Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Menaia

In Honor of St. Jerome

Who ghost-wrote this? Of course it is very Roman in perspective.

John C. Ford, SJ

Equivocation on "Nationalism"

And why cherry-picking things from Elders when what they were saying wasn't intended to be moral theology is a mistake. An effect of gerondism?

My desire was to establish a monastery in the spirit of Saint Silouan [the Athonite]. But to this day, I hear that my attempt is purely utopian. People tell me: "It is impossible to overcome nationalism in oneself." But then, I think, salvation is impossible. If I am a nationalist and Christian by faith, then I narrow Christ down to this concept - "nationality." You see why it is impossible for me to accept this narrowing down and why it is a great consolation for me that, although we are a small group, we are eleven nationalities! In the prayer of Silouan, who always calls us to pray for all mankind, from beginning to end, there is, of course, no nationalism. All these national divisions were the result of the Fall into sin. Nowhere do we see a Christian preaching of hatred. This means that the Christian faith doesn’t talk about the rejection of other nationalities, but about overcoming this limitation by ascending to the prayer of Gethsemane.
If ethnonationalism meant loving only those of one's ethnos the exclusion of all others then it would be a sin. But that is not how it is used by those who use it in an identitarian context.

Made to be an Apologist

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Thomas Reid's Natural Philosophy

Uh Oh

Monday, September 28, 2020

Mount Athos Experiences an Earthquake



Sunday, September 27, 2020

Who Has Made Atonement?

Machairas Monastery

Pravmir: Movie-Documentary: Holy Royal and Stavropegic Monastery of Machairas “Journey to Heaven” by Father Prodromos Nikolaou

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Archbishop Elpidophoros' Orthodoxy in America Lecture

Orthodox Observer News: The Future of Orthodox-Catholic Relations in the USA - Orthodoxy in America Lecture, Fordham University: text of the address

The Decline of Holland

A problem of too much material success and wealth?

Sandro Magister: End of Christianity? A Cardinal Analyzes the Case of Holland

Friday, September 25, 2020

No Reform to Latin Christian Initiation in Sight

Bishop Barron still emphasizing Baptism by water alone as Christian initiation. When will Latins reform their rite of Christian initiation so that all are initiated with Baptism, the Gift of the Holy Spirt, and maybe First Holy Communion as well?

Eight Ecumenical Councils?

History of Liturgy Seminar

3 Ways of Learning Gregorian Chants?

Fr. Alexander Laschuk: Eastern Churches, Latin Territories: Ecclesial Catholicity and the Notion of Diaspora

The Emperor Triumphant

Thursday, September 24, 2020

St. Thekla

St. Silouan

The Cambrian Explosion...

The Nonsense that Results from Disordered Rights-Thinking

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

David Clayton on Byzantine Liturgical Reform, Part 2


CDF Reiterates the Christian Position on Euthanasia


Eastern Christian Books: The Invention of Papal History

Eastern Christian Books: The Invention of Papal History

OUP: The Invention of Papal History: Onofrio Panvinio between Renaissance and Catholic Reform by Stefan Bauer

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Cluny Media's September Releases

Now Look at the Other Powers the Bishop of Rome Claims

Rorate Caeli: "A pope would be schismatic... 'if he if he were to change all the liturgical rites of the Church that have been upheld by apostolic tradition'." (Francisco Suárez / Klaus Gamber)

He would be schismatic if he assumes to exercise a power over the Church Universal that he does not have.

Christian Imperialism

Thread Reader App thread

The Church of Kyiv

Message from Bishop Schneider

Which Spirit in German Bishops?

Athwart Symposium

More info.

Eastern Christian Books: The Oxford Handbook of Christian Monasticism

Eastern Christian Books: The Oxford Handbook of Christian Monasticism

Conor Stack Discusses Lloyd Gerson's Aristotle and Other Platonists

Moses Atticizing

Feynman Lecture on Physics

Monday, September 21, 2020

Jonathan Pageau Interviews Anna Pokrovsky Gouriev


A Review of Integralism

The End of an Academic Career

Sunday, September 20, 2020

St. Eustathius the Great Martyr and His Wife and Two Children

OP West Ordination


First Mass of Thanksgiving:

Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Sixteen

St. Theodore of Canterbury

It's a Nice Thought

"Abrahamic Religions"

An Orthodox traditionalist prooftexts from Scripture; but he isn't wrong, regardless of what his liberal correligionists and progressive Latins might think.

