Just coming out in English (see truerestoration.blogspot.com) is the valuable 100-page treatise in French by Bishop Tissier de Mallerais of the Society of St Pius X on the doctrine of Pope Benedict XVI: “The Faith imperilled by Reason.” The title says it all. Bishop Tissier’s thesis is that Benedict XVI allows human reasoning to adulterate the Catholic Faith. Let me paraphrase a paragraph from the Bishop’s conclusion which goes to the heart of the matter:—
“Benedict XVI frequently calls for a “hermeneutic of continuity,” meaning an interpretation of Vatican II and of Catholic Tradition which shows that there is no break but continuity
between them. After studying the Pope’s teachings, I now realize that this “hermeneutic” goes further than I originally thought. It means not just a new reading of Faith and Reason, but a new birth of both, and it is of universal application. Firstly, each is to purify the other: Reason will stop Faith from sliding into intolerance, while Faith will heal Reason’s blind independence. Secondly, each is to regenerate the other: Reason will enrich the Faith with the liberal values of Enlightenment thinking, while Faith, suitably re-expressed for modern times, will win a hearing from Reason. And this process is to be applied across the board to all religions and all ways of reasoning. Without any one system of values being imposed on everybody, those values which keep the world going will be strengthened.”
Note here firstly how, on his own admission, Bishop Tissier originally under-estimated the breadth and depth of the Pope’s vision. Catholics following Tradition know that the Conciliar reconciling of the Faith with modernity (especially the sentence that I have underlined above) is wrong, and is destroying the Church, but they do need to recognize that it has been thought out with intelligence, however misguided, and it is held with conviction. Benedict XVI believes profoundly both in the old way of believing and in the new way of thinking, and he is confident that by his own way of solving any apparent problems between them, all men can be brought together. This “solution” drives his Papacy.
Alas, I cannot reconcile 2+2=4 with 2=2=5 by saying that four is “more or less than four and a half,” while five is “more or less than four and a half,” because four apples will remain obstinately four, while five oranges will persist in being five. Thus the true Faith may tolerate the person erring, but it cannot tolerate their error, whereas modern Reason may wish to see, but as long as it is modern it insists on putting its own eyes out, the eyes of the mind (Kant). At every turn Bishop Tissier demonstrates that the eternal Faith, revealed by God, cannot lie down with modern reasoning, fabricated by men, which is designed to exclude either God or at least his demands on men (Religious Liberty).
Thank you, your Excellency! For, however charming may be the Pope’s prospect of “peace in our time,” it is not charm but truth in charity that will get us to Heaven.