Three Catholicisms?


#1

My conversation with Msgr. Banuelas spurred me to seek another perspective. So I had lunch with Father John Navone, who teaches spirituality at the Gregorian. He cuts the “two worlds-two churches” divide yet another way.

 "Although a poverty of spirit in America is not the same as an empty stomach in Africa, each is a poverty," he said. "So I would agree not with an arbitrary line between a North and South church, but rather one that, for example, Episcopalians and Jews have. The Episcopalians have a 'high church,' a 'broad church,' and then a 'low church.' The Jews are Orthodox, Conservative and Reform. In Catholicism, on one extreme are those who say 'Orders are orders and I will follow them,' and on the other, 'No, not me, I'm a thinking person and nobody is going to tell me what to do.' In the middle are those who say, 'Look, if this makes sense for my life--and believe me, I need to make sense of my life--you can sign me up.  If not, if it does not help in my life, sorry, I just won't do it.'"

 After his explanation, Father Navone turned less ecclesial and more mystical. "The mystery of God raises questions in all of us. Although we would love to do it, there is no uniform, formulaic answer for this. God is where He wants to be in each person's life and each person is trying to find that place where they can meet. Catholics have no corner on this market."

 So once again, I start off with these neat categories, these focused questions. This time, about a Church of the North and a Church of the South. But reality isn't quite that neat, certainly in the Catholic Church. And I'm sure those cardinals now meeting behind closed doors know this better than I do as they ponder who they hope--and, I'm sure, pray--their next leader will be.

#2

In Catholicism, on one extreme are those who say ‘Orders are orders and I will follow them,’ and on the other, ‘No, not me, I’m a thinking person and nobody is going to tell me what to do.’ In the middle are those who say, ‘Look, if this makes sense for my life–and believe me, I need to make sense of my life–you can sign me up. If not, if it does not help in my life, sorry, I just won’t do it.’"

First of all, there aren’t 3 types of Catholicism. There is only orthodoxy and heterodoxy, not “serve it up however it pleases me” or “I just won’t accept it” Catholicism as alternatives.

Secondly, I don’t care for the way he describes orthodox believers as those who blindly follow orders. Orthodox people do no such thing. Apparently he’s never read “Orthodoxy” by G. K. Chesterton. Pity. He might have a better understanding of the struggle, the work, the mental corrections and lifestyle adjustments one has to make in order to be a truly obedient child of the Church.

Those who are obedient are the ones using their hearts and their brains instead of sliding along making excuses for themselves because they don’t want to change or because they have the arrogance to think they know better than Christ and his Church what is good and what is bad for us.


#3

[quote=Ahimsa]The Episcopalians have a ‘high church,’ a ‘broad church,’ and then a ‘low church.’ The Jews are Orthodox, Conservative and Reform.
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I guess that you have this in Catholicism also, with the Traditional wing of the Church represented by those adhering to the Latin Mass of Pius V, the middle of the road Catholics, and the liberals who are calling for the ordination of women. One difference is that in Judaism the Orthodox are highly respected, and similarly with the “high church” in Anglicanism, but with Catholicism, they have excommunicated the SSPX instead of trying to work with them and incorporate them into the Church.


#4

[quote=alfredo]I guess that you have this in Catholicism also, with the Traditional wing of the Church represented by those adhering to the Latin Mass of Pius V, the middle of the road Catholics, and the liberals who are calling for the ordination of women. One difference is that in Judaism the Orthodox are highly respected, and similarly with the “high church” in Anglicanism, but with Catholicism, they have excommunicated the SSPX instead of trying to work with them and incorporate them into the Church.
[/quote]

And this is a bad thing because…


#5

[quote=alfredo] with Catholicism, they have excommunicated the SSPX instead of trying to work with them and incorporate them into the Church.
[/quote]

Sorry. The Church begged the SSPX not to commit the act that caused the Society to excommunicate itself.


