Friday, May 16, 2008

In dubiis libertas ...

I think there are lots of things that good Catholics can disagree about in good faith, unless and until the Magisterium rules definitively otherwise. Having said that, I think that any such disagreement needs to be settled by way of argument, that is a structured process of analysis and reasoning leading to a sound conclusion. Alan has made some interesting comments on my last post below with which I disagree and which I think need some analysis.
I'd prefer to acknowledge,accept and follow, even if it is woolly, an Eternal Rome rather than an Archbishop who attends ( he might be taking part,I am not certain) non-Catholic services celebrating the work of a man who has abandoned the Catholic priesthood in favour of the Church of Ireland.

This presents a false dichotomy. Either an Eternal Rome - which by definition lacks a living authoritative voice with which to reprove or command or an Archbishop who winks at apparent apostasy. In fact, what we have is a choice between an "eternal Rome" and an imperfect all-too-human real Rome, with a real voice which is whether we like it or not the voice of Peter. The concept of an Eternal Rome is alluring but ultimately illusory in that it does not have the divine mandate or guarantees that the (actual, humanly fallible and very often grubby) See of Rome does. Frankly one can accept and be subject to the actual Holy Father we've got even as one criticises one's local ordinary for imprudent actions.
I have problems with a Bendict XVI who praises the "healthy secularity of the state"

I think Pope Benedict has exactly the right idea, in that he praises a healthy secularity. This would be a great thing if it defended the right not simply of individual believers but also of the Church as a body to exist and interact in a corporate way in various societies. Put bluntly, compared to many theocratic societies we Christians never have had a problem with the Church and the State having their separate spheres. Our Lord mandated it and St Thomas (whom I tend to follow) explains it pretty clearly in his Treatise on Law (Summa Theologiae IaIIae 90-97) but especially in 95, art. 4, corp art.
and who wrote [23rd Nov.2006]"It is our fervent hope that the Anglican communion will remain grounded in the gospels and the apostolic tradition which form our common patrimony". No need for conversion, are Anglican faith & morals of the Apostolic tradition ?

I think the Holy Father is simply trying to make the best of a bad situation. He would rather the Anglicans held on the partial share they have in our common patrimony than throw it all overboard. (NB Insofar as they use the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed and mean it, there is some meaningful common ground.)
I know that there are problems with SSPX & their regularity, but I still believe that I share communion of belief with them and the pre-Vatican II Popes, priests and bishops, which is more important than canonical legality, more than many of the official hierarchy of the Catholic church. All the same I am glad that in your comment you recognise the "SSPX leaning" as Catholics !

Again, a false dichotomy is advanced, or perhaps more than one. "Canonical legality" is not the supreme value in the Church certainly but neither is it as small a point as Alan seems to suggest here. A priest who lacks jurisdiction cannot validly absolve! This isn't a trivial legalistic quibble but a serious spiritual problem. As for the suggestion of a communion of belief with Pre as opposed to Post Vatican II Popes and bishops, it's simply a chimera. The Church believes now what she always has. The hermeneutic of rupture, as some have called it, is a blind alley whether it's of a liberal-modernist variety or of a more traditionalist stripe. It's also important to note that I recognise SSPX sympathisers as Catholics because the Holy See does! My judgment as an individual Catholic is of no particular weight; the judgment of the Church is what counts!

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