bp williamson 9/14 column
#1
Neither liberals nor sedevacantists appreciate being told that they are like heads and tails of the same coin, but it is true. For instance, neither of them can conceive of a third alternative. See for instance in his Letter to Three Bishops of April 14, 2012 , how Bishop Fellay could see no alternative to his liberalism except sedevacantism. Conversely, for many a sedevacantist if one accepts that any of the Conciliar Popes has really been Pope, then one can only be a liberal, and if one criticises sedevacantism, then one is promoting liberalism. But not at all!

Why not? Because both of them are making the same error of exaggerating the Pope’s infallibility. Why? Might it be because both of them are modern men who believe more in persons than in institutions? And why should that be a feature of modern men? Because from more or less Protestantism onwards, fewer and fewer institutions have truly sought the common good, while more and more seek some private interest such as money (my claim on you), which of course diminishes our respect for them. For instance, good men saved for a while the rotten institution of modern banking from having immediately all its evil effects, but the rotten banksters are at last showing what the institutions of fractional reserve banking and central banks were, in themselves, from the beginning. The Devil is in modern structures, thanks to the enemies of God and man.

So it is understandable if modern Catholics have tended to put too much faith in the Pope and too little in the Church, and here is the answer to that reader who asked me why I do not write about infallibility in the same way that the classic Catholic theology manuals do. Those manuals are marvellous in their way, but they were all written before Vatican II, and they tended to attach to the Pope an infallibility which belongs to the Church. For instance, the summit of infallibility is liable to be presented in the manuals as a solemn definition by the Pope, or by Pope with Council, but in any case by the Pope. The liberal-sedevacantist dilemma has been the consequence and, as it were, a punishment of this tendency to overrate the person and underrate the institution, because the Church is no merely human institution.

For, firstly, the Solemn Magisterium’s snow-cap on the Ordinary Magisterium’s mountain is its summit only in a very limited way – it is completely supported by the rock summit beneath the snow. And secondly, by the Church’s most authoritative text on infallibility, the Definition of the truly Catholic Council of Vatican I (1870), we know that the Pope’s infallibility comes from the Church, and not the other way round. When the Pope engages all four conditions necessary for ex cathedra teaching, then, says the Definition, he posses ses “that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine.” But of course! Where else can infallibility come from, except from God? The best of human beings, and some Popes have been very good human beings, may be inerrant, i.e. make no mistakes, but as long as they have original sin they cannot be infallible as God alone can be. If they are infallible, the infallibility must come through, but from outside, their humanity, from God, who chooses to bestow it through the Catholic Church, and that infallibility need only be a momentary gift, for the duration of the Definition.

Therefore outside of a Pope’s ex cathedra moments, nothing stops him from talking nonsense such as the new religion of Vatican II. Therefore neither liberals nor sedevacantists need or should heed that nonsense, because, as Archbishop Lefebvre said, they have 2000 years’ worth of Ordinarily infallible Church teaching by which t o judge that it is nonsense.

Kyrie eleison.
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#2
The SSPX's position is sedevacantism lite. They recognise the pope but unless he says what they believe they refuse to listen. Thus not even the pope has the authority to interpret tradition, but each man has the authority to interpret tradition for himself. Only when the pope says what we agree he should say can we submit. Some SSPX treat themselves as another magisterium.
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#3
(09-14-2014, 08:12 AM)a83192 Wrote: So it is understandable if modern Catholics have tended to put too much faith in the Pope and too little in the Church, and here is the answer to that reader who asked me why I do not write about infallibility in the same way that the classic Catholic theology manuals do. Those manuals are marvellous in their way, but they were all written before Vatican II, and they tended to attach to the Pope an infallibility which belongs to the Church. For instance, the summit of infallibility is liable to be presented in the manuals as a solemn definition by the Pope, or by Pope with Council, but in any case by the Pope. The liberal-sedevacantist dilemma has been the consequence and, as it were, a punishment of this tendency to overrate the person and underrate the institution, because the Church is no merely human institution.

* * *

Therefore outside of a Pope’s ex cathedra moments, nothing stops him from talking nonsense such as the new religion of Vatican II. Therefore neither liberals nor sedevacantists need or should heed that nonsense, because, as Archbishop Lefebvre said, they have 2000 years’ worth of Ordinarily infallible Church teaching by which t o judge that it is nonsense.

