Friday, January 30, 2009

"Rome’s Reconciliation: Did the Pope heal, or deepen, the Lefebvrist schism?" by George Weigel

George Weigel in Newsweek has produced a thoughtful piece on the revocation of the excommunications of the four schismatic bishops which has caused controversy this week.

His explanation of the background to the " SSPX Four" helps explain the difficult decision which confronted the Holy Father.

But his conclusion is disturbiing and worrying. Or are we seeing the signs of the foundations for a new constitution for the Church: not unitary, but more federal or confederal.

"Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, the pope's spokesman, emphasized to reporters on Jan. 24 that the lifting of the excommunications did not mean that "full communion" had been restored with the Lefebvrists.

The terms of such reconciliation are, presumably, the subject of the "talks" to which Bishop Fellay referred in his letter.

Those talks should be interesting indeed.

For it is not easy to see how the unity of the Catholic Church will be advanced if the Lefebvrist faction does not publicly and unambiguously affirm Vatican Council II's teaching on the nature of the church, on religious freedom, and on the sin of anti-Semitism.

Absent such an affirmation, pick-and-choose cafeteria Catholicism will be reborn on the far fringes of the Catholic right, just when it was fading into insignificance on the dwindling Catholic left, its longtime home."