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Next in Roberto Pertici's Series on Vatican II

Sandro Magister: The Expectations of the Council Contradicted by History. The Reasons for the Eclipse of the Christian Faith

Critical Edition of the Writings of Karol Wojtyla

How many libraries would be purchasing this collection? Libraries in Latin seminaries and universities might be interested, but is this really a good dedication of resources during a time of collapse? I'd rather see someone working on a bilingual critical edition of the Church Fathers. IMO, Karol Wojtyła's originality in philosophy and theology may not be overrated but its value is limited, and his importance for the patriarchate of Rome is definitely exaggerated.

Querex of the Dead - Chulev Monastery

Bridal Mysticism in the Byzantine Rite?

McGrath Institute Discussions of Co-Responsibility

Recorded lectures here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Roman Position


The Wandering Holy Man

UC Press: The Wandering Holy Man: The Life of Barsauma, Christian Asceticism, and Religious Conflict in Late Antique Palestine by Johannes Hahn (Editor), Volker Menze (Editor)


the Youtube channel

Msgr. Ronald Knox on the Mass as a Sacrifice


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

What Does a Just World Look Like? Part I.

Cardinal Sarah's Letter to Latin Bishops

David Fagerberg Lecture on September 26

And Some Would Hold This Against Her?

as a sign of imperfection...

Monday, September 14, 2020

A Manual for Creating Atheists

Divine Liturgy with Peter George, Part 2


Part 1 here.

Icons of Sound Project


Interview with Dr. James Jordan and Sr. Christine Helfrich of Gloriae Dei Cantores


Network Tribalism at Work?

Seems like at this point the only ones paying attention would be Latin traditionalists.

Aquinas on Conscience

full episode

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross


Sunday, September 13, 2020

An Interview with Tom Hibbs

Pontifical Byzantine Divine Liturgy, 1958

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Fr. Anthony Cekada Has Passed


Eastern Christian Books: Ordaining Women in the Orthodox Church

Eastern Christian Books: Ordaining Women in the Orthodox Church

Such an endorsement by David Bentley Hart casts doubts on his personal orthodoxy, as if his dogmatic speculation on universalism wasn't enough. The description provided for the book and the background of some of the contributors render all those who are contributing suspect, even though some (Fr. Andrew Louth?) may be just presenting "the other side" of the argument. Is this something open for discussion? Do any of the Chalcedonian Orthodox clerics make the claim that the ordination of women to the presbyterate and episcopate is beyond the bounds of discussion and possibility? From the reports I have read, Metropolitan Kallistos Ware has capitaulted and embraced the position that it is open to discussion. Are there any Orthodox bishops willing to cut the innovators off from communion? I suspect the Greeks are too weak to do so.

Wipf and Stock: Women and Ordination in the Orthodox Church: Explorations in Theology and Practice, eds. Gabrielle Thomas and Elena Narinskaya

Friday, September 11, 2020

Aquinas and Hobbes on Law

The Public Discourse

Literacy in the Kingdom of Judah

50th Anniversary

Fr. Peter Heers

Interview with Fr. Alexander Laschuk

Thursday, September 10, 2020

St. Savas Cathedral

"Good Luck"

Bissera Pentcheva Interview with AFR

More on Latin Integralism

An Abuse of the Term "Child of God"

We are made children of God through Christian initiation, and we have no grounds for using that term of anyone who has not been initiated into Christ. To use it to refer to any human being regardless of whether they have been incorporated into Christ is to deviate from the normative usage set by the apostles and Scripture.

Vatican II as a Ressourcement Project

CWR: A Deeper Context: Overlooked book provides insight into Vatican II debates by Conor Dugan Why I think there is no better book to help put the Council in context than Robert Royal’s tour-de-force A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century.

