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:: The Lidless Eye Inquisition ::

A weblog dedicated to the exposure of the crackpots of the lunatic self-styled 'traditionalist' fringe who disingenuously pose as faithful Catholics.
Welcome to The Lidless Eye Inquisition | bloghome
"Do not allow yourselves to be deceived by the cunning statements of those who persistently claim to wish to be with the Church, to love the Church, to fight so that people do not leave Her...But judge them by their works. If they despise the shepherds of the Church and even the Pope, if they attempt all means of evading their authority in order to elude their directives and judgments..., then about which Church do these men mean to speak? Certainly not about that established on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20)." [Pope St. Pius X: Allocution of May 10, 1909]

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[:::....Recent Posts....:::]

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Though this weblog has been suspended "in perpetui...

After pondering this in recent days, I cannot thin...

Points to Ponder: I now come to the positive reas...

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The Inquisitors
:: I. Shawn McElhinney
:: F. John Loughnan
:: Peter J. Vere JCL
:: Greg Mockeridge
:: Apolonio Latar
:: Gregory Rossi
:: Keith Kenney
:: The Curmudgeon
:: Mark Bonocore
:: Gregg the Obscure
Affiliated Weblogs/Websites
:: Rerum Novarum [>>>]
:: Sean O' Lachtnain's Home Page [>>>]
:: Envoy Encore Weblog (Peter Vere JCL, contributor) [>>>]
:: Cooperatores Veritatis [>>>]
:: Thoughts of Apolonio Latar III [>>>]
:: Sancta Liturgia [>>>]
:: Disturber of the Peace [>>>]
:: Vita Brevis [>>>]
Specialty Weblogs
:: The (New) Catholic Light BLOG (Peter Vere JCL, contributor) [>>>]
:: John Betts' Boycott BLOG [>>>]
Ecumenical Jihad*
:: Apolonio Latar and Kevin Tierney's Culture of Christ BLOG [>>>]
Specialty Weblinks
:: A Prescription Against 'Traditionalism' [>>>]
:: On the Intricacies of Dialogue - A Commentary [>>>]
:: The 'Tradition is Opposed to Novelty' Canard [>>>]
:: On Assisi and Catholic Principles [>>>]
:: F. John Loughnan's "Classification of Some Integrist (Lidless Eye) Websites" [>>>]
:: A Syllabus of Various (Mostly Pseudo-"Progressivist") Dissenting Authors [>>>]
:: A Canonical History of the Lefevrist Schism - Peter J. Vere's License Thesis From Saint Paul University, Ontario, Canada [>>>]
:: What Makes Us Catholic Traditionalists - written for The Wanderer December 6, 2001 (I. Shawn McElhinney/Pete Vere JCL) [>>>]
:: Yes Virginia, Fr. Nicholas Has Been Suspended - written for The Wanderer March 6, 2003 (Pete Vere JCL/I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Squelching Fr. Gruner's 'Squawking Squire' [>>>]
:: RadTrad Watch [>>>]
:: Antisemitism and the Catholic Right [>>>]
[:::....Site Intention, Disclaimer, Copyright, Etc....:::]
:: Intentions of this Weblog (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Weblog "War and Peace Length" Disclaimer (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Site Copyright (I. Shawn McElhinney/SecretAgentMan) [>>>]
:: Exhortation to Those Who Participate in the Message Boxes (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On Linking to Tridentine Apostolates, Etc. --A Lidless Eye Inquisition Clarification Thread (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
[:::....Heretical Pseudo "Traditionalist" Apostolates....:::]
Mario Derksen's Catholic Insight
:: Responses to Mario Derksen--Parts I-III (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Mario on EENS (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Mario Derksen's Errors on Man (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Mario Derksen's Sedevacantism--Parts I-III (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Response to Mario --Parts I-II (Kevin Byrne) [>>>]
:: Mario's Sedevacantism and His Conscience (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder -I. Shawn McElhinney's Discussion List Comments on the "Karol Wojtyla is the Pope" Subject (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
Gerry Matatics' Apostolate
:: Gerry Matatics Too Hard Line For The Remnant (Pete Vere)[>>>]
:: Concerning Gerry Matatics and His Alleged Sedevacantism (Pete Vere) [>>>]
[:::....Schismatic and Theologically Specious Pseudo "Traditionalist" Apostolates....:::]
Catholic Apologetics International (or CAItanic)
:: Bob Sungenis' "Reply" to Richard John Neuhaus --Parts I-II (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - Richard J. Neuhaus on CAItanic (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On CAItanic and the "Petrification" of their Opponents (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: On Stunted Ecclesiology and Other Examples of the Arrested Development of CAItanic (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Baghdad Bob Meets Bible Bob (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: Commentary on CAItanic (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Sungenis/Ferrara and Double Standards (Apolonio Latar III) [>>>]
:: On Sungenis’ “Novelty”--Parts I-II(Apolonio Latar III) [>>>]
:: A Short Response to John Salza and Sungenis (Apolonio Latar III) [>>>]
:: A Brief Clarification by Your Weblog Host On "Mr. Ipse Dixit" (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Matatics vs. Sungenis (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Sungenis and God's Contingent Knowledge--Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar III) [>>>]
:: On "The Big Bang Theory" and its Pertinance to Catholic Doctrine (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
The Novus Ordo Watch
:: On "Novus Ordo Watch" (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: More on "Novus Ordo Watch" (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: Props to David Alexander (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
The Remnant
:: Beyond Lunacy (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: The Remnant Gets it Right (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: Commending Christopher Ferrara (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
The Society of St. Pius X (SSPX)
:: Points to Ponder - on the SSPX (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: On the "Reconciliation" Rumours of the SSPX (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: SSPX Demotes Key Priest Hoping For Reconciliation (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Three Cheers for Sedevacantism (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: On Fr. Paul Aulagnier (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Schism For One Dollar (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Bishop Rifan the Prophet (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Is the SSPX Still Lefebvrist? (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Civil War Breaks Out in the SSPX's French District (Pete Vere) [>>>]
[:::....Controverted Apostolates...:::]
Kevin Tierney and His Apostolate
:: Responding to Kevin Tierney's Criticism (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: Some Brief Comments on Kevin Tierney's Response to Gregg the Obscure (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: A Response to Kevin Tierney's Response to I. Shawn McElhinney (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: More Sophistry From Kevin Tierney --Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Briefly on Obedience and Kevin Tierney's Appeal to Canon Law 212 (I. Shawn McElhinney/Pete Vere JCL) [>>>]
:: Responsum ad Tiernam Dubiosum --Parts I-III, Addendum (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: A Note About A Blog (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Radtrads Again (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On True and False 'Traditionalism' With Kevin Tierney --Parts I-VII (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, and Global Government --Parts I-III(Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]
:: Clarification on Global Government (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Brief Response to Kevin Tierney (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Miscellaneous Musings on Diversity (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: An Example of the Honesty That Must Accompany Dialogue (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Miscellaneous Muttering On Many Subjects (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: A Detailed Response to Kevin on The Revised Missal, Corpus Christi, Church Attendance, Church Forms, Protocol 1411, Etc. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Miscellaneous Musings (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: "Responsum ad Tiernum" Dept. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Discussing the Liturgy and Various Contrastings With Kevin Tierney (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Refuting the “He’s Not Disobedient. He's Just Stupid.” Defense (Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]
:: "Responsum ad Tiernum" Dept. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
[:::....Controverted Subjects and People in General....:::]
