hermeneutic of continuity

Doctrinal Declaration – II

Doctrinal Declaration – II posted in Eleison Comments on May 4, 2013

Forgive me, dear readers, if I return to the seventh paragraph of the Doctrinal Declaration of April 15 a year ago. The Declaration was to serve as no less than a basis for all future relations between the Society of St Pius X and Rome. On June 13 (not 11) Rome refused it, so SSPX Headquarters may now have repudiated it, but it serves to show what the present SSPX HQ is capable of. As for the seventh paragraph, it is a masterpiece of confusion. These “Comments” three weeks ago (EC 300, April 13) explained in part with a twofold distinction, but the confusion requires a fourfold distinction to do it justice. Here is the complete paragraph:

Declaration III, 5: “The statements of Vatican II and the post-conciliar Magisterium with regard to the relation between the Catholic Church and non-catholic confessions and to the social duty of religion and the right to religious liberty, (1) the formulation of which it is difficult to reconcile with previous doctrinal statements of the Magisterium, (2) must be understood in the light of Tradition complete and uninterrupted, (3) in a manner coherent with the truths previously taught by the Church’s Magisterium, (4) without accepting any interpretation of these statements which can lead to Catholic doctrine being laid out in opposition to, or breaking with, Tradition and that Magisterium.”

The underlinings are my own, to highlight the trickery of the paragraph. Notice (1) how it is not the statements of Vatican II that are problematic, but only their “formulation.” We are already moving away from words meaning what they objectively say. Words float around, according to how they are subjectively “understood” (2), or “interpreted” (4). Our minds are being made to slip anchor from a spade being called a spade. There is suggested no objective impossibility of reconciling Conciliar nonsense with Catholic sense, they are merely “difficult” to reconcile subjectively (that is to say, in the darkened minds of backward Traditional Catholics).

Notice above all in (2) and (3) the subtle but crucial slide from “in the light of” to “in a manner coherent with.” Truly understanding the Vatican II novelties “in the light of” Tradition is to understand that they are wholly irreconcilable. Understanding them “in a manner coherent with” Tradition is to understand them as though they are reconcilable. Our minds are being made to slide again, because “in the light of” and “in a manner coherent with” do not mean the same thing. Sure enough, (4) any subjective understanding of the novelties that makes them clash with Tradition and the age-old Magisterium is absolutely to be rejected.

Thus clause (2) may tip the hat to “Tradition complete and uninterrupted,” and so (2) could be aligned with Catholic sense, but (3) suggests modernist nonsense, and (4) drives home the nonsense. Thus the paragraph as a whole constitutes a most clever step-wise movement from a shadow of truth to the outright error of the “hermeneutic of continuity,” which is pure Alice in Wonderland – “Words mean what I say they mean,” thunders Humpty Dumpty.

Whoever wrote this paragraph, God knows. It may not have been the Superior General of the SSPX. But can anybody who studies it carefully deny that, as it stands, it is designed to lead minds from Catholic Truth into Conciliar error? It makes words dance like heretics make them dance, and heretics that make words dance make souls lose their faith and fall into Hell. Whoever was responsible for this seventh paragraph, let him be anathema!

Kyrie eleison.

Doctrinal Declaration – II

Doctrinal Declaration – II posted in Eleison Comments on April 13, 2013

The Doctrinal Declaration of April 15 of last year, drawn up by the Superior General (SG) of the Society of St Pius X as a basis for the Society’s reintegration into the mainstream Church, has emerged nearly one year later into public view. It was designed by the SG to please both the Conciliar Romans and Traditionalists (“It can be read with dark or rose-coloured glasses,” he said in public). It did please the Romans who declared that it represented an “advance” in their direction. It did not please Traditionalists who saw in it (what they knew of it) such ambiguity as to represent a betrayal of Archbishop Lefebvre’s stand for the Catholic Faith, to the point that they considered that the Romans need only have accepted it to destroy his Society.

In fact when the SG met the Romans on June 11 in Rome to receive their decision, he fully expected they would accept it. Numerous observers speculate that if they did not accept it, it was only because the intervening publication of the April 7 Letter of the Three Bishops to the SG warned the Romans that he would not be able to bring the whole Society with him into the bosom of their Conciliar Rome, as he may have given them to understand he would do, and as they wanted him to do. They did and do not want another split to start Tradition all over again.

