Hyperbolic Traditionalists

September 1, 2013 | 231 comments

After Catholic Answers Live aired, on August 12, its second two-hour program devoted to “radical Traditionalism,” a priest from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a religious society that celebrates Mass exclusively in the Extraordinary Form, wrote to us:

“Thank you for your fidelity in addressing this issue despite false accusations from some of ‘attacking’ traditional Catholicism. I thought your distinctions were clear between ‘radical Traditionalists’ and those in full communion with the Church.”

This priest had no problem understanding the program, which, like a May 31 program on the same subject, featured Tim Staples and Patrick Coffin. He understood the distinction drawn between fringe groups of “radical Traditionalists” and the much larger body of regular Traditionalists.

The same can’t be said for Michael Matt and Christopher Ferrara. Matt is the editor of, and Ferrara is a writer for, The Remnant, a fortnightly newspaper that some consider to be the chief Traditionalist publication in the U.S. The day after the August 12 program aired, Matt and Ferrara uploaded to the Remnant-TV website a video castigating Catholic Answers.

“The Church is in the state of absolute chaos,” said Ferrara, leaning into the camera, “and here they are wasting radio time.” Wasting radio time? Ferrara didn't mention that out of 1,600 airtime hours broadcast by Catholic Answers Live since the show’s debut, only these four hours have been devoted to the topic of radical Traditionalism: that’s one quarter of one percent. Is that too much for an issue about which we get many questions?

We have devoted far more program hours to the New Age movement, but we get far fewer questions about New Age beliefs and practices than we do about radical Traditionalism. Where has Ferrara voiced concern that we are "wasting radio time" on the New Age movement--or on the many other topics that we've devoted more than four airtime hours to?

More problematic than Ferrara’s arithmetic is his language: “The Church is in the state of absolute chaos.” The word “chaos” is hyperbolic; the adjective “absolute” raise the hyperbole to its highest possible degree. The phrase “absolute chaos” suggests that the Church everywhere outside Ferrara’s immediate sphere is as bad off as it possibly can be and is ready to expire.

That may be his view, and it may be Michael Matt’s, but it is not the view held by the large majority of Catholics, whether Traditionalist or non-Traditionalist. Most Catholics acknowledge serious abuses within the Church but also acknowledge extensive good. Judging from their choice of words, Matt and Ferrara seem to see almost nothing good. How could they, if the Church is in "absolute chaos"? (If they do see much good in the Church, then why do they so cavalierly use loaded terms like "absolute chaos"?)

In the video Matt complained that the term “radical Traditionalism” shouldn’t be used at all because it was coined by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a leftwing organization that, despite its name, does nothing to alleviate poverty but delights in discovering “hate groups.” (Matt's implication seemed to be that Catholic Answers is sympathetic to, or even in cahoots with, SPLC--else why mention SPLC at all?)

In 2006 SPLC produced a report on what it called the “Radical Traditionalist Catholic, Anti-Semitic Movement.” A dozen organizations and many individuals were mentioned. Some truly qualified as anti-Semitic; most didn't. One of the organizations listed was The Remnant. Thus Matt’s animus toward the term “radical Traditionalism.” But the term didn’t originate with SPLC. It was in use years before that group used it. A term doesn’t lose its value just because a scurrilous organization uses it in the title of a report.

The fact is that there are radical Traditionalists, people who can be distinguished from run-of-the-mill Traditionalists by their beliefs, actions, and attitudes. The two Catholic Answers Live programs discussed such folks—among them, for example, sedevacantists, those who reject Vatican II, and those who say the vernacular Mass isn't really a Mass at all.

In their video Matt and Ferrara complained about an unnamed blogger who had been cited by Philip Lawler at his own blog. They said the unnamed blogger unfairly characterized Traditionalism. “We don’t reject Vatican II!” said Matt. But then the blogger didn’t claim that Matt and his associates did.

The blogger was Taylor Marshall, and his blog post appeared on July 30. He listed nine attributes that he thought distinguished radical Traditionalists from regular Traditionalists. I don’t agree with everything on his list. He said, for example, that a sign of radical Traditionalism is “the denial of the charismatic gifts and the charismatic movement.” I think this is incorrect. One can find Catholics all across the spectrum who deny not so much the existence of charismatic gifts but the utility or prudence of the charismatic movement.

But Marshall did identify things that commonly are found among radical Traditionalists: “the denial of the Jewish holocaust,” “the outright denial of Vatican II as a valid council,” “disdain for Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis,” and “the belief that Latin Mass Catholics are ‘A Team’ and Novus Ordo Catholics are ‘B Team.’”

Those attributes don’t amount to a definition of radical Traditionalism, but they are useful indicators. The irony in all this was that Marshall was writing about Pope Francis putting a restriction on the celebration of the Latin Mass by the Franciscans of the Immaculate—a Traditionalist group of which Marshall is an associate member! In other words, Marshall is a Traditionalist himself.

Maybe this is why Matt and Ferrara didn't name Marshall, not wanting their viewers to look up his blog and see that they were claiming, loopily, that a Traditionalist was writing against his own position.

Michael Matt’s imprecision in saying that (an unnamed) Taylor Marshall claimed that Traditionalists such as Matt “reject Vatican II” is indicative of the looseness with which he and Ferrara have been writing and speaking about the two Catholic Answers Live programs. (The Remnant ran no fewer than three front-page articles against the programs.) Matt and Ferrara shoehorn their opponents into taking positions that they don't in fact take and into saying things they don't in fact say.

In their video Matt insisted that “the whole Traditionalist position is being attacked by neo-Catholics,” among whom he includes the staff of Catholic Answers. To him and to Ferrara, “neo-Catholics” either are oblivious to the multitudinous ills in the Church or are knowingly complicit in them. They go along to get along, don’t want to upset bishops by complaining about the hierarchy in public, and are cowed into silence out of fear of losing episcopal patronage or protection. They lack the gumption displayed by those associated with The Remnant.

In fact, people labeled “neo-Catholics” are simply orthodox Catholics who don’t share The Remnant’s unrelenting (and often skewed and uncharitable) grousing about the Church and about Catholics who don’t toe that publication’s party line and who don't follow its stylebook. In the minds of The Remnant folks, you can't be a traditional Catholic unless you use their rhetoric, focus on their issues, and share their priorities.

Let me end with a small amusement.

In their video Matt and Ferrara complained about the neologism “radical Traditionalism,” saying that it was misleading and unfair, that it painted with too broad a brush, that it lacked precision. Yet throughout their video they labeled their opponents with the even vaguer (and newer) “neo-Catholics,” a term that Ferrara admits he first popularized in a 2002 book.

 


Karl Keating is founder and president of Catholic Answers, the country’s largest apologetics and evangelization organization. He is the author of five books, including Catholicism and Fundamentalism and What Catholics Really Believe.

Comments by Catholic.com Members

#101  Richard Chonak - Stoneham, Massachusetts

Chesterton's Father Brown told the criminal Flambeau how he recognized him as an imposter priest: "You attacked reason. It's bad theology."

That's a principle of the faith: the faith affirms reason, and whoever rejects reason is contradicting the faith.

It is a sort of superdogma: it rules out countless false doctrines, ancient and modern, on matters that do not seem to touch on religion.

September 3, 2013 at 10:34 pm PST
#102  John Willmington - NA, California

****

September 4, 2013 at 12:17 am PST
#103  John Willmington - NA, California

Mr. Keating,

Chris Ferrara's response is right on target in its entirety. Although your extensive work clarifying Catholic teachings is greatly appreciated (for example, ministering to our Protestant brethren as well as unbelieving seekers,) it would be a benefit to you and CA to let go of your clearly biased opinion regarding the "un-radical Traditionailists" stance (those within the Church). It is obvious, given your trajectory of serving the apologetic needs of our community, that your efforts in defending Novus Ordo novelties are clearly a result of well-intentioned and sincere desire to minister to those seeking truth. Yet, your failure to see the undeniable bias with which your radio commentators addressed the "Radical Traditionalist" topic is inexcusable, given your extensive background in apologetics. It is likewise difficult to understand how a sincere Catholic of your academic stature cannot see the evident "chaos" or "decay" happening within the Church, (referred to by Chris Ferrara) resulting from the unlawful implementation of Vatican II and the skewed application of various, ambiguously- written parts of the documents. While the sincerity of the commentators, (Coffin and Staples) is also not an issue, their misrepresentation of traditional Catholicism can be interpreted as a purposeful attack toward those Catholics who value the undiluted and authentic Catholic teaching, not contaminated by modernist novelties, especially with regards to the liturgical form. Instead of misrepresenting traditionalists who are within the Church, as your commentators did, it would behoove you to appreciate traditionalists' desire for the same "new evangelization" called for by Pope JPII. By zealously misrepresenting them, your crew is the one giving off a "radical" aura. Continuing in this vein will be detrimental to your CA's image as a solid defender of Catholicism since you cannot be considered a true defender if you are simultaneously bashing your traditionalist Catholic brethren. Hopefully you and CA will not be as blind to the responses of all those you have misrepresented and are justifiably offended, as you are evidently blind with regards to the "chaos" or "decay" historically documented as stemming from doctrinal novelties pervading the Church since Vatican II.

September 4, 2013 at 12:18 am PST
#104  Dan Aller - Columbus, Ohio

From my vantage point, all of this talk about Williamson on a Catholic Answers website is humorous because the destruction being done to Traditionalism by a wild card like Williamson is analogous to that which is being done to the apologist industry in America by all your poorly trained convert bloggers.

Both sides would do well to heed the advice of St. Philip Neri:
“Nothing is more dangerous for beginners in the spiritual life, than to wish to play the master, and to guide and convert others.” –
“Beginners should look after their own conversion and be humble, lest they should fancy they had done some great thing, and so should fall into pride.” St Philip Neri

1 Timothy 3:6

Keep these things in mind whenever you hear someone describe themselves (continuously) as a convert and speaking with authority. That applies whether they're a covert to Catholicism or Traditionalism. Pray pray pray

September 4, 2013 at 4:47 am PST
#105  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Chris and Karl:

Apologies for not responding sooner. My wife bought me a new outdoor George Foreman grill as part of an end of summer sale, so I spent part of last evening grilling buffalo steak for the family. Particularly tasty with molasses and brown sugar marinade. But its 200 square inch cooking surface is particularly ideal for a growing trad cath family.

********
Having said that, these comment boxes are getting a little heated. As I stated previously it seems a lot like old time's sake. What the heck! The old cudgel is buried in there somewhere...

Seriously, if the three of us are going to re-kindle and re-visit a twenty year rivalry, I think we owe it to younger trads and others new to the conversation to name the elephant in the room. Rather than give the impression we are sniping at each other for no reason, let us at least identify what has been the catalyst for our oftentimes heated and personal three-way discussions, whether in public or in private, over these past twenty years..

I am talking, of course, about Gerry Matatics and sedevacantism/ sedeprivationism/ (or whatever theory he is pushing today to deny that Pope Francis validly holds papal office).

Yes, this has been a constant sore spot between the three of us for the past twenty years, with Karl on one side, Chris on the other, and me having switched from Chris' side in the early 90's to Karl's around the year 2000 after I felt Gerry tried to lure me closer to a sedeprivationist position while we frequented the same FSSP chapel in PA.

And since Chris may point this out if I don't, no, the scandal for me was not so much that I felt Gerry was moving toward the sede position, or had adopted it, or was arguing it in private. Having studied Gerard des Lauriers's "Cahiers" in which he first proposed the sedeprivationist theory, I never felt that sedevacantism or sedeprivationism were any more extreme that what Fr. Cekada has since dubbed the "Recognize and Resist" position of the SSPX (prior to negotiations with Rome and the lifting of the excommunication). In fact, I am quite open about the fact I consider sedeprivationism to be less of an extreme position. Which is why I was not terribly scandalized (or surprised) when Dr. Tom Drolesky crossed over to sedevacantism. Of course I disagree with him, but I continue to respect him for having done so openly.

No, what upset me most in 2000 is that I felt I had been mislead by Gerry (and some of his supporters) vis-a-vis Karl and allegations of sedevacantism during the early 90's. Has there been any acknowledgment from those of us who attacked Karl over Gerry in the early 90's that Karl may have been right? (Or closer to right than we were willing to admit at the time. Note to Karl - Yes, I am setting aside temporarily our subsequent disagreement over whether Gerry was tilting sedevacantist or sedeprivationist at the time.) Any public acknowledgment since that Gerry has become, as Karl predicted back in the early 90's, some sort of sede?

Yes, I am pissed off about this. Not about Gerry's reported/alleged flirtations with sede'ism at the time, but by what appears to have been a coverup by those "in the know" among the Woodstock generation of trad. And how my generation of trad - at least in English-speaking North America - was left vulnerable to Gerry's subsequent mega tours where he continued to lead people to the edges of sede'ism, raising the theory and asking questions, arguing the position for its own sake, but never actually pushing people over the cliff. (But nor did he try and stop them when they jumped.)

And jump they did. In fact, several promising young traditionalist writers from my generation and Kevin's generation have, after repeated contact with Gerry, embraced some form of sede'ism.

Yes, Chris, you wrote several rebuttals to sedevacantism in the Remnant. But this was only AFTER they jumped. Actually, if I recall correctly, it was only after Gerry finally and unambiguously came out publicly as a sede.

Of course I am somewhat contradicting myself given that I tend not to be as scandalized as predominately English-speaking North American trads when it comes to sedevacantism and sedeprivationism. Rather, what scandalized me is how this whole incident played out between generations of traditionalist activist and writers. Why were we not told the truth? Why were we left to fend for ourselves? Why was Gerry permitted to be to our generation a pied piper of sede'ism?

Granted, Chris, everyone makes mistakes. These were some tough battles to restore Tradition in the Church. No doubt Kevin's generation of trad will point out the faults of my generation, just as mine has pointed out yours. That said, over the past twenty years Karl has admitted that traditionalists were right about a whole bunch of things. Can we not admit he was for the most part right about Gerry's sede leanings? Given all the mud-slinging he took from traditionalists during the initial incident, I can understand why Karl might be annoyed by the lack of acknowledgement he was right.

Or talk to Kevin. His former blog partner, at one time a promising young traditional Catholic writer trained in classical Thomistic philosophy, is now the same type of sede that Gerry is reported to be. Or at least was the last time I dropped by his website.

******
That aside, I agree with Chris that the damage done to the traditionalist cause in general was incalculable when Williamson's foolishness became public. I also suspect, as prophesied by Dom Gerard Calvet in 1988, that Williamson's foolishness likely derailed the full canonical reconciliation of the SSPX desired by Pope Benedict XVI. While I was aware of Chris and Michael Matt's excellent rebuttals in the Remnant of Williamson's foolishness when it became international a few years back, I was not aware that Chris had been warning trads about Williamson for several years before. At least I don't recall having come across or read anything written by Chris prior to Williamson going public. In fact, from within traditionalism, the only warnings I recall having heard vis-a-vis Williamson came from the French crowd, whether it was those like myself who were loyal to Dom Gerard, or within the SSPX those who were loyal to Lefebvre's co-founder Fr. Paul Aulagnier. The only other warnings I recall were from a traditionalist priest who as a young man had converted to Catholicism from Judaism, around the same year Williamson allegedly converted from Anglicanism.

That said, what happened, happened, as Dom Gerard predicted it would. Despite the evilness of Williamson's actions, and the ridicule to which they subjected all traditionalists (as well as Pope Benedict) at a time when we ought to have been rejoicing over the liberation of the TLM, traditionalists of all stripes subsequently drew together in renouncing and rebuking him. Additionally, this was the kick in the seat Bishop Fellay needed to rid the SSPX of Williamsonism.

Chris suggests that Williamson could not have done more damage to the traditionalist cause had His Excellency been an infiltrator for the other side. Agreed. Nor could Williamson have said or promoted stranger ideas than had he been under the influence of the favourite substance of the rock band he has most favorably reviewed in his monthly newsletters. (For the curious, google "Williamson" along with "Pink Floyd" and "The Wall".)

Despite this, I believe that Fr. Aulagnier has been much more optimistic about full reconciliation and the regularization of the SSPX's juridical status. I also think the division Williamson has created (or come to symbolize) within the SSPX has been overestimated. From what I was told by friends of mine who are part of the Williamson "resistance", they were disappointed that he drew under 100 people during his last visit to Post Falls (post-expulsion).

The question is whether the SSPX will receive a similar generous offer for canonical status under Pope Francis that they received under Pope Benedict, the latter who had a great personal interest in the issue.

*********
Back to Karl and whether Archbishop Lefebvre ordained the B Team with the three (then four) chosen for the 1988 episcopal consecrations. In fairness to the Archbishop, Karl, this is no big secret.

The whole reason for choosing the B Team is because the Archbishop did not want bishops within the SSPX to claim any jurisdiction. This was the Archbishop's way of trying to get around canonical arguments the consecrations were an act of schism. (NOT saying I agree with the Archbishop, simply presenting his position).

Thus the bishops were to be subject to the priests who held office as major superiors within the SSPX. Namely the A Team of Fr. Schmidberger, Fr. Aulagnier, Fr. Bisig and a handful of others who under ordinary circumstances would have been the best candidates for episcopal consecration.

Having said that, the main issue keeping Fellay on the B List at the time was his young age. With the exception of Williamson and his friends among certain "historical" societies, however, I believe all sides (SSPX, EF trad, Rome) recognize that with experience Fellay has since moved from the B List to the A List.

September 4, 2013 at 4:47 am PST
#106  Richard Malcolm - Silver Spring, Maryland

Peter Vere (Post 95)

I would just like to thank Pete Vere for contributing a much needed historical perspective and information that I think most of us did not have, especially in regards to Dom Gerard Calvet.

September 4, 2013 at 5:17 am PST
#107  Michael Contaldi - West Pittston, Pennsylvania

Pete,
You bring a great point in talking about Gerry Matatics. It exposes yet another elephant in the Catholic living room. What's that? Protestant converts that "converted" during the crisis then gather followings in the Church and they go off the rails. Think "Tim Staples and Radical Traditionalism"

Here I think of Gerry Matatics but I also think of Scott Hahn,Tim Staples and other famous faces from EWTN & Catholic Anwers. The elephant in the room is these men and men like never fully dropped their Protestant baggage and are still in the process of converting and have been abusing the Catholic faithful and the Catholic mind by subjecting Catholics to their learning process in books & on TV and radio. Knock it off!

Scott Hahn,Tim Staples,Gerry Matatics and Bishop Williamson would have never been aloud the access to the faithful they had were it not for the crisis and the lack the Bishops willingness to teach and correct.

Bottom line Scott Hahn has done profoundly more damage with his hybrid theology which comes off as a mix of eastern Catholicism,Calvinism mixed with his personal view of Vatican II. I am so sick of Protestant converts lecturing Catholics on the Faith. NEWSFLASH! You guys converted during the worst crisis in Church history please go away and do penance for your days as Protestants and please be silent for awhile.

What is not discussed about the Jews when some obsess on Williamson and the "holocaust" is the betrayal of the gospel done in the name of Vatican II. This dialogue that has replaced apostolic zeal is demonic.

Nostra Aetate What it really is E Michael Jones
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xc4zhrG_x4I

The Jews (Michael Voris)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY1GG0dyU9Y

Protestant converts in not getting rid of their baggage and being allowed to become the face and voice of Catholicism has done more harm in the post Vatican II period than anything the SSPX has done. The Jews are a perfect example. Real discussion is not being had about the Jews due to the judaizing teachers many of which are Protestant converts.

The Secret of
Pope John Paul II’s Success by by John Vennari
http://www.cfnews.org/JP2-Success.htm

Supersessionism needs to be discussed not "holocaust denial".
In Jesus and Mary,
Michael Contaldi

September 4, 2013 at 6:04 am PST
#108  Christopher Ferrara - Richmond, Virginia

Peter and Karl,

I might as well take this opportunity to state that Karl was probably right all along about Gerry's sedevacantism. I didn't see it at the time. But, as Peter says, we all make mistakes.

As to Mike Contaldi, here is a video clip in which no less than Alan Dershowitz declares that he would never call someone an anti-Semite because he is anti-Zionist or anti-Israeli policy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=r-QiH0O8-Qg#t=2152

I wish Dershowitz would so inform the ADL and the SPLC.

September 4, 2013 at 11:00 am PST
#109  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Michael Contaldi (post 107):

You have worn out your welcome. Your user account is being closed.

Before you speculate whether certain converts have converted far enough to meet your requirements, you need to get your own intellectual house in order. Your comments about those men are rude and offensive, and your comments about Richard Williamson, anti-Semitism, and Jews (as in post 99) are offensive and obnoxious. You seem to be another one for whom it's "all Jews, all the time."

You are free to ply your wares elsewhere, but not here. We have no obligation to give space to people such as you.

September 4, 2013 at 11:28 am PST
#110  Dan Aller - Columbus, Ohio

Karl:

Respectfully, I submit, that if Michael had shown to you the same level of "insensitivity" towards any other group (muslims?) you would not have cut him off from the discussion.
I think you have demonstrated what others have said: "You can have UNITY in the Church or DIALOGUE with the Jews; not both"

Williamson proved it just a different way from you?

Why do you prefer the latter?
http://tinyurl.com/l32r6k9

September 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm PST
#111  Richard Malcolm - Silver Spring, Maryland

Hello Dan (post #110),

There's an important lesson that some traditionalists struggle with, and I think it is relevant here: A man may be fortunate in his enemies and yet still be unworthy of support because of his vices. And there are few men in the Church of whom this is more true than Bishop Williamson. The SPLC may be a repugnant wolf pack of leftist hacks and ideologues - and Karl was (I submit) remiss in resorting to them as a source - but that doesn't mean that Bishop Williamson isn't guilty of some of the things that...well, it's perceived that he's guilty of.

And when you go on and on and on and on about the Jews, or how many of them died in the Holocaust, we're left to wonder whether you don't share the same vices in some measure. Look: We all know that far too many in the Church - including more than a few of our prelates - now subscribe de facto (even if they won't admit it formally) to Dual Covenant Theory, and this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, one that the irenicism of Nostra Aetate has fed, unwittingly (I like to charitably think). But relentless harping on conspiracy theories involving Jews, and Holocaust minimization (or even denial) exercises such of the sort that you have attempted in this combox are not the way to go about it. Consider the irony of a discussion brought about by a talk show in which many traditionalists are unfairly tarred with the brush of anti-Semitism...and then a traditionalist shows up and starts talking about Jews, Jews, Jews. And starts adding links to figures (Sungenis, et al) known to be "problematic" on this topic. Or simply tries to change the subject.

