Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Contrasting Reactions

Think I’ll give Pope Benedict's January 17 visit to the Rome Synagogue one more parting shot. Relatively few traditional Catholics, to my knowledge, have taken the event very seriously. Even Fewer SSPXers, priests or laity, it would seem, have squared off on the issue. To date, Traditional Catholic publications like The Remnant and Catholic Family News, have reported the visit cursorily, or not at all.

In October of 1999, Superior General Bernard Fellay wrote an indignantly worded, highly impassioned letter to the then reigning pontiff John Paul 2 over a planned ecumenical Day of Prayer. (He was to write a similarly-toned letter in 2002, on the eve of still another Assisi-like scandal, whipped up by the same pope. (‘Assisi 3,’ I guess you could call it). Bishop Fellay seemed a lot more fired up and combative then. One has to wonder why His Excellency, (hereafter HE), can not work up similar indignation over this most recent over-the-top event. But more on that below.

In the October ‘99 letter, HE recalled the “public sin against the first commandment” on full display at Assisi ’86. “How could you,” he wrote, “invite the followers of ‘religions’ which refuse the only Mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus…” HE referred to these “religions” as “nothing more than atheism and idolatry.”

I don’t recall Bishop Fellay getting that upset again for a long time thereafter. It wasn’t until January of 2009 that we witnessed another vesuvian outburst from HE over an entirely different matter. This time, as we all know, his pique was directed towards a fellow SSPX bishop’s brief public assessment of a couple of historical events. Fellay informed the world crustily that the Society does not do history. Historical speculation is not within the Society’s purview, he explained; it exceeds her mandate. Indeed!

Well, I doubt that HE would have been so quick to apply such a narrow definition to the range of legitimate Society activities, had Bishop Williamson simply offered a few historical reflections upon, say, Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, or the Atlantic Charter, or even 9/11. No, it was not “history,” per se, which troubled HE; it was that particular history. That particular history became for HE “an extremely delicate and burning matter.” So much so in fact, that he ordered Bishop Williamson “to correct (his) nonsense.” This is history which HE does not care to deal with. Does HE really believe that Williamson’s holocaust perceptions are “nonsense?” I’ll bet conservatively that well over half of Society priests and lay associates believe as does Bp. Williamson.

Note how quickly Williamson’s revisionist comments, challenging two widely accepted aspects of popular Holocaust lore, pushed him irretrievably into the ranks of anti-Semitism. And Bishop Fellay did little to prevent this from happening. In fact, he poured gas on the fire. “Antisemitism has no place in our ranks,” he sniffs. In other words, Bishop Williamson’s historical perspectives are, in HE’s mind, clearly anti-Semitic, and truth be told, he calls his fellow bishop an anti-Semite in scarcely veiled language. HE concludes dismissively that within each group, “there are always people on the fringes.” In summary then, Bp. Williamson has been consigned to anti-Semitic fringe membership in the Society. That’s really the long and the short of it, isn’t it?

Elsewhere HE declares that “the anger of the Jews can be understood. I understand it, and I deplore what happened,” he says. Some traditional Catholics, including me, are wondering when, if ever, Fellay will begin to understand our anger and frustration over what has happened, but for entirely different reasons. We deplore what happened, as well, but of a manner in stark contrast to HE’s portrayal. Understanding and hopefully allaying Jewish anger seems to be HE’s major concern at this point. I suspect that mending fences with some of his own people hardly enters his mind. If a few priests get too out of hand, why, they are simply shown the door.

Let the foregoing merely set the stage for what is really on my mind now. The past is the past. Oh, that the past might inform the present, but I don’t think it does that very well in this case.

At the very beginning of his reign in 2005, Pope Benedict visited a synagogue in Cologne, Germany. I don’t recall Bishop Fellay, or for that matter, any other member of the Society saying much about that visit. No Society cleric that I know of exhibited any public displeasure over it. Nor did a subsequent visit by the pope to a major Jewish synagogue in New York City in 2008 seem to cause much of a stir. All was pretty quiet on the SSPX front. Nothing changed this year, January 17, 2010, when once again the Supreme Pontiff marched into the Synagogue of Rome for a friendly visit. Only one other pope, (need we mention his name?) had visited the main Synagogue in Rome in the entire 2000 year history of the Church.

Benedict, figuratively with hat-in-hand like his predecessor, groveled and apologized. He poured out a hogshead of mea culpas, and, in short, made a total ­­­­______ out of himself. St. John Chrysostom must have been tossing in his grave. But I haven’t heard that Bishop Fellay so much as uttered even a ‘Well,-can-you-beat-that!’ Nothing. The ‘seismographic needle’ did not so much as quiver.