Dugan writes:

But, now, with Vatican II in the dock, Royal’s book takes on increased importance. He helps put the Council in context and to see the trends that were already at work in the Church prior to the Council and that continued after it closed. In particular, his highlighting of the emphasis on nuptial mysticism—a “theme” that “had long existed in the tradition”—prior to the Council is a key insight. His description of the advances—and hiccups—in biblical studies is another. Still another insight is that pre-Conciliar Catholicism was much more disparate than many want to admit. And many of the Conciliar themes were simply the fleshing out of work that predated the Council. Certainly, after reading Royal’s careful study of 20th century Catholicism, one could not claim that “what the Council produced was not remotely in continuity with the past” or that after the Council there was not “the faintest desire to carry on the Catholic religion as existed before,” as one recent commentator on the Vatican II debates recently put it.

Indeed, to accept the thesis that the Council should be rejected requires a rejection not just of the Council itself, but the work of figures such as Guardini, Chenu, Congar, de Lubac, Ratzinger, and Balthasar. Many traditionalists seem to be fine with this move but they should be clear that they are not asking simply for the Council to be declared anathema but much (or most?) of the 20th century Catholic intellectual tradition to be declared anathema as well. This raises the question of to which date the clock should be reset. 1950? 1940? 1910? Earlier?

I don't have a problem with Vatican II being understood primarily as a Ressourcement project of renewal or reform, a project nonetheless affected by other intellectual and "spiritual" trends within the Patriarchate of Rome. But it was a project necessary not for the Church Universal, only the Patriarchate of Rome.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Fr. Robert Imbelli on Vatican II

CWR Dispatch: Christ at the center of the Council by George Weigel
Why has the great promise of Vatican II been frustrated so often?

According to Weigel:

In “No Decapitated Body,” a bracing essay published In the current issue of Nova et Vetera, Father Imbelli develops his argument for a more radically Christ-centered Church, sheds light on a host of current Catholic controversies and concerns, and does so with an authorial calm that nonetheless conveys his passion for Christ and the Gospel. Why has the great promise of Vatican II been frustrated so often? In a word, according to Father Imbelli, because of apostasy: a drastic dissolution of the Christ-centeredness that theology sought to recover in the first half of the 20th century and that the Council affirmed. The greatest of Vatican II’s documents, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, begins, Imbelli reminds us, with the ringing affirmation, “Christ is the light of the nations.” And the entire Council, he suggests, must be interpreted through the prism of that confession of faith – “In many ways, the Council’s achievement could be read as a prolonged meditation upon the meaning and implications of Saint’s Paul’s confession – ‘For no other foundation can anyone lay that that which has been laid: Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor. 3:11).”

Is there a problem with such a simplistic explanation of the reasons for the council and what happened afterwards? What of Latin churches were Christ is the focus, even if the message is distorted? Imbelli seems to recognize that there are deeper problems with Latin ecclesial culture and praxis:

Father Imbelli explores how this forgetting of Christ shows up in various ways: in liturgy that does not begin from the premise that “the prime agent of the celebration [is] the Head of the Body,” on whom every sacramental act is totally dependent; in a dissecting room approach to the Bible and to preaching that does not convey the living presence of the one who is “the Word” (John 1:1) in the divinely-inspired Word of God; in attempts to set “doctrine” against “pastoral practice.” Certain voices in the Church incorrectly blame all of this on Vatican II. Yet it was the Council that taught that Jesus Christ is the one who acts in Baptism, the Eucharist, and the other sacraments, and it was the Council that insisted on the reality of God’s self-revelation in Scripture. As for the juxtaposition of the “doctrinal” and the “pastoral,” or “truth and mercy,” well, as Father Imbelli reminds us, the Synod of 1985 taught that “it is not licit to separate the pastoral character [of Vatican II] from the doctrinal vigor of the documents.”

The question remains, what is to be done if even a Latin synod could not reform the patriarchate? How many more years do Latins have to wait for the fruits of the council to appear?

Douglas Farrow on Bishop Schneider's and Archbishop Viganò's Objections Regarding Vatican II

Dethroning Christ? The error at the root of the Viganò controversy (Part I)

Part 2

Farrow seems to admit this much:
Now, surely there is nothing wrong with a document promulgated in a political context being on its way to a political rather than an evangelical end, so long as that end is understood to be proximate rather than ultimate. There’s the rub, however. For the Abu Dhabi Declaration seems to be evangelically deficient in a way no political aim can justify. Its call to “come together in the vast space of spiritual, human and shared social values,” and to do so in such as way as to avoid “unproductive discussions,” might reasonably be taken to rule out the very thing Paul was doing on Mars Hill!