This is why traddies can't have nice things.

Please, think about what you're writing in forums such as these.

* * *

Back to Pete Vere (post #105),

I also had the opportunity to attend Gerry Matatics's tour back in...I think this was 2005? And like you, I was aback by what I heard, as were friends of mine. It was unexpected, and it was not what was billed. Engaging and knowledgeable as always, Matatics was craftily pushing what was, to all intents and purposes, a sedevacantist line, denying the validity of the Pauline Mass, all the while cagily saying that he hadn't drawn a final conclusion about the validity of post-conciliar Popes. My friends and I, all graduate theology students (and none of us exactly fans of the Novus Ordo), had to spend a fair amount of time with deeply disturbed laypeople who had also attended the talk, assuring them that every Communion they had received for the past 35 years was not, in fact, just bread (assuming that it was properly celebrated).

Not having followed him as closely as some here, it was an unwelcome surprise. Matatics had some authority and cachet given his status as a former instructor at Denton and his apologetics, and it felt like an abuse of that authority. I think many of us wanted to give Matatics the benefit of the doubt up to that time, so I can understand The Remnant's slowness to come round on the subject. And perhaps many others besides. It's unfortunate, because Gerry undoubtedly has many gifts which once were put to good use in the service of the faith.

What you say about the "Team A/Team B" strategy in the 1988 SSPX consecrations makes a great deal of sense, and helps explain why what was done, and who it was done to, in a way that had mystified me in some ways. I can understand the archbishop's thinking, but it proved to be, in some ways, a disaster for the Society in the long run.

September 4, 2013 at 1:51 pm PST
#112  Kevin Tierney - Howell, Michigan

Now that we have all converted to Eastern Orthodoxy, I now suggest we also debate whether or not the Sack of Constantinople was the Catholic Churches fault, part MMMMCMXCIX. Confused? That's what the Eastern Orthodox do, argue over pointless historical situations and assesments of things long past. Look, I wasn't part of the whole Matatics era. I only came across him as an apologist who by that point was already on his way out the Church. So I can't speak about any hurt feelings. But I think that puts me at a bit of an advantage here. I can look upon this as a genuine outsider. From that genuine outsider status.... todays generation of traditionalists look at you and just scratch our heads.

In regards to the character of the Archbishop.... who cares? The man's dead, and those he consecrated are no longer excommunicated. You may think your personal opinions are important, but really, they aren't. I sure think from a historical standpoint the 88 consecrations were a really really bad idea. Yet they happened, and so arguing over whether or not they should have happened, or who should have been consecrated is absolutely pointless, and something only a professional blogger would view edifying.

Since they happened and since they are no longer excommunicated, and since we all want them to become regularized with the Church (wait, we all do want this right? Because I've been fooled if so!), do our personal opinions over a dead mans character and judge of character really matter? If they can become fully regularized in the Church, and lead to a massive outpouring of graces that full union and regularlization bring, to heck with my personal feelings. Maybe you should do the same Mr. Keating.

Now as far as a few miscellany:

I brought up the whole "clown mass" thing but apparently the point was glossed over. Debates about clown masses, if they were ever relevant, aren't anymore. They belong to a different age. The same with "radical traditionalist", and, quite honestly, these incredibly pointless conversations about who was right about Matatics and who was right about the judgement of a dead mans character who nobody in this thread knew 25 years after the fact.

In regards to the translations issue Mr. Keating raised:

You say that traditionalists didn't do much of anything in regards to the translatiosn except quibble about things like "for all",. and that the majority of the work was done by a scholarly group that most certainly wasn't trad. Since I'm no professional, I don't know how things played out in the Catholic Acela Corridor. But I can tell you how they played out in the ordinary parish, because that's where I was. I can tell you that people like myself who began to question the Latin translations were told to pipe down and not harbor schismatic mentalities by questioning it. I can tell you that rookie bloggers were being told by apologists who wrote in the pages of This Rock magazine that to question the translations showed questioning the trust you have in the Church. My story can be multiplied by people who wanted greater liturgical fidelity even in the Ordinary Form, but were told that fidelity made you a radical.

I can also tell you stories when people first start attending the Latin Mass, and evangelized people on it. I can tell you of those who argued that they no longer had to put up with such poor translations, because the Extraordinary Form was busting at the seems with fidelity in the words it chose. I can tell you that people were assured that of course the New Mass was valid and pleasing to God, even in the vulgarized ICEL translation, but by choosing the Extraordinary Form, you were making a choice to stand up for liturgical accuracy. And I can tell you that argument brought a lot of people over to the Latin Mass. I ***** at least 7 or 8 I know personally, and I was a scrub back then who didn't have a public audience. My story can be multiplied indefinetly, even if we didn't do it from theological journals or shiny magazines. And tgo dismiss your rather flippant insulting comment, we talked about a lot more than just pro multis.

When the translations were being rolled out, i can tell you of stories of traditionalists helping to lead the catechzing efforts in their respective dioceses about why these were such good changes. That part wasn't me personally, but I could give you the names of many.

It isn't that we aren't greatful for the work of those scholarly bodies. We most certainly are. They did a lot to make what we were doing on the ground level possible. Yet I think its rather offensive that you act as if that ground level work was insignifcant or meaningless since it wasn't done in some scholarly organization. most traditionalists couldn't be in such organizations at the time before the motu proprio..... because loyal traditionalists pretty much were second class citizens within the Church.

You guys seriously gotta let the baggage and preconceptions of how things were (versus what they actually were) go.

September 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm PST
#113  Kevin Tierney - Howell, Michigan

And I don't know why on earth there was a ***** there. Can assure you there was no profanity or even offensive slang there.

September 4, 2013 at 2:11 pm PST
#114  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

John Willmington (post 103):

You refer in passing to "Novus Ordo novelties." Others refer to "the Novus Ordo" or use similar phrases. Properly speaking, "Novus Ordo" should refer only to the liturgical reform under Pope Paul VI. It shouldn't be used more widely than that, to refer to things outside the liturgy. Some people--perhaps you're one of them--use "the Novus Ordo" as a synonym for "the Church" or at least for "post-1965 Church."

The implication, whether intended or not, is that this Church isn't the real Church, and that implication leads to disaster.

I ask you and others not to use "Novus Ordo" unless you're referring to the revised liturgy, particularly in its early years. If you're referring to its current form, I think "the Ordinary Form" is better or, as I sometimes write, "the vernacular Mass." Or use something similar.

"Novus Ordo" is one of those terms that has taken on a certain pugilistic flavor over the last forty years. If you say, as you do, that the term "radical Traditionalist" should be retired, then you can set a good example by retiring "Novus Ordo" in most of its currents uses.

September 4, 2013 at 2:15 pm PST
#115  Dan Aller - Columbus, Ohio

Richard Malcolm:

I don't think it's Holocaust denial to say with Max Dimont http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuvUt5E4YaE that the Nazis killed Five Million Jews in a systematic program of genocide (racial not religious). Whether Zyklon B killed them, bullets, or the ride is of no consequence. I do not think mentioning the numbers of those only referred to, if at all, as "others" is anti-Semitic. http://holocaustforgotten.com

I do not believe that praying that the Jews enjoy that which is most dear to me is anti-Semitic.

I do believe NOT praying for them IS. I think peddling a dual Covenant Heresy is stupid and cruel. And since you mentioned Sungenis, I would add that he played a role in getting the US bishops to disavow that heresy in the adult catechism.

September 4, 2013 at 2:50 pm PST
#116  Richard Malcolm - Silver Spring, Maryland

Hello Kevin Tierney (post #112),

I don't think there's any harm in the historical debates - you don't have to participate in those sidebars if you don't want to.

But I do agree with a lot of what you say about the translation saga. Specifically:

"I can tell you that people like myself who began to question the Latin translations were told to pipe down and not harbor schismatic mentalities by questioning it. I can tell you that rookie bloggers were being told by apologists who wrote in the pages of This Rock magazine that to question the translations showed questioning the trust you have in the Church."

And I had the same experience. The translations were bad - very bad - and there ought to have been nothing wrong with respectfully raising concerns about them. I think that even the static that an outfit like Adoremus received at the time for delving into the issue was telling.

It's true that traditionalist scholars (and there have never been many of them) may not have been active in large numbers on the translation issue, but it strikes me that this was so for two reasons: 1) they had absolutely zero chance of gaining official acceptance in the ICEL/Vox Clara process (and it proved to be no small miracle that even cleric like Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth was even taken into the process very late in the game), and 2) most preferred to focus their efforts in other lines, because they weren't as deeply invested in a liturgy that they though was notably inferior in form - even in the original Latin - to the Missal of Bl. John XXIII.

Perhaps the latter was a mistake; it ought to have been apparent that 99% of Catholics would be attending Mass in the OF, and we ought to make more efforts to make that liturgy as traditional as possible, as widely as possible, against the day when the old Roman Rite might be restored in some form. But things turned out otherwise. And as you say, there have been efforts by many of us to support the new translation and its implementation.

September 4, 2013 at 2:50 pm PST
#117  Kevin Tierney - Howell, Michigan

I like discussions of history. I'm a history buff. But we are discussing the internal ability to judge character of men long dead who really don't have relevance to the current situation. Whether or not the archbishop was a sound or unsound judge of character really doesn't have any bearing on the current issue: if we should use such terms like "radical traditionalist" or if the SSPX should be restored to full communion. Unless of course we want to re-excommunicate them.

I don't see how debating this or who was right over a catholic apologist most people don't even know did 15 years ago is fruitful in any way.

So let's debate various historical approaches about ecumenism or catholic social teaching and what they tell us today if we want to have a debate of historical relevance. Or the trend in history of "pastoral councils" to be hugely influential more than a century after they occur. Some of that would be interesting and actually lead to some good discussions.

This stuff? Not so much. Its a way for people to continue to hang onto grievances and their (legitimate and serious) wounds from time. It isn't helpful.

September 4, 2013 at 3:38 pm PST
#118  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Chris:

I really appreciate your admission that Karl was right about Gerry and sede'ism. I can sympathize with your statement that you did not see it in Gerry until it was too late. I was in the same position. And for years, despite Karl's gracious reassurance every time I brought it up that he had accepted my apology in 2000 and that the issue between him and I was "water under the bridge," I still harbored deep regrets about my initial involvement in the controversy, not to mention my role in mustering Indult trads to Gerry's defence. I now feel that I can leave the issue in the past.

*********
Karl:

I think you raise some excellent questions with regards to Archbishop Lefebvre and the Sedevacantist Nine he was forced to expel from the SSPX. Here is my take based upon my personal understanding of the back history. Again, I would like to stress to your readers that I do not agree with all the actions of all the parties involved. Nor do I think that historical circumstance, as I understand it, excuses Archbishop's actions at the time. But I think there are a number of mitigating circumstances.

Basically, from what I understand, Archbishop Lefebvre was caught by surprise by the emergence of sedevacantism in his seminary back in the 70's. One of his key professors in Econe had been the noted Dominican theologian Fr. des Lauriers. Today, most trads who have heard of des Lauriers know him as one of the illicit (and possibly invalid) bishops consecrated by Archbishop Thuc during his period of alleged sedevacantism.

The reason I use "alleged" here is because friends of mine who are priests, canonists and theologians within the Vietnamese Catholic community, who knew Archbishop Thuc personally but otherwise celebrate the Novus Ordo exclusively and have no connection to the TLM, believe that Thuc suffered from dementia by the time he was making sedevacantist pronouncements and consecrating sedevacantist bishops.

Some "old school" trads - and I suspect Chris and Michael Matt may be among them - may be familiar with des Lauriers' co-authorship of the Ottoviani Intervention.

What most don't know is that prior to the Second Vatican Council, des Lauriers was a very reputable professor of Thomistic theology whose students included two men who would eventually become pope. One of the reasons I know the back history is because a retired Benedictine theologian who replaced the pastor of our local indult parish I attended during college, was a former student of des Lauriers. (For the record, this Benedictine theologian personally preferred the Novus Ordo, which he celebrated reverently; however, he will fill in at the indult as a favour to our pastor, the diocesan bishop and local trads.) Thus des Lauriers seemed like a good pick for the Archbishop's seminary in Econe during its early founding. Certainly having des Lauriers on the faculty lended much-needed credibility to the seminary.

To a lesser degree, the three of us have at different times found ourselves in somewhat comparable situations with regards to Gerry Matatics, except that des Lauriers' credentials as a Catholic theologian and professor were much more strongly established.

The problem is that during this time des Lauriers began to develop and adopt the sedeprivationist position. For readers not familiar with this position, it is the theory that post-Vatican II popes are "material" popes and not "formal" popes. Des Lauriers then developed the sedevacantist position as a means of contrasting and explaining sedeprivationism. Of course he shared his ideas with SSPX seminarians studying under him, and swayed many to his position. (One exception was Fr. Cekada, who told me personally he was sedevacantist right from the get go as a SSPX seminarian, and who also shared with me several of his personal objections to des Lauriers's sedeprivationist beliefs.)

Of course by the time Archbishop Lefebvre caught wind of the situation and dismissed des Lauriers from the seminary, the damage was done. Des Lauriers would then go on to receive episcopal consecration in the Thuc lines, before renouncing his consecration and dying reconciled to Pope John Paul II.

Which raises another issue - one that I suspect may open me up to intense questioning from Karl and Chris. Des Lauriers's reconciliation with Rome is not out-of-the-ordinary for former sedevacantists and sedeprivationists. In fact, both the traditionalist movement and the wider Church have greatly benefited from the reconciliation of sedes. Off the top of my head, I can think of the following:

- The Society of St. Vincent Ferrer
- A group of CMRI sisters in Spokane, Washington.
- The Campos priests (Bishop Castro de Mayer, Archbishop Lefebvre's co-consecrator in 1988, was openly sedevacantist).
- One of the traditonal Benedictine monasteries in America.

There are several others, as well as a number of independent chapels and apostolates that were formally sede. Many of these have gone on to do good work in defence of the Church, the Second Vatican Council, and the post-conciliar popes. In fact, it was the Society of St. Vincent Ferrer that discovered and subsequently published a photograph of Archbishop Lefebvre's signature on the two documents of the Second Vatican Council that Lefebvre claimed not have signed.

Again, in no way am I defending or expressing agreement with sede'ism. I willingly and joyfully submit to Pope Francis as successor to my namesake. I am simply stating that I have often found sedes less extreme than other branches of traditionalism that refuse submission to the Pope, and I have often found sedes open to honest dialogue and willing to be convinced of the legitimacy of the post-conciliar popes.

September 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm PST
#119  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Pete Vere (post 105):

You bring up a name from the past: Gerry Matatics. Probably many people reading this thread would ask, “Who?” Gerry has been out of the limelight for quite a while, but a quarter century ago he and Scott Hahn, then still friends, were bright stars in the constellation of converts.

I always respected Gerry’s native talents. As highly as I regard Scott’s talents, I thought that Gerry could have excelled Scott, if he had applied himself. But he never had the self-discipline.

I remember listening to a tape of one of his debates—this was after he left Catholic Answers, where he had been employed for seven months beginning in June 1990. The debate was held in Brooklyn, and Gerry then was living in Front Royal, Virginia, down the road from Christendom College, where he once had taught. He spent much of his opening remarks saying that he hadn’t prepared for the debate but did jot down notes on a legal pad as he drove up. (Not smart. If you neglect to prepare for a public performance, at least don’t announce it to your audience.)

As you know, Gerry and I were at odds after he left Catholic Answers. I wrote about him a few times over the succeeding years and for the most part confined my remarks to his religious ideas or actions, but my deeper concerns were at the level of ethics and character.

By 2006 Gerry had confirmed himself, publicly, as a sedevacantist (his term, even if in your eyes he qualified as a sedeprivationist), and then he largely disappeared from public view. As he had in previous years, he went on the road, speaking usually at Holiday Inns to tiny audiences—sometimes to as few as six people, from reports I had. And then even the speaking stopped.

How he gets by, what he now does for a living, I don’t know. I hope he has a “regular” job. I remember Scott Hahn commenting that Gerry should get out of religious work entirely, for his good and that of his family, and become a teacher of French at a private or public school. (Gerry’s French is said to be good.)

Maybe he’s doing something like now; maybe Chris Ferrara knows. But it’s clear from Gerry’s website that he no longer has many (or any?) speaking engagements, and, of course, he never has produced a written product. But he still produces recordings and every few months will throw onto the website a pitch for them. The only other outreach he has, so far as I know, is a series of online interviews with Judith Sharp. I suppose those interviews can’t have many listeners.

You bring up Gerry’s move toward sedevacantism. This was something I wrote about more than once in “This Rock” magazine, most extensively in the August 1995 issue.

Gerry had accepted an appointment as an instructor at the sedevacantist seminary run by Bishop Daniel Dolan in Cincinnati. (I’ve never settled to my own satisfaction whether Dolan was validly consecrated, but we’ll give him the courtesy of the title.) The seminary even had distributed an advertising flyer with Gerry’s name and photo on it.

Dolan and his associates were then, and are now, strict-observance sedevacantists. I think it’s scarcely imaginable that they would have hired someone not in line with their thinking. (Gerry ended up not accepting employment by the seminary.)

Back in those days Gerry was getting much, maybe most, of his income by speaking in so-called “Novus Ordo” parishes. He had one set of talks—his conversion story, for example—for those venues, another set—lots of anti-Vatican II red meat—for “Traditionalist” conferences.

That dichotomy couldn’t last, of course. Word started to get around to regular parishes that Gerry was telling two stories; his gigs started to dry up. (And, no, neither I nor anyone I know had anything to do with that; it was a process of auto-destruction on Gerry’s part. Two or three times someone called to ask whether I thought Gerry would be an appropriate speaker for a parish. Not wanting to be blamed for his loss of gigs, I just replied that I wasn’t in a position to recommend him.)

You have heard about Thomas Huxley, known as “Darwin’s Bulldog.” Charles Darwin wasn’t a particularly effective promoter of his own theories, but Huxley sure was. He was out in public far more than Darwin. It was as though Darwin was hidden away, with only Huxley giving the defense.

So it was, in a way, with Chris Ferrara and Gerry. Chris was Gerry’s bulldog. I don’t remember Gerry ever writing to counter anything I reported about him, but Chris often wrote against me.

It isn’t pertinent at this point to dig up the arguments or the sometimes harsh language—all this was a long time ago—but I found it curious that Chris, however much he thought I had it in for Gerry, didn’t seem to examine the information I gathered and say to himself, “Well, Keating’s being arch about this, but there is something increasingly odd about Gerry and his ideas.”

As I said, I was writing about Gerry’s slide into sedevacantism as long ago as 1995. Chris gave up his public defense of Gerry only about the time that Gerry finally styled himself a sedevacantist, which was in 2006. (Gerry still has on the top page of his website a short piece he wrote in 2006: “Is Gerry Matatics a ‘sedevacantist’?” In it he objects to the word “sedevacantist” but shows that he accepts the principles most people associate with the word.)

As Gerry was making what amounted to a public affirmation of his position, Chris wrote a multi-part series against sedevacantism in “The Remnant,” the first time that he had addressed the topic, so far as I know. He didn’t mention Gerry. At the time I took the series to be a last-ditch effort to pull his friend back from the brink, but the bulldog wasn’t strong enough to stop a leap over the edge.

I appreciate that Chris wrote, in post 108 above, that I “was probably right all along about Gerry's sedevacantism. I didn't see it at the time.” I accept that he didn’t see it in 1995 and maybe not even a decade later, but I’m at a loss to explain how it couldn’t be seen. So many others saw it.

Maybe this is an example of the loyalty of friendship clouding one’s eyes—or maybe, those many years ago, Chris, because of his animus toward me, thought that the allegations couldn’t be true precisely because it was I who leveled them.

It doesn’t matter really. What does matter is that a man with exceptional talents and exceptional promise misused those talents and never fulfilled that promise—not because outside forces were against him but because of his own inner failings. This is the definition of tragedy, as Shakespeare knew it and showed it.

Sometimes I think back to the heady days when I first knew Gerry and imagined the good he could do for the Church. It’s hard to conjure up those memories now because they were followed by a sad realization that that good was stillborn.

September 4, 2013 at 4:06 pm PST
#120  Richard Malcolm - Silver Spring, Maryland

Hello Dan (post 115)

"I do not think mentioning the numbers of those only referred to, if at all, as "others" is anti-Semitic."

I think what it is is a rabbit hole, a rabbit hole in which certain unsavory ideas (and people) tend to be found with dangerous frequency. Really - I ask in all charity - what's the point? The scholarship is pretty overwhelming on the Holocaust. If the concern is that other genocides of the era get slighted - the Holodomor, the killing of Polish Catholics in the death camps, or elsewhere - then spend time promoting *these* back into the public lens, without actively minimizing the Jewish part of the Holocaust. If the concern is that certain Jewish groups have turned the Holocaust into a cottage industry that's used as a platform for other agendas - there's not much that can be done about that, save to fight the battles that need to be fought on the proper terrain.

Bishop Williamson, unfortunately, has gone beyond quibbling over the numbers. He was denying that any Jews were killed by gas as far back as 1989 (at least in public), and suggesting that the numbers killed were relatively small (a few hundred thousand). On top of some his other comments, public and private (including anti-Semitic cracks to his own seminarians, from whom I and others have heard it directly, or hiring lawyers with neo-Nazi associations), it's pretty hard to escape the conclusion that he's given to what can be fairly called anti-Semitic views and actions, over and over again. And that makes whatever else he's right about (or whatever his enemies in the SPLC or the ADL are badly wrong about) really beside the point, because he's badly compromised now, and he's damaged the SSPX by his reckless actions. Look, being a good traditionalist and fighting the good fight to restore tradition doesn't require continuing to defend Williamson on these things, and fighting the spread of crypto-Dual Covenant Theory in the Church doesn't require splitting hairs about exactly how many Jews were killed at Auschwitz, or how they were killed.

"I do not believe that praying that the Jews enjoy that which is most dear to me is anti-Semitic." I wouldn't argue that point, and I don't think anyone else here would, either. And yes, we *should* pray for them.

"And since you mentioned Sungenis, I would add that he played a role in getting the US bishops to disavow that heresy in the adult catechism."

Here we have the same problem as with Bp. Williamson: Bob Sungenis may have been right, on a narrow point, about the problem with the Catechism, but he was far from the only one to raise the alarm bell, and others were not as obnoxious as he was about it. More to the point, others don't have - I don't know how else to put it - the problematic track record he has regarding Jewish issues.

