Thursday, August 20, 2015

Derb's mostly right; Hodur was mostly wrong


  • Summing things up in America now: A report from the conservative movement's dustbin. These first years of the twenty-first century have been a sorry time for Americans who favor national sovereignty, demographic stability, restraint in government, traditional culture, and the rule of law. John Derbyshire's not pro-life and he's anti-Catholic but he's right about just about everything else here.
  • The deep thoughts of Franciszek Hodur. Progressivism; Protestantism meets Marxism. Not even counterfeit Catholicism, even though he still dressed like us. I'm halfway through his book Apocalypse, or the Revelation of the XXth Century from 1930. Basically a Protestant screed, even heretical by their standards, denying original sin. Hooray for the primitive church pre-Constantine; the papacy corrupted everything afterwards. Hodur even attacks practices such as statues and the rosary, which his creation, the Polish National Catholic Church, kept. The man was lying to get and keep (culturally conservative Polish ex-Catholic) followers, that is, being more than his own Pope (Popes don't invent or change doctrine) and continuing to look like the traditional Catholic Church even while he slammed "the Roman Church," etc. (My guess is most of his people just wanted neighborhood parishes that looked the same and spoke Polish. The church gave people that after a few early mistakes; most Polish-Americans remained Catholic and many have never heard of the PNCC.) He was even a feminist: The priesthood of the future will not be a cast of men mercenaries growing rich and fat, but rather it will be a free association of individuals dedicating themselves to higher purposes. It will be a brotherhood of men and women chosen by God, prepared and ordained for this purpose … I'm open to a semi-congregationalist traditional folk Catholicism (let's talk; everything that's not doctrine is on the table); this isn't it. I respect principled churchmen who can't quite accept Catholicism ("Rome's a real church with real bishops but we're truer") and aren't simply anti-Western: the Anglican old high churchmen, the Tractarians, Charles Grafton, and relatively conservative Old Catholics ("the true Roman Catholics because Rome got it wrong about the Pope at Vatican I"; how's that working out?). Not Hodur. His isn't even an alternative-Catholic argument. Very much in the "tradition" of "the American religion"; a new religion. (The only theologian they've ever had?) Man! Brother! Do not fear the light, the new, progress! Care only that this light and this progress have their source in Christ Jesus our Lord! ("Get with the program, Catholics!" He could have written this last week, in the National Catholic Reporter.) The thing's true nature, Hodur's theology, explains why for the PNCC's smarter members it was a fast track into the American Protestant mainstream, away from Polish Catholic culture; they left the PNCC behind too. He was like Luther in another way: according to Klaus Gamber, Luther proposed Communion services facing the people but never got around to it, keeping the trappings of the Mass. The PNCC makes zero sense. By the way, the Nats were Old Catholic (they made Hodur a bishop after a few earlier Polish schisms in America including consecrating schismatic bishops) until about 10-15 years ago, breaking over women's ordination and I guess homosexualism, and broke with the Episcopalians in 1977 over women's ordination (that this heretic Hodur sought intercommunion with them says a lot, even back in 1946!). Given barely-a-bishop Hodur's heresy and the PNCC's former Episcopal tie, I'm somewhat surprised that under the only Polish Pope so far, the church stated it recognizes the PNCC's orders. (Makes sense since we recognized other Old Catholics' orders before they ordained women.) There used to be a conservative faction among them who wanted a "reconciliation with honor" with Rome. I understand the PNCC's dying like the Byzantine Rite churches here for the same reason, assimilation by the third generation in America, but they've actually started some parishes in towns whose Catholic parishes closed. Most of their few parishes are little Novus Ordo clones that look just like older Catholic churches, with generational members and a priest who immigrated from Poland and switched to get married.

14 comments:

  1. "Luther proposed Communion services facing the people but never got around to it, keeping the trappings of the Mass."

