A very slow appointment process

At mass in the Hamilton Cathedral over the last two years, and at different events around the diocese, we've had Bishop Denis Browne repeatedly tell us that this will be the "last time" he will preside over whatever the celebration is. We've all sat there accepting that come the next Easter/Advent/ First Communion, there will be a different Bishop leading us.

Sadly, this comment of Bishop Denis' continues with no sign that there is a successor imminent. Word around the place is that two lists of potential replacements' names have been rejected by the Vatican, which you would imagine has not proven a great morale booster for the priests of the Hamilton diocese. Every now and then a rumour shoots around – a new Bishop will be named by Christmas, or by Easter, or by…. and on it goes. Bishop Denis makes no secret that he wants to retire and it seems deeply unfair to him that he must continue with the role due to the slow turning of the adminstrative wheels. It is also no secret that many pressing matters are "on hold" until this appointment is made. It's not a good impasse for the diocese and is a shame for a long standing Bishop to be put in this position at the end of a long period of service.

How long is too long to wait? Is it fair to Bishop Denis, to his priests, in fact to all in the diocese to have this state of limbo continue for so long?

In any other employment situation, you simply resign and a replacement is found, no matter how far up the food chain you may be. Clearly it is not that straightforward in the Church, and no-one wants to see a rush appointment with the wrong man given the mitre, but at what point do you move forward, even with an interim appointment if the right man cannot be found, or is not immediately available?    

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    Comments: 68

    1. IAGHW January 30, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      I have no idea why people keep on complaining about the Vatican is slow in this process… if the Bishop suggest candidates that are decent and worthy to be a Bishop of the Church then the list would not be rejected (TWICE) and the Diocese would have a new Bishop instead of this "Limbo"…

    2. Don the Kiwi January 30, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      There have been a number of priests put forward. The first batch put forward were rejected by the nuncio – it is not purely his, or the encumbent bishop, or the vatican who accept or deny all or any names put forward – at and least two of those nominees were from the Auckland diocese. The priests of the diocese also have an input – necessarily so, because they have to be able to work with the bishop.

      A second list of names was put forward, but these were rejected – mainly because Bp.Denis did not aprove – and two of those were – I believe – from outside the Hamilton diocese. A further name was put forward by the bishop, but this was also rejected. Unfortunately our bishop has been the main villain in the diocese not having a new bishop, because he wants to ensure that his style is perpetuated – for better, or worse.

      I understand that our nuncio is now working in with the Vatican Council for the appointment of Bishops. But remember that, while this matter was under consideration, our nuncio was transferred to Kenya ?, so we had a new nuncio appointed. Then Pope Benedict stood down, and Pope Francis was elected, and he is giving a different style, albeit not a rupture with Benedict. The Vatican moves slowly at th best if times.

      My prayer is that we get a good conservative bishop who is a strong, manly man who speaks out the full truths of the Church – no mamby pamby feminised socialised inclusive dumbed doen doctrine, who will support those who wish for the Extraordinary form of the Mass as well as the Novus Ordo – who will take firm steps in reducing the debt of the diocese and cut out the overspending in the diocesan office, and harden up on the teachings and enrolments in our secondary schools which are causing the protestantising of our youth.. Bishops like some in the US like Jenky, Paproki and Chaput. Lets all pray for a good outcome.

    3. Rubyshine January 30, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      Don the Kiwi, you said, "no mamby pamby feminised socialised inclusive dumbed doen doctrine" Can you explain a little more about what you mean by this?

    4. Don the Kiwi January 30, 2014 at 9:46 pm

      High Rubyshine.

      Its getting late, but one small instance is, some of our priests in some dioceses  have been instructed to not preach the hard teachings – don't use the word "mortal sin" – just call it 'serious sin'. Soft pedal on socialism, because many Catholics are staunch labour Party members – despite the fact that every one of our past nine popes – including Francis – have spoken out against even mild forms of socialism. And when did you last hear a homily on artificial contraception and abortion? Don't preach about this because you might offent someone – especially women.

      That's a starter.

    5. Werahiko January 30, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      Don is right. The Church is being eaten away by socialist termites. Why, even in the Vatican, they have state owned -everything! Even the Vatican bank (a trading, not a reserve bank) and all those buildings! St Peters should be sold immediately and leased back as the first step in eradicating this clerico-crypto-communist-Chistianity. And as the the Swiss Guard! Don't they have rent-a-cops in Rome?

    6. sienna January 30, 2014 at 10:36 pm

      So Don the Kiwi does such a priest exist in the Hamilton Diocese and if he does then it is possible the bishop who has tendered his resignation would not approve.  Surely you are required to remain in the position to which you have been appointed until your resignation is accepted and a replacement announced. The suitable replacement I agree Don is just how you describe him

    7. Teresina January 30, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      You make some good points there, Don.  I have never heard a sermon on artificial contraception or abortion since I've been in Hamilton, and it is rare to hear mention of the devil, hell or purgatory, almost as if the Church doesn't teach against such things any more.  Obviously, Bishop Browne is not putting the right names forward – there are one or two excellent priests in our diocese who would be ideal as Bishop of Hamilton.  I don't know what the protocol is as to whether lay people can make those names known to the new Nuncio as it is obvious that Bishop Browne won't. 

      And Werahiko, you should motor out to the Bishop's residence and confirm for us that it's not the palace I have been told that it is.  Funny how many of those socialist leaning have nothing but the best for themselves …

    8. Teresina January 30, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      But, Don, I wonder what hope we have of getting a conservative bishop in Hamilton when we have the likes of Cardinal Maradiaga and Cardinal Braz de Aviz, said to be attacking those who uphold Catholic orthodoxy – including attacking Cardinal Muller for upholding the Church's teaching on marriage between a man and a woman – and trying to roll back the changes that came in the pontificates of Blessed Pope John Paul The Great and Pope Benedict:

      "Today there are those in the Church who prefer the famous questionnaire associated with the Synod (which was sent to all the dioceses of the world and is presented by some as a survey) to the words of Jesus reported in the Gospel – as if revealed Truth should be substituted by the most diverse opinions.


      Also this takes us back to the Seventies, when Paul VI alarmed, denounced:

      "So Christian truth is undergoing fearful shocks and crises. They will not accept the teaching of the magisterium […] There are some who try to make the faith easy by emptying it – the whole, the true faith – of those truths which appear to be unacceptable to the modern mind. They follow their own tastes, to choose a truth which is considered to be acceptable… Others are looking for a new faith especially a new belief about the Church. They are trying to bring her into line with the ideas of modern sociology and secular history."

      It is like instantly wiping away the pontificates of Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI to return to the dark years of the Seventies, to the self-demolition of the Church (as Paul VI defined it).

      This is not renewal, but a return to the most disastrous past."


    9. Abenader January 31, 2014 at 10:19 am

      Teresina/Don, in a conversation, a visiting priest (from outside NZ) mentioned to me that he was told by other priest/s NOT to speak about the social issues/sins. Is it too far a stretch of the imagination to suggest that this is standard practice throughout NZ, barring a few exceptions of course.

      On the other hand,what does this suggest then about the "SSPX nutters" who will in all probability speak of these things to their flock? 

      As regards Cdl. Maradiaga, scary times indeed.

    10. Teresina February 1, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      While we are on the subject of the very slow appointment of a new bishop for Hamilton – can anyone substantiate the rumour that the new appointee as rector to the seminary is going to be Bishop Cullinane?  If so, that is going to be a very retrograde step with the new theology Bishop Cullinane promotes as set out in his book: Openings to Renewal, Letters to the Church – a review of which can be read in the Swag:


      "But this book is primarily a pastoral letter 
      to those lost, exhausted and excluded 
      in the failure of the church to renew. 
      It offers hope through what might be 
      called practical theology and pastoral 
      common sense. Cullinane offers clarity 
      and understanding to people struggling 
      with moral dilemmas such as divorce and 
      remarriage. He calls for a greater openness 
      Openings to Renewal, Letters to the Church, 
      Peter J Cullinane, Adelaide 2011, ATF Theology
      on the role of women in 
      the church. This is the best 
      explanation of internal and 
      external forum I have ever 
      seen (p114-116). 



    11. sienna February 1, 2014 at 5:17 pm

        I am reliably informed  Bishop Cullinane will be at the seminry this year.  God writes straight with crooked lines Teresina!