Hello Kevin (post 117),

"This stuff? Not so much. Its a way for people to continue to hang onto grievances and their (legitimate and serious) wounds from time. It isn't helpful."

Well, I've been reading the thread down to here on page 2, and I'm really not seeing the harm - quite the opposite, since it seems like some old warhorses burying the hatchet, or what's left of the hatchet. Your mileage may vary, obviously.

September 4, 2013 at 4:49 pm PST
#121  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Karl:

I appreciate you sharing your view of the whole Gerry Matatics fiasco. What I appreciated more was your graciousness in 2001 when we met in San Diego so that I could apologize to you privately for my involvement in the whole affair - especially without having first heard your side of the story. You told me all had been forgiven and forgotten. I then offered to apologize publicly, since my attacks against you had been public. To which you responded a public apology was not necessary, and then you invited me to sit with you on your radio programme and plug the seminary building project of an Ecclesia Dei community I was working with at the time. Our TLM seminary gained many new donors from among your listeners that day.

What I am asking, as a personal favor, is that you be similarly gracious toward Chris in light of his admission that you were probably right vis-a-vis Gerry. I know where Chris is coming from with regards to taking Gerry at face value and not seeing the underlying sede'ism. I was there myself until, well, about a month before visiting you at Catholic Answers to apologize.

Having been on both sides of this controversy - at times quite publicly - I can emphasize with where both of you are coming from. I too, when if first began, mistakenly thought you were persecuting Gerry out of jealousy for his talents, not having picked up on the underlying issue.

Similarly, when Gerry finally tipped his hand with me personally in 2001, I too felt betrayed by Chris and other trads of his generation. How could they have not known?

Today, I think both of you were acting out of good intentions.

With regards to other points you raise regarding l'Affair Matatics, here is my perspective. A lot of it will no doubt seem obvious or repetitious to you - it isn't anything we have not discussed in private. But for the sake of your readers and younger trads unfamiliar with the background involved, perhaps some of what follows may prove helpful.

First of all, with regards to the overall controversy, I think you were generally right when the initial incident arose in the early-to-mid 90's. Of course, that is not how I felt then, which is why I initially sided with Gerry. But yes, he was definitely flirting with some type of sede'ism. And given that sedeprivationism had not yet migrated from France to America (with the exception of small group in the U.S.), and was thus not part of the wider traditionalist lexicon, I would agree with you today that it was probably sedevacantism.

With regards to Gerry having declared himself a full-fledged sedevacantist by 2006. You are likely right. I think I had stopped following Matatics' movements by then. I seem to recall the Feeneyites, recently reconciled but not yet canonically re-established (similar to the SSPX's status today), publicly banning Gerry from their conference around the same time, for alleged sedevacantism. And by then others had told me they had heard Gerry promote sedevacantism. So I have no reason to disbelieve you that Gerry was a fully-fledged sedevacantist by then.

Our friendly - but sincere - private disagreement over whether Gerry was sedevacantist or sedeprivationist seems to have arisen some time between 2001 and 2005. Nevertheless, as we both know and you pointed out at the time, it was never a matter between us of who was right and who was wrong, but rather the nature of our respective audiences.

To recap, for the sake of those following along:

We both agreed that Gerry had embraced some form of sede'ism more boldly than in the past, and that he was attempting to lead others to this position.

We both agreed that the above was in itself problematical, and that addressing it among our respective (and each other's) audience was important.

So why did I push our "sedevacantist vs. sedeprivationist" disagreement in private? Of course you know the answer since you pointed it out to me, but for the benefit of our readers.

Your audience at Catholic Answers was already on your side and recognized the problem of Gerry pushing sede'ism, regardless of its particular flavour, if they even knew it came in different flavours. As you pointed out at the time, most of your readers or listeners likely did not know what sedeprivationism was. In fact, few traditionalists in North America outside of sedevacantists knew of the distinction.

On the other hand, my audience was primarily drawn from traditionalists who sided with Gerry during the earlier incident between you and him. So they were predisposed to believe Gerry over you. Since sedeprivationism had not yet entered the popular trad lexicon in English-speaking North America, few of those to whom Gerry appealed would think of raising the possibility.

Meaning that Gerry could promote the common tenants between sedevacantism and sedeprivationism, while maintaining plausible deniability that he was a sedevacantist.

As an interesting side-note, which I recall sharing with you at the time, around that time Gerry had invited me to discuss with him privately his views on the validity of the post-conciliar popes. In fact, quoting Scripture he reminded me that I had a moral obligation to do so before making any type of public statement on the issue. I recall questioning him on his views and asking him repeatedly if he was sedevacantist. He denied that he was. He was quite friendly and cordial throughout.

Then I asked him if he was a sedeprivationist. Silence fell on the other end of the phone. Suddenly, his tone shifted into one that sounded quite angry and agitated. He accused me asking the question in bad faith. He then expressed surprise that a "neo-traditionalist indulterer" like me would be familiar with sedeprivationism and the writings of des Lauriers. (Um...like I have always been associated with the French side of the movement ideologically, and as good as Gerry's French is, mine is better?) Then he demanded a public debate with me on the topic, stating this as the only venue in which he would respond.

My concern at the time (which has since turned out to be completely unfounded) is that Chris would come to his defence and that this would become a gong show in which Chris set out to prove Gerry was no sedevacantist, and that you and I were just rekindling an old rivalry for the sake of persecuting Gerry. Apologies to Chris, since it is clear that I was wrong. This became obvious by 2006 when Gerry emerged fully as a sedevacantist and Chris published his Remnant essays against sedevacantism. But this is why I felt it important to maintain the distinction between sedevacantism and sedeprivationism in responding to Gerry prior to 2006.

Today, not so much. It is clear that Chris, Michael Matt et al have no love of sedevacantism. Similarly, it is clear that Gerry is some sort of sede. Not that it matters, but last I heard we are both wrong concerning which flavour of sede. Reportedly, Gerry is now reported to speculate openly about the Siri thesis.

One of the benefits I could see to a North American version of GREC is that it would allow folks like you, Chris and I to leave behind all these old personality conflicts based upon obscure ideologies and engage in serious non-polemical but honest discussion concerning Catholic traditionalism.

September 4, 2013 at 6:17 pm PST
#122  Jack Compton - McClean, Virginia

With all due respect to Catholic Answers and the good work you do, I'm compelled to interject some thoughts. I've been living in the Arlington, Virginia diocese for over twenty years. The Arlington diocese is considered by many the most orthodox diocese in the U.S. Since the Motu Proprio, the traditional Mass is offered regularly at a number of parishes and has been well attended. I attend the traditional Mass each Sunday and am fortunate to have the option to choose between five different parishes within a 15 mile radius of my home. I can honestly say, each of these Latin Mass communities include some of the kindest, most well formed Catholics I’ve ever encountered. The majority consists of young Catholic families who are on a quest for the best means possible to keep the faith of their children in tact. Are these good people disillusioned by the current state of the Church? Yes. Would they characterize its present state as “chaotic” as Chris Ferrara aptly termed it? I’m afraid so. Are they “radical”? By today’s standards they certainly are. Because they know and live the Faith in ways that set them apart from the majority, including most of their fellow Catholics. While it makes sense the world would view traditional Catholics as “radical” and abhor what they stand for, I find it perplexing that Catholic Answers would be so reckless in their representation of them.

I work at a large secular organization in the Virginia/DC area. Most of my colleagues are “Catholic”. Every one of them is a sad product of the post Vatican II church. My personal interaction with them has gradually revealed one sad scenario after another. One cradle Catholic colleague has abandoned Catholicism for the Episcopal church, in part because of the rampant sexual abuse and the Church’s delayed response to it. Another one of my Catholic colleagues who rarely attends Mass himself, convinced his wife to convert to Catholicism to foster a relationship with the pastor so his children would make the cut to attend the parish school. His reason? Catholic schools are academically superior. On the feast of the Assumption, I asked if he and his wife (who was received into the Church this year) would be attending Mass that day. The reply? “No, I have other things I have to get done.“ The poor man (and presumably his now Catholic wife) apparently had absolutely no idea, or perhaps just didn't care because he hasn't been taught to care, that he was required to attend Mass that day - under pain of mortal sin. A young Lutheran I know was recently complaining that his Catholic father in law, who brings the Eucharist to shut-ins, was under the impression the host he carried was merely a symbol. Ironically, my Lutheran friend set him straight! Most Catholics I know have no understanding that premarital sex, co-habitation and contraception are grave sins. Sins? Maybe. But nothing that warrants damnation. A Catholic colleague who attends Sunday Mass faithfully, recently confided how he encouraged his 16 year old son to be chaste but then advised he use a condom upon learning he wasn't chaste. his kind soul - who in good faith wants to live honorably - signed away his son's soul without even realizing. This is the new brand of the Church “militant”. It's mainstream Catholicism: millions of misguided, ill-formed “practicing Catholics” whose souls are in peril. I’m certain it’s NOT hyperbole to characterize the current state of the Church as chaotic.

Those of us who still have the Faith have to remove our heads from the sand and take a look around. Let’s not let the small pockets of grace that scatter the globe deceive us into thinking all is right with the Church. All is certainly not right at the moment. If we think that then clearly we have stayed too long in our isolated bubbles of delusion. There are millions of souls who rarely encounter truth in its fullest. “Radical” traditionalists have much to offer. Serious Catholics would do well then to stop marginalizing them and realize what’s glaringly obvious: Traditional Catholicism is not the enemy, it's the way forward. Catholic Answers - let's take on the real enemy, together. We each have a dog in this fight – it’s the fight for souls, in chaos.

September 4, 2013 at 6:58 pm PST
#123  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Pete Vere (post 121):

Thanks for the further insights. I chuckled that during your phone call with Gerry he insisted on settling things with you through a public debate. That's been his m.o.

Years ago I attended a convention of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars that was held in Washington, D.C. By that time Gerry was living again in Front Royal. Before I left home I contacted him, saying I'd like the two of us to meet privately and see whether we could begin to forge a new relationship. He agreed to meet me at the convention's hotel.

I waited for him in the lobby. He brought with him a large plastic bin filled with file folders. It was like the bins I saw lawyers bring into courtrooms when I used to practice law. Gerry said the folders contained his "documentation" for our debate.

"What debate?" I asked. He said he wanted to round up FCS members to sit as a panel to adjudicate the issues between us.

I said something to this effect: "Are you nuts? These people aren't here to oversee a trial between you and me. They're here for the convention. I invited you here for a private talk, and you've shown up looking for a public fight. Besides, you didn't let me in on your plan, so of course all of my documentation is at home."

As you might imagine, my attempt to effect a rapprochement got nowhere. It was a small comfort to me to learn that something similar happened to Scott Hahn when, on a separate occasion, he was in the D.C. area and made a similar offer to Gerry. Gerry responded with a debate challenge: "The only meeting I'll have with you is a public debate." Sheesh!

As for Michael Matt and Chris Ferrara: I know they don't give any truck to sedevacantism (or sedeprivationism). When Chris wrote the series against sedevacantism in "The Remnant," I had the impression that he had to work up his thesis in short order--as I said in my previous post, probably to encourage Gerry to move away from the edge--yet he gave a good account of the anti-sedevacantist argument.

For our readers who may not have heard of the Siri Thesis:

The story is that at the 1958 conclave Cardinal Giuseppe Siri (1906-1989) actually was elected pope. Somehow the Kremlin found out about this and, before the new pope could appear on the balcony and bless the crowd, the Kremlin threatened to blow up the Vatican unless Siri resigned and someone else were elected. So Siri resigned and Angelo Roncalli became John XXIII.

The theory is extended to allege that Siri was elected twice more, in the 1978 conclaves, but also was squeezed out. But he was the real pope until his death. Further, he arranged for an underground college of cardinals, and at his demise they elected a true pope in 1989, but that pope (or his successor) is underground and we don't know who he is.

Of course, all this implies that John XXIII and following popes really were anti-popes.

Cardinal Siri denied all of this speculation, and there is absolutely no evidence to back it up, save an unverified claim that at the 1958 conclave white smoke came out first and then, after a long pause, black smoke. Later there was white smoke again, at which time John XXIII was announced. For this mix-up in smoke signals there also seems to be no evidence.

(What never is explained is how, in the short time between the first white smoke and when Siri was supposed to appear on the balcony, the Kremlin was informed that he had been elected and the leadership of the Kremlin was able to convey a threat to the electors. But conspiracies theories don't have to deal with practicalities such as that.)

September 4, 2013 at 7:25 pm PST
#124  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Pete Vere (post 118):

Thanks for filling in some holes and for your intriguing comment that "I have often found sedes less extreme than other branches of traditionalism that refuse submission to the Pope, and I have often found sedes open to honest dialogue and willing to be convinced of the legitimacy of the post-conciliar popes."

You may be right about that. While of course I don't find the sedevacantist argument the least bit convincing, I appreciate the detail in which some advocates have worked it up. Fr. Anthony Cekada undoubtedly is the best example here. I've read some of the papers he composed (they're posted at his church's website).

As you may know, he phoned in to our May 31 show, and Tim Staples and Patrick Coffin let him participate longer than callers usually do. They thought Cekada was gentlemanly enough, as sedevacantists seem to be. You don't tend to find yellers among them.

September 4, 2013 at 7:49 pm PST
#125  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Dan Aller (post 115):

You say of Bob Sungenis, "I would add that he played a role in getting the US bishops to disavow that heresy in the adult catechism," your reference being to the bishops changing a text that said Jews don't need to be saved by the Christian covenant because they have salvation through their own.

Bob repeatedly has claimed that his writings about the issue caused the bishops to alter the text. This is a post hoc ergo propter hoc argument, and it's unlikely on its face.

Bob is perceived by many to have an obsession with Jews, by others to be outright anti-Semitic. How credible is it to think that the bishops would make any sort of change at his behest? Shouldn't those suspicious of the bishops' motives in other things imagine that they would rather have dug in their heels than be perceived as acquiescing to anything pushed by Bob?

I haven't seen the least evidence that the bishops were motivated by Bob's writings. After all, the complaint about the text wasn't exclusive to him. Others had been saying the same kind of thing for quite a while.

September 4, 2013 at 7:59 pm PST
#126  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Kevin Tierney (multiple posts):

You say some of these discussion just don't interest you, aren't relevant to you and your generation, and should be dispensed with. Pete indicates that you're around 30. That may provide a clue.

(For some reason your attitude brings to mind a famous line from Christopher Marlowe: "But that was in another country, and besides, the wench is dead.")

September 4, 2013 at 8:09 pm PST
#127  Kevin Tierney - Howell, Michigan

Karl,

I understand the "you have to be there" argument. I'm just pointing out, just so everyone is aware, that sometimes being an outsider is a blessing so you can see things emotions prevent you from seeing.

That doesn't mean they shouldn't happen. Just that its wise to keep it in mind. :)

September 4, 2013 at 8:35 pm PST
#128  Shawn McElhinney - Bothell, Washington

[For this mix-up in smoke signals there also seems to be no evidence.]

If memory serves, the whole "black smoke at the 1958 conclave" idea was based on a misreading of an article at the time relating that event as happening at the 1939 conclave.

September 4, 2013 at 9:07 pm PST
#129  Shawn McElhinney - Bothell, Washington

[#104 Dan Aller - Columbus, Ohio

From my vantage point, all of this talk about Williamson on a Catholic Answers website is humorous because the destruction being done to Traditionalism by a wild card like Williamson is analogous to that which is being done to the apologist industry in America by all your poorly trained convert bloggers.]

I have made this point in a variety of ways over the years Dan. The problem with a lot of modern apologists is they have a tendency to tolerate antics and actions from their own that they loudly condemn in others. Unfortunately, those who could really influence change here for the good do not seem interested in doing anything about it but instead prefer to shoot the messengers. It is my hope that at some point that pattern will change but it has only worsened the past decade and not improved.

September 4, 2013 at 9:28 pm PST
#130  Shawn McElhinney - Bothell, Washington

[I appreciate that Chris wrote, in post 108 above, that I “was probably right all along about Gerry's sedevacantism. I didn't see it at the time.” I accept that he didn’t see it in 1995 and maybe not even a decade later, but I’m at a loss to explain how it couldn’t be seen. So many others saw it.]

To a certain extent, Chris would probably admit today that he maybe did not want to see it, Karl. Then it got to the point where he either could not miss it or perhaps could not in conscience ignore it. One persons motives of credibility on as given issue can differ from another in essence.

[Maybe this is an example of the loyalty of friendship clouding one’s eyes—or maybe, those many years ago, Chris, because of his animus toward me, thought that the allegations couldn’t be true precisely because it was I who leveled them.]

Unfortunately a lot of folks tend to approach subject matters and positions taken not on the intrinsic merits of the positions themselves (or by objective criteria) but instead based on who espouses them (or by subjective criteria). Its a twist on the fallacy of provincialism in essence and Chris would hardly be the first person who has at some point or another done this and he will hardly be the last. In fact, I would wager that everyone on this thread has done this sort of thing at least a few times in their lives.

September 4, 2013 at 9:36 pm PST
#131  Shawn McElhinney - Bothell, Washington

[sometimes being an outsider is a blessing so you can see things emotions prevent you from seeing.]

Precisely Kevin. Sometimes being an outsider can help one avoid the sort of target fixation that can affect those too close (personally or otherwise) to a given issue :)

September 4, 2013 at 9:41 pm PST
#132  Nate Cameron - Belmont, Michigan

I listened to both the February and August shows via recording. It's clear that the hosts were far more cautious in August, but I didn't feel good about either. In both instances the hosts spent most of the time talking amongst themselves about trivial details that nobody cared about. The small amount of time actually spent delivering 'answers' failed to convey any useful information for the average Catholic.

When I say "average Catholic", I am referring to the ones whom actually care enough about their faith to actually listen to Catholic radio or spend time at Catholic websites, but actually know little about their faith outside of the basics. They have been propagandized to believe that nothing exists before Vatican2, and that everything bad in the last 50 years is from the "spirit of Vatican2", but it's still better than it would have been, and it's getting better every day.

I know this to be true because I am 34 years old and the "spirit of Vatican2" was the scapegoat that got me from Sunday to Sunday, but the deeper I investigated Church teachings the more I questioned all I saw. I would look to shows like Catholic Answers to be my guide, to confirm my faith and faith practices. I can tell you that these shows about Traditionalists would have discouraged any interest in the movement.

These days I do consider myself a Traditionalist and I found myself offended not because of specific comments made in either show, but by the overall message they implied; that being a Traditional Catholic is a pitfall to be avoided. Well I happen to believe the exact opposite!

The hosts of Catholic Answers say a few nice things about Traditional Catholics and the Latin Mass, but is it just lip service? I mean, they don't consider themselves Traditionalists right? I got the impression that they tolerated the Latin Mass and would even attend when it was occasionally 'celebrated' at their chapel?

Meanwhile the statistics, the actual numbers PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt, that in every category, almost anywhere in the world, Catholicism is in a free fall!! Yet these topics are most certainly avoided. What's the deal with Catholic Answers blacklisting of Michael Voris? What has he done that earned him such disdain? Being a faithful Catholic pointing out the truth???

How can anyone who claims to know anything about this One True Faith make excuses for the last 50 years? Using a command of rhetoric and a few examples to cover up a worldwide apostasy in nonplussing to say the least.

How come we never hear about the "spirit of sedevacantism"? Parishes are full of those who believe the Pope is just a figurehead and the teachings of the Church are optional. But it would be 'uncharitable' to confront them from the pulpit, or better yet face to face. A true sedevacantist is probably more faithful to Catholic Doctrine than half the people in the pews, after all we have the polls to prove it, and of course the obvious moral decay of society.

The New Evangelization should be all about restoring the Traditional Latin Mass in every parish, to inform every spiritually starving Catholic of its spiritual depth and beauty! Catholic Answers seems to be dumbfounded about the massive interest in the TLM, but it's not going to slow!

ChurchMilitant.tv & Michael Voris get my monthly donations these days, Catholic Answers could learn more than a few things from his success.

September 4, 2013 at 10:17 pm PST
#133  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Nate Cameron (post 132):

You ask, "What's the deal with Catholic Answers blacklisting of Michael Voris?" Blacklisting him from what? Maybe you mean from Catholic Answers Forums? Voris hasn't posted there, so far as I'm aware, but he's free to.

More likely you mean that some people writing about him--pro and con--were told to lay off for awhile. At one point, about two years ago, a moderator had to impose a temporary suspension of new threads about Voris because the commenters in threads about him (on both sides) were being uncharitable.

At the moment, there are more than 3,000 threads that mention Voris. That doesn't seem like blacklisting to me.

September 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm PST
#134  Richard Malcolm - Silver Spring, Maryland

Hello Karl (post 123),

"The theory is extended to allege that Siri was elected twice more, in the 1978 conclaves, but also was squeezed out."

Usually when the "Siri Thesis" is propounded - and this is really a variety of yet another breed of schismatic cat, Sedeimpeditism - it's alleged that he was elected in the 1958 conclave [that elected John XXIII), and, to a lesser extent, also possibly the 1963 conclave [that elected Paul VI].

So far as I know, the only source suggesting that Cardinal Siri was elected in either of the two 1978 conclaves is Malachi Martin, who alleged in a radio program back in the late 90's that Siri was elected in the October '78 conclave, but immediately refused to accept because of some death threat. Of course, that's Martin - he made a lot of amazing claims over the years, some which are likely true, but some of them...well, you wonder.

There's no question that Siri was a bonafide, credible candidate in all of these conclaves; indeed, had it not been for an ill-advised newspaper interview (in which he made some deprecating comments about Vatican II and collegiality) that was released in violation of an embargo before the conclave, he likely had as good a shot as anyone of being elected in the October 1978 conclave. That interview cost him too much support among moderate conservatives, and Cdl. Wojtyla suddenly gained support as an alternative to stop Cdl. Benelli. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Like Karl, I always wondered how these sorts of threats can be delivered in a sealed conclave. The best theory I've heard is that one or more cardinals were employed as agents before hand to deliver the threat should a candidate unacceptable to Conspiracy X (communists, etc.) win election, sort of like what Cardinal Puzyna of Krakow tried to do with his attempted ius exclusivae veto of Cardinal Rampolla on behalf of Emperor Franz Josef in the 1903 conclave. I'm just not sure how much less outlandish that makes the whole business, however. And I say all that as someone who wishes that Siri *had* been elected at one of those conclaves.

