Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fr. Z. on the "Pope of Christian Unity"

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf frequently uses the phrase "Pope of Christian Unity" in reference to Pope Benedict XVI -- in connection with, for example, the new Anglican Catholic Ordinariats, or, more recently, the SSPX. Cynics, of course, might suggest that such language could also be applied to the olive branches he seems to have extended to groups like the Neocatechumenal Movement, although a difference here would be the clear objections he has voiced to certain abuses, liturgical and otherwise, found within it, as well as corrections upon which he has insisted. (Implementation of these, of course, is sadly another matter.)

In reference to a very interesting recent interview by Catholic News Service of SSPX Bp. Fellay, Fr. Z. offers the following commentary on the CNS article (his emphasis):
[Fellay:] “I think that the move of the Holy Father — because it really comes from him — is genuine. There doesn’t seem to be any trap,” he said. “So we have to look into it very closely and if possible move ahead.”

[CNS article:] He cautioned, however, that the two sides still have not arrived at an agreement, and that unspecified guarantees from the Vatican are still pending. He said the guarantees are related to the society’s traditional liturgical practices and teachings, among other areas. [Fr. Z: I am not sure that there are any real problems with the liturgical issues.... As for doctrinal problems, I cannot imag[ine] that there are going to be too many problems there, either. Catholic parishes and universities have been oozing all manner of rot for years now and that hasn't been a problem. Surely a starker Catholic position can be acceptable. And if people don't like it, they won't attend their chapels. Market forces, after all, work in the Church too, though slightly differently. Also, if the Holy See could reconcile Feeney without forcing him to recant his position about salvation outside the Church, then surely they can permit a somewhat divergent view about difficult matters such as religious liberty.]

“The thing is not yet done,” the bishop said. “We need some reasonable understanding that the proposed structure and conditions are workable. We are not going to do suicide there, that’s very clear.” [So, there is a proposed structure.]

Bishop Fellay insisted the impetus for a resolution comes from Pope Benedict XVI. [The Pope of Christian Unity. That is the point of that phrase, of course. He, the Pope, as Pope, gets to determine what true ecumenism is, for example. And in this matter, too, he, Peter, is the one who must be active to work with the SSPX in a way that, sad to say, the late Pope did not.]

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