    12. Teresina February 1, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      Yikes!  Thanks, Sienna!

    13. bamac February 1, 2014 at 5:40 pm


      Thank you for that information …which i feel is concerning …more on his book here:-


      Mrs Mac



    14. Teresina February 1, 2014 at 7:21 pm

      Thanks, Mrs Mac, from your link: "“In a renewed church,” writes Peter Cullinane, “the kind of questioning that rightly belongs to adult learning will not just be allowed but encouraged.” (p 39)."

    15. withhope February 1, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      Teresina said: 'rare to hear mention of the devil, hell or purgatory'



      …in this country? NEVER – and I  used to go to mass daily and never heard mention of any of the above.


      multis commentors, if you don't think Christ was serious when he warned us about the progenitor of lies, why are you Catholic?


      Don the Kiwi said of the 'guardians' (in case others don't know that's what bishop means) of the Faith: because he wants to ensure that his style is perpetuated. style. nail hammer struck. like what Rolling stone might like, or Esquire? or the Advocate?



      seriously….I want to know, why are most commentors here Catholic?….why? To be blasé about the sacrifice of Our Lord? To poo poo what is necessary for salvation? to slag of all that which the Saints died for? to wave flags and put up banners for inculturation of gentile devils in to the 'worship', or to show that you have 'progressed' beyond the unsophisticated Tradition which vouchsafed even the sacred scripture for our careless perusal.




      Rubyshine asked about 'feminised'. As someone who suffered through tertiary edu feminist papers I can concur that 'feminised' is a nice way of saying absolute illogical, unhistorical, unGodly tripe. 'scuse the bluntness.

    16. withhope February 1, 2014 at 10:52 pm

      p.s. forgive me, that should have been a-historical tripe.

    17. Boanerges February 2, 2014 at 8:45 am

      I may not have the most up to date information, but I was under the impression that Fr. Michael Gielen will be leading the seminary on his return from Rome next year? 

    18. bamac February 2, 2014 at 10:37 am

      Wasn't the rector of the seminary a priest brought over from Australia?  Is he the priest you mentioned Boanerges?

    19. Boanerges February 2, 2014 at 11:07 am

      No fr Michael was parish priest at Mt maunganui up until the start of last year. Not sure who you are referring to sorry.

    20. bamac February 2, 2014 at 11:20 am


      This is the priest I was refering to  … had not heard that he was being replaced…. Don the Kiwi, do you know  if you are reading this?


      Mrs Mac

    21. Teresina February 2, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Boanerges, that's right.  I understood that Fr Michael Gielen was going to be the rector – unless he is going to be doing more study or maybe he is being considered for the role of bishop????  Just a thought.  The rumour regarding Bishop Cullinane is from the Palmerston North diocese I believe.  It may be only a rumour but then Sienna says she is reliably informed Bishop Cullinane will be at the seminary this year – but perhaps not in the position of rector?

      Mrs Mac, yes, I believe a priest from Australia did come over to be rector but perhaps he is going back.

    22. bamac February 2, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      I have looked up the Seminary on Google and the latest reports I found said nothing about the present rector retiring  or being replaced…..  there would have to be some sort of mention of farewell or mention of his replacement by this stage of the accademic year wouldn't there?   If the rumour is correct then wouldn't that be mentioned in the list of Auckland transfers due out in the next NZ Catholic ?

        The saying " Watch this space " comes to mind  !

      Mrs Mac

    23. bamac February 2, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      How does one make a smiley stick?  Mine are there in the comment box but never on what appears when it joins the list of comments.

      Mrs Mac

    24. sienna February 2, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      I believe Fr Michael Gielen is to the first year formator at the seminary when he returns from Rome

    25. Teresina February 2, 2014 at 10:20 pm

      Yes, Sienna, apparently what you say is correct and as Mrs Mac says that there has been no change in rector announced it may only be a rumour about Bishop Cullinane or perhaps he is going to fill a teaching post.  As you say, Mrs Mac, "Watch this space" …

    26. Teresina February 3, 2014 at 12:02 am

      I mentioned above that with the likes of Cardinal Maradiaga and Cardinal Braz de Aviz how likely are we to get a good conservative bishop in the Hamilton Diocese, and reading the article below drawing attention to some of Pope Francis' recent comments makes me think that it is getting less likely by the day:


      While some of the media’s claims about Francis are excessive, at least one is dismayingly real, one which Coppen never allows: that Francis is more liberal than his predecessors. Indeed, not a week passes without some new papal statement or action to puzzle conservatives and embolden liberals.


      This week, for example, we have the curious spectacle of a pope who commends the reading of the Koran: “Francis to Refugees: Christian or Muslim, The Faith Your Parents Instilled in you Will Help you Move on.”


    27. South Sider February 3, 2014 at 7:47 am

      My understanding is that the seminary rector, Msgr Peter Jeffrey, has been suffering from ill health and is currently in Australia recovering. He is expected back at the seminary in a matter of weeks, if his health is OK. In the interim, Bishop Cullinane will be at the seminary. At this stage, it is expected that this will only be for 2-3 weeks. 

      A message about the above was sent out in the latest clergy newsletter to Auckland's priests, I understand.

    28. Teresina February 3, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      Thanks for the info, Southsider.

      Withhope – at least there is some positive news:

      "The Cœtus Internationalis Summorum Pontificum is happy to announce that His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, will celebrate the Solemn Pontifical High Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, on Saturday, October 25, in Saint Peter’s Basilica, at 12:00 Noon, on the occasion of the Third Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage to Rome." 


      Oh to be there!


    29. withhope February 3, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      Thanks for the link, Teresina.


      Cardinal Burke is an exemplar of Catholic clerical virtue, these days. This man doesn't shrink before heretics, or egomaniacal maradiaga's – and on that point maDradiaga, convert to anglicanism man – then you wont have any pesky Church Father's, doctrine, CDF, or indeed Christ to put a stick up your jassy groove, anymore, but you'll still have a mitre.


      Why do Catholics stay in the Church when they have stopped believing the treasure Christ gave to this Rock of the One, True, Faith? Because, of course there's nothing wrong with oneself, one's ego demands that it should be this Rock of the One, True, Faith, all those saints, and apostles, and traditions, the scripture those old fuddy Fathers took four centuries of Martyrs, Faith and Tradition, Sacraments and asking, seeking and knocking to be of one mind as to the Truth of the Canon; and that awful old mass, and oh, historical accuracy, and the unconquerable Latin (ecclessiastical Latin is easily mastered by little kids…I was a grown up when I set to, and it's not an enemy – a sacred tongue is not an enemy) pewwww, and those upright, holy, reverent examples like the SSPX (blech).

      Apparently Bishop Bergolgio finds the idea of a Church without nuns 'unimaginable'. He's lead a sheltered life, since most of the Church has been abandoned by its religious sisters for decades:


      'Donna Quinn [an unihabited nun] an advocate for legalized abortion. As late as 2009 she was engaged in escorting women to abortion clinics in the Chicago area so they could abort their babies safe from pro-life protesters. She is now a coordinator of the radically liberal National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN), which stands in opposition against the Catholic Church’s position on abortion, homosexuality, contraception, and the exclusively male priesthood. In a 2002 address to the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School, Quinn described how she came to view the teachings of her Church as “immoral”: “I used to say: ‘This is my Church, and I will work to change it, because I love it,’” she said.  “Then later I said, ‘This church is immoral, and if I am to identify with it I’d better work to change it.’  More recently, I am saying, ‘All organized religions are immoral in their gender discriminations.’” Quinn called gender discrimination “the root cause of evil in the Church, and thus in the world,” and said she remained in the Dominican community simply for “the sisterhood.”'


      Yes, folks, this is what is meant by the 'feminised' Church. The spirit of Eve, who dissembled with the devil telling him in her chagrin that she wasn't even allowed to touch THE Tree, or…well she and he 'might' die. See how doctrine can be reworked by a mind already showing some sympathy for the devil without even knowing, I would presume, there is a devil. A mind already working against God, 'for the greater good'. Working with this dissimulation, satan then started to play. 'you won't die, go ahead…' What I see is the spirit of the disobedient Eve recreating the fall of Eden in the sad confused 'eden' of the post-conciliar Church rite before our dissembling gaze.