Either way, Sedeimpeditism suffers from the same grave difficulties as sedevacantism - the Church has never gone so long without a validly elected Pope as we're supposed to have gone. And it really calls into question the entire truth claims of the Church to adhere to such a position. No matter how polite and well-mannered most sedevacantists (and I agree that they are) seem to be.

Postscript: While we're bouncing around ideas for Catholic Answers to address traditionalism, Karl, perhaps one possibility might be a show dedicated to a more positive and focused topic: For example, how and whether Traditionalists can offer a constructive critique of Vatican II, one that fully accepts the legitimacy of the Council, but identifies certain tensions in some texts that need to be resolved, and how it can contribute to washing away what Pope Benedict famously called "the Council of the Media" in favor of what still remains relevant of "the Council of the Fathers." Just a thought.

September 5, 2013 at 7:03 am PST
#135  Catholic Suzie Homemaker - Rib Lake, Wisconsin

I think the whole problem stems from there being perceived sub-groups among Roman Catholics.... and there should not be.

Everybody has an opinion. Opinions are cheap. If you take issue with every opinion that is different than yours, you're never going to get anything else done in a day's time. Now isn't THAT making good use of the earthly time the Lord gave you, eh?

At the end of the day, what really matters is..... as a Catholic, are you following the teachings & directives of the Roman Catholic Church? If you're not, then you're not Catholic. Get a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church & read it. It contains everything you need to know about being a Catholic. If you don't agree with what you read & don't believe in what you read, then you should find a different denomination to call your own... cos you're sure not going to be very productive or happy in the Catholic Church, that's for sure!

Yes, I believe there are "Catholics" within the Roman Catholic Church (probably close to a majority) who don't believe in the Real Presence anymore, who don't attend Mass anymore, who don't go to confession anymore, etc. Do I think this is the fault of Vatican II? No. Do I think this is the fault of the way our culture has evolved? Yes. I believe the wrongful interpretation of Vatican II, and the mistakes that came out of it, were all influenced by the "hippie generation". Perhaps Vatican II was even convened due to the pressures of the culture at that time, to be more "free", more "open", more "relaxed".... to "change with the times".

The Catholic Church is now changed but She is not the only thing that is changed. What is considered appropriate for television is now changed, what is considered acceptable living arrangements is now changed, what is considered decent clothing is now changed, what was once considered wrong is now considered right. It's the whole world's culture of which the Roman Catholic Church happens to be a part. I think what is happening is that everyone is trying to remove the Catholic Church from the environment She's in. You can't do that.

No one is going to change the culture of today. No one! It's too far gone to ever turn back. Radio shows aren't going to change anything, YouTube videos aren't going to change anything, magazines & newspapers aren't going to change anything, and bulletin boards on the internet aren't going to change anything.

What can we do then? We can change things within our own families. We can boycott cable television, we can boycott inappropriate clothing & music, we can teach the Catholic Catechism to our children, we can uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church within our own homes, and we can find parishes to attend that adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church & Catechism... and we can pray. Most of all we can pray! Because Our Lord & Our Lady are the only Ones who can fix the problems & the atrocities (Catholics being pro-choice, Catholics treating the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Host with such disregard, etc.) occurring today. If any human thinks they can fix these things, they're delusional.... in my view.

September 5, 2013 at 12:40 pm PST
#136  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Karl:

Thanks for providing a definition of Siri Vacantism. I keep forgetting not everyone is as old and as familiar with these "interesting" traditionalist offshoots as you and I are. Since I never really took the Siri Thesis all that seriously - in my day I knew one, maybe two, proponents of the theory - I never gave it much of a look. Even less the dozen or so mini papal claimants running around Idaho, Kansas or northern Quebec. (Although the group in northern Quebec loyal to "Pope" Gregory did produce some great religious art that I purchased on occasion.) For me it simply made no sense that the visible head of the Church would be...well...invisible.

Sedevacantism, on the other hand, I took much more seriously. For the reasons noted by everyone else that sedevacantists tended to be surprisingly normal and rational when the issue was not Vatican II or post-conciliar papacies. No crusades against women in pants or the Sound of Music, no dressing their kids in Amish attire, no hyper-vigilance over alleged secret political conspiracies or attempts to sell me special vitamins. In fact, early on in the North American traditionalist scene sedevacantist priest and author Fr. Cekada wrote an essay: "Why are Traditionalist chapels so weird?" or something along those lines, in which he describes several extreme practices common within traditionalist chapels at the time (like denying Communion to women in slacks) and how to overcome them. In short, he was appealing for trads to be normal.

Likewise, in his rebuttal of Bishop Williamson's Holocaust denial, Fr. Cekada's associate Bishop Sandborn blasts Williamson, mentioning that he (Sandborn) has spent the past 30 years trying to keep conspiracy theories and fringe political movements out of the traditionalist movement.

Additionally, most sedevacantist adult male laity I knew not only seemed to find and hold jobs without being blacklisted by some alleged secret Judeo-Masonic-Government plot, but a disproportionate number of them held high-paying jobs and were respected professionals in the STEMM sectors (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine). I have often pondered this connection since a disproportionate number of avowed atheists are also found in these professions. Is there a connection? I don't know.

Regardless, the true danger posed by sedevacantists to the rest of the traditionalist movement is that they tended to be well-educated, friendly and otherwise normal. The Dimond brothers actually did both the SSPX and the Indult/EF a favour by putting themselves forward as the champions of sedevacantism - one not appreciated by the average sedevacantist who likely has more in common with Richard Dawkins than Brothers Michael and Peter.

In fact, several sources close to Archbishop Lefebvre - including former SSPX and FSSP major superiors - independently have told me that Archbishop Lefebvre in his later years often bemoaned the fact that sedevacantism had claimed some of his brightest seminarians and priests, as well as laity.

For me personally, though - and I think I can now admit this publicly without causing anyone scandal - the big danger (and temptation) was always Mgr des Lauriers' theory of sedeprivationism. Even after reconciling with Church and becoming an outspoken proponent for communion with Rome and the indult, I continued to struggle privately with sedeprivationism. (The theory that Pope John Paul II was a material pope with the potential to assume fully the papal office, but not a formal pope.)

I hope Karl and Chris will forgive me, since some of my occasional collaboration with Catholic Answers at the time, as well as some of my feuds with Ferrara and the Remnent, were me struggling personally through the sedeprivationist temptation. Actually - and I say this to Chris and Michael Matt in a spirit of open dialogue and reconciliation - this was a big part of the reason I reacted so negatively to the Remnant's "We Resist You to Your Face." I know this was not your intention, but after reading it I came the closest that I ever came to embracing sedeprivationism. If memory serves correct, I approached Gerry Matatics about it, which led to the incident that brought about our falling out. (A different incident than the one mentioned above where he challenged me to debate sedeprivationism publicly.)

What stopped me, I think, was in God's mercy some traditionalist French lady back in QUebec had died and left me her collection of the writings of L'Abbe de Nantes - Mgr des Lauriers' most effective critic. Also, a good friend of mine who was a retired French Benedictine priest and theologian, an outspoken defender of Cardinal Ratzinger's interpretation of Vatican II, and a former student of Mgr des Lauriers before Vatican II, helped me work through the sedeprivationist temptations. Plus around this time I was reading Dom Basile Valuet's doctoral thesis defending Vatican II's teachings on religious liberty in light of tradition. (As mentioned previously, Basile had been the traditionalist movement's most well-read critic of religious liberty when his monastery reconciled with Rome under Ecclesia Dei.)

And over in France, the SOciety of St. Vincent Ferrer had just bested the SSPX in their latest feud. SSVF vs. SSPX feuds were always the most acrimonious given that the SSVF had originally parted with the SSPX on bad terms to pursue sede'ism. Then, in the middle of a public feud with the SSPX, the SSVF abruptly switched over to the Ecclesia Dei position, recognized Pope John Paul II as pope, and resumed their public feud with the SSPX even before they could be reconciled with ROme. In fact, it was the culmination of one SSPX vs. SSVF feud that ended with the SSVF publishing a photo of Archbishop Lefebvre's signature on the Vatican II document on religious liberty - a document that the SSPX had always claimed Lefebvre had refused to sign at the Council.

Anyway, I would struggle with sedeprivationist temptations on and off until - like the whole world - I witnessed John Paul II's heroic death. This is the moment where I really realized how much I loved that man, both as a Catholic and a pope. (Of course during the brief interregnum between JPII and Benedict , I was sedevacantist along with the rest of the Church!) But the election of Pope Benedict cured me of sede temptations, praise God!

September 5, 2013 at 4:32 pm PST
#137  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Chris, Karl, and Michael Matt:

Not sure if any of you read French, but if you do, I just noticed that all six tomes of Dom Basile Valuet's doctoral thesis (with a preface written by then-Cardinal Ratzinger as Prefect of CDF) are still available through Amazon France. The title translates into English as "Religious Liberty and Catholic Tradition". Here is the link:

http://www.amazon.fr/Liberte-Religieuse-Tradition-Catholique-Vol/dp/2906972231/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1378429785&sr=8-3&keywords=Basile+Valuet

It is expensive at 180 Euros, but well worth the read - all 3,000 pages, including about a thousand pages of footnotes and bibliography. It is probably the most exhaustive treatise ever written on Vatican II's Dignitatis Humanae, not only from the Traditional Catholic perspective but by any Catholic theologian.

In it, Dom Basile traces the development of the Council's teaching on religious liberty through pre-Christian Judaism, then the Patristic era (both East and West) and throughout Medieval scholasticism and the Church's response to the Protestant Reformation.

What makes it truly convincing is that Dom Basile had, as Dom Gerard Calvet's top theologian at the traditional Benedictine monastery of Le Barroux, initially set out to prove the opposite of what he eventually concludes in the work - namely, he set out to prove that Vatican II's teaching on Religious Liberty contradicted earlier Catholic Tradition. I believe that this was part of the deal when Le Barroux monastery reconciled with Rome in 1988, namely, that the monastery would present to Rome, in a scholarly and non-polemical manner, its objections to Dignitatis Humanae.

However, in doing the research Dom Basile came to conclude that the Council's teaching on Religious Liberty in fact had a solid basis within Catholic Tradition. And to needle friends on this thread who prefer the Novus Ordo, no Catholic theologian outside of the traditionalist movement has matched the quality and depth of this work's scholarship.

If memory serves correct - and here I admit I may be wrong, since we are going back 15 years - I believe this may be the work that convinced the Society of St. Vincent Ferrer to abandon sedevacantism for the Ecclesia Dei position. I do recall that they accepted Vatican II's teaching on Religious Liberty (shortly) before they accepted the validity of the post-conciliar popes, and that it was upon the basis of their acceptance of Religious Liberty as founded in Catholic Tradition that they accepted the validity of John Paul II's papacy.

This is also the work that provided me with the bulk of my source material whenever I debated trads who rejected Vatican II's teaching on Religious Liberty.

September 5, 2013 at 6:39 pm PST
#138  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

I just did a little fact checking to jog my memory, given that we're going back several years. Some corrections to my two previous posts:

- The Society of St. Vincent Ferrer was actually sedeprivationist when they broke with the SSPX, and not sedevacantist as I mistakenly claimed.

- The SSFV actually reversed itself on Religious Liberty and sedeprivationism abruptly and publicly in 1987, about a year before Archbishop Lefebvre's episcopal consecrations. In fact this their reversal in recognizing John Paul II as pope became the basis for the SSFV's public opposition to Archbishop Lefebvre's proposed consecrations in the period leading up to the consecrations.

Obviously this took place well before Dom Basile researched, wrote and published his doctoral thesis. The SSVF would then become one of the first traditionalist orders to regularize under Ecclesia Dei shortly after the 1988 episcopal consecrations.

Having said that, I have searched my brain and I cannot recall which group of priests or high-profile traditionalists were brought over to the Ecclesia Dei position after reading Dom Basile's thesis. Chris, Michael M or Shawn - any of you remember?

September 5, 2013 at 7:05 pm PST
#139  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Chris, Karl and Kevin:

I may be thinking of Fr. Bernard Lucien, another former SSPX-priest-turned-sedeprivationist-apologist-turned-Ecclesia-Dei-theologian-endorsed-by-Cardinal-Ratzinger/-Pope-Benedict. I believe he is now a member of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

Chris:

I would highly recommend his work post-reconciliation if you ever write another series on sedevacantism. Fr. Lucien is one of the most effective apologists against sedevacantism/privation that I have come across.

Kevin and Karl:

Fr. Lucien's current work involves adapting Pope Benedict's "theology of joy" to the traditionalist movement. I am skimming it right now, having only just come across it tonight, but what I am reading so far looks good.

September 5, 2013 at 7:55 pm PST
#140  Matthew Jenkins - Lakeville, Minnesota

Pete Vere,

While I have not read Dom Basile Valuet's work, I personally find it very hard to believe that Dignitatis Humanae/religious liberty and its interpretive understanding by Pope Benedict XVI is not a sharp break from Tradition. Msg. Brunero Gherardini seems to have strongly suggested we may well be looking at a break from Holy Tradition. Fr. Thomas Crean, in his 2005 address to the St. John Fischer Society, declared that the only way DH could be reconciled with tradition is if it is understood to exclude all existing non-Catholic religions. And, of course, SSPX has produced material on this subject as well.

I have found those claiming a break in Tradition to be fairly compelling, even if every form of every argument of theirs isn't always sound. I have yet to find any defender of DH make any kind of substantive case that holds up to rigorous examination. The more I have examined the subject, the more wanting I find DH to be.

While Dom Basile Valuet reversing his initial position does show some genuine sincerity on his part, the reversal itself does not establish one iota of proof on behalf of DH. I could actually make a similar claim in reverse, since I was initially very positively disposed toward DH and only later, upon reviewing tradtionalist claims against the document, did I come to sour on it.

There seems to be only 2 ways to conceivably reconcile DH with Tradition: either 1) declare that Holy Tradition's restrictions on the public practice and propagation of non-Catholic religions were a grave error that dozens of popes, including all of those throughout the 1800s and first half of the 1900s, engaged in, detestably abridging man's very human dignity and requiring correction. Or 2) somehow claim that when Pope Pius XII died, some mystical transforming epochal contextual shift descended upon the Church, the likes of which had never happened before, requiring certain wide-reaching alterations in official doctrinal teaching.

I find both of these possibilities to be non-starters, to say the least.

September 6, 2013 at 5:13 am PST
#141  Christopher Ferrara - Richmond, Virginia

Peter:

Any teaching of Vatican II that requires six volumes for an attempted reconciliation with prior teaching is patently problematical.

I do not, however, say that DH contradicts prior teaching. I say that it negates itself and leaves prior teaching intact. That is, it affirms that the traditional teaching on the duty of both men and states toward the Church remains untouched, then declares that despite the traditional teaching non-Catholic religionists have the right not to be impeded by the state in the propagation of their religion, but then declares that the state has the right to restrict the propagation of non-Catholic religions for the sake of the moral order and the common good as a whole. That is, DH leads us in a circle back to the traditional teaching, leaving the decision whether to repress public manifestations of non-Catholic religions to the civil authorities. The natural right of which it speaks can only mean, therefore, a natural right not to be impeded in the propagation of religious ideas the civil authorities determined not to be a threat to the common good. The Council can hardly have taught that there is a right not to be impeded in the propagation of religious falsehood even it harms the common good.

So, as I see it, DH changes nothing, but merely confuses people. But then, Vatican II has provoked a great deal of confusion, hasn't it? This makes it unique among Councils (with the possible exception of Constantinople II, which c).

Karl:

You have responded with silence to the idea of guesting in each other's video forums. This might lead to the conclusion that you have some sort of vested interest in maintaining the division your four-hour broadcast inflamed.

Also, was it really necessary to air in public your detailed psychoanalysis of Gerry and your view of his character and work ethic? I found that embarrassing and quite uncalled for. Gerry has publicly declare his sedevacantism, and we are thus entitled to discuss it publicly. But to air private remarks about Gerry's character, fitness, and career suitability is, I am afraid, gratuitous detraction.

Finally, I did not see Gerry's sedevacantism because he denied it to me emphatically, not because I was blinded by loyalty

September 6, 2013 at 11:16 am PST
#142  DM Ferra - Washington, New Jersey

Mr. Keating,

With all due respect, the term "absolute chaos" used by Christopher Ferrara is quite apt.

It is only because one does not penetrate beyond mere appearances that one would say otherwise.

I will quote Father John Hardon, S.J., a revered moral theologian of the Catholic Church:

"Our century is witnessing the most widespread and devastating loss of loss of faith among Christians, including Catholics, in the history of Christianity. There has never been such widespread apostasy among once believing Catholics as the twentieth century. In the Western world there has been a massive abandonment of Christian belief and a corresponding abandonment of Christian morality....Many of our once believing Catholics no longer believe that Christ died on the Cross for the redemption of the human race; or that Christ rose from the dead. Millions of Catholics no longer believe that Christ instituted the Sacraments...."

This is absolute chaos in the interior life of the Mystical Body...the world beyond mere appearances....the world that God sees with penetrating vision.

It is clear that Catholics, who as a voting body, are responsible for putting office the most anti-life, anti-Catholic, anti-conscience President in the history of the United States, have all but lost their Catholic identity.

It is clear that Catholics, who appear sporadically in Church on Sundays with their regulation 2 children per marriage, have totally committed to the un-Christian contraceptive mentality -- whether they are employing natural or artificial means.

It is clear that Catholics, who go in droves to Communion, rather mechanically and ritualistically, while the Confessionals remain empty Sunday after Sunday, no longer have any moral or spiritual compass to provide them any clear vision of sin, of the universal call to sanctity of life and the primacy of eternal values.

This is absolute chaos in the interior life of the Mystical Body.

And yet, one does NOT see any of these moral and spiritual problems in the traditional Catholic communities, where religious vocations spring forth is clearly larger numbers per capita than in the Novus Ordo communities where Catholicism appears to be practiced only superficially by larger and larger numbers of the once-faithful.

It is a small matter that some "crack pots" question the historical accuracy of the facts surrounding the Holocaust -- facts which I certainly do no deny. I dare say there are Novus Ordo Catholics and Protestants who question these historical facts as well, whether justified or not. It is not a peculiarly "traditionalist" twist of mind.

It is "absolute chaos", on the other hand, whether Novus Ordo Catholics no longer receive proper catechetics from their "gun shy" bishops and pastors, who are filled with dread at the thought of preaching against contraception, or about the realities of mortal sin, or about the Real Presence -- a Presence relegated to side altars or mysteriously hidden "rooms" when one tries to find it, or to render Our Lord due reverence.

Yes, Mr. Keating: the term "absolute chaos" is quite apt. Please open your eyes.

The Catholic Church is in an unprecedented crisis, and the only harbors in the storm are Traditionalist chapels and parishes. Thank God for those who resisted all that followed Vatican II. If not for them, many more of us would have lost our way and our Catholic Faith.

September 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm PST
#143  DM Ferra - Washington, New Jersey

One further illustration to my comment above:

If the majority the US Military continued to wear the American uniform while secretly sabotaging and betraying US interests at home and abroad, would this not be termed "absolute chaos" and treason?

I do not think it's a long shot comparison.

The vast majority of Catholics are now Catholic in name only. They do not resist the culture of hedonism and contraception and do not embrace a serious and fruitful sacramental life as Catholics. This is destroying the interior life of the Mystical Body, and the decay is becoming more and more apparent.

The fact that we are now faced with such things as the HHS mandate and Obamacare, which will force Catholics to subsidize abortion and contraception, is ONLY because Catholics as a body voted in a President whose moral values and voting record (to include his veto of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, a veto which is nothing short of a vote for barbarism) are diametrically opposed to Catholic moral teaching.

Such a contradiction did not warrant consideration for the Catholics who helped make him President.

This is "absolute chaos" in the Catholic Church.

September 6, 2013 at 2:16 pm PST
#144  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Richard Malcolm (post 134):

You say, "So far as I know, the only source suggesting that Cardinal Siri was elected in either of the two 1978 conclaves is Malachi Martin, who alleged in a radio program back in the late 90's that Siri was elected in the October '78 conclave, but immediately refused to accept because of some death threat. Of course, that's Martin - he made a lot of amazing claims over the years, some which are likely true, but some of them...well, you wonder."

I always have marveled at the credence some people put in Martin. Why wasn't he seen as what he was, an engaging charlatan?

There was a time--around when "Windswept House" and "The Keys of This Blood" were published--when he repeatedly would quote things, verbatim, that John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger supposedly had said to one another in private meetings. Were we to understand that Martin had been present? (He wasn't remotely the Vatican insider he liked people to think he was.) Or were we to think that the pope or the cardinal picked up the phone and told him what transpired?

Or, more likely, was he doing a twentieth-century version of what Dr. Johnson did? Johnson frequently was commissioned to write prefaces to other people's works. Asked how he found time to read those books, he said that he didn't bother to read them. He said he knew what books on such topics ought to say, and he wrote his prefaces accordingly.

September 6, 2013 at 3:22 pm PST
#145  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Pete Vere (post 136):

I won't comment on the last five paragraphs of your post, except to thank you for your candor about your own theological temptations. You wrote movingly of them, and I hope people will give those paragraphs the close reading they deserve.

Let me quote a fun earlier paragraph:

"[S]edevacantists tended to be surprisingly normal and rational when the issue was not Vatican II or post-conciliar papacies. No crusades against women in pants or the 'Sound of Music,' no dressing their kids in Amish attire, no hyper-vigilance over alleged secret political conspiracies or attempts to sell me special vitamins. In fact, early on in the North American traditionalist scene sedevacantist priest and author Fr. Cekada wrote an essay: 'Why are Traditionalist chapels so weird?' or something along those lines, in which he describes several extreme practices common within traditionalist chapels at the time (like denying Communion to women in slacks) and how to overcome them. In short, he was appealing for trads to be normal."

I wasn't aware of the push to buy special vitamins, but I remember the push for what you call "Amish attire." That was a tendency seen, to greater or lesser degrees, also in the Catholic charismatic movement and in the Catholic homeschooling movement, with women dressing in "gunnysack dresses."

I agree that it was an unexpected thing that sedevacantists would break from the tendencies you list. Antecedently, one might have expected sedevacantists to be more hyper on those issues than were other Traditionalists, but that turns out not to have been the case.

September 6, 2013 at 3:44 pm PST
#146  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Matthew Jenkins (post 140):

Have you read Fr. Brian Harrison on religious liberty? He has written about it in a number of venues, and I found his take on "Dignitatis Humanae" to be well structured.