    A few small Lutheran landeskirchen in Germany introduced it, but most didn't. Retaining it generally was one example of many of the "conservative" nature of Lutheran alterations of those features of the Mass any alteration of which would be evident to the congregation. Perhaps the most significant such perceptible alteration of the Mass was the omission of the fraction of the host (in part because the Reformed put so much emphasis on its "symbolism"); they also omitted the "comingling," or the addition of a little water to the chalice. Another reason for retaining ad orientem was in opposition to Reformed practice of "the Lord's Supper," and to respond to Reformed accusations that Lutheran practice was "popish" by, in effect, "giving them the finger." Of course, Lutherans got rid of the Canon of the Mass altogether (except for a time in Sweden, where the dialogue and preface segued directly into the Words of Institution, with the Sanctus following - and then the Lord's Prayer) but as the Canon was silent the omission was not really perceptible by the congregation. Moreover, although the Words of Institution were chanted aloud, the elevations of the host and chalice were retained in many Lutheran churches, in Germany and elsewhere (it was abolished in Sweden in 1593) well into the Seventeenth Century, and lasted in Schleswig-Holstein until 1797 and in Norway (on paper at least) until 1814. (Otherwise in Germany it had largely been abolished among Lutherans by 1660.)

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  2. Popes don't invent or change doctrine

    *cough**filioque**cough*indulgences**COUGHCOUGH**papal infallibility...

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    1. *cough*THROUGH the Son; now was that so hard?*cough*Lightening canonical penances; no problem*COUGHCOUGH*The church is infallible, and under some circumstances the office of its head patriarch shares in that...

      "Contraception and sometimes adultery (divorce and remarriage) are OK" isn't a theology worth taking seriously, let alone a church whose boundaries are defined by politics (empire) and culture. (At one time your church didn't recognize the Copts, Armenians, et al., as well as us.) I'll stick with the Pope.

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    2. Ah, so you're ok with some innovations...so long as what, you say so? You don't seem so far apart from Luther after all...like most Catholics, really...all too easy to pick and choose...must be that cafeteria...how's that reform working out for ya?...you're naught but an enabler of all the innovation.

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    3. You are simplifying ecclesiastical issues to the point of inaccuracy, John.

      For example, the doctrine of indulgences, which is the belief that the temporal punishment due to the forgiven sin of either the living or departed may be remitted either partially or fully through the application of an indulgence, which draws its efficacy from the treasury of merits accumulated by the saints, is different from the concept behind ancient canonical penances. Historically, the completion of a canonical penance resulted in the forgiveness of the penitent and was not understood as the payment of a debt that remained after the penitent's sin had been forgiven. This is the reason why the Holy Fathers anciently spoke of "forgiveness" as the last step to entering heaven, why ancient Liturgies appeal so fervently for the “forgiveness” of the sins of the deceased, and generally why ancient Christians prayed for the sins of the dead to be "forgiven.” Strictly speaking, the Western Church does not pray for the sins of the dead to be forgiven, but rather that their temporal punishment be removed (in fact, in the Latin Church it is permissible to hold that all venial sins are remitted immediately upon entrance into purgatory – where does this leave the ancient Liturgies that appealed for forgiveness of sins?). As you can see, the ancient canonical penances were predicated on arguably different concepts that that of indulgences.

      Likewise, the infallibility of the Church cannot be extended to the infallibility of its head patriarch (furthermore, is it really accurate to call the Pope of Rome, a "head patriarch," since he may stand above the tiered primatial system at will?), anymore than the same infallibility can be evoked for regional patriarchs in times when they need to defend the Faith. Rather, historically, in the times of the greatest threat to the Faith, all orthodox bishops (including the Bishop of Rome) at different times wrote letters of condemnation of heresy and its purveyors, employed excommunication of heretics, robustly defended the ancient Faith (that was always believed and professed by the Church) in word and writing, and generally used the same tools to defend the Faith. No patriarch ever claimed to solve disputes through the use of papal infallibility. In fact, some bishops in the Western Church resisted the claim of papal infallibility before the 1st Vatican Council and remained bishops in good standing. This would have been inadmissible if papal infallibility was simply another dimension of the Church's infallibility. If such were true, these members of the episcopacy who rejected papal infallibility would be treated in much the same manner as were Luther and Calvin before their non-papal ecclesiology was officially condemned at Trent.

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    4. That's all very entertaining but you can't convince me that your cult of ethnicities is the church and we're outside the church. You have bishops and the Mass, and what little defined doctrine you have is true, but separated from the church such a cult is what you've become, at the service of various Eastern European states. A reason you have no staying power beyond three generations in America; to be fair, Byzantine Catholics have the same attrition problem.