    30. Teresina February 3, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      Withhope, I read that Pope Benedict and Bl John Paul the Great both believe we are in the apocalypse.  The Apostolic Nuncio to the United States who spoke to the United States Bishops Conference in November and said "this then is my own deepest hope today for the pastors of the Church in America, as well as for all the pastors of the Church: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be more effectively guarded and taught … The sacred deposit of God's word, handed on by the Church, is the joy and strength of our people's lives. It is the only pastoral solution to the many problems of our day.”


      Archbishop Viganò also quoted “profoundly prophetic” remarks made by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla in 1976, two years before his election to the papacy:


      We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that the wide circle of the American Society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God's Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously."

      So I think that many in the Church today are witting and unwitting tools of Satan – interestingly I think it's a movie that is coming out which is being advertised with the words "The greatest thing Satan has achieved is to convince the world that he doesn't exist".

      Therein lies the problem and that is why he is able to create such havoc.  The best thing we can do is get down on our knees as often as we can and pray for this time to be short.

    31. Abenader February 3, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      Meanwhile back at the ranch, "If you ever wonder about the relationship between your faith and life as a Christian in today's world, you may wish to take part in three evening sessions which focus on a major theologian at the time of Vatican II"

      These lectures are aimed at "honouring the the Schillebeeckx legacy"  with John Dunn (not Fr. btw), Neil Darragh (? Fr.), Helen Bergin being your gracious hosts. Also,make sure you have read chapters from (ahem, cough, cough), the book which they have contributed chapters to.

      If you have not watched this vortex it is recommended

       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2s9LaZq2To   and linked to it:


      Oh btw, covered are "the topics of God", "resurrection" and of course "hope".

    32. withhope February 3, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      God bless for being a voice, with a few others, crying in the wilderness on this blog, Teresina. 'scuse my hyperbole.

      Very few people want to know this stuff. We live in a world where if you say cheerily, God bless, to some one, the friendship ends. When Christ taught us that the world HATES HIM, He wasn't euphemising, which is why if you say [insert any elevated demon of false religion theist or anti-theist] you'll be having drinks again at the weekend, or something of a more smokey bent. 

      JPII, despite some of his unfortunate religious indifferentist 'inspirations' (a man of confused Faith when it came to that idol, 'compromise'), said, 'ideologies of evil always have the seed of their own destruction within them.' Arianism lasted but 70 years, protestantism:  Waldensians, Calvinists, Lutherans, the guy with the Friday sausage, including the english king who 8 way too much – these man-named isms fragmented into some 30,000 protest churches today (some of which will never hit a radar because they fragment into a small protestantism which fragments into a protestantism which would have the population of heaven, perhaps, five.). Protesting against?

      well,many Catholics have become protestants, even Popes. What are they protesting against? One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic – with those three pillars, Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and Magisterium. the real protest is that the world thinks we are nuts for not being dopey socialists. and we care, because?


      The Church has always held to a doctrine of religious freedom (within the bounds of goodness), in that we cannot force a conversion (that's the Doctrine), nonetheless, God wants us to convert; if anyone has a problem with this blame Christ and the mission He gave to His Apostles.


      and they do…the protestant New Evangelism clergy do.

    33. Teresina February 3, 2014 at 11:57 pm

      Thank you, Withhope … it is true that I think many would rather not know or don't care or don't want to rock the boat or simply don't see anything wrong.

      And I am sure, like me, you will be rushing to book your place for the three lectures detailed by Abenader above.  I don't know anything about the presenters but found this review about Neil Darragh's book: "Neil Darragh in his book entitled Doing Theology Ourselves insists that as people of our own time and place we can produce our own theology in relation to our context. Out of curiosity, the author saw that the theological concepts that he learnt in the past are anachronistic to the real issues that he now faces in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Therefore, he argues that in order to make our theology relevant and meaningful we need to challenge some of the embedded theologies. We have to deconstruct our theology in order to reconstruct it again ourselves to meet our individual context."

      So Withhope I imagine that is a taste of the meaty fare we can expect at this series of lectures – this is where this type of stuff is passed on to mainstream lay Catholics.  Many lay leaders of the various parishes attend these sorts of sessions.

      Thanks, Abenader, I'll run right out and buy a copy of the book – it sounds like a must have for every "Catholic" bookshelf!

      Thanks for the Vortex links too! 

    34. Teresina February 4, 2014 at 12:22 am

      Abenader, that is some video of Michael Voris.  Certainly if anyone wants a short, sharp explanation of Schillebeeckx and the new theology they should take a look.  Voris talks about Schillebeeckx and the influence he had on the Church in Holland.  Schillebeeckx wrote that it is all about a “personal relationship and how you feel”, that Schillebeeckx never affirmed the divinity of Our Lord but spoke of Him as a prophet, that he was warned by the Vatican but never disciplined; Voris explains that Schillebeeckx was influenced by the protestant theologian Karl Barth who wrote, “Church Dogmatics”, he also influenced von Balthasar who was part of the school of Catholic theologians heavily influenced by Barth, including modern day with the likes of Fr Barron; the greatest influence was optimism for the salvation of non-believers and by extension all or nearly all of mankind; Congar wrote in 1962 that those who have at least this beginning of love for God desire to do his will … therefore have an unconscious wish for baptism.  Voris says that Karl Barth’s thoughts, Balathasar, (Barron’s hero) deconstruct Catholic teaching.  They are very nice and kind and very accommodating but at a practical level they have destroyed the faith of tens of millions with this thought of universal salvation, i.e. a reasonable hope that all men are saved which is as Voris says “a gracious way of negating hell”, always gracious and sweet sounding (says Voris) like the psalmist says “all honey is their speech and their mouth a wide open grave”.

      A very hard hitting video that puts into context the new theology that has so dominated the Church since the Second Vatican Council and we certainly have this protestant idea pervading the Church that it is all about a personal relationship and how you feel …

    35. withhope February 4, 2014 at 1:25 am

      Schillebeeckx. one of the many new-grass thugologians who decided that 260 odd popes, many of them brutally martyred, and centuries of Christian tapestry carefully woven by the Holy Ghost since He descended upon the Apostles, just isn't quite as clued up as his neo-Schopenhauer-self.

      Jean Guitton, so excited over the spectacle of the great VII gathering exclaimed that only now (in the 60s) was the Church finally becoming self-aware. Poor bride of Christ. Poor stupid Church, so ignorant, so dull. Like Harold Bloom's first human being, Hamlet, and all that preceded that great self-obsessed doubter was sub-human.


      Honestly, where would anyone be without those nuclear babies to explain to us that everyone between them going all the way back to Siddh?rtha, sorry, with a little time-space adjustment, Christ, were just wrong. bless, the poor sausages. But now we have the facts, that religous indifferentism leads to most fruitful vocations to the priesthood, that extraordinary ministers leads to most fruitful vocations to the priesthood, that heretical homilies leads to most fruitful vocations to the priesthood, that enouraging little girls to serve at altar leads to….post-christian feminist angst, and that neo-pagan ecumenism leads to many fruit vocations to the priesthood.


      p.s. a female (asian) acquaintance just had a series of heart attacks – still with us – by God's mercy. Has three kids, one of whom has already tried suicide once. No father – all he was interested in was red light brothels. This woman wanted to be a nun when she was young – from a buddhist culture – but had seen some catholic movies, yes they are just movies, and wanted whatever was promised in those Catholic films. The new-age credo, laity gathering, the sack-ramentalism, the dissolving of the religous into the non-religious, the council accounting that comprises catholic parishes these days would simply have nothing to say to this seeker. indeed, it is the most traditional churches that seem to have any concern for lost sheep.




      the Church that gets with Aquinas will flourish; the Church that fawns before Schillebeeckx, et  al., will fawn and fade.

    36. Boanerges February 4, 2014 at 6:47 am

      Don the kiwi

      its interesting from a process point of view to hear the input and seemingly role of veto that the outgoing Bishop seems to have regarding his successor. Certainly in most other fields an outgoing CEO or leader would not be permitted to have such influence. In fact in many roles, the exiting person may be given an exit interview, or asked for their opinions regarding their replacement, but legally would not be permitted to have any say in the appointment of their replacement. If your information is correct, and this input has held up the process to this extent, you would have to ask whether this needs some form of review. 