Be all that as it may, space remains here for nothing but one major argument that the proposal of the Doctrinal Declaration, had it been accepted by Rome, would have destroyed the SSPX. Archbishop Lefebvre declared, and proved, that Vatican II was a break or rupture with previous Church teaching. On that premise arose, and rests, the Traditional Catholic movement. So, confronted by the on-going resistance of that movement to his beloved Vatican II, Benedict XVI proclaimed at the outset of his pontificate in 2005 the “hermeneutic of continuity,” whereby the Council (objectively) contradicting Tradition was to be (subjectively) so interpreted as not to contradict it. Thus there would be no break or rupture between it and Catholic Tradition!

Now see the seventh paragraph (III, 5) of the Doctrinal Declaration. It declares that Vatican II statements difficult to reconcile with all previous Church teaching, (1) “must be understood in the light of Tradition entire and uninterrupted, in line with the truths taught by the Church’s preceding Magisterium, (2) not accepting any interpretation of those statements which can lead Catholic doctrine to be exposed in opposition or rupture with Tradition and that Magisterium.”

The first part here (1) is perfectly true, so long as it means that any Conciliar novelty “difficult to reconcile” will be flatly rejected if it objectively contradicts previous Church teaching. But (1) is directly contradicted by (2) when (2) says that no Conciliar novelty may be “interpreted” as being in rupture with Tradition. It is as though one said that all football teams must wear blue shirts, but football team shirts of any other colour are all to be interpreted as being nothing other than blue! What nonsense! But it is pure “hermeneutic of continuity.”

Now, do the soldiers holding the last fortress of the Faith that is organised worldwide realize what their Commander is thinking? Do they realize that his solemn declaration of SSPX doctrine shows him to be thinking like an enemy leader? Are they happy that they are being led to think like the enemies of the Faith? All ideas must be Catholic, while non-Catholic ideas will be “interpreted” as Catholic. Wake up, comrades! Enemy thinking is in Headquarters.

Kyrie eleison.

Theresa’s Prayer

Theresa’s Prayer posted in Eleison Comments on February 2, 2013

It is extraordinary how far God is lost to the great number of souls around us today. It is in him that every one of us “lives and moves and has his being” (Acts, XVII, 28). Without him we cannot lift a finger, think a thought or do any naturally good action, let alone any supernaturally good action. All that we can do by ourselves, without him, is to sin, and even then the sinful action as action comes from God, only its sinfulness comes from ourselves, because the sinfulness is in itself something not positive but defective.

Yet the mass of souls around us treat God as though he does not exist, or, if he does exist, as though he is of no importance. It is a truly incredible state of affairs. It is getting worse day by day. It cannot last. It can only be compared with the state of mankind in the time of Noah. Men’s corruption at that time was such (Gen. VI, 11–12) that unless God took away from them the use of their most precious endowment, their free-will – just see how most men react when one tries to force them to do something! – then the only way they left for him to save any significant number of them was to inflict a universal chastisement in which they would nevertheless have time to repent. That was the Flood, a historical event proved by a mass of geological evidence.

Similarly today, a worldwide chastisement is surely, before God, the only way that mankind has left for him to save still any large number of souls from the horror of their damning themselves for eternity. As in Noah’s time, the mercy of God makes it virtually certain that the huge number of souls will be given the time and knowledge necessary to save themselves if they wish. And afterwards many of the large number that will be saved (alas, not the majority) will recognize that only that chastisement saved them from drifting with today’s corruption all the way down to Hell.

Still, it will be easy to be frightened by the explosion of the just anger of a majestic God. From miles and miles away the Israelites were terrified by a demonstration of his power on the top of Mount Sinai (Exod. XX, 18). In our own times it will be well to recall the famous prayer of St Theresa of Avila (given here with a rhyming translation into English to facilitate memorisation):—

Nada te turbe, Let nothing fret you, Nada te espante, Nothing upset you. Todo se pasa, Everything falters, Dios no se muda. God never alters. La paciencia Patience withal Todo lo alcanza. Will obtain all. Quien a Dios tiene Who to God will cling Nada le falta. Can lack for no thing. Solo Dios basta. God alone is enough.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I put in you all the trust I can lay my hands on. But help my lack of trust!

Kyrie eleison.

