Sunday, June 29, 2014

SS. Peter & Paul

Mass: Nunc scio vere. Outranking the Sunday (commemorated with second collect and postcommunion). Slight byzantinization: at Mater, Fr. Pasley put icons of SS. Peter and Paul on the gradine with red-glass votive candles in front of them; that's nice. (Like how I feel about latinization in the Byzantine Rite: moderate. Don't introduce it but don't suppress it; I like it when it's pre-Vatican II and doesn't take over. It also reminds me of the full traditional papal Mass, with the Greek deacon in Orthodox vestments chanting the gospel in Greek.)

"Peter has spoken through the mouth of Leo"; today, Hunwicke has spoken through Pasley. Father did his brother priest, a Tridentine English papalist Anglo-Catholic priest turned Tridentine Catholic priest, I think in the ordinariate, the honor of making most of his sermon today readings from Fr. H's blog. The point: as Jeff Culbreath said to me right after coming into the church, "we are papal minimalists." It's about church infallibility, which the Pope's office, not the man, has a share in. Ultramontanism is only an opinion, not our doctrine. The modern media promote the caricature believed by both well-meaning conservative Catholics and liberals that "the Pope is the church." The Novus Ordo conservatives felt they had no other identity than with "Our Saint in Rome"; the liberals don't believe in church infallibility so they think the Pope can change anything. Of course a lot of this explaining from us is in reaction to a possible attempt, by our churchmen, such as Pope Francis and Cardinal Kasper, to change the church's teaching about divorce and remarriage, for example. Short answer: they can't.

This minimalism, from both Cardinal Newman and "liberal" German seminary professors in the early '60s, is what converted Anglo-Catholic Episcopal priest turned Catholic priest Fr. John Jay Hughes and is exactly what I believe in.

The truth is simpatico with Eastern Christianity, which the Orthodox don't admit. The real reason for the schism is we're not in their rite, nation or empire and they can't or won't conceive of the church outside those terms.

That said, I can say something nice personally about Pope Francis. Like two statesmen I admire with very different cultural connotations, Richard Nixon and Jerry Brown, he tries to govern non-ideologically (nobody owns him): his heart is in the right place (very loving and people-centered in a Mediterranean/Latin way), and he tries to do what he thinks is right. He seems to dislike us trads and to threaten to cave to the world on homosexualism (but even here he doesn't go along with the world and call gay marriages matrimony; he just considers the plausibility of state marriages for them) and divorce/remarriage, but he does his job, firing liberal priest dissenters, like most Catholics worldwide he has no time for women's ordination, and he's made the pro-life point that in the West, substituting pets for children is wrongheaded.

Sedevacantism is possible but it has never happened.

1 comment:

  1. Ultramontanism is only an opinion, not our doctrine.

    The same could certainly be said of your "papal minimalism."

    The real reason for the schism is ...

    Perhaps; but this too is only your opinion, and not a particularly well-supported one. I suspect that your opinion is strongly colored by the fact that your experience of Orthodoxy (and mine too, to be fair) is exclusively that of Orthodoxy in the Diaspora, where the faith is part of the maintenance of a distinct cultural identity in the face of a powerful mainstream culture. Yes, Orthodoxy -- as we experience it in our time and place -- is concerned with the maintenance of a distinct rite and cultural identity. But that was not the case for the Eastern Churches during the centuries that the schism was growing and solidifying. Figures like Photios and Mark of Ephesus were not concerned with matters of rite, culture, or ethnicity, but with the integrity of the faith. That was the "real reason" for the schism.


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