    37. Benedicta February 4, 2014 at 10:34 am


      That is an interesting observation. Though I don't think a Bishop correlates to a CEO. For one thing the Church isn't a company or business. The Church presupposes the orthodoxy of a Bishop and is in fact more like a father of a family and so should know his own and bring forward another like himself who will hand on the Tradition after him.

      There are further approvals or otherwise to the choice he makes.

      It seems to me it is self regulating…if you keep approving candidates that those beyond you will reject then you will have to suffer a very long tenure, die in the saddle or eventually be sacked.

      Perhaps the final submission of a suitable candidate might be the one good thing an 'interesting' bishop might do to set things aright for the future.

      I wonder how many Bishops were enthroned when Pope John Paul II was in his later years and suffering from his serious and debilitated illness (Parkinson's?). Who authorised such Bishops in light of the fact that the Pope was not able to fully contend with Church matters as it would have been impossible.

      No doubt the politics got out of hand.

      Perhaps it was this that Pope Benedict wanted to spare the Church. Two many might have slipped through that otherwise would have been rejected.

      One thing needs to change in all the Diocese…we need more diocesan priests with sound doctorates from Pontifical Universities who are faithful to the Magisterium. They need to swim above the tide in these bracing times and if they never get a view from a Church mountaintop how will they know which direction onwards is the best. Prayer needs knowledge in order to lead to greater love and insight.


    38. Benedicta February 4, 2014 at 10:48 am

      Neil Darragh in his book entitled Doing Theology Ourselves insists that as people of our own time and place we can produce our own theology in relation to our context…in order to make our theology relevant and meaningful we need to challenge some of the embedded theologies. We have to deconstruct our theology in order to reconstruct it again ourselves to meet our individual context.

      This is a nonsense. If what Fr Neil Darragh supposes here is true he has made it irrelevant to read HIS book or attend HIS lectures. After all HIS theology only pertains to HIS particular context and certainly no one else's.

      What is essentially wrong with this type of theology is that is swim's against the whole tide of the Church. That includes Vatican II and all preceding teachings and Councils in the Tradition. It opposes scripture. It opposes all the encyclicals etc of Papal teaching from Vatican II. It continues to propose the direction that the Church is trying to turn around….in a nutshell its anthropocentric and not Christocentric.

      Its illogical, unreasonable, irrelevant and is so NON theological (theo….God centered?) it doesn't even deserve a rebuttal.

      It is 'theology' from below….it can only lead to 'thoughts about god' or a type of deism but it will never come to Trinitarian faith. For that very reason the cosmos was given the irruption into creation of Christ Incarnate…that He alone can reveal man to himself.

    39. Benedicta February 4, 2014 at 10:51 am


      the Church that gets with Aquinas will flourish

      I agree in principle.

      But how would you approach Aquinas today? What type of Aquinas would you propose that the Church follows? Aeterna Patris rallied the call to Aquinas….what did this document require those who took up Aquinas to do with his teaching? What was it that they hadn't done already?

    40. Boanerges February 4, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      Hi Benedicta

      I agree that this appointment process shouldn't mirror that used in other paths of life – but it is interesting for comparison's sake. I have often wondered too your comments re the later years of Pope JPII. What was permitted under his name but without his full cognizance. Perhaps the fruits of that are coming to bear now? 

      Another point of interest to me is the effect on institutional stability when there is movement in key leadership roles. With three different Popes in the last eight years, there is bound to be some confusion and uncertainty emerging, just like there would be in any organisation.  

    41. Teresina February 4, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      I think that Blessed Pope John Paul the Great was guided by God in his decisions, even the decision not to resign but lead the Church through his suffering and it is maintained that he had his faculties until his death.

      There is a book that is to be published in the next few days "I am so much in God's hands" based on two of his notebooks: "In his notes, contained in two bound notebooks, the pope "reveals a part of his soul, of his meeting with God, contemplation and piety and that is the greatest value," Dziwisz said in the southern city of Krakow, where he is archbishop and where Wojtyla was also bishop and cardinal."

      It's noteworthy that his wounding was on May 13th – the anniversary of Our Lady's first appearance at Fatima and he firmly believed that his survival was due to Our Lady's intercession – he took the bullets to Fatima when he recovered.  Interesting that he noted about his election as Pope the stroke suffered by his friend on 13th October, just before the conclave that elected him Pope:

      "In writing of the conclave in which he was elected Bishop of Rome, Bl. John Paul II made particular note of the stroke suffered by his friend, Bishop Andrzej Deskur, then the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Bishop Deskur's stroke, which occurred Oct. 13, left him paralyzed on the left side of his body.

      The two had both been priests in Krakow since Bishop Deskur's ordination in 1950, and the late Pope wrote that the following day “I visited Andrzej in the hospital, on my way to the conclave which was to choose the successor to John Paul I.”

      Two day's later, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla was chosen to succeed John Paul I as Bishop of Rome.

      “The sacrifice of Andrzej, my brother in the episcopate, seems to me a preparation for the fact,” he wrote. “Through his suffering, all this has been placed within the mystery of the Cross and Redemption carried out by Christ.”

      The second notebook compiled in “I am so much in God’s hands” covers the years 1985 through 2003, on 315 notebook pages. "

      Blessed John Paul the Great considered that we are in the time of the Apocalypse – he entrusted everything to Our Lady and we need to do the same because the message of Fatima is for our times.

    42. Teresina February 4, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      "We must prepare ourselves to suffer great trials before long, such as will demand of us a disposition to give up even life, and a total dedication to Christ and for Christ … With your and my prayer it is possible to mitigate this tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it, because only thus can the Church be effectively renewed. How many times has the renewal of the Church sprung from blood! This time, too, it will not be otherwise. We must be strong and prepared, and trust in Christ and His Mother, and be very, very assiduous in praying the Rosary."   Blessed John Paul II

    43. Benedicta February 4, 2014 at 3:02 pm


      Yes, re your first paragraph, it would seem likely that interest groups could facilitate an easy passage for a preferred candidate if the Pope was effectively dependent on others to manage such things which were beyond his capability to control. 

      I think the confusion today must be quite acute. I also think the Church has been in similar confusion but had more social and political glue as a Christianised culture which helped it get through. So when the theology stalled (as in the time just after Aquinas re University of Paris) they were still baptising the populace thickly on the ground and social Christianity was still afloat by and large. There were abject failures of rampant errors like the Cathars but they had no mass media thank God and remained geographically mainly in situ. They were dealt with harshly and that failed…preaching worked I think…thank the Dominicans.

      What is different now is that theology is now also in crisis (Darragh exhibit A) but there is no Christian culture to hold the fort. The flutes are piping out of tune alongside a strong String section but no basso continuo. That means that Catholicism is fragmenting and orthodoxy will be holed up in isolated pockets of community. We are going through what the Protestants went through in the late 19th Century…they proliferated into more and more divisions within the mainstream and broke apart. We will do the same perhaps but be 'unity in tension'. Time will bring orthodoxy through and the rest will fall away and they can't renew themselves.

      So the correlation in business would be that the cash cow has had her day. Entrepreneurs are needed at the helm to hold the Tradition against its very destruction.

      This is what I think happened at the current era to bring us to this point. The whole thing has a long history in itself.

      What has happened is this…..if we take the popular common phrase attributed to Vatican II (not in any document)…'opening the windows to modernity'  and the term aggiornamento we can spot the problem. Things were left too open ended…aggiornamento implies some updating to meet some requirements. But this term wasn't substantiated as to its exact meaning perhaps because the Church had no theology of culture. For many centuries previously the Church WAS the culture. 

      Reading the Tradition in light of the modern era….what does it mean?

      Philosophers like Alasdair MacIntyre say that you can't take the Tradition and transpose it into another context without changing its meaning. That is what has happened with the liturgy for example and moral teaching. That is true depending on what putting it into another context means.

      If the new context means rereading the content of the Tradition through the philosophical forms of modernity the Faith will become unintelligible…..hence we get theology supposing itself to be a type of emerging Catholicism according to the modern context.

      On the other hand modern people have been reformed by the culture and have different questions. (We aren't medievals). Those questions are modern concerns like the priority to experience, consciousness and personal judgment and belief. This modern rhetoric can indeed become complementary ways in which to appropriate the Tradition without disembowling it. Pope John Paul II did exactly this for example in the way he approached scripture and Humanae Vitae in Theology of the Body. It uncovers a profound reading of scripture which speaks to the heart of the modern person enabling them to hear truth in their own voice.

