29 December 2022

Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre - Vol. III - Diverse Condemnations

14 July 1980 – L'Osservatore Romano

The following report was certainly very good news for all traditional Catholics who concurred with Mgr. Lefebvre’s frequent reiterations concerning the radical incompatibility between Catholicism and Masonry.

German Episcopal Conference Forbids Catholic Membership in Masonry

In the years 1974 -1980, official conversations took place in Germany between the Catholic Church and Freemasonry by order of the German Episcopal Conference and the Grand United Lodges.

The attempt was made, in the course of these conversations, to establish whether Masonry had undergone changes in the course of time such as to make it possible, from now on, for Catholics to be members.

The talks were held in a cordial atmosphere, characterized by frankness and objectivity.

After a careful examination of these first three degrees, the Catholic Church ascertained that there exist fundamental and insuperable differences.

Freemasonry, in its essence, has not changed. To belong to Freemasonry calls in question the foundations of the existence of Christ. A thorough examination of Masonic rites and of fundamental considerations, as well as the objective finding that Freemasonry has not changed, lead to the obvious conclusion: Membership of the Catholic Church and at the same time of Freemasonry are not reconcilable.

* * * *

Schillebeeckx: “I'm Against all Condemnations”
The Remnant – 18 July 1980

Catholic theologians who have earned Rome's displeasure in recent times are currently making their rounds trying to offset the situation by public speech-making wherever they go and by the usual self-serving propaganda.

Thus the Dutch theologian Edward Schillebeeckx, who has been under fire from the Vatican since last December, was on visit to the United States earlier this month and, in New York, decried what he called the “scapegoat role” to which modem-day theologians are being subjected by the Vatican today. He said that Vatican condemnations of “innovative thinkers make no sense in modem times." “There is unrest among the faithful,” he conceded, “but it’s not because of what the theologians are saying but because of cultural change. Without the theologians," he insisted, “it would still be the same, but some people need a kind of scapegoat for the unrest," and hence the theologians “are singled out for that scapegoat role" (Courier-News, N.Y., 3 July 1980).

Schillebeeckx cited recent condemnations of Fr. Jacques Pohier of France and Fr. Hans Kung of West Germany as typical examples of "a bad situation" in the Church, adding that he is opposed "to all condemnations” since "it's very dangerous to do that." He said that most of the Vatican's doctrinal officials who had questioned his writings" are amateurs" in biblical scholarship and misconstrued his writings "because of their scholastic thinking." "They are unable to understand phenomenological thought," he said. "To them past statements of concepts are immutable and must be repeated the same way." Schillebeeckx went on to include Pope John Paul II as among those who are unable to understand his philosophical thinking. The Pope, he said, who comes from Poland, is trying to apply worldwide the "Polish model" of a monolithic-type Church. “It was the right thing for Poland in a special situation, with a monolithic-type Church set up against the monolithic Communist state, but as a model for the Western pluralized world, it doesn’t work,” he said. With different church needs and models in the U.S., Africa, Europe and elsewhere, he said “the Church cannot be monolithic, but must adapt to many diverse faces.”

Schillebeeckx said that the Pope’s summoning to the Vatican of the Dutch bishops, and their agreement to restrain various innovative practices in Holland was another bloc-style move, but the effect had been completely negative. “It is accepted by only a small minority,” he claimed. “The Catholic people are going on as before. The clergy do not accept it.”

Asked if the Pope’s effort tended to reserve Vatican II reforms, Schillebeeckx commented: “In the Pope’s opinion it is not a reversal, but I think it is.”

* * * *

This report is interesting for two reasons. it is yet another useful reminder for traditional Catholics who see the Pope purely in Liberal terms that the Liberals themselves consider him to be a conservative. It also provides confirmation of the ineffectiveness of the Dutch Synod which had given rise to such a optimism. A very orthodox Dutch priest had written to me at about this time giving precisely the same assessment of the impact of the Synod upon parish life in Holland, i.e., everything had continued as before.

Catholic University? By Father Tom O’Mahony
The Remnant – 18 July 1980

The appalling state of decline into which the Catholic Church in America has fallen is very apparent in the writings and speeches of professional theologians and Scripture scholars, who go about their iconoclastic work uncondemned except by small groups of the laity. Many of these dissenters even teach in seminaries and Catholic colleges.

The Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C., to which all Catholics contribute, instead of being a model for other Catholic centers of higher learning, has become a symbol of contestation, a haven almost for those who would change the defined teaching of the Church.

Fr. Charles Curran, Professor of Moral Theology at C.U., is one of the best known dissenters in the U.S. Yet he was invited by the Jesuits of the University of St. Louis to speak on the campus. Since he has published works on every aspect of human sexuality, no one can be in any doubt that he will attack defined Catholic doctrine whenever he gets the chance. Why then was he honored with this invitation? Unlike his brother bishop of Baton Rouge, who refused to allow Curran to speak at a diocesan facility, Archbishop May (of St. Louis); publicly stated that he refused to interfere and that the Holy See has yet to pass judgment on Curran.

