I recently commented on how Bishop Richard Williamson, of the SSPX, in attacking the 'conciliar Church', employed a concept of Intention which is contrary to what the Western Church has magisterially taught and practised for a millennium and a half. Persistent readers of my blog will recall that on two occasions I have done a long series on Concelebration, demonstrating that the Magisterium of Innocent III, Benedict XIV, and of the praxis of the Church for over a millennium conclusively regard, and in practice treat, Concelebration as being genuinely celebration in the real sense. I do this (although my own view is that the post-conciliar efflorescence of concelebrations is thoroughly unwholesome) because it is a fact. And I do it because the practice of Concelebration in the limited circumstances in which it was actually mandated by the Council has the AUCTORITAS of at least a millennium of of praxis in the Roman Rite.And today I wish to make an additional point.
Both within the SSPX and in the Traditionalist circles in full canonical unity with Rome, I sometimes fear a tendency to make up Tradition. Sometimes this is in violent reaction against abuses in those other circles who have themselves invented The Spirit Of The Council. But it really is no service whatsoever to the real Tradition of the Church and to its authentic Magisterium, and to the Auctoritas which is at the basis of good liturgical praxis, to lapse oneself into error or worse. We need to be soundly based in the wholeness of Tradition in exposing the abuses of the latter twentieth century.
And when correspondents, offering no response to facts I put before them, cheerfully retort that Williamson Is Right, I feel some degree of despair.
Tradition is not something which we each confect day by day so as to have a stick with which to beat those of whom we disapprove.
I have a considerable respect for SSPX (although I do think it took a wrong turn in deciding that 1962 has to be the authentic form of the Traditional Rite); one of my dearest priest friends was himself ordained by le grand archeveque. My copy of the SSPX Repertoire is more thumbed than many would think proper. And, as I have argued before, I believe that the current discussions between the Vatican and SSPX about the status and hermeneusis of conciliar documents could provide a gift to the entire Church.
But it is a fact that theological ... er ... eccentricity ... can result from from breaches in communion or from a distancing of oneself from the main body of the Church. Heaven only knows, we Anglicans can provide ample evidence of that.