Reversible Declaration

Reversible Declaration posted in Eleison Comments on September 22, 2012

Not everything about the General Chapter of the Society of St Pius X held in Switzerland in July may have been disastrous, but of its two official fruits, the “Six Conditions” were “alarmingly weak” (cf. EC 268, Sept. 1), and its final “Declaration” leaves much to be desired. Here is the briefest of summaries of its ten paragraphs:—

1 We thank God for 42 years of our Society’s existence. 2 We have rediscovered our unity after the recent crisis(really?), 3 in order to profess our faith 4 in the Church, in the Pope, in Christ the King. 5 We hold to the Church’s constant Magisterium, 6 as also to its constant Tradition. 7 We join with all Catholics now being persecuted. 8 We pray for help to the Blessed Virgin Mary, 9 to St. Michael 10 and to St Pius X. This is a Declaration not lacking in piety, which St Paul says is useful for all purposes (I Tim. IV, 8). However, to his two disciples, Timothy and Titus, he is constantly emphasizing the need for doctrine, which is the foundation of true piety. Alas, the Declaration is rather less strong in doctrine. Instead of blasting the Council’s doctrinal errors which have been devastating the Church for the last 50 years, it has in its most doctrinal paragraphs, 5 and 6, only a timid condemnation of those errors, together with a tribute to the unchanging Magisterium (5) and Tradition (6) of the Church, accurate but constituting an argument all too easily reversible by a Conciliarist. See how:—

Paragraph 5 mentions Vatican II novelties being “stained with errors,” whereas the Church’s constant Magisterium is uninterrupted: “By its act of teaching it transmits the revealed deposit in perfect harmony with everything the universal Church has taught in all times and places.” Which of course implies that Rome should take Vatican II to the cleaners to take out the stains. But see how a Roman can reply: “The Chapter’s expression of the continuity of the Magisterium is wholly admirable! But we Romans are that Magisterium, and we say that Vatican II is not stained!”

Similarly with paragraph 6. The Declaration states, “The constant Tradition of the Church transmits and will transmit to the end of time the collection of teachings necessary to keep the Faith and save one’s soul.” So the Church authorities need to return to Tradition. Roman reply: “ The Chapter’s description of how Tradition hands down the Faith is wholly admirable! But we Romans are the guardians of that Tradition, and we say, by the hermeneutic of continuity, that Vatican II does not interrupt it but continues it. So the Chapter is entirely wrong to suggest that we need to return to it.”

Contrast the force of Archbishop Lefebvre’s irreversible attack on the errors of Vatican II in his famous Declaration of November, 1974. He declares that Conciliar Rome is not Catholic Rome because the Conciliar reform is “naturalist, Teilhardian, liberal and Protestant . . . poisoned through and through . . . coming from heresy and leading to heresy,” etc, etc. His conclusion is a categorical refusal to have anything to do with the Newrome because it is absolutely not the true Rome.

Pull up on the Internet both Declarations, and see which is an unmistakeable trumpet-call for the necessary battle (I Cor.XIV, 8)! One has to wonder how many of the 2012 capitulants have ever studied what the Archbishop said, and why.

Kyrie eleison.

Faith Killers

Faith Killers posted in Eleison Comments on May 12, 2012

But if Rome offers the Society of St Pius X all that it wants, why should the SSPX still refuse? Apparently there are Catholics still believing that if a practical agreement fulfilled all the SSPX’s practical demands, it should be accepted. So why not? Because the SSPX was brought into existence by Archbishop Lefebvre not for its own sake, but for the sake of the true Catholic Faith, endangered by Vatican II as it has never been endangered before. But let us see here why the Newchurch authorities will seek any practical agreement as much as the SSPX must refuse it.

The reason is because the Newchurch is subjectivist, and any merely practical agreement implies that subjectivism is true. According to the new Conciliar religion, dogmas of Faith are not objective truths but symbols that serve subjective needs (Pascendi, 11–13, 21). For instance if my psychological insecurity is calmed by the conviction that God became man, then for me the Incarnation is true, in the only sense of the word “true.” So if Traditionalists have their need of the old religion, then that is what is true for them, and one can even admire how they cling to their truth. But in justice they must agree to let us Romans have our Conciliar truth, and if they cannot make that concession, then they are insufferably arrogant and intolerant, and we cannot allow such divisiveness within our Church of luv.

