Saturday, January 19, 2013

Abp. Schneider: Dignitatis Humanae is a fall-back position

The position on religious liberty of the Vatican II document is "understandable," though ultimately not viable:

[Hat tip to Rorate Caeli]


Anonymous said...

Bishop Schneider was interviewed on EWTN Fr. Pacwa's
Program. If you did not see it I highly recommend that you do. I believe that he is a very holy man.


Ralph Roister-Doister said...

I will not offer an opinion on Ab Schneider’s saintliness, but I don’t think his intellectual distinction holds water. It is another limp attempt to summon up gravitas and intellectual integrity for another limp V2 document. Ab Schneider distinguishes two senses of argumentation for religious liberty, one a response to the French Revolution, the other a response to communism. The first sense is a protest such as that made by Pius IX, that a nation’s Catholic heritage cannot be expunged by a civil government on the basis of ideological shibboleths such as “liberty, equality, fraternity.” The second sense is that one must base a dialogue with atheistic governments full of atheistic people by establishing a starting point of agreement – human dignity.

There is so much nonsense here that it is hard to know where to begin. So here are some points for consideration:

• The French Revolution was largely atheistic in content, and its totalitarian character was evident. In that sense there is no great distinction to be made between it and the Communist Revolution. They are alike in their effects, although their methodologies may have differed: one eliminating opponents by means of starvation and firing squads; the other by the guillotine.

• If the threat is largely the same, the need for two entirely different responses is questionable. And of the two responses, that of Pius IX is by far more coherent than that of DH.

• It is likewise questionable that the socialist republic of France and the late, unlamented communist regime of the USSR are as many worlds apart, as the current mythology would have it.

• It is well known that the USSR rolled over countries with strong Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim traditions. Therefore, Ab Schneider’s assumption that all of those countries were suddenly chock full of atheists is questionable, and would certainly come as a surprise to someone like Lech Walesa.
• The very idea that the Vatican and communists can agree on “human dignity” as a starting point for fruitful dialogue is –to put it as kindly as possible – breathtakingly naïve.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

I have to wonder what Ab Schneider would make of such “Catholic” politicians and government leaders as Mario Cuomo, Dick Durbin, and Nanci Pelosi. Certainly France teems with them. “Catholic” politicians reason that, as officials of the US and/or state government, they do not have the right to force their religious beliefs (that is, core beliefs and values traditionally held by Americans of many religions, including Catholics) on others -- whatever their personal beliefs might be. They reason that, if one is going to voluntarily serve in a government that draws an increasingly bold line of separation between religion and itself, then he can do nothing to impede the laws of the land, and must in fact do everything to enforce them. That includes laws such as abortion, universal access to contraception, homosexual marriage, “hate” crimes, etc. If this is the case, then what true Catholic can serve as president, governor, or judge (positions wherein one would be bound to sign into law and/or see to the enforcement of laws promoting immorality and flying in the face of core Catholic doctrine)? This is not a frivolous argument.

Which of the two senses of religious liberty argumentation would Ab Schneider prescribe for these putatively “Catholic” government leaders? If the first sense, then I have to wonder how genuine the ”religious liberty” of America can be, seeing as politicians refuse to let their laws be guided by religious principles of even the most toothlessly universalist variety – it would seem to me that the situation is much more dire than sources of Catholic leadership such as the USCCB are wont to admit. If the second sense, then the battle is already lost, and we are merely seeking to establish a futile “dialogue” with secular atheists about “human dignity.” Either way, the effectiveness of leaders such as Ab Schneider would be greatly enhanced, in my opinion, if they spent less time mincing around trying to rescue V2 documents from their fundamental incoherence, and more time concentrating on disciplining, to the point of excommunication, “Catholic” politicians who paralyze the Church from within. Excommunication would not mean anything to these people, but it would certainly clear the air, and there is much to be said for that.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ralph R-D
I spent 45 minutes or so on the phone last Saturday with a man who was once a member of the SSPX (in seminary) and is pretty much a sympathizer to this day. So, you and he would have had a good old time together had you been there. I’m sure this factoid is neither here nor there to you but I tell you this to explain why I would ask a question before I deal with your posts. I should know this but I can’t quite remember, are you a member of the SSPX? Or perhaps like my friend (at least I think that we are still friends) a sympathizer of same?
BTW, the reason that he can’t be a member is that he is a Church historian and knows that it is true that the SSPX are in schism much to his chagrin.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

I'm not sure why you feel a need to "deal with my posts," nor am I interested in dealing with your dealings with my posts, but I will tell you that, at this time, I am a sympathizer, not a member.

You need not read anything too significant into that: I feel spiritually much closer to the SSPX than I do to the NO parishes of my spiritually impoverished diocese, and have felt that way for a long time. I make no attempt to disguise my contempt for most of the men who have led the church during my lifetime: they have been miserable shepherds.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ralph,
It seems that you think that folks ought to be coerced into believing a certain religion. I hope to keep my freedom of religion that I chose using my God given free will. Please quote for me something (things) from DIGNITATIS HUMANAE that you disagree with. Frankly I’m amused but not surprised that you mentioned how terrible some prelates are when all I wrote is that I think a certain Bishop may be a saint. What exactly do the apparent apostate Catholics have to do with this topic? Earth to Mr. Ralph….we do not live in Christendom so I hope that I will never be coerced into joining another religion. Alternatively I hope that I will be given the grace to die for my faith if necessary.
I’m sorry that you feel spiritually closer to schismatics than to us. I recommend that you do a little studying of Church History. It is chock-full of really bad bishops. St. John Chrysostom said something like the road to hell is paved with bishops sculls. History is also chock-full of folks who thought that they could do it better than the way Jesus planned. The Arians comes to mind as does the Orthodox not to mention Luther, Zwingly and Calvin. Oh and then there are the Old Catholics. I recommend the series THE HISTORY OF CHRISTENDOM by Warren Carroll. In the meantime when we find a good and holy Bishop in the midst of the Tempest (like Athanasias) lets be grateful to God.