The Magical Magisterium: your rights and mine

From Father Hunwicke today

Canon 212 (paragraph 3) informs us that Christifideles (i.e., vide Canonem 207, both clerics and laics) have the ius immo et aliquando officium conformably with their scientia, competentia, et praestantia, “ut sententiam suam de his quae ad bonum Ecclesiae pertinent sacris Pastoribus manifestent”   [Anglice “the right, and, indeed, sometimes the duty, according to their knowledge, competence, and dignity, to manifest to Sacred Shepherds their judgement about those things which pertain to the good of the Church“]. The text goes on to add that they also have this right and (even) duty to make their judgement known to the rest of the Christifideles.

Not long ago, as is well known, a group of 45 scholars, teachers, and pastors, wrote a Letter. (I emphasise that these people came from a wide variety of countries throughout the world: I emphasise this because I do not want what I am about to say to be narrowly construed as a criticism of any members of the English Church.) The Letter was addressed to each member of the Sacred College of Cardinals respectfully asking them to beg the Holy Father graciously to consider the clarification of certain parts of Amoris laetitia which have proved to be dangerously ambiguous. Cardinals, I think, count as Sacred Shepherds. This was a private letter (although its contents have unfortunately become public). Even if it had been a public letter, I do not see how it could have failed to enjoy the protection of Canon 212.

Dr Javier Hervada, sometime Professor of Canon Law at Navarra, comments on Canon 212: “The right of free speech and public opinion within the Church is acknowledged. Science, skill, and prestige are required to exercise the right justly or to give the corresponding moral obligation greater or less force. The basis of this right does not reside in these prerequisites but in the condition of being one of the faithful“.

In the fourth year of this current pontificate, it is appropriate also to mention the insistently repeated calls of the Holy Father Pope Francis himself for Parrhesia [bold and free speaking] in the Church.

With regard to the paragraph which now follows below, I would like to make it very clear that I am not talking about myself or in any way describing or alluding to my own situation or any experience I have had.

Intimidation and cruel pressures have, it appears, been applied to persuade some of the signatories to the Letter to rescind their signatures.

Perhaps this may remind English readers of the occasion when, a couple of years ago, some 450 English clerics wrote an open letter with regard to the agenda of the Synod of Bishops, and it was reported in the public papers that intimidation had been applied to dissuade priests from signing. How those guilty of such worldly intimidation can think that their behaviour helps any cause in which they sincerely and Christianly believe, I simply do not even begin to understand. It all seems to me so much more like the actions of playground bullies than any conduct which could be appropriate between those whom the Lord called His Friends (philous; John 15:15).

I have not always agreed with everything this Holy Father has said and done. But I very much doubt whether he is complicit in this. There is such a pettiness about it.

[…]

Footnote: Canon 212 also talks convincingly and appropriately about the obedientia necessary when Shepherds, as fidei magistri, make doctrinal declarations, or, as rulers of the Church, legislate (statuunt). In view of the opening paragraphs of Amoris laetitia, I do not get the impression that the Sovereign Pontiff is, in this Exhortation, claiming either to define dogma or to legislate.

*****

CP&S Comment: According to many Vatican observers, (including Bishop Fellay) the number of Cardinals and Bishops against this type of modernism infiltration in the Church is growing. Please pray with us in the hope that the ongoing courage of these 45 will bolster the courage of many others.

 

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9 Responses to The Magical Magisterium: your rights and mine

  1. kathleen says:

    Am I right in saying that the Letter referred to by Fr Hunwicke written by “45 scholars, teachers, and pastors” to the members of the Sacred College of Cardinals was also made into a video for wider publicity of these “16 international life and family advocates” who speak out about their concerns in the video here? Does anyone know? We published this post on CP&S on July 14th, almost two months ago.
    If there were 45 signatories to the Letter, it would indicate that 29 more voices were added to those who spoke out in the video entitled, “Plea to the Pope”.