But Farrow cannot get beyond the parameters set by Latin ecclesiology, taken by Latins to be dogma:
When we keep this in mind, we can see more easily that to give the answer we ought to give, the answer we must give if we do not intend to be schismatic – the answer that Vatican II was indeed an authentic ecumenical council, engaged in the work of God and of the magisterium of the Church under God – is not to commit ourselves to the untenable notion that its fathers were uniformly faithful or that its documents, despite the flaws of their authors, were themselves essentially flawless.
As a Latin he must accept the claim by Rome that Vatican II is an ecumenical council. Because he must accept that, he must uphold the hermeneutic of continuity, much as Benedict XVI. Part 2 is better in so far as he responds to certain misconceptions (held by some Latin integralists and Latin traditionalists) regarding nature of the Kingship of Christ.

Historicizing Vatican II by Roberto Pertici

One cannot focus just on those proximate years right before Vatican II, if one is going to examine the historical causes of Vatican II. One must look at how the papacy developed in the second millenium and how it reoriented itself after it loss the papal states, and how it dealt with European polities after the loss of Western Christendom. The weakness of the patriarchate of Rome, as witnessed in the life of its churches and its failures in directing secular European polities, must be understood in lack of proper ordering, for which we can find evidence in Church history, Latin theology or dogma, and Roman canon law. The crisis of the patriarchate of Rome was not a sudden development that happened after Vatican II, and it has a longer history that goes back to before Pope Pius X.

Magister: Historicizing Vatican Council II. Here’s How the World of Those Years Influenced the Church

Essays by Fr. Vincent McNabb


A Dedication to Bessarion

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Meeting of the Vladimir Icon of the Theotokos

Nativity of the Theotokos


Does the Theotokos Experience Pain in Heaven?

Spinning the New Directory for Catechesis

If such an essential connection between kerygma and catechesis needed to be emphasized again, even though many were writing about it before Vatican II and after, then how is the patriarchate of Rome or the Roman Curia not just spinning its wheels?

St. Photius Greek Orthodox National Shrine


Cappella Romana Sings the Holy Wednesday Hymn by Kassia

Monday, September 07, 2020

Kerygmatic Catechesis?

The English translation of the new General Directory for Catechesis is not out yet, so I can't what it says about "kerygmatic catechesis" but I can guess at the meaning, catechesis that is based on othe kerygma and makes use of the kerygma. But what other sort of catechesis is possible, if it is truly catechesis? Yes, there may be worse or less effective forms of catechesis, especially one that is too based on rationalistic apologetics or neo-scholasticism. 

Directory called ‘fresh, focused tool’ that will ‘enhance’ evangelization 

Bishop Barron:

Barron added: “The directory’s call for a ‘kerygmatic catechesis’ affirms the conference’s (USCCB’s) recent focus on the importance of living as missionary disciples. The authentic proclamation of the Gospel leads to the conversion of hearts and minds, which cannot help but manifest that ‘missionary impulse capable of transforming everything’ with the healing power of the Holy Spirit.”

But what is another bureaucratic paper weight going to do about the fact that the patriarchate of Rome suffers not only from a lack of proper catechesis but also from a lack of a proper reminding of the kerygma, which is to be found not only in Holy Scripture but the Roman rite? What sort of catechesis is possible when it makes no reference to the treasury of the Roman rite, given the discontinuity that exists between the extraordinary form and the ordinary form, and when the people have very little familiarity with it, even if they attend Mass on every Sunday?

The problems plaguing the patriarchate will not be solved by instructions from a central authority if it is not accompanied by other forms, and this is assuming the new General Directory itself is free of problems.

The Content of the Kerygma - Good News for the World!
What is the Kerygma
The Kerygma for Catholics

A Dominican on the Seven Sacraments

Sunday, September 06, 2020

More from Archbishop Viganò on Vatican II

Fallen Failsafes and a Revolutionary Modern Priesthood by Clare McGrath-Merkle

Regensburg Forum
Yelle penned an important monograph on the history of the theological debates surrounding the core error underlying Bérulle’s spiritual theology of priesthood: the notion of the holiness of Christ, in which Christ’s human nature is considered to have been made holy by the grace of union with the Word—a mistaken understanding of the communication of idioms. In line with Chalcedon, the properties of Christ’s human nature remained unimpaired, since the hypostatic union changed nothing. If His human nature had been made holy by the grace of union, it would have necessarily changed. Christ, rather, needed habitual grace for His human nature to be raised to the supernatural order.

