Yet More SSPX
" I couldn't emphasize it enough, how important the December 22 speech of Benedict to the Curia was [to] the Lefebvrists becoming much more open to reconciliation. They saw this as an affirmation that they can accept the Council only in the light of Sacred Tradition.... This was major for them."That from a source close to the SSPX, on the root of the recent warmth which has led to tomorrow's Lefebvrite summit meeting at Flavigny.
Also cited is a very recent interview, excerpted below, with Richard Williamson -- reported to be "obstinate" as regards a reconciliation -- as evidence of his clash with the positive view of Benedict's approach taken by Superior-General Bernard Fellay, and the widespread perception even at the Society's highest levels that he is not immediately disposed to a reunion....
CFN: So from the Curia address, which way does [Benedict XVI's vision for the church] seem to be [directed]?Doesn't sound like the docility of someone who's making plans to return into the fold.
BW: Altogether in line with the Second Vatican Council, relying in particular on the Council's teaching on religious liberty. But that teaching was a major novelty of the Council, and a grave error, so the Pope's Christmas address to the Curia suggests that the 40-year-old crisis of the Church is going to get yet worse rather than better.
CFN: In fairness to the Pope, could you sum up the rest of the address leading up to what he says about the Council and religious liberty.
BW: Briefly, he opens his remarks about Christmas and the teaching and example given by John Paul II. He comments positively on two of his predecessor's 2005 initiatives: World Youth Day in Cologne and the Synod of Bishops on the Holy Eucharist. Finally he comes to the last event of 2005 on which he wishes to reflect, the 40th anniversary of the closing in 1965 of the Second Vatican Council.
CFN: Does he immediately then begin talking about religious liberty?
BW: No, he says firstly that the 40 years following the Council have seen much conflict, because two interpretations of the Council clashed. A bad interpretation wanted to follow "the spirit of the Council", and not its letter, or texts. A good interpretation wanted the Church's truth to remain unchanged, only re-thought and re-expressed. The latter interpretation has borne and is bearing good fruit, says the Pope.
CFN: Do you agree with him here?
BW: Alas, prior to John XXIII all popes agreed that to guard Catholic doctrine, it is dangerous to change even the words with which it is expressed, especially when those words have been hammered out over the ages. Freshen people's understanding of old words, yes. Change those words, no! But from John XXIII onwards, each of the conciliar popes have wanted to change the words, which is why Catholic doctrine has been severely harmed. How many youths of World Youth Day held in Cologne last year know their catechism?
CFN: How did Benedict XVI come to the question of religious liberty?
BW: He went on to say that the problem before the Council was to reconcile the Church with modern man: how is one today to relate faith to science? Church to State, Catholicism to other religions? He said that the Council's solution to all three essentially connected problems was its teaching on religious liberty, which was an example of true reform, because instead of changing Catholic principles, it merely applied the same principles afresh to modern circumstances.
CFN: Again, do you agree that Vatican II changed only application of Catholic principles, and not the principles themselves?
BW: No, it changed the very principles, which is why the Church is in such an upheaval. For instance Benedict XVI went on to say that as the medieval Church reconciled St. Augustine's Catholic thinking with pagan Aristotelian thinking of that time, so Vatican II reconciled with modern (liberal) reason. To reconcile Augustine's supernatural truth with Aristotle's natural truth is one thing, but to reconcile Catholic truth with modern error is quite another. Because what Benedict XVI calls "modern reason" is the subjective philosophy of modern man, which cuts him off from all objective truth. How can such falsehood be made Catholic? Poor Benedict XVI has far too much respect for "modern man"!