Sunday, August 04, 2013

Are traditionalists "Pelagians"?

This is an easy accusation to make, I would suppose. Recalling the accusations made by Tracy Rowland, for example, and discounting for the moment the rebuttals, one might be tempted quite easily to suggest that traditionalists are Pharisaical, concerned with mere externals, empty forms of liturgy, with the "letter" rather than the "spirit" of the law, with "works righteousness," and "earning salvation" rather than receiving the free gift of God's grace, and so forth. (Not so incidentally, notice that these criticisms sound very much like Protestant Fundamentalist criticisms of Catholicism generally.)

Such accusations will doubtless bolster the morale of non-traditionalist Catholics while, yet again, "making life next to impossible," as Adfero suggests, "for the traditional-minded parish priest who is, now more than ever, being accused by his flock of putting himself "above the Church" by his devotion to reverence in the liturgy and traditional Catholic teaching."

What follows, however, is a very solid retort by a Catholic priest (yes, in "full communion"), which completely turns the tables on the accusers in 6 succinct (but also well-developed) points, in a homily (?) posted by Adfero under the title of "Confused how some Catholics can be labeled 'Pelagians'?" (Rorate Caeli, August 4, 2013):
  1. Widespread nonchalance toward infant baptism betrays a Pelagian indifference toward grace in the view that unbaptized infants automatically go to heaven;
  2. The common assumption that man is naturally good, that even atheists can do good works, etc., often betrays a pronounced Pelagian disregard for supernatural charity infused in the soul co-operating with an actual grace given by God for an action to be truly pleasing to God;
  3. The frequently declared opinion that Jews need not convert but require no more than the Old Law to be saved represents a decidedly Pelagian disregard for the indispensable necessity of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Atoning work of Christ;
  4. The widespread acceptance of the view that death is natural to man (often along with belief in Darwinian Evolution) displays a quasi-Pelagian affirmation in the dispensability of the supernatural order of grace, according to which death is utterly unnatural and never intended by God, but only permitted as a consequence for sin;
  5. The widespread indifference toward sacramental Confession betrays a pernicious Pelagian that we need no more than the good moral example of Jesus to elicit our innate natural goodness and that we have no need of sacramental grace to reconcile us to God;
  6. The widespread indifference toward the social reign of Christ the King reveals a striking affinity for Pelagius' denial that Christ Our Lord came to restore what Adam had lost but rather came merely to provide a good example.
The only point in which a parallel is recognized between traditional Catholics and Pelagius is in the matter of discipline and austerity, though the author of the piece expresses his wish that more traditional Catholics were austere with themselves, declaring: "Oh how they would please Our Lady who asked us over and over again for nearly 200 years… Penance! Penance! Penance! For the salvation of souls!"

Well, so who are the Pelagians? The author states his conclusion: "It is clear to me that the modern Church in her membership has become more Pelagian than ever whereas Traditional minded Catholics are seeking to hold the line against this most pestiferous return of heresy… striving not to let the precious grace of God granted them be in vain!"

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Welcome to the New Calvinist fruitopia, you Pelagian. Them sneaky Genevans finally got one of theirs installed in Rome. Now you're stuck like chuck.