This error in the understanding of the humanity of Christ (a central meditation for Bérulle’s Oratorians) served as the basis for the holiness and sacerdotal power of Bérulle’s priest. Just as the grace of union made Christ holy and a mediator of religion for Bérulle, so, too, the priest, through the grace of union with Christ, was made mediator of redemption and capable of sacrifice. In this schema, the priest became a mediator in the order of being, a distinction reserved to Christ alone.

Decades after Yelle’s critique, Jacques Maritain best explicated this error and the ongoing influence of some of Bérulle’s key philosophical ideals in his article on the French School, only translated into English in 1997, in a collection of his works. In it, Maritain questioned how it was possible that a great number of churchmen still remained under the French School’s influence despite holding different doctrinal positions. Maritain wrote that the spirituality of French School priests “must consist above all in losing their own subsistence in order to live solely in the Person of Christ, who never ceases to draw them into the unity of the divine Person” (427).

Maritain insisted that Bérulle was seriously mistaken in taking the step from affirming the perfection to which a priest is called, to affirming a perfection of his state of life, making the priest the source of all sanctity in the Church. He quoted Dupuy’s important work on Bérulle and the priesthood, “He [the priest] cannot be defined as a superchristian. For he is not just that. But it is urgent that he be at least that” (190). Dupuy continued, “The priest is united to Christ more than as an instrument, he is conjoined to Him, he is not only in His hand, he is in a sense His hand itself; he is a member of Christ” (195). The basis of the superiority of Bérulle’s sacerdotal state was, as Maritain noted, “the sacerdotal anointing emanates from that of Jesus, who (and this is the thesis dearest to Bérulle) is a priest because of and as a direct consequence of the hypostatic union…” (Maritain, 428).

Maritain believed churchmen were more or less formed by this school in seminary, and were unable to perceive the effects of a vague theology that had escaped rigorous intellectual systemization and therefore any kind of critical review. The result, he noted, was the production of an ideology rather than a theology that continued in his day to have an immense influence.

Vestiges of this vague theology continue today. Impossible to treat fully in this article-length discussion, we can at least explore a few of its major errors.

An essay worth pondering; are there any connections with current Latin opinons regarding the presbyterate and the presbyter acting in persona Christi?


The Third Encyclical

John LaFarge, S.J. and The Unity of the Human Race

Eastern Christian Books: Stolen Churches? Borrowed Bridges?

Eastern Christian Books: Stolen Churches? Borrowed Bridges? Palgrave Macmillan: Stolen Churches or Bridges to Orthodoxy?: Volume 1: Historical and Theological Perspectives on the Orthodox and Eastern-Catholic Dialogue, eds.Vladimir Latinovic and Anastacia Wooden

Limiting Papal Infallibility to Save It

Latin apologists for the papacy and papal infallibility may think it warranted in the text of Vatican I, but is it?
Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the christian faith, to the glory of God our saviour, for the exaltation of the catholic religion and for the salvation of the christian people, with the approval of the sacred council,

we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable.

So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.

The Latin text

The Catholic Thing: Infallibility: The Unopened Gift by Russell Shaw

Shaw summarizes one view:

Despite the hopes and fears at the moment, however, only rarely has papal infallibility been specifically invoked in modern times. In 1854 Pius IX made it clear he spoke infallibly in defining the dogma of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. Pius XII did the same in 1950 in defining the dogma of her bodily assumption. Otherwise, like an unopened gift, papal infallibility has remained on the shelf.

Shaw examines whether infallibility applies to the ordinary magisterium of a bishop, but what about the ordinary magisterium of the Roman pope? It's a bait-and-switch. (In his 1995 article for OSV, Shaw repeats much the same material, but does not talk about the papal ordinary magisterium there either.)

Lumen Gentium 25:  

This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.