(Some of his early thoughts on the subject can be found in "Religious Liberty and Contraception" [1988], but I don't recommend that you attempt to purchase that book through Amazon, where the price for a copy is listed as $2,467.99!)

September 6, 2013 at 3:55 pm PST
#147  Matthew Jenkins - Lakeville, Minnesota

Mr. Keating:

Yes, I have read an ample amount of Fr. Brian Harrison's work on Dignitatis Humanae. If I have tracked with it correctly, it seems that the structural rationale behind his defense has shifted a few times over the years.

No, I don't find his work on this subject any more convincing than that of Most or Likoudis.

Do you genuinely, honestly believe, Mr. Keating, that if a copy of Dignitatis Humanae had been presented to Gregory XVI, Pius IX, or Leo XIII they would all have said that this is perfectly bona fide, sound Catholic teaching, explicating what had always been implicit in the Church's doctrine of the subject, and perfectly in keeping with their own papal magisterial doctrinal teaching?

Really?

September 6, 2013 at 4:09 pm PST
#148  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Chris Ferrara (post 141):

"You have responded with silence to the idea of guesting in each other's video forums. This might lead to the conclusion that you have some sort of vested interest in maintaining the division your four-hour broadcast inflamed."

We don't have a "video forum." I think you have in mind the "Catholic Answers Live" radio program. Candidly, your participation is a non-starter. Our show is syndicated through EWTN, the principals of which undoubtedly would object to our having as an on-air guest someone who wrote a book slamming their work and integrity.

(I note that it was insufficient for you simply to remind me about your proposal. You had to append innuendo. Why do you keep writing that way?)

My remarks about Gerry Matatics were accurate and, I think, even generous. It isn't psychoanalysis to write about exceptional talents gone to waste.

You say you were embarrassed by my comments about him. I wish you were as embarrassed about your years-long public defenses of him and the blind eye you turned to what he said and did.

September 6, 2013 at 4:18 pm PST
#149  Kevin Tierney - Howell, Michigan

****

September 6, 2013 at 4:44 pm PST
#150  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Karl:

In fairness to Chris, outside of Quebec sedeprivationism had maybe 100 followers in North America - none of whom had much of a public profile with the exception of Thuc-line bishop Robert McKenna - around the time I confronted Gerry over whether or not he was sedeprivationist. Up until I mentioned the word "sedeprivationist" Gerry had emphatically denied to me repeatedly that he was promoting sedevacantism. In fact, he was the one who invited me to discuss his views on sedevacantism so as to clarify his position.

Sedeprivationism was a hot topic among trads outside of the English-speaking world, but in English-speaking North America sedeprivationism was relatively unknown even among traditionalists. In fact, I recall the reaction of most folks on this side of the Atlantic was the following when I suggested Gerry was promoting sedeprivationism: "What's sedeprivationism?" Followed by "How is this any different than sedevacantism?"

All this to say, I doubt it would have occurred to Chris - and he can correct me if I am wrong - to ask Gerry whether or not he was leaning toward sedeprivationism. Of course it occurred to me, but only because I followed trad discussion in France and had personally wrestled with the issue.

***
Chris:

In fairness to Karl, given that sedeprivationism was relatively unknown to the traditionalist movement in English-speaking North America, I think Gerry had a duty to be candid about the ideology he was pushing. Simply denying he was sedevacantist - even emphatically - is insufficient when one is pushing ideas very similar to sedevacantism, especially to an unsuspecting audience, especially to one that one ought to know would find such a theory objectionable.

Again, this was around the same time, if I recall correctly, that Dr. Tom Drolesky, Mario Derksen, and Michael & Cindy Cain made the jump from "recognize but resist" to sedevacantism. Each of these individuals was quite open and candid about their jump, the fact they had become sedevacantists, and that they were now promoting sedevacantism.

Can you agree that Gerry should have been more forthcoming about the sede ideology he was then promoting?

***
With regards to Dom Basile's doctoral thesis. I can understand why you may be reluctant to wade through 3,000 pages of dense academic French. In which case Dom Basile has now completed a 600 page summary and less intense overview of his thesis, which is available through Le Barroux monastery in France.

Chris, both you and I go back to a time when the traditionalist movement was primarly about the Second Vatican Council and not the Tridentine liturgy as it is today. Chief among our concerns about V2 back then was DH. So it goes without saying that the document proved problematical to traditionalists. As I mentioned in previous posts, Dom Basile's thesis was written in response to Rome's invitation to traditionalists to present in a scholarly and non-polemical matter that which we found problematical with the Council's teaching.

That being said, I think it impoverishes certain schools of traditionalist thought in English-speaking North America to simply dismiss or ignore Dom Basile's thesis merely because of its length, one has not read it, or because one cannot foresee oneself agreeing with his conclusions. As top theologian at Le Barroux monastery and a priest ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre, I doubt Basile would have agreed with his final conclusion when he first set out to research and write his thesis.

But that aside, the Church is universal. So too is the traditionalist movement. Dom Basile, through his thesis, has established himself as the foremost expert on DH, not only among traditionalists but among Catholics as a whole. He was lauded as such by no less an individual as then Cardinal Ratzinger when the latter was prefect of the CDF and thus the Church's top theologian. For almost two decades, Dom Basile's thesis has been the main reference point through which traditionalists (outside of English-speaking North America) ranging from Ecclesia Dei/ EF to sedevacantists have debated DH. Thus American trads do themselves no favors by ignoring or lightly dismissing Basile's thesis. Isolationism is a long-standing political tradition in America, but it should never extend to matters of faith that have universal importance.

That Basile has reconciled DH's teaching on religious liberty with Catholic Tradition is of great importance, not only to traditionalists but to the Church as a whole. That the strength of his arguments have brought back to the Church some of the leading lights of sedevacantism and sedeprivationism is just as worthy of exploration, especially for those of us like you and me who have been in the thick of debate contra sede'ism. That Basile has not only presented a credible traditionalist voice, but become the wider Church's top expert on the topic, convincing Catholic theologians outside of the traditionalist movement to take a more traditional interpretation of DH is similarly noteworthy. Thus I fail to understand the reluctance among English-speaking North American trads to consider Dom Basile's work.

I won't comment on the invitation for you and Karl to appear on each other's show, since that is between the two of you. However, thinking out loud, this whole question of DH, Religious Liberty and Catholic Tradition would make an excellent topic for a gathering if a discussion group similar to GREC were formed in North America. Might I suggest Ottawa as a possible location?

As Canada's capital, there are flights in and out from pretty much every major U.S. city. Additionally, Ottawa has both a FSSP chapel (in fact, the fraternity's oldest and flagship parish) within walking distance of a SSPX chapel, two university conference centres, and lots of great restaurants (including Italian), and some good Irish pubs. I would be more than happy to treat you and Karl to a couple pints at the Heart & Crown.

September 6, 2013 at 5:12 pm PST
#151  Christopher Ferrara - Richmond, Virginia

Karl,

Regarding Gerry you wrote: "my deeper concerns were at the level of ethics and character."

"I thought that Gerry could have excelled Scott, if he had applied himself. But he never had the self-discipline."

"What does matter is that a man with exceptional talents and exceptional promise misused those talents and never fulfilled that promise—not because outside forces were against him but because of his own inner failings."

You call these comments generous? You publicly question his ethics and character, call him undisciplined, and pronounce him a failure. Where I come from, Karl, this is called kicking a man when he is down. It is pointless detraction.

Remind never to admit anything to you again.

Chris

September 6, 2013 at 8:35 pm PST
#152  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

P.S. Chris:

Not to draw you into the ongoing debate between Karl and me over the issue (although that would certainly make for strange bedfellows!), but are you sure Gerry has come out as a full-fledged sedevacantist? Has he actually declared himself sedevacantist? As I stated previously, the last time Gerry and I spoke he was pushing something much more closer to the sedeprivationist position. Thus I was wondering whether you meant actual sedevacantism, or whether you were using the term sedevcantist generically to include all sede'isms.

Granted, it may seem like a moot point to you and Karl. Fair enough. Sedeprivationism has for the most part withered away - its chief proponents having either died reconciled to Rome, or reconciled with Rome and now functioning within various Ecclesia Dei communities. But my concern is that we may be seeing a revival of what I consider practical sedeprivationism among the so-called "SSPX resistance" loyal to Bishop Williamson.

Certainly, Williamson's aversion to negotiations with Rome (if not outright sabotage from within) seems in part of based on a refusal to recognize recent popes as formally wielding the power of office.

And let's be frank here. While Williamson has always rejected sede'ism in the present, at the same time he has also kept the sede door open for the future. In fact the last time I heard him speak publicly live at a confirmation mass in Toronto, Williamson warned those gathered that "The time may come when we are forced to abandon the SSPX to hold on to Catholic Tradition. The time may come when we are forced to become sedevacantists to hold fast to the Tradition passed down to us by Archbishop Lefebvre."

This was in Toronto during the mid-90's. I believe Fr. Gruner was in attendance as well. He may recall better Williamson's words at that event. Certainly, I was concerned enough at the time (still being SSPX) to approach Michael Davies, who assured me he would relay the information to Econe (I cannot recall if Fr. Schmidberger was still superior general at the time, or whether Bishop Fellay had recently been elected).

Regardless, it would not surprise me to see new variations among the old sedeprivationist arguments resurface among the Williamson-led resistance. If so, this could potentially open up some new avenues for others who espouse similar theories.

September 6, 2013 at 9:45 pm PST
#153  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Chris Ferrara (post 151):

Gerry led people astray, souring them against the Church, her sacraments, and her leaders. In the end he followed the logic of his position and effectively abandoned the Church.

For more than a decade you gave him cover.

September 6, 2013 at 10:01 pm PST
#154  Catholic Suzie Homemaker - Rib Lake, Wisconsin

Karl Keating: Post #145

"I wasn't aware of the push to buy special vitamins, but I remember the push for what you call "Amish attire." That was a tendency seen, to greater or lesser degrees, also in the Catholic charismatic movement and in the Catholic homeschooling movement, with women dressing in "gunnysack dresses."

Mr. Keating... what a sexist, ugly, chauvinistic thing to say about the modest attire some women perceive as, directly by God, to wear!!! What a slam to Amish women... and to women in the charistmastic movement & those in the Catholic homeschooling movement... saying they dress in "gunnysack dresses".

Shame on you. Shame. On. You!!

September 6, 2013 at 11:13 pm PST
#155  Brennan Doherty - Beaverton, Oregon

"Mr. Keating... what a sexist, ugly, chauvinistic thing to say about the modest attire some women perceive as, directly by God, to wear!!! What a slam to Amish women... and to women in the charistmastic movement & those in the Catholic homeschooling movement... saying they dress in "gunnysack dresses".

Shame on you. Shame. On. You!!"

Okay, this comment has just won the award for best post in the entire debate. Everyone, thanks for participating.

September 7, 2013 at 3:58 am PST
#156  Christopher Ferrara - Richmond, Virginia

Karl, please. I gave Gerry no cover whatsoever once he went public with his error, let alone twelve years of cover. On the contrary, I wrote a five-part series against sedevacantism published in both of the newspapers in which Gerry had had a forum.

Further, I remonstrated privately with Gerry before he took any public position. We even had a group conference with Father Harrison at Howard Walsh's home in NJ, after which he thanked us for showing him the fallacies of the sedevacantist polemic.

What I didn't do, Karl, is what you have just done here: publicly and quite gratuitously question Gerry's ethics and character and depict him as a pathetic loser who lacked the discipline to succeed. What does this have to do with the error of sedevacantism? Nobody needed to read your rather imperious diagnosis of The Tragic Life of Gerry Matatics. Have you no compassion for him and his family? How do you think he, his wife and children will feel when they read your completely unnecessary public remarks?

It wouldn't hurt you to admit your own mistakes once in a while.

September 7, 2013 at 4:39 am PST
#157  Christopher Ferrara - Richmond, Virginia

Peter,

I agree that Williamson is preaching de facto sedevacantism. I wrote against him publicly on this score and he responded without mentioning my name.

Chris

September 7, 2013 at 4:43 am PST
#158  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Karl:

LOL! Speaking of the old days, the reference to Amish dress is one I borrowed from Charles Coulombe, as you know my predecessor as l'enfant terrible of the traditionalist movement. He could always capture the young traditionalist imagination with a colourful phrase. French-American, Feeneyite, Monarchist, wrote a bestseller on the history of rum, and once boasted in the traditionalist media of having beaten me at a five-hour game of siege (a kid's game involving firing little orange cannonballs at each other's castles) in my uncle's basement during the wee hours of the morning as we wore old-fashioned nightshirts and consumed several bottles of port (it was true!) - what was there not to like about the guy? Of course those were the days of eccentric and colourful characters within the traditionalist movement.

Coulombe's exact quote, if I recall correctly, was: "By our baptism and confirmation Christ calls us to be foot soldiers in the Church Militant, not Amish." This was in response to our parish scold who made it her mission to drive out young Catholics checking out the TLM for the first time by criticizing the length of their sleeves during hot summer days.

With regards to the vitamins, yeah, these popped up from time to time as well within the movement. I have come across it myself. At one point, when I was still SSPX, one of our local priests wrote a letter against this trend creeping up among certain individuals in local SSPX chapels.

Sedevacantist bishop Donald Sandborn, a close collaborator with Fr. Cekeda, also mentioned it in passing in his response to Bishop Williamson's Holocaust denial when the incident blew up in the media. Here are the relevant paragraphs:

*******
"It must be said that Bishop Williamson did everyone great harm, including ourselves, by publicly commenting on something that has absolutely nothing to do with the crusade against Vatican II and its changes. Our single goal consists of rolling back the changes of Vatican II, nothing more and nothing less. But many in the traditional movement have added “baggage” to this unique agenda, attaching to it various political, historical, and so- cial worldviews which skew and obscure this central objective. Often by attaching this baggage they thwart the very work which has been accomplished with painstaking effort. For people come to our chapels for a single motive: to oppose the new religion of Vatican II. They do not come, or should not come, in order to be Jew-haters, conspiracy theorists, geocentrists, ***natural food fanatics*** [emphasis added], homeopaths, right-wing political activists, or historical revisionists. Many have tried to drag in such things to the traditional movement. I, for one, have striven incessantly in my thirty-four years of the priesthood to keep these things out of the traditional movement, ever conscious of the danger that they posed to my work.

"The Catholic Church must never identify itself with anything else than the Catholic Faith and with those practical conclusions which flow necessarily from the Catholic Faith, such as the reign of Christ in society. It must never involve itself in the passing trends of the day, or in particular agendas of particular people, in scientific or historical theories (except to condemn them if they should contradict the Faith), in brief in anything which would compromise its universality.

"That clergy, and especially a bishop, publicly espouse revisionist theses or conspiracy theories, which give even the common impression of hatred of Jews, of sympathy with the Nazi régime, or give credibility to fringy and outlandish concoctions of anti-government fanatics, does serious harm to the Catholic Church. The clergy must always see themselves as agents of the Catholic Church, since they are seen as this by the general public, whether Catholic or non-Catholic, whenever they say or do anything. The priest, and especially the bishop, must lose his identity in a way, by becoming in a certain sense the very person of the Catholic Church which he represents."

*******
One can see how sedevacantism proved tempting to many trads. Next to the fuhrer raised by Bishop Williamson, Bishop Sandborn sounds quite reasonable. Normal, actually. Apart from his reference to rejecting the Second Vatican Council, his words could have been written by any conservative Catholic bishop. Which is why many trads who attended sedevacantist chapels were not in fact sedevacantist. They were simply Catholic traditionalists seeking refuge from the craziness that had infected certain branches of the traditionalist movement.

Another person who referenced the vitamin thing in passing and rejected it was Michael Davies. This was in one of his final Remnant columns, when he announced that he had cancer and that it was likely terminal. If I recall correctly (and I would ask Michael Matt to correct me on this if I am wrong), Davies stated that he trusted his doctors and asked readers not send him recommendations for vitamin treatments.

Speaking of colourful characters in the old days of the traditionalist movement, Davies was certainly one of them. He was every bit the eccentric English gentleman and retired school teacher. No doubt some will be outraged with what I am about to say, considering it disrespectful of the dead. The Puritan roots of American conservatism run deep in this respect. But Davies was no Puritan and he would have wanted it said of him: When he was good, he was good. When he was drunk, he was better.

I still recall his famous debate with Dr. E Michael Jones over the validity of the SSPX excommunications. I think everyone who watched the debate will remember it, with the possible exception of Davies. This was Davies at his best.

Which reminds me of another fun incident involving Davies, Gerry and myself. We were at a function in upstate New York during the late 90's and decided to grab a table together over supper. Gerry and I ordered a beer and asked the waitress to make sure it was nice and cold. Frosted mugs if possible.

Davies just lit into us for bothering the poor woman, saying to her something along the lines: "Pete and Gerry, leave the poor woman alone. Can't you see she has other tables to wait? My dear, please don't inconvenience yourself over these two. If they won't drink it, I will."

To which Gerry responded: "In that case, would you mind sticking it in the microwave for thirty seconds? Our friend here is British."

September 7, 2013 at 6:09 am PST
#159  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Chris:

The following is in the context of appreciating what you have stated publicly regarding Williamson. I realize that I probably sound like a broken record to the present audience, and that from our side of the issue (you, Karl, myself) on this side of the Atlantic the distinction seems of little import since error is error.

However, I really believe that what Williamson and the so-called resistance are preaching is sedeprivationism, and not outright sedevacantism. That is the resistance treated Pope Benedict, and today Francis, as a material pope but not a formal one.

I believe Fr. Niklaus Pfluger implies such in the following passages of his private letter to Williamson, the same letter that Williamson's followers have subsequently translated and made public:

*******
In your commentaries on the talks going on between the Society and the Curia you give the impression that the worst thing you can imagine is a re-union, a Catholic return to normal. When I read that, when cradle Catholics read that, we just do not understand. When it comes to living our religion, there is nothing we wish for more than to be able to live undisturbed like Catholics, and nothing makes us suffer so much as finding ourselves in a situation where our conscience, as enlightened by the centuries-old Magisterium, makes that impossible. Your very logic with regard to Rome is false, a vicious circle – “Because they are modernists, we cannot and may not talk with them.” Yet faith comes from hearing. Then can the Pope and the Curia never become Catholic, because nobody talks to them ? What is the point of our praying and going on mission ? Quite independently of your revolutionary attitude whereby, just because you are a bishop, you know it all, both what is Catholic and what is not, and how the Society should behave towards Rome, and forget the Superior General. Anyone would think the world turns
around you. As I said, maybe the Pope was referring to this unbending narrow-mindedness. For indeed the relation to reality alone makes something true, and not because one wants it to be true. I do not think one can be Catholic if one does not grasp with all one’s senses what that means. This grasp you obviously do not have. I repeat, your sermons against love in Zaitzkofen and St Nicolas de Chardonnet are legendary. The verdict is pronounced in Goethe’s “Faust, Part One”: “Unless you feel it, you will not get it.”

Our venerable Founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, fully embodied this Catholic way of being. How he would let loose, many an evening, against Cardinal Ratzinger ! Only to admit ruefully on the following morning that he had exaggerated, and then he would praise the Cardinal’s piety. But when did you yourself once admit that you were wrong ? The Curia pushed its humiliating of the Archbishop beyond all limits, but he remained Catholic. That is what we hoped for from you.

***

Shortly before he was expelled from the SSPX, despite being its co-founder with Archbishop Lefebvre, Fr. Paul Alagnier expressed to me his concern that Bishop Williamson was creating a psychological schism both within the SSPX and from the Church. He feared that to Williamson and his loyalists, the state of division from Rome had become normal and that subsequent generation of SSPX faithful would not have the spiritual and emotional attachment to Rome enjoyed by Aulagnier's generation.

Actually, rather than put my spin on Aulagnier's thoughts, here are his exact words during a subsequent interview with Luc Gagnon (at the time a well-known pro-life and traditionalist activist from Quebec) for the Wanderer, an interview in which I was present via telephone and electronic communication at Fr. Aulagnier's request (At the time Father was reaching out to the SSPX's critics within the traditionalist movement, attempting to facilitate reconciliation):

******************
Additionally, I think that there is a danger in seeing this conflict [between Rome and the SSPX] last for ages. The Church is a visible and hierarchical society. If one lives too long in an autarchy, one ends up losing the meaning of what a hierarchy is. We are thus in danger, the time passing and the opposition remaining, of forgetting Rome and organizing ourselves more and more outside of Rome. This needs to be acknowledged.

This is why we must always remain in contact with Rome, not only for them to progress in the right direction, but unceasingly to remind ourselves of their good memory. We are of the flock. If we remain satisfied with our situation, then there is a danger of "psychological schism." The young people are of my opinion. I call it as it is. The SSPX leadership thinks I exaggerate, but our younger generations have never known a normal ecclesiastical situation. Thus I have accepted "this Canadian exile" for my ideas.

Q. Why do you believe that the reconciliation of Bishop Rifan and his priests is a positive step not only for the traditionalists of Campos, but for every traditional Catholic?

A. One reason is the danger of schism which I just expressed. Secondly, my friendship with these heroic priests has led me to experience their traditional parishes and their numerous works. I have especially seen even here the problem of the Mass. The attitude of Rome is new. Rome gave the Mass to our friends, the priests of Campos. And this freely and without condition. Rome recognizes their right, their facultas to celebrate the Traditional Mass in all the churches of their apostolic administration. I studied their statutes at length. So, for me, these things are going in the right direction in favor of the Mass.

*********
I recall being surprised of Fr. Aulagnier's use of the expression "psychological schism". In fact, I stopped the interview at that point and asked him whether he really meant for this to be on record with the Wanderer, especially given that the Wanderer was seen as the newspaper for conservatives and moderate traditionalists, that had often engaged in controversies with traditionalists closer to his SSPX position. He insisted that we report exactly what he had said. He had spent a long time contemplating this concern, and some encounter between him and Williamson at a SSPX chapel in Quebec had convinced Aulagnier of the need to go public with his warning.

But what I find truly interesting in retrospect is Aulagnier's subsequent prediction concerning Williamson during the same interview:

*********
Q. Do you think that the recent transfer of Bishop Williamson to Latin America has a link with the eventual reconciliation of the SSPX and Rome?

A. I believe it was simply routine. One should not imagine conflicts or hidden reasons where none exist. Granted, Bishop Williamson is one of the most firm opponents to a reconciliation with Rome. But that has nothing to do with his transfer to Argentina. He will likely remain opposed in La Reja. He is suspicious in nature. And suspicion leads to error. He thinks that "the Romans," as he likes to say, have not changed. It is his opinion. This opinion is dominant with Bishop Fellay today, but will it be tomorrow?

