21 May 2011

Fr Ray Blake of Brighton ...

... has again written a fine piece, this time about the Toowoomba business. With a sound ecclesiological instinct based upon the ancient traditional praxis of both East and West, Father points out that the first steps in dealing with an heretical bishop should be taken by his corporate Presbyterium; if that fails, by his comprovinciales. Only on the rarest occasions, when this has all manifestly failed, should the Bishop of Rome have to intervene.

We sometimes hear bloated rhetoric about the evils of Roman 'centralisation' and the sweetness of Local Autonomy. This will all ring very much more true when all dioceses, and provinces, are more ready to deal effectively with their own heterodoxies and heteropraxies. It is well known that, when he was Prefect of the CDF, Cardinal Ratzinger became increasingly irritated by local establishments who kicked all doctrinal problems into the long grass of the collis Vaticanus so that that they could then play Mr Niceguy with their own cherished local heretics: "I'm your friend, but Rome is putting pressure on me".

Exactly. And something similar is true when the situation is so bad that a Roman Pontiff has to issue detailed legislation to foster licit liturgical communities of a traditional nature, and to protect them. It is splendid that there is an organ, the papacy, which can protect the small people from the bully-boys ... we who have been formed by Anglicanism know that only too well. But it shouldn't be necessary.

11 comments:

Bryan said...

"Rorate caeli" reports the suppression of a Trappist Monastery in Rome:

http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2011/05/pope-suppresses-abbey-of-santa-croce-in.html

Another sign of the exercise of Papal potestas in the place of relying on auctoritas perhaps?

Bryan said...

I am sure that Pope Benedict recalls the case of Bishop Hunthausen of Seattle who retired in 1991 at 70 after an Apostolic Visitation when he was the Prefect of the CDF.

I am sure there were Dioceses next to Bishop Gaillot's Parthenia (since 1995) that could have been restored if Bishop Wm. Morris had not agreed to walk off the stage himself, even if it is true they had several attempts to persuade him.

Patricius said...

If the Pope himself were a wretched liberal and one's local bishop were orthodox, to whom would the Traddie turn then for guidance? Ultramontanism is the hallmark of modern-day Traditionalism, and contempt of the local bishop seems to go hand in hand with that.

As for local authority versus Petrine authority, who really cares at the end of the day? Rome seems capable only of mediocrity and a lot of might-have-beens, whereas the bishops are all inept anyway. People scoff at me, accuse me of Jansenism and Protestantism, because I look to my own store of wisdom, but to where am I supposed to look else? New, artificial, translations of impoverished missals don't interest me and neither does the rite of 1962, and both can go hang as far as I am concerned.

Let the Pope reverse the last century of liturgical reform and impose the traditional surplice on the Universal Church, then maybe I'll listen...

threehearts said...

Archbishop Hunthausen was removed when two Catholics put up US$500K one was Dr K. Rodaway of Federal Way which paid for an investigation into the Archbishop"d semi pagan antics. The other is still alive

lxoa said...

It's not like conciliar ecclesiology is a bulwark against liturgical vandalism; consider what happened to the French diocesan uses at the hands of Gallican and Jansenist bishops in the 18th century, or indeed the Nikonian liturgical reforms in the Russian Orthodox Church (with dissenters being ruthlessly persecuted). No doubt something similar would have happened to the Sarum use had it remained in use. (Funnily enough Rome suggested the English Church re-adopt Sarum when the English Catholic hierarchy was restored --- but it was impractical at the time. Most Catholic priests then ministering in England were French and Irish.)

lxoa said...

The following extract is from a 2005 'Athens News' editorial, discussing the sex scandals that have all but destroyed the reputation of the once revered Greek Orthodox Church:

http://agis10.tripod.com/id15.html

"Priests are only spiritually beholden to the church. Their real employer is the state, which will this year spend 157 million euros on their salaries and pensions. They are, by law, civil servants, and poorly performing ones at that. Churches charge for their services, although they are supposed to be free. It goes beyond the big three, baptism, marriage and the Great Ushering Off: individual priests illegally charge to perform blessings, exorcisms and other indispensable services. In the countryside, itinerant priests who are supposed to service more than one village often refuse to do their rounds without inducement. Across the country, services are poorly attended because they are poorly performed. The Greek Orthodox liturgy, founded on the mystery of faith, the power of church theatre and a musical tradition going back to ancient times, is today mumbled out of tune, in neon-lit domes. In short, people aren't getting their money's worth, and are in the process losing the beauty of their tradition. "

Joshua said...

I've heard tell that Greek Orthodox laity, coming to attend a wedding or somesuch at a Greek Catholic church in Greece, are astounded by the beauty of the liturgy and the friendly, unmercenary nature of the clergy!

Joshua said...

I am sad to see a certain young man has set himself up as Pope.

B flat said...

My memory is poor now. Does anyone remember the ruling from Rome, which affirmed that Bishops' Conference had no authority to interfere in the Ordinary's running of his diocese? I think this was within the last year or two.
If the then bishop of Toowoomba did not show any inclination to listen to Rome, how can we suppose he (would have) listened to his fellow bishops, whether they remonstrated with him or not?
There has to be an overriding awe of Orthodoxy at work at all levels in the Church, for local control to be effective. Where this is lacking in many places among both laity and clergy, nothing but an exercise of authority can restore order. And what is the authority of a council of priests vis-a-vis their bishop, or the province (in the RC Church) over one diocesan?

As to the suppression of the Cistercian Abbey at Santa Croce in Gerusaleme, I think it reflects worst on the Cistercians as an Order, whose system of canonical visitation and oversight appears to be ineffective. But will anybody doubt the Pope's right to dismiss an undesirable group of monks from his own diocese?

GOR said...

Unfortunately Father, given the hierarchical nature of the Church, bishops are pretty much sovereign in their own dioceses. Neither the National Bishops’ Conference nor the archepiscopal Metropolitan has any control or authority over what a bishop does in his own diocese. Only the Holy Father can remove a bishop either directly or through the Congregation for Bishops, nisi fallor. As to action by the ‘corporate Presbyterium’, what impact could they have, given that they vow obedience to their Ordinary?

Now you might say: why don’t orthodox bishops take heterodox bishops to task – either openly or in private. Openly might be a problem leading to scandal or disunity - and if done privately, we wouldn’t know about it anyway. So the only recourse is to Rome. But, here is where there is room for improvement. Given the lengthy process engaged upon in the Toowoomba business, one may ask why it took so long.

Pope Benedict is on record as favoring the Italian Romanit√† of moving slowly, over the German propensity to order and dispatch. But I think the enduring scandal of Toowoomba (among other similar cases…) calls for more expeditious handling of such cases. Where scandal and the salvation of souls are concerned, the Church needs speedier resolutions.

Fr Ray Blake said...

How kind of you, Father.