But speaking of St. John Chrysostom: We Catholic “trads” celebrate his feast day on January 27. That was less than a week ago. St. John C. had a lot to say about visiting Jewish synagogues. Benedict would not have appreciated his insights, I’m sure.

At the end of the fourth century Chrysostom gave a series of homilies entitled Adversus Judaeos. In the very first homily, just for openers, the saint hurls a barrage of vituperation against the synagogue, such as to make one’s eyes water. He calls it a “brothel and a theater,” “a dwelling of demons,” “a lodging place for robbers and cheats..” And he hasn’t even really begun to warm up yet.

Had St. John Chrysostom been alive to witness the visit of Pope Benedict to the Roman Synagogue, he would have almost certainly recoiled in horror and disgust. Benedict told those assembled “harlots,” (to borrow a word from our saint), that Christians and Jews worship the same God. Now let Chrysostom speak: “Jews say that they, too, adore God. God forbid that I say that. No Jew adores God!”

“ If, then,” as this saint reasons correctly, “the Jews fail to know the Father, if they crucified the Son, if they thrust off the help of the Spirit, who should not make bold to declare plainly that the synagogue is a dwelling of demons? God is not worshipped there. Heaven forbid! From now on it remains a place of idolatry. But still some people pay it honor as a holy place.”

Well, St. John C., Pope Benedict pays much honor to the synagogue. So where does that place Bishop Bernard Fellay? I am not accusing HE of honoring the synagogue as a “holy place.” But it is on record that he thinks of the Jews as “our elder brothers,” in the sense that we have something “in common, that is, the Old Covenant.” So HE , as I read him, believes, that modern Judaics still operate, to one degree or another, under the influence of Mosaic Law.

Let me wrap this up: Why did His Excellency, Bishop Fellay come down so hard on Bishop Williamson over his remarks during a five minute TV interview, while, prima facie anyway, he ignored Benedict’s visit to the Roman Synagogue? Bp. Williamson committed no sin; he uttered no blasphemy. Nor did he say or do anything to compromise the Catholic Faith. Benedict, on the other hand, did all of the above.

Benedict spoke about “strengthening the good relations between our two communities” Was he kidding? The one “community” points to Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, Supreme Head of His Body, the Church. That “community” honors and venerates His Holy Mother, as well.

The other so-called “community” despises Jesus. They believe Him to be a simple mortal, and what is more, a liar, an imposter and a fraud, sentenced in the end to boil forever in a caldron of excrement. His Glorious Virgin Mother, their “holy” Talmud asserts, was a woman of easy virtue, an infamous “hair dresser,” who bore Jesus illegitimately.

The pope went into the Roman synagogue gushing “esteem and the affection” for the Jewish community there, “ and all Jewish communities around the world.” St. John Chrysostom would have found these papal encomiums incomprehensible. He cried out in his day: “Must you not despise (the synagogue), hold it in abomination, run away from it?”

Benedict declared that “Christians and Jews share to a great extent a common spiritual patrimony, they pray to the same Lord,…” Chrysostom knew better. He simply repeated what his Master had taught, viz. that these descendants of the ancient Pharisees worshipped their own father, the devil. (John 8)

“Antiemitism has been condemned by the Church,” says Bishop Fellay. Well then, does that mean that we can no longer point to the synagogue and its denizens and speak the truth about them? Does it green-light Conciliar popes going amongst the Jews and heaping nauseous accolades and honors upon them? Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre knew what these popes were doing and had done. “(W)e must not be afraid,” he wrote, “to affirm that the current Roman authorities, since John XXIII and Paul VI, have made themselves active collaborators of international Jewish Freemasonry and of world socialism. John Paul II is above all a communist-loving politician at the service of a world communism retaining a hint of religion. What might the Archbishop have said about our present synagogue- hopping pope? One can easily imagine. What one can not imagine is the current Superior General of SSPX opening his mouth in any such way against the shenanigans of this errant pope.

I will close by recognizing that a number of my readers may take umbrage at parts or all of this paper. If it gets into the hands of certain SSPX officials, my present association with the Society may be compulsorily altered. Well, let's hope that we'll not have to deal with that. We just take things as they come. Meanwhile, God bless and keep you all in the true Faith.


1 comment:

  1. Good luck with your new blog!

    Let's here it from the guy in the pew!