*********

Certainly time has vindicated Fr. Aulagnier's words about Bishop Fellay. The two have not only reconciled their differences, but Bishop Fellay invited Fr. Aulagnier to return to the SSPX when Bishop Williamson was undermining the SSPX's efforts to strike a deal with Rome. However, Fr. Aulagnier remains firmly committed to his position with the Institut Bon Pasteur where he can act as bridge between the SSPX and the Ecclesia Dei communities. But it is clear that Bishop Fellay is no longer influenced by Williamson's thinking - in fact, Fellay seems to have come over to Aulagnier's more conciliatory ways.

But, sadly, I think time has also vindicated Aulagnier's concerns about Williamson. The latter's suspicious nature has led to error with regards to mid-20'th Century German history. More seriously, as it affects the care of souls, it has led Williamson and the so-called resistance into a practical sedeprivationism, in which - pardon the reference to Fr. Cekada during your last public debate - the resistance has adopted the position of Benedict and Francis as "cardboard popes - for display purposes only."

This is my concern for English-speaking trads following today's controversies - that Williamson and the resistance are promoting a pessimistic traditionalism in which Francis is acknowledged as pope, but "for display purposes only." Which is why I urge you and others involved in defending against the Resistance to take a good look at sedeprivationsim and the debate that took place in Europe.

September 7, 2013 at 7:43 am PST
#160  Richard Malcolm - Silver Spring, Maryland

Hello Chris (post #151),

"Regarding Gerry you wrote: "my deeper concerns were at the level of ethics and character."

"...You call these comments generous? You publicly question his ethics and character, call him undisciplined, and pronounce him a failure."

I don't care to treat of Gerry's character, and I may have to part company with Karl on that. But I do think that his ethics in conducting himself during his slide into sedevacantism are very much open to question.

Matatics had a real cachet in traditional Catholic circles given his background. And yet he traded on that in making public appearances and selling his recordings without representing his position properly at the outset. And so you had the sad spectacle that I witnessed in 2005: innocent lay Catholics lured in to hear a standard apologetics talk on X, only to be urged with immense erudition and persuasion that they hadn't been receiving Christ in the Eucharist for years, and that the Pope almost certainly wasn't the Pope (so cagey was Gerry in making this point). And these people were deeply shaken in some cases.

I don't know why Gerry did this. The cynical view is that he knew that he would cut into his attendance and business if he came out openly as a sedecavantist (or even sedeprivationist). Perhaps he was not even being fully honest with himself. But the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth. And that, at least, I think is fair to task Matatics with.

Say what you will about Fr. Cekada, but one always knows exactly where he stands on these things.

September 7, 2013 at 12:20 pm PST
#161  Richard Malcolm - Silver Spring, Maryland

Hello Pete (post #150),

"With regards to Dom Basile's doctoral thesis. I can understand why you may be reluctant to wade through 3,000 pages of dense academic French. In which case Dom Basile has now completed a 600 page summary and less intense overview of his thesis, which is available through Le Barroux monastery in France."

Is there any chance of an English language translation of either version of Dom Basile's work coming out? I'd be very interested to read it.

September 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm PST
#162  Shawn McElhinney - Bothell, Washington

Hi Matthew Jenkins!

Though you addressed this to Pete Vere, I will respond to it here so you do not feel as if you are being ignored as this thread has gone in a lot of different directions.

[While I have not read Dom Basile Valuet's work, I personally find it very hard to believe that Dignitatis Humanae/religious liberty and its interpretive understanding by Pope Benedict XVI is not a sharp break from Tradition.]

At least you qualified that statement to be a subjective one. You may personally find it hard to believe but objectively there is no break with Tradition. That does not mean that to everyone the connection will be obvious however -the history of the ecumenical councils tells us otherwise.

[Msg. Brunero Gherardini seems to have strongly suggested we may well be looking at a break from Holy Tradition. Fr. Thomas Crean, in his 2005 address to the St. John Fischer Society, declared that the only way DH could be reconciled with tradition is if it is understood to exclude all existing non-Catholic religions. And, of course, SSPX has produced material on this subject as well.]

I dealt nearly a decade and a half ago in detail with the stuff put out by the SSPX and will not revisit it here except to say their stuff does not hold water. As for the other two, they are also wrong though I will not (unlike with SSPX many years ago) presume a lack of good faith in their difficulties here. Part of the problem is misunderstanding the nature of what Traditional teaching on religious liberty actually was both in the doctrine and also in the attempts by popes and civil leaders to implement said doctrine.

[I have found those claiming a break in Tradition to be fairly compelling, even if every form of every argument of theirs isn't always sound.]

That is interesting because I have found the converse actually when I actually took time to look beneath the surface on these matters. And while there are at least a few arguments from the "break with tradition crowd" with merit to consider, most of them are anything but that.

[I have yet to find any defender of DH make any kind of substantive case that holds up to rigorous examination. The more I have examined the subject, the more wanting I find DH to be.]

With all due respect, I do not know whom you have or have not read on this but there are plenty of Dignitatis Humanae (DH) defenders whose arguments hold up to rigorous scrutiny. There are also others which are to varying degrees facile because they do not endeavour to look at both parts of the equation. Not knowing whose stuff you have read, I cannot comment on which category the ones you read fall into.

[While Dom Basile Valuet reversing his initial position does show some genuine sincerity on his part, the reversal itself does not establish one iota of proof on behalf of DH. I could actually make a similar claim in reverse, since I was initially very positively disposed toward DH and only later, upon reviewing tradtionalist claims against the document, did I come to sour on it.]

This is true. The claim that someone who once held a view changed it is not in and of itself an argument for a position. Incidentally, this applies to converts too: just because they converted does not mean what they converted to was true. In all these cases, one must look at the proofs offered or arguments advanced to ascertain their merit or lack thereof.

[There seems to be only 2 ways to conceivably reconcile DH with Tradition:]

At least you allow yourself some wiggle room here with the word "seems."

[either 1) declare that Holy Tradition's restrictions on the public practice and propagation of non-Catholic religions were a grave error that dozens of popes, including all of those throughout the 1800s and first half of the 1900s, engaged in, detestably abridging man's very human dignity and requiring correction. Or 2) somehow claim that when Pope Pius XII died, some mystical transforming epochal contextual shift descended upon the Church, the likes of which had never happened before, requiring certain wide-reaching alterations in official doctrinal teaching.]

To touch on these backwards, #2 is wrong in two ways. The first is the whole "mystical epochal contextual shift" part -that is mostly (emphasis on mostly!) wrong. The second is the idea that there was any wide-ranging alterations in official doctrinal teaching. So that should suffice to deal with #2 briefly.

With regards to #1, you are presuming that restrictions on the public practice and propagation of non-Catholic religions as called for at different times and places by both popes as well as civil leaders (the latter not infrequently by the popes!) were in and of themselves part of Holy Tradition rather than taking the operative view that said popes and civil leaders seeking in light of their times and circumstances to implement Catholic teaching in society and making certain prudential judgments in these cases that may or may not have been wise. (I am not going to throw a blanket over them all and pronounce them all either wise or foolish the way many folks Traditionalist and otherwise do all too frequently!)

You also seem to overlook that DH pretty clearly defines what it means by religious liberty and its definition does not match the ones in nineteenth century papal texts which tended to address the concept as the religions and societal agitators of their age used the term. DH's use of and application of the term is notably different and the declaration also notes that it "leaves intact the traditional Catholic doctrine concerning the moral duty of individuals and societies toward the true religion and the one Church of Christ." So as the declaration affirms the traditional doctrine at the outset and makes it clear that its understanding of religious freedom deals with the civil sphere (read: an area the traditional doctrine barely even touched on and certainly not in any cohesive way), there is no contradiction between DH and previous papal teaching on religious liberty.

As an aside, I think one way to help avoid confusion here is to refer to DH in these kinds of discussions as a declaration on CIVIL religious liberty. That is what the context of the declaration heavily involves anyway and that also helps differentiate it from the sort of religious liberty condemned by popes prior to Vatican II which was basically a claim that folks had the right to broad totally unregulated religious freedom of profession without any restrictions whatsoever either religious or civil. That sort of view is one that Pope Gregory XVI condemned as "insane" and which Pope Pius IX recognized was by its very nature detrimental to any society. And that is not the view taken by DH where the right to religious liberty is primarily a matter of the civil sphere and contains certain limitations.

[I find both of these possibilities to be non-starters, to say the least.]

Well, there are other possibilities fortunately not just those two :)

September 7, 2013 at 12:35 pm PST
#163  Shawn McElhinney - Bothell, Washington

Pete,

I elect you to write the official history of the Traditionalist movement from the 1960's through to the present day!

September 7, 2013 at 12:51 pm PST
#164  Christopher Ferrara - Richmond, Virginia

To All:

I read DH to limit the repression of public manifestations of non-Catholic religions to those manifestations which in the judgment of civil authorities threaten the common good, including the moral order. Obviously, there is a natural right not to be prevented by the state from expressing religious ideas in public which pose no threat of harm to the common good, including morality. The scope of the natural right is coterminous with the limits of the power of the state to punish vice---not every vice being punishable.

Read this way, DH changes nothing. We don't need six volumes for that.

September 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm PST
#165  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Richard Malcolm:

Unfortunately, I don't know if either version of Dom Basile's work on DH are being translated in English. I that in the past the monks of Le Barroux were hoping to have a number of their works translated into English - when Dom Gerard was still alive, he had given me permission to translate his works into English. I completed a translation of "Tomorrow Christendom," but both my publishers fell through and I never got around to seeking another one.

That being said, if any traditionalist work ought to be translated into English, it is Basile's thesis - especially since it has become the standard reference for debate over DH, both within the traditionalist movement and the wider Church. Certainly then Cardinal Ratzinger thought highly of it as Prefect for the CDF.

As I was saying to Kevin Tierney last night in a private conversation, in which he asked me the same question, I do not think a translation would require as much work as it would initially seem. About a thousand pages of Basile's thesis are multi-lingual bibliography and footnotes, and a good chunk of the text are citations from classical Catholic sources of theology (citations that have already been translated into English by the Church). It is just a matter of translating Basile's writing connecting the citations and source material.

**************
Chris:

I have to disagree with you over the value of Basile's work. I do think it was necessary given the number of traditionalist objections to DH at the time, the difficulty in reconciling DH with Catholic Tradition, and the fact that DH was the reason many highly gifted sedevacantists and sedeprivationists rejected the validity of the council and the post-conciliar popes.

Within this context, Basile's thesis accomplished a number objectives that generally benefitted Catholic tradition:

- He reconciled DH with Catholic Tradition.

- He built a Traditionalist case for DH and convinced many theologians in the NOM to take a more traditional understanding of DH.

- He established the credibility of traditionalist theology and theologians within the broader Church.

- He demolished the main roadblock preventing many (now former) sedevacantist and sedeprivationist theologians from coming over to the then "Ecclesia Dei" side of the house.

- He provided a reference point through which all other theologians, both inside and outside the traditionalist movement, can debate DH.

Again, the lack of interest in the text among many traditionalist leaders in English-speaking North America surprises me.

September 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm PST
#166  Christopher Ferrara - Richmond, Virginia

Peter,

What exactly is this reconciliation? Can you summarize it?

BTW, I find all the talk about the unsuitability of Archbishop Lefebvre's choice of four bishops highly amusing, given the plague of bad bishops, approved by the conciliar popes, that has wrecked vast stretches of the Catholic commonwealth and covered up unspeakable scandals for decades after the Council. These are the same bad bishops who presided over the "silent apostasy" John Paul II lamented too little and too late.

Are you kidding me? Really, now. But here again we confront the double-standard that is applied to traditionalists---fiddling about them while the rest of the Church burns.

September 7, 2013 at 5:04 pm PST
#167  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Chris:

I'm at the trailer right now (hunting season is upon us) so I don't have access to my theological library or the six volumes of Dom Basile's thesis, but I would be more than happy to summarize for you once I get back. Or, as previously mentioned, I think this would be a great topic of GREC-like gathering in North America.

However, being Italian, I'm surprised you did not follow the debate with Dom Gerard and three of his critics reported by Sandro Magister over at Chiesa a couple years ago. Here is the link:

http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1348041?eng=y

******
With regards to Lefebvre's choice of consecrations: Karl stated his opinion, I stated mine, and the thread got pulled into a different direction.

I chose not to engage you on this particular topic because I am not sure where we would disagree. To recap my position:

- Archbishop Lefebvre deliberately avoided consecrating his top tier of SSPX clergy (Schmidberger, Bisig, Aulagnier) because he wanted the top tier to continue in their role as superiors within the SSPX, with the bishops subject to them, so as not to give the appearance of SSPX bishops assuming jurisdiction. If you need a citation for the latter, just check the Remnant's archives shortly after Bishop Fellay was elected Superior General. The Remnant published an article or editorial expressing concern over Fellay's election against Lefebvre's wishes during the 1988 consecrations.

- Bishop Fellay was only 30 when consecrated a bishop, and thus well below the canonical age. However, as I mentioned previously in this thread, through time and experience he has since moved from the B list to the A list. I had assumed you agreed that Bishop Fellay is now A list and that over the past decade he has led the SSPX well.

- I have not commented upon Bishop de Gallereta or Bishop Tissier de Mallerais. I don't think they were bad choices. In fact, they seem to have been good choices. They simply were not the A Team since Lefebvre wanted the A Team to remain priests and in charge of the SSPX. So they probably fell somewhere in the top 15 percent that Lefebvre had to choose from, behind the one percent Lefebvre wished to remain superiors in charge of the Society.

- Although Bishops Rangel and Rifan down in Campos were not part of the 1988 consecrations, I think they are fair game for commentary since their episcopal lineage derives from the 1988 consecrations. They were good choices. Period.

- This leaves Bishop Williamson, who most definitely has proven to be a bad choice. Why Lefebvre added his name at the last minute - I have heard several different theories from those who there, some of them conflicting - but none that I consider convincing over the others. However, in the month preceding the consecrations, Lefebvre's best friend at the time - Dom Gerard Calvet - had come out strongly in defence of the Archbishop's decision to consecrate the three bishops (Williamson's name had not yet been added). It was only when Williamson was added at the last minute did Calvet withdraw his support for the consecrations and warn Lefebvre that Williamson would destroy the SSPX from within. You are probably aware of this, Chris, but for the sake of those new to the traditionalist movement who are following this discussion, this is why Calvet's sudden withdrawal of support for the consecrations became known in the SSPX up until the last few years as "The Great Betrayal."

Calvet was right. I am not just saying this as a Calvet loyalist for the last twenty years. Rather, as I quoted above, Williamson's unsuitability was admitted by no less a SSPX authority than Fr. Niklaus Pfluger, who is second to only Bishop Fellay in the SSPX's current hierarchy. Now granted, Fr. Pfluger stated this in a letter to Williamson that was intended to remain private, but for whatever reason the Williamson faction has chosen to make it public.

Anyway, if you disagree with me over any of the above, I am more than happy to engage you in discussion on the topic.

September 7, 2013 at 6:34 pm PST
#168  DM Ferra - Washington, New Jersey

Messrs. Keating and Vere,

You have got to be kidding. Your comments about practices within Traditionalist communities are pretty pathetic.

You waste breath and keystrokes to talk about the vitamins certain Traditionalist may be promoting, or their "Amish dress"...all of which are the healthy and moral choices of individuals who are looking to follow their understanding of God's laws in nature, and/or the women who find it so impossible to locate modest clothing in stores (have you seen the blouses designed to look like half-naked lingerie?) that they must resort to drastic measures and take what's available from modesty websites or homemade clothing (even most clothing patterns are immodest now) out of love for chastity of heart. They have made heroic decisions to be counter-cultural.

On the other hand, you don't deride Novus Ordo Catholics about their "weird" practices in parishes everywhere, like the birth control pills Novus Ordo Catholics are popping along with their vitamins; or the strapless dresses exposing naked backs at the Holy Sacrifice; or the skirts barely covering thighs, or the absent-minded popping of the Holy Eucharist into their mouths as occasional Catholics walk away from "extraordinary ministers" while the priest sits on his throne and watches the distribution of Holy Communion.

Shame on you, is right. God forgive you, also.

September 7, 2013 at 7:28 pm PST
#169  Lawrence Wayne - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A very interesting, and for the most part, civil discussion, ladies and gents.

I felt the need in justice to correct something said by some of the posters here. Karl Keating called Malachi Martin an "amiable charlatan". As someone who knew Fr. Martin personally, I can't let this go without at least saying something in his defense.

When I was younger, I was struggling with a particular issue that Fr. Martin addressed in one of his writings. Trying to discern God's will for my life, I wrote a letter to Father at his New York address. A few days later, my phone rang. I heard a charming Irish brogue on the other end of the receiver asking for Larry. It was Fr. Martin! He answered my concerns fully, with great charity, and was also very loyal and respectful to the then present Pope, John Paul II, who he called "Our Lady's servant". I then continued correspondence with him for a great many years up until his death , and even visited him at his home in New York. I attended his funeral and burial in 1999. He was a gracious, generous man who loved God and Our Lady very much.
I don't want this very interesting discussion to turn into a pro and con fight about Martin. But I felt, in fairness, that this needed to be addressed.
Also, as far as his accuracy. He talked about a Pope resigning his office. This has happened. He said that many Bishops were covering up for clergy who were committing gross acts of immorality. Do I need to say more on that subject? His talk of a diabolical infiltration into the Church was confirmed by Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand, who says her husband(the late, great Dietrich Von Hildebrand) pleaded with Pope Paul VI to do something about it. I doubt most people think that either Dr. Von Hildebrand or her late husband are considered alarmists or extremists. At least I hope they aren't, as Pius XII called Dietrich a 20th century "Doctor of the Church".
Otherwise, this is one of the best and most informative discussions on Traditional Catholicism I've seen online in a long time. Go back to discussing DH, VII and the current state of the Traditionalist movement, gentlemen and ladies.
God bless!

September 8, 2013 at 3:46 am PST
#170  Shawn McElhinney - Bothell, Washington

To All:

For those who have not seen it, my stance on the use of certain terms in the modern ecclesial climate can be viewed here:

http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/2013/08/on-divisive-terms-dialogue-and-reading.html

September 8, 2013 at 4:40 am PST
#171  Christopher Ferrara - Richmond, Virginia

Peter,

The following information you provide is very important and I urge everyone to read it, and quote it here lest it get lost in the com boxes. I did not know this:

"Dom Gerard Calvet - had come out strongly in defence of the Archbishop's decision to consecrate the three bishops (Williamson's name had not yet been added). It was only when Williamson was added at the last minute did Calvet withdraw his support for the consecrations and warn Lefebvre that Williamson would destroy the SSPX from within."

As for the "weirdness" of traditionalist practice, if Saint Pius X came back to earth I don't think he would have any problem with vitamins and sack dresses, but he would probably need medical attention at the sight of a typical Novus Ordo parish: immodestly dressed women, "Eucharistic ministers", horrific music, communion in the hand while standing, and then the liturgy itself, of course, which even Martin Luther would find appalling.

This straining at traditionalist gnats while swallowing the Novus Ordo camel is precisely what Mike Matt and I are talking about.

September 8, 2013 at 6:23 am PST
#172  Nathan Trapuzzano - INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana

I have to agree with Mr. Ferrara on this one. If the mainstream Catholic media would bemoan the scandal inside the Church half as much as they bemoan Michael Voris, "rad trads", and "hyperbolic traditionalists", I truly think things would be noticeably better. Imagine if Catholic Answers had dedicated just _one_ two-hour special to the public scandal created by Cadrinal Dolan when he invited the baby-killer-in-chief to the Al Smith dinner!

It goes without saying how a pre-conciliar pope, such as St. Pius X, would shudder at a typical celebration of the OF Mass.

The "traditionalist" label is patently absurd.

For the record, I listen to both Michael Voris and Catholic Answers almost every day, and I appreciate both apostolates.

September 8, 2013 at 6:54 am PST
#173  Nathan Trapuzzano - INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana

Christopher Ferrara said:

"I read DH to limit the repression of public manifestations of non-Catholic religions to those manifestations which in the judgment of civil authorities threaten the common good, including the moral order."

Mr. Ferrara, could you please expound on this? I cringe at reading certain sections of DH, and I often find myself questioning whether it contradicts previous magisterial/papal statements. It would help to have this fear allayed.

September 8, 2013 at 7:05 am PST
#174  Christopher Ferrara - Richmond, Virginia

For Karl Keating:

Karl, you write of Archbishop Lefebvre's "poor judgment" in selecting four candidates for episcopal consecration. I will grant you that he erred respecting Williamson.

Now, what is your comment on the patently poor---indeed, disastrously poor---judgment of the Holy See and the conciliar popes who inflicted on the Church a plague of hundreds of bad, incompetent, criminal (re the homo scandal) or just plain weak-kneed bishops, from Weakland, to Mahony, to Gumbleton, to Dolan (whose disgraceful invitation to Obama will go down in infamy). This list of episcopal appoints reflecting Rome's "poor judgment" goes on for many pages.

What, then, is your comment on the "poor judgment" involved in appointing so many unsuitable bishops, who have presided over what John Paul II called "silent apostasy," and Pope Benedict called "a continuing process of decay," "the collapse of the liturgy," and outright "filth" in the Church?

The lack of any comment from Catholic Answers so far is the problem Mike Matt and I have been addressing at The Remnant forum. The house is burning, yet CA seems preoccupied with a few people trying to escape the flames. We find this curious, and feel compelled to remark it.

Lastly, if every bishop in the world were of the caliber of Fellay, de Gallereta and de Mallerais, I rather doubt the Church would be in the state she is in today.

September 8, 2013 at 7:13 am PST
#175  DM Ferra - Washington, New Jersey

Keating and Vere,

In 1917, scarcely more than a single healthy lifetime ago (my father, who is still alive and sound of body was born shortly after the apparitions of Fatima), Our Lady Herself lamented to the three seers of Fatima that:

"Many fashions will be introduced that will displease God greatly. The faithful should not follow fashions."

It is interesting to note that two of the seers, Lucia and Jacinta, dressed like the "Amish" and Our Lady Herself not only wore a formless dress, but also a mantle.