:: Response to a Self-styled "Traditionalist" (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On the Term "Inquisition" (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: Addressing a Sedevacantist Heretic (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: February's Quote of the Month (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: On TAN Books (F. John Loughnan) [>>>]
:: On Defining Modernism (Chris Burgwald) [>>>]
:: Refuting the Late 'Trad' Michael Malone's Errors on Vatican II (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From His Beatitude Melkite Patriarch Maximos IV Saigh, Cardinal of the Roman Church (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: The Catechism and Radical Traditionalists (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Screwtape Parody on Radical Traditionalism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Dialogue With a Rad-Trad --Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On Hell and the Catechism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On Sola Fide Trads (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Some Traddie Fallacies Examined (F. John Loughnan) [>>>]
:: Dialogue With Adrian a Self-styled 'Traditionalist' --Parts I-VIII (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From St. Opatus of Milve (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Mr. Smith's Misunderstandings --Parts I-VI (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On the Integralist-'Traditionalist' Conection --Parts I-V (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Discussion With Christopher Blosser on Reflections on Covenant and Mission (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On the Morality of Promoting Conspiracy Theories (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: Question About the Magisterium (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: John Paul II and Islam (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Have 'Traditionalists' Been Too Hard on the Pope Viz Islam (F. John Loughnan) [>>>]
:: A Conversation --Parts I-II (I. Shawn McElhinney/Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Fatal Flaws of False 'Traditionalism' With Albert Cipriani--Parts I-VII (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: A Conversation on Spiritual Maturity and the Traditional Catholic Approach to Difficulties --Parts I-III (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Is it Okay to Complain? (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Obedience: The Rise of True Catholics --Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Radtradism and Mother Teresa (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Common 'Traditionalist' Errors in Dogmatic Theology and the Ordinary Magisterum (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Notes on the Ordinary Magisterium (SecretAgentMan) [>>>]
:: Some Self-styled "Traditionalist" Mendacity (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Posting Rules for Radical 'Traditionalists' (The Curmudgeon) [>>>]
:: Thoughts on Radtradism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Why Garrigou-Lagrange? (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: The Syllabus (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Refutation of Some Common Radtrad Misuses of Citations (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: The Errors of Michael Malone Revisited (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Confuting an Attempted Justification for Schism --Parts I-II (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Another Assisi? Parts I-II (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder -Maximus the Abbott as quoted by Pope Leo XIII in Satis Cognitum §13 (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Dialogue With a 'Traditionalist' (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: "To Be Deep in Catholic Theology is to Cease to Be a (Pseudo) 'Traditionalist'" Dept. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From Pope Benedict XV (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On Charles de Nunzio (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: For Those Interested (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Refuting Mike's Errors (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: A Response to Mike Tucker (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Will it Merely Be More Uncatholic "Business As Usual"??? (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From St. John Bosco (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From St. Irenaeus of Lyons (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Dialogue/Debate on Pascendi (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - From Cardinal Ratzinger on the Revised Roman Missal (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Responsum ad Hibernius (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Miscellaneous Material (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]
:: On Liturgical Dance (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]
:: On Humanism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On Humanism and Vatican II (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]
:: John Paul II and Universalism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: On Scruples (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]
:: On Tony Blair and Receiving Communion (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Confuting Radical Pseudo-'Traditionalist' Nonsense --Part I (Mark Bonocore) [>>>]
:: Confuting Radical Pseudo-'Traditionalist' Nonsense --Part II (Mark Bonocore/I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: "Wast-ing A-way A-gain in Se-de-vac-ant-a-ville" Dept. (Mark Bonocore/I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On the McElhinney Media Dictum (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Tomorrow Christendom (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Correcting a Common Misperception of This Weblog (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Response to a Guimaraes Article (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: A Response to Fr. Nitoglia (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]
:: More on "Tomorrow Christendom" (Dom Calvet/Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Surprised by Canon Law (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Briefly on Michael Davies' Passing (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: On Redemptionis Sacramentum and Canonical Implications for Ecclesia Dei (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Notification of Assisi Essay, Etc. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Points to Ponder - Richard John Neuhaus on the Vatican and "Americanism"--Parts I-VI (I. Shawn McElhinney)[>>>]
:: 8 Things You Can Do to Stop the Judaizers (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: On Circumspection in Speech and Public Writing (Gregg the Obscure) [>>>]
:: On the Revised Missal Ordination Rites and Other Tidbits (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
::Points to Ponder - John Laux on an Interesting Parallel from History on the Subject of "Preserving Tradition" (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: In Fairness to Michael Forrest (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Michael Forrest and the Jews (Pete Vere) [>>>]
::Points to Ponder - Pope Gregory XVI on the Authority of the Popes (I. Shawn McElhinney)[>>>]
:: Michael Forrest and the Jews--Part II (Pete Vere) [>>>]
[:::....Miscellaneous Dialogual Subjects...:::]
:: Real Catholic Traditionalism (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: An Open Challenge to Catholic Traditionalists (Dom Gerard Calvet/Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Briefly on Quo Primum (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Traditionalist Debate of the Millenium: Pete Vere vs. Shawn McElhinney (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Dialogue on Ecclesia Dei With Mark Downey (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Sister Lucia of Fatima, Ora Pro Terri Schiavo (Pete Vere) [>>>]
:: Ecclesia Dei And Respect for Traditionalists (Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]
:: On "The Vile Spectacle of Traditionalists Rooting for Bad News" --Dialogue With Kevin Tierney (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>> [>>>]
:: On Liturgical Nonsense, Recent Restore Rants, Church Music, Etc (I. Shawn McElhinney)[>>>]
:: Briefly Revisiting an Old Subject (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Examining Kevin Tierney's "Catholic Contract" (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
[:::....Guest Editorials...:::]
:: The Problems Some Have With Interfaith Outreach (Guest Editorial by Gary Gubinski) [>>>]
:: On the Liturgical Movement (Guest Editorial by the Society of St. John; Prologue by I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]
:: Jacinta's Vision (Guest Editorial by Fr. Thomas Carleton) [>>>]
:: Guest Editorial on Private Revelation (Kevin M. Tierney) [>>>]
Any correspondence will be presumed eligible for blogging unless the sender otherwise specifies (cf. Welborn Protocol)