      The Tradition is being carried forward authentically but there is confusion on the ground. From those suspicious of everything and those who want everything to suit themselves. Its a mess and unfortunately the societies have abandoned the social forms of Christianity so when the Tradition emerges in time more holistically there will be few left on the ground to receive it – so it seems. But those few will be well equipped to maintain the Tradition. even in isolation.

      I think that view of things is able to be discerned at least to that point.

      So no, unlike business the plan won't be straightforward in the way forward. But also unlike business we have the Holy Spirit who lets us help Him work things through and has it all in hand.



    44. Benedicta February 4, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      These words of Pope John XXIII show what was hoped for in general but the words were not concise.

      ~~as it still shines forth in the Acts of the Council of Trent and First Vatican Council, the Christian, Catholic, and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciousness in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine, which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character.

      Its too vague as to how far one goes. A method of research can simply put doctrine through the modern mill. Karl Rahner for example synthesised scholastic Aquinas with Kant….not a good fit! On the other hand Pope John Paul II in Theology of the Body used the phenomenology of Scheler but stripped it of its modern philosophical base and then imported it through philosophical realism (the philosophical lens of Aquinas). So he was seeing the same view as Aquinas he just had much more to say about it which was consonant with the modern way of thinking.

      Because of all this instability of post Vatican II theology the Popes have always drawn attention to Gaudium et Spes 22. The Christocentric turn! Gaudium et Spes has been the document which seemed to presuppose the new modern approach.

    45. withhope February 4, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      @Benedicta: the Church needs to get with Aquinas in the semenaries – it's my understanding that he's hardly there. with Aquinas one learns logic through the orthodox lens of Catholic Tradition. the new philosophies which have for a long time now conflated the idea and the concept have led in no small part to the theological reletavism that undermines the whole structure of contemporary Catholic thought. which, I guess, is why we get the mess of homilies that don't seem to know a truth from an opinion.


    46. Teresina February 4, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Benedicta, you state "On the other hand modern people have been reformed by the culture and have different questions".  However, there are people who have not been reformed by the culture and do not have different questions because the faith is unchanging.  As you rightly say, it is the people who have reformed and it is they who have to return back to the truths or continue on their own way which isn't Christ's way.  Didn't Christ say, " Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. [35] For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

      [35] I came to set a man at variance: Not that this was the end or design of the coming of our Saviour; but that his coming and his doctrine would have this effect, by reason of the obstinate resistance that many would make, and of their persecuting all such as should adhere to him.

      [36] And a man' s enemies shall be they of his own household. [37] ".

      So, yes, in the Church there are many divisions and our enemies are in our own household – the Church.  The traditions that were thrown out at Vatican II had developed over almost 2,000 and were not medieval at all – that is a line that many are swallowing.  To restore the Church we have to get back to the basics, and that is not as some see it full emersion baptism in the Waikato River.  It is belief that Christ is the Son of God, not merely a prophet; it is the belief that Christ established one church on earth, the Holy Roman Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation because Christ Himself taught that "Nobody comes to the Father except through Me" and to say that these other religions are okay is a lie and completely undercuts any need for evangelisation; the existence of the devil; the last four things: death, heaven, hell and purgatory.

      Unless those who have reformed themselves are prepared to accept the truths of the Church there is no hope for them.  That's the bottom line.  They have to be converted to the truth.

    47. Teresina February 4, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      The theology is now in crisis because of the new theology that was accepted by some at Vatican II and incidentally the book by Professor de Mattei is now available on Amazon.

      As reviewed on

      "Another example: it is commonly asserted that the Council itself was carried out in perfect continuity with previous ecumenical councils and the problems came only with a hijacking of its implementation. However, Mattei's book reveals that the participants in the Council viewed it even then as something revolutionary, from the first meetings of the first session when the Fathers revolted to throw out the documents prepared by the Theological Commission, to their replacement of the heads of all the commissions with liberals, to their setting up of a permanent body of four Cardinals that effectively served as a meta-commission to organize all the other commissions and push them towards liberal ends. We learn that it was not a liberal who first proposed interpreting the Council in light of its "spirit", but Paul VI himself who first referred to the "spirit of Vatican II" in his opening address of the Fourth Session in September of 1965; it was not dissenting bishops who did away with Latin, but Paul VI who first celebrated Masses in the Italian vernacular in 1965 and urged his bishops to imitate him. It was a dominant clique of the Council Fathers themselves who asked for vernacular, versus populum Masses, cultural Masses, and many other deviations. Yes, this book demolishes the argument that the problems did not come until implementation; the problems were present at the outset.

      Also of note is the manner in which several theologians come off as not just questionable but as total heretics. Sure, we already knew about Kung and Rahner, but even some of the more "respectable" theologians are outed for the heretics they were. For example, Yves Congar, whom Scott Hahn has praised many times and often cites as a source, comes off as a radical heretic in his desire to undermine papal primacy and redefine the nature of the Church, even invoking Martin Luther at the tomb of St. Paul, "who had wanted to reaffirm the Gospel for which Paul had struggled" (pg.487). I was appalled at some of the statements from Congar's diary quoted in the book. Jean Danielou and Henri de Lubac also are revealed as hypocrites, dissenters and heretics – and this not by any insinuations of slander by the author, but by the words of these theologians themselves. Mattei as an author does not need to make any argument; he allows these periti to hang themselves by simply citing their own words.

      What we have is ultimately the fact that, while Vatican II may not be a total doctrinal rupture, it certainly was a historical rupture, and many of the liberal Council Fathers were content to maintain the semblance of doctrinal continuity if they could have historical discontinuity; discontinuity of fact was always the end game, even if we do not have a total discontinuity of teaching. Discontinuity de facto has been the golden apple, the liberal wet-dream, the "promised land of the Council", as Congar referred to Gaudium et Spes; conservatives can reconcile the documents and claim continuity of teaching till the cows come home – continuity de jure is an on paper reality, while the monstrous discontinuity de facto continues unabated.


      Thus, the modern movement towards continuity cannot be content with merely proving it on paper or getting it authenticated in some document; there is no purely legal solution to the problem. The horses are out, and shutting the proverbial barn door now will do little good. To restore the Church, we must not only restore continuity on paper, but restore it in fact, in practice, in our lives. We must understand the Council as an historical event as well, and seek to reconcile not only documents, but lives and praxis."


    48. Teresina February 4, 2014 at 4:34 pm
    49. Teresina February 4, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      And de Mattei's book: The Second Vatican Council – An Unwritten Story:

      "Professor de Mattei s genius lies in the application of a lucid, literate,and philosophical mind to thorough scholarly research and mountains of documentation. From this framework he has presented us with a story; a story of an event, a previously unwritten story that has been begging to be told for many years. This book will unfold for you the answer to the question, What happened at the Council? A work that is as erudite as it is relevant. I am certain that thanks to its rigorous historical-critical method it will convince a vast readership. Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, President Emeritusof the Pontifical Committee for Historical Science"



    50. Benedicta February 4, 2014 at 7:35 pm


      Aquinas is taught at GSC. It certainly isn't logic through the orthodox lens of Catholic Tradition.

      Perhaps if you look up the GSC website and check out the courses you will find Aquinas there. Metaphysics is also taught.

      There is great teaching going on at Graduate level.



    51. Benedicta February 4, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      I also understand that Marist seminarians will be receiving their theology training in Rome at Holy Cross.

    52. Benedicta February 4, 2014 at 7:41 pm


      I'm sorry you quoted a phrase which was an error on my part. I did not mean to say 'On the other hand modern people have been reformed by the culture….' But rather that 'modern people have been formed by the culture…'

      No one is able to escape the influence of their culture even if they are brought up firmly Catholic. For that reason even Catholicism looks different from culture to culture. There is no person in the West who has not been shaped in some way by the received heritage of thought they were born into.

      At the very least they need to respond to that culture in a way that resonates with them.

      I did not mean that the Church was medieval!!! I meant that WE are not medieval people and so do indeed have other questions and other insights that we need addressed.

      The faith can do this is it speaks to us in a way that resonates with us.

      All the rest you have posted has been proposed before.