Your disparaging remarks about styles that were worn by Our Lady and even the seers who saw her just one lifetime ago, shows just how far you will go to find something to chortle about in Traditionalists communities -- which I have frequented for 35 years, and rarely, rarely see so-called "gunnysack" dresses, but sensible efforts at modesty within the bounds of what is available today.

What of the sterling moral character of these large, beautiful Traditional families that strive to keep their precious children "unspotted from this world", and whose fidelity reaps beautiful vocations to religious life and to the priesthood in high numbers, so that the Holy Sacrifice will be offered with due decorum and sacrality?

In our FSSP parish of just 200 families, we have had 3 vocations to the traditional priesthood in the last 5 years. How is that for percentages?

"...straining at traditionalist gnats while swallowing the Novus Ordo camel" is a very apt description indeed.

September 8, 2013 at 7:19 am PST
#176  Christopher Ferrara - Richmond, Virginia

Nathan,

I too cringe at reading certain sections of DH. Many have, and not just traditionalists.

But it is always safe to assert without fear of contradiction that nothing the Church propounds in a Council can really overturn what she has taught before (even if the possibility of error does theoretically exist with matters not de fide, which are not irreformable and could be corrected).

Therefore, I see nothing that prohibits reading DH to assert that there is a natural right not to be prohibited by the state from publicly manifesting religious ideas which in no way threaten the common good, which is self-evident.

That said, I see nothing in DH which prohibits reading it to permit civil authorities to repress the public manifestation of FALSE religious ideas as per se harmful to the common good in Catholic countries. For example, DH cannot possibly be read to prohibit civil authorities from prohibiting, in a Catholic country, the broadcast of the view that the Pope is the Whore of Babylon or that Christ was a mere charlatan.

In the end, then, DH, read this way, changes nothing of the traditional teaching, just as it asserts in Article I. That is how I deal with the problem of DH, and as things stand we are pretty much left to fend for ourselves on this question, as the Pope has issued no definitive interpretation of the document in order to clarify it.

September 8, 2013 at 7:22 am PST
#177  Terrye Newkirk - Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

DM Ferra:

You write: "On the other hand, you don't deride Novus Ordo Catholics about their "weird" practices in parishes everywhere, like the birth control pills Novus Ordo Catholics are popping along with their vitamins; or the strapless dresses exposing naked backs at the Holy Sacrifice; or the skirts barely covering thighs, or the absent-minded popping of the Holy Eucharist into their mouths as occasional Catholics walk away from "extraordinary ministers" while the priest sits on his throne and watches the distribution of Holy Communion."

On the contrary, Catholic Answers has been in the forefront of those calling for an end to *all* such abuses. When I worked there in the late 90s, we did many articles on them, culminating in Jimmy Akin's landmark book, *Mass Confusion.* The topic here, however, is traditional Latin-Mass Catholicism.

I began assisting at the TLM while still at CA in San Diego and lived at Clear Creek for several years. Despite my tremendous joy at being present for daily High Mass and the Divine Office in Latin, I must say that the quirky dress (*not* simply commendable modesty), conspiracy theories, and unscientific notions of "health" on the part of many of my fellow trad Catholics made me cringe. The monks themselves are models of balance and respect for human intelligence. Some of the neighbors, not so much. ;-)

Of course, Clear Creek practically ruined me for the average parish Mass: there's no question that, even in a *good* diocese (as mine is), there are always liturgical abuses, or at least faux-pas. I'm afraid that many priests do not relay papal teachings well or often--as a small example, the HF's statement that applause has no place in the Mass.

___________

Please carry on with this excellent discussion!

September 8, 2013 at 8:07 am PST
#178  Lawrence Wayne - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

To Chris Ferrara, Pete Vere, et al:

"Dom Gerard Calvet - had come out strongly in defence of the Archbishop's decision to consecrate the three bishops (Williamson's name had not yet been added). It was only when Williamson was added at the last minute did Calvet withdraw his support for the consecrations and warn Lefebvre that Williamson would destroy the SSPX from within."

Dom Gerard attended the Episcopal Consecrations in 1988, but was regularized shortly after.

This pertains to one of the reasons I corresponded with Fr. Martin. I thought that I might have a Benedictine monastic vacation, and he recommended Le Barroux, saying there wasn't another place like it on earth(at that time). This was in 1991, after the consecrations and the regularization of Dom Gerard and his community. John Senior also recommended Le Barroux to me around this time. As it turned out, I didn't pursue this vocation, which may or may not have been a good thing(I guess I'll find out at the Last Judgement). But I am happy to see some excellent discussion about Dom Gerard, Archbishop Lefebvre, and the other great defenders of the Traditionalist movement here.

September 8, 2013 at 8:43 am PST
#179  Ben Lopez - Espanola, New Mexico

Wow! What a fascinating and educational discussion. I'm hoping this gets archived (maybe as a tract?). I know next to nothing about the history discussed here. What I do know is that my wife and I are trying to raise our family in what we best understand as being faithful to Church teaching. We belong to an ordinary parish in our Archdiocese, and think it is excellent and orthodox. Abortion and other non-negotiables are discussed there without fear. e.g.. they've had inserts in the bulletin and admonishment about appropriate attire for Holy Mass, etc.. It is effective. Unfortunately, I know this isn't the case in SO many other parishes, but we know "the gates of hell will never prevail".

I also don't know too much about excessive traditionalism, but I generally get it. About 20 years ago, my cousin took me to what I believe was an SSPX chapel or something similar. At the time, I was utterly ignorant to what these chapels meant and how they got there. I thought the liturgical experience was very beautiful. However, I'll never forget the highly uncomfortable feeling I had when we left that day (I never went back to such a place again). I don't know if 'sensus fidei' is an appropriate term for this or not, but it felt like a great act of disobedience. I guess the lesson I walked away with was that perhaps the evil one can take our very noble/holy passions and stealthily redirect them to some disordered extreme. I don't know if this is applicable to any of the folks in this thread, but the discussion immediately brought that experience to mind.

September 8, 2013 at 9:11 am PST
#180  DM Ferra - Washington, New Jersey

#177  Terrye Newkirk

Terrye,
The point I was making is that in the context of this thread and the recent disparaging and marginalizing characterizations by Catholic Answers of Traditionalists without due distinctions -- and as if the issues and positions were uniquely "traditionalist" -- Catholic Answers continues to chortle at the Traditionalist movement in a nauseatingly superficial disregard for the reality that Traditionalists have kept the faith and are giving great glory to God in the process of living heroically counter-cultural lives, yielding many vocations and large, faith-filled families.

Whereas the Novus Ordo is a sinking ship whose pastors have abandoned the "hard teachings", whose parishes specialize in all forms of sacrilege, and whose catechesis is in such shambles that it requires damage control from lay apostolates like Catholic Answers.

All of this is furthered by a Mass which is entirely Protestant in tenor and form. I was shocked when I saw a Protestant service for the first time and realized that it was scarcely distinguishable from the "rite" that replaced the venerable "Mass of the Ages" which was torn from Catholics following Vatican II.

A Protestant-like rite produces Protestants. And that's what we now have in the Catholic Church at large.

Why not thank Traditionalists for having been right all along, for having preserved the sacred memory and spirit of the Faith of the ages instead of attacking them and commenting on clothing or vitamins?

This so-called quirky clothing and other "quirks" amount to nothing worthy of commment and are certainly not present in my Traditionalist chapel which is now going on 37 years of age.

September 8, 2013 at 10:31 am PST
#181  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Everyone:

A few responses, as I chow down on some buffalo stew before heading out to the tree stand for the afternoon. Somewhere out in the woods, there's a young tasty black bear waiting for my freezer.

***********
Shawn O'Mac:

I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I don't think I would make a very good historian for the traddy movement given my very biased views from within the movement - especially with regards to Calvet, Aulagnier and Williamson.

********
DM Ferra:

The issue of vitamins is not just one raised by Karl and myself, but sedevacantist bishop Donald Sandborn, SSPX retreat master Fr. Lafitte and former Una Voce president and Remnant columnist Michael Davies. That is a pretty broad consensus among the traditionalist spectrum of folks who agree on this topic.

As far as thin see-through blouses that leave nothing to the imagination...where I live and worship, in the hinterland of Northern Ontario, it has nothing to do with modesty. In the winter, you would freeze to death. In the summer, the mosquitoes and black flies would eat you alive. So lingerie in these parts is a wool tuque, a flannel or woollen plaid shirt, jeans and rubber boots. Thus like most of our TLM community during hunting season, I meet the local definition for having worn lingerie to church.

As far as vocations produced by your local FSSP parish. That's wonderful news! Our TLM chapel, which is about a third the size of yours, has produced five vocations - two to the FSSP, two to traditional Benedictine communities in France, and one to a traditional convent.

************
Terrye Newkirk:

I will go one step further. I think traditional Benedictine liturgy is the apex of liturgical beauty in the Roman Rite. After being introduced to the TLM through our local priest who happened to be an oblate of Le Barroux, and offered the TLM locally like it was offered at Le Barroux, I found it difficult to adjust to the TLM (especially low Mass) offered by the FSSP, Indult and SSPX.

This is not a criticism of our hard-working traditional priests who have consecrated their lives to offering the TLM in parish or parish-like settings. It is simply an acknowledgement that something about traditional liturgy offered in the Benedictine style raises the standards of liturgical beauty a notch.

It reminds me of a quote from Dom Calvet in "Demain la Chretiente" (Tomorrow Christendom) about traditional monastic liturgy that captured my imagination the first time I read it: "Our prayers, O Lord, are like vertical lances, reaching up to pierce Heaven, so that Your grace may rain down as heavenly water to our soul."

********
Lawrence:

With regards to Malachi Martin, I appreciate your personal recollection and contribution to the conversation. I agree in most part with Karl regarding Martin, although I might have stated it a little differently. Perhaps as Michael Davies stated it to Gerry Matatics and myself at the same dinner as the beer and waitress story I shared earlier.

"He's Irish," said Davies, when he felt Gerry and I were obsessing over something (I forget what) for which Malachi Martin was the source of our information. "Like all Irishmen, he tells a good story. However, you need to separate truth from blarney before accepting anything he says as factual."

Gerry would go on to defend Malachi Martin. I simply dismissed Davies' comments as typical of his English suspicion of anything out of the ordinary. In many ways, Davies was like a hobbit out of Tolkien - he enjoyed his beer, earthy conversation, simple routine and the quiet life. He was suspicious of anything "queer" coming into the traditionalist movement, in the sense that Tolkien uses the word "queer" in the Lord of the Rings trilogy - that is before homosexual activists co-opted the term.

If young trads like myself wanted to keep ourselves entertained for hours at traditionalist functions, we would simply ply Davies with alcohol then mention the Sedevacantist Nine, Malachi Martin, Bishop Williamson's crusade against women in slacks (Davies boldly defended his wife's fashion sense in wearing slacks to Sunday Mass), the French, or Solange Hertz. Then we would listen attentively as he rolled his eyes and several colourful comments flowed from his mouth.

Of course, these were the days when the traditionalist movement had several colourful personalities - men who captured the imaginations of young Catholics interested in Tradition. Yes, they often complained about Vatican II and the Novus Ordo, or engaged in polemical debate, but Tradition was presented in ways that captured one's imagination. Even Bishop Williamson fell into this category, not having yet regressed to what he is today - to paraphrase Fr. Pfluger, "Not even an ideologue, but a carricature of an ideologue."

Sadly, I feel the traditionalist movement today - especially in North America - is lacking such men who inspired the imagination towards Catholic Tradition. We are poorer for it.

Of course, the greatest of these men of imagination, in my not unbiased opinion, remains Dom Gerard Calvet and his book "Demain la Chretiente" through which he called young Catholic men and women to restore Christendom and the Christian culture. Gary Potter - at the time, a well known Feeneyite journalist and historian - often stated that "Demain la Chretiente is a work that should be read by all young traditionalists." I agree. That is why I translated the work with my friend Raymond Levesques. For (at the time) young traditionalists like myself who read Demain la Chretiente and took Dom Calvet's words to heart, the traditionalist movement was not a resistance movement but a movement of Catholic restoration.

And capture the young traditionalist imagination, Calvet did. There never would have been a Dom Basile Valuet and his great doctoral thesis reconciling DH's teaching on religious liberty with Catholic Tradition had there not first been a Dom Calvet to capture the young traditionalist imagination through "Demain, la Chretiente." Which leads me to my own hyperbolic moment as a traditionalist - "Demain la Chretiente" is the single most important piece of writing ever produced by the traditionalist movement, followed by Dom Basile's doctoral thesis. The latter will likely gain more renown in the generations to come, yet the latter simply was not possible without the former.

The comparison I often make is to St. Dominic and St. Thomas Aquinas. The Angelic Doctor became the Church's greatest theologian and scholar in the West. But it was on the coat-tails of St. Dominic's spiritual imagination.

*******
Chris (and Lawrence):

Yes, Calvet was an outspoken proponent of the 1988 episcopal consecrations until Williamson's name was added at the last minute. Then, as Lawrence points out, Calvet attended the consecrations but parted ways publicly with Lefebvre shortly thereafter.

I asked Calvet about this personally when he visited St. Clement (FSSP) parish in Ottawa in the late 90's. He confirmed to me that he had always been suspicious of Williamson, and would have otherwise continued as one of Lefebvre's most outspoken supporters of the consecrations. Calvet also confirmed to me that he had tried to warn Lefebvre, when Williamson's name was added at the last moment, but Lefebvre by then was too set on his intended course of action. Calvet then told me he attended the consecrations out of personal friendship to Lefebvre, but that he had already made up his mind to part ways with Lefebvre and the SSPX. He felt that Fr. Schmidberger and the three other bishops would strike a deal with Rome within 10 years of Lefebvre's death, but that if Williamson was added, Williamson would undermine such efforts and lead the SSPX into schism within a decade of Lefebvre's death.

Now in the interest of historical accuracy, I should note that Calvet struggled over whether to confront Lefebvre over his intention to consecrate Williamson, and how to do so. While trying to discern the way forward, Calvet received a phone call from a friend who was a Chinese bishop in the underground Catholic Church - one who had suffered much persecution and physical hardship for his fidelity to Rome. I'm afraid I don't have my notes with me, so I cannot recall the name of the bishop. Anyway, he told Calvet: "If you go forward with these consecrations, then you betray everything we have suffered and been martyred for [in China]."

Calvet said he was shaken by this comment from a bishop whom he respected as a living martyr, and resolved then and there to confront Lefebvre and part ways if Lefebvre proceeded. I did not think to ask him whether his comments pertained to Williamson alone, or the other three bishops as well. So spellbound was I by Calvet's retelling of how he and Lefebvre (the two greatest leaders of the traditionalist movement in the post-conciliar era) parted ways. And the rest, as they say, is history. Calvet would become the spiritual head of traditionalists within the Ecclesia Dei branch of the movement, and today Ste Madeleine du Barroux Monastery - the traditional Benedictine monastery that Calvet restored from ruins - has become the center of spiritual restoration and scholarship within the traditionalist movement.

Of all the great people that have arisen within the Traditionalist movement, none has so captured the imagination for Catholic Tradition as Calvet. Like the time he inspired thousands of pro-lifers in France to protest for his release after spending (I believe Christmas, but may have been Easter or some other major holiday) in jail for shutting down an abortuary.

Basically, he and his monks set out from monastery to the local abortuary early one morning and chained themselves within the "operating" room with heavy chains made of re-inforced galvanized steel. There they chanted traditional hymns and the Traditional Benedictine office all day. I believe it took local law enforcement over twelve hours to finally cut through the chains. No abortions were performed that day. If memory serves correct, the incident was even reported in the Remnant. I believe this took place early-to-mid nineties. It was an apt reflection of Calvet's vision of the traditionalist movement as a restoration of Catholic Tradition within Church and State.

If those following this thread will indulge me in a sentimental aside, of everything I wrote during my time as an active writer and commentator within the traditionalist movement, the piece that still contains the most emotional attachment for me was the honour and privilege of writing Calvet's obituary for several Catholic, pro-life and even secular publications (such as the Washington Times). With his passing the movement lost its greatest voice in the post-conciliar era. I know his death affected me deeply as a Catholic traditionalist. Perhaps, then, it is not a coincidence that I stopped writing about traditionalist issues shortly thereafter - in fact, I think the various obituaries I wrote may be the last time I commented publicly upon the traditionalist movement, at least in print.

What the traditionalist movement needs today - particularly in the English-speaking world - is someone like Calvet whose personal holiness and imaginative thinking both captured and inspired - in mind, soul and spirit - young traditionalists to get out there and restore Catholic Tradition within the Church and society at large.

September 8, 2013 at 12:03 pm PST
#182  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

P.S. to Chris (and Michael Matt):

Since my time has passed as the public voice within traditionalist movement most critical of Bishop Williamson and his ideas, a role you are now assuming on this side of Atlantic, there is one thing I wanted to share with you as you engage the Williamson crowd.

I noticed that the Williamson resistance is now ret-conning the '88 consecrations to claim that Williamson was Lefebvre's main choice for episcopal consecration and the name the Archbishop submitted to Rome while negotiations were still underway. I am not sure what the source of this claim is, although it contradicts everything I was told by individuals who were there at the time and close to the Archbishop.

However - I believe (again, I don't have my copy with me) that the book "Archbishop and the Vatican" published by the Angelus Press, which contains the the correspondence between Lefebvre and the Vatican leading up to the consecrations, shows that Williamson's name had NOT been added to the other three as late as one month prior to the consecrations.

If you do not already have a copy, you may want to ask Jim Vogel to bring you one when you get together at the upcoming Remnant forum.

September 8, 2013 at 12:36 pm PST
#183  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

To all, but especially my traditionalist confreres following this discussion.

The sun will be setting in a couple hours, meaning I have to head out shortly to the tree stand. While I spent more time in this discussion thread this afternoon than originally intended, I pray that it has borne some fruitfulness.

I did, however, before setting out, want to address those among us who take a pessimistic view of the wider Church. I agree with my friend Karl that such talk is hyperbolic. (And Karl, thanks again for hosting this dialogue among some of us old "war horses" of traditionalist controversy).

More critically, I feel such talk stunts the Catholic imagination discouraging young traditionalists from answering God's call to serve the wider Church and society around us.

I can only note Bishop Williamson's latest newsletter in which he actively discourages his followers from organizing the so-called resistance that he leads - so great is his fear that such a movement will be "infiltrated" by those who he alleges infiltrated both the SSPX and the wider Church. Of course, on our side of traditionalist divide, this is a good thing. Williamson's pessimism has already done enough harm to both the Traditionalist movement as a whole and the wider Church.

However, it makes no sense to reject his strange ideas and conspiracies while mimicking the pessimistic worldview at the root of his utterings.

In contrast to such pessimism, I would invite you to consider the following sermon shared by Dom Gerard Calvet at the conclusion of the Chartres Pilgrimage in 1985. Words that both capture the Catholic imagination and inspire it toward holiness and Catholic action. Words that became the conclusion of his groundbreaking work "Demain, la chretiente." Words that acknowledge some of the rot within the Church and the wider society, but are not defeated by it. Words that inspire us toward a restoration of Catholic Tradition.

********************************
SERMON
Delivered by Dom Gérard,
Abbot of Le Barroux,
In Chartres Cathedral,
Pentecost, 1985.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Dear pilgrims of Notre-Dame,

Here you are finally reassembled in the company of your guardian angels, themselves also present in the thousands, whom we salute with affection and gratitude, at the conclusion of this ardent pilgrimage filled with prayer, song, and sacrifice; and already, many of you have recovered the white robe of baptismal innocence. What happiness!

Here you are reassembled by God’s grace, in the heart of this blessed cathedral, under the watchful gaze of Our Lady of ‘la Belle VerriPre’, one of the most beautiful images of the Holy Virgin Mary. The image before which we know that Saint Louis knelt after completing a pilgrimage barefoot.

Is this not sufficient to have us recover the taste for our Christian and French roots? We thank you, dear pilgrims, for having set out by the thousands to honor this Holy Virgin, and it is these thousands of voices, coming from thousands of hearts of all ages and conditions, which afford us, this evening, the most living image of Christendom.

We thank you for presenting yourselves thus, every year, like a living parable; for as you advanced during the course of this three—day trek towards Mary’s shrine praying and singing, you expressed the very condition of the Christian life, which is that of a long pilgrimage, a long march towards Paradise! And your walk ended in church, which is the image of the Heavenly Sanctuary.

The Christian life is a pilgrimage, often painful, which passes through Golgotha, but is illumined by the splendours of the Spirit. And which leads to glory. Oh! We may well be persecuted, but I forbid that we be pitied. For we belong to a race of exiles and voyagers, gifted with a prodigious power of invention, but refusing—that is its religion—to be distracted from the things of Heaven.

It that not what we shall sing, presently, at the end of the ‘Credo’: ‘Et expecto’—and I await,-- ‘Vitam venturi saeculi’,--the life of the world to come? Oh! Not an earthly golden age, fruit of a supposed evolution, but God’s true Paradise, of which Jesus spoke to the good thief: "Today, you shall be with me in Paradise!"

If we seek to pacify the earth, to beautify the earth, it is not in order to replace Heaven, but so that the earth be Heaven’s stepladder.

And if, one day, faced with the growth of barbarism, we were obliged to take up arms in defense of our earthly cities, it is because, as our dear Péguy has said: "they are the image and the beginning, the body and the test of the House of God."

But even before the hour sounds for a military reconquest, is it not permissible to speak of crusade, at least when a community finds itself threatened in its families, in its schools, in its sanctuaries, in the soul of its children?

And so it is, dear friends, that we are not afraid of revolution: we rather fear the eventuality of a counter-revolution ‘without God’!

This would be to remain trapped in the infernal cycle of laicism and desacralization! There is no word to express the horror that the absence of God from the modern world’s institutions should inspire in us! Look at the U.N.: elaborate architecture, giant halls, the flags of every nation blowing in the wind. ‘No crucifix’!

The world organized without God, without any reference to its Creator. An enormous blasphemy!

Visit a state school: the children are instructed in everything. ‘But silence about God’! What an atrocious scandal! This is a mutilation of the mind, an atrophy of the soul—not to mention the laws permitting the abominable crime of abortion.

But the saddest and most shameful of all is that the mass of Christians ends up becoming accustomed to this state of affairs. They do not protest; they do not react. Or, to give themselves an excuse, they invoke the changing norms of society. How shameful!

If there be anything worse than this declared renunciation, said a friend of ours, it is the smiling abandonment of principles, the gradual slide down the slippery slope, with airs of fidelity. Is there not a putrid scent wafting from modern civilization?