*Ecumenical Jihad listing is for weblogs or websites which are either dedicated to or which to the webmaster (i) are worth reading and (ii) characteri ze in their general outlook the preservation of general Judeo-Christian morality and which are aimed at positively integrating these elements into society. (Such sites need not even be Catholic ones.)

As society has grown more estranged from its founding principles, I wish to note sites which share the same sentiments for the restoration of society even if the means advocated in this endeavour differ. The Lidless Eye Inquisition does not necessarily endorse particulars with sites under this heading.

:: Sunday, October 31, 2004 ::

Exposing The Quicksand of The Palm Beach

(A Response to David Palm)

(This is the first in a two part post-GAM)
(David's words will be in red, my words in regular font, and my source material in blue.)

In an article that appeared in the March 2004 issue of the New Oxford Review, reprinted with permission by the Seattle Catholic, David Palm makes the claim that the confusion in the Church today is due in some part, to the “words, deeds, and omissions of Pope John Paul II.” Now, no reasonably orthodox Catholic would deny that various papal activities and policies are not above criticism as to their prudence or timeliness, provided that such criticisms are stated in a spirit of reverence toward the office and the person of the pope. Pope John Paul II acknowledges as much:

While it is right that, in accordance with the example of her Master, who is "humble in heart," (13) the Church also should have humility as her foundation, that she should have a critical sense with regard to all that goes to make up her human character and activity, and that she should always be very demanding on herself... (Redemptor Hominis #4)

But Mr. Palm, like many of his “traditionalist” allies, exceeds such prudential criticisms:

“In the remainder of this article I will point out a number of examples in which right Catholic belief and practice would be wrongly altered by following the example set by John Paul II.”

What Mr. Palm is saying, in effect, here is that the Pope, in the examples he cites, is acting in a manner that is not in conformity with the Catholic faith, a position he continually reinforces throughout his article. As I am sure David is well aware, such a claim is a serious accusation and if made without sufficient evidence, which includes going to the necessary pains of acquiring a proper understanding of the activities and issues in question, constitutes, in object, a grave violation of the Eighth Commandment, prohibiting the bearing of false witness. And since the Fourth Commandment extends to those in positions of authority, it is likewise violated by such unsubstantiated accusations.

If this article is the best case Mr. Palm can make, then I suggest he make a beeline for the confessional! And Canon 212 doesn’t come to the rescue.

One thing’s for sure, though, Catholic belief and practice would “ wrongly altered” (and gravely so) if the many misrepresentations of the Pope’s statements and activities, like those made by David Palm, were allowed to stand as though they were true.

Every example Mr. Palm gives is an example of such gross misrepresentation regularly employed by those who have made a cottage industry out of promoting a view of the Church as a pre. vs. post Vatican II dichotomy.

The first is that of the death penalty. On this issue, I must say, in fairness, even some non-“traditionalist” orthodox Catholics are confused. The teaching of the Church has always been that the State has the right to put to death those guilty of the most serious crimes insofar as the protection of society, which includes the physical safety, the protection of the public order, and the vindication of the moral order, necessitates. Evangelium Vitae in no way changes this. Just as a fundamentalist can, and often does, twist Scripture to his own destruction (cf. 2 Pet. 3:16), an unstable and untaught Catholic can do the same with papal encyclicals and other Church documents. It is of paramount importance that one approach such Church writings understanding the difference between doctrinal imperatives and prudential judgments. This is especially true regarding Evangelium Vitae and capital punishment, because the encyclical contains both regarding this issue.

In Evangelium Vitae, John Paul II, citing the first edition of the Catechism, states a doctrinal imperative:

“If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.” (EV #56)

If one looks at what the Roman Catechism (aka The Tridentine Catechism), published by the Apostolic See in 1566, says regarding the just use of capital punishment, John Paul’s above statement is nothing more than its logical conclusion. The Tridentine Catechism states, as Mr. Palm correctly points out, that the just use capital punishment is an “act of paramount obedience” to the Fifth Commandment. But since this is the case, would not such just use be limited by what is necessary to satisfy the requirements of such obedience, which is, as the same Catechism states, “the preservation and security of human life?” Ergo, the logic of the Roman Catechism demands that if bloodless means are sufficient to preserve and secure human life, the civil power must restrict itself to those means, because, as both EV and the First Edition of the New Catechism of the Catholic Church state, “they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.” Analogously, this would be the same as saying that the use of anti-biotics to treat an infection is more in conformity with the dignity of the human body than amputation and that if it is sufficient to treat the infection, medical ethics would demand limiting treatment to the use of anti-biotics. Interestingly, St. Thomas employs a similar motif in regard to the death penalty:

Therefore, if a man be dangerous and infectious to the community, on the account of some sin, it is praiseworthy and advantageous that he be killed in order to safeguard the common good, since "a little leaven corrupteth the whole lump" (1 Cor. 5:6) Summa Theologia II, II, q. 64, Art.2)

Again, logic would demand, vis-à-vis the above statement from the Angelic Doctor if bloodless means are sufficient to alleviate such danger, it would be morally incumbent upon the State to limit herself to such means.

