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PopeWatch: Civil War?

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Damian Thompson in The Spectator wonders if the Church is nearing Civil War:

 

 

‘At this very critical moment, there is a strong sense that the church is like a ship without a rudder,’ said a prominent Catholic conservative last week. No big deal, you might think. Opponents of Pope Francis have been casting doubt on his leadership abilities for months — and especially since October’s Vatican Synod on the Family, at which liberal cardinals pre-emptively announced a softening of the church’s line on homosexuality and second marriages, only to have their proposals torn up by their colleagues.

But it is a big deal. The ‘rudderless’ comment came not from a mischievous traditionalist blogger but from Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura — that is, president of the Vatican’s supreme court. As it happens, Pope Francis intends to sack Burke, whose habit of dressing up like a Christmas tree at Latin Masses infuriates him. But he hasn’t got round to it yet. And thus we have the most senior American cardinal in Rome publicly questioning the stewardship of the Holy Father — possibly with the tacit approval of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Nothing like this has happened since the backstabbing behind the scenes at the Second Vatican Council 50 years ago. It raises the question: is the Catholic church in the early stages of a civil war between liberals and conservatives, fought not over liturgical niceties (the source of relatively harmless squabbles under John Paul II and Benedict XVI) but fundamental issues of sexual morality?

Go here to read the rest.  The pontificate of Pope Francis has brought to the fore deep divisions within the Church that have existed since Vatican II.  The Pope has usually, although not always, been a force for unity within the Church.  I doubt if even the greatest admirers of Pope Francis would claim that is the case currently in our troubled Church.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

21 Comments

  1. Phillip.

    If it is stuck “hard to port,” then it shall come into irons. This noisy position, sails fluttering, and the ship slowing down may allow the time for the rudder to be broken free of it’s position. Once free the sails will take shape and the ship may once again resume it’s course.
    The mighty Bark of Peter will sail on!

  2. The Church is not and cannot be “rudderless”

    As the Holy Father reminded the Synod Fathers in his closing address, “So, the Church is Christ’s – she is His bride – and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749) and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church” (cf. Cann. 331-334).”

    Everything will happen, as he put it, “cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all.”

  3. “The pontificate of Pope Francis has brought to the fore deep divisions within the Church that have existed since Vatican II.”

    The divisions have existed since the closing years of the 19th century. As Maurice Blondel wrote in 1907, “With every day that passes, the conflict between tendencies that set Catholic against Catholic in every order–social, political, philosophical–is revealed as sharper and more general. One could almost say that there are now two quite incompatible “Catholic mentalities,” particularly in France. And that is manifestly abnormal, since there cannot be two Catholicisms.”

    One has only to look at the treatment meted out to men like Henri Bremond, Joseph Maréchal, Marie-Dominique Chenu, Henri de Lubac, Yves Congar, Jean Daniélou, Claude Mondésert and Louis Bouyer, the greatest theologians of the last century, in the dark days between Lamentabili and Pascendi and the Second Vatican Council to see the truth of that.

  4. “This noisy position, sails fluttering, and the ship slowing down may allow the time for the rudder to be broken free of it’s position.”

    I don’t disagree. I do believe the Holy Spirit is moving in spite of our current rudder. I believe this is a pruning of the vine to gather greater fruit.

    Here’s a little more on the rudder:

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pope-ordered-rejected-paragraph-on-homosexuality-retained-in-final-synod-do

    To those who seek to corrupt, today’s first reading from Mass will do:

    “Join with others in being imitators of me, brothers and sisters,
    and observe those who thus conduct themselves
    according to the model you have in us.
    For many, as I have often told you
    and now tell you even in tears,
    conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ.
    Their end is destruction.
    Their God is their stomach;
    their glory is in their “shame.”
    Their minds are occupied with earthly things.
    But our citizenship is in heaven,
    and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
    He will change our lowly body
    to conform with his glorified Body
    by the power that enables him also
    to bring all things into subjection to himself.

    Therefore, my brothers and sisters,
    whom I love and long for, my joy and crown,
    in this way stand firm in the Lord, beloved. “

  5. “One has only to look at the treatment meted out to men like Henri Bremond, Joseph Maréchal, Marie-Dominique Chenu, Henri de Lubac, Yves Congar, Jean Daniélou, Claude Mondésert and Louis Bouyer, the greatest theologians of the last century, in the dark days between Lamentabili and Pascendi and the Second Vatican Council to see the truth of that.”

    Yes, indeed: a veritable burning time during which the heretics were incinerated in cordwood lots. And also during which nothing of value came from theologians not on the receiving end of correction.

  6. Dale Price

    What it does show is precisely what Maurice Blondel described; “deep divisions within the Church that have existed” not just “sinceVatican II,” but for half-a-century before.

  7. Deep divisions have existed since Peter, Paul and John. It is the reality of the nature of truth and the fallen state of man. There is nothing new under the Sun.

    Unfortunately, in our time, it rises to the highest levels in the Church.

  8. Phillip.

    “….in this way stand firm in the Lord, beloved.”

    Great message. Thanks.

    I recall the hours spent in prayer before the blessed sacrament by our St. Pope JPII. Is it possible that Pope Francis is lacking in prayer time? I’m not being mean or disrespectful…I truly wonder how much prayer time this pontiff values.