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    5. "A reason you have no staying power beyond three generations in America; to be fair, Byzantine Catholics have the same attrition problem."

      However, apparently not a good reason since it applies equally to those Eastern Christians in union with Rome.

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    6. "If such were true, these members of the episcopacy who rejected papal infallibility would be treated in much the same manner as were Luther and Calvin before their non-papal ecclesiology was officially condemned at Trent"

      should read as

      "If such were true, these members of the episcopacy who rejected papal infallibility would be treated in much the same manner as were Luther and Calvin before their non-Catholic soteriology was officially condemned at Trent"

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    7. I believe that "these members of the episcopacy who rejected papal infallibility" all eventually submitted and accepted it in the course of the two or three years after 1870, even Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer of Diakovar (1815-1905); cf. from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

      "At the Vatican Council he was one of the most notable opponents of papal infallibility, and distinguished himself as a speaker. The pope praised Strossmayer's "remarkably good Latin." A speech in which he defended Protestantism made a great sensation. Afterwards another speech, delivered apparently on 2 June, 1870, was imputed to him. It is full of heresies and denies not only infallibility but also the primacy of the pope. The forger is said to have been a former Augustinian, a Mexican named Dr. José Agustín de Escudero. After the council Strossmayer maintained his opposition longer than all the other bishops and kept up a connection with Döllinger and Reinkens until October, 1871. Then he notified them that he intended to yield "at least outwardly". Finally, on 26 December, 1872, he published the decrees of the council in his official paper. At a later date he repeatedly proclaimed his submission to the pope, as in his pastoral letter of 28 February, 1881, on Sts. Cyril and Methodius, expressing his devotion to the papal see at times in extravagant language."

      Joseph Hubert Reinkens (1821-1896) was the first German Old Catholic bishop. A strong proponent of old Catholic recognition of the validity of "Anglican Orders," (which the Dutch Old Catholics denied until 1925) he received communion from Anglicans on visits to England beginning in 1881. None of the Catholic bishops who opposed the Vatican I definitions, let alone those who (like the future Cardinal Newman) thought it true, but "inopportune" to define, wished to be associated with the Old Catholics.

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    8. That may be correct. However, the treatment of these bishops before the promulgation of the dogma of papal infallibility in 1870 is more interesting. These members of the episcopacy did not enter the First Vatican Council with a stigma or cloud of doctrinal infidelity over them. Rather, they entered and participated in the Council as simply the supporters of one equally valid theological school that rejected papal infallibility. Any charges of doctrinal infidelity were given after the promulgation of the dogma. This denotes that the dogma of papal infallibility was not historically considered to be part of the Deposit of Faith (if one believes, as did St. Vincent of Lerins, that the contents of such Deposit must be actually believed and professed by the Church at all times and places) before Vatican I, but developed from an ever-increasingly accepted (yet optional) pious opinion to a mandatory dogma, promulgated at this Council.

      While it is true that one cannot expect the Church to react with lightning-fast speed whenever any deviation occurs, and it is true that the Church experiences periods of confusion in which deviation is allowed to flourish followed by a restoration of discipline following an ecumenical council, it strains credulity to apply this to the dogma of papal infallibility since there were no signs of doctrinal and disciplinary decay in the Catholicism of the mid-19th century nor was the allowance of deviation on the teaching of papal infallibility limited to a brief period before and during Vatican I, but was rather continuous through the majority of the second millennium of the Latin Church. These are the signs of an evolution from pious opinion to a change of Faith for members of the Church.*


      *It should be noted that this appraisal of the dogma of papal infallibility can be applied to the evolution to the teaching on the Immaculate Conception, as well, since both dogmas followed a similar historical trajectory.

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  3. "I'm somewhat surprised that under the only Polish Pope so far, the church stated it recognizes the PNCC's orders."

    I remember being told, in the early 1980s, that as Archbishop of Krakow the future Pope was quite hostile towards the PNCC's Polish offshoot, the "Polish Catholic Church." Btw, John Paul II had a cousin, Bronislaw Wojdyla, who joined the PNCC (I think he was the child of American immigrant Polish parents), was ordained in it, was eager to become a bishop in it, but eventually left and formed something called "The John Paul II Center" in Chicago. He never, AFAIK, returned to the Catholic Church.