Determining whether or not capital punishment is necessary is left to the competence of the State. So, the “rare if not non-existent” statement in Evangelium Vitae is the pope’s opinion as to the efficacy of penal systems and therefore not binding. Mr. Palm then accuses Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver of “blurring the distinction between prudential judgment and Church doctrine,” by taking Justice Antonin Scalia to task for criticizing the “prudence of the pope’s stance.” I also publicly took Justice Scalia to task on the issue of the death penalty because Scalia himself blurs that very distinction by characterizing the pope’s position thus: “In other words, the death penalty is rarely, if ever, morally permissible. “ (Letter to Editor March 19, 2002 issue of The National Catholic Register)

Since Justice Scalia’s statements regarding the Church’s teaching on the death penalty demonstrate a lack of fundamental knowledge of Catholic teaching and the degree of assent Catholics owe towards it, he really ought to practice reverential silence on matters of theology and stick to jurisprudence.

David then takes aim, as many “traditionalists” do, at the pope’s 1999 statement in St. Louis:

Unfortunately, the confusion grows deeper. For the Holy Father has, in a public talk, asserted a view of the death penalty which extends even beyond Evangelium Vitae and the Catechism: "The dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform.... I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary" (Papal Mass at the Trans World Dome, St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 27, 1999; emphasis mine).

This text seems to represent an absolute and unconditional prohibition of the death penalty, in that it implies that the death penalty automatically takes away "the dignity of human life," and also that the death penalty is intrinsically cruel. Such a prohibition — if that is truly what this represents — extends well beyond what the Church has perennially taught concerning capital punishment. This cannot help but confuse the individual Catholic.

When the pope’s statements in St. Louis are taken in conjunction with the prudential judgments expressed in Evangelium Vitae, they in no way even seem to say what Mr. Palm thinks they do. The pope is NOT saying that the death penalty automatically takes away the dignity of human life. Nor is he saying that it is “intrinsically cruel,” meaning that it is wrong per se. What the Holy Father is saying, laboring under the presupposition that capital punishment is unnecessary due to more developed penal systems, that it would be wrong to use it.

St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that: “...the punishments of this life are more of a medicinal character. Those who delight in man’s punishment for its own sake may be called savage or brutal, as though lacking the human feeling that leads one man to love another.” (STh. II-II Q. 157 ad 4) And since such punishments that exceed their medicinal purpose are immoral, the Holy Father’s personal view, as expressed in St. Louis is clearly compatible with perennial Church teaching. And since, as I already stated above, determining necessity is dependent on the efficacy of penal systems, it is left to the competency of the State, and not the Church, to make that determination. Therefore, a Catholic can take either side on the death penalty.

Understanding these distinctions will go a long way in dispelling confusion surrounding this issue.

Furthermore, it is also helpful, I believe, that understanding the pope’s prudential opinions on certain subjects, requires looking back beyond the present pontificate. The Church’s discouraging the death penalty goes back at least as far as the pontificate of Pius XII. While recognizing the State’s right to execute those guilty of serious crimes, he made appeals to civil authorities to not execute condemned criminals, including an appeal to President Eisenhower to spare lives of the Rosenbergs, who were executed for espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union, in 1953.

Hence, John Paul II is not saying that capital punishment is intrinsically wrong anymore than Pius XII did.

David then sets his sights on Hans Urs von Balthasar:

One of the most pernicious errors that plagues the Catholic Church today is creeping universalism. While few will come out and baldly state that no one is damned to Hell, the door is left open to that conclusion by writers such as Hans Urs von Balthasar in his book Dare We Hope "That All Men Be Saved"?

It is true that universalism, the belief that all will be saved, has had a deleterious effect on the faith of many Christians, Catholic and non-Catholic. But since the “pernicious” error of universalism is normally rooted in the belief of the non-existence of hell, the non-existence of the Devil, and various other forms of theological and moral relevatism, I’m afraid it is mixing apples and oranges to say that the “door is left open” by the thesis advanced by Fr. von Balthasar in his book. First of all, von Balthasar presents the idea universal salvation as a hope that, in ways known to God alone, all somehow respond to his grace and repent before or at death, as opposed to a doctrine based upon a denial of judgment. Despite the arguments David presents in the article, it is NOT binding on the Catholic conscience that it is certain that there are in fact human souls in Hell. Of course, the prevailing theological opinion through the ages is that many, even most suffer eternal damnation. The overwhelming consensus of the Fathers, both East and West hold this view, but not all. Exceptions include St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Clement of Alexandria, and St. Gregory Nazienzen. But this is only a matter of theological opinion and not of doctrine and Mr. Palm would do well to not confuse the two. The fact of the matter is that whether or not the statements of Jesus in the Gospel are predictive or admonitory remains an open question that the Church has never settled. The popular pre-Vatican II commentary A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (Dom Bernard Orchard Ed. Thomas Nelson Publishers 1953) says the following about Mt. 7:13-14:

The Christian must not follow the majority, 13-14, nor run after every specious teacher, 15-20, nor be content with mere professions of loyalty or even the grace of miracle-working, 21-23. He must do the will of the Father as declared by the Son, otherwise his efforts are wasted, 24-27. (Lk13:23 f.) Our Lord does not minimize the difficulty of the Christian way of life, but laments the fewness of those who in fact follow it. He uses images familiar to Jewish teachers (SB 1, 461 ff.). The ‘ city gate ‘, or possibly ‘ defile ‘ through which we enter upon the way is as narrow as the path is narrow (‘ strait ‘) to which it leads. That there are few who walk this way is a fact of experience. It does not follow that only these reach the goal—who can calculate the mercy of God? Our Lord does not intend to define the number of the ‘ elect ‘—a question which he refuses to answer in Lk. 13:23 f.(pg.865 Emphasis Added)

David claims that “several magisterial texts leave no room for a Hell empty of human souls.” He cites two instances to substantiate his claim. The first of which is the following from the pope St. Pius X encyclical On Teaching Christian Doctrine Acerbo Nimis :

"And so Our Predecessor, Benedict XIV, had just cause to write: 'We declare that a great number of those who are condemned to eternal punishment suffer that everlasting calamity because of ignorance of those mysteries of faith which must be known and believed in order to be numbered among the elect'" [#2]

Superficially, this quote seems to make the case for the claim that the Church has authoritatively taught that we know for certain that there are human souls in Hell. But in actuality it doesn’t for two reasons. First is that since the encyclical cited above deals with the issue of general catechesis and not eschatology or soteriology, such a statement should be understood as admonitory and not authoritatively predictive. Secondly, if we are to understand this statement in the manner with which David thinks it should be understood, we would also have to say that the Church authoritatively teaches that we know for certain the particular reason that such souls are damned, thus rendering Mr. Palm’s case based on the above citation untenable.