Some years ago, a Vatican curial official, Cardinal Garrone, said that nowadays bishops are practising a hands-off policy and are leaving it up to Rome (to make unpleasant decisions). This policy, said the Cardinal, is disastrous as, by the time Rome can get around to the problem, the harm has already been done. More than likely, this was what the Pope had in mind in his Chicago talk to the bishops last year.

Right now a new controversy has shaken C.U. The student newspaper, The Tower, has been announcing the weekly meetings of homosexual and lesbian students. The paper has also featured articles on this perversion, and even quoted two priest faculty members in favor of the view that homosexual acts are not necessarily sinful in all instances. One priest said it could be a “morally good thing to do,” according to Paul A. Fisher of The National Catholic Register. The two priests on the faculty who refused to condemn as sinful all homosexual activity are Fr. Robert Kinast, a member of the pastoral staff in theology, and Fr. Thomas Sullivan, Assistant Professor of Religion Religious Education.

The President of the College, Dr. Edmund Pelligrino, has, according to reports, expressed dismay at the excessive use of alcohol by students at C.U.

Another serious matter is that most of the students interviewed by the student paper admitted that they were either agnostics or practicing atheists. Yet it was their standard of morality, or more correctly, lack of it, which was promoted in the editorials.

Another sign of the times is that the once proud Catholic University of Norte Dame had hired Fr. McBrien, who has never hidden his heretical views on the nature of the Church, to be chairman of one of its faculties.

Again, Hans Küng and Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx, who are notorious dissenters, had told the press that they have been invited (Schillebeeckx just last week at Berkeley) to speak on Catholic campuses in the U.S. And, to top it all, we still find the ubiquitous Fr. Brown, S. S., an avant garde biblical scholar whose writings are a mere rehash of the condemned Modernist views, is still invited into various dioceses to speak to the clergy and laity. Recently he was invited to speak at Religious Congresses in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Diocese of Orange. When the laity objected to this by even taking out advertisements in the papers, Cardinal Manning defended Fr. Brown. So did Msgr. John F. Barry, director of the Office of Religious Education.

This is extremely serious, as Fr. Brown's views are well known, or should be. Two of his views, concerning the apostolic succession of the bishops and the nature of the Mass as a Sacrifice, were attacked by the late Cardinal Sheehan, who was himself a professional biblical scholar.

Fr. Raymond Brown also denies the Virgin Birth and holds that the infancy narratives are not history but mere symbols – a concoction of early Christians. He even holds that it could be that Christ was the result of a rape of Our Lady by a Roman soldier!

What are Catholics to conclude from all of this? Some, with an axe to grind, will welcome these views and follow them on the ground that the above priests were not only not condemned by the bishops, but even defended against their critics. Others will write off the Church as a confused and confusing institution, which apparently has lost its way; while others still will feel that, after all, Archbishop Lefebvre is right, at least he is consistent, he has never deviated one iota from traditional Catholic teaching.

The end result cannot but be devastating, as seminarians are exposed to this theological mish-mash as the "new theology" and "scriptural scholarship." This is evident from a statement by Fr. John Meier, Prof. Of Scripture at the New York Archdiocesan Seminary. Defending Brown and condemning his critics, Fr. Meier said: “If they (Brown's critics) ever knew what some of the rest of us are doing, they'd have a heart attack. "

It may well happen that America will once again become a mission country, with the missionaries coming this time from the crowded seminaries of black Africa, according to the prediction of one of that continent's bishops made during the first synod of bishops in Rome. Stranger things can happen, because in the fourth century eighty percent of the bishops fell into the Arian heresy, and in the time of the persecution of the Church in England, only Bishop St. John Fisher had the intestinal fortitude and strong faith to stand up for Christ.

Perhaps this is where we now are, as the only public statements coming from the National conference of Catholic Bishops concern the secular pieties of the age: the Panama Canal, capital punishment, racism, and other subjects which are the stock-in-trade of professional Liberals. Not that there is anything wrong with support of such causes, provided one realizes that in many cases there is no clear answer to such questions, but there are very clear answers when it comes to dogma and morals, which it is the sworn duty of bishops to defend at any price, even martyrdom!

* * * *

This article appeared originally in the 1 June 1980 issue of Father O'Mahony's Most Holy Trinity parish bulletin, El Paso, Texas. Father O'Mahony might also have remarked that there is one man to whom Catholic University would never open its doors, and that is Archbishop Lefebvre who has never “deviated one iota from traditional Catholic teaching.” As St. Basil observed in the year 372, commenting upon the Arian heresy: “Only one offense is now vigorously punished – an accurate observance of our fathers’ traditions.1

1. See Apologia I, p. 372.

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