Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Response to Summorum Pontificum and the Road to Schism

My previous post elicited the following comment and I want to respond to it, not in the comments section, but as a posting of its own because the questioner raises some important points that I had intended to expand on as a follow-up to the posting “Summorum Pontificum and the Road to Schism.”  The correspondent writes:
Weren't these people around pre-SP anyway? Is the objection that they are now able to have TLM more freely and openly rather than going to the SSPX or being hidden away in a side-chapel once a month at 4pm on a Sunday? If one was to substitute "Orthodox" for traditionalist, and "Byzantine rite" for TLM in this kind of analysis, wouldn't one be inclined to note that the "authority structures" in the Church were being used in a way inimical to ecumenism... that the tendency to see schism purely as the other side's lack of submission to a particular council betrayed an authoritarian totalitarianism? And that this attitude might be part of the problem?
Yes, right from the time that the liturgical changes began to be introduced in Lent of 1964 there were some priests who at first ignored them—keeping to the 1962 Missal—and then began a somewhat organized resistance to them.  Prominent among those who refused the changes was Father Gommar de Pauw, a Belgian born priest who was a professor and later Dean at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmetsburg Maryland.  Father De Pauw was named a Monsignor by Paul VI, but when the liturgical changes began, Monsignor DePauw founded the Catholic Traditionalist Movement and in 1968 established a Catholic Chapel, the Ave Maria Chapel, independent of any Episcopal authority in Westbury Long Island.  While Father DePauw and his followers rejected the Liturgical changes of the Second Vatican Council there efforts were directed beyond the liturgy; according to the website of the “Catholic Traditionalist Movement” they “worked to reverse the edicts of the 1962 - 1965 Vatican II.”   Father DePauw had made it very clear that he was opposed to the entire conciliar agenda despite the fact that he had served as one of the theological consultants to the Council.  In that role he was an aide to Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, the arch-opponent of any and all of the doctrinal developments that came out of the Council and in particular an opponent of ecumenism and religious freedom. 
In some ways, DePauw’s resistance to the liturgical changes that followed the Council “jumped the gun” as the 1962 Missal remained in force—albeit with various modifications permitted—until the issuance of the 1970 Missal and the Novus Ordo Missae. While DePauw resisted from the get-go, others—and most notably Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the former Archbishop of Dakar in Africa and former Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers, (the Spiritans)—simply used the 1962 Rite without availing themselves of the proposed changes.  The 1970 promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae mandating of the New Missal as the exclusive manual for the liturgy made that clinging to the 1962 Missal impossible as, contrary to various stories to the contrary, the use of the old Rite was then proscribed.  In 1971 Archbishop Lefebvre opened a seminary for those who wished to follow more Traditional liturgy and theology.  He initially had permission of the local bishop-a requirement to run a seminary—but when this permission was withdrawn in 1975, he continued to run the seminary as an institution independent of Church authority. (Lefebvre was an Archbishop, but having no See—he was retired—he also had not authority.)  In 1976 Lefebvre ordained priests without the permission of the local bishop and was,  suspended a divinis, the usual punishment for this action.   He ignored the suspension and continued to function as a priest and as a bishop.  Certainly from this time, Archbishop Lefebvre can be seen to be in schism.  In 1988 he ordained four bishops without the required papal bulls, an act which brings an automatic excommunication.  The Congregation of Bishops in Rome declared this to be a formal act of schism.   Though the excommunication of Archbishop Lefebvre was posthumously lifted, as were the excommunications of the bishops whom he ordained, according to Rome’s decrees they remain in schism and to this day Catholics may not receive the Sacraments from priests of Lefebvre’s movement except in danger of death. 
Lefebvre’s schism has itself had several schisms and we have talked about them in previous postings.  Most notable among them are the movements led by Bishops Daniel Dolan, Donald Sanborn, and Clarence Kelly.  The various churches and chapels associated with these prelates offer only the pre-conciliar rites and are all in schism from the Catholic Church.  You will find in these chapels and churches that not only is the liturgy the pre-conciliar rite but the catechetical programs teach only what was held prior to the Council and do not incorporate any of the Conciliar decrees into their teaching.  Even in places where the TLM is celebrated in accordance with Church policy, one rarely finds the catechetical instruction to reflect the teachings of the Council. 
While the 1970 Missal was imposed on the entire Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, Paul VI granted several indults to individual priests or parishes to celebrate the pre-conciliar liturgy.  The former Jesuit, the late Malachi Martin, claimed to have one such indult.  At the request of a group of English and Welsh intellectuals and writers, Paul VI gave the Bishops of England and Wales permission to permit an occasional celebration of the usus antiquior (the older rite) of the Mass.  This was not meant to permit the use of the rite on a regular basis and it is often called the “Agatha Christie Indult” because it was when he saw the name of the famous author of murder mysteries (which the Pope enjoyed tremendously) among the petitioners, that Pope Paul approved the petition.  Ironically Ms. Christie, like many others who signed the petition, was a Protestant and their interests were purely aesthetic and antiquarian.  Very few of these indults were granted, and none for regular celebration of the pre-Conciliar Rite.  The fact that an indult was required—and an indult to be granted by the Pope alone—belies the frequently-made claim that that priests had always been permitted to celebrate the rite at their own discretion.