He then cites #633 of the New Catechism as another proof positive to make his case. But if he is correct here, the Catechism is a veritable self-contradiction on this point because it teaches elsewhere that “In hope, the Church prays for ‘all men to be saved’ (1 Timothy 2:4)” (CCC §1821), and “The Church prays that no one should be lost” (CCC §1058). Ergo, if the Church can, “[i]n hope,” pray that “ all men to be saved,” she can allow for the belief of universal salvation as a possibility, however remote that possibility may be in reality.

No polemic against the hope that all will be saved would be complete without a pot shot at the Holy Father’s remarks given in a general audience on July 28, 1999. Here, Mr. Palm does not disappoint:

One finds, unfortunately, that support for this new-fangled notion may be found at the very top of the Church's hierarchy. In a general audience of July 28, 1999, the Holy Father stunned many faithful Catholics when he stated that: "Eternal damnation remains a real possibility, but we are not granted, without special divine revelation, the knowledge of whether or which human beings are effectively involved in it" (emphasis mine ).

The statements of the Holy Father’s general audience are not in the least problematic, even if what he actually said included the “whether or” part, which, according the official Italian translation of the general audience, does not, a point David concedes:
This appears in the official version of the Pope's talks, Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, but without the doctrinally difficult wording "whether" (se e in Italian).

But then qualifies his admission this way:

Presumably someone in the Vatican noticed that the words, as they were actually spoken, were problematic and intervened to make sure the official version conforms unambiguously to Church teaching. Still, it is the publicly spoken version that has received so much attention. Thus the Holy Father's spoken words appear to deny that the sources of public revelation (i.e., Scripture and Tradition) are sufficient to tell us whether any human souls at all are damned.

Mr. Palm offers no proof to the assertion that it was not the Italian version of the text that were the actually spoken words of the Holy Father, as opposed to the English version that got so much attention. Since it is he that is making the claim, the onus is on him to offer such proof. He is also, again without any evidence, leveling a serious charge (albeit under the thin veil of presumption) against Vatican officials of doctoring the pope’s words in some sort of cover-up . Since, as I pointed out above, that even if the pope’s statement actually included the words “whether or” there would be no need for such cover-up because they are not doctrinally problematic in the first place. Besides, anybody, be they supporter or detractor, knows well that John Paul II is man enough to take responsibility for whatever he says and doesn’t need his lieutenants doing his dirty work for him.

As one would suspect, this “creeping universalism,” as David is wont to call it, is not without “troubling practical results” in his view. The first of which is that he claims that it dampens missionary zeal:

“The driving motive behind all the great missionary efforts in the history of the Catholic Church has been the understanding that, without Christ and His Church, human beings are in varying degrees in a disadvantageous situation regarding their salvation. The imperative to go and preach the Gospel, even in the face of torture and death, has been driven by the conviction that multitudes are in danger of eternal damnation if they are not reached. But if everybody will be saved or if Catholics may entertain true doubts whether anybody at all will end up in Hell, then a key motivation for missionary work and Catholic evangelism is subverted.”

This argument suffers from at least two flaws. The first of which is that an equally strong, if not stronger, argument could be made that a hope that all men be saved, ala von Balthasar, would greater stimulate missionary activity. In any human endeavor, the greater prospects, or hope, of success, the greater the motivation to embark on such an adventure and face the risks involved. And likewise, the lesser chances for success, the lesser the motivation. This is a fundamental truth of human nature and the laws of human nature become MORE, not LESS applicable when it comes to any religious endeavor such as missionary activity and evangelization in general. Secondly, if we are to follow David’s logic here, we would have to say that the belief that one can be saved outside of full communion with the Church if he is invincibly ignorant of his obligation in regards to that fact (a belief which David seems to hold BTW), something Pope Blessed Pius IX taught in at least two instances, likewise subverts motivation for missionary work and Catholic evangelization. After all, why expend the effort in the face of grave risks to evangelize any given culture when it would be easier to just leave them invincibly ignorant which will thus save them anyway?

The fact of the matter is that the “hope that all men be saved” ala Fr. von Balthasar and CCC §1058 and 1821 no more undermines a healthy fear of damnation and hence does not impede missionary drive anymore than the belief that invincible ignorance saves because it does not deny the reality of mortal sin and its eternal consequences ( as dogmatically taught by Ecumenical Councils Lyons I, 1245; Lyons II, 1274; and Florence, 1439 and Pope Benedict XII’s bull Benedictus Deus 1336) and the possibility, if not the likelihood, that some indeed many, if not most, will be lost.

David then blames Balthasar’s thesis for much of the collapses of ecclesiastical discipline:

Agnosticism about the reality of human damnation also stands in large measure behind the collapse of ecclesiastical discipline that plagues the Catholic Church. If a shepherd in the Church truly believed that the souls under his care are in jeopardy of hellfire on account of heresy, sacrilege, and mortal sin (as is taught by innumerable Fathers, Doctors, and popes) then he would act decisively to suppress these things and punish the individuals responsible for spreading them, even to the point of excluding them from the body of the Church. This is what the entire tradition of the Church (and even her present canon law [see canon 915]) tells him to do.

Whether or not “[a]gnosticism about the reality of human damnation” contributes in large part behind the failure of many of the world’s bishops to exercise discipline in their dioceses, blame cannot be attributed to von Balthasar’s thesis. Since, as I pointed out above, Fr. von Balthasar’s thesis does not contradict any element of Catholic doctrine concerning eschatology or soteriology, Mr. Palm’s assertion here is absurd.

To make absurdity even....well....more absurd, he levels the same charge at John Paul II:

Could it be that our Holy Father does not exercise his disciplinary authority because he is not convinced that we can know whether there is anyone in Hell? Is it not possible that certain theological conclusions and practical outcomes logically go hand in glove?

