16 March 2008

On Being Forced To Think

I get my news about the Church from the Catholic Herald and Zenit, and I get my understanding of what it means from the blogging prests I have listed in my combox. I cast rather more widely both for secular news and for a better understanding of theology, but for ecclesiastical current affairs, I have Zenit for the world, and the Herald for the UK.

I rather passed over Anna Arco's article about the SSPX Bishop Williamson last week: I said a couple of months ago (here) that a post I had read about him on a blog had alerted me to the fact that there was more to him that his views on trousered women and Julie Andrews, and I thought that the article was just covering old ground, and pointlessly at that!

The Sensible Bond has a couple of posts which have made me think a bit harder. Was the Herald's article a (vain and foolish) attempt to split the SSPX-supporting community in the UK, and might the result have been to drive them even further from reconciliation with Rome?

(And the author of the post's treatment at Damian Thompson's Telegraph blog showed the Editor in Chief of the Herald off at his cattiest "best".)

I must say that I know little of the SSPX, or the FSSP, or any of the societies which more or less licitly maintain the liturgical narrative which links the Church today directly with the Church of always in a way that the mainstream Chruch in England and Wales seems incapable of (I was told at Church today that "Mass on Good Friday" would be at three o'clock). But these articles, and a piece I read in the Universe's forum, have led me to think more than I might have wanted to about traditionalism and neo-traditionalism, traditionalism and Vatican II-traditionalism, traditionalism and John Paul II-traditionalism: in fact traditionalism and any sort of adjective-qualified traditionalism.

There are two letters side by side in the Herald this weekend: one, by Archbishop Conti, about the desireability of mass versus populum has been more than adequately fisked by Fr Z (whom God preserve) already; the other reports a reaction from (looking at the sender's address) the Bishop of Wrexham to a request for the TLM: he is quoted as saying that the Motu Proprio imposes no obligation on Bishops to extend provision of the Mass in its Extraordinary Rite.

I find myself coming closer to a point at which the decision about whom to follow: the Pope, or the Hierarchy in England and Wales (and Scotland, by the look of it): is becoming binary; either/or, rather than both/and.

The piece I read in the Universe's forum contained a paragraph which said:

"At the other end of the Catholic episcopal continuum, although the 99 Names of Allah (or whatever it was called) was the work of a composer claiming the Orthodox allegiance, it's certain that any Orthodox bishop prostituting his cathedral for the performance of such a work would be canonically deposed within the week."

What sort of Church do we have, in which such a statement should be in any way surprising?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I try not to think about it too much. We did have a Pope who threatened to excommunicate his mistress if she did not return to the Papal chamber. Things were never as good at or near the top as we are wont to believe. I just stick to the faith and fight the good fight. No point in letting the crazies rule the roost without a little pain at least.

I do not understand the attack on the SSPX in the herald either. It does seem a little politically motivated and somewhat uncharitable. As regards the 99 names, well no doubt the deep rumblings associated with the depths of Islam did the already fatigued masonry of the building no favours. I'm not sure what a Bishop or Cardinal has to do to get the boot these days. It looks like a job for life unless they have a mental illness.