29 November 2022

Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre - Vol. III - Catholic Universities

The Remnant – 31 May 1979

ACCORDING to a St. Paul Pioneer Press/Dispatch report of May 26, Pope John Paul II decreed last week that professors at Catholic universities "should refrain from challenging basic Church doctrine or face dismissal from their posts." The report went on to say that the Pontiff's warning is contained in an 87-page " Apostolic Constitution" and that it "tightened Vatican control over some 126 Church-run universities around the world." The decree reportedly puts an end to a controversial experimental period which Pope Paul VI had launched in 1968 in the wake of Vatican II. The present Holy Father insists that "new research (experimental or otherwise) should never be at the expense of the Church's Magisterium."

Meanwhile, in the current issue of Our Sunday Visitor, appears the report that the anti-papalist Hans Kung has again placed himself squarely in opposition to yet another Pope, this time Pope John Paul II. During an interview regarding his notorious views, Kung is said to have proposed that inter-communion begin at once, saying: "I would first start by giving a general permission to Catholics – especially those in mixed marriages, but others also –to go to other churches for the eucharistic meal. And we should open our doors for others to come to us."

As Our Sunday Visitor observed editorially, "Küng's 'one eucharist is as good as another' is directly contrary to Catholic teaching and is in direct opposition to what Pope John Paul II told Catholic bishops from the Caribbean, where occasionally ecumenical activity has gone beyond good sense. "Sharing the Eucharist presupposes unity in faith," the Pope declared. "Inter-communion between divided Christians is not the answer to Christ's appeal for greater unity."

It will be interesting to see how Pope John Paul II reacts to Hans Kung's latest defiance of papal teaching and whether the University of Tübingen, where Kung still holds forth, will feel free to dismiss this unorthodox gad-fly. Also, whether the Catholic University of America, where the notorious heresiarch, Father Charles Curran, still holds forth, will take such disciplinary action as Pope John Paul has now prescribed.

* * * *

The reaction to Küng's defiance was to deprive him of the right to teach as a Catholic theologian, a step which would be taken before the end of the year. The same decision would be taken in the case of Father Curran, but not until 1986.


The Remnant – 31 May 1979

The number of Catholic seminary students in Italy has dropped from 30,595 in 1962 to 9,953 in 1978. During the same 16-year period, the number of priests in Italy dropped by more than 2,000 – from 43,538 to 40,866.

The figures were disclosed by Bishop Attilio Nicora, an Auxiliary Bishop of Milan, at a plenary meeting in Vatican City of the Italian Catholic Bishops' Conference.

To put the numbers in clearer perspective, Bishop Nicora pointed out that Italy's population had increased by six million between 1961 and 1977. Italy has a current population of 56,675,000, with Catholics constituting 97.5% of the total.

Bishop Nicora called the figures "objectively serious and worrisome."

* * * *

The decline in the numbers of both priests and seminarians is common to all Western countries. It might have been hoped that the bishops of these countries would have noted the success of the seminaries founded by Mgr. Lefebvre, and followed his example by introducing a traditional formation in their own seminaries; but, alas, most would prefer to cease ordaining priests rather than admit that the policies they have adopted have been disastrous. This is also true of their equally disastrous policies in such spheres as religious education and the liturgy. The prestige of the bishops depends upon the success of these new policies, ergo the policies are successful.


The Remnant – 17 August 1979

Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, a major spokesman for traditionalism during the Second Vatican Council and one of several cardinals responsible for the so-called "intervention" against the New Mass brought into being by that Council, 1 died on 3 August in his apartment after a long illness, Vatican Radio reported.

The Cardinal, who together with the late Cardinal Bacci, protested against what they called the "theological deviation" of the New Mass from the position taken by the Council of Trent, held the honorary title of Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican department concerned with guarding the Church's doctrine on faith and morals.

It was Cardinal Ottaviani, who, in his letter to His Holiness Pope Paul VI (3 September 1969), pleaded with the Pope "not to deprive us of the possibility of continuing to have recourse to the fruitful integrity of that Missale Romanum of St. Pius V, so highly praised by Your Holiness and so deeply loved and venerated by the whole Catholic world… The Cardinal was an uncompromising defender of theological orthodoxy and an unyielding foe of Modernist trends which have swept through the Church for the past many decades. His loss to the Church is great. He will be sorely missed. R.I.P.

Cardinal Wright Dies

The same issue of The Remnant reported the death of Cardinal John Wright who, as Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy, had initially given wholehearted support to Mgr. Lefebvre and the Society of St. Pius X, but then succumbed to pressure from Liberal forces within the Vatican and became a member of the commission of three cardinals which condemned the Archbishop and demanded the closure of the seminary at Ecône.2

1. A fully documented account of the “Ottaviani Intervention” is available in chapter XXIII of Pope Paul’s New Mass. It is explained there that fifteen Cardinals had agreed to sign a covering endorsing the critique of the New Mass sent to Pope Paul VI, but, for reasons which are explained in this chapter, thirteen of them lost their nerve and the covering letter was signed eventually only by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci. This does not detract in any way from its historic importance, or from the fact that Mgr. Lefebvre’s misgivings charged with upholding the orthodoxy of Catholic doctrine.

2. See Apologia, Vol. I, Index: Wright, John Joseph, Cardinal.

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