#6

[quote=Della]And this is a bad thing because…
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I am not saying it’s bad or good. I’m just saying that the Traditional groups are respected in Judaism and Anglicanism. There is a difference between their approach and the approach of Catholicism which has excommunicated the SSPX instead of trying to work with them. It is true though that there are some Traditional groups in the Church such as FSSP and the Campos group. But one big one has been excommunicated, which is different from the approach of Judaism.


#7

[quote=mercygate]Sorry. The Church begged the SSPX not to commit the act that caused the Society to excommunicate itself.
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Well I’m sorry too that the Vatican did not accept the four bishops that Archbishop Lefebvre ordained. In any case, I am not saying that it is good or bad, right or wrong. I say that in Judaism the Traditional groups are respected, whereas in Catholicsm, one large Traditional group has been excommunicated.


#8

[quote=alfredo]Well I’m sorry too that the Vatican did not accept the four bishops that Archbishop Lefebvre ordained. In any case, I am not saying that it is good or bad, right or wrong. I say that in Judaism the Traditional groups are respected, whereas in Catholicsm, one large Traditional group has been excommunicated.
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And others are welcome.


#9

One large group of people who cut themselves off. . .

Does God condemn us to hell, or do we condemn ourselves?


#10

[quote=mercygate]Sorry. The Church begged the SSPX not to commit the act that caused the Society to excommunicate itself.
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Unfortunately, there are quite a few Catholics who are only too willing to gloss over this inconvenient fact on the basis that the motives of the SSPX were “pure”, to which we can only respond with St Bernard’s observation that “Hell is full of good intentions and desires.”

I have great sympathy for traditionalist Catholics, but the SSPX, by its own actions, has taken itself out of the Church. At least liberal dissidents haven’t had the gall to schismatically ordain their own episcopate. They respect the institution, if not its teaching. The SSPX respects neither, and gives more loyal traditionalists a bad name.

Irenicist


#11

[quote=Irenicist]…the SSPX, by its own actions, has taken itself out of the Church.
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I don’t know, but I think it is possible for the Vatican to lift the excommunications of the four SSPX bishops, as it has done in other cases. For example, I read that Pope Paul VI had lifted the excommunication against the Orthodox and they have serious theological disagreements on certain points, whereas the issue with SSPX seems not to involve Catholic doctrine, but a point of discipline involving permission to ordain.
Anyway, I think the approach of Judaism and of Anglicanism is quite different with reference to their Traditional wing. They seem to be able to coexist without excommunicating one another.
But, perhaps with a new Pope, things might be able to be worked out. I certainly hope so.


#12

[quote=alfredo]Well I’m sorry too that the Vatican did not accept the four bishops that Archbishop Lefebvre ordained. In any case, I am not saying that it is good or bad, right or wrong. I say that in Judaism the Traditional groups are respected, whereas in Catholicsm, one large Traditional group has been excommunicated.
[/quote]

I don’t see the analogy as in any way valid. I respect traditionalists who have remained Catholics.

Who was Lefebvre to ordain bishops in flagrant violation of canon law not to mention ancient “traditional” practice which requires the recognitio of neighbouring bishops (talk of rank, self-serving hypocrisy). And how was it incumbent on the Vatican to recognize the poisoned fruits of this rebellion? Is any bishop with a pet cause now to be morally free to appoint his own episcopate in defiance of the Church? If the SSPX were truly Catholic or even “traditionalist” in any honest sense, its bishops would renounce their orders and return to the fold. It seems they prefer schism, and are ipso facto Catholic in neither thought nor deed.

Irenicist


#13

I think that this shows the difference between the Catholic approach to those who prefer Tradition and the approach of the Anglican Church. It is a different apoproach. In Anglicanism, the Traditional groups are respected. In Catholicism, when speaking of the Traditonal group SSPX, words and phrases such as “self-serving hypocrisy,” “poisoned fruits,” “rebellion,” “pet defiance,” and there appears to be no effort to show mutual respect.


#14

[quote=alfredo] I don’t know, but I think it is possible for the Vatican to lift the excommunications of the four SSPX bishops, as it has done in other cases.
[/quote]

There is no forgiveness without repentence.

