Thursday, September 05, 2019

A Latin Synod with Teeth?

CNA/CWR: German bishops to green light binding ‘Synodal Assembly’

Newman and St. Philip Neri

Called to Life in Christ

The Latin Traditionalists React

Just as they can't admit that maybe the Ressourcement movement might have had a point.


Latin traditionalists can't concede anything. "Everything was A-ok with the Church [i.e. the patriarchate of Rome] before the Pian reform of Holy Week in 1955 [or choose some earlier liturgical reform]." As if they were alive at the time and had the omniscience to know that this was true. "Vatican 2 ruined everything!"

Did Ressourcement fade because of the hard-headedness of some of the Latin clergy and religious and the ignoring of Ressourcement by "progressives"? Or maybe the patriarchate of Rome didn't deserve such a gift and God withdrew it.

Kwasniewski writes this howler:
"Many more examples can be given in the realms of clerical vestments, church architecture, and liturgical hymns and orations. And then there will be simply issues of pluralism: some churches give the sacraments of initiation all at once to infants, while others spread them out in acknowledgment of the role of reason and free will. Is one necessarily right and the other wrong? Couldn’t they both be right, because they’re looking from different legitimate angles?"

Would he concede such pluralism on the question of ecclesiastical divorce? I am doubting it, even if he begrudgingly grants it with respect to the Eastern discipline of ordaining married men to the presbyterate. Show me a Latin author who justified the delay of Confirmation on the basis of "the role of reason and free will" rather than ecclesiological considerations centered on the office of the bishop.

Like the West, the East has its “black boxes” into which people are not supposed to look too closely, lest they find tensions, contradictions, reversals, laxities, and other odds and ends. Above all, their systematic theology and moral theology are a mess, because they have no authoritative framework for interpreting the Fathers. Their own version of scholasticism, a bit like Islam’s, imploded and fell apart, unlike the West’s, which with figures like Bonaventure and Thomas attained a rare perfection and magnificence. Above all, there is no one in the East who is as biblical, patristic, ecumenical, synthetic, broad-minded, and comprehensive as the Angelic Doctor. Aquinas makes frequent, sympathetic, incisive use of dozens of Western and Eastern Fathers — indeed, more Eastern authors than Western — so it’s a bit silly to say our theology starts in the 12th century.

Except it is arguable that theology in general did not have that place in the life of the Church that the Latins have given to theologians. Perhaps the Orthodox would here claim that it is the reception of a theological opinion, its incorporation in the liturgical and prayer life of the Church, that matters, rather than what the majority of theologians might say. And anyways, Aquinas is not the end-all, be-all of Latin theology, even if Thomists and Latin traditionalists like Kwasniewski would like to think that his theology holds this primacy of place.

Moreover, what the hieromonk doesn’t seem to grasp, or perhaps doesn’t wish to acknowledge, is the many great spiritual figures the West has always had, and still has. He does not mention figures like St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Bd. Charles de Foucauld, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, St. Maximilian Kolbe, and Bd. Columba Marmion, let alone countless martyrs and saints of every state in life. He mentions St. Pio of Pietrelcina only to suggest that he was opposed by the Church, which is only partially true. The writings of Fr. Jacques Philippe are every bit the equal of many contemporary books published by the Orthodox. One might also take a look at the pre-Reformation volumes of the Classics of Western Spirituality series from Paulist Press to get a rough sense of the richness of our mystical tradition.

I bet Kwasniewski rejects Bouyer's claims about the separation of Latin spirituality from Latin liturgical experience. But this is not a theological claim but a historical claim that must be evaluated accordingly, not in accordance with some a priori position that is taken to be a truth of Divine Faith -- "The Holy Ghost has not abandoned any of the apostolic-sacramental churches, since all of them give abundant evidence of the operations of the Spirit: faith, hope, charity, the gifts and fruits, miracles." Just because the Holy Spirit sanctifies does not mean that a church or group of churches does not have defects which the Holy Spirit must remedy.

I posted a link to the English translation of the original here.

On the Suppression of the Society of Jesus: A contemporary account.

by Guilo Cesare Cordara, SJ, from Loyola Press (out of print - Google Books)

Fr. Z: Jesuits. Corruptio optimi pessima.

The Institute of Jesuit Sources is now associated with Boston College.

The Radical Proposal of Sacred Art

The One Church: A Plea for Diversity