    53. Teresina February 4, 2014 at 8:18 pm

      Benedicta, as you meant to say "modern people are formed by the culture", what I said still holds true in that the Church was once – and should actually be now – above culture and the Faith unchanging.  The fact that people are influenced by culture and have different questions should be irrelevant to the Church whose truths are immutable.  What holds true for one generation or one culture, holds true for another culture and another generation because the Churchs' are unchanging: abortion, contraception, the Trinity, the perpetual virginity of Our Lady, etc.  It is only since the new theology has come in since Vatican II that any of these truths are sought to be challenged, as if there can be more than one truth.

      Withhope asks why do these people continue to stay on in the Church.  It is because they wish the Church to conform to them, to conform to the world, and because the Church is the one true Church founded by Christ that can never happen.  They are fighting a battle that they can never win.

      Yes, I have mentioned the other things before, but before de Mattei's book wasn't available on Amazon and also the endorsement by Cardinal Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, shows that de Mattei is in full standing with the Church and for anyone who wishes to understand what took place at the Council then it is all there in his book, carefully historically researched  To further cement de Mattei's credentials as a Catholic in good standing, I should mention that he has been awarded awarded from the Holy See the Order of Knighthood of St. Gregory the Great in acknowledgement of his services to the Church.


    54. Teresina February 4, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      Above my post should have read:  because the Church's teaching are unchanging.

      I would mention that when I read the book Journey of a Soul by St Theresa of Lisieux – here is a young girl, young woman, brought up as a Catholic in France over a century before me, and yet I can recognise all that she mentions about Catholicism there in a different country with a different culture, in a different century.  It is only now in our times since the Council that in many places it is hard to recognise Catholicism and in many parishes I do not feel at all as if I am in the Catholic Church, and I am not alone in that.

    55. Benedicta February 4, 2014 at 8:50 pm


      I don't think you are understanding me correctly. It isn't that the Church's truths need changing and what St Therese encountered through the love of Christ in the Church resonates with me as well….though she did take issue with some aspects of self imposed mortification.

      What I am trying to say is that the Church is an always has been a facilitator of encounter between Christ and those of us in the various societies and cultures of the world.

      You need a way for heart to speak to heart….not so that they then simply know truth but can appropriate it as conversion to Christ for them.

      An example in the modern (or post-modern actually) western culture would be personal experience as an authority. This can be a place of confrontation or revelation of Christ.

      If you would read Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body and see how he unfolds Genesis experientially its brilliant. Christ speaks to us as he said 'in the beginning' and it reads like never before.

      That's all I think Pope John XXIII wanted! He wanted to speak truth to hearts and minds so they could live more fully in Christ.


    56. Benedicta February 4, 2014 at 8:52 pm


      I have found a book I am going to read on kindle. You might like it too. It has an introduction by Cardinal George Pell. It is called 'The Council in Question: A Dialogue with Catholic Traditionalism'. It is a dialogue between Aidan Nichols OP (so far not on your heretic list…and please don't put him there) and a woman spokesperson for SSPX. Not that I am saying you are SSPX its clear you are not but the dialogue is at the edge so more can be forthcoming.

      You can find it on Amazon Kindle or book.


    57. Teresina February 4, 2014 at 8:53 pm

      Benedicta, your comment that "I also understand that Marist seminarians will be receiving their theology training in Rome at Holy Cross" is problematic in itself because that is where Fr Martin Rhonheimer teaches.  Some of his views on condoms, abortion and impure acts are not in conformity with Church teaching in that he preaches that the end justifies the means, which is not Church teaching at all.

      Also this article he wrote on anti-semitism in the Church is very anti-Catholic –

      "Even when we have taken full account of the enmity between the Catholic Church and National Socialism, the Church’s “silence””the astonishing fact that no Church statement about Nazism ever mentioned Jews explicitly or defended them”cries out for explanation. Also in need of explanation is the lack of any fundamental Church protest against the Nuremberg and Italian racial laws. Even after the November 1938 pogrom against the Jews, the only person to speak out was the Berlin cathedral provost Bernard Lichtenberg (since canonized), whose protest ultimately cost him his life. A Catholic apologetic that seeks to cover over this record by constant repetition of other facts, however undeniable they may be, plays into the hands of those who unfairly criticize the Church."


      In light of what Rhonheimer says about the Church and in light of other comments from Rabbi Angel Kreiman, says about Opus Dei, I find it interesting that there was no attempt by Opus Dei for him to become Catholic and yet Our Lord says that nobody comes to the Father except through Him and that unless we are born again of water and the Holy Spirt we shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  So what is the point of Opus Dei if there is no desire to evangelise and there is a viper in the breast in the form of Rhonheimer?

      "Rabbi Angel Kreiman, international vice president of the World Council of Synagogues, addressed a congress in Rome on Josemaria Escriva.

      Rabbi Angel Kreiman contended that Josemaria Escriva's teachings are strongly rooted in Talmudic traditions about work. Kreiman, who is the international vice president of the World Council of Synagogues, made his remarks in an address to a congress in Rome on Opus Dei's founder.

      The Talmudic concept of work, said Kreiman, is that "work is not a punishment, but man's duty, a blessing from God that allows us to fully enjoy the Sabbath and allows us to be in the image and likeness of God." Likewise, the rabbi noted, work was central to the teaching of Josemaria Escriva, who saw it as an original vocation of man and a blessing from God.

      The Rabbi, who is a Cooperator of Opus Dei, said he wanted to demonstrate his special affection for the organization founded by Josemaria Escriva. "Opus Dei members helped me, right from the beginning of my seminary studies, to persevere in my vocation," he said, "and I have also seen them do it with other rabbis, for which I am deeply grateful.""


    58. Teresina February 4, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      Actually Benedicta, I find Aidan Nicholls difficult to read and overly wordy, especially when I compare how he writes to the beautiful language of Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, The Three Ages of the Interior Life (a description of the life of grace in the soul of a fervent Catholic)


      These are the sort of things I think Catholics need to be reading to rediscover the beauty of the Faith.  As Lagrange says:

      "The interior life of a just man who tends toward God and who already lives by Him is indeed the one thing necessary. To be a saint, neither intellectual culture nor great exterior activity is a requisite; it suffices that we live profoundly by God. This truth is evident in the saints of the early Church; several of those saints were poor people, even slaves. It is evident also in St. Francis, St. Benedict Joseph Labre, in the Cure of Ars, and many others. They all had a deep understanding of these words of our Savior: "For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?" (2) If people sacrifice so many things to save the life of the body, which must ultimately die, what should we not sacrifice to save the life of our soul, which is to last forever? Ought not man to love his soul more than his body? "Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?" our Lord adds. (3) "One thing is necessary," He tells us.(4) To save our soul, one thing alone is necessary: to hear the word of God and to live by it. Therein lies the best part, which will not be taken away from a faithful soul even though it should lose everything else."

      We need to go back to these roots of our Faith that have been lost or covered over since the Council (for whatever reason).

      You are right, Benedicta, I am not SSPX but I can now see what their objections to the Council were and are.  I regretted that they weren't able to come to an accord under Benedict XVI, but now since what has happened to the Franciscans of the Immaculate I do wonder if they had signed the agreement if they would have met the same fate.  That wouldn't have happened under Pope Benedict but I don't know who or what is behind and perhaps manipulating Pope Francis.  

      Fr Aidan Nicholls may have a valid argument against the SSPX, but it won't stack up against those Catholics such as Bishop Schneider, Mons Gheradini, Professor de Mattei and many other Catholics who hold that there are errors in some Vatican II documents.  And Benedicta the reality is that if something isn't done then the Novus Ordo will simply die out and be replaced by the traditional Catholics Faith anyway but perhaps, after all, that is the desire of the Holy Spirit.  

    59. Teresina February 4, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      "The Church is and always has been facilitator of encounter between Christ and those of us in the various societies and cultures of the world".  It is not an encounter – we love Him, purely and simply.  That is the difference between the "faith" of today and the "Faith" of yesterday.  It is a simple faith.  We don't need encounters we simply need to love Him and the rest follows through grace.  I think today there is too much examination, which is not necessary.  All that is necessary is to love Him.  I can tell you that from the day of my First Holy Communion that was it – I never looked back.  The Church brings to us the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and that is all we need.  In reality Catholicism is a simple Faith and that is what Catholics need to get back to a simple Faith and I think the writings of Garrigou-Lagrange will help them discover that.  I am sure that Mrs Mac can explain the simplicity of the Faith better than I, and who better than St Therese of Lisieux in her Journey of a Soul. 