I completely agree with this and have posted virtually the same points recently, including the idea that Vatican II was a punishment for ultra-montanism.

Kyrie eleison, indeed!!  :LOL:
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#4
(09-14-2014, 08:05 PM)Clare Brigid Wrote: I completely agree with this and have posted virtually the same points recently, including the idea that Vatican II was a punishment for ultra-montanism.

Kyrie eleison, indeed!!  :LOL:
[ok, this got much longer than I thought it would be, or probably should be....]

Except that Vatican II wasn't an ultramontane act, but a concilliar one, and all the decisions passed overwhelmingly.  It's not like the Pope forced the issue and bent the Council to his will, as may have happened at the prior Council.  A concilliarist would have reacted to Vatican II no different than an ultramontanist.  Likewise, isn't the usual SSPX argument that collegiality is bad, and the Pope should just always act unilaterally?

As for the idea that the old manuals "tended to attach to the Pope an infallibility which belongs to the Church," they did this because that is the doctrine (it is also repeated at Vatican II).  The whole point is that the infallibility of the Pope is the same infallibility that belongs to the Church.  The Church has one infallible teaching authority--one Magisterium--but it is exercised by different organs: by the Pope alone, by the Pope and the bishops in Council, by the Pope and the bishops spread throughout the world, and even by the whole Church in general. 

If you look at the debates and underlying concilliar acts that resulted in the definition of papal infallibility in Pastor Aeternus, the intent was to simply identify the infallibility of the Pope with the infallibility of the Church.  They specifically left the rest vague (not limiting it to just de fide definitions or extending it to de fide plus sententia definitive tenendam or also dogmatic facts, etc.), only identifying it with "that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy" because the Council intended to in more detail discuss the extent of the Church's infallibility in a subsequent document (which they never got to, due to Rome being invaded). 

But, the Church as a whole, or its entire episcopate, is not sinless, and neither is the Pope.  Neither is everything said in the Church, or in the episcopate, or by the Pope infallibly true and prudent. Tying the infallibility of the Pope to the infallibility of the Church was a sufficient limit in itself.

So in my opinion, in this case, it was not ultramontanism that caused the problem, but a kind of hagiographized image of the Church that had been put forth, where the sins, errors, and scandals of clergy, their worldiness and decadence in different times and places were rarely acknowledged and reference to them was even abridged from popular versions of even the works of saints. The problem was not ultimately treating everything coming from the mouth or actions of the Pope as beyond reproach (I'm not saying it should be all treated as beyond reproach), but that coming from the bishop or even the parish priest being treated as such, who's own decisions were identified as those coming from the infallible Church. 

A while back I posted a thread with some old Diocesan newspapers.  I wish I could find the issue again, but in one there is a letter to the editor from a man scandalized by a priest who described the nature of a mortal sin without referencing the traditional three elements and who said mortal sins were hard to commit. This man goes onto say that the fact that this has changed means the Church is not infallible after all and he will be better off just staying home with his Bible.  For this man, the Church failed because a priest said something stupid.  It also presumes the man was led to believe that the three elements traditionally used to describe a mortal sin fell from Heaven, rather than having been developed by the Church and, while used in most places, was not as an exclusive formula that all the Churches everywhere used for all time nor were bound to. 

As another example,I recently came across a particular book by a sister who entered the religious life before Vatican II that advances various viewpoints contrary to the doctrine of the Church (it is ultimately about the sex abuse crisis).  But the sister begins by describing all these things she was taught would send you to Hell, like not fasting from midnight before Holy Communion, the Eucharist touching your teeth, the need to abstain from meat on Fridays, etc. Then these things changed or ceased to be taught and she learned that they were not actually part of Jesus doctrine.  From that, she determines various other things can change or where the Church could be wrong, like the need for a priest to celebrate mass or hear confession, that contraception is a sin, and even that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit rather than through normal means.

The problem was treating everything one learned of the Church or from a priest or sister in the past as 100% perfect or immutable in every way--then you are led to either lose faith and doubt everything when something changes or go along with any and all changes as also 100% perfect in every way.  The theologians may have understood the subtleties of what was taught by the Church as immutable or contingent and what was not, but a lot of priests, religious, and lay people did not. 
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#5
Has anyone here read Pasciendi?
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