Saturday, 3 September 2011

SSPX and all that

I seem to be getting slightly more traffic than usual thanks to Ttony, if you want the "dementors" post scroll down one.


Faced with a choice today between an EF Mass (many many miles from home) and an OF Mass celebrated with all due reverence (slightly nearer home) I chose the EF Mass. Priests round here have embraced the new translation of the Mass for weekday Masses, and I'm sorry to say that I've already become a little tired of having to watch what I'm saying.

I have carefully avoided using the word "think" about what I'm saying, becuase that isn't the point. This interim period, where we get used to the new translation is now full of moments when you are making sure you don't slip up and insert a casual "And also with you". It is about learning lines, not about praying the Mass. I'm not sure you can do both simultaneously. I'm finding it a little frustrating and I'm noticing frustration creep in with the priests due to the unhelpful nature of the interim Missal. They're book juggling, whilst we are learning our lines...not prayerful stuff. This is all part of the process, it has to happen and I can't see how any souls can be lost through it, we are never attentive enough during Mass: non sum dignus.

So EF it was today (the Mass for Pope St Pius X), no need to watch my words, just be immersed in the Mass, I'm glad I went.

It got me musing about the SSPX on my way home. I used to think they were just a bunch of reactionary loosers, now I don't know what to think. All I know is that the meeting scheduled between Bp Fellay and the Vatican is truly significant and packs a greater punch than it simply being about the SSPX. I am way out of my depth here, but knowing this is much more about Theology than about Liturgy, is it just possible that the SSPX are right in many ways theologically speaking. There is so much grey and murky water within the theology of Rahner, von Balthazar and de Lubac, it is impossible to say whether it is right or wrong becuase it is never clear enough about what it is actually on about. The Truth ought to be clear becuase it is illuminated by Christ, the new theology is just simply too complex and too fuzzy. For those of us who hold the old theology as divinely inspired or atleast self-consistent and clear, surely it is still so? The SSPX will not embrace the new theology. We have to ask now, does it form part of the Magesterium? Do they need to embrace it? Successive pontiffs have embraced the "new" theology, but that doesn't mean they are in error and not valid sucessors to the see of Peter. Nor does it mean that those who don't embrace the new theology are in error either. The vast majority of the world's Catholics simply wouldn't find it necessary for growing in grace and the understanding of, and obedience to Our Lord.

Could it just be that we are wandering into an era where we get a more focussed, more united Church with a much better understanding of the role of the Pope. The reading at Mass today (John 21:15-17) is Peter's threefold protestation of love for Our Lord and His three fold commandment to "Feed my sheep". Isn't that really what the papacy is all about? The successor of Peter is the one who must most amply display love of Our Lord and proclaim most visibly who He is (and correct where errors have come in regarding Jesus Christ since the preaching of the first apostles) and then, as a consequence of this, feed the sheep with the "Bread" that lasts. No Pope has ever been in error over these matters. Even young Patricius would struggle to argue with that. Popes may not always express their Theology with crystal clarity, but provided they know who Christ is, God doesn't expect them to be the cleverest of men. Popes may not always do the wisest of things (God doen't expect them to be the wisest of men). Changes to the liturgy are always done for pastoral reasons, but again they may not always be done with wisdom. Saints and Blesseds do not need to be wise or clever men but they must love Our Lord madly, foolishly and visibly.

Could it be that, the SSPX will actually do the whole Chruch a favour by staking the claim for a more robust, clear, intelligible Theology? The result of this may well be a clearer understanding of the nature of the priesthood and the papacy. This must be a good thing. They may find they have new friends in very diverse corners of the Church.

St Pius X ora pro nobis.

1 comment:

Anagnostis said...

The SSPX are for the old "new theology". They're right in many of their criticisms of the new new theology, but for few of the right reasons. They're the Counter-counter-counter Reformation - that's all.