This comment shows that Mr. Palm does a very selective, and may I add, a very bad, job of reading what the Pope actually said in that audience:

Christian faith teaches that in taking the risk of saying “yes” or “no,” which marks the (human) creature’s freedom, some have already said no. They are the spiritual creatures that rebelled against God’s love and are called demons (cf. Fourth Lateran Council). What happened to them is a warning to us: it is a continuous call to avoid the tragedy which leads to sin and to conform our life to that of Jesus who lived his life with a “yes” to God. (Emphasis added)

Contrary to whatever David Palm may want the reader to think, the Holy Father does not take the possibility, if not the probability, of human damnation lightly, as the above statement makes very clear. He makes this clear to bishops in conjunction with their grave responsibility to teach and defend the faith every time they go Rome for their ad limina visits. According to moral theologian and former advisor to the late Cardinal O’Conner of New York, Msgr. William Smith claims that during one such ad limina visit in 1983, the bishop from Rockville Center, New York remarked to the pope that “there is so much invincible ignorance around about matters divine and that invincible ignorance would save people’s souls and help them to heaven.” To which the Holy Father responded, “That is true. There is much invincible ignorance. And because of invincible ignorance about the teaching of the Church certainly these people will not go to hell. But the bishops and priests responsible for this invincible ignorance will certainly go to hell.”

So, we have to look elsewhere for the reasons as to why the Holy Father seems reluctant to “ crack the whip, “ so to speak in terms of taking action against some of the dissent in the Church.

Before people jump on this “John Paul II needs to crackdown more” bandwagon, they need to remember that the purpose of any punishment is medicinal, and if there is good reason to believe that any course of action as a punitive measure will not achieve that aim or cause a backlash worse than the original problem, they should not, indeed must not, take such an action, as the principle of proportionality would dictate.Understanding this will go a long way in understanding why John Paul II is not more heavy-handed in exercising his disciplinary authority. The Holy Father believes with good reason that a more heavy-handed approach will cause a large-scale schism in the West. If you strike the Shepard, you scatter the sheep. And as history as shown, schism has not only removed the chaff, but also the wheat from the Church as well (cf. Matt. 13:25-29 and Leo XIII Satis Cognitum #10). Thus by depriving such people of the benefits that visible communion provides (i.e. sacraments etc.), it is harder for the pope to reach such souls with the well-articulated orthodox teaching contained in his encyclicals and apostolic letters, etc.

Of course, the pope’s strategy here is not above prudential criticism. Prudential decisions, such as these are, are not without risks regardless of what course of action is taken. There is no absolutely certain safe course here. And valid arguments, crafted with great force, can be brought forth to dispute John Paul II’s strategy here. Some, such as Dr. James Hitchcock and others, have taken issue, in varying degrees, with the Pope’s posture toward dissenters and the bishops who seem to make no effort to deal forcefully with them. But to say, as Mr. Palm does under the guise of a question, that that the John Paul II’s actions are influenced by confusion over the demographics of the Netherworld is irresponsible and unworthy of any serious consideration.


:: Greg Mockeridge 6:12 PM [+] | ::

:: Tuesday, October 26, 2004 ::
The Aggiornamento (Via Ressourcement) of The Lidless Eye Inquisition

This is the first update of this weblog since January 7, 2004. But without further ado, let us get to it.

First of all, it is unfortunate to note the lapse of Mario Derksen from schism into heresy in the new year. Though I long predicted this would occur (as had Pete Vere), the actual event transpiring meant that any adjustments to the links where he is the subject be under a new heading. The new heading for all Mario Derksen links (and to which all past Mario related links previously under the Novus Ordo Watch classification have been reclassified) is Heretical Pseudo "Traditionalist" Apostolates. The new links added which pertain to him are these:

Mario Derksen's Errors on Man (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]

Mario Derksen's Sedevacantism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]

More on Mario's Sedevacantism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]

Another Response to Mario's Sedevacantism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]

Response to Mario --Part I (Kevin Byrne) [>>>]

Response to Mario --Part II (Kevin Byrne) [>>>]

Mario's Sedevacantism and His Conscience (Pete Vere) [>>>]

Points to Ponder -I. Shawn McElhinney's Discussion List Comments on the "Karol Wojtyla is the Pope" Subject (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

In the SSPX category, the following link was added:

Civil War Breaks Out in the SSPX's French District (Pete Vere) [>>>]

The new links under the main heading Controverted Apostolates and the subheading Kevin Tierney and His Apostolate are as follows:

Miscellaneous Musings (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

"Responsum ad Tiernum" Dept. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

Discussing the Liturgy and Various Contrastings With Kevin Tierney (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

"Responsum ad Tiernum" Dept. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

Kevin’s Calumny (Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]

The new links under the main heading Controverted Apostolates and the subheading Jacob Michael's "Lumen Gentleman" Apostolate are as follows:

Into the Darkness of Sensationalism and Disobedience Via Jacob’s Ladder (Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]

Refuting the “He’s Not Disobedient. He's Just Stupid.” Defense (Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]

On "Premature Demands" - A Belated Response to Jacob Michael (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

"Not the Truth, Not the Whole Truth, And Anything But the Truth" Dept. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

Finally, the ever-growing category titled Controverted Subjects/People in General -where essentially anything that does not fit neatly into the other categories in the side margin goes- now has these additions:

Responsum ad Hibernius (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

Miscellaneous Material (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]

On Liturgical Dance (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]

On Humanism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]

On Humanism and Vatican II (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]

John Paul II and Universalism (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]

On Scruples (Gregory Rossi) [>>>]

On Tony Blair and Receiving Communion (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

Confuting Radical Pseudo-'Traditionalist' Nonsense --Part I (Mark Bonocore) [>>>]

Confuting Radical Pseudo-'Traditionalist' Nonsense --Part II (Mark Bonocore/I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

"Wast-ing A-way A-gain in Se-de-vac-ant-a-ville" Dept. (Mark Bonocore/I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

On the McElhinney Media Dictum (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

Tomorrow Christendom (Pete Vere) [>>>]

Correcting a Common Misperception of This Weblog (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

Response to a Guimaraes Article (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]

A Response to Fr. Nitoglia (Apolonio Latar) [>>>]

More on "Tomorrow Christendom" (Dom Calvet/Pete Vere) [>>>]

Surprised by Canon Law (Pete Vere) [>>>]

Briefly on Michael Davies' Passing (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

On Redemptionis Sacramentum and Canonical Implications for Ecclesia Dei (Pete Vere) [>>>]

Notification of Assisi Essay, Etc. (I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

Nonetheless, by virtue of my authority as Sovereign Thane and Lord High Executioner of The Lidless Eye Inquisition, I declare that all of the links above -added to the margin by virtue of this motu proprio- are promulgated in perpetuity all things to the contrary notwithstanding.