    Is this the only outcome of the whole endeavour to beseech the Holy Father to clarify his words in his Apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia of so many important high-ranking members of the Church holding posts of great responsibility? Surely, at least some sort of public response saying something, and calming the worries and confusion of so many Catholics, should have come from the Vatican by now, even if it were to do no more than promise that the matter would be looked into?

    Just as an aside, I’m not sure exactly what Fr Hunwicke is referring to when he mentions the English Church. There is no “English Church” as such, unless he simply means English members of the Catholic Church. Or is he talking about the Ordinariate? Otherwise it would appear to refer to the Anglicans (I don’t think it does) who are not members of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

  2. kathleen says:

    Hmmm… I cannot get out of my head Fr Hunwicke’s report of “Intimidation and cruel pressures” being put on those valiant signatories to the Letter to “rescind their signatures”!
    That sounds very much like an understatement for saying they have been threatened in some way or another for their stand in defending Catholic orthodoxy. This is truly scandalous!

    It is also very scary to know (although, sadly, this comes as no surprise to any of us) that there are members of the hierarchy capable of trying to manipulate faithful, traditional Catholics – to silence their voices – over what is no more than an honest and evident appeal at the failure of the above-mentioned exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, to clarify what it supposedly set out to do. Which is?
    Looking at ways of applying Catholic teaching and dogma on marriage and the family (and nothing else) in our crazy world today. But it did not do this! Through it mixing ambiguous words with truthful ones, adding very dubious phrases that appear to contradict Catholic doctrine, and putting the most important into footnotes, it simply sowed more confusion and misunderstandings than ever before!

    Weakening the Truth to go along with worldly values never should have been an option (except that it was this exact intention held among the progressive Kasperite gang at the two Synods) and was fought tooth and nail by all the good faithful Cardinals present there.

  3. “I have not always agreed with everything this Holy Father has said and done. But I very much doubt whether he is complicit in this. There is such a pettiness about it.”

    I have become so cynical and skeptical where Bergoglio is concerned – something which was utterly impossible for me with any earlier pope – that I do NOT for a moment doubt that he was complicit in the “Intimidation and cruel pressures.”

  4. JabbaPapa says:

    Canon 212 (paragraph 3) informs us that Christifideles (i.e., vide Canonem 207, both clerics and laics) have the ius immo et aliquando officium conformably with their scientia, competentia, et praestantia, “ut sententiam suam de his quae ad bonum Ecclesiae pertinent sacris Pastoribus manifestent” [Anglice “the right, and, indeed, sometimes the duty, according to their knowledge, competence, and dignity, to manifest to Sacred Shepherds their judgement about those things which pertain to the good of the Church“]. The text goes on to add that they also have this right and (even) duty to make their judgement known to the rest of the Christifideles.

    All of these things are true, but they do NOT constitute some kind of Modernist and/or Americanist “super-magisterium” whereby the “judgment” of “the faithful” could be imposed upon the Holy Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

    Attempts to impose any manner of pressure upon Holy Church by reference to political theories belonging to certain groups among the Faithful constitutes the Heresy of Americanism, because the Dogma of the Holy Church is not subjected to transient popular political desires, including not those of men and women self-identifying as “traditionalists”.

    Factionalism and sectarianism remain uncatholic no matter how specious and detailed the arguments may be that support such evils.

  5. kathleen says:

    Jabba @ 15:49 yesterday

    Now this comment really does need some untangling! Forgive me for saying so, dear friend, but sometimes your great scholarly mind (and I mean this with no attempt at irony – please believe me) just seems to run away with you.

    You appear to be looking at this whole subject sort of ‘back to front’ – IOW, you are not properly tackling what Father Hunwicke is saying here at all, but barking up the wrong trees of such varied topics as those of other “super magisteriums”, “Heresy of Americanism” and even “traditionalists”!!
    None of this has anything to do with what is a legitimate and charitable REQUEST from the faithful of the Church to their Holy Father. (And of course the news that now some of the signatories have been “intimidated” due to what some must have considered to be their outspokenness!)