    60. Teresina February 4, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      Benedicta, many of the correspondence between Fr Aidan Nichols are available here.


      It is interesting that one person commenting on the letters said that they were able to follow her argument but not able to follow Aidan Nichols.  Here is part of what she says:

      "Dear Fr Aidan,

      Perhaps I could begin this letter on religious liberty, the last in the series, by challenging the basis of your argument, which seems to be that the inadequate doctrinal formulations contained in the documents of Vatican II must be tolerated as long as sound doctrine is also found.

      In previous letters you acknowledged that the Council documents contain “failures of prudence” and “weaknesses or unilateralism in the formulation of conciliar teaching”. Your last letter also stated that, while some aspects of Vatican II may be questioned, a similar liberty does not exist regarding the Council’s doctrinal statements “even if we find these to be in some regard ambiguous in character”.

      But would this argument stand up in a court of law, where witnesses are required to give “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”? Would Sacrosanctum Concilium convince a jury, since, as you also acknowledge, this important Council document does not even explicitly state a fundamental, traditional teaching on the sacrificial character of the Mass?

      The ambiguous nature of many Council statements has long been criticised by the SSPX. Obviously, ambiguity allows for more than one interpretation, as does the presence of new theology alongside traditional teaching. This raises the question: if the liberal reformers have embraced the new theology contained in the Council documents and put it into practice, are they really to blame if the results, as witnessed by the banality of the contemporary liturgy, are so dire?

      According to Archbishop Lefebvre in A Bishop Speaks: “They thought that they would attract the world by accepting the ideas of modern man… who is a liberal, who is a modernist, who is a man who accepts the plurality of religions, who no longer accepts the social kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ. This I have heard twice from the envoys of the Holy See, who told me that the social kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ was no longer possible in our time; that we must accept definitely the pluralism of religions. That is what they told me; that the encyclical Quas Primas which is so beautiful, on the social kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was written by Pope Pius XI, would never be written today. That is what they said to me – the official envoys of the Holy See.” 

      Reading this I can certainly see the points raised by Archbishop Lefebvre

    61. Teresina February 4, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      So Benedicta, even Aidan Nichols admits that the Council documents are problematic …

    62. Teresina February 4, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      As usual there is a very loud silence on this blog if any issue is raised against Opus Dei, which to me smacks of double standards as I have said before.  Where something is wrong it is patently wrong no matter if we regard the group as a "goodie":  Some of the things complained about Martin Rhonheimer are listed here.  I question why this man is allowed to teach at the University of the Holy Cross in Rome and as Opus Dei priests are formed there what ethics are they likely to follow?

      Martin Rhonheimer and Some Disputed Issues in Medical Ethics: Masturbation, Condoms, Craniotomies, and Tubal Pregnancies


      May, William


      August 2010


      The Linacre Quarterly


      See all Details


      Martin Rhonheimer has written extensively on disputed issues in medical ethics: the use of condoms to prevent HIV, contraception, masturbation to provide semen for analysis, and at length on "vital conflicts" in medical ethics that arise in a pregnancy in which the lives of both the mother and the child are seriously threatened. If nothing is done, both will die, but if a medical intervention is performed, the child will die but the mother has a chance of living. After offering his interpretation of relevant magisterial documents on the difference between "direct" and "indirect" killing and of St. Thomas's teaching on the lawfulness of killing in self-defense and the principle of double effect, Rhonheimer proposes to solve conflicts of this kind by an ethical analysis based on what he calls a "virtue-based ethics" concerned with rendering justice to both mother and child. Using this approach he justifies craniotomy, salpingectomy, and salpingo(s)tomy as morally permissible ways of saving the mother's life without doing any injustice while rejecting use of the drug methotrexate to end a tubal pregnancy. His analysis can be seriously challenged as rooted in a misinterpretation of key magisterial documents and for failing to consider the principle of double effect revised to bring it into harmony with Aquinas's teaching on the distinction between killing as intended and as the unintended although foreseen effect of an act of legitimate self-defense.

    63. Benedicta February 4, 2014 at 11:42 pm

      So Benedicta, even Aidan Nichols admits that the Council documents are problematic …

      That's not news Teresina it was the point of my postings earlier…when I responded to Boarneges. I was articulating in what way they were problematic and that there had been two general types of responses one of which has become problematic in itself and one that sorted the problem out…Pope John Paul II. In that way Pope John Paul II was synthesising the Tradition with current thought in much the same way that Thomas Aquinas synthesised the received Tradition of Augustine and the Church Fathers with Aristotle and scripture.

      It was this symphonic synthesis which was particular to St Thomas and which clearly held the Tradition and brought it forward while not letting it founder on the theological issues of the day. He did not give a schemata of logical explanations to satisfy all philosophical questions St Thomas actually took the best of everything and showed us who God is, who we are and the journey to final beatitude.

      And no I don't want to ruminate about named heretics from Opus Dei….its so unhelpful. I don't think St Thomas ever called anyone a heretic even when their arguments were very dodgy. What he absolutely disliked were those who wanted and authoritative answer for everything. He left his whole work open ended, just like truth there is always more to say as its inexhaustible.

      Teresina…St Thomas' work was largely ignored for a long time. Might I say that by implication, like de Lubac, St Thomas' work was, as you say 'condemned' just after he died. His fellow Dominicans broke up and dissembled his work and so it was subsequently handled by those who wrote the commentaries proposing the thoughts of St Thomas. In this same way after Aeterni Patris it was cobbled back together again and handed in on in the same philosophical and broken manner to illustrate the smart arguments of St Thomas in answer to this or that theological or moral problem. That isn't St Thomas but St Thomas used for the purposes of interpretation. It worked on many levels and gave clear answers to complex problems. It was valuable but it wasn't actually what St Thomas put together as his own work. Now his authentic synthesis is being sounded for the treasures is reveals of its own. It hasn't been abandoned. 


    64. Teresina February 5, 2014 at 2:49 am

      Well, Benedicta, you are going further than me in stating that Rhonheimer is a heretic although you say it is unhelpful to do so but many others are referred to here as heretics, so why if some are in error in Opus Dei is it unhelpful to point that out?  At least it might lead to some sort of attempt by Opus Dei to pull this priest into line.  Otherwise is it helpful that we have Marists who are going to study theology at a seminary that has a professor with the views of Fr Rhonheimer?  The Marists have had problems enough as it is, and it is highly likely that those views of Rhonheimer's are going to be passed on to the Marists and also to Opus Dei priests.  Notwithstanding, Rhonheimer's thinly veiled attack on Pius VII, saying the Church was anti-semetic, which is not true.  That has been taken up by Jews, etc, and some liberal Catholics (including our own deacon Sullivan who raised that on Being Frank in an earlier post some years ago) complaining about the Church and accusing Her of aiding and abetting the Nazis.  He has a lot to answer for.

      As regards the problematic documents of the Council, I can't see how Blessed John Paul the Great has reconciled them – all he could do is put a gloss over them because there are errors in those documents as you concede, and as the SSPX has been saying from day one but have been heavily criticised for doing so.  I have to say that while he does make some concessions, Fr Aidan Nichols toes the party line and skirts around the issues – he doesn't answer the questions raised.  He admits that some teachings are ambiguous but he admits enough to justify the SSPX's refusal to accept certain of the Council documents, as I do.  I think we have a right to clear and concise documents and where there are not we do not have to accept them as Mons Gheradini points out and, I would rely on his view, because, with respect, he has a truckload more experience than Fr Aidan Nicholls.

      It is precisely those documents that have lead us to the precarious situation that we are in now and they are going to continue to cause problems in the future.  Even Fr Rhonheimer says that they are a rupture with the past – although he of course prefers the rupture.  As I say, the solution is simple – carry on as we are and the Novus Ordo will collapse – if that is what some are happy to do, then so be it because the rest of us have the traditional Mass of the ages to turn to when everything else unravels as it will surely do.

    65. Teresina February 5, 2014 at 3:06 am

      As Mons Gheradini says:

      "The new generation, either of bishops and priests, or of simple lay faithful, is often placed off-limits [regarding the questioning of conciliar elements incongruous with Tradition], and even reacts by assuming the position of "defensor fidei" – that is to say, of Vatican II – when anyone dares to raise some question on the continuity of the latter with the original doctrine. A half-century of uninterrupted hammering does not go by in vain, that is, not without the bitter fruits "of ash and venom". 