:: Shawn 6:22 PM [+] | ::

:: Saturday, October 23, 2004 ::
Weblog Update and Subject Notification:

As Mr. David Palm recently begin posting threads on Assisi and interfaith to John Pacheco's message board, I weighed in at the board back on October 9, 2004 to remind Mr. Palm of my essay response to him on novelty which dealt in some detail with the Assisi circumstances. After he basically waffled in responding to my post (and likewise in a series of posts with James M. Scott IV) I decided to write a more holistic response to various points he raised.{1} Noted in that response was a link to a recently compiled extraction essay on the subject of Assisi.{2} The reason for the latter is to discuss that subject by itself apart from the other threads in my essay response to Mr. Palm.

As thus far Mr. Palm has not deigned to respond to that post,{3} I have decided to make note of it here and also an entry posted to that weblog earlier today to direct attention to Mr. Palm's neglect in responding. As far as the Assisi piece goes, I have added it to the side margin of links here in perpetuity all things to the contrary notwithstanding. Hopefully it will provide some assistance for those of good will who have practiced reverent silence on the matter (even if they have had their struggles with the intricacies of this subject matter).

[Update: I made an adjustment to the post On the Passing of Michael Davies a few minutes ago. - ISM 10/23/04 5:14 pm]


{1} Where I was able to note a serious problem with a lot of the presuppositions behind the kinds of arguments common to those who call themselves "traditionalists."

{2} The Assisi Interfaith Gathering and Catholic Principles

{3} Eleven Days Later and Still Awaiting...

:: Shawn 4:42 PM [+] | ::

:: Saturday, October 09, 2004 ::
A few years' ago, my friend Shawn Tribe and I broke with the rest of the traditionalist movement when we essentially endorsed Adoremus while remaining firmly committed to the Ecclesia Dei indult. To recap, most traditionalists were wary of Adoremus and its proposed Reform-of-the-Reform when it came to the liturgy. Shawn and I took a different position. We felt enough common ground existed between Ecclesia Dei traditionalists and Adoremus to work together. This led to an invitation from Fr. Peter Stravinskas, one of Adoremus' founders, to present our thoughts on this issue.

I don't regret having written this piece, however, I am concerned with the following piece that appears in the latest Adoremus Bulletin in which Susan Benofy takes issue with various reactions to Redemptionis Sacramentum. RS is the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments' (CDWDS) most recent instruction on abuses to the liturgy.

Although I'm not familiar with all the reactions to RS with which Benofy takes issue, there is one with which I am very familiar. It is Dr. John Huels's "Canonical Observations on Redemptionis Sacramentum" that appears in the September issue of Worship. In this piece, Dr. Huels assesses the canonical weight canonists and liturgists ought to give RS. He basically concludes, as would most canonists and liturgists, that RS is an act of executive power originating from the CDWDS and therefore, it takes precedence over other jurisprudence that has executive or no canonical weight, but not liturgical law which enjoys legislative weight.

This is a fair and accurate conclusion, in my opinion, but one which Benofy either misunderstands, or deliberately distorts into the following strawman. For reasons of Christian charity, I will simply assume the former:

Bottom line? In Huels's opinion, "the head of a diocesan liturgy office" trumps the Holy See in "executive power". A bishop may establish policies and issue decrees "even if contrary to a provision" of the Holy See's explicit instruction to the contrary. And a bishop may freely "delegate" his power to a member of his chancery staff. Liturgists are free to continue their own policies, even when they conflict with RS, according to Huels.

This is not Dr. Huels' opinion if one reads the full text and context of his commentary. Huels merely points out the types of documents RS would supercede, along with the types RS would not. An example Dr. Huels provides of the former is Built of Living Stones--a document that has been the basis for the wreckovation of many parishes formerly known for their traditional art and architecture. Because Built of Living Groans never received the recognitio of the Holy See, Huels rightly points out that RS basically renders it a dead document. I agree with Dr. Huels. In fact, my own reaction is "Good ridance!" But given the overall tone in Benofy's piece, I cannot help but wonder whether Adoremus objects to the passing of Built of Living Groans because Huels signed the coroner's report. The reason being that the opening paragraphs of Benofy's article come across more as a hit piece against Huels than a defence of RS.

This brings leads me to something else I find troubling in Benofy's article. She makes use of the aforementioned strawman -- whether intentional on her part or not -- a couple of paragraphs after her ad hominem description of Dr. Huels as "a canon lawyer who left the Servite order after his sexual abuse of a former student (a member of the US bishops' Review Board) was revealed."

For the record, I don't condone Dr. Huels' actions that led to his leaving the Servite Order. Neither does he. He readily confessed when first confronted; he is sincerely contrite over the pain his actions caused; and he has spent the past fifteen years attoning for what should never have happened. Nevertheless, these actions have nothing to do with his conclusions as a canonist or a liturgist in the Worship piece.

This might seem like a cop-out to some readers, but I can point to about a half-dozen traditionalist priests (a few whom I personally defended during canonical proceedings) and an even greater number of conservative priests who confessed to a similar single allegation in their distant past. Their actions were gravely wrong. Period. Nevertheless, one can hardly conclude from their actions that Latin ought to be banned in the Liturgy.

Similarly, like most Catholic traditionalists, I opposed the Iraqi War. I agree with Archbishop Burke that when it comes to the exercise of one's Catholic conscience in the voting booth, bringing an end to abortion and preserving the traditional definition of marriage take precedence over one's opposition to the Iraqi War and capital punishment. But I still oppose the war in Iraq and, except in the most rare cases, capital punishment. Yet I oppose the Iraqi War because it does not fulfill the five criteria outlined by the Church's traditional teaching over what constitutes a Just War. I do not oppose the War in Iraq because some unsavory details have come to light about Deal Hudson's past--Deal having been the leading Catholic proponent of the war.