The first step towards a more general use of the older liturgical books came in 1984 with Pope John Paul’s motu proprio, Ecclesia Dei.  Even here, however, the permission was quite restricted as the priest needed the permission of the local bishop, a permission granted rather selectively by most bishops.  It was only with Summorum Pontificum that the individual priest was granted the right to celebrate the usus antiquior at his own discretion.  Even that is somewhat debated as Pope Benedict wrote the bishops that their prerogative in assuring that the pastoral needs of the faithful were not compromised, that is that the bishop, to fulfill the pastoral need of the faithful, could instruct a priest as to which rite he may use.  There are still occasional conflicts between local ordinaries who want the clergy to celebrate the Novus Ordo in their parishes and individual priests who assert their personal ritght to celebrate according to the 1962 Missal.  One of the criticisms of Jorge Bergoglio when he was elected as Pope Francis is that during his tenure as Archbishop of Buenos Aires there was no TLM in his Archdiocese.  Pope Francis has shown himself notably disinterested in the TLM but no priest from Buenos Aires has come forward with the claim that he was prohibited from celebrating in the old rite.  Archbishop Bergoglio certainly did not encourage the TLM but neither can it be shown—at least from any evidence that I have seen—that he blocked its use.  Colleagues of mine in Argentina and other South American Countries have said that there is not the same interest in reviving the pre-conciliar rites that we have in North America. 
So to respond to your first question, yes there were those who attended the TLM before Summorum Pontificum, but except in rare cases to attend the TLM before the 1984 Ecclesia Dei,  one would have had to resort to groups who were in formal schism.  Today Catholics can attend the TLM in Churches that are in full communion with the Holy See.  But the question remains: in those churches are they professing and practicing the same faith as in churches that follow the Novus Ordo?  Are the Church’s teachings and practices as set forth in the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican being faithful presented to the faithful and are those teachings being put into practice? Have Catholics who attend these churches and chapels been instructed in the decrees Nostra Aetate, Unitatis Reintegratio, Dignitas Humanae, Dei Verbum, etc.  and do they submit to these teachings?  Do Catholics who attend these chapels and churches recognize the validity of the Sacraments as administered in the contemporary Roman Rite?  Do they give assent to the ordinary magisterium as it has been presented in the Encyclicals of the last six Popes?  Very frankly, my contacts with many (not all) “traditionalist” Catholics show that they are for the greater part ignorant of the teachings of the Council and do not agree with them when those teachings are explained even by such moderate voices as Father Robert Barron. 
As for how “schism” is used polemically, I agree with you that this term is bandied about on both the right and the left as a threat by those who disagree with what those on the opposite end of the spectrum are proposing as authentic Catholicism.  But that is not how I am using it.  I am using the term schism as a rejection of the authority of the sitting Pope.  I would say that those who formally rejected the authority of Pope Benedict found themselves in schism.  Those individuals or groups, for example, who supported the various ordinations or episcopal ordinations of women priests or bishops or attended liturgies presided over by illicitly ordained (we will pass over the issued of validity at this point, illicit is sufficient for schism) priests or bishops are in the same sort of schismatic raft as those who participate in the liturgies of Archbishops Lefebvre’s SSPX.  In the same way those who participate in the liturgies of various independent Catholic chapels—even though their clergy are validly ordained—are in schism.  I would think that the Benedictine Women of Holy Wisdom Monastery in Madison WS, once a formal congregation of Roman Catholic religious, have crossed the line into schism.  I think the various independent groups that identify themselves as part of the “Old Catholic Church” are in formal schism.   
The shoe is on the other foot nowadays, however, with Pope Francis.   There are many among the neo-traditionalists who seriously question his teaching, his policies, and his decisions.  That alone doesn’t put them into schism but if he comes out with teachings in the ordinary magisterium (encyclicals) which they publicly reject, that would be a different issue.  If the 2015 Synod does not work out to their satisfaction and they refuse to accept the Pope’s ratification of the synod documents, that could be another issue.  If they start—and this is the more likely scenario—rejecting the authority of the local bishops who support Pope Francis, that too could be another issue.  I don’t think it is far fetched that individual groups, and not all necessarily followers of the TLM, with their priests will begin to turn against Pope Francis and publicly reject his leadership.  That would place them in schism.
Moreover, and a second reading of your question makes this further point pertinent, a refusal to accept the teachings of an Ecumenical Council also places one in schism.  One can certainly disagree with a Conciliar teaching just as one can disagree with a papal statement without finding oneself in schism, but any sort of public or formal rejection of a Council would place one outside the Communion of the Church.  The teachings of the Councils, just like papal teachings, are not optional.  Indeed the teachings of a Council would be even more obligatory that the ordinary papal magisterium as Conciliar decrees are historically considered, like infallible papal pronouncements, to be part of the extraordinary magisterium.  Of course one is only bound to a Conciliar teaching to the extent and in the sense that the Church teaches it but acceptance of the Decrees of the Second Vatican Council are not optional.  Pope Benedict made this very clear in his dealings with the SSPX and it continues to be the main block to their return to the Unity of the Church.  

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