should perhaps apply such a principle more broadly, in understanding the culture which forged, and which was reinforced by, the Catholic Church. Whatever his other faults, I think Foucault’s analysis of the soldier is illuminating. In previous times, before voluntarism became rampant, soldiers were not things to be “made”, they were simply born. It was something people simply saw in the nature of some men and not others - their physical size, their disposition, their family etc. This anti-voluntarist attitude, which properly governed Church culture for the overwhelming majority of Her history, is the proper Catholic frame of mind.

    I suspect a voluntarist attitude has creeped so far into our thinking, that the implicit disrespect shown to the hierarchy by Ed in his pronouncement of disobedience as a “grave sin” goes by unnoticed by him. For if a man can be trained into anything he wants to be, says the voluntarist, then he can be trained to pronounce on matters of the faith. All he needs is reason - and a(n) (un)healthy dose of pride.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Do what I tell you to do, think what I tell you what to think, and don't use your reason to question any of it." If that isn't "voluntarism", then what is?

      Delete
  39. If you strip away the polemical fluff from the great majority of “disobedient” lay Catholics’ judgments of the Vatican II liturgy, the essences of their judgments are, remarkably, extremely reserved. The farthest they really go, is to say that the Vatican II liturgy is displeasing to God, and even this, they say with great pain and hesitancy. I do not personally know of any who categorically say that all who knowingly participate in such a liturgy live in sin; this is not to mean there are none, but merely, they are much fewer in number than Vatican II liturgy Catholics fantasize. Whereas, the great majority of lay Catholics who participate in the Vatican II liturgy have internalized, even if unthinkingly and thereby perhaps less culpably, the note on the back of the bulletin by the bishop warning about those “schismatics” saying the Mass of Paul V down the street. These Catholics view these “schismatics” as damned. Who is the extremist, again?

    So, why the Vatican II liturgy followers’ fantasy of the boogeymen of the Mass of Paul V? Perhaps it is that the polemical attacks by those dedicated to the Mass of Paul V have been counterproductive. When a severe burn on the skin heals, the skin is left extremely sensitive. Analogously, “obedient” Catholics, in apprehending the polemical attacks on the Vatican II liturgy by Catholics faithful to the True Mass, become extremely sensitive, to the point of thenceforth irrationality on the matter of the Vatican II liturgy, such that their mind is clouded by an instinctive defensive posture when it is brought up - a spiritual fight-or-flight response.

    Are the followers of the Mass of Pius V responsible for these seemingly counterproductive effects their polemical attacks have on those following the Vatican II liturgy? I think not. The fault lies with those Vatican II liturgy Catholics hewing in stubbornness to their error out of pride, even when exposed. It’s a dispositional tendency that is a remnant of the culture created by the worst generation to ever walk the planet. The young, it is noteworthy, have taken great interest in the Mass of Paul V in rejection of their parents, a remarkable development. The older generation glorifies youth and its vagaries, grotesquely seeking to retain participation in it as their hairs gray while their mind remains ossified since their age of invincibility, while the younger appears to be wisely rejecting the follies of their pitiful elders. The faculties of the young have not been habituated into disorder. The young have examined the fruits of their elders, elders in flesh but not in spirit, and they are rotten.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This magical belief the TLM of St Pius V is the only true Mass is tedious. The St Paul VI Mass is a valid Mass. To deny the St Paul VI is valid is to deny Trent not just Vatican I and II.

      Crap like this running around unchecked in the Traditionalist movement only serves to give Pope Francis cover for his imprudent decision to nerf the use of the Old Mass.

      If he abrogated the rite entirely that would be tragic but that is not the same as abrogating the Mass. We would still have it in the St Paul VI rite and the other approved rites.

      The TLM didn't stop the sex scandal in the SSPX(yeh they had one. It was bad). I have friends who know fallen away Catholics who left the rigorous Trad communities and became Atheists.

      The TLM is not a magic cure all for what afflicts the Church. Faith in Christ is the beginning of all reform and renewal.

      Now should a future Pope reverse Pope Francis' actions? I hope whoever he is he will do so quickly.

      But enough of this nonsense about how the TLM is the ultimate in religious expression. It's not. I couldn't get into it. Eastern Liturgies are better IMHO. But you cannot really argue personal aesthetics.

      Feser like Stealy Dan and Pope Benedict XVI does not like Rock Music. My wife likes folk Masses & Latin Masses. I like the East.

      Catholics like their prefered spirituality. Nothing wrong with that but it is a means not an end. Christ and God are the end.

      Cheers.

      Delete