Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"...A massive, looming threat that bids fair to pierce, penetrate and rend in twain Peter's barque..."

(Trust me, I'd rather be posting kitten videos...)

I just got this from a regular reader who forwarded it from Fr. Brian Harrison, a theology professor and writer who has done much to answer the sedevacantists' claims.

It is addressed to Dr. Robert Moynihan, who published it in the February edition of Inside the Vatican:

Dear Dr. Moynihan,

In your latest Letter from Rome, commenting on the new appointments to the College of Cardinals, you report rather nonchalantly that "[Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig] Müller is also known for having said that the Church's position on admitting to divorced and remarried Catholics to the sacrament of Communion is not something that can or will be changed. But other German Church leaders, including Cardinal Walter Kasper, have recently gone on record saying the teaching may and will be changed."

Your brief, matter-of-fact report on this controversy reminds me of the tip of an iceberg. It alludes to, but does not reveal the immensity of, a massive, looming threat that bids fair to pierce, penetrate and rend in twain Peter's barque – already tossing perilously amid stormy and icy seas. The shocking magnitude of the doctrinal and pastoral crisis lurking beneath this politely-worded dispute between scholarly German prelates can scarcely be overstated. For what is at stake here is fidelity to a teaching of Jesus Christ that directly and profoundly affects the lives of hundreds of millions of Catholics: the indissolubility of marriage.

The German bishops have devised a pastoral plan to admit divorced and remarried Catholics to Communion, whether or not a Church tribunal has granted a decree of nullity of their first marriage. Cardinal-elect Müller, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has not only published a strong article in L'Osservatore Romano reaffirming the perennial Catholic doctrine confirmed by John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio; he has also written officially to the German Bishops' Conference telling them to rectify their heterodox pastoral plan. But the bishops, led by their conference president and by Cardinal Kasper, are openly defying the head of the CDF, and predicting that the existing doctrine and discipline will soon be changed!

Think of the appalling ramifications of this. If German Catholics don't need decrees of nullity, neither will any Catholics anywhere. Won't the world's Catholic marriage tribunals then become basically irrelevant? (Will they eventually just close down?) And won't this reversal of bimillennial Catholic doctrine mean that the Protestants and Orthodox, who have allowed divorce and remarriage for century after century, have been more docile to the Holy Spirit on this issue than the true Church of Christ? Indeed, how credible, now, will be her claim to be the true Church? On what other controverted issues, perhaps, has the Catholic Church been wrong, and the separated brethren right?

And what of Jesus' teaching that those who remarry after divorce commit adultery? Admitting them to Communion without a commitment to continence will lead logically to one of three faith-breaking conclusions: (a) our Lord was mistaken in calling this relationship adulterous - in which case he can scarcely have been the Son of God; (b) adultery is not intrinsically and gravely sinful - in which case the Church's universal and ordinary magisterium has always been wrong; or (c) Communion can be given to some who are living in objectively grave sin - in which case not only has the magisterium also erred monumentally by always teaching the opposite, but the way will also be opened to Communion for fornicators, practicing homosexuals, pederasts, and who knows who else? (And, please, spare us the sophistry that Jesus' teaching was correct "in his own historical and cultural context", but that since about Martin Luther's time that has all changed.)

Let us make no mistake: Satan is right now shaking the Church to her very foundations over this divorce issue. If anything, the confusion is becoming even graver than that over contraception between 1965 and 1968, when Paul VI's seeming vacillation allowed Catholics round the world to anticipate a reversal of perennial Church teaching. If the present Successor of Peter now keeps silent about divorce and remarriage, thereby tacitly telling the Church and the world that the teaching of Jesus Christ will be up for open debate at a forthcoming Synod of Bishops, one fears a terrible price will soon have to be paid.

Fr. Brian W. Harrison, O.S.
St. Louis, Missouri


I think I would add only one reminder to Fr. Harrison's letter.
He writes,

But the bishops, led by their conference president and by Cardinal Kasper, are openly defying the head of the CDF, and predicting that the existing doctrine and discipline will soon be changed!

and I add that these men, whose express purpose has been to sunder the German Church from the Catholic Church and launch a new "Reformation", is opposed from Rome, thus far, by only one voice: that of Cardinal Muller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The same men have since mocked and ridiculed Muller in public for this task, and among these men have been at least two members of the pope's "council of eight" - a body with no juridical or canonical status whatsoever. A third has been invited by the pope himself to give the keynote address on the business of the upcoming Synod of Bishops.

And the pope has said nothing.

Nothing, that is, except to praise Cardinal Kasper for his "serene" theology.

How can we imagine, after fifty years of unremitting and unprecedented crisis in the Catholic Church, that what is happening right now does not constitute a final culmination, a consummation of the unholy catastrophe we have endured for the five decades since the close of the Second Vatican Council?

And what is coming next?

Frankly, I think we all know.



Chloe said...

Have the Sacred Heart enthroned in your homes and make the Night Holy Hour devotion. Booklet with prayers here. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_hx148tn3a6UWZoazlQd3JqSFU/preview

Pat said...

I think we're on the same page on this one, but just to be sure, do you think what's coming next is schism or something worse? We're definitely in interesting times.
When I hear words like schism coming from the tinfoil hat brigade that's one thing, but coming from otherwise orthodox commonsense people it freaks me out a little. Where are we headed exactly?

Anonymous said...

Schism. It has happened before, but this one will be awful, awful. It is almost here already, the cracks are becoming very visible very fast, much faster than I for one expected. I doubt if it will hold off until the synod.

May the Lord spare his people.


John said...

Poor old Thomas More and John Fisher. Turns out they went through all that bother in the tower and the scaffold for nothing.

Anonymous said...

The Pergamon Altar (Satan's throne; Rev 2:13) in Berlin anyone? Incidentally, 2 pieces of the altar spent time in the Soviet Union for a time after WWII until returned in 1959(and 2 relief panels of the altar remain in England whence they were transported from Turkey in 1625)...

Mark said...

I hate to appeal to so-called private revelations, but I can't help but recall two:

I) the dream of St. Don Bosco. Where the bark of St. Peter was actually pierced, but was repaired by a gust of wind coming from the two columns.

And II) the words of Our Lady of Good Success to Ven. Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres: "In this supreme moment of need of the Church, those who should speak will fall silent."

Anonymous said...

Trust me, I'd rather be posting kitten videos...

Wouldn't we all? I don't see why a housewife like me should be even paying any attention to What's Going On In The World at all. Only this situation we are in could make the 1970s of my childhood look virtuous, stable and happy.

Louise L

Anonymous said...

Hey... where's the red button?

Louise L