Monday, November 9, 2015

Sola historica--a guest post!

I'm so sorry it took me all day to find the time to put up the guest post that I told you about on Friday. Here it is!


Heather Sprinkle

Modernism, that heresy of “anything goes,” has been with us a long time. Condemned in 1907 and 1910 by Pope St. Pius X, it essentially holds that the Church must change with the times. It has reached its tendrils into all aspects of Catholic thought where that thought informs the sciences and modern life. It even seems that it has now been around long enough to engender a reaction that goes beyond a vigorous opposition. This reaction is Modernism’s counterpart; its “equal and opposite,” so to speak. This trend of thought in its most extreme form engenders a break with the Church as with the Pius X groups or their more extreme brethren. It also has a form which is becoming more prevalent, or at least more vocal. This trend of thought has certain characteristics that both align it to and set it apart from Modernism, as well as some distinct dangers to the faith of its own.

This growing trend has been noticed with some concern by other Catholics who have tried to define just what they think is going on. For example, it has been called neo-Pelagian in nature, perhaps because of its appearance of relying more on forms of virtue than on indwelling grace to achieve salvation. This characterization, I think, fails to grasp the essence of this trend and only looks at the externals. Jansenism is another possible characterization, with its rigid morality and emphasis on the difficulty of attaining salvation. This may be somewhat accurate, but it also fails to tell the whole story.

This new trend of thought has several important aspects which characterize it.

One: A deep distrust of modern Church leadership that goes beyond merely having rational concerns about this or that individual prelate. It evinces a “guilty until proven innocent” mentality and also “guilt by association.” It often assumes the worst possible interpretation of a prelate’s actions or words. For example, you might hear something like, “Cdl. Kasper is a liberal theologian. Pope Francis obviously likes him. Therefore Pope Francis must have a secret Modernist agenda.”

Two: A dislike of both Vatican II and the Novus Ordo that goes beyond rational concerns about the wording of this document or that prayer. You might read something calling the Novus Ordo illicit, or Vatican II heretical.

Three: An impressive knowledge of Church history and doctrine, coupled with a willingness to use that knowledge to make accusations of heresy regardless of the dictates of charity. You might hear, “That interview proves that Pope Francis is promulgating heresy. St. Thomas Aquinas makes it perfectly clear. We have a duty to warn the faithful!”

Four: A willingness to tolerate certain sins for what is perceived to be the greater good. Arrogance is perceived as strength, wrath is always righteous, and rumor and gossip are the only means to the truth.

Five: A belief in a sort of crypto-Church. This one’s a bit difficult to explain, but essentially it is the belief that the post Vatican II Church is in all important aspects a new religion, though the old true Church still exists underneath, protected and passed down by her faithful few who reside in a type of mental catacomb.

All of these beliefs combine to form a trend of thought that, while it may have its roots in a resistance to Modernism, has become something else, something that like Modernism can be a danger to the faithful. It is a mentality of, perhaps, sola historica: a divorce from the entirety of Catholicism and a reliance on bits and pieces of Church history and doctrine, read and studied but used not to deepen faith and understand the Church as a whole, but to do war on a church that is increasingly perceived as an enemy. It foments distrust, derision and despite between laity and leadership and ignites fear and confusion. It cannot be Catholic. It must be resisted.


--Heather Sprinkle writes from the Midwest, where she has been attending the Extraordinary Form Mass for over twenty years. (She is also my awesome older sister, the mother of seven of my nephews, and the kind of homeschooling mother who makes the rest of us look like pikers.) 


Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Five: A belief in a sort of crypto-Church. This one’s a bit difficult to explain, but essentially it is the belief that the post Vatican II Church is in all important aspects a new religion, though the old true Church still exists underneath, protected and passed down by her faithful few who reside in a type of mental catacomb.

Actually, Duarte Costa and Michel Colin, later known as Clement XV both opposed already Pius XII.

Those and other reactions against Vatican II Popes (in which Pius XII can be counted as a precursor, at least since taking Augustin Bea as a confessor, and since not condemning while discussing Evolution - Humani Generis, allocution of 1951), some of which clearly state their non-papacy are not in total catacombs.

They are simply not discussed.

In my case, my first take when leaving Vatican II Popes was making a go after Michel Colin, I later rejected him since "his successor" Jean-Grégoire XVII or Gaston Tremblay ordains women, but just found out Michel Colin was by the latter forced to resign, 1968, and when returning to France it seems he remained among followers who were NOT into Tremblay.

A FORCED Papal resignation is not canonical, as you may know. Ratzing erecently stated that his was, since it was voluntary. People have discussed whether Siri was elected and forced to resign, now, in such a case you WOULD be dealing with a kind of catacomb.

Duarte Costa is behind the line from which David Bawden or Pope Michael got his ordination and episcopal consecration in 2011 (Church Year 2012, since in Advent).

Deirdre Mundy said...

Obviously popes can like people without agreeing with them....

Rahner was BXVI's old drinking buddy, after all.....

Siarlys Jenkins said...

If the church is examined through the lens of power politics, I have yet to understand how a College of Cardinals appointed almost entirely by John Paul II and Bendict XVI, each appointment extolled in certain published columns as a great victory for conservative religious practice, could have elected a pope as antithetical to this trend as the same sources characterize Francis I.

Alternatively, maybe the faith really isn't all about power politics, albeit any large institution is going to have some?

A tangent, after reading Hans Georg Lundahl above. I vaguely remember having agreed with Lundahl about something or other in the past. At any rate, I got a warm fuzzy feeling seeing his name up there. But I am not clear as to his point on evolutionary biology. Georg, are you saying there is something about evolutionary biology that is inconsistent with your faith? It seems obviousl to me that the foundation of evolutionary biology are all laid out in the first two chapters of Genesis. Unfortunately, our ancestors were not in any position to discern the details, due to their own ignorance. I'm sure God knew about it all along. It was easier to figure out that the earth was round, which was known at least by 500 BC.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

I said nothing about "evolutionary biology", if by that you mean the mechanisms by which Black and White and Chinaman all come from eight persons of roughly same skin colour.

If you mean common descent, man and monkey, primate and ungulate, mammal and bird, reptilian and amphibian and fish and invertebrate, that is another matter.

If that is the truth, Genesis 1 and 2 and for that matter 7 and 8 are not.

Nor would the Christmas martyrology be so (a denial to which "Pius XII" came already in 22 November 1951, though just in an allocution).

If we live in Year 2015 after Birth of Christ, we live in the Year 7214 after the Beginning in which God created Heaven and Earth and all that is in them. Not "unknown ages" or anything.

John InEastTX said...

I find it best for me to simply pray, take the Sacraments, trust in God's Mercy, and not worry about all that.

I'm a simple sort of fellow and I've noticed that the sort of person who does get worked up about all that tends not to be the better for it.