Nor does my friendship with Dr. Huels enter into the picture. Yes, the two of us are friends. Yes, he influenced me as a canonist. He also gave me the professional confidence of my liturgical convictions by urging me to take a more forceful stand in promoting the Ecclesia Dei indult among fellow canonists. Nevertheless, we often disagree over liturgical law and what constitutes good liturgical practice. This past week alone we have disagreed over communion in the hand, how communion should best be distributed under both species (I agree with Fr. Peter Stravinskas concerning this point), and how to properly interpret some obscure liturgical document.

So with these little details out of the way, allow me to state what most concerns me about Benofy's piece. Basically, whether intentionally or unintentionally on her part, she implies that RS should have what I as a canonist can only describe as a universal legislative weight. If I understand Benofy correctly, she feels RS should trump particular law, local custom, and basicaly any other liturgical jurisprudence pertaining to the Roman Rite. Any practice not in accordance with, or contrary to, RS should be suppressed. For as RS itself states in its 3rd norm:

[3.] The norms contained in the present Instruction are to be understood as pertaining to liturgical matters in the Roman Rite, and, mutatis mutandis, in the other Rites of the Latin Church that are duly acknowledged by law.

This may sound good at first, especially when you consider many of the liturgical abuses that arose over the past thirty years -- not to mention the abuse to sacred art and architecture brought about by Built of Living Stones. Nevertheless, I attend a full-fledged traditionalist parish that operates in accordance with the Ecclesia Dei indult. Basically, this involves the Holy Father, through his legislative act Ecclesia Dei adflicta, relaxing the universal liturgical law (that is, the liturgical law that binds the entire Latin Church). Instead of following the universal liturgical law, the church where I attend Mass is governed by a law particular to the Ecclesia Dei movement. Our particular liturgical law is expressly legislated by the Holy Father his motu proprio Ecclesia Dei adflicta, namely, that we make use of the liturgical books in force in 1962. What is not expressly stated in any act of legislation, but is implicitly understood by the Church's legislators (Pope John Paul II and the bishops in communion with him) as well as the traditionalist faithful, is that we also follow the liturgical customs that accompany the 1962 liturgical books.

Many of these liturgical laws and customs particular to the Ecclesia Dei movement contradict the norms contained in RS. Here's a brief sampling:

[54.] The people, however, are always involved actively and never merely passively: for they "silently join themselves with the Priest in faith, as well as in their interventions during the course of the Eucharistic Prayer as prescribed, namely in the responses in the Preface dialogue, the Sanctus, the acclamation after the consecration and the "Amen" after the final doxology, and in other acclamations approved by the Conference of Bishops with the recognitio of the Holy See".

While I personally prefer the dialogue Mass, other traditionalist Ecclesia Dei communities prefer a low Mass where only the servers respond. A strict implementation of RS would bring this low Mass practice to an end and impose the dialogue Mass on every Ecclesia Dei traditionalist community.

[71.] The practice of the Roman Rite is to be maintained according to which the peace is extended shortly before Holy Communion. For according to the tradition of the Roman Rite, this practice does not have the connotation either of reconciliation or of a remission of sins, but instead signifies peace, communion and charity before the reception of the Most Holy Eucharist.151 It is rather the Penitential Act to be carried out at the beginning of Mass (especially in its first form) which has the character of reconciliation among brothers and sisters.

[72.] It is appropriate "that each one give the sign of peace only to those who are nearest and in a sober manner". "The Priest may give the sign of peace to the ministers but always remains within the sanctuary, so as not to disturb the celebration. He does likewise if for a just reason he wishes to extend the sign of peace to some few of the faithful". "As regards the sign to be exchanged, the manner is to be established by the Conference of Bishops in accordance with the dispositions and customs of the people", and their acts are subject to the recognitio of the Apostolic See.152

Within the 1962 liturgy, the sign of peace is reserved to the clergy. Thus "each one" does not give the sign of peace.

[89.] "So that even by means of the signs Communion may stand out more clearly as a participation in the Sacrifice being celebrated",174 it is preferable that the faithful be able to receive hosts consecrated in the same Mass.175

If I'm not mistaken, the USCCB has now ruled that standing is the normative posture for receiving Holy Communion in the United States of America. Following the custom in use in 1962, however, traditionalists still kneel for Holy Communion.

[96.] The practice is reprobated whereby either unconsecrated hosts or other edible or inedible things are distributed during the celebration of Holy Mass or beforehand after the manner of Communion, contrary to the prescriptions of the liturgical books. For such a practice in no way accords with the tradition of the Roman Rite, and carries with it the danger of causing confusion among Christ's faithful concerning the Eucharistic doctrine of the Church. Where there exists in certain places by concession a particular custom of blessing bread after Mass for distribution, proper catechesis should very carefully be given concerning this action. In fact, no other similar practices should be introduced, nor should unconsecrated hosts ever be used for this purpose.

Prior to the Second Vatican Council, it was a custom on the Feast of the Epiphany in many Quebec and French-Canadian parishes to distribute candy to children during Mass. Many French traditionalist parishes have restored or continued this custom. Yet RS expressly reprobates it.

[100.] So that the fullness of the sign may be made more clearly evident to the faithful in the course of the Eucharistic banquet, lay members of Christ's faithful, too, are admitted to Communion under both kinds, in the cases set forth in the liturgical books, preceded and continually accompanied by proper catechesis regarding the dogmatic principles on this matter laid down by the Ecumenical Council of Trent.186

Unless you happen to be the King of France, the custom in traditionalist parishes is for laity to receive Holy Communion under the species of Bread alone.

I could keep going, but you get the point. A number of liturgical practices and customs particular to Ecclesia Dei chapels contradict the norms contained in RS. If Dr. Huels is correct in his understanding of the canonical weight with which to interpret RS, then we traditionalists can continue to worship in peace. As an act of the CDWDS's executive power, RS does not take precedence over papal legislation granting us an indult to make use of the 1962 liturgical books. Nor does RS take precedence over the customs particular to Ecclesia Dei communities. Our right to continue the use of these customs, while not expressely stated in legislation, is implicitly recognized by those who possess legislative power--namely, the Holy Father and the diocesan bishops who grant the indult for their dioceses.

On the other hand, if RS carries the weight that Benofy implies in the Adoremus Bulletin, then the only logical conclusion is that most Ecclesia Dei traditionalist chapels are guilty of perpetuating several liturgical abuses. This is not an acceptable conclusion, even when the liturgist belongs to Adoremus or some other conservative liturgical organization.

:: Pete Vere 10:55 PM [+] | ::


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