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    1. yeah the polish off shoot was hijacked by the communists and made their tool, if i remember right their chief bishop resisted when this went down and eventually disappeared over it. PNCC never liked them after the war (ive read quite a bit about the PNCC after i found out about their existence), and now with womens ordination in ultrecht the PNNC is no longer in communion with them, and I think the PNCC is trying to found a new branch there.

      as for the recognition of orders, not so surprising considering the PNCC maintained the "old catholic" religion, an official belief in real presence and likewise official belief sacrificial nature of the mass, and ordain in a catholic rite, and are legit doing what the "church" intends - not just playing church like vagantes. PNCC is really the only non-catholic western church that can claim valid orders. old catholics and the polish catholic church it's gone with womens ordination.

      the problem with the anglo-catholics and their "dutch touch" is still are a part of a protestant church with a protestant majority, still had the 39 articles going - so how can you be truely catholic if you're part of a church and in communion with bishops who deny catholicism? whose official rites are made to contradict catholicism? theres a period in post henry viii church of england history where they made have indeed had valid orders and this was mid 20th century, since by then the 39 articles were not binding as they were, there were enough anglo-catholics and and there was enough dutch touch. Even so, every anglican priest was at best conditionally ordained (as we all know here), such was the taint of protestantism and the mystery of it's effects on catholic sacraments.

      its a shame, it would be of been better if henry viii's vision anglicanism (i guess that would be the original anglo-catholicism but with much mkore latin lol) prevailed over elizabeths protestantism, but it is what it is, no disrespect to our anglo-catholic friends whom im very sympathetic to, but have to be intellectually honest.

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  4. "These members of the episcopacy did not enter the First Vatican Council with a stigma or cloud of doctrinal infidelity over them."

    True - and so? Neither did the opponents of homoousios at Nicaea (or for a considerable time later) nor those opposing "Theotokos" at Ephesus nor either Dioscoros' supporters or Leo's at Chalcedon.

    "Rather, they entered and participated in the Council as simply the supporters of one equally valid theological school that rejected papal infallibility. Any charges of doctrinal infidelity were given after the promulgation of the dogma."

    Just so, and just as in the cases of opponents of homoousios at Nicaea or of "two natures" at Chalcedon. And so?

    "This denotes that the dogma of papal infallibility was not historically considered to be part of the Deposit of Faith (if one believes, as did St. Vincent of Lerins, that the contents of such Deposit must be actually believed and professed by the Church at all times and places) before Vatican I, but developed from an ever-increasingly accepted (yet optional) pious opinion to a mandatory dogma, promulgated at this Council. "

    Again, just so - like homoousious, like the Chalcedonian definition, like the condemnation of iconoclasm, like all the conceited heresies condemned by Florence, Trent, Vatican I, etc. And your point (if you have one) is?

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  5. Dr. Tighe,

    Opposing developed theological language is not the same as denying the belief, itself. Are you arguing that Arius, Nestorius, Dioscoros, and iconoclasts and those who believed like them were treated by the Church as supporters of another equally valid belief about Christ before the councils, which promulgated orthodox dogma? If so, you are contradicting the memory of all orthodox saints and Fathers of the Church (and, in particular, the martyrs who died at the hands of iconoclasts before the 7th Ecumenical Council was convened) who fought for the truth in opposition to all heretics, and did not seek to discover the truth with the opponents of Christ either before or during historic ecumenical councils (Not to mention, discounting the arduous struggle for orthodoxy that resulted in these ecumenical councils.)

    Any weakness and confusion in parts of the Church that periodically placed the heretics on equal footing with the orthodox prior to the early ecumenical councils was the result of spiritual weakness and compromise and is certainly not a model to follow in how the Church preserves and professes the Truth, especially since such periodic and geographically limited historical weakness in preserving the Faith resulted in no clear profession of the Faith.

    However, unlike the teachings you mentioned and the ecumenical councils, which confirmed the truth regarding these teachings, there was no evidence that rejection of papal infallibility (and by extension, the Immaculate Conception) was considered to be heterodox before their dogmatic promulgation, thus arguably indicating that these two teachings were innovations and not of the same status as the orthodox doctrine confirmed in the early ecumenical councils, which was defended from its opponents before, during, and after (not just after) the ecumenical councils, in question.

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