    I will keep praying for him.
    It’s our duty.

  9. I agree Michael that the deep divisions were before Vatican II. I think of the long years of the seemingly ever increasing influence of protestantism on the Church.
    I take it back to the sea change since the Wellhausen contagion and Catholic scholars began tumbling off the cliff 🙂 By the middle of the 20th century we were so enamored of the brilliance of people like Raymond Brown that we forgot to use our common sense. By the way John Courtney Murray brought the idea of the state tax money for churches in Germany– which maybe some of what makes Kaspar feel so independent of the universal Church.

  10. What it does show is precisely what Maurice Blondel described; “deep divisions within the Church that have existed” not just “sinceVatican II,” but for half-a-century before.

    What component of the Church, Michael? Intramural squabbles among academic and institutional theologians are one thing. Wholesale breakdown in the quality of worship, demographic implosion of religious orders, and a catastrophic fall in attendance and observance are rather more consequential. You had Catholic colleges in this country in 1955. Now, the only Catholic colleges have a total enrollment that barely breaks into five digits.

  11. Art Deco wrote, “Intramural squabbles among academic and institutional theologians are one thing…”

    There was, as Blondel notes, a social and political dimension to these divisions as well. Thus, Jacques Maritain said of the Catholic bourgeoisie, “the class in question had among its most solid members a number of practical atheists, more or less brought up by Voltaire and Béranger. They called themselves Catholic, though in all their principles of conduct they denied God, Christ and the Gospel, and upheld religion for merely temporal and political reasons — preserving social order and prosperity in business, consolidating their economic power, and keeping the lower classes in obedience by means of a virtuous rigor sanctioned from on high… Besides, they had no desire to deprive themselves of the slim chance offered to them by a Christian death, in case the priests were prating more than fairy tales.”

    Blondel, too, spoke of “the Party of Order,” as embracing, “A Catholicism without Christianity, submissiveness without thought, an authority without love, a Church that would rejoice at the insulting tributes paid to the virtuosity of her interpretative and repressive system… To accept all from God except God, all from Christ except His Spirit, to preserve in Catholicism only a residue that is aristocratic and soothing for the privileged and beguiling or threatening for the lower classes—is not all this, under the pretext perhaps of thinking only about religion, really a matter of pursuing only politics?”

    In contrast, Blondel and like-minded “social Catholics,” especially in the labour movement, sought “a cure of contemporary society by way of education, of penetration, and of methodical reconstitution.” Such an approach to Christian renewal was not based on paternal, hierarchical organization, but the “transformation” of society by the penetration of Christian values, especially through the process of identifying, promoting, and purifying movements dedicated to social justice. It was the recovery of a social-historical eschatology and a sacramental ecclesiology at the Second Vatican Council that was to give theological legitimacy to this conception of Christian renewal.

  12. Anzlyne wrote, “I take it back to the sea change since the Wellhausen contagion…”

    Certainly, there was a lamentable failure by Catholic dogmatic theologians to provide guidance to their colleagues working in the fields of biblical research and Church history, particularly the history of dogma. This was, in part, because they lacked any philosophical framework within which to do so.

    As for State Funding, that, along with a monopoly of public instruction, had always been one of the principle demands of the Throne and Altar Conservatives – even atheists like Charles Maurras, who regarded the Church as the historic bulwark of social order. “Order, tradition, discipline, hierarchy, authority; she alone,” he claimed, “has known how to preserve for societies the elements, and for intelligence the ideas, that found their life.”

  13. “Particularly the history of dogma. This was, in part, because they lacked any philosophical framework within which to do so.”
    And where do we look for that framework today?

  14. Cardinal Burke was demoted today, while the great reformer
    reinstated language concerning homosexuals in the Synod’s final
    document. The rule governing the language of the Synod which required
    two thirds of the bishops to vote in favor was swept aside by
    Francis, so that the original language concerning homosexuals will
    remain in the final document. So much for open and fair discussions.

    This is just the beginning. Be prepared. The smears against traditional,
    faithful Catholics will intensify as the radical reforms continue.

  15. MPS,

    You won’t find many altar and throne conservatives here.

    The American bishops, or far too many of them, have caved to the US Government in order to get “federal funding” for their Catholic Charities chapters. This is one reason they are so reluctant to confront abortionist politicians who call themselves Catholic.

  16. “Good example brings about so much good, but hypocrisy brings about much evil” Pope Francis Nov 1, 2014. Too bad he can’t practice what he preaches. I have lost all respect for this man. Like the Democratic party the leadership of this church has left me.

  17. The American bishops, or far too many of them, have caved to the US Government in order to get “federal funding” for their Catholic Charities chapters.

    I think you have the order of causality reversed. The federal swag is useful for your projects and for providing excuses, if only in intramural communications (though for engaging in con man’s lulling behavior re pesky laymen who complain, it’s useful too).

  18. As for State Funding, that, along with a monopoly of public instruction, had always been one of the principle demands of the Throne and Altar Conservatives – even atheists like Charles Maurras, who regarded the Church as the historic bulwark of social order.

    This is relevant, in this circumstance, how?

Comments are closed.