Friday, April 10, 2015

Vatican II and Ecclesiastical Suicide

During a speech delivered a few days ago to a congress attended by many of the world's religious formation directors, Brazilian Cardinal João Braz de Aviz issued the following warning:
Do not distance yourself from the great lines of the Second Vatican Council. In fact, those who are distancing themselves from the Council to make another path are killing themselves. Sooner or later, they will die. They will have no purpose. They will be outside the Church. We need to build, using the Gospel and the Council as a departure point.
One doesn't need to be a seasoned Vaticanista to understand who is at the business end of this verbal cudgel: those who are dedicated to the defense and restoration of the Church's traditional doctrine, liturgy and pastoral practice.

It's no secret that traditional seminaries - whether they be those of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), or of the Priestly Society of Saint Peter (FSSP) or of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP), or of the Fraternity of Saint Joseph the Guardian (FSJC), etc. - are filling up fast, while those dedicated to the reforms of Vatican II are having a hard time keeping their seminaries open for want of applicants. Even in regular diocesan seminaries, the choice to include training in the Traditional Latin Mass not infrequently leads to a surge in applications (cf. the U.S. Diocese of Madison under the guidance of Bishop Morlino). Given that this statement was made to an international group of religious formation directors, the Cardinal is apparently hoping to squash chatter that maybe - just maybe - those traditional seminaries and orders which are returning to a more strict observance of their original charisms are doing something right.

Not so, according to Cardinal de Aviz; to distance oneself from Vatican II is to commit ecclesiastical suicide. The kind where you stab yourself multiple times in the back, like with the Franciscans of the Immaculate.

What's next? A dead fish wrapped in a cassock dropped on Bishop Fellay's doorstep?


  1. "They will be outside the Church," because as time passes, men like him define and redefine what it means to be Catholic according to their modernist doctrine. Be afraid of these men, be very afraid.

  2. I'm wondering if the good Cardinal may also be referring to Pope Emeritus Benedict as maybe being suicidal, who was (ever so slowly, I admit) trying to recover the beautiful time honored tradition of the Sacred Liturgy.

  3. How can one argue against The reality of hard numbers referring to seminarians

  4. Time for the Vatican II song (priceless, from Unam Sanctam Catholicam)

  5. Fishwrap heckler fr. Z did it!

  6. Any doctorine/policy that sets at excluding people is not a doctorine that should be accepted by any Catholic or Christian. The Kingdom of God is inclusive, not exclusive. Would a return of Latin Mass be more inclusive or decide. We should find ways to form solidarity with all people because the Kingdom of God is for all sinners!

  7. Dear JW,

    Where's this elusive "doctrine of exclusion" everyone is on about? I have a copy of Denzinger's Sources, but I can't for the life of me find it.

    By choosing to live in a state of unrepentant mortal sin, a person excludes himself from communion with the Church and her Head, Our Lord. The Church is always ready to accept the sinner who repents with a firm purpose of amendment, and she refuses no one the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

    Just how inclusive is the Kingdom of God?

    "Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

    That sounds pretty exclusive to me.

    As for Latin, it used to be a fantastic sign of the Church's universality. One could walk into any church around the world and participate fully in the very same Mass one had at home. It was a tremendously unifying component of the Church's life. Now, the people are divided into vernacular communities. In my region alone, there are 6 major languages, each requiring its own vernacular Mass. The people who assist at those Masses, though they are all held in the same church building, never meet together for prayer. How's that for unity?

    You write, "We should find ways to form solidarity with all people." Interestingly, God did that 2000 years ago by instituting the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and founding the Catholic Church. That was kind of the idea, i.e. to reconcile man with God and with each other, irrespective of race, color, nationality, age, sex, social status, etc. Crazy, huh?

  8. I think we can both agree that we should work on including people rather than excluding people, of course there are qualifiers to this you said above. What ideas do you have?

    We don't have to use Paul's letters to explain the difficulty that we face on entering the Kingdom of God, we can use Jesus' words. "Trying to fit a camel through the eye of needle."

  9. Dear JW,

    God has made it clear that "narrow is the gate, and strait is the way." Thus, I consider our first duty in regards to our fellow man seeking the truth to be to present the teaching of the Church clearly and firmly, yet with patience and compassion. Too much of the one can drive people to despair; too much of the other can lead them to complacency. It's fine to underscore God's mercy, but it must never be allowed to eclipse His justice, and vice versa. I think a large part of the success of more traditional fraternities mentioned in the article can be traced back to the combination of clear teaching - particularly on moral matters - combined with seemingly inexhaustible patience of the part of their priests for our human failings.

    The larger issue, however - i.e. that of evangelizing people who, frankly, do not want to be evangelized - is one which we can only attempt to work towards through prayer. Through my experience, I've come to accept that people have to be searching for God in a spirit of sacrifice, i.e. the willingness to make any necessary changes in order to conform their lives to God's plan for them, whatever that might be, in order to be truly evangelized. This spirit of sacrifice is not a human accomplishment, but a gift from God. If they are not receptive to it, or are not willing to pray for it, we can pray on their behalf that God might send them the actual graces they need to approach Him in humility. But to soften the teaching or discipline of the Church to the point of giving them the impression that God will not require a radical transformation of their lives - internally and externally - is to do them a grave disservice.

    By the way, you have some beautiful images on your blog. Those of the choir at the Santa Ana de Montesión are particularly nice.


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