      These are fruits that are made even bitterer by the silencing – in practice, even if not formally imposed – of a Tradition that crossed the length of twenty centuries before someone blocked its course, in the name of Vatican II, as a "petrified" reality, as an "incomplete and contradictory" ecclesial value. 


      There remains truly the fact that neither Vatican II can be recognized fully and peacefully in it [Tradition], nor can it be harmonized with the tune of Vatican II. They are two scores that cannot be reciprocally harmonized with the "dominant", not due to any accidental note, but because one is intrinsically different from the other; and at times even opposed.


      I will have no difficulty with finding, document after document, all the "othernesses", and in particular the antitheses, of the aforementioned scores. The list would involve entire documents, such as GS [Gaudium et spes], DH [Dignitatis humanae], UR [Unitatis redintegratio] and N ae [Nostra aetate], alongside peculiar points and doctrines: for example, the incarnation of the Word in every man, the "subsistit in," the collegiality of the bishops under the structure not of the "corpus episcoporum," but of the organization of the universal governance of the Church, incomplete communion, the Church of Christ as a sum of churches or of ecclesial communities.


      This is not the point. Or not the one to which the present publication is dedicated. Even though the development of my reasoning will not be able to completely avoid recalling this or that particular Conciliar "otherness" when faced with the uninterrupted Tradition of the Church, the reason for which I write is related not to the list of the mentioned "othernesses," but rather with the intent of proving the unfoundedness of the objections raised either against myself or against those who think like me, and with the central concept on which such objections depend. Already in the title I call this idea a "misunderstanding". I proceed to prove it."


    66. Benedicta February 5, 2014 at 9:22 am


      I never said there were 'errors' in the Council documents. I don't think or ever will think there are 'errors' in the Council documents.

      What I pointed out was that some statements are imprecise as to exactly what they meant. A disctinction between the forms of modern rhetoric and content would have been helpful.

      As you say….you can't see how Blessed John Paul the Great reconciled them….so you confidently say….'all he could do is put a gloss over them because there are errors in those documents as you concede.'

      That is a fairly radical statement. I repeat again I never said or will ever say there were errors…there weren't. I think it a pity that you can summarise so appallingly the work of John Paul as 'a gloss' … over 'errors' because Its clear you don't understand what he was doing. Nor would he have thought there were 'errors' in the documents.

      Also typically you read nothing…I gave you a name of a book which I thought might appeal and you pick aspects of it off the internet and summarise that Fr Aidan Nichols 'toes the party line and skirts around the issues – he doesn't answer the questions raised'. That's a shame I think both writers have great points to make and its very illuminating.

      The problem Teresina is complex.

      Please stop misquoting and inerrantly drawing conclusions.


    67. Teresina February 5, 2014 at 10:52 am

      Benedicta, you say “Also typically you read nothing…I gave you a name of a book which I thought might appeal and you pick aspects of it off the internet and summarise that Fr Aidan Nichols 'toes the party line and skirts around the issues – he doesn't answer the questions raised'.“  Firstly, if you bother to read what is stated on that site – all the earlier correspondence is available there, so why pay for a book when the material is available free?  Also, when Fr Nicols makes a statement such as, “We must not ask for perfection from Councils, even in their strictly doctrinal aspect. It is enough to know that, read according to a hermeneutic of continuity, they will not lead us astray.”  I consider that is not answering the question but is toeing the party line.  That is not satisfactory for me or other Catholics.  I want an answer to the questions the questioner was raising.  Fr Nicols cannot give a straight answer because he knows the documents are problematic and he admits it.  Some in the Church may be prepared to live with those documents but others in the Church are not prepared to, because they realise the damage that can be done further by liberals in the Church relying on those documents.

      For example, try reconciling the constant teaching of the Church up until the Second Vatican Council on outside the Church there is no salvation with statements in the Second Vatican Council.  That is Church dogma which cannot be changed by any Pope or council for that matter and, therefore, where Vatican II departs from dogma we do not have to accept it.

      Statements of former Popes are helpfully set out in the Wiki article:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extra_Ecclesiam_nulla_salus

      Try reconciling: Pope Eugene IVCantate Domino (1441): "The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the "eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41), unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church."

      With Lumen Gentium and other statements in Vatican II documents subtly change this to the point that we now have many in the Church who believe all can be saved and that was condemned in the Syllabus of Error:

      Pope Pius IX The Syllabus of Errors, attached to Encyclical Quanta Cura, 1864: [The following are prescribed errors:] "16. Men can, in the cult of any religion, find the way of eternal salvation and attain eternal salvation. – Encyclical Qui pluribus, November 9, 1846.
      "17. One ought to at least have good hope for the eternal salvation of all those who in no way dwell in the true Church of Christ. – Encyclical Quanto conficiamur moerore, August 10, 1863, etc."

      Also Pope Francis’ statements in Evangelii gaudium on Muslims are problematic, as some writers have pointed out, and the problematic areas summarised quote well the following:


      You also say, “I think it a pity that you can summarise so appallingly the work of John Paul as 'a gloss' … over 'errors' because Its clear you don't understand what he was doing. Nor would he have thought there were 'errors' in the documents.”  That is a sweeping statement because you do not know what was in the mind of Blessed Pope John Paul the Great.  While he certainly improved the situation after the Second Vatican Council where can you point to that he sought to reconcile Council documents?  Blessed Pope John Paul’s whole pontificate was a veritable struggle to undo all the harm that had occurred since the Council.

      Louie Verrechio sums up the problems we are left with since the Council:

      “… the degree to which these “intellectual currents” were unleashed, not only in Western culture at the hands of determined secularists, but in the very heart of Catholicism via the Second Vatican Council at the hands of determined churchmen.

      “Archliberal Cardinal Leo Jozef Suenens hailed the Council, and with no little accuracy, as “1789 in the Church” for a reason:

      It was the Fathers of Vatican II who officially (in the document Dignitatis Humanae) repudiated the “church-state relationships that had evolved over many centuries,” effectively dethroning Christ the King in exchange for a solitary folding chair among the many at the political table, as if He aspires to be accepted as nothing more in society than an equal to every heathen, heretic and humanist with an opinion.

      It was the Fathers of Vatican II who invited religious indifferentism by suggesting that false religions are a means of salvation.

      It was the Fathers of Vatican II who replaced the Church’s call to conversion with a sentimental plea for religious dialogue and mutual understanding.

      The unvarnished truth is that fewer people are coming to the sacraments simply because the overwhelming majority of our sacred hierarchs, from the 1960’s on forward, have ingested every limp-wristed, weak-kneed, kumbaya-style ambiguity the conciliar text has to offer, only to regurgitate them back to the souls in their care at every opportunity like pelicans feeding their young.

      Along the way, an entire generation or more has come of age having been nurtured on little more than the fast food of modernism by pastors who have utterly ceased to proclaim the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church as the solitary means of salvation, and therefore the paramount importance of the sacraments that the Lord has entrusted to her.

      All of this being the case, is it any wonder that the Catholic Church in our day is in the throes of a full-scale institutional collapse?”


      Therein lies the problem “an entire generation or more has come of age having been nurtured on little more than the fast food of modernism”.

      The spare time I have is better spent in reading about what can and should be done to restore the Church than to read writers who trot out the same old party line about Vatican II, despite the fact that they know and frankly admit that the documents are problematic.  Let them continue to sit on their hands and do nothing … like Nero!

    68. Teresina February 5, 2014 at 11:07 am

      As Mons Gheradini sums it up (which you either ignor or fail to comprehend):

      "I will have no difficulty with finding, document after document, all the "othernesses", and in particular the antitheses, of the aforementioned scores. The list would involve entire documents, such as GS [Gaudium et spes], DH [Dignitatis humanae], UR [Unitatis redintegratio] and N ae [Nostra aetate], alongside peculiar points and doctrines: for example, the incarnation of the Word in every man, the "subsistit in," the collegiality of the bishops under the structure not of the "corpus episcoporum," but of the organization of the universal governance of the Church, incomplete communion, the Church of Christ as a sum of churches or of ecclesial communities."

      These statements of Vatican II are irreconcilable with the teaching of the Church.