    Let’s go point to point:
    1. Fr Hunwicke states that because there was a document (Amoris Laetitia) issuing forth from the Vatican, ostensibly written and signed by the Pope, that has been received with dismay and shocked criticism from a very large section of the Church and causing mass confusion due to its undeniable ambiguous wording, many leaders in the Church (clergy and laity) wrote a Letter, a “Plea to the Pope”, asking for clarity.
    2. Fr Hunwicke points to Canon 212 (paragraph 3) to justify the ““the right, and, indeed, sometimes the duty, according to their knowledge, competence, and dignity, to manifest to Sacred Shepherds their judgement about those things which pertain to the good of the Church“.
    3. He quotes a Canon Lawyer to affirm that: “The right of free speech and public opinion within the Church is acknowledged. […]The basis of this right… reside[s] in the condition of being one of the faithful“.
    4. Therefore, summing up, the “Intimidation and cruel pressures” that have been used to persuade some of the signatories to rescind, is totally out of order – or worse!

    See? No need to accuse these good men and women of any type of heresy, attempting to create another “super magisterium” or any bizarre branding of nasty names.
    We are simply being informed by this highly erudite and respected priest, Fr John Hunwicke (a convert from Anglicanism) of the inadmissible tactics of some suspected progressives in high positions within the Church who appear to lack true love and loyalty for what is indeed (in your words) “the Holy Magisterium of the Catholic Church”.

  6. JabbaPapa says:

    No need to accuse these good men and women of any type of heresy

    I cannot remember doing so. I denounced the Americanist Heresy ; I cannot recall accusing anyone in particular of cleaving to it.

    As you know, dearest kathleen, I speak plainly and openly what I think, and trying to double guess my words is usually a non-starter.

    We are simply being informed by this highly erudite and respected priest, Fr John Hunwicke (a convert from Anglicanism) of the inadmissible tactics of some suspected progressives in high positions within the Church who appear to lack true love and loyalty for what is indeed (in your words) “the Holy Magisterium of the Catholic Church”.

    And this differs from my central point … how, exactly ?

    You really should realise, kathleen, that a certain “traditionalist” faction (ie NOT all traditionalists, and most certainly NOT the great majority of ordinary traditional Catholics), that has its roots in 15th century French monasticism, has been proposing a return to “purer” forms of Catholic religiosity for several centuries now, but also that theologically it is a puritanical revisionist ideology that they propose, similar in some respects to the original Lutheranism (except without the Heresies), but that faction has been rejected decisively in two of the last three Ecumenical Councils, Trent and Vatican II — because it seeks to impose forms rightly belonging to ascetic monastic Spirituality upon the Laity and Diocesan clergy, where those forms do not belong ; for each of us has the charisms and Graces given to us in each of our particulars and congregations.

    Their one historic Triumph was in the adoption of the Tridentine Rite as the Norm of the Holy Mass, as a means of significant purification of the Holy Liturgy against the excesses and widespread abuses that existed in the 16th to 17th Centuries. Which should sound depressingly familiar … 😦

    My other important point concerns sectarianism and factionalism — “progressive” “liberals” accuse the “traddies” as not being “real Catholics” ; and if we are to be honest, vice-versa.

    Neither of these sources of mutual accusations is Catholic as such.

    We should recognise that certain doctrines of some “progressive” “liberals” deny the Essence of the Catholicity of the Faith ; but at the other extreme, so do certain doctrines of certain traditionalist groups. This is NOT an accusation levelled against all of traditionalism, far from it.

    St Thomas Aquinas taught somewhere in his work about what was even in his own time de facto Traditionalism — he taught that whilst cleaving to correct forms did not in itself constitute the genuine Spirituality of the Christian Faith, which transcends those mere forms, nevertheless a faithful obedience to those forms is foundationally virtuous in nature, because those forms are given to us via Holy Church from God, so that even the most rote-learned Catholic, blind though he might be to the transcendental Spirituality of the Trinity and all Saints and Angels and living Souls, will be a medium for the just transmission of Holy Religion to other Souls, by which this spiritually blind person can achieve Salvation from his obedience to the Gifts of Universal and personal Revelation, and even be a secondary source of salvific Graces for others in a manner of Sainthood by default.