Thus Neo-modernist Rome would be happy with any practical agreement by which the SSPX would even only implicitly renounce its radical claim to the universality and obligation of “its” truths. On the contrary the SSPX cannot be happy with any agreement that in an action speaking louder than words would deny the objectivity of “its” religion of 20 centuries. It is not “its” religion at all. To come to an agreement with subjectivists, I have to stop insisting on objectivity. To insist on objectivity, I cannot accept any terms at all proposed by subjectivists, unless they renounce their subjectivism.

These Romans are doing no such thing. Yet another proof of their crusading insistence upon their new religion came in the form of their recent “Note on the conclusions of the canonical visit to the Institute of the Good Shepherd” in France. Readers will remember that this Institute was one of several founded after the Council to enable Traditional Catholicism to be practised under Roman authority. Rome can wait for a few years before closing in, to make sure that the poor fish is well on the hook, but then –

The “Note” requires that Vatican II and the 1992 Catechism of the Newchurch must be included in Institute studies. The Institute must insist on the “hermeneutic of renewal in continuity,” and it must stop treating the Tridentine rite of Mass as its “exclusive” rite of Mass. The Institute must enter into official diocesan life with a “spirit of communion.” In other words, the Traditional Institute must stop being so Traditional if it wants to belong to the Newchurch. What else did the Institute expect? To keep to Tradition, it would have to get back out from under the Newchurch’s authority. What chance is there of that? They wanted to be swallowed by the Conciliar monster. Now it is digesting them.

So why, in Heaven’s name, would it be any different with the SSPX? Rome’s temptation may be rejected this time round by the SSPX, but let us be under no illusions: the subjectivists will be back and back and back to get rid of that objective truth and objective Faith which constitute a standing rebuke to their criminal nonsense.

Kyrie eleison.

Rome Insists

Rome Insists posted in Eleison Comments on December 17, 2011

At about the same time that Bishop Fellay was letting it be known that the SSPX will ask for clarification of the Doctrinal Preamble (Rome’s reaction to the doctrinal discussions running from 2009 to spring of this year), one of Rome’s four theologians taking part in those discussions, Monsignore Fernando Ocariz, published an essay “On Adhesion to the Second Vatican Council.” His timing shows that we are not out of the woods, on the contrary! But let us look at his arguments, which are at least clear.

In his introduction he argues that the “pastoral” Council was nonetheless doctrinal. What is pastoral is based on doctrine. What is pastoral seeks to save souls, which involves doctrine. The Council documents contain much doctrine. Good! The Monsignore is at least not going to dodge doctrinal accusations levelled at the Council by pretending the Council was not doctrinal, as have done many of its defenders.

Then on the Church’s Magisterium in general, he says that Vatican II consisted of the Catholic bishops who have “the charism of truth, the authority of Christ and the light of the Holy Spirit.” To deny that, he says, is to deny something of the very essence of the Church. But, Monsignore, what about the mass of Catholic bishops going along with the Arian heresy under Pope Liberius? Exceptionally, even the near unanimity of Catholic bishops can go doctrinally astray. If it happened once, it can happen again. It happened at Vatican II, as its documents show.

He proceeds to argue that the Council’s non-dogmatic and non-defined teachings nevertheless require of Catholics their assent, called “religious submission of will and intellect,” which is “an act of obedience well-rooted in confidence in the divine assistance given to the Magisterium.” Monsignore, to the Conciliar as to the Arian bishops no doubt God offered all the assistance they needed, but they refused it, as is shown by the departure of their documents from his Tradition.

Finally Monsignore Ocariz begs the question by arguing that since the Catholic Magisterium is continuous and Vatican II was the Magisterium, therefore its teachings can only be continuous with the past. And if they look like a break with the past, then the Catholic thing to do is to interpret them as though there is no such break, as does for instance Benedict XVI’s “hermeneutic of continuity.” But Monsignore, these arguments can be turned around. In fact there is a doctrinal break, as is clear from examining the Conciliar documents themselves. (For instance, is there (Vatican II), or is there not (Tradition), a human right not to be prevented from spreading error?) Therefore Vatican II was not the Church’s true Magisterium, and the Catholic thing is to show that there is indeed this break with Tradition, as did Archbishop Lefebvre, and not to pretend that there is no such break.

The Monsignore’s last word is to claim that only the Magisterium can interpret the Magisterium. Which takes us right back to Square One.

Dear readers, Rome is not by any means out of the woods. Heaven help us.

Kyrie eleison.