[quote=alfredo] For example, I read that Pope Paul VI had lifted the excommunication against the Orthodox and they have serious theological disagreements on certain points, whereas the issue with SSPX seems not to involve Catholic doctrine, but a point of discipline involving permission to ordain.
[/quote]

You have misconstrued the nature of the gesture. Paul VI lifted the personal excommunication issued by the papal legate against the Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius in 1054. This was a largely symbolic act (Michael has been dead for 947 years), and Orthodox are still denied communion except in extremis (not to mention that Orthodox are forbidden by their own Church from partaking in Catholic communion, even in extremis).

The SSPX is in defiance of rulings both doctrinal and disciplinary of a number of ecumenical councils. If all SSPX members cared about was the Tridentine mass, why are they still in schism when they can attend a Tridentine mass and still be in the Church?

[quote=alfredo] Anyway, I think the approach of Judaism and of Anglicanism is quite different with reference to their Traditional wing. They seem to be able to coexist without excommunicating one another. But, perhaps with a new Pope, things might be able to be worked out. I certainly hope so.
[/quote]

In case you haven’t noticed, the Anglican Church is falling appart specifically over the issue of an as-you-like-it approach to episcopal ordination.

Members of the SSPX are not innocent, persecuted, “traditionalists”. They are obstinate self-willed schismatics. You should save your kind thoughts for the real traditionalists who, while unhappy and dismayed, have chosen to stay loyal and faithful to the One True Church.

Irenicist


#15

[quote=alfredo]I think that this shows the difference between the Catholic approach to those who prefer Tradition and the approach of the Anglican Church. It is a different apoproach. In Anglicanism, the Traditional groups are respected. In Catholicism, when speaking of the Traditonal group SSPX, words and phrases such as “self-serving hypocrisy,” “poisoned fruits,” “rebellion,” “pet defiance,” and there appears to be no effort to show mutual respect.
[/quote]

Fine, then let the SSPX join Judaism or the Anglican Church.

Irenicist


#16

[quote=Irenicist]There is no forgiveness without repentence.

Paul VI lifted the personal excommunication issued by the papal legate against the Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius in 1054.
[/quote]

Well, the excommunication against the Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius was lifted and he did not repent.


#17

[quote=Irenicist]Fine, then let the SSPX join Judaism or the Anglican Church.

Irenicist
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Once again, I think that this shows the difference in approach between Judaism and Catholicism. In Judaism, the ultra Traditional Orthodox are fully accepted as a branch of Judaism. In Catholicism, a largeTraditional group such as the SSPX is excommunicated and told to join Judaism.


#18

[quote=alfredo]Well, the excommunication against the Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius was lifted and he did not repent.
[/quote]

That’s why the gesture was “symbolic”. What are you asking for, that Lefebvre’s personal excommunication be lifted now that he is dead? Sure, why not? He’s in God’s hands now. Excommunication only affects the living here on Earth. No Pope is going to lift the excommunication on any “living” SSPX member who persists in contesting the canons of Vatican II. If these members repent and submit, then the validity of their episcopal ordinations could be reviewed, but I would be most amazed if they are ever allowed to exercise them.

And as you seem really carried away by this invalid analogy with Orthodox Judaism, you might want to consider that Orthodox Jews are the normative equivalent of Catholics and not the SSPX, while Reform and Conservative Jews are the equivalent of Protestants. Orthodox Jews do not “respect” their Reformed and Conservative brethren as they do not recognize Reformed or Conservative converts as Jews. All three also fail to “respect” Karaites and Samaritans (who might plausibly claim to be SSPX equivalents) and consider them heretics.

You are comparing apples and oranges.

Irenicist


#19

[quote=Irenicist]You are comparing apples and oranges.

[/quote]

Not really.
This comparison of three Catholicisms with three branches of Judaism and Episcopalianism was brought up by the person who started the thread.


#20

[quote=Ahimsa] In Catholicism, on one extreme are those who say ‘Orders are orders and I will follow them,’ and on the other, ‘No, not me, I’m a thinking person and nobody is going to tell me what to do.’
[/quote]

If Traditionalists “follow orders”, then it would seem that SSPX would not be Traditionalists as understood in the quote above.


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