Latin traditionalist takes on infallibility in relation to papal authority: 

SSPX: Clear ideas on the pope's infallible magisterium

The Infallibility of the Ordinary and Extraordinary Magisterium by  Robert J. Siscoe 


My thoughts:

There is a sort of scholastic analysis present in the writings like this, with the claim there must be a certain form[ula] to make this intention manifest but is there any instance when the bishop of Rome doesn't think he is teaching the Church Universal? (Even when those outside his patriarchate are not paying attention?) Hence this formula is what makes something "ex cathedra" while any other pronouncement which is just an affirmation of what is Tradition is infallible, being an act of the infallible ordinary magisterium (of the pope, in this case). I don't think the Orthodox would disagree with some version of this infallibility of any bishop who affirms something that is of Tradition.

It does not seem to me that a certain formula is necessary to make it ex cathedra -- again, when does the bishop of Rome not intend for his teaching to be applicable to the Church Universal? What has the thought ever crossed his mind that what he says about faith and morals applies only to Roman Catholics of the patriarchate of Rome, and not to Catholics of other ecclesial jursidictions? Does this regular or ordinary intention alone not sufficient to make a teaching of the pope of Rome on faith or morals ex cathedra

So if Pope Francis (or his representative) says something about capital punishment being "inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person" and changes the Catechism of the Catholic Church to reflect this, how is that not meant to be an ex cathedra pronouncement?

Latin apologists who disagree with this teaching of Pope Francis (or any other touching upon faith or morals that contradicts Tradition) have no choice to say that it is not "infallible" because it is lacking the proper form and is therefore not ex cathedra. But I don't see how this claim about form is warranted by the decree of Vatican I. Maybe the pope or one of his ecumenical councils can finesse the Roman teaching on papal infallibility in this way to save it, but would that sort of "development of doctrine" be regarded as anything than institution-saving by non-Latins?


Related: essay on infallibility at Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

The Logical Consequences of Hart's Universalism?

See the page generated by ThreadReaderApp.

Daniel Galadza, Introduction to Liturgical Mystagogy

Saturday, September 05, 2020

"Christ, Culture & New Europe" by Remi Brague

I myself was privileged to witness some of all this at first hand in late October of 1991, when I was invited by the Pontifical Council for Culture to take part in a symposium of European intellectuals that was meant to offer the bishops of the Synod food for thought. Among the forty people present—almost all of them lay men and women—fewer than ten came from the countries of Western Europe. Most of those present were from the former Soviet Union or from Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, etc. It is interesting for Western Europeans to note that the term “Eastern Europe” was deeply frowned upon by the participants from these latter countries, who insisted instead on “Central Europe.” The very idea of an Eastern Europe, they said, was one more lie of Soviet propaganda, used to justify the Red Army’s artificial division of Europe into East and West. The “Church of silence” could be heard again, and the first thing it had to tell us was that it had never been completely gagged and that we. Western Christians, had too often and for too long been a Church of deafness. And the Pope was clearly eager to see the reintegration of Europe’s Eastern and Central parts.
In addition, we Westerners were reminded of a few basic historic facts. We were reminded, for instance, that Prague is almost as “western” as Berlin, and more so than Vienna or Stockholm. We had to learn once again that it had been the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, and that it harbored Europe’s first university. We were invited to bear in mind that our intellectuals frequently helped to throw people living under Communist rule into despair by playing footsie with Marxist ideology while they one after another hallowed each new earthly paradise it was giving birth to. As a Frenchman, I experienced a vicarious embarrassment about my country’s role in the post-World War I creation of Czechoslovakia and, even worse, Yugoslavia. These completely artificial states, welding together peoples who had either never lived together or had not done so for centuries—people whose religions, languages, histories, and levels of economic and social development were widely disparate—are the result of the shortsightedness of politicians who were by and large my fellow countrymen.
I am reminded of Taft when he writes: "What makes this task difficult is that memories of European peoples are poisoned with the recollections of wrongs done to and suffered by one another. If some way is not found to heal these wounds, everywhere in Europe and in the former USSR, they will fester and keep alive the longing for vengeance." We need Christ for the healing of memories, and traditionalists of every jurisdiction who cannot reach out to those in other jurisdictions in charity are poor represesntatives of Christ. Are there differences in preferred dogma? Yes, and Rome will need to lead the way in reconsidering what they have advanced as dogma of the "Church." The healing of memories will not be accomplished by a secularist movement or the strengthening of the EU. The churches must be strengthened in Christ, and this will require ecclesial reform, not the same old but more from Rome.