Well then! Against this apostasy of state and civilization which is destroying our families and our cities, we propose a great remedy across the entire body politic; we propose what is the ‘idée-force’ of any civilization worthy of the name: ‘Christendom’!

What is Christendom? Dear pilgrims, you know what it is and you’ve just experienced it: Christendom is a covenant between earth and Heaven; a pact, sealed in the blood of the martyrs, between the world of men and the Paradise of God; a play, both candid and serious, a humble beginning of Eternal Life. Christendom, my dear brothers, is the light of the Gospel projected upon our homeland, our families, our mores, our works. Christendom is the earthly body of the Church, her bulwark, her inscription in time.

Christendom, for us French, is Gallo-Roman France, daughter of her bishops and monks; it is the France of Clovis converted by Saint Clotilde and baptized by Saint Rémi; it is the land of Charlemagne counselled by Alcuin the monk, both of whom organized Christian schools, reformed the clergy, and protected the monasteries.

Christendom, for us, is 12th century France, covered with a white mantle of monasteries, where Cluny and Cîteaux were rivals in holiness, where thousands of clasped hands, consecrated to prayer, interceded day and night for the cities of man!

It is 13th century France, governed by a saintly king, son of Blanche of Castille, who invited to his table Saint Thomas Aquinas, while the sons of Saint Dominic and Saint Francis set out on the roads and in the cities, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Christendom, in Spain, is Saint Ferdinand, the Catholic king; it is Isabelle of France, sister of Saint Louis, emulating her brother in piety, courage, and wise benevolence.

Christendom, dear pilgrims, is the military profession, tempered and consecrated by chivalry, the highest incarnation of the military ideal; it is crusade, where the sword is placed at the service of the faith, and where charity expresses itself through courage and sacrifice.

Christendom is a laborious spirit, the taste for a job well done, the self-effacement of the artist behind his work. Do you know the names of those who crafted the capitals of these columns, and these stained-glass windows?

Christendom is intelligent and creative energy, prayer translated into action, the use of bold, new techniques. It is the cathedral, breathtaking image of Heaven, immense vessel where Gregorian chant, suppliant and radiant, rises unanimous to vaulted heights, and then descends in layers of silence to our pacified hearts.

Christendom, my brothers,--let us be truthful,--is also a world threatened by the forces of evil; a cruel world where passions clash, a country in the grip of anarchy, the Kingdom of the Lilies ravaged by war, fire, famine, pestilence: sowers of death in countryside and city.

A woeful France, deprived of her king, in total decline, headed for anarchy and pillage. And it is in this universe of mire and blood, that the humus of our sinful humanity, watered by the tears of prayer and penitence, would cause to germinate the finest flower of our civilization, the purest and noblest, its stem the straightest ever to appear in our soil of France: Joan of Domrémy!

Saint Joan of Arc will complete, for us, the definition of Christendom. It is not only cathedral, crusade, and chivalry; it is not only art, philosophy, culture, and men’s works rising like a sacred liturgy to the throne of God. It is also, and especially, the proclamation of the kingship of Jesus Christ over souls, institutions, and mores. It is the temporal order of intelligence and love, submitted to the most high and most holy kingship of the Lord Jesus.

It is the affirmation that the sovereigns of the earth are but the viceroys of the King of Heaven.

"The kingdom is not yours, said Joan of Arc to the dauphin, it is my Lord’s"—"And who is your Lord?", Joan is asked.—"The King of Heaven, replies the young girl, and He entrusts it to you, in order that you govern in his name."

What a broadening of our perspective! What a grand vision of the dignity of the temporal order! In one striking phrase, the shepherd girl from Domrémy gives us God’s design for the internal rule of nations.

For the nations,--and ours in particular,--are families loved by God, loved so much that Jesus Christ, having redeemed them and washed them in his Blood, wishes also to reign over them, with a kingship of perfect peace, justice, and love: a prefiguration of Heaven.

"France, are you faithful to the promises of your Baptism?", asked the Pope [John Paul II], five years ago.

Most Holy Virgin Mary, Our Lady of France, Our Lady of Chartres we ask you to heal the illness of this people, to restore its childlike purity, its filial honor. We ask you to renew its farming vocation, its peasant vocation, its large families lovingly and respectfully tending the bounteous land. This land which, over the centuries, has been able to produce honest bread and fruits of holiness.

Most Blessed Virgin, revive in this people its vocation of soldier, plowman, poet, hero, and saint. Restore for us the soul of France!

Deliver us from the ideological scourge constraining the soul of this people. The crucifix has been banned from schools, courts, and hospitals. They have arranged for man to be educated without God, to be judged without God, and to die without God!

It is therefore to a crusade and a reconquest that we are called. To reclaim our schools, our churches, and our families.

So that, one day, if God grants us this grace, we shall see coming towards us, at the conclusion of our efforts, the much loved and radiant features of she who was called by our ancestors, gentle France. Gentle France, image of the gentleness of God!

Would it be permitted us, this evening, before thousands of pilgrims, to speak of the gentleness of God?

It is a monk who speaks to you. And the gentleness of God, you know, rewards beyond all expectation, the battles that his servants wage for the Kingdom.

Paternal gentleness of God. Gentleness of the Crucified! O gentle Virgin Mary, wrap our embattled souls in your mantle of gentleness and peace.

We invite all of Christendom to meet here, next year, at Notre-Dame of Chartres, which, from this day forward, shall be our national Czestochowa.

May the Holy Spirit enlighten you, may the Most Blessed Virgin watch over you, and may the angelic Hosts protect you. Amen!

(Translated from the French by Peter Vere and Raymond Lévesque)

September 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm PST
#184  Lawrence Wayne - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Peter,
Thanks for you recollections about Michael Davies. I also corresponded with him at the same time I was corresponding with Fr. Martin, Dr. Senior and many other traditionalist luminaries. Michael was truly one of the kindest men I ever knew, and he was also very helpful to me. I met him three times, and he was always fascinating to talk with. The subject of Malachi never came up, though he did have some things to say about the fixation of certain Trads on women wearing slacks. He was always funny, and was someone I would have loved to sit down and have a few beers with. I never received that opportunity.
On Fr. Martin having "a touch of the blarney": one of his friends in New York, Fr. George Rutler, said the same thing. Fr. Wickens(Fr. Martin's spiritual director during the last few years of his life, and the priest who celebrated his funeral) called him " a genius, an Irish poet who sometimes exaggerates for effect". I can live with that. I still have fond memories of the man, and always will. I think he had some things to say that have absolutely proven correct, so I certainly can't dismiss him.

On Gerry Matatics: I, and three other friends, had dinner with him after a talk in our area around 2003 or so. Again, a very nice man, a brilliant guy, and I can't say anything against him in a personal way. I do lament his hardcore "home alone" brand of sedevacantism he holds to at this point. I think it's damaging to souls, and hope he comes back to the realization that the Church, even when in distress, still provides the means to sanctification for its members.

Thanks again for this fascinating conversation.

September 8, 2013 at 2:16 pm PST
#185  Lawrence Wayne - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Peter,

Thanks so much for posting that sermon by Dom Gerard. It was inspiring.

I agree that the traditionalist movement, and the Church as a whole, needs more "colorful personalities" to capture the imagination of the young. I was very luck when I was a young man to have such influences as Archbishop Lefebvre, Dom Gerard, Davies, Dr. Bill Marra, Fr. Vincent Miceli, Malachi, Archbishop Lefebvre, Dom Gerard, John Senior, Walter Matt, etc. And in what would be called the "conservative" camp, Karl Keating(his book "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" led me back into the Church), Thomas Howard, Peter Kreeft, all of whom I'm very happy to say are still with us.

Of all of these people, and of all of us reading these comments, I can only say what St. Thomas More said on the day of his death: "May we all meet merrily in Heaven".

September 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm PST
#186  Lawrence Wayne - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

That last post needs a lot of editing. Sorry, folks!

September 8, 2013 at 2:36 pm PST
#187  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Catholic Suzie Homemaker (post 154):

First of all, you may already have received an e-mail message saying that your account will be closed unless you use a real name. We aren't allowing "handles" in the comments to blog posts. If a person doesn't have the courage to be identified with his comments, he shouldn't go public with them.

That said, let me quote your comment:

Mr. Keating... what a sexist, ugly, chauvinistic thing to say about the modest attire some women perceive as, directly by God, to wear!!! What a slam to Amish women... and to women in the charistmastic movement & those in the Catholic homeschooling movement... saying they dress in "gunnysack dresses".

Shame on you. Shame. On. You!!

Well, some women in the charismatic movement do (or used to--I haven't dropped by a charismatic event in some years) wear frumpy dresses; ditto for some women in Traditionalist circles. I haven't seen such attire at San Diego's FSSP parish, though; I suspect it's more common in breakaway chapels.

My problem with such attire isn't that it's modest but that it's unattractive, and women don't have to dress unattractively to dress modestly. (And men don't have to dress like slobs to dress modestly.)

For some years running, I spoke at one of the summer conferences at Franciscan University of Steubenville. I don't remember ever seeing a woman dressed immodestly there, but some women dressed in what I above characterized as "gunnysack dresses": shapeless to-the-floor outfits. (The conferences attracted a fairly large charismatic element back then.) Sure, those dresses were modest, but that's all one could say for them.

Actually, I think Amish attire is appropriate--for the Amish. There is a particular ethos that goes with it, and I can respect that. It's just not a Catholic ethos.

September 8, 2013 at 7:21 pm PST
#188  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Chris Ferrara (post 156):

You wrote, "I gave Gerry no cover whatsoever once he went public with his error, let alone twelve years of cover. On the contrary, I wrote a five-part series against sedevacantism published in both of the newspapers in which Gerry had had a forum."

Yes, once Gerry went public, you wrote a series against sedevacantism--but without mentioning Gerry in it, even though at that time he could be considered the most newsworthy new sedevacantist. And before he went public you didn't question in public his movement, over more than a decade, toward the sedevacantist position.

September 8, 2013 at 7:27 pm PST
#189  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Richard Malcolm (post 160):

You quote Chris Ferrara quoting me:

"Regarding Gerry you [KK] wrote: "my deeper concerns were at the level of ethics and character."

"[CF]...You call these comments generous? You publicly question his ethics and character, call him undisciplined, and pronounce him a failure.'

"[RM] I don't care to treat of Gerry's character, and I may have to part company with Karl on that. But I do think that his ethics in conducting himself during his slide into sedevacantism are very much open to question."

Maybe I need to give an example of what I had in mind.

On a pair of cruises he hosted, on his website, and at his public talks, Gerry promoted subscriptions to three newsletters. They were to rotate publication: four issues of each during the year, twelve issues in all.

He took money for subscriptions for more than three years yet produced exactly one issue of one newsletter (though in three years he should have produced 36 issues). He didn't offer to refund subscribers' money, though he did refund money in a few cases when subscribers pressed him for it.

(If he didn't have the money, time, or interest to produce the newsletters, he would have realized that early on, maybe by the time the second or third issue was due out. There was no excuse for his continuing to sell subscriptions for another three years.)

Later Gerry sold subscriptions to an upcoming magazine ($30 per year). That publication also never appeared, and the subscription money wasn't returned.

September 8, 2013 at 7:39 pm PST
#190  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

DM Ferra (post 168):

". . . the women who find it so impossible to locate modest clothing in stores (have you seen the blouses designed to look like half-naked lingerie?) that they must resort to drastic measures and take what's available from modesty websites or homemade clothing (even most clothing patterns are immodest now) out of love for chastity of heart. They have made heroic decisions to be counter-cultural."

I can't imagine why some women say it's "impossible to locate modest clothing in stores." Maybe they have an artificially strict sense of what counts as modest clothing.

My wife happened to buy a new blouse at J. Jill, a national chain, just yesterday. The blouse is both pretty and modest. Her only trouble in shopping at that store (and other stores) is finding her size (she's tall and thin). There's plenty of selection, she tells me.

September 8, 2013 at 7:49 pm PST
#191  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Lawrence Wayne (post 168):

"Karl Keating called Malachi Martin an 'amiable charlatan'. As someone who knew Fr. Martin personally, I can't let this go without at least saying something in his defense. . . ."

Martin was a good writer, though sometimes, I think, he overwrote, such as in "Windswept House," which was a fun read but not strong in literary terms.

Martin let on that he had a Vatican entrée that he could not and did not have. He built the claim for that entrée out of his association with Cardinal Bea, but Martin was a low-level fellow around the Vatican when he was associated with the Cardinal.

He never was a fly on the wall, overhearing private conversations between Cardinal Ratzinger and John Paul II. Martin, in the very deliberate way he wrote about things inside the walls, led his readers to think that he had access that he didn't have. This goes beyond simply being an Irish teller of tall tales.

That some of his prognostications were right doesn't tell us much. Others around the same time were making similar prognostications. On some things, such as clerical scandals, it's easy to predict the future, so long as you know something about the past and something about human nature.

September 8, 2013 at 7:58 pm PST
#192  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Nathan Trapuzzano (post 172):

"I have to agree with Mr. Ferrara on this one. If the mainstream Catholic media would bemoan the scandal inside the Church half as much as they bemoan Michael Voris, 'rad trads', and 'hyperbolic traditionalists', I truly think things would be noticeably better. . . .

"It goes without saying how a pre-conciliar pope, such as St. Pius X, would shudder at a typical celebration of the OF Mass."

Actually, it DOESN'T go without saying that Pius X would have the reaction that you imagine. He was a pope who was cheeky by his time's standards. The Jansenists of the time, for instance, didn't think much of his encouraging frequent Communion and early First Communion. It's quite possible that Pius X's take on the Ordinary Form would be quite different from what you would suspect.

But of course we can't know, which is why the kind of argument you make--"Imaging what X, living a long time ago, would do or say or think about this current situation"--isn't really an argument at all. You run into an insuperable "mutatis mutandis" problem.

As far as "mainstream Catholic media" "bemoan[ing] the scandal inside the Church," it depends on what you identify as a scandal. Poor liturgies? Poor homilies? Poor music? Poor church architecture? Poor schooling at nominally universities? Those things and more Catholic Answers has talked about, multiple times, in its magazine and on the air. But we do more than merely complain about them. We explain how things ought to be and how our readers and listeners can help move things from A to B.

Some other groups and publications never get beyond harrumphing.

September 8, 2013 at 8:14 pm PST
#193  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Chris Ferrara (post 174):

"Now, what is your comment on the patently poor---indeed, disastrously poor---judgment of the Holy See and the conciliar popes who inflicted on the Church a plague of hundreds of bad, incompetent, criminal (re the homo scandal) or just plain weak-kneed bishops, from Weakland, to Mahony, to Gumbleton, to Dolan (whose disgraceful invitation to Obama will go down in infamy). This list of episcopal appoints reflecting Rome's "poor judgment" goes on for many pages."

Hundreds of such bishops? That means at least 200. I don't think you could list 200 "bad, incompetent, criminal" bishops. If you could, out of, say, 10,000 episcopal appointments since 1965, that admittedly would be a grossly high number (since there shouldn't be any such men among the successors of the apostles) but a fairly small proportion (2%). By your own estimation, Lefebvre erred in 25% of his appointments.

September 8, 2013 at 8:25 pm PST
#194  Christopher Ferrara - Richmond, Virginia

"Yes, once Gerry went public, you wrote a series against sedevacantism--but without mentioning Gerry in it, even though at that time he could be considered the most newsworthy new sedevacantist."

I had no need to mention his name, nor any moral obligation to do so.

"And before he went public you didn't question in public his movement, over more than a decade, toward the sedevacantist position."

I was supposed to provide *public* reports on the "movement" of his private views *before" he made them public? Sounds like nonsense to me.

I would be interested in your comment on the Vatican's poor judgment in appointing so many bad bishops, which I regard as a bit more significant for the Church than the four choices Archbishop Lefebvre made, three of which are vastly better than the Gumbletons, Weaklands and Mahonys the Vatican has saddled us with. Your comment?

And come on Karl, you know very well Pius X would be appalled by the typical parish New Mass, as would every single Pope before him all the way back to Peter. Not even John XXIII could have envisioned the state of the liturgy today in his worst nightmare.

If you want to be taken seriously, then don't adopt untenable positions.

September 8, 2013 at 8:36 pm PST
#195  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

DM Ferra (post 175):

"Your disparaging remarks about styles that were worn by Our Lady and even the seers who saw her just one lifetime ago, shows just how far you will go to find something to chortle about in Traditionalists communities -- which I have frequented for 35 years, and rarely, rarely see so-called "gunnysack" dresses, but sensible efforts at modesty within the bounds of what is available today."

Excuse me! Where did I say anything about what Our Lady wore? I never have. (You can look it up.) But if I had, I would have said this: She wore clothing of the sort worn in the first-century Levant. No Catholic is called to wear such clothing today. On her, I'm sure, such clothing looked just fine. On an American woman today it would look weirdly affected.

And the clothing worn by the Fatima seers? I never have mentioned what they wore either.

Why are you imagining that I've said anything about their clothing or Our Lady's? How do you come up with such stuff?

(Are you related to the guy, in another forum, who reported that my wife and I recently adopted two children? I had to break this news to my wife. She wasn't aware that we had done so. She and I have been searching fruitlessly around the house. No trace of the kids.)

September 8, 2013 at 8:38 pm PST
#196  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

DM Ferra (post 180):

"Whereas the Novus Ordo is a sinking ship whose pastors have abandoned the "hard teachings", whose parishes specialize in all forms of sacrilege, and whose catechesis is in such shambles that it requires damage control from lay apostolates like Catholic Answers."

You paint so broadly that you paint falsely. There are 17,000 parishes in the U.S. You suggest that in all of them the "hard teachings" are not taught and, worse, that all these parishes "specialize in all forms of sacrilege."

It's talk like this the makes people think Traditionalists aren't qualified to be part of the discussion. That's unfair to the large majority of Traditionalists, of course, but it's an understandable reaction since what you say is gross nonsense and betrays a lack of knowledge of the wider Church on your part.

My own diocese, San Diego, is not known as a conservative stronghold, liturgically speaking. I've visited a fair number of the parishes over the years. Some have sophisticated liturgies (even with incense and fine choirs and some Latin used). A few seem stuck in a 1970s time warp. Most are okay, neither greatly inspiring nor manifesting many (or any) abuses.

Granted, I haven't been to all the parishes (there are 99 in the diocese), so I can't speak universally, but I've been to a fair sampling, and it's ludicrous to say that these parishes, as a whole, "specialize in every form of sacrilege." In fact, I'm sure that can't be said of any of them.

September 8, 2013 at 8:51 pm PST
#197  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Chris Ferrara (post 194):

"I would be interested in your comment on the Vatican's poor judgment in appointing so many bad bishops, which I regard as a bit more significant for the Church than the four choices Archbishop Lefebvre made, three of which are vastly better than the Gumbletons, Weaklands and Mahonys the Vatican has saddled us with. Your comment?"

I'll agree that three of Lefebvre's choices were better than Gumbleton, Weakland, and Mahony. I could list additional bishops that they were better than.

In the last half century there have been thousands of Vatican appointments, some of them spectacularly good, many good, many so-so, many inferior, and more than the three you list were downright bad--something of a bell curve.

I wouldn't put any of Lefebvre's appointments above the middling level, with Williamson in the downright bad category.

September 8, 2013 at 9:09 pm PST
#198  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Karl & Chris:

This gets back to my earlier question, namely, did Gerry come out as a sedevacantist? Or was he pushing sedeprivationism? I think the question is an important one because if Gerry was sedeprivationist, and not a fully-fledged sedevacantist, then each of you is partially vindicated in my opinion.

On Karl's part, because this speaks of Gerry's ethics and character at the time. He was trading on his cachet as a mainstream traditionalist, advertising generic talks of interest to the average Catholic who likely would not have attended Gerry's talks knowing that he was pushing the sede brand, then presenting sede arguments while leaving those in attendance to draw their own conclusions. That is, in seeking precision over the term "sedevacantist", he was creating ambiguity over his own sedeprivationist arguments.

On Chris's part, let's be blunt. Gerry had been less than truthful about you and to you, Karl. He had attempted to misdirect me. And other contributors to this thread state that Gerry had not been forthcoming with them. Is there any reason to believe he would have been forthcoming with Chris, especially while he was still presenting himself as a mainstream traditionalist, not to mention everything Chris had done to defend him from the original charge?

In the end, I think all three of us were burned by this ongoing controversy. Karl, because Gerry created the false impression among trads that Karl was some sort of anti-traditionalist boogeyman. Chris, because he unknowingly provided Gerry with cover to promote sede'ism among non-sede trads. And me because as an up-and-coming writer among Ecclesia Dei traditionalists, I helped create this boogeyman image of Karl which I later discovered to be false, while similarly providing Gerry with cover among Ecclesia Dei trads to peddle sedeprivationist arguments.

September 8, 2013 at 9:31 pm PST
#199  Karl Keating - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Pete Vere (post 198):

All that's well and good, Pete, but what I want to know is:

Did you bag a moose?

September 8, 2013 at 10:11 pm PST
#200  Pete Vere - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Karl (197):

Knowing what I know about the back history, I think Fellay's legacy will be determined by whether or not he is able to regularize the SSPX's canonical status. If so (and I believe that overall things are moving in the right direction, although not without some hiccups) history will vindicate him. He reportedly saved the SSPX during the mid 90's from an attempted Williamson takeover, and also gave Pope Benedict cover to lift the excommunications and broaden permission for the TLM. He's also purged the SSPX of Williamsonism, despite being a much weaker bishop when their power-struggle began (several sources have told me that Fellay was initially elected as a compromise candidate between Williamson and Schmidberger). All that remains is for him to complete the work of Pope Benedict of bringing the SSPX back into a normal canonical relationship with the Church.

Williamson, we all agree, was a bad choice.

I'm somewhat more conflicted about the other two. Tissier, I think, is more of an academic than a bishop. Of the four, I think he is closest example of what Lefebvre intended in consecrating bishops. Not part of the A Team, but solid second tier. He voices his opinions within the SSPX, but when it comes time for action he generally follows the SSPX's superiors. Bishop Williamson reportedly describes him as a "sports car with a powerful engine, but no clutch to connect the wheels."

De Galarreta, I respect personally. Up until Bishop Fellay asserted himself in recent years, de Gallereta was the voice of moderation among the four bishops. In fact, there had been rumours as early as the mid 90's of him wanting to strike a deal with Rome.

September 8, 2013 at 10:56 pm PST

You are not logged in. Login or register to leave a comment.