    The Orthodoxy of the Holy Catholic Faith is NOT an easy path to follow, because the temptations towards factionalism, or sectarianism, or heterodoxy, or worldliness, or “progressive” “liberalism”, or “you have your opinions, I have mine” Relativism, or opinionated Modernism which teaches that only I am right & everyone else wrong, or the neo-Arianism & neo-Pelagianism that the Pope has so strongly denounced (and is NOT traditionalism !!), and so on and so on, abound in demonic multiplicity.

    Meanwhile, I only suggested that Fr. Hunswick is somewhat mistaken ; I **certainly** accused him of no heresies !!!

  7. JabbaPapa says:

    bah … Hunwicke

  8. kathleen says:

    Jabba @ 12:43

    “As you know, dearest kathleen, I speak plainly and openly what I think, and trying to double guess my words is usually a non-starter.”

    Well there is an oxymoron for starters!!😆
    If you are speaking “plainly and openly” in what you think, why should I need to try to “double guess” your words? It should not even be necessary, should it, dear friend?😉

    ” I denounced the Americanist Heresy ; I cannot recall accusing anyone in particular of cleaving to it.”

    Then why even bring up such a completely unnecessary heresy at all? It has absolutely nothing to do with what we were talking about AFAICS.

    The 45 signatories from many different countries, were using their legitimate right to point out, in a jointly signed Letter to the Sacred College of Cardinals, the ambiguities and errors in the Pope’s Exhortation, AL. If you cut and paste Fr Hunwicke’s first paragraph where he shows that Canon 212 (paragraph 3) states this is – their legitimate right – and then go on to say: “All of these things are true, but they do NOT constitute some kind of Modernist and/or Americanist “super-magisterium” whereby the “judgment” of “the faithful” could be imposed upon the Holy Magisterium of the Catholic Church”, it clearly looks as though you are accusing them of this same heresy by inference!

    Even if you did not intend to accuse the 45 signatories or Fr Hunwicke of any “heresies”, in what way do you think Father was “mistaken”? Is it never legitimate (in your opinion) for the faithful to complain to the Vatican of anything published by members of the hierarchy when these contain blatant errors, and/or un-Catholic teaching, e.g., that horrific sex-ed programme I remember you yourself denounced here?
    Throughout the history of the Church, this has been done, Jabba; when the Pope or one of the bishops has either committed grave sin, scandalous behaviour, or doctrinal errors (as in their common fallen humanity has happened at times) these have been condemned by others in positions of authority for the good of the whole Church, and to protect and safeguard the Sacred Deposit of Faith.

    However, I found the rest of your comment really very interesting and informative, both about “15th century French monasticism” and following, down through all the troubles of “sectarianism and factionalism” that, unfortunately, I am all too familiar with. Thank you for this, Jabba.
    We hope and pray that our blog, whilst steering a path far away from liberalism (where Modernism always lurks, awaiting its chances to spread its evil) and clearly more towards traditional, orthodox Catholicism, that we never veer into any form of ultra-extremism.
    May Our Blessed Lady and all the holy angels and saints help us, both authors and commenters, in our endeavours.

  9. JabbaPapa says:

    the 45 signatories or Fr Hunwicke

    My worry is certainly NOT in what these men have written — but rather in what some in the Laity may make of it.

    Theologians have a right to make those sorts of statements in public that other Catholics simply do not possess — the risk of Americanism resides not in those sorts of statements, but in some more daring ones that one habitually sees from certain quarters, of the blogosphere for example.

    If you are speaking “plainly and openly” in what you think, why should I need to try to “double guess” your words?

    People very frequently attempt to do just that. But pacem, it was not a complaint that you’ve done so (again, if I thought you had, I’d just say so), just a mise en garde about my tendency to speak by allusion, hypotheticals, and conditionals which does not constitute statements about particulars, but instead (in here anyway) concerns certain generals and even ambiguities that are inherent to the Catholicity ; even Pope Francis has recently warned that overly precise statements about matters not precisely